Amazing Grace Hymns

October 20

THE SON OF GOD GOES FORTH TO WAR

Reginald Heber, 1783–1826

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

This text was written in 1812 by Reginald Heber, an important 19th century Anglican church hymn writer. Heber wrote it especially for use on St. Stephen’s Day, which occurs the first day after Christmas. On this day the liturgical churches honor the memory of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

The hymn’s first stanza portrays Christ as the leader of a great army going forth to win His kingly crown. The challenge is given: “Who follows in His train?” The response: Those who demonstrate that they can bear the cross patiently here below.

The second stanza reminds us of Stephen’s martyrdom. The scriptural account tells us that Stephen saw Jesus “standing at God’s right hand,” with Stephen praying for his murderers, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:54–60).

The third stanza refers to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to “the chosen few.” The verse then reminds us of the twelve apostles and their martyrdom for the sake of the gospel. The final stanza is a picture in heaven of the noble martyrs throughout the ages before God’s throne—men, boys, matrons, maids—dressed in robes of white.

The Son of God goes forth to war, a kingly crown to gain: His blood-red banner streams afar: Who follows in His train? Who best can drink His cup of woe, (Christ’s suffering on the cross) triumphant over pain? Who patient bears His cross below, he follows in His train.

The martyr first, whose eagle eye could pierce beyond the grave, who saw His Master in the sky and called on Him to save—Like Him, with pardon on his tongue in midst of mortal pain, he prayed for them that did the wrong: Who follows in his train?

A glorious band, the chosen few on whom the Spirit came, twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew, and mocked the cross and flame—They met the tyrant’s brandished steel, the lion’s gory mane. They bowed their necks the death to feel: Who follows in their train?

A noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid, around the Savior’s throne rejoice, in robes of light arrayed—They climbed the steep ascent of heav’n thru peril, toil and pain: O GOD, TO US MAY GRACE BE GIVEN TO FOLLOW IN THEIR TRAIN!

For Today: Ephesians 6:10–20; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:3, 4

Let this musical statement be your response of faith—

Osbeck, K. W. 

EZC

  • Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the assaults of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, and against the worldly governors, the princes of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness, which are in the high places. For this cause take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to resist in the evil day, and having finished all things, stand fast. Stand therefore, and your loins girded about with verity, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. Above all, take the shield of Faith, wherewith ye may quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray always with all manner prayer and supplication in the spirit: and watch thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all Saints, And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to publish the secret of the Gospel, Whereof I am the ambassador in bonds, that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speakEphesians 6:10–20
  • Fight the good fight of faith: lay hold of eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
  • Thou therefore suffer affliction as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth, entangeleth himself with the affairs of this life, because he would please him that hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3, 4

 

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Connect The Testaments

October 20: It Has Been Granted to You

Ezekiel 39:25–40:49; Revelation 19:11–20:6; Job 38:25–33

“It has been granted to her that she be dressed in bright, clean fine linen” (Rev 19:8), announces a voice from heaven in John’s revelation. The voice describes the bride who waits in anticipation—representing the believers who wait in expectation of being reunited with Christ.

The text contrasts the fine linen of the bride with the purple and scarlet cloth of the harlot, Babylon, who represents all that oppose God’s reign (Rev 18:16). The harlot receives criticism for her infidelity: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.… For all the nations have drunk from the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich from the power of her sensuality” (Rev 18:2–3).

But the cry goes out in and among Babylon: “Come out from her, my people” (Rev 18:4). The bride, who is preparing herself for the wedding celebration of the Lamb (Rev 19:7), responds to the call to remain pure—to avoid the temptations of the age. She is given the opportunity to dress herself in bright, clean fine linen, representing “the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev 19:8). These deeds do not earn the bride her righteous standing before the Lamb, but they speak of a life that is transformed.

In Revelation, John uses this imagery to entreat the early believers to live righteously while awaiting the hope promised them. Christ has won the victory for us—the final conquering of sin and evil is imminent. We are empowered to live for Him now, to prepare ourselves for the day when we will have our reward: His presence.

How does your expectation of Christ’s coming help you live for Him now?

REBECCA VAN NOORD

EZC

  • Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have compassion upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for mine holy Name. After that they have borne their shame, and all their transgression, whereby they have transgressed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and without fear of any. When I have brought them again from the people, ad gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations. Then shall they know, that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there, Neither will I hide my face anymore from them: for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God. In the five and twentieth year of our being in captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day, the hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me thither. Into the land of Israel brought he me by a divine vision, and set me upon a very high mountain, whereupon was as the building of a city, toward the South. And he brought me thither, and behold, there was a man, whose similitude was to look to, like brass, with a linen thread in his hand, and a reed to measure with: and he stood at the gate. And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall show thee: for to the intent that they might be showed thee, art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest unto the house of Israel. And behold, I saw a wall on the outside of the house round about: and in the man’s hand was a reed to measure with, of six cubits long, by the cubit, and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building with one reed, and the height with one reed. Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the East, and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the post of the gate, which was one reed broad, and the other post of the gate, which was one reed broad. And every chamber was one reed long, and one reed broad, and between the chambers were five cubits: and the post of the gate by the porch of the gate within was one reed. He measured also the porch of the gate within with one reed. Then measured he the porch of the gate of eight cubits and the posts thereof, of two cubits, and the porch of the gate was inward. And the Chambers of the gate Eastward, were three on this side, and three on that side: they three were of one measure, and the posts had one measure on this side, and one on that side. And he measured the breadth of the entry of the gate ten cubits, and the height of the gate thirteen cubits. The space also before the chambers was one cubit on this side and the space was one cubit on that side, and the chambers were six cubits on that side. He measured then the gate from the roof of a chamber to the top of the gate: the breadth was five and twenty cubits, door against door. He made also posts of threescore cubits, and the posts of the court, and of the gate, had one measure round about. And upon the forefront of the entry of the gate unto the forefront of the porch of the gate within were fifty cubits. And there were narrow windows in the chambers, and in their posts within the gate round about, and likewise to the arches: and the windows went round about within: and upon the posts were palm trees. Then brought he me into the outward court, and lo, there were chambers, and a pavement made for the court round about, and thirty chambers were upon the pavement. And the pavement was by the side of the gates over against the length of the gates, andthe pavement was beneath. Then he measured the breadth from the forefront of the lower gate without, unto the forefront of the court within, an hundred cubits Eastward and Northward. And the gate of the outward court, that looked toward the North, measured he after the length and breadth thereof. And the chambers thereof were three on this side, and three on that side, and the posts thereof and the arches thereof were after the measure of the first gate: the length thereof  was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. And their windows, and their arches with their palm trees, were after the measure of the gate that looketh toward the East, and the going up unto it had seven steps, and the arches thereof were before them. And the gate of the inner court stood over against the gate toward the North, and toward the East, and he measured from gate to gate an hundred cubits. After that, he brought me toward the South, and lo, there was a gate toward the South, and he measured the posts thereof, and the arches thereof according to these measures, And there were windows in it, and in the arches thereof round about, like those windows: the height was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits. And there were seven steps to go up to it, and the arches thereof were before them, and it had palm trees, one on this side, and another on that side upon the post thereof. And there was a gate in the inner court toward the South, and he measured from gate to gate toward the South an hundred cubits. And he brought me into the inner court by the South gate, and he measured the South gate, according to these measures, And the chamber thereof, and the posts thereof, and the arches thereof according to these measures, and there were windows in it, and in the arches thereof round about, it was fifty cubits long, and five and twenty cubits broad. And the arches round about were five and twenty cubits long, and five cubits broad. And the arches thereof were toward the utter Court, and palm trees were upon the posts thereof, and the going up to it had eight steps. Again he brought me into the inner court toward the East, and he measured the gate according to these measures, And the chambers thereof, and the posts thereof, and the arches thereof were according to these measures, and there were windows therein, and in the arches thereof round about: it was fifty cubits long, and five and twenty cubits broad. And the arches thereof were toward the utter court, and palm trees were upon the posts thereof, on this side and on that side, and the going up to it had eight steps. And every chamber, and the entry thereof was under the posts of the gates: there they washed the burnt offering. And in the porch of the gate stood two tables on this side, and two tables on that side, upon the which they slew the burnt offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering. And at the side beyond the steps, at the entry of the North gate stood two tables, and on the other side, which was at the porch of the gate were two tables. Four tables were on this side, and four tables on that side by the side of the gate even eight tables whereupon they slew their sacrifice. And the four tables were of hewn stone for the burnt offering, of a cubit and an half long, and a cubit and an half broad, and one cubit high: whereupon also they laid the instructions wherewith they slew the burnt offering and the sacrifice. And within were borders an hand broad, fastened round about, and upon the tables lay the flesh of the offering. And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the North gate: and their prospect was toward the South, and one was at the side of the East gate, having the prospect toward the North. And he said unto me, This chamber whose prospect is toward the South is for the Priests, that have charge to keep the house. And the chamber whose prospect is toward the North, is for the Priests that have the charge to keep the Altar: these are th sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which may come near to the Lord to minister unto him. So he measured the court an hundred cubits long, and an hundred cubits broad, even four square likewise the Altar that was before the house. And he brought me to the porch of the house, and measured the posts of the porch, five cubits on this side, and five cubits on that side: and the breadth of the gate was three cubits on this side, and three cubits on that side. The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits, and he brought me by the steps whereby they went up to it, and there were pillars by the posts, one on this side and another on that side. Ezekiel 39:25–40:49
  • And I saw heaven open, and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon him was called faithful and true, and he judgeth and fighteth righteously. And his eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns: and he had a name written, that no man knew but himself. And he was clothed with a garment dripped in blood, and his name is called, THE WORD OF GOD. And the house which were in heaven, followed him upon white horses, clothed with fine linen white and pure. And out of his mouth went out a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the heathen: for he shall rule them with a rod of iron, for he it is that treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath upon his garment, and upon his thigh, a name written, THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an Angel stand in the sun who cried with a loud voice, saying, to all the fowls that did fly by the midst of heaven, come, and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God. That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of high captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all freemen, and bondmen, and of small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their hosts gathered together to make battle against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. But the beast was taken, and with him that false Prophet that wrought miracles before him, whereby he deceived them that received the beast’s mark, and them that worshipped his image. These both were them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sitteth upon the horse, which cometh out of his mouth, and all the fowls were filled full with their flesh. And I saw an Angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great claim in his hand.. And he took the dragon that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan,and he bound him a thousand years: And cast him into the bottomless pit, and he shut him up, and sealed the door upon him, that he should deceive the people no more till the thousand years were fulfilled: for after that he must be loosed for a little season. And I saw seats: and they sat upon them, and judgment was give unto them, and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which did not worship the beast, neither his image, neither had taken his mark upon their foreheads or on their hands: and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead men shall not live again, until the thousand years be finished: this is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he, that hath part in the first resurrection: for on such the second death hath no power: but they shall be the Priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 19:11–20:6
  • Who hath divided the spouts for the rain? or the way for the lightning of the thunders, To cause it to rain on the earth where no man is, and in the wilderness where there is no man? To fulfill the wild and waste place, and to cause the bud of the herb to spring forth? Who is the father of the rain? or who hath begotten the drops of the dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? who hath engendered the frost of the heaven? The waters are hid as with a stone: and the face of the depth is frozen. Canst thou restrain the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in their time? canst thou also guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the course of heaven, or canst thou set the rule thereof in the earthJob 38:25–33

 

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My Utmost For His Highest

October 20th

Is God’s will my will?

This is the will of God, even your sanctification. 1 Thess. 4:3

It is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me; is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me all that has been made possible by the Atonement? Am I willing to let Jesus be made sanctification to me, and to let the life of Jesus be manifested in my mortal flesh? Beware of saying—‘Oh, I am longing to be sanctified.’ You are not, stop longing and make it a matter of transaction—“Nothing in my hands I bring.” Receive Jesus Christ to be made sanctification to you in implicit faith, and the great marvel of the Atonement will be made real in you. All that Jesus made possible is made mine by the free loving gift of God on the ground of what He performed. My attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness), a holiness based on agonizing repentance and a sense of unspeakable shame and degradation; and also on the amazing realization that the love of God commended itself to me in that while I cared nothing about Him, He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification (see Rom. 5:8). No wonder Paul says nothing is “able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is done only through the superb Atonement of Christ. Never put the effect as the cause. The effect in me is obedience and service and prayer, and is the outcome of speechless thanks and adoration for the marvellous sanctification wrought out in me because of the Atonement.

Chambers, O. 

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