My dear, dear, friends in fellowship,
What a privilege, I so anticipate meeting with each of you for a whole week of song at the 2015 Harmony Plains Singing School. Struggles, disappointments, and heartaches come to all, so how encouraging it is to know that your love for Christ draws you to set aside this time to sing the praises of His redemption.
Our 2015 HPSS hymn is Enough For Me, page #130 in the Old School Hymnal edition #11. The 2015 theme is “Satisfaction In Christ”. Colossians chapter one verse nineteen will be our 2015 text.
Colossians 1:19 states, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell”. Young or old, male or female, town or country, we clamor for the “full life”. We desire to experience more, higher, deeper, richer, and happier experiences, circumstances, and times. The problem is we have full refrigerators and can’t find anything to eat. We all have full closets and can’t find a thing to wear. We all spend more than we need to and are not satisfied with what we get. We are over indulged, over drugged and over sexed. Life is paralyzing us instead of satisfying us and nothing, even “our” service to God, quite seems to deliver what we hoped it would deliver.
C. S. Lewis: “Most people, if they really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise”.
The word “fulness” in Colossians 1:19 is defined as “plenitude, abundance, full satisfaction, completion”, and the text declares that this fulness is only found in Christ.
Personal knowledge of Christ is as satisfying as a springing well compared to a stagnant pool. This knowledge is not attained by an information dump, but is the blessing of a loving relationship. The expression of the text is not an abstract principle, but a satisfaction massaged deep into the very heart and oozed out in life.
Christianity is falling in love with the nature and character of God, which leads into a transformed life. That’s what Paul’s unpacking here. It’s not our works that lead us to knowledge of God or rest in the Lord Jesus Christ. Works righteousness will wear you out, and Jesus came to destroy empty self-righteousness.
It’s unbelievably important that we get this. We are transformed by seeing and understanding the nature and work of God through the Lord Jesus Christ, II Corinthians 3:14-18. If anyone of any age determines, “I’m going to give great effort, etc.” (and we all do at some time to some degree), if it works at all, it will only be superficial and temporary, then we will tend to bail. Under the waterfall of who God is and swept up and cleansed by what Christ has done however, one is not just delivered from trying to manage behavior, one is engulfed in a colossal completeness that satisfies the soul.
The goal of morality, honesty, industry, family, and church is great, but fundamental and essential is the core of who we are in Christ. Even if we gained morality, honesty, etc., the above text declares that satisfaction alone rests in our Savior. The first verse of the theme song says it all: “O love surpassing knowledge! O grace, so full and free! I know that Jesus saves me, And that’s enough for me.”
This hymn’s author, Elisha Hoffman (1839-1929), was ordained to preach in 1868, and became part of a circuit in Napoleon, Ohio, in 1872. He served in many churches and in the Bethel Home for Sailors and Seamen. He wrote more than 2,000 songs including Leaning on the Everlasting Arms (1894). The HPSS 2015 hymn expresses the joy of the continual return of the Christian to satisfaction in Christ alone.
May the Lord bless the efforts of each of you as you make your plans for singing school this summer. Psalm 95:1 states, “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”