There are times when I get weary with life and its never ending struggles. Some times I just want to cry out, “Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly”. I long to be in His presence and out of the pressures down here. Apparently, that has been the sentiment of believers for centuries. Consider the words of the final closing verse of The Church’s One Foundation:
Yet she on earth hath union With God, the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion With those whose rest is won
O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly, On high may dwell with Thee. Amen
Every church has to battle many things set up against it as Satan acts out His jealousy. Keeping the saints united is hard work amid this spiritual war. But the real Christians look forward to the day when He’ll call us home and the labor will be over. Then the work will cease and eternal rest begins. Verse 4 of The Church’s One Foundation:
‘Mid toil and tribulation, And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation Of peace forevermore;
Till with the vision glorious Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest.
What spiritual battles are you struggling with today? Hang on…just a little longer.
Another verse of this old hymn is rarely included in hymnals, but continues the theme of The Church’s One Foundation. Through the centuries there have been multiple attempts to silence the church and its message. Obviously, none have succeeded. The greatest danger to the demise of the church comes from within. Samuel John Stone expresses that in this rarely published verse:
The Church shall never perish! Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish, Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her, And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe or traitor She ever shall prevail.
Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
Have you ever wondered what God thinks of His church so divided into various denominations and differing in so many varying odd belief systems? Do you think He might be a little miffed at His children having such little respect for the ministry gifts (ministers) He has called to lead His church? That’s not new. Samuel Stone wrote this verse to The Church’s One Foundation in 1866:
Though with a scornful wonder Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping, their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.
Satan’s number one target is the church, because it is the organized body of believers. So, it is no wonder there is so much division and false teaching that has arisen. Yet the faith of the believers continues to wait upon the Lord and we long for the day when he shall return.
We’re looking at the old hymn, The Church’s One Foundation. Music written Samuel Sebastian Wesley in 1864, it typifies music styles of that era, written for a piano and organ. Samuel Wesley played organ at a large church in Hereford, England, until he eloped with the Dean’s daughter. Thus ended a promising career there. Verse 2:
Elect from every nation, yet one o’er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation, one Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses, with every grace endued.
The church is indeed universal, of all nations, and its charter demands unity of faith in Jesus the Christ and His virgin birth. All believers become one in Christ, and symbolize that union by taking communion together. Together we share one blessed hope: the second coming of Christ, and share every grace He so richly gives to us.
As the worship style fades, let’s keep the message fresh in our hearts.
It is true that the newer songs tend to be more relational and the ancient hymns were more doctrinal in nature. But I want to draw our attention this week to the content of one of my favorite hymns, The Church’s One Foundation. Listen to verse 1:
The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation, by water and the word;
From heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died.”
This old hymn, written by Samuel J. Stone and Samuel S. Wesley, speaks volumes to a lost world. The church of Jesus Christ is built upon Him as its very foundation. The church is His new creation. Christ came from heaven to seek her out as His holy bride. When He found her, He bought with His own shed blood. So that we sinners could live, He died. What an eternal message.