"IF JESUS GOES WITH ME"
"These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth" (Rev. 14.14)
INTRO.: A song which encourages us to follow the Lamb wherever He goes so that He in turn will be with us is "If Jesus Goes With Me" (#356 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #193 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by Charles Austin Miles (1868-1946). It was published in 1908 by the Hall-Mack Co. of Philadelphia, PA, but by the time of its renewal in 1936, Hall-Mack had become part of the Rodeheaver Co. of Winona Lake, IN. A former pharmacist turned hymn-writer, Miles is perhaps best known for the gospel song, "In The Garden."
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the chorus of "If Jesus Goes with Me" appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the entire song appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson, the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch, and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today, it is found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 (Church) Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand, in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song reminds us of the need to go with Jesus in our lives.
I. Stanza 1 says that we need to go whether in danger or in peace
"It may be in the valley, where countless dangers hide;
It may be in the sunshine that I, in peace, abide;
But this one thing I know–if it be dark or fair,
If Jesus is with me, I’ll go anywhere."
A. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations of danger with possible perils that we must face: Acts 27.9
B. Other times, we find ourselves in situations of peace, which is one reason why we should pray for our rulers: 1 Tim. 2.1-2
C. However, whatever our situation may be, Jesus has promised to be with us and dwell in our hearts by faith: Eph. 3.17
II. Stanza 2 says that we need to go if the Lord leads us away from home
"It may be I must carry the blessed word of life
Across the burning sunshine to those in sinful strife;
And though it be my lot to bear my colors there,
If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere."
A. The blessed word of life must be carried and preached to the whole world: Mk. 16.15-16
B. The reason that it needs to be taken into all the world is that people in all the world are lost in sin: Rom. 3.23, 6.23
C. But if we have the ability and the opportunity to go far from home with the message of salvation, Jesus has promised to be with us: Matt. 28.19-20
III. Stanza 3 says that we need to go if the Lord leads us to teach others nearer to home
"But if it be my portion to bear my cross at home,
While others bear their burdens beyond the billow’s foam,
I’ll prove my faith in Him–confess my judgments fair,
And, if He stays with me, I’ll stay anywhere."
A. It is not necessary to go beyond the billow’s foam to serve Christ; every child of God has a cross or responsibility to bear: Mt. 16.24
B. Some people can fulfil their responsibility by going afar; others may not have the ability or opportunity to do so, but they can still confess Christ to others who are closer to them: Rom. 10.9-10
C. So whether we have the ability to go or things work out that we have to stay, if we do what we can in keeping His word, He will make His home in us: Jn. 14.23
IV. Stanza 4 says that we need to go wherever the Lord leads us
"It is not mine to question the judgments of my Lord,
It is but mine to follow the leadings of His word;
But if to go or stay, or whether here or there,
I’ll be, with my Savior, content anywhere."
A. It certainly is not our place to question the judgments of our Lord because He is the potter and we are the clay: Rom. 9.20-21
B. Rather, our place is simply to follow the leadings of His word: 1 Pet. 2.21
C. Thus, whatever situations we may find ourselves in, if we are striving faithfully to serve the Lord, He will be with us and we can
learn to be content anywhere: Phil. 4.11-13
CONCL.: The chorus repeats the resolve expressed in the stanzas:
"If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go, anywhere! ‘Tis heaven to me, Where’er I may be, if He is there!
I count it a privilege here His cross to bear; If Jesus goes with me, I’ll go anywhere!"
I may not always know precisely what the Lord has in store for me. All I can do is study His word and follow its teachings to the best of my ability. But in order to serve Christ faithfully, I must have the determination to be willing to go anywhere "If Jesus Goes With Me."