"IS MY NAME WRITTEN THERE?"
"…But rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Lk. 10.20)
INTRO.: A song which indicates that our names can be written in heaven is "Is My Name Written There?" (#567 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Mrs. Mary Ann Pepper Kidder (1820-1905). The exact date of its origin is not known, but it was likely around 1876. Mrs. Kidder was the author of several other songs that have appeared in our books, such as "Did You Think To Pray?", "Whiter Than The Snow" (beginning, "Fear Not, Little Flock"), "We Shall Sleep, But Not Forever," and "The Christian’s Welcome Home." The tune was composed by Frank Marion Davis (1839-1896). It was produced in July, 1876, when Davis was at Burr Oak, MI, but the song was first published in 1878. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church edited by E. L. Jorgenson. Today it is found in the 1971 Songs of the Church edited by Alton. H. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Sacred Selections.
The song encourages us to do whatever is necessary to make sure that our names are written in heaven.
I. Stanza 1 tells us to enter the Lord’s fold
"Lord, I care not for riches, Neither silver nor gold;
I would be sure of heaven, I would enter the fold.
In the book of Thy kingdom, With its pages so fair,
Tell me, Jesus, my Savior, Is my name written there?"
A. The Bible teaches that caring for riches, silver, and gold can keep one out of the kingdom of heaven: Matt. 19.23-24
B. Some books change the third line to read, "I would make sure of heaven," though I fail to see the reason for feeling that a change needs to be made; one thing that we must do to be sure of heaven is to enter the fold of Christ: Jn. 10.1-16
C. When we do that, God has a book of remembrance in which He writes the names of the righteous: Mal. 3.16
II. Stanza 2 says that we must receive the Lord’s forgiveness
"Lord, my sins they are many, Like the sands of the sea,
But Thy blood, O my Savior, is sufficient for me;
For Thy promise is written, In bright letters that glow,
‘Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them like snow.’"
A. What will keep anyone out of heaven is sin, and all responsible people have sinned: Rom. 3.23, 6.23
B. However, Jesus shed His blood in order to make a sacrifice for our sins so that we can have forgiveness: Matt. 26.28, Eph. 1.7
C. Therefore, by meeting His terms of pardon, we can obtain His promise that our sins, though like scarlet, can be made like snow: Isa. 1.18
III. Stanza 3 suggests that we cling to the hope of eternal life
"O that beautiful city With its mansions of light,
With its glorified beings In pure garments of white,
Where no evil thing cometh To despoil what is fair,
Where the angels are watching–Is my name written there?"
A. In order to help us develop this hope, heaven is presented in scripture as a beautiful city with mansions or dwelling places: Jn.
14.1-3, Rev. 21.1-4
B. The glorified beings are pictured as wearing pure garments of white: Rev. 7.9-14
C. We are told that nothing evil will come there to despoil it in any way: Rev. 21.27, 22.14-15
CONCL.: The chorus continues to emphasize the importance of making sure that our names are written there.
"Is my name written there, On the page white and fair?
In the book of Thy kingdom, Is my name written there?"
To give the words a more positive outlook, some books change the first and last lines of the chorus to read, "Yes, my name’s written there." As a Christian, I can certainly have the confident expectation as I cling to the Lord that my name is written in heaven. Yet, I also know that there is always the possibility that I might allow sin in my life that would blot my name out. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with examining myself and asking the question, "Is My Name Written There?"