"TO CHRIST BE TRUE"
"The Lord preserveth the faithful…Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart…" (Ps. 31.23-24)
INTRO.: A song which exhorts us to be faithful to Him who will preserves us and strengthen our heart is "To Christ Be True" (#415 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #332 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Elisha Albright Hoffman (1838-1929). A Pennsylvania-born minister with the Evangelical Church, he produced many well-known gospel songs that have appeared in our books, such as "Are You Washed in the Blood?", "Glory to His Name," "That’s Enough For Me," "I Must Tell Jesus," "Is Thy Heart Right with God?", "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," "What a Wonderful Savior!", and "Where Will You Spend Eternity?"
The tune (Be True) was composed by Daniel M. Wilson. He was likely a physician because many older books identify him as "Dr. D. M. Wilson." The song was apparently first published in the 1900 Gospel Praise edited by A. J. Showalter and E. G. Sewell for the Gospel Advocate Co., where it was claimed as a Gospel Advocate Co. copyright. The Advocate’s 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), edited by L. O. Sanderson and others, said, "Copyright, 1928, Gospel Advocate Co., Renewal," but the copyright was not claimed in any of the company’s later books. The song has been very popular with our brethren through the years.
Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1938/1944 New Wonderful Songs edited by Thomas S. Cobb; the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both also edited by Sanderson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; and the 1975 Supplement to the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 originally edited by E. L. Jorgenson. Today, it may be 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.
It emphasizes the importance of standing up for Christ in the good fight of the faith.
I. Stanza 1 speaks of our banner
"To Christ be loyal and be true; His banner be unfurled,
And borne aloft till is secured The conquest of the world."
A. A banner is a battle flag, and here symbolizes the truth that God has revealed to us; just as soldiers in a physical army need a banner under which to march into battle, so God has given us a banner: Ps. 60.4
B. This banner must be borne aloft in that the church is to be the pillar and support of the truth: 1 Tim. 3.15
C. Our mission continues "till is secured The conquest of the world," which is a never-ending task that will culminate in the second coming of Christ: 1 Cor. 15.50-54
II. Stanza 2 speaks of the need for volunteers
"To Christ be loyal and be true; He needs brave volunteers
To stand against the powers of sin, Moved not by frowns or fears."
A. Some nations draft people into military service, but the soldiers in Christ’s army are all volunteers: 2 Tim. 2.3-4
B. These volunteers must use the armor of God to stand against the powers of sin: Eph. 6.10-14
C. As they stand, they must not be moved from their hope by frowns nor fears: Col. 1.23
III. Stanza 3 speaks of our service
"To Christ be loyal and be true; In noble service prove
Your faith and your fidelity, The fervor of your love."
A. We speak of the service that soldiers render their country, and that which soldiers of Christ do is called service: Phil. 2.17
B. Our service to the Lord proves or demonstrates our faith in Him: 2 Cor. 5.7
C. But the real reason that we serve Him is because we love Him: 1 Pet. 1.7-8
IV. Stanza 4 speaks of our friendship with Christ
"To Christ be loyal and be true, And He will be your Friend,
Defending and protecting you To life’s triumphant end."
A. Jesus has promised to be a friend to all who keep His commandments: Jn. 15.14
B. Also, He has promised to defend and protect His friends: 1 Pet. 5:10
C. This relationship will continue to life’s triumphant end: Matt. 10.22
CONCL.: The chorus continues to encourage us to be loyal to our Lord:
"To Christ, the Lord, be true, For He will go with you,
And help you all your conflicts through; To Christ, the Lord, be true."
The old humorous saying is, "Be true to your teeth, and they will never be false to you." Well, Jesus will never be false to us under any circumstances, but given all that Christ has done for us, dying for our sins, offering salvation through His blood, and giving us the hope of eternal life with Him, each one of should aim that we shall "To Christ Be True."