"DO YOU KNOW?"
"…Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour" (Eph. 5.2)
INTRO.: A song which praises the Lord for the love that Christ showed by giving Himself for us as an offering on the cross is "Do You Know?" The text was written and the tune was composed both by Jefferson David Tant, who was born at Ft. Smith, AR, in 1935, to Fanning Yater and Helen Gotto Tant. The grandson of pioneer preacher Jefferson Davis Tant, he followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in preaching the gospel. After growing up in Ft. Smith, Denver, CO, Chicago, IL, and Oklahoma City and Norman, OK, Tant attended high school in Abilene, TX, and later lived in Lufkin, TX, graduating from Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL, and Abilene Christian College (now University) in Abilene, TX, where he received the B. A. degree. Following his marriage to Flora Hartsell in 1959, Tant began his preaching work with the Lord’s church at Clayton, OK, among the Choctaw nation in Pushmataha County. After laboring there and later at Portales, NM, he moved with his family to the Atlanta, GA, area, where he worked with churches at Snapfinger Rd. and Embry Hills, and then relocated in 1974 to the north suburb of Roswell, GA, to help in the establishment of a new congregation there, where he has served as both an evangelist and an elder.
In addition, Tant was a chaplain for the city of Roswell police department for ten years. His meeting work and other preaching responsibilities have taken him into forty-one states and twelve foreign nations in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Europe, and Asia. Also, Tant has written several tracts, contributed to numerous religious periodicals, including Gospel Guardian and Vanguard, both edited by his father, and has himself edited Truth in Love for non-Christians, Ancient Landmarks for Christians, and Powerline for teenagers. His family consists of son Jeff, daughters Susan Moore, Sharon Jacobs, Shannon Tate, and Shawna Sheahan, eight grandchildren, and several foster children, mostly teens who needed a home for a time. Concerning this hymn, Tant said, "This song came as an ‘inspiration’ to me while I was a young preacher in Portales, New Mexico. That would have been in 1961….My passion since quite young has been the saving of souls. My first ‘conversion’ was a schoolmate in the 6th grade. I started talking to Dorothy Sue Walker, and soon had her and her mother coming to the 10th and Francis church in Oklahoma City where my father was preaching. Of course, I had some help from my father in teaching Dorothy and her mother. Thus it was from this desire for souls that was in my heart that would have been the prompting for the song."
Tant continued, "Robert Welch was preparing a song book. He would have been living in Lufkin, Texas at the time. Since I had many connections there, having lived there as a teenager, my wife and I stopped in to visit the Welches, and I gave him a copy of my song. Evidently he liked it." The song was copyrighted in 1963 and published that year in Abiding Hymns edited by Welch. It is the first of three published hymns by Tant. The second, "What a Wonderful Friend!", appeared in the 1980 Majestic Praise edited by David Norman Henderson and Michael J. Schmidt. The third, "Lord, Dismiss Us In Thy Care," was copyrighted in 1986 and appears in the 1987 Hymns for Worship edited by Dane K. Shepard and R. J. Stevens. Several other hymns remain unpublished. Tant continues to be a friend to his alma mater, Florida College, by the work that he has done with its summer camps for many years and as a member of the Florida College National Council. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the only book in which the song appeared was Abiding Hymns.
The song is a reminder of the great sacrifice that Christ made for us and the blessings that we can receive from it.
I. Stanza 1 focuses upon the love of Christ
"Do you know of the love of the Lord, my friend?
Do you know of the thorns He wore?
Do you know of the deed that was done for us ?
Do you know of the cross He bore?"
A. Because Jesus loved us, He was willing to suffer the shame of wearing the crown of thorns: Matt. 27.29
B. All that He suffered, He did for us, the just for the unjust: 1 Pet. 3.18
C. The ultimate expression of His love was the cross that He bore: Jn. 19.17-20
II. Stanza 2 focuses upon the pain of Christ
"Do you know of the pain that was His that day?
Do you know of His nail-pierce hands?
Do you know of the blood what was shed for all,
Even those from all the lands?"
A. The death of Jesus was not a "peaceful hour in which to die" but filled with pain because of His nail-pierced hands: Jn. 20.25
B. This was necessary because His blood was to be shed for the remission of sins: Matt. 26.28
C. And the pain that He suffered in making propitiation for our sins was not just for a specific group of people but for those from all lands in the whole world: 1 Jn. 2.2
III. Stanza 3 focuses upon the resurrection of Christ
"Do you know that He came forth from the dead,
And ascended from the hill?
Do you know that He said we must trust in Him
And do His Father’s will?"
A. As important as the death of Jesus was for our salvation, it was not the end, but He came forth from the dead and then ascended back into heaven: Acts 1.9
B. The gospel of salvation that He commanded to be preached to all nations requires that we trust in Him: Eph. 1.12-13
C. And if we really trust in Him, then we must do His Father’s will: Matt. 7.21
CONCL.: The chorus emphasizes the blessings that we can have because of Christ’s great love:
"Praise the Lord for the gift of His matchless love
That we a crown might we own.
O what wonderful love hath the Lord brought down,
That in heaven we might have a home."
As Christians, our responsibility is to tell others about the love of Christ and the salvation that is available by God’s grace through faith upon obedience to His will. One possible way that we can open doors of opportunity to do this is to ask someone about the death and resurrection of the Savior, "Do You Know?"
(Note: words reprinted with permission from the author)