“He Calls for You”

"…He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out" (Jn. 10.3)

     INTRO.: A song which pictures Jesus as the Good Shepherd who calls for His sheep to come to Him is "He Calls For You." The text was written by William Clark Martin (1864-1914). Born in New Jersey, he was a Baptist preacher who served churches in Camden, NJ; Noank, CT; Somerville, MA; and Ft. Myers, FL. His best known hymn is "The Name of Jesus," and some of his other hymns that have appeared in our books include "My Anchor Holds," "Still Sweeter Every Day," and "I Remember Calvary." The tune for "He Calls for You" was composed by Rufus Henry Cornelius (1872-1933).  Some of his other songs have appeared in our books, the best known of which is "O I Want to See Him." The arrangement of "He Calls for You" in our books was made by William Washington Slater (1885-1959). The original song was copyrighted in 1915, but I do not have a date or source of publication for the arrangement. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the Praise and Revival Songs, the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion, the 1955 Sacred Praise, and the 1959 Gospel Service Hymnal, all edited by W. W. Slater; the chorus alone was used in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by his son J. Nelson Slater.

     The song encourages the lost sheep to listen and come to the calling Shepherd.

I. Stanza 1 says that the Shepherd is looking for His wayward sheep
"When the shadows fall and the shepherds call, And the flocks are in the fold,
Then the Shepherd true looks and longs for you, Still away in the gloom and cold."
 A. The church of our Lord can be thought of as His fold: Jn. 10.16
 B. The Shepherd goes out and looks for the sheep that have wandered from the fold: Matt. 18.10-14
 C. The reason that the sheep need to be sought is that they have gone astray: 1 Pet. 2.25

II. Stanza 2 says that the Shepherd died for His sheep
"On the cross He died, there was crucified, All alone on Calvary;
Yes, He died for you for His love is true. Won’t you come now and be made free."
 A. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep: Jn. 10.11, 1 Cor. 15.3
 B. To win back His sheep, He hung on Calvary and was crucified: Lk. 23.33, 1 Cor. 2.2
 C. The reason that He died for His sheep is that He loves them: Rom. 5.8, 1 Jn. 3.16

III. Stanza 3 says that the Shepherd is calling for His sheep
"O the Shepherd true still is calling you, Longing for your sinful soul;
Do not turn away from your Lord today. Sinner, come, let Him make you whole."
 A. The Shepherd calls those who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him: Matt. 11.28-30
 B. The reason that we need to come to Him is because our souls are sinful: Rom. 3.23, 6.23
 C. Only He can make us whole by providing redemption and forgiveness through His blood: Eph. 1.7

IV. Stanza 4 says that the Shepherd wants to receive His sheep
"Will you heed His voice, make Him now your choice, For the door stands open wide;
Come without delay, heed His call today; Come to Him, do not stay outside."’
 A. While the Shepherd seeks and calls, the sheep must make its own choice to come to Him: Josh. 24.15
 B. However, as long as the sheep is alive and able, the door will remain open wide: Rev. 3.20
 C. Yet, because we do not know when we will no longer be alive or able, it is always best to come without delay: 2 Cor. 6.2

     CONCL.: The chorus reminds us that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is calling the sinnerto come home.
"And He calls for you, Still He calls for you, O He calls for you today;
There are ninety-nine In the fold divine, But He longs for the one astray."
It has become a custom in churches of Christ to end most sermons with an invitation song to encourage those who are lost in sin or erring from the faith to respond to the invitation of Christ to come to Him for cleansing, and to provide the opportunity for them to do so. In one way or another, we must tell those who are in need of Christ’s forgiveness, "He Calls For You."


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