“He Shall Save His People”

"…Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1.21)

     INTRO.: A song which praises Jesus as the Savior of mankind is "He Shall Save His People." The text was written by Reden Herbert Pittman, who was born in Edgecome County, NC, on Aug. 20, 1870, the son of R. E. and Sarah Pitt Pittman. The family was of English descent. His mother and father taught him the sacredness of religious service, and he loved the songs that the Baptists sang. While still a child he was stricken with a fever which resulted in his being very serious about religion and having the greatest respect for religious people. In 1893 he went before the Hopeland Primitive Baptist Church in Whitakers, NC, and was baptized by A. J. Moore. On Nov. 11, 1896, he was married to Miss Eunice Elizabeth Barnes, and the couple had five children. In 1900, Pittman began to preach among the Primitive Baptists, and in 1909 produced a Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States.

     From 1920 until his death, Pittman was editor of the Advocate and Messenger, having bought Zion’s Advocate in 1919 from J. G. Wiltshire, and a short time later the Gospel Messenger from Sylvester Hassell and the Messenger of Truth from F. Branscome, all of which he combined. This hymn is undated but was probably first published in some edition of the Old School Hymnal, begun in the 1920’s by Lee Hanks. Pittman edited several subsequent editions of the Old School Hymnal for a number of years.  After compiling a 1935 book Questions and Answers…mainly the work of that Authoritative Historian, Scholar and Editor Elder Sylvester Hassell Copied from the "Gospel Messenger" and from the "Advocate and Messenger," Pittman died on Mar. 14, 1941, at Luray, VA, where he had lived and worked as a minister for many years.

     The tune (Spring) was composed by Leonard C. Everett (1818-1867). A native of Virginia, he studied music in Boston, MA, and Leipzig, Germany.  Also, he formed the L. C. Everett Company to teach music and publish gospel song collections. His brothers who worked with him were Benjamin and Asa, the latter of whom provided melodies for several well-known hymns with lyrics by Mary B. C. Slade, such as "Footprints of Jesus" and "Who At My Door Is Standing?" The Wesleyan Hymn and Tune Book, to accompany the Methodist Episcopal Church, South’s 1847 hymnbook A Collection of Hymns for public, social and domestic worship, was edited in 1860 by L. C. Everett. The date and origin of this tune are unknown, but it was possibly produced for use with Charles Wesley’s hymn "Father, I stretch my hands to Thee." Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, this text has never been used to my knowledge. The tune, with a 1742 text by Charles Wesley beginning, "O For a Heart to Praise My God," appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson.

     The hymn expresses praise to Jesus Christ as the Savior of mankind.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that His very name implies His mission of salvation
"Jesus His name it shall be called, The holy angel said,
For ‘He shall save His people’ all By suffering in their stead."
 A. The name "Jesus" is the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Joshua’ which means "Jehovah is salvation," and even at His birth the angels announced that He came to be a Savior: Lk. 2.11
 B. Truly Jesus came to seek and save the lost: Lk. 19.10
 C. The means by which He did this was by suffering in their stead: Heb. 2.9

II. Stanza 2 tells us that His message of salvation is divine
"This heavenly message we believe, That Christ should come to save;
This precious gospel we receive, And give Him all the praise."
 A. It had been prophesied throughout the Old Testament that the Christ should come to save: Joel 2.32
 B. The message of salvation is now revealed in the gospel which is God’s power to save: Rom. 1.16
 C. Therefore, because Jesus is the Savior, He is worthy of all the praise: Rev. 5.9-10

III. Stanza 3 tells us that He showed His power to save by His miracles
"He healed the sick, gave back the dead; He spake, and it was done.
And trusting Him we need not dread The cold and silent tomb."
 A. He healed the sick, showing His compassion for lost mankind: Matt. 9.35-38
 B. He even raised the dead, citing such evidence to prove that He is who He claimed to be: Matt. 11.3-5
 C. Therefore, we no longer need dread the tomb because He destroyed the devil who had the power of death and delivered us from the fear of death: Heb. 2.14-15

IV. Stanza 4 tells us that He validated His claim as Savior by His resurrection
"He rose a victor over death, And back to Heaven has gone,
But will return again to earth To take His people home."
 A. After suffering for our sins, Jesus rose again as victor over death: 1 Cor. 15.1-4
 B. Then He ascended back to Heaven to reign over His spiritual kingdom, the church: Eph. 1.20-23
 C. Someday, He is coming back; some object to singing that He will return "to earth," but there should no problem if we understand that His coming "to earth" will not be to live and rule on the earth again but simply "to take His people home," as the scriptures teach: 1 Thess. 4.16-17

V. Stanza 5 tells us that because He is our Savior we can depend on Him to remember us
"O blessed Jesus, my dear Friend, Alone I look to Thee;
And when my little life shall end, I pray, remember me."
 A. As our Savior, Jesus calls those who keep His commandments His friends: Jn. 15.14-15
 B. Therefore, we look to Him alone because He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can come to the Father except through Him: Jn. 14.6
 C. We can trust Him to stand by us and be with us even as we face the time of death: 2 Tim. 4.17-18

     CONCL.: There are many areas of the Primitive Baptists’ doctrine which non-denominational, New Testament Christians who seek to base their faith and practice solely upon the teachings of God’s word would find not to be in harmony with the scriptures. However, one area with which we would agree with them is their insistence on the use of congregational singing without instrumental music in worship. As we teach and admonish one another in song, we must also make sure that we are singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord and remember that "He Shall Save His People."


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