"HEAR HIM CALLING"
"For ye were as sheep going astray…" (1 Pet. 2.25)
INTRO.: Many songs have been intended to encourage those who are as sheep going astray to respond to the invitation when it is extended during a worship service, and one example is "Hear Him Calling." The text is usually identified as having been written by Mrs. Mary Bridges Canedy Slade (1826-1882). She is best known for "Footsteps of Jesus." Older books say that the song was used "by per. R. M. McIntosh." However, the book Living Songs, edited in 1892 by McIntosh and W. G. E. Cunnyngham, says that "Rev. J. H. Martin" is the author. In any event, the tune was composed by Asa Brooks Everett (1828-1875). I have no further information about the song, including its date and origin of publication. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it has appeared in two books: the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) edited by L. O. Sanderson, and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch.
This song could be used very effectively for extending the invitation to sinners.
I. Stanza 1 indicates that the lost sheep are straying
"Are you staying, safely staying, In the tender Shepherd’s peaceful folds?
No, I’m straying, sadly straying, On the lonely mountains, dark and cold."
A. Jesus wants people to stay safely in His peaceful fold: Jn. 10.14-16
B. However, those who wander off into sin are straying: Isa. 53.6
C. These are pictured as sheep who are lost on the lonely mountains, dark and cold: Lk. 15.1-7
II. Stanza 2 indicates that the lost sheep are following the wrong voice
"Are you hearing, gladly hearing, How He bids His folded flock rejoice?
No, I’m fearing, sadly fearing, I have followed far the stranger’s voice."
A. Jesus wants people to hear His voice and follow Him: Jn. 10.27-29
B. However, some people choose to live in fear of thieves rather than to rejoice with the Shepherd: Jn. 10.7-13
C. Thus, they follow the stranger’s voice: Jn. 10.3-5
III. Stanza 3 indicates that the lost sheep should cease roaming and come to the Shepherd
"Are you roaming, longer roaming, In the cold, dark night of doubt and sin?
No, I’m coming, quickly coming! Open door, make haste to let me in."
A. Jesus does not want people to roam in the cold dark night of doubt and sin: Matt. 18.10-14
B. Therefore, He calls them to come to Him as the Chief Shepherd: 1 Pet. 5.4
C. If they do, they can enter the door with the Shepherd: Jn. 10.1-2
CONCL.: The chorus continues to encourage the lost sheep to come home to the Shepherd.
"On your ear His loving tones are falling, For He seeks you wheresoe’er you roam.
Hear Him calling, sweetly calling, As He bids His wandering sheep come home."
It is through the gospel that Jesus calls the lost to come to Him. Therefore, when the gospel is preached, its purpose is to draw the wandering sheep back to the Shepherd. In addition to preaching the message, we can also sing it as we encourage the sinner to "Hear Him Calling."