“O Come to the Savior”

"O COME TO THE SAVIOR"
"…And thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1.21)

     INTRO.: A song which indicates that sinners should respond to the invitation because Jesus is the one who was sent by God to be the Savior of the world is "O Come to the Savior." The text was written by James Rowe (1865-1933). A prolific hymn text author, his best-known song is probably "Love Lifted Me," and many of his hymns have appeared in our books, including "After the Midnight," "God Hold the Future in His Hands," "I Choose Jesus," "I Walk With the King," "I Would Be Like Jesus," and "What Is He Worth to Your Soul?", among others. The tune was composed by Samuel J. Spencer. I have been able to locate no further information about him, the background of the song, or its origin of publication. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) and the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion edited by Will W. Slater; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise, both edited by Reuel Lemmons; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch.

     The song points to Jesus Christ as the only one who can save us from our sins.

I. Stanza 1 says that Jesus is pleading for the sinner to come
"Soul burdened and straying, Soul weak and untrue,
Still Jesus is praying, Still pleading for you!"
 A. Since all have sinned, at one time or another, everyone is a soul that is straying: 1 Pet. 2.25
 B. However, Jesus is still praying in the sense that He asks us to come to Him: Matt. 11.25-28
 C. He continues to plead with us through the call of the gospel: 2 Thess. 2.14

II. Stanza 2 says that Jesus is lingering beside the sinner to guide him
"He lingers beside you And, knowing your plight,
Is waiting to guide you Safe out of the night."
 A. The Lord is pictured as lingering beside the sinner, as it were knocking at the door of his heart: Rev. 3.20
 B. He is waiting to guide us in paths of righteousness: Ps. 25.9
 C. His aim is to lead us out of the darkness of night into the light of His love: 1 Pet. 2.9

III. Stanza 3 says that Jesus is beseeching the sinner to turn from his sin
"His arms are outstretching To gather you in;
His voice is beseeching! O turn from your sin."
 A. The Lord is also pictured as having outstretched arms to receive all who come to Him: Jn. 6.37
 B. Therefore, He is beseeching us through His inspired message to be reconciled to God: 2 Cor. 5.19-20
 C. His message urges us to turn from our sins in repentance: Acts 3.19

     CONCL.:  The chorus then implores the sinner to come to Jesus that hemight find comfort, refuge, and rest.
"O come to the Savior, Seek comfort above;
Come into the refuge, Come, rest in His love."
An invitation song is an expedient way to provide both encouragement and the opportunity for sinners to obey the gospel. Some invitation songs do this by pleading with the sinner to come; others by expressing the desire of the sinner to obey; and still others by using the blessings of obedience to motivate. But whatever method is used, the invitation song should in some way or other exhort the sinner to respond, saying, "O Come to the Savior."

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One thought on ““O Come to the Savior”

  1. Since writing this, I did find the following information about Spencer in “The Lord Has Been Mindful of Me,” which is the autobiography of Lloyd O. Sanderson:

    My father was a singing teacher. Because he was not allowed to have musical instruments as a young man, he vowed that when he had a family of his own, the children would have access to instruments. During my time at home, we had a piano, an organ, a violin, guitar, mandolin, harmonica and Jew’s harp. We all learned to sing and play early in life.

    I was taught to note read at age 5 by my mother. Before that, I sang much by rote. This really was my first exposure to the theory of music. My father soon began to teach me song leading. However, with 55 years difference in our ages, father soon tired of the job of teaching and playing with us.

    At age 4, I entered public schools. Having weighed 13 pounds, 8 ounces at birth, I was large for my age. Besides that, there were no age limitations or entrance in those days. By age 6, I was beginning the fourth grade. It did not take long for me to complete the eighth grade. In a one-teacher school, we were allowed to go as fast as we could, and I was an “eager beaver.” Of course, I was too young to quit school after the eighth grade, so I continued for another year.

    When my cousin, L.E. McElroy, came to Union Grove to teach, he had a bachelor’s degree and was working on his master’s. He urged me to take high school work. With proper books provided by him, I finished two years of high school with good marks. That was the last of secular education for several years.

    I began going to summer music normals where for two or three months we studied music day and night. Professor Scott Crotts was a popular teacher in those days, and Samuel J. Spencer also joined the summer school. I received a diploma for teaching and began my first singing school on the day I became 15. My father had put me on my own at age 11; thereafter I bought my own clothes and paid my own tuition and for private lessons.

    http://www.therestorationmovement.com/_states/tennessee/sanderson.htm

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