"…That I should preach…the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3.8)
INTRO.: A song which indicates that God’s grace is made known through the preaching of Jesus Christ and His message is "Unsearchable Riches" (#448 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Fanny J. Crosby, or more formerly known as Mrs. Frances Jane Crosby VanAlstyne (1820-1915). The tune was composed by John Robson Sweney (1837-1899). The song is dated 1882, but I have been unable to locate a source of publication for it. 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 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1) and the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; and the 1940 Complete Christian Hymnal edited by Marion Davis. Today it is found in the 1971 Songs of the Church and the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed. both edited by Alton H. Howard; in addition to Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song underscores how important the riches of God’s grace should be to us.
I. Stanza 1 pictures the riches of Christ as more precious than gold
"O the unsearchable riches of Christ! Wealth that can never be told;
Riches exhaustless of mercy and grace, Precious, more precious than gold."
A. The riches of God’s grace teaches us godliness which is great gain: 1 Tim. 6.6
B. Of course, it is spiritual rather than physical gain because they are riches of wisdom and knowledge: Rom. 11.33
C. And because they are found in God’s word, they are more precious than gold: Ps. 19.7-10
II. Stanza 2 pictures the riches of Christ as being great
"O the unsearchable riches of Christ, Who shall their greatness declare:
Jewels whose lustre our lives may adorn, Pearls that the poorest may wear."
A. The riches of God’s grace are so great and unsearchable that no one can fully declare their greatness: Ps. 145.3
B. They are like jewels or precious stones because they contain God’s wisdom: Prov. 3.13-15
C. They are like the pearl of great price that anyone who is willing to give all may have: Matt. 13.45-46
III. Stanza 3 pictures the riches of Christ as bringing great joy
"O the unsearchable riches of Christ, Freely, how freely they flow;
Making the souls of the faithful and true Happy wherever they go."
A. The riches of God’s grace are like water that flows out of those who believe: Jn. 7.37-38
B. While this water is available to all, it is tasted only by those who are faithful: 1 Cor. 4.2
C. But for those who drink it, it will make them happy wherever they go: Ps. 1.1-3
IV. Stanza 4 pictures the riches of Christ as worth any cost
"O the unsearchable riches of Christ! Who would not gladly endure
Trials, afflictions, and crosses on earth, Riches like these to secure."
A. In order to have the riches of God’s grace, we must be willing to endure whatever it takes to obtain them: Jas. 1.12
B. This includes trials, afflictions, and crosses on earth: Matt. 16.24
C. It must be our desire to obtain these riches by buying the truth and selling it not: Prov. 23.23
CONCL.: The chorus continues to emphasize the preciousness of God’s grace to us.
"Precious, more precious, Wealth that can never be told;
O the unsearchable riches of Christ! Precious, more precious than gold."
Obviously, a certain amount of the riches of this life is necessary to obtain the things that we need, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Different people will have varying amounts, with some possessing more than others. But whether we receive much or little of this world’s goods, we must always recognize the overwhelming superiority of God’s grace and its "Unsearchable Riches."