"HAVE YOU ANY ROOM FOR JESUS?"
"…When he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him" (Lk. 12:35)
INTRO.: A song which exhorts the sinner to open unto Jesus when He comes and knocks is "Have You Any Room for Jesus?" (#621 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The anonymous text is from an unknown source, although it was apparently included in a hymnbook Precious Words dated about 1870. The song as we know it was first published in the 1878 Gospel Hymns No. 3 edited by Ira Sankey and James McGranahan, with the notation "From L. W. M., arr. by W. W. D." The identity of L. W. M. is unknown. One well known American associated with hymns whose first name begins with "L" and last name begins with "M" was Lowell Mason (1792-1872). I thought that I had seen his name somewhere as "Lowell W. Mason," but I have not been able to confirm that. Besides, Mason was a musician, not a poet, and is not know to have produced any lyrics. Given the fact that Sankey and McGranahan were associated with revival evangelist Dwight L. Moody and his team, "W. W. D." is obviously the initials in reverse order of Moody’s associate and hymn writer Daniel Webster Whittle (1840-1901). Sometimes the song is simply attributed to Whittle.
The tune (Any Room) with which the text was published in Gospel Hymns No. 3 was composed by C. C. Williams, whose date and place of birth are unknown. In fact, not much is known about him other than that he lived in the nineteenth century. Williams, who died in 1882, also produced both words and music for a hymn, "Be Ready to Go" beginning "We’re told in the Bible that Jesus is coming," arranged around 1908 by Newton W. Allphin. Charles M. Alexander claimed the copyright for "Have You Any Room for Jesus?" in 1914, and from him it passed to Tabernacle Publishing Co. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared with three stanzas in the 1925 edition of the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and with two stanzas in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and with two stanzas in the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; all of which having a soprano-alto duet for the stanzas. Also, L. O. Sanderson wrote a hymn with the same title, same meter, and similar thought for the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 which he edited.
Today the Whittle/Williams song may be found, with three stanzas in the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; as well as, again with two stanzas, in Sacred Selections, where the music of the stanzas was arranged for four part harmony by editor Ellis J. Crum in 1959. The entire text can be found in other hymnbooks such as the 1951 Inspiring Hymns, the 1968 Great Hymns of the Faith, and the 1979 Praise: Our Songs and Hymns, all from Singspiration Music; the 1957 All American Church Hymnal from John T. Benson Publishing Co.; the 1967 Favorite Hymns of Praise from Tabernacle Publishing Co.; the 1967 Crusader Hymns from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn.; the 1972 Worship in Song Hymnal from Lillenas Publishing Co.; the 1972 Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns from Sword of the Lord Publishers; the 1972 Living Hymns from Encore Publications Inc.; the 1974 Hymns of the Living Church from Hope Publishing Co.; the 1976 New Church Hymnal from Lexicon Music Inc.; and the 2006 Christian Life Hymnal from Hendrickson Worship.
The song was evidently intended to encourage sinners to respond to the Lord’s invitation.
I. Stanza 1 reminds us that Jesus bore our load of sin
"Have you any room for Jesus, He who bore your load of sin?
As He knocks and asks admission, Sinner, will you let Him in?"
A. There was no room in the inn for Joseph and Mary: Lk. 2:7
B. The Son who was born to Mary is the one who bore our load of sin: 1 Pet. 2:24
C. He knocks and asks admission to our hearts: Rev. 3:20
II. Stanza 2 asks why we have room for other things but not Christ
"Room for pleasure, room for business, But for Christ the Crucified,
Not a place that He can enter, In the heart for which He died?"
A. Many people have room for pleasure and business: Lk. 8:14
B. However, they do not have room for the Christ who was crucified: 1 Cor. 1:23
C. However, He died even for those who are His enemies: Rom. 5:8
III. Stanza 3 says that today is the accepted time
"Have you any room for Jesus, As in grace He calls again?
O, today is time accepted; You will never call in vain."
A. Jesus calls us to come to Him through the gospel: 2 Thess. 2:14
B. Since the only time that we have any assurance of is now, today is the time accepted: Heb. 3:15
C. Those who truly call on Him will never call in vain because whoever will call upon the Lord will be saved: Acts 2:21, 22:16
IV. Stanza 4 tells us that God’s day of grace will pass
"Room and time now give to Jesus; Soon will pass God’s day of grace.
Soon your heart left cold and silent, And the Savior’s pleading cease."
A. We give room and time to Jesus by obeying Him: Heb. 5:8-9
B. In this way we are saved by grace through faith: Eph. 2:8-9
C. However, this needs to be done now because soon will pass God’s day of grace when our heart lis left cold and silent by death: Heb. 9:27
CONCL.: The chorus continues to emphasize the need to open the door
to Christ and bid Him enter by obeying His word.
"Room for Jesus, King of glory! Hasten, now His word obey.
Swing the heart’s door widely open; Bid Him enter while you may."
Effective invitation songs can take many forms, but one of the most direct is to appeal to the conscience of the sinner and ask, "Have You Any Room for Jesus?"