The author of the hymn we just sang, James Montgomery, when he was 7 years old, his parents abandoned him to a monastery type of education, while they went off as missionaries to the West Indies. It is not surprising then, when he grew up, he felt bitter towards any form of religion. He became a reporter in a time when there was little freedom to the press. He was always in trouble. He was jailed a few times for political incorrectness. He was regarded as a radical & wrote provocative poetry which was published. It was not until he was 43 years old he began to long to be right with God. He came back into Christian fellowship, and began to write poetry and hymns.
He writes in this hymn, of his constant need to go on remembering our Lord and all He has done. In 4th verse – “Remember Thee and all They pains and all They love to me; Yea, while a breath, a pulse remains, will I remember Thee.”
This is how we please the Lord. The first question we should ask ourselves when doing anything is, “Will this be pleasing to Jesus Christ?” The first purpose in marriage, beyond having children, beyond happiness, beyond companionship & mutual care, is this; will this be pleasing to Jesus Christ. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God.” Paul makes that abundantly clear here in V.19 – “those who live should no longer live for themselves, but …!” A little earlier he said, “We make it our goal to please Him.” – this was his goal in everything, but especially here, around the Lord’s Table.
Logically, we have no choice as Christians. If we believe all that Christ did for us, He did to save us, then it stands to reason, our consuming passion ought to be – “I should no longer live for myself, but for Him who died for me and was raised again.”
I am not saying we do this perfectly. Everyone of us come short, but if our aim is not to “live for Him who died for us” – then we have no business partaking of this bread and cup. Confront your heart, and ask yourselves this question now – is this how I see myself?
You are my friends, and as your Pastor, I need to say these things; I need to ask this of all of us, for the Scripture says, if we do not partake of this Table in the right manner, instead of eating and drinking blessing to ourselves, we eat and drink judgment to ourselves. Now is a good time to pause and consider and remember the love of our Saviour, and refresh our aims & goals in life. I need to do it. I’m preaching to myself, as much as to anyone. Let us read together the last 2 verses of hymn 321.