Posted by: rcottrill | October 26, 2011

He Lives!

Words: Alfred Henry Ackley (b. Jan. 21, 1887; d. July 3, 1960)
Music: Alfred Henry Ackley

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (Alfred Ackley)

Note: He Lives is a more recent gospel song (1933), and is not included, as of now, on the Cyber Hymnal site. That site, however, has a biography of the author. You can read the story of how the song came to be written on the Wordwise Hymns link.

1) I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him He’s always near.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

This is a joyful, lively song, befitting its thrilling theme. In churches I’ve attended or pastored over the years it’s often been part of our Easter celebration, as well as being sung at other times. However there is something particular about it that needs to be noted, as well as its significant theme. That is that the evidence given for the return of Christ from the grave is almost entirely subjective.

The author “knows that He is living,” because he experiences what Christ can do in his own life, and “in all the world around me” (Stanza 2). This is certainly a legitimate confirmation that Christ is alive. We need to bear witness to what the Lord is doing in our own lives, and in those of others. However, that subjective argument should not stand alone. What if there are days when I can’t feel Him near me? Or what of all the misery and suffering in the world? Surely there are times and circumstances that could be used as a subjective argument against His resurrection.

The subjective testimony is significant, but our certitude rests more surely and securely on the trustworthy Word of the living God. We have the Holy Spirit-inspired testimony of those who met the risen Christ, and walked and talked with Him. That is the primary witness to His resurrection “whatever men may say.” “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

It is Luke, a medical doctor and a careful historian, who records the angelic announcement to the women who came to the tomb early Sunday morning to anoint Christ’s body: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (Lk. 24:5-6). It’s Luke who assures us that the Lord Jesus “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). It is Peter–who had earlier denied even knowing Christ–who stood forth boldly on the Day of Pentecost and declared, “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32).

The Apostle Paul (then a Pharisee known as Saul) was not only an unbeliever, but violently opposed the cause of Christ (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2), until… He met the risen, glorified Christ, on the Road to Damascus–a meeting we are told about first as a historical event (Acts 9:3-22), and twice more in testimonies by Paul (Acts 22:1-16; 26:9-18). Can there be any doubt that the death and resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of the gospel of grace, and the heart of Paul’s message. Here are just a few mentions of it, in his letters, to make the point:

Rom. 4:24-25; 6:4, 9; 7:4; 8:11, 34; 10:9; I Cor. 14:9; 15:4, 12-20; II Cor. 4:14; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; I Thess. 1:10; II Tim. 2:8.

3) Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.

Questions:
1) According to First Corinthians 15:12-19, what negative things would be the case if Christ had not risen?

2) What does the fact that Christ is alive today, mean to you, in a practical way?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal (Alfred Ackley)


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