Wayne S. Walker

“Above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness”
(Col. 3.14).

     INTRO.:  A hymn which encourages us to put on love for God because
of His love for us is “Love Divine” (#393 in “Hymns for Worship
Revised”).  The text was written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788).  It was
dated 1743 and first appeared in his “Hymns for Those that Seek and Those
that Have Redemption in the Blood of Jesus Christ,” published at London,
England, in 1747.  Various alterations have been made in the original
text by different editors, especially by Martin Madan (1726-1790).

     The tune (Beecher or Zundel) was composed by John Zundel
(1815-1882).  A native of Germany who spent some time in Russia before
coming to the United States, he served as music director for 28 years at
the Plymouth Church in New York City, NY, where Henry Ward Beecher was
the minister.  During this time, he published three hymnbooks, including
“Christian Heart Songs” of 1870, in which this tune, produced for
Wesley’s text, first appeared.

     The song gives some specific reasons why we should put on love for

I. Stanza 1 says that it is because of the joy of heaven to earth come
 A. Jesus Christ is the joy of heaven sent down to earth because of othe
Father’s love: ` Jn. 4.9
 B. He has promised to fix in us His humble dwelling if we obey Him: Jn.
 C. And He will visit every obedient sould with salvation from sin: Heb.

II. Stanza 2 says that it is because of the promised rest
 A. Because of His love for us, God has made it possible for us to have
eternal rest: Heb. 4.9
 B. But to accomplish this, God had to provide a way to take away our
load of guilt which would keep us out of heaven–so He sent Christ: Jn.
 C. Hence, it is in Christ that we can have the hope of being brought to
eternal day: 1 Jn. 2.25

III. Stanza 3 says that it is because of the deliverance from our sins
 A. One of the reasons that Jesus came down is to deliver us from this
present evil world:  Gal. 1.4
 B. The statement “suddenly return…” is not talking about the second
coming of Christ, but asking Him to return to our hearts, which had once
been separated from Him by sin, that He might dwell in us as His temples:
1  Cor. 6.19
 C. And if Christ does dwell in our hearts, we can glory in His perfect
love by blessing and serving Him: Eph. 3.17-19

IV. Stanza 4 says that it is because God has promised to finish His new
 A. As a result of God’s love for us in sending Christ to deliver us from
our sins, it is possible for us to become a new creation: 2 Cor. 5.17
 B. And as God’s new creation, He wants us to be pure and unspotted: 2
Pet. 3.14
 C. Furthermore, if we remain pure and unspotted, God will finish His new
creation by making sure that our whole salvation will be perfectly
secure, so that we can be changed from glory to glory and take our place
in heaven: Phil. 1.6, 3.20-21

     CONCL.:  This hymn shows us that God is the kind of person that
Jesus would call Father and it exhorts us to grow in the grace of our
Lord.  Of course, it talks about God’s love for us in sending Christ, but
the Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us.  So the song
also speaks of our expressing love for God in worship and praise because
of His “Love Divine.”

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