Hugh's News & Views (Hold To . . .)



In most of my gospel meetings this year I have emphasized the theme “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand.” This is the title of a song that I have sung all my life in church. I love this moving old spiritual song with its strong cadence (especially the chorus), and as I have grown older it has become more meaningful to me. (It might be remembered that the melody of this song was played in a stirring scene of the 2010 version of the movie “True Grit,” starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Hailee Seinfeld.)

We live in an unsettled and therefore an unsettling world, a shakable and therefore a shaking world, a changeable and therefore a changing world. In the midst of such a world we long for stability and security. Where is this security and stability to be found? In God and God alone!

God Himself is unchanging. “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). With God “there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). One of the sermons in my series emphasizes God’s unchanging nature: His eternality, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. In this message I also speak of the unfailing love of God, of His unchanging care, and of His immutable divine justice.

Another message stresses the reality of God’s unchanging standard of religious authority and morality. In an age in which it is increasingly popular to believe that “any ‘Truth’ we claim for our cherished position must be kept strictly in quotation marks,” (J. Richard Middleton and Brian J. Walsh, Truth is Stranger Than it Used to Be, p. 5), we emphasize the biblical truth that God has spoken to us through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2), that we are not to refuse Him who speaks (Hebrews 12:25; Matthew 17:5), that Christ speaks to us through His divinely inspired word (John 16:13; II Timothy 3:16-17), that when God spoke He said what He meant and meant what He said, and that what He said can be understood (Ephesians 3:3-4)! In this message we make an earnest appeal for all to be governed by God’s unchanging standard in their home life, their civic life, their social life, their moral life, and their religious life (Colossians 3:17).

In some of the meetings I speak about the unshakeable kingdom (Hebrews 12:28-29) and stress the divine and distinctive nature of the church as set forth on the pages of the New Testament: its origin, its law of entrance, its rule of worship, its undenominational character, its holy lifestyle, and its ultimate destiny.

In several of the meetings I have given an overview of the four eras of church history: 1) the original church of which we read in the New Testament, 2) the great apostasy, resulting in Catholicism, 3) the protestant reformation movement, resulting in denominationalism, and 4) the restoration movement, resulting in the restoration of the Lord’s original church in the present age. In both of the immediately preceding sermons I stress the divine and unchanging pattern to which God expects His church in all ages to adhere.

Another sermon gives emphasis to God’s unchanging plan of salvation. In this lesson we emphasize the gospel as the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), what the gospel is (I Corinthians 15:1-5), how one obeys the gospel (Romans 6:1-6, 16-19), and the eternal consequences of a failure to obey the gospel (II Thessalonians 1:6-10).

The final sermon in the series usually addresses “Unchanging Events in the Future of Us All” in which I talk about physical death, the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the day of final judgment, and eternity either in heaven or hell.

It is my strong conviction that the only source of spiritual strength, security, and stability available to any of us is in establishing and maintaining a right relationship with God. This can be done only through a faithful adherence to His divinely inspired word, the Bible.

Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught (nothing) of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring,
If by earthly friends forsaken,
Still more closely to Him cling.

When your journey is completed,
If to God you have been true,
Fair and bright your home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view.

Hold to God’s unchanging hand!
Hold to God’s unchanging hand!
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

–Jennie Wilson

Hugh Fulford
August 19, 2014

#gospel-meetings, #hughfulford, #hymns