John Newton (1725-1807)
- This lyric was born from the pen of a slave trader, John Newton. One who had seen the debauchery of slavery, and participated in it… So it was, that these circumstances led to his conversion to Christ and the birth of one of the most beloved hymns of all times.
- The melody or the music for Amazing Grace, however was not from the talent of John Newton, but it is believed that the music originated as the tune of a song sung by slaves. It is highly likely that John Newton first heard the melody of this most famous of religious songs, from slaves humming or singing on the bottom of his ships.
- How fitting that the song that would connect with individuals around the world, for hundreds of years, about the grace of God, would not just come from one man, but would come from a group of people who knew the struggles, and toils of life. The songs birth is not just one man’s journey of a moment with God, but it was born of a people who knew first hand the need for GRACE.
- Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12. Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…
HOW SWEET THE SOUND,
- The sound of Grace is a Sound that brings freedom to the sinner
- The sound of Grace is a sound that brings peace to the troubled
- The sound of Grace is a sound that brings hope to the hopeless
- The sound of Grace is a sound that brings healing to the broken
- The sound of Grace is a sound that brings joy to the lifeless
- The sound of Grace is the ability to praise him in the midst of my trial
- The sound of Grace is the promotion in the midst of a bad economy
- The sound of Grace is the peace I find after I have lost my job
- The sound of Grace is the doctors report that says I am healed
THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME.
- Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
- Romans 3:10 There is none righteous, no, not one:
- Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
I ONCE WAS LOST BUT NOW AM FOUND, WAS BLIND, BUT NOW I SEE.
- John Newton would remember the mothers being torn from their babies, the men being shackled, the acts of brutality as if the slaves were animals, and he was thankful he found redemption.
- Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
- Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
T’WAS GRACE THAT TAUGHT MY HEART TO FEAR. AND GRACE, MY FEARS RELIEVED. HOW PRECIOUS DID THAT GRACE APPEAR THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED.
- Newton recalls that fateful night on that rocking boat in the stormy seas. He remembers the fear that gripped his heart, as he struggled to maintain control. He can still feel the hopeless panic that invaded his mind so suddenly as he realizes he is no longer in control. And with only one thing left to do, he would scream out to a God he had heard about as a child.
- He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he cried out, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin, after he had made it through the storm, he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had saved him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.
- Ephesians 2:8 — For by grace are you saved through faith.
THROUGH MANY DANGERS, TOILS AND SNARES I HAVE ALREADY COME;
- He was remembering the dangers of the voyages, the pain of the ship work, the constant traps of those who would steal from him
- Paul would say…Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
‘TIS GRACE THAT BROUGHT ME SAFE THUS FAR AND GRACE WILL LEAD ME HOME.
- Can anyone say today, that Grace has brought me a mighty long way…
- An old song says, “HE’S DONE SO MUCH FOR ME, I CANNOT TELL IT ALL.”
THE LORD HAS PROMISED GOOD TO ME. HIS WORD MY HOPE SECURES. HE WILL MY SHIELD AND PORTION BE, AS LONG AS LIFE ENDURES.
- I find gifts and abilities through the Grace of God
- Romans 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7. If service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8. The one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
YEA, WHEN THIS FLESH AND HEART SHALL FAIL, AND MORTAL LIFE SHALL CEASE, I SHALL POSSESS WITHIN THE VEIL, A LIFE OF JOY AND PEACE.
- John Newton remembers with tears in his eyes his young mother trying to share with him the power of God’s word. He can remember the anguish of his father at the graveyard, as they take one final look at the freshly dug grave of his mother…the numbness…the finality…But realizing that she knew something that at the time he did not realize.
WHEN WE’VE BEEN HERE TEN THOUSAND YEARS BRIGHT SHINING AS THE SUN. WE’VE NO LESS DAYS TO SING GOD’S PRAISE THAN WHEN WE’VE FIRST BEGUN.
Amazing Grace has many notes of praise. Amazing Grace was sung by:
- Both sides of the civil war
- Used as a requiem by the Cherokee Indians on the trail of tears
- Civil rights protestors during freedom marches and on that sweltering August 1963 day that Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous I Have a Dream Speech
- When Nelson Mandela was freed from Prison
- When the Berlin Wall came crumbling down
- On September 11th to comfort the world
- When saints marched back into the superdome after hurricane Katrina
- And the sweet sound of Amazing grace is being sung in our hearts every day…
- 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. . . . Costly grace calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner.
- Will you sing it today? Will you except the grace God has for you by putting your complete confidence in him?
HYMNS OF THE FAITH SERIES
LESSON ONE: POWER IN THE BLOOD
LESSON TWO: IT’S ALL IN HIM
LESSON THREE: GOD’S NOT DEAD, HE’S STILL ALIVE
LESSON FOUR: AMAZING GRACE
LESSON FIVE: OH WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN
LESSON SIX: IT’S REAL, IT’S REAL