WORSHIP SERIES

 

Colossians 3:16 etc.

#5 - WORSHIP IN MUSIC

 

I’m not sure if I’m brave or stupid. Speaking on music in the church is one way to get people angry in a hurry! However, the Bible speaks about music as a part of worship, and I feel we need to cover it.  It is God who has given us the ability to perform and enjoy music.  It is God who wants us to enjoy, play, and sing music for his sake.

 

One of the problems we have when we start talking about music is that we all have personal preferences.  It is very easy for us older people to shun the music styles of the young, and it is very easy for you younger people to shun the music of us who are older.

 

According to Don Wyrtzen there have been five different movements in church music.

 

·        The New England School – Mostly European, classical in nature and stressed quality and excellence.

·        The African-American Spiritual, which are folk songs coming from oral tradition.

·        Southern Gospel – the white counter part to African American.

·        Romantic Gospel Music – Most of the hymns we sing come from this genre and include the music of Fanny Crosby, George Beverly Shea, and John W. Peterson.

·        And finally there is Contemporary Christian Music. The choruses we sing fall into this category.

 

Christian Music is big business. Again, according to Don Wyrtzen, Christian Music is the #5 top selling type of music.

It is a $1 billion a year business.  And major secular companies have bought up the Christian recording companies. Information from Don Wyrtzen came from a seminar on Worship that he gave in Jonestown PA at the Jonestown Bible Church on October 11, 2003.

 

Most of us like music.  And being human, when we come to church, we like to hear the type music that we like.  But let me give you some thoughts:

 

·        The primary purpose for using music is for worship, not for entertainment.

·        Different types of music should help us experience different aspects of worship.

·        A type of music that helps you worship may not be as helpful to someone else.  A type of music that helps someone else worship may not be as helpful to you.

·        You are a part of a family, the family of God.  In this family we should be considerate of the needs of others in their worship experience.

·        You may only like hymns, but worship choruses add something to the service.

·        You may only like worship choruses, but hymns add something to the service.

·        I repeat the primary purpose for using music is for worship, not for entertainment.

 

I want us to considerate what God has to say about music in worship.  After all, when all is said and done it is God who needs to be pleased by our music.

 

MUSIC AND THE WORD

 

Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

 

The Word of Christ here refers to the Scriptures.

Here is an important truth.  The Word and worship are connected.  It is the Word of God that will lead you to the worship of God.   

 

According to John MacArthur, the word “dwell” means ‘to live in’ or ‘to be at home’. John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Colossians and Philemon, (Moody Press, Chicago, 1992), p. 159   

 

And the word “richly” means “abundantly”.

So, for effective worship, God’s Word needs to be at home in my heart!  Often, we sing but there is no music in our hearts.  That is because the Word of God is not dwelling there.

 

How will the Word God dwell richly in my heart?

The Word of God will dwell richly in my heart, when I love the Word enough to read it and try to digest it by reflecting on it. Jeremiah 15:16, 2 Timothy 2:15,

 

And the Word of God will dwell richly in my heart when I love the Word enough to hear it preached and taught to me, and to digest it, and follow it. Preaching of God’s Word is to be profitable.   

2 Timothy 4:2

And the Word of God will dwell richly in my heart when I memorize and meditate upon Scripture.  

Psalm 119:15-16

 

So what happens when the Word of Christ dwells in me richly? I will be able to share with others through teaching and admonishing.  That doesn’t mean I have to preach a sermon or teach a Sunday School class.  I will, however, be able to share what God’s Word says with someone else and gently warm them, if need be.  So often, we can’t help other Christians, because the Word of Christ is not dwelling in us.

 

Now look at what it says next,

 

in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

 

If I am filled with the Word of God, I will sing to God.  There will be “psalms, and hymns, and Spiritual Songs.” There is also to be grace or thankfulness when I sing.

 

The more I am filled with the Word of God, the more gratitude I will show to God.

  

So, for there to be music in your heart and thus true worship, the Word of God must dwell in you.

   

 

MUSIC AND THE SPIRIT

 

Ephesians 5:18-20 - And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; [19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; [20] Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

 

When a person is “drunk with wine”, he is controlled by wine.  Many of you have met people who were very nice people, when they were sober.  When they were not sober, they were very different people, and often nasty.   

 

In contrast, Paul tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God.  To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit.

When a person is controlled by the Spirit, he is controlled by God.  And when a person is controlled by God, his behavior will be Godly. Galatians 5:22-23

 

When you are controlled by the Spirit, look at what happens.

There are psalms, hymns, and Spiritual Songs and there is a thankful heart!  That’s exactly what it says will happen when we are filled with the Word as we saw in Colossians 1:16.

 

So, there is a connection between being filled with the Spirit and being filled with the Word.  The more I am filled with the Word of God, doing as the Word tells me, the more I will be filled with the Spirit of God.  The more I am filled with the Spirit of God, the more I will desire and allow the Word of God to control me.

 

Music is to be a result of God’s control in my life. The Spirit of God using the Word of God to control me.

 

The results are Psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs.

Psalms of course is the Book of Psalms.

And some of the songs we sing come right out of the Psalms. 

Hymns are directed directly to God ascribing to Him glory and praise.

Spiritual Songs talk about our own personal experiences with God, and is our witness for God. Today’s choruses would fall into this category.

 

When believers gather, the worship in music should be the result of people filled with the Word and filled with the Spirit expressing their gratitude to God.

 

We already told you how to be filled with the Word through reading, listening to, memorizing and meditating upon the Word of God.

To be filled with the Spirit, we must confess all known sin, yield to the teachings of God’s Word and ask God to have control over us by His Spirit.

 

Music is the result.

If worship with music is the result of the control of the Word of God and the Spirit of God, you should be preparing for public worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ, by practicing private worship during the week.

 

If you read, memorize and meditate during the week…

If you are attentive to the Word of God when you hear it preached…

If you strive to obey the teachings of God’s Word…

If you seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily…

Then you will be ready to worship on Sunday Morning with Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual songs.

 

If you come filled with the Spirit and ready to worship on Sunday, even though you prefer hymns, you will be able to worship when we sing choruses.

 

If you come filled with the Spirit and the Word and ready to worship on Sunday, even though you prefer choruses, you will be able to worship when we sing hymns.

 

MUSIC AND THE VOICE

 

You may say, “I don’t have a good singing voice.”

You may say, “I’m no singer”.

You may say, “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket”.

But God tells us to sing anyway.

Who better to sing the praises of God and too God then they who have been washed in the blood of the lamb?

 

Psalm 30:4 - Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Sing to God because He is holy.

 

Psalm 47:6-7 - Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. [7] For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

Sing to God because He is king.

 

Psalm 66:1-2 - Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: [2] Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.

From the depths of my heart I am to make God’s praise glorious.

 

Psalm 71:23 - My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

I should sing to the Lord because He has redeemed me.

 

Psalm 98:1 - O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

What marvelous things has God done for you!  Sing from the depths of your heart!

 

Psalm 100:1-2 - Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. [2] Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Singing should be a habit in your life, not just a Sunday morning thing.   

 

MUSIC AND THE BAND

 

Psalm 150:3-6 - Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. [4] Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. [5] Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. [6] Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

 

What instruments should be used in a worship service is largely a matter of personal taste.

There are those who have no instruments in there worship services.

There are others who stick with piano/and/or organ.

There are others who would add flutes, violins, trumpets and other traditional classical instruments.

And today there are many others going the route of drums, keyboards, and all sorts of guitars.

 

What I see in Psalm 150 is that God is open to the use of all sorts of instruments to praise Him.

   

I think the key to discerning how instruments should be used and what type of music should be sung is summed up in a few verses.

 

Psalm 150:6 - Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

The purpose of music in church is to praise the Lord.

If the music is played and sung by people because they are truly praising the Lord and not trying to bring glory to themselves, then that is good.

 

1 Peter 1:15-16 - But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; [16] Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

 

God is a holy God.

The music that is performed for him is to be totally set apart for him, and not be an imitation of an unsaved world.   

 

Colossians 3:17 - And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

 

Whatever I do in worship, whatever type of music I play in worship should be done in the name of Jesus.  If Jesus wouldn’t approve, then I shouldn’t do it.

 

Colossians 3:23 -And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

 

Whatever the style of worship, it should be done to the glory of God.