Music That Pleases the Lord
THE METHOD OF SINGING: Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
1. We saw in the last few weeks that when the Word of Christ is dwelling richly in the heart, there will be two effects:
a. Teaching and admonition: IN the sphere of divine wisdom.
b. Singing: IN the sphere of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
2. Paul now lists three nouns all in the dative case, which means either “IN psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” or “BY psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” The meaning is nearly identical.
a. The singing is carried out IN THE SPHERE OF psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
b. In other words, these are the types of songs God wants us to be singing… our singing should be in that sphere.
3. Just as the teaching and admonition were to be carried out IN wisdom, the singing was to be carried out IN psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
a. Not in the old songs of the world…
b. But in NEW kinds of songs… about the Lord. “Spiritual.”
1. Psalms from the Book of Psalms were sung in the Old Testament. The psalms were poems which were put to music.
a. Jesus and the apostles sang psalms… the words from the Book of Psalms put to a melody.
b. The early church sang psalms. James told believers in the early church (and us too!) to sing psalms if you are merry.
c. The English-speaking world sang only metrical versions of the Psalms for centuries.
d. The psalms were meant for singing. We should sing them more often! This is one thing our hymnal is lacking.
2. There are some Psalms that we would do well NOT TO SING.
a. Imprecatory psalms:
• These were psalms in which the psalmist called upon God to invoke wrath against his enemies.
• It was not the psalmist calling for personal vengeance, but praying for Divine justice and wrath be executed against the enemies of God.
• Psalm 137:9 – “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”
• Psalm 139:22 – “?I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
b. Other psalms might be misleading for a Christian
• Psalm 14:7 – Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.” (They are so very Jewish.)
• The psalms speak of waiting for Messiah to come!
• The psalms look ahead to the earthly, Messianic Kingdom as their blessed hope.
• In the psalms, the godly sought God’s presence by traveling to the Temple on the holy days.
• Psalm 138:2 – “I will worship toward thy holy temple.”
• Christ LIVES IN us! Our bodies are the Temple of God.
• Psalm 66:15 – I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats.”
• Christ ended all sacrifice for sin for us!
c. The psalms were poems that flowed forth from the hearts of the godly Jewish saints living under the Mosaic Law.
• In the psalms we should be able to see WONDERFUL expressions of faith, joy in the Lord, dedication, and sacrificial lives.
• However, MANY of the sentiments expressed are particularly Jewish and might not be appropriate for a believer today… (Waiting for Messiah to come; offering burnt offerings; hating our enemies; etc.)
• Some of those sentiments poetically portrayed in the Psalms are decidedly NOT Christian.
d. Discernment is needed in singing the psalms.
• To sing them word for word might be misleading.
• We spent 5 years going through the book of Psalms on Wednesday nights… verse by verse.
• It was a MOST profitable time spent in the Word…
• BUT without teaching and background, the psalms can be misleading or confusing to a new Christian.
3. But there are other sections of Psalms that are RICH in meaning and application for the Christian… edifying and worshipful.
a. Many of them are odes of praise to God.
b. Many are expressions of thanksgiving for His mighty works in time past.
c. Other psalms are testimonies of personal experiences which are common to man… and experiences of deliverance that encourage believers of all ages.
d. Other psalms speak of the inner turmoil, struggles, and suffering that all who live godly experience.
e. Others are poems of exultation upon thoughts of the majesty of God.
f. Psalm 119 speaks about the glory of God’s inspired Word!
g. Psalm 22 speaks of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
h. Psalm 16 speaks of His resurrection!
i. Wonderful messages of praise in this book.
j. In fact, the group I was with when I got saved did not have hymnals. They sang right out of the book of Psalms.
k. We would do well to sing appropriate psalms more often today!
l. You can’t improve on the words… inspired by the HOLY SPIRIT!
1. Hymns were songs of praise to God written by believers as opposed to those inspired by God in the book of Psalms.
a. Sometimes a hymn might be taken from a portion of Scripture other than the book of Psalms.
• Most of us are familiar with Handel’s “Messiah.” These are songs which are taken directly from Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.
• It is MOST profitable to sing songs taken from Scriptures other than the book of Psalms.
• Many songs are based upon a verse of Scripture: “I know whom I have believed”
b. Others are based upon a doctrinal truth in the Scriptures: “He is Coming Again” or “Christian Soldiers Arise.”
2. Hymns are often distinguished from spiritual songs in that they are commonly understood as being addressed to God.
a. “How Great THOU Art.”
b. “Holy, Holy, Holy, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.”
c. “Fairest Lord Jesus.”
d. “I Love Thee Lord Jesus With All of My Heart.”
3. Some see the difference between hymns and psalms by whether or not they are accompanied by musical instruments. (not much evidence for that distinction)
4. The distinction between a hymn and a psalm is not clear cut.
a. In the Mark 14:26 it says that Jesus and the disciples sang an hymn. (same word)
b. However, we know that the hymns they sang were psalms.
c. Sometimes the terms were used interchangeably.
d. A psalm IS a hymn… (but not all hymns are psalms)
C. Spiritual Songs
1. There are OTHER songs in a third category which God wants Christians to sing: spiritual songs.
a. These are songs which were NOT taken from the Book of Psalms… and songs that are not addressed to God directly… but are still spiritual songs.
b. Of course psalms and hymns are spiritual songs… but there are other spiritual songs that do not fit in the category of either a psalm or a hymn.
2. These are usually thought of as songs written by believers and addressed to one another, as opposed to hymns addressed to God.
a. This is a commonly held distinction, although again, there is not a lot of evidence for making this distinction.
b. The term song is transliterated “ode,” which is a general term for a song.
3. Thus, these other songs can be DISTINCTLY Christian (since Psalms were Jewish… written before the Church)
a. Many wonderful themes worth singing about, found in the New Testament, are not revealed in the Old Testament…
b. Examples: songs of the Trinity; the church; Christ in you; Rapture; heavenly High Priest; our heavenly position IN Christ; the Cross; the finished work of Christ; our relationship to Christ as Bride and Groom; the priesthood of every believer; etc.
4. But this is not just ANY song; there is a spiritual content to it.
a. As a spiritual song, it would be distinguished from the songs of the world… songs limited to life in this world.
b. The spiritual song is a song that goes BEYOND the confines of the natural realm, into the SPIRITUAL realm… relating to God and spiritual things.
c. This would speak of songs that reach beyond the soul and affect the spirit of man… the God-conscious part of man.
d. Heb. 4:12—As the Word of God makes distinctions between that which is soulish and that which is spiritual, so too this distinction is made in music… with SPIRITUAL songs.
e. It is very difficult… at times perhaps impossible for us to always be able to distinguish between the soulish and the spiritual…
5. There is a wide range of spiritual songs.
a. They could be songs of personal testimony.
• Singing about what God has done for us…
• “Thank you Lord, for saving my soul!”— “Redeemed How I love to Proclaim It.” Simple testimonies of thanksgiving.
b. Other writers have written spiritual songs which express DEPTH in their Christian experiences: “Jesus, I am resting, resting”… or “Hiding in Thee.”
c. Some have written some simple childlike songs… “Jesus Loves Me This I Know.”
d. Others may be a bit shallow: “Why worry when you can pray?” “He holds my hand.”
e. Some have written songs with much more depth doctrinally… deep spiritual truths… “Not I But Christ”… “Moment by Moment by death reckoned mine.”
6. They could be songs expressing Christian doctrine… from the Bible.
a. Eternal Security: “Blessed Assurance!”
b. The Deity of Christ: “I know no other Jesus”
c. Encouragement: “All Your Anxiety”
d. Prayer: “Sweet Hour of Prayer”
e. Resurrection: “He Lives!”
f. Missions: “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go”; “Bring them In.”
g. Second Coming: “Jesus Is Coming Again.”
h. The Christian life: “Onward Christian Soldiers!”
i. Many believe that Phil. 2:6-10 and I Tim. 3:16 were early hymns.
7. There is a great variety of spiritual songs today. Thousands and thousands of them! More than ever.
a. They cover the whole gamut… from those songs that are doctrinally rich and meaty, to others that are a bit shallow, to that which is downright heretical.
b. There is more Christian music available today than ever (both good and bad)…
c. There is so MUCH good music available today that there is NO good reason for us to choose any music other than that which is UNQUESTIONABLY sound, edifying, and honoring to the Lord.
d. There is everything out there from steak, to cotton candy, to dirt. Let’s choose the steak!
With Grace in Your Hearts
A. With Grace
1. The meaning of grace
a. The term CAN mean either grace or thanksgiving.
b. It is translated grace in:
• Rom. 6:1—What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
• It is used in the introduction to nearly all of Paul’s epistles: Grace be to you…
• Grace in this sense is understood as “unmerited favor” or a “free gift.”
• If that is the sense Paul meant, it is unclear to me what that means. To whom is the grace in our hearts bestowed? Does it mean our capacity to sing is based on unmerited favor?
• If it means “grace” in this passage, the meaning is not quite clear… a bit ambiguous and blurry.
c. The same term is translated thanks in:
• I Cor. 15:57—But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
• II Cor. 2:14—Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.
• II Cor. 9:15—Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
d. The context has to determine which meaning.
• In the context of Col. 3:16, BOTH meanings fit and seem to make sense.
• I am inclined to understand the term in the sense of thanksgiving…
• Reasons: (1) in the parallel passage in Eph. 5:20, the effect of the filling of the Spirit includes thanksgiving; (2) since it is directed TO God, singing “with grace TO the Lord” thanksgiving makes more sense to me.
» We don’t give unmerited favor TO God. We receive that FROM God.
» But we do offer thanksgiving TO God.
2. Singing with GRACE in the heart.
a. Ex. 14:30-15:1 – This is the first example of a song in the Bible… the first time we read of men singing.
• When the Israelites were redeemed, they began to SING!
• They were thankful… and praised God in song.
• It was spontaneous, exuberant, and full of joy and enthusiastic thanksgiving.
b. If we are redeemed, our songs should reflect this same attitude… thanksgiving to God for His marvelous work of redemption. It should be the most natural thing in the world.
B. In the Heart
1. Singing in the heart = singing FROM the heart.
a. This does NOT mean that we should sing only inwardly and not be heard. Paul is not speaking about a so called silent singing.
b. It means that the song that rolls off our tongue ought to be a song that emanates from the heart…
c. The song that comes OUT of our mouth should flow from the heart… the heart goes before the tongue.
d. The word must be dwelling richly in the heart for the believer to be able to sing FROM the heart… heartily.
e. If the singing is not “in the heart” (in other words, if it is only on the lips), then it is not pleasing in God’s sight.
f. The Mormon Tabernacle choir sings some very beautiful hymns. The Handel and Haydn society along with the Boston symphony orchestra and Handel and Haydn society put on a wonderful performance of Handel’s Messiah at symphony hall. But it is not all a sweet melody to the Lord… unless it comes from hearts that are ALIVE unto God.
g. The Lord is not impressed with anything the flesh can do… no matter how skillful or talented. There is no worship in any of that.
h. When we sing, it should be from the heart… not half-heartedly, but it should be the very BEST we can do for the Lord…
i. And did you know that one of the things visitors notice most when they visit a Spirit filled Bible believing church, long after they forget the sermon… they will remember the singing… if we sing FROM OUR HEARTS with joy and enthusiasm!
j. It is evidence of new life… evidence of the Word richly dwelling in our hearts… evidence of Spirit filling!
k. The real testimony of our singing isn’t related to our skills in music or beautiful voices. It is related to whether or not we sing from the heart with GENUINE grace and thanksgiving… which translates vocally into ENTHUSIASM!
2. Singing from the heart includes the MIND.
a. Singing from the heart does not mean that we bypass the head.
• I Cor. 14:15 – sing with the spirit AND sing with the understanding.
• The heart and mind are to be ENGAGED in our singing…
3. Singing from the heart includes the SOUL… emotions.
a. Enthusiasm… heartily… from the soul…
b. Col. 3:23 – do it heartily (from the soul – psyche)
4. The HEART includes the emotions, the mind, and the soul… our whole inner being.
5. Singing that pleases the Lord is singing in which we are FULLY engaged… it is NOT mindlessly blabbering along with the crowd… but actively engaging yourself in the song…
a. The lyrics of the song are being directed to God from YOU personally!
b. Its sentiments… and emotions are expressed as YOUR own sentiments and emotions. (I Love thee Lord Jesus…)
c. So that prayer of the song becomes YOUR prayer… (Take my life and let it be.)
d. So that the resolve the author expressed is YOUR resolve… (I am resolved no longer to linger… or “All to Jesus I surrender…”
e. So that the desire of the author is expressed as YOUR desire… (Be Thou My Vision)
f. A dumb parrot can mouth the words. But singing spiritual songs from the heart only a Spirit filled Christian can do… one who is fully involved in the singing.
g. He is engaged in the message and meaning of the song. He is engaged in the One to whom he is singing!
The Audience of our Singing:
To the Lord
1. Singing directed to the Lord
a. We are to sing to Him…
b. It should not be a performance…
c. It is praise to God for His glory.
d. We are edified greatly by singing. But the edification WE receive is not the main purpose… but is a fringe benefit.
e. Christian singing is not for personal benefit, but FOR the Lord… for His honor; for His glory; for His pleasure.
2. Consider how OFTEN we are told to sing TO THE LORD:
a. Psa. 47:6 – Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
b. Psa. 66:1 – Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands.
c. Psa. 66:4 – All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name.
d. Psa. 81:1 – Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
e. Psa. 95:1 – O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation
f. Psa. 95:2 – Let us come? before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
g. Psa. 96:1-2 – O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.? 2Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
h. Psa. 98:4-5 -?Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.? 5?Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
i. Psa. 101:1 – I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
j. Psa. 105:2 –?Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
k. Isa. 42:10 – Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth.
l. Ezra 3:11 – And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel.
m. Exodus 15:1 – Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
n. Exodus 15:21 – And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously.
o. I Chron. 16:9 – Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
p. Eph. 5:19 – Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
q. Rev. 5:9 – And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
3. Our goal is not to please men, but to please the Lord.
a. Therefore, we need to use care in the KIND of music we sing unto Him.
b. Since we are singing to HIM, we should seek music that best harmonizes with His character and His Word.
c. Music like anything else in the Christian life needs to be PROVEN… put to the test.
d. Rom.12:1-2 – we don’t want to be CONFORMED to the world, its ways or its music.
• We want to be singing in the WILL OF GOD.
• Therefore, we need to PROVE what is acceptable to God; what kind of music is in harmony with His will.
4. What is it that makes Christian music pleasing and acceptable to the Lord?
a. It is not so much the quality of the sound (one man noted that the best choir on earth must sound like clucking hens compared to the glorious sounds of a heavenly choir). If we think that quality sound alone will please the Lord, we have missed the point.
b. It is not the quality of the sound, but the quality of the heart out of which the music flows: a heart full of thanksgiving, grace; truth; love for one another; love for the Lord; pure heart.
c. That is not to say that we should not do our best; we SHOULD. But the best quality sound fallen human beings can make has no melody at all to God if the heart is not right.
d. But when the heart is RIGHT, the music is pleasing to the Lord… even if the quality might not be so great…
e. If the heart is right, it will be the BEST quality possible for the Lord.
f. When the heart is right, you don’t just “wing it.” We give our BEST to God!
g. Music is to be well rehearsed… skillful… our very best. God accepts nothing less than our best. The local church is not to be like the old “Community Audition” show.
h. If the heart is right, we offer to the Lord our BEST… not that which is lame. (Mal. 1:8, 13-14)
i. Our music is to be sung TO THE LORD. It is an OFFERING to the Lord. Therefore, it is to be our best. It should be chosen for the purpose of pleasing God and bringing glory to Him.
5. There is an infinite difference between the songs of believers and unbelievers:
a. We BOTH sing songs. They sing to themselves and for themselves. We sing to the Lord.
b. The unsaved folks SING songs… and they do every day. It can be an expression of natural affection, earthly joy, etc. And it is good as far as it goes… but it doesn’t go very far.
c. On the one hand there are the songs of the earth dwellers.
• Whose hearts are richly indwelt by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…
• They sing songs of life in this world… life in the natural realm apart from God. This is the only realm they know… and the only realm of which they CAN sing.
• Sometimes their songs are good; sometimes their songs are evil.
• But ALWAYS, their songs are limited to the earthly sphere.
• They can address the body and soul well… (the physical and emotional part of man), but CANNOT reach the spirit (the God conscious part of man).
• They are utterly dead to and alienated from the spiritual realm. It is foolishness unto them. They CANNOT know it, for it is spiritually discerned.
• I John 4:5 – They know only the natural realm, and they know it well. They speak of it… and those in the natural realm respond to it. They are on the same wavelength… when they speak and when they sing.
• Their songs can be vile, vulgar, and immoral. Or they can be innocuous… patriotic songs (Yankee Doodle); songs of every day life; (Take me out to the Ball Park) they can even promote good, moral values.
• However, even the very BEST songs the world can produce are limited to the earthly sphere… the natural realm.
d. And on the other hand there are the songs of the redeemed…
• Flowing from hearts which are richly indwelt by the Word of Christ…
• Songs flowing from the influence of GOD in our hearts… a spiritual song!
• The songs of the redeemed will also speak to our emotions, but the lyrics will in addition get to our spirit… God conscious part of man…
• These songs can teach, admonish, encourage, and lift our spirits into the very heavenlies!
• We can sing from a heart filled with the presence of Christ and the Spirit of God… for the glory of God!
• Our music should shift our focus from earthly condition (which causes our souls to be cast down) to our heavenly position… great hope for tomorrow!
• These songs can drill doctrine and truth into our minds… can remind us of promises that will encourage us and lift us up out of the miry clay of earthly existence…
• GOD HIMSELF puts songs in hearts. (Ps. 40:3)
e. Yes, there is an infinite difference between the songs of the earth dwellers and the songs of the redeemed. The difference is as far as heaven is above the earth.
• We sing of things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my mind!
• I’m pressing on to higher ground! New heights I’m gaining every day!
• Our songs cause us to focus on Christ: Jesus, I am resting, resting in the thought of what thou art!
• Our songs cause us to think on things above and remind us that our real lives are hidden with Christ in God: Hiding in thee! O blest Rock of ages, I am hiding in thee!
f. The songs of the redeemed can affect the body and soul… and go beyond the natural into the spiritual realm… and have an effect on our spirit… our God-consciousness.
g. Heb. 4:12 – there is an infinite gap between the soul and spirit. It takes the Word of God to be able to discern the difference and bridge that gap. It is sometimes difficult for us to see the difference… it may FEEL the same. But the difference is real.
h. The right kind of uplifting music coupled together with doctrinally sound lyrics can help stay focused on Christ and His Word… and thus deepen our relationship to the Lord.
6. Consider the relationship between music and worship.
a. Music is not designed to get us “warmed up” or “revved up” for worship.
b. That is how music is used today in many circles.
c. We don’t sing or have songs sung to us in church to evoke worship in us. If that is the case, then shame on us!
d. We should COME to church, with our hearts ALREADY richly indwelt by the Word of Christ… and already under the control of the HOLY SPIRIT.
e. Music is not intended to prime the pump to get us ready to worship… rather, it is the natural outflow of a heart already prepared for worship—filled with the Word of Christ and filled with the Spirit of God.
f. We should come with a song already in our heart.
g. But if the congregation does NOT come with hearts filled with the Word of Christ, many have reverted to using music in their vain attempt to PRODUCE the effect of JOY and thanksgiving. No wonder they need huge amplifiers and electric guitars…
h. When music is used in that manner, it is an artificial means of producing the fruit of the Spirit… an attempt to imitate the effects of Spirit filling… it produces an outward appearance of life…
i. But if it doesn’t emanate from a heart already richly indwelt with the Word of Christ, it is a sham.
j. And once they turn on the power of they can get the crowd moving… rocking and rolling… shaking their bodies… waving their arms… but that is what Paul calls another spirit…
k. The spirit they generate is man made; soulish and natural rather than spiritual; moves the body and emotions, but cannot reach the spirit; it is therefore earthly and worldly rather than heavenly and spiritual.
l. Music is being used today in contemporary Christian circles to do what music was never intended to do:
• Generate an impression of LIFE
• Imitate the effects of the HOLY SPIRIT
• In the average contemporary setting, their concept of life and the spirit is VERY DIFFERENT from the concept found in the Bible.
m. The music Paul describes here is SINGING…
• It requires no electricity… no amplification…
• In fact, singing requires no instruments other than the human voice.
• Instrumental accompaniment adds a nice touch… but it is NOT necessary…
• Christians living in deep in the jungles of Brazil or the Congo can obey this verse… even though they don’t have any purple microphones or amplifiers.
• The music that really pleases God is the kind of music that emanates from a filled heart and reverberates through the vocal chords as harmonious sounds of praise and thanksgiving to God!
• Heartfelt, musical praise to God!
7. What do you suppose the reaction of the crowd would be at a Christian rock concert if instead of their rock band… an ensemble came and sang a few simple, but hymns accapela?
• What would be the reaction of a group of young people who grew up in a rock and roll church if they visited Salem Bible Church?
• They would say that it is DEAD… lifeless… we don’t have the Spirit.
• And it is because they equate liveliness with abundant life; and they are unable to recognize the HOLY Spirit.
• Why do you suppose Paul warned us about those promoting “another spirit” in I Cor. 11:2-4?
• Our adversary comes in the appearance of holiness… but it is phony! (I Cor. 11:14-15)
• I am very much aware of the fact that there are some genuinely born again folks involved in that…
• But that is the POINT! Genuinely born again people CAN be taken in by the counterfeit… counterfeit doctrines and counterfeit spirits… hence the warning to the Corinthians!
• If you need loud, raucous music to get the congregation “in the spirit”… beware of WHICH spirit is in control of that congregation.
8. If our songs flow from the Word’s rich indwelling in our hearts, they should teach that which is in harmony with that same Word: TRUTH.
9. We should sing with our understanding… of truth.
10. If we don’t KNOW the Word, and if it is not richly dwelling in our hearts, it will be reflected in the kind of music we sing.
11. Many of the great old hymns of the faith were written by men and women with deep experiences of God… and with a mature understanding of the Word of God.
a. As we grow and mature, we LEARN of the depth of some of these great hymns.
b. Ex: Rock of Ages (double cure)
c. Ex: Once for All! (sinner receive it; brother believe it)
d. Ex: Hark the Herald! (every phrase is rich in Scripture)
e. Ex: It is Well with My Soul (from a difficult experience comes joy!)
f. Ex: O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go (difficult experience)
12. That is not the case in many of the young “so called” Christian song writers today.
a. Most of the Contemporary Christian Music authors disdain the doctrine of separation and are quite vocal about it.
b. Many are ecumenical…
c. Many have a very shallow understanding of Scripture which is clearly reflected in the words of their songs.
13. The “new wave” music being brought into churches in our generation is COMPLETELY new.
a. In most cases, the old is cast out and entirely replaced by these new songs.
b. It is NOT WISE to neglect hundreds and hundreds of years of the church hymnody, a rich musical heritage of the church—music that has stood the test of time.
c. To think that the present me generation has something better simply is not true.
d. Some have sought to avoid casting out the old traditional hymns by having TWO services… one traditional and one contemporary.
• First of all, it DIVIDES the church into the older folks and the younger folks.
» For folks who claim to be using music to unite the church, they have failed!
» Music, which should unite us around the truth instead divides us around personal taste and preference.
• Secondly, the MOTIVE behind this is not pleasing God, but pleasing man!
» It is obvious that when this kind of decision is made, the real driving force behind it is what men want… pressure from men… to please man.
» Pleasing the Lord is obviously NOT their main concern.
• Thirdly, they have effectively removed the older, wiser, more mature believers from the younger, inexperienced, immature believers.
» Thus, the younger generation misses out on the wisdom gleaned from fellowshipping with more mature believers.
» And thus, the church is divided so that the younger folks with all the energy are ready to start new things… and the older folks, who lack the energy are not.
» Thus, all the new programs begun will be carried out with lots of energy… but without the wisdom to channel that energy properly.
» God proves Himself to be wise once again when we follow HIS pattern; thelocal church is not to be divided over musical tastes. Read Titus one! God’s design is for the older and the younger to minister TOGETHER! They need each other for the church to function as God intended.
• A fourth problem is that after one generation, there will be NO MORE classic, traditional hymns… which have stood the test of time…
» The church will be left with newer songs, most of which are quite shallow by comparison… and some downright heretical.
» The bottom line is that even though they attempt to keep BOTH types of music today, in reality, they ARE casting out the old—whether they do it today or tomorrow… the final effect is the same.
» Young people in a generation from now will know nothing of the rich heritage of Christian music because it will all have been left in the dust…
» If that is where this is heading in 10-15 years, doesn’t it make sense to stop and THINK about where that road is leading before we all jump on the bandwagon and follow blindly?
• A fifth problem: It is NOT just the music that is so disturbing… it is the MINDSET that goes along with it.
» Reverence and rock music are NOT compatible.
» This is not just the opinion of a 53 year old guy who doesn’t like rock music.
» This is what Rolling Stone magazine (a leading mouthpiece for Rock music for 3 decades!) says… “Rock music is about sex and rebellion.”
» Nothing could be more incompatible with worship than that.
• A sixth problem is that along with this new kind of music we have also seen a new kind of worship:
» Multimedia presentations with sights and sounds; dancing; instead of singing, it is performance music; entertainment; showmanship; a true merging of theatre and church.
» In this new kind of worship, the WORD of Christ is de-emphasized; sermons become sermonettes. A few verses are shown on a screen because the religious leaders have determined it is too HARD for the folks in the pews to find all those books of the Bible… so they don’t even need to bring their Bibles to church any more.
» The end result: shallow Christians who have developed a taste for cotton candy and have no stomach for steak and potatoes. (They will not endure sound doctrine.) Superficial religious people who come to be entertained… self centered… not Christ centered… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…
» And in that atmosphere, true worship virtually ceases.
• A seventh problem: The bottom line of all this change is a modern Evangelical version of what happened to music in the dark ages in the Roman Church: the Word of God was de-emphasized… and therefore, the people stopped singing.
» That’s what happens when the Word is not richly dwelling in the heart.
» Christian music FLOWS out of hearts filled with the Word of Christ.
» Out of spiritually empty hearts, NO spiritual songs will gush forth… not when the well is dry.
» And when the heart is not filled with the HOLY SPIRIT, Christ, and the Word of Christ, then SELF is reigning.
» Congregational singing was replaced with performance music… sung by the professional religious caste: the priests…
» And the words were unintelligible… Latin!
» So the hearts of the people were NOT richly indwelt by the Word of Christ; no spiritual songs emanated from those hearts, congregational singing ceased; singing was replaced with performance type music; the words of which were unintelligible… thus music was entirely soulish and not spiritual.
» Music affects the SOUL and emotions but never reaches the spirit CANNOT be called spiritual songs. They are purely natural… earthly… and to the degree that the devil’s influence was involved, demonic!
» This is the influence of the charismatic movement – they aim for the emotions and the feelings—for experience—at the expense of truth and understanding.
» They bypass the head for the feelings. It is soulish and natural rather than spiritual.
» It adds NOTHING to the kind of worship God desires: in spirit and in truth.
» And regardless of how HOLY they SAY this music makes them FEEL, if it addresses merely the emotions and not the spirit, it is NOT a spiritual song.
» Our adversary is the master counterfeiter. He uses another spirit to counterfeit true spirituality with emotionalism and religious sentimentalism.
» It matters not how men feel, but what God says.
• And eighth problem: The entire movement is LED by babes.
» This movement was NOT begun at the request of older, discerning, more mature believers.
» It was the YOUTH who pushed, promoted, threatened to leave, and cried until they got their own way. Babes!
» Church leaders today are caving in to the outlandish demands of the youth just like parents are doing with their kids.
» And while we cannot know the hearts of all those rock and roll concert goers, we do know human nature.
» I have talked to some of them. It is fair to say that in MOST… it would be quite INNACURATE to say that the Word of Christ is RICHLY dwelling in their hearts.
» They’re kids… immature… and have no place leading in the local church… especially in such an important area as music!
» Isa. 3:2 – “?And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.” This was God’s JUDGMENT against Judah for their sin!
» We are quite naive to believe all these folks. It has been well documented that some of these religious singers and bands are USING the church as a stepping stone to their real goal: stardom and fame in the top 40! They get a few big hits and their venue changes overnight!
• The ninth problem: The next step is doctrine… guaranteed!
» When the music is cheap and shallow… and the atmosphere has been set for entertainment rather than learning… rest assured, you have effectively created an environment for apostasy.
» It might take a while… but it will come.
» The next generation of “church goers” may well reject the whole concept of salvation! (Too narrow minded for that crowd!)
• Problem number ten: immorality.
» I’m sure this will sound like a stretch to some… (connecting immorality to music) but hear me out.
» I’m looking ahead down the road… where this scene is headed… perhaps in a decade…
» I know in this little valley of a Bible believing rock and roll church… where they have home Bible studies… and when the study is over, the young people turn on rock music, and for fellowship time, break out the Budweiser too.
» That is a recipe for moral disaster – young people listening to rock music… and drinking beer… dancing… eventually, you KNOW what’s going to happen.
» Music changes the atmosphere. Some of these rock and roll churches have created a night club atmosphere… which is NOT conducive to holiness.
» Rock music is rebellious in tone… their goal is to break down the walls of separation (listen to the CCM folks in their own words).
» Sound doctrine is NOT their forte. Many of them hate fundamentalists… because the whole religious world embraces them… (Catholics; Protestants; Evangelicals) everybody… except us.
• Problem eleven: this whole transition does not happen over night.
» Our adversary is clever enough to know that he needs to take baby steps AWAY from that which is good and sound—or it will instantly be recognized for what it is.
» There is much “bridge music” today—a favorite tactic of the devil.
» On the one hand there is good, solid, sound music… and on the far other end is Christian heavy metal or gangster rap…
» And in between there are a thousand shades… to make the transition gradual… EASY… unnoticeable…
» AND that gradual approach makes it impossible (?) to argue each step along the way.
» Discerning believers will NOT try to argue each step… but will step back and look at the DIRECTION the movement is headed!
» Discerning believers will choose that which is unquestionably wholesome… and will in mature LOVE be willing to give up some music that is good… IF it is aiding that movement.
14. It is most unwise to separate the Word of God from the people of God. It is most unwise to separate the Word of God from the praise of God.
a. Great damage is being done to the Body of Christ by discarding the rich heritage of Christian music and replacing it with the loud, soulish clamor of the more modern soulish and superficial songs popular today.
b. Great damage is being done to the Body of Christ by replacing congregational singing with performance music… under the ruse of being “consumer friendly.”
c. Col. 3:16 says to the individual “singing”… not “being sung to.” It is active, not passive.
15. PERFORMANCE vs. Ministry in Music
a. Music sung is to done with the right inward motive and spirit.
b. It is to be an offering unto the Lord… not a show for men.
c. The new way of worship today has hopelessly confused and blurred the line between entertainment and worship… especially in the area of music.
• Is it a show or is it worship? There really isn’t much difference in many circles today.
• Watch one of these so called worship services on TV… and then watch a rock concert on TV. They are virtually identical… (stage show; choreography; lights; the microphones; the acting and crooning of the singers; arms waving; bodies swaying; musicians with celebrity status; and (apart from the lyrics) the SOUND is exactly the same as what you would hear on any radio station.
d. It is obvious who copied whom.
• I’ll give you a hint – the world never copies the true pattern of the church in the New Testament.
• But boy is there a tendency in carnal Christendom to copy the world—to be conformed to the world.
e. I Cor. 14:26 – The early church had a similar problem with “showmanship” in the local church.
• In Corinth, God blessed this congregation with MANY wonderful gifts. (Ye are enriched by Him in all… ye come behind in no gift.) (1:5-6)
• But unfortunately, the Corinthians were using their God given gifts in the WRONG way and with WRONG motives.
• 13:1 – some spoke in tongues, and displayed their gifts before all, but were not demonstrating love.
• 13:2 – some had the gift of prophecy, but did not have love. They were showing off their superior knowledge, but in God’s sight, it was nothing!
• 13:3 – some God blessed with rich gifts of possessions and the gift of giving, but they gave with the wrong motive.
• 14:4 – Some had the gift of tongues and loved to display their gift before others… but without using the gift the right way, it became a show… a performance… with NO value unless it was interpreted that others might be edified. Without an understanding of the words, it was just sound.
• 14:12 – they were zealous of spiritual gifts… they loved to think of themselves as gifted and talented… everybody was trying to take center stage…
• They were driven by a desire to perform before an audience.
• Some folks are scared to death to stand up before a crowd. Others absolutely LOVE it! They thrive off the rush they receive by performance.
• THIS was error Paul was trying correct here.
• That which God intended to be used to edify the Body and glorify the Head, was instead being used to draw attention the individual… They were displaying SELF rather than Christ. This is the error Paul addresses in I Cor. 14.
• Matt. 6:1-2 – Jesus addressed the same problem among the religious crowd in His day.
» Whatever we do, we lose our reward if our motive is to be seen or acknowledged of men… to receive glory from men.
» There is no reward for showmanship other than the fleeting applause of men.
» God was not pleased. He was in fact, nauseated.
• This is just as much a problem with GOOD music in a doctrinally sound church as it is with TERRIBLE music in a worldly church.
• All teachers and singers—anyone who ministers before men, need to be reckoning self to be DEAD as their gifts are used in the local church… to prevent just such an error.
• It matters HOW a song is sung and HOW it is performed.
16. Of what does our singing testify? (I Cor. 14:23-26)
a. The believers came to worship and employed various gifts in the worship service: singing, teaching, prophecy.
b. Paul was concerned for the edification of the Body, but he was also concerned about how their worship service was perceived by outsiders… by visitors… their testimony.
c. Paul did not want the worship service to be chaotic or indecent. (14:40)
d. The way we conduct ourselves in the Lord’s House is one of the pieces that can influence the eternal destiny of a visitor! He could either say, “They are mad!” or “God is in you of a truth!”
e. Music is ONE of those influences Paul mentions here: a psalm!
f. Our doctrine ought to reflect Truth. It ought to be an indication that God is with us of a truth!
g. Our music ought to do the same.
h. What DOES our music convey to visitors (whether it is their style or not… it conveys something…)
i. If it conveys reverence, respect, order, discipline, awe, joy, enthusiasm, etc… then we are conveying the right message.
j. If it conveys rebellion, an in your face attitude, sensuality, frivolity, giddiness, immaturity, or showmanship, then we are conveying the wrong message.
k. A visitor should sense DIFFERENCE in a church than they sense in barroom, a night club, a comedy club, or a Red Sox game. Shouldn’t the atmosphere be different? Doesn’t music play an important role in that?
17. It is GOD who puts a song in our hearts. (Psalm 40:3) He giveth songs in the night (Job 35:10).
Reasons folks have difficulties with certain songs or hymns:
a. The music—performance—showmanship—
b. Worldly associations—
c. The words—shallow—inaccurate—doctrinal error—man centered—etc.
d. The words of some verses might be unacceptable.
e. Can we impute meaning to ambiguous phrases in songs?
f. Sometimes it is a misreading of the words. (O That Will Be Glory for Me!) (Cf. Jer. 9:24)
g. The doctrinal background of the hymn writer. (music or words)
h. The lifestyle of the hymn writer.
i. Association with Contemporary Christian Music