Preached at Straightway Bible Church on February 3rd, 2013. Below you will find the study notes I handed out. The Bible has some instruction for us concerning music and worship but we need to be careful to know the difference between Biblical mandate and Church tradition.
Here are the study notes:
Music in Worship
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- Be good Bereans: Acts 17:10–11 … in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
- THE RULE: 1 Corinthians 14:40 decently and in order.
- Be aware of what is Bible command and what is tradition, preference, culture or liberty
- Tradition is how we have come to do things: by choice and liberty but not by specific command in Scripture
- Tradition is not wrong but it is not binding either
- Tradition isn’t doctrine or command
- Can lead to legalism
- Tradition is a LIBERTY; don’t abuse or bind it
Music, Singing & Worship
- Music can be noble, majestic and Godly; or crass, carnal
- No one generation has a monopoly on “Godly” or evil
- Psalm 96:1, “Sing to the Lord a new song.” Psalm 98:1, “O sing to the Lord a new song.” Psalm 149:1, I read earlier, “Sing to the Lord a new song.” Isaiah 42:10, the prophet says, “Sing to the Lord a new song.”
- Psalm 33:1–3 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! … Praise the LORD with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
- “Make melody” – Ephesians 5:19 -Greek “psallo” … to sing while plucking, twanging, to play, to play on a stringed instrument, touch sharply.
Godly music is GOD/JESUS centered, not man-centered
- It elevates, focuses on God’s Truth, and enthrones Jesus
- The biggest problem with much of OUR contemporary music is that is it “mood music” meant to elevate our feelings about our worship… they are songs about “me worshipping” rather than songs the focus on Christ or God
- Remember, hymns were “contemporary” at one time too!
Music and singing is not “worship”; “worship” is an attitude of the submissive heart that:
- Submits to God
- Recognizes the infinite difference between me and God
- Elevates God and Christ to their right place
- Worship is the God honoring act of the heart that comes in many forms, including music/singing
- Many churches today make the music the “worship” rather than allowing music to be an expression of worshipful hearts; and unbelievers have a good experience
Music >> Is/Creates >>> Worship
Worship >>> expressed/manifested/aided >>> Music
Psalms hymns spiritual songs
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) … psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:15–20 (NKJV) 15 See then that you walk circumspectly [accurately, carefully], not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time [making the most of every moment], because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation [excessive, carnal, reckless]; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
- The verse is talking about being “spirit filled”…
- Pagans, would get drunk, use music to get into ecstatic spiritual states that would open them up to demonic influence experience
Not clearly defined but from implications:
- Psalms: probably refers to the actual Psalms themselves much of which is worshipful expression that can be sung and done to music or spoken
- Hymns: “humnos” – songs of praise particularly speaking of Christ and salvation; the traditional anthems that declare the nature and attributes of God
- Spiritual songs: seems to be more casual and personal songs of testimony and experience… songs that promote spiritual thought and focus
Questions for study:
How do you recognize a tradition? What standard do you use concerning keeping traditions? Which type of music does God approve of? Should we categorically dismiss a type of music? In what ways can our music be spirit-filled (or not)? Discuss the idea of music setting the “mood” and being used to create a desirable experience to bring in unbelievers.