Getting the most out of Ö series.

Part 2 Singing

 

Tonight we will be looking at how we can get the most out of our singing. Singing is an important part of our worship to God, and we spend about a third of or assembly singing. I like what David said in:

 

Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.

 

While there may be a few that do not like to sing, most Christians love to sing praises to God. We certainly know that singing brought great joy to David because notice what says in,

 

Psalm 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

 

This could mean either speaking or praising God in song. There is something about singing words of praise that is very uplifting and encouraging. We are taught in the N.T. to express our joy in song.

 

James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.

 

Singing is great way of expressing our joy to God for what He has done for us and it can stir our hearts up and so that we have our mind focused on spiritual things. Sometimes you find Christians who seem to have lost their love for singing to God, and when they sing they just mouth the words or in some cases they donít sing at all.

 

I am sure we have all seen Christians who were like this. While there may be some women out there that have this problem, but so far in my experience it has always been a man who would not sing or who had no desire to express himself in singing. Our singing should not be without emotion, and just like everything else we should be offering up our best to God.

 

Some of those who do not sing will say that they cannot carry a tune, but I can promise that doesnít matter to God because he is more interested in your heart being engaged then what your voice sounds like. I know of an entire congregation where the singing is always out of tune, but I know that God is pleased with each and everyone of them because they are singing from their hearts and they are participating. So, donít hide behind the excuse that you canít carry a tune.††

 

One thing that will help us to get the most of our singing is to remember what the purpose of our singing is all about.

One of the main reasons we sing is to praise God. We can see this is the word hymn, which comes from the Greek word humnos, which means "a song in praise of" Praising God should come naturally to Christians because we have a lot to praise God for.

 

Again, I want you to notice how David responded in song to God for the blessing He gave him.

 

Psalm 28:6 Blessed be the LORD, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him

 

David is a great example of a man who had great zeal for God and who loved to show his thankfulness for what God had done for him through song and we know by reading about Davidís life that when he praised God, he engaged his entire being. While he was guilty of many things, no one could ever accuse David of going through the motions or just mouthing his praise to God.

 

We should have this same excitement that David had when he praised God. We need to understand that when we sing, we are singing to God Almighty, and if we can imagine that in our minds, it should cause to really sing out and have our hearts engaged because we are standing before God and we are letting Him know how much we appreciate Him.

 

Even when things are not going good for you and you feel horrible, you can be uplifted and uplift other through songs of praise. This is what Paul and Silas did in Acts 16. Remember how the slave girl who was demon possessed wouldnít leave Paul alone, so he cast the demon out which made her owner angry so they had Paul and Silas beaten and thrown into jail. These men would have been in severe pain, but what do find them doing in the prison.

 

Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

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These men knew how important prayer and singing was so they sang praises to God even though they felt miserable. Not only did their singing uplift them, the other prisoners got to hear their words and be encouraged by them and taught by them. Guess who else was listening to their prayers and songs of praise? God was, because He responded with an earthquake that shook just enough to free them from their shackles and as added bonus it led to the Philippian jailor and his household being saved.

 

Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

 

This verse certainly includes singing praises to God and it teaches us that our singing is considered a spiritual sacrifice that we can offer up to God as we praise Him and give thanks to Him.

Peter describes it this way:

 

1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 

We are described as being a holy priesthood and those spiritual sacrifices we make. As Peter said, these spiritual sacrifices, which includes singing, must be acceptable to God, which means that we must give our best. We cannot be like those of Malachiís day as we read about in:

 

Malachi 1:7 "You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, 'In what way have we defiled You?' By saying, 'The table of the LORD is contemptible.'8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts.

 

Malachi 1:13 You also say, 'Oh, what a weariness!' And you sneer at it," Says the LORD of hosts. "And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?" Says the LORD.14 "But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And takes a vow, But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished -- For I am a great King," Says the LORD of hosts, "And My name is to be feared among the nations.†††

 

God was not pleased with them trying to substitute their sacrifices which were cheap imitations and God will not be pleased with us if we try to offer spiritual sacrifices that are not from the heart. We can get the most out of our singing when we realize that our singing is for God and that we must give Him our best.††

 

Another purpose for singing is teaching and admonishing one another as we read in:

 

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.

 

So when we sing together we are teaching together. Many of the songs we sing have a wonderful message that we should pay attention to and they are capable of lifting us up and even convicting us of sin. As we sing, we need to keep in mind the words we are singing will benefit us and it will benefit those around you. So when you sing, sing with clarity and conviction because our brethren certainly deserve the best encouragement we can give them.

 

Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; 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,

 

Paul tells us to be filled with the Spirit by singing to one another and making melody in our heart. I think we can all agree that singing can stir up our emotions and it cause us to cry sometimes and laugh at other times. To be filled with the Spirit by singing means to have all your emotions involved in what you are singing so that it comes from the heart, which is why Paul says that we are to make melody in your heart.

Again, notice what Paul says to the Colossians:

 

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.

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We must allow the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly, and we need to put our minds on Christ as we sing and we are to sing with grace in our hearts. So, in order for us to have a spirit filled life that is enriched by the Word of Christ, we must have singing in our life and we must participate with our whole being.

 

When we have the right attitude about singing, it can be a wonderful blessing for us and those around us, the quicker we realize this it will help us to get the most out of our singing.

 

Another important thing we must work at when we sing is to engage our mind on what we are singing. We cannot have mind neutral and mouth the words and expect to get anything out of it. We do this all the time with songs we hear on the radio because we are more interested in the tune than the words and we might hum a few bars of the hook in the song, but we donít have a clue many times what the song is teaching.

 

This may not apply to all of you, because I know that some of you may pay attention to what the songs are saying, but there are also many like me who has no idea what a song is teaching. This can happen to us when we are singing to God and each other especially when it is a song that we have memorized.

 

Personally, I have to really concentrate on my singing because it easy for me to sing without engaging my mind, but if we want to be pleasing to God, we need to do our best to pay attention and we need to understand what we are singing as Paul said in,

 

1 Corinthians 14:15 I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

 

I can promise when you make an effort to understand what you are singing, it will help you pay attention, and you will get the most out of your singing.

 

Not only are we to engage our mind as we sing, we must also engage our heart by singing with emotion. As we make melody in our hearts and sing with grace in our hearts, we must pluck the strings of our hearts. When you think about the purpose of our singing and you envision yourself standing before God to sing to Him, how could you not have your emotions stirred up?

 

People can tell when you are not singing as you should especially the song leader. I was talking to a song leader a preachers retreat one year and he told me how he led singing at a church once where it depressed him because no one was singing out and the expressions on their face didnít have one spark of enthusiasm. As:

 

Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,

 

When we think about the blessing we have received in Christ and how He has given us hope through His death of having an eternal home in heaven, donít you think that should make us be full of cheer and joy? Donít you think that when we sing praises to God for the grace He has bestowed on us that we should have a cheerful countenance? Of course we should.

 

Christians should be some the happiest people on the face of the earth because we have a God that loves us and said that He will never forsake us. We know from reading His Word that He always keeps His promises, and we should shout with joy that we belong to Him and that we will get to be with Him for eternity in heaven. The Bible doesnít have a lot of information about heaven, but we do know that there will be singing in heaven. So, singing is very important to God.

 

Another thing that will help you to get the most of singing is to sing songs of praise outside the worship service. It wasnít uncommon for people to sing their prayers to God. Based on the grammar of Acts 16:25, it is believed that Paul and Silas were singing their prayers to God.

 

Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

 

So, donít just limit your singing to hymns, try singing your prayer to God sometime. You can also get worship songs on CD that you can listen to as you go down the road, and will help you to be able to hear all the parts and how the song is supposed to be sung.

 

You should also take advantage of singing night that we have once a month. It will give you the opportunity to learn new songs that praise God and that can teach and admonish you in new ways. The more you involve yourself with improving your singing and the amount of songs you know, the more it will help you to get the most out of your singing and it will help you to grow spiritually.

 

One last tip that I mentioned this morning is to sit as close to the front as you can because there is less distractions and you can hear the singing so much better.

 

In conclusion, singing is like any other activity that we do the more we put into it the more we will get out of it. The more you increase your joy of singing, the more you will get out of going to church. I hope this lesson will help you to get the most out of your singing and I hope all us can learn to have the same attitude that David did about singing. He said:

 

Psalm 104:33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

 

Psalm 147:1 Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.