This morning we are continuing is our worship series and to today we will be looking at the topic of singing and how relates to worship. We will also see that singing praises to God can be a part of our private life as well. In the last part of this lesson I will examine the question why don’t we use musical instruments in our worship to God?
The first thing I want to do is to look at where authority comes from for worship in singing today. I believe this is very crucial in understanding how we are to worship God today. First notice what Jesus says after he is raised from the dead.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Jesus is the authority and that is why Paul states to the Colossians,
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
So without a doubt Jesus is our authority and so we need to pay close attention to what he says in,
John "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
If we believe the Bible to be true and recognize that Jesus is our authority than surely we can see that we must have these 2 elements in place in order to be pleasing to God. Worshiping in spirit means worshiping from the heart and worshiping in truth means that we worship God according the word of God.
John "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
This is why we see many verses that command us to follow Gods Word and not anything else which includes Creed books or man made doctrines. Notice what Paul says,
1 Corinthians 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
Friends it doesn’t get any clearly than this. One last point I need to make about authority is that our authority comes form the NT or you might say the new covenant. It very important for people to understand that when Jesus died for us that he brought a new covenant into place make the old covenant obsolete and no longer binding on the Christian today. Lets show a few scriptures that bears this out.
Col. 2:14 teaches us that when Jesus died on the cross that he nailed the requirements of the law to cross which means it was put to death. The book of Hebrews and the book of Galatians are good book to study that show how we are no longer under the old covenant but we are under the new covenant. For instance notice what,
Hebrews 8:13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
So with out a doubt we can see that our worship is to be regulated by the word of God that is found in the NT and not the OT. The reason why this is important is because some try to bring certain things over from the OT and make them apart of NT worship and you cannot do this because those laws and requirements are dead to us today. Besides this if you are going to bring over one thing from the obsolete covenant than logically you should bring over every thing including animal sacrifices.
Now that have established our authority I want point out that singing is a part of our worship to God. Again when you look at 1 Cor. 14 where Paul instructs the Corinthians on how to conduct a worship service in an orderly manner you see that singing is a part of it showing that singing is part of worship to God.
Now I want to look at what that NT says about singing and how it is to be done.
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,
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.
From these verse we learn that are 2 different purpose for singing in our worship to God. The first purpose is singing praises unto God from our heart. We can also see this is a purpose of singing from several other NT passages.
Hebrews .. "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You."
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 last verse would certainly include singing to God.
James Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Surely when we come together for purpose of worshiping God we can all agree that this a cheerful time and so we should sing praised to God as James suggest. We also have an example where singing is directed toward God outside of public worship.
Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
So weather you are in public worship or somewhere else we can sing praises to God through song.
The second purpose we learn from these passages in Ephesians and in Colossians is that when we sing we are teaching and admonishing one another. I like to refer to it as congregational teaching. Now the word admonishing means to warn. This is why it important that song leader pick out songs that edify. When we sing about Gods amazing Grace or we sing about how the judgment day is coming these songs are how we teach and admonish one another about God Word. With this mind surely we can understand that the songs the we sing need to be Biblical and should not contain false doctrine. You certainly wouldn’t want me to stand up here and teach something false well in the same manner when we are singing we don’t want don’t want to teach something that is false. It so easy for us to overlook this fact because we sometimes think a song is great simply because it sounds good. Notice Paul says in,
1 Corinthians What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
So when we sing we need to understand what it is we are teaching and a good question to ask ourselves would I teach what this song is teaching to someone else. Now let me tell you what I am not saying. I am not saying that we should go over ever song we sing with a microscope and nitpick it to death instead we need to examine the overall message of the song. I have a great example. In the song “Night with Ebon Pinion” the over all message is about what Jesus went through as he prayed in Garden alone. However I want you to notice the very first line of this song, It says,
“Night with Ebon pinion, Brooded ore the vail”
Now if I was gambling man I would bet that there isn’t very many people in this room that knows what this means. Who or what Ebon pinion and what does this expression mean Brooded or the vail? Now even though I don’t understand what these things mean I understand the overall message of the song so I would it would still be ok to sing it. So, all I am saying is be careful at what you sing but don’t throw a song out because you may not fully understand a small part of it. However if a song is teaching something false like you are saved by faith alone we should not sing it.
Another thing we need to realize with this concept of singing with understanding we need to concentrate on what we are singing and remember our singing is to come from our heart and so we should sing with emotion. You see a problem that we get into when sing the same songs over and over again we can get to the point where we are just mouthing the words but really and truly are not thinking about them or putting our heart into them. This is one reason I am so glad that we have these new song books and thanks to our song leaders they have been teaching us new songs. I believe this helps us to stay focused on what we are singing and how we are singing.
Another important thing I want to point out about our verses Eph.5:19 Col. 3:16 is that it is a command that we sing. Singing to God is not an option and so each of us is to sing if we are capable of doing so. I understand sometimes we have sickness and those who cannot speak but even in these instances you can concentrate on what is being sung. These two verse also answer the question who should sing. Now we can really see this with clarity from the Greek because in both of this verse nearly ever word is plural form which means that every single person is to sing. You see God doesn’t care if you cant carry a tune he just wants your singing to come from your heart so if there is there is nothing preventing you from singing you need to follow this command and sing to God with everyone. The fact that these verse show that everyone is to sing this rules out solos or choirs which is a blatant disregard to these verses.
So in our public worship let us all sing with understanding from our heart as we sing praises to God and we teach and admonish one another. Now the I have established our authority for singing and what the Bible teaches about singing I want to now turn your attention the question.
Why does the
Boy this is one area that those in religious world cannot seem to understand because they will ask over and over again, why in the world would you not want to have musical instruments in your worship to God. Before you answer this question the next time someone ask this why don’t you ask them why they use musical instruments in worship? I can tell you most of them don’t have any idea of why they use they just know that like them or they might say oh it just adds so much to the worship service. First of all I want you to think about this typical answer and ask yourself the question why are they coming to worship? Are they coming to please God and worship him or are they coming so they can focus in on themselves and how they feel or what they get out of it? One of the main problems with people today is that they are focused on their desires instead of Gods desires and they don’t come to worship God they come to please themselves and that exactly what the use of a mechanical instrument does because you cannot find one scripture in the NT which authorizes it use by a direct command or by example.
So the next time someone ask you this question ask them to show you just 1 scripture in the NT that authorize you to use an mechanical instrument in worship. I promise you they will not be able to find one. You see one of the problems with the religious world today is that they blindly follow what the grow up around. You see as long as they have lived their denomination has used mechanical instruments and to them its seem natural to use them and so they have never questioned it. Now if they took an honest look at scripture they would soon realize that these instruments are addition to God Word’s which makes it a sin to use them in worship. Now I think it proof enough from the NT which is what we go by today that we are only authorized to sing, however before I begin to look as some of the most popular arguments for the use of mechanical instruments I want to examine the history of the instrument in worship.
Its generally agreed by countless scholars and historians that mechanical instruments were not used in the early church. In fact earliest mentioning of their introduction didn’t come until the 5th or 6th century. In the Catholic church Pope Vitalian sanctioned their use for the first time in 670 AD. Of course this was not without controversy because notice what the Catholic Encyclopedia says,
“…the first Christians were of too spiritual fiber to substitute lifeless instruments for or to use them to accompany the human voice”.
There Encyclopedia also says this, “The rejection of all musical instruments from Christian worship is consistent among the fathers” (New Catholic Encyclopedia 10:106)
The idea of using mechanical instruments didn’t catch on very fast at all and it always caused great controversy. It wasn’t until 1851 and beyond that people started embracing their use. I want to share with several quotes from denominational preachers from the past.
John Calvin founder of the Presbyterian Church: “Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps or the restoration of the other shadows of the law.”(Commentary on the Book of Psalms, Vol, I, p. 539)
John Wesley founder of the Methodist Church: “I have no objection to instruments of music, in our chapels provided they are neither heard nor seen,”
Adam Clark famous Methodist commentator: “Music as a science, I esteem and admire: but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor.”
Martin Luther: “Martin Luther called the organ and ‘ensign of Baal’.” Mcclintock & Strong’s Encyclopedia.
Charles H. Spurgeon a well known Baptist preacher: “I would as soon attempt to pray to God with machinery as to sing to him with machinery.”
J.H. Garrison of the Christian Church: “ There is no command in the NT, Greek or English commanding the use of the instrument.
You see at one time all
these different denomination represented here all understood that mechanical
instrument music was not to be used in worship to God. Yet, sadly every single
of one these denominations now use these instruments in their worship services.
This is movement that is beginning the effect the
Now one thing people love to say is that the NT doesn’t specifically say that you cant use them.
In other words they want a verse that says do not use musical instruments. Using this kind of logic a person could engage in all kind of sinful things because the Bible doesn’t specifically say I cant smoke weed or snort cocaine up my nose so it will be ok. But what they don’t understand is the that Bible does specifically teach against their use and these are the verse that do it.
Eph.5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
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.
You see when the word of God commands us to sing and names the instrument as our heart than he has excluded everything else including the musical instruments because God means what he says. These same people who try to argue this on this passage will not argue it on other passage that they hold sacred. For instance if you asked them if it would be ok to use hamburger and lemonade for the Lords Supper they would quickly say no you cant do that. But you see the Bible doesn’t say any where that you cant do that so it should be ok. You see they wont like it you apply their logic to the Lords supper because they can understand that unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine are to be used and everything else is excluded.
Now let me show you a real simple argument that is very powerful. Look at these 2 verses.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him…
Now I want you to really think about this. We as Christian must live our life by faith which would include our worship to God because without faith it impossible to please God. Now look at,
Romans So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Do you see what Paul has just told us. He saying where there is no word there can be no faith and where there is no faith we cannot please God and since the NT does not command us or give us an example of using mechanical instruments they cannot be a part of faith and therefore are not pleasing to God. This a very simple argument but it very powerful at the same time.
I want to show you a chart real quick showing the difference between using an instrument and using the voice so that we can determine that the use of an instrument cannot possible follow the commands of God.
The Bible Commands
Speak in song Eph. 5:19
Teach Col. 3:16
Make Melody in the heart Eph. 5:19
So as you can see from this chart a mechanical musical instrument does not fit this command.
Another argument that is made is that the use of a instrument is no different than using a song book or a song leader. So they would say that an instrument is simply an aid and not addition. Well the first thing we need to do is define what an aid and addition is.
An aid is something that is used that doesn’t make a change to a command. An addition is something that is added and does change the command. For instance when we use different dishes to transport the Lords Supper these dishes are aids and do not change the Lords Supper. However if added hamburgers and lemonade to the Lords Supper then we have made addition and changed the command of God.
A song leader or a song book are aids. The song leader is choosing the songs and starting them and the song books contains the words that we are singing. In both of the instances singing is what is being done and that command has not been changed. However when we add an musical instrument and it is being played something other than singing is occurring so musical instruments are addition and not a aid.
Another argument is made from the Greek word “Psallo” which is used in Eph 5:19,
1. To pluck the hair
2. To twang the bowstring
3. To twitch a carpenters line
4. To touch the Chords of a musical instrument.
5. To touch the Chords of the human heart, that is to sing.
Now what should we do with these definitions. Should we just pick and choose what we want this word Psallo to mean in our text. Well that try that.
If we choose number 1 does this mean we should do like Nehemiah in Neh13:25 and pluck each others hair during worship or perhaps we should twang a bowstring or twitch a carpenters line in our worship. Now I don’t know of anybody that would do this, this is why it is important that we find out what the meaning of the word was during the NT time. Well how do we determine which definition goes with NT time.
Well 1 Greek expert named Sophocles who a native Greek and taught Greek for 38 years at Harvard University took on the daunting task of examining the Roman Period and beyond which covered 146 BC to 1100 AD and he examined over 594 authors during this 1200 year period and declares that not a single example Psallo throughout this period of time can be found involving or implying the use of instrument. Instead every time it meant to chant or sing a religious hymn.
I could give you many more scholars who would state the same thing. In fact when you consider all the translators of KJV, ASV, and every translation that I know does not ever render the greek word Psallo as meaning a musical instrument and the reason why is because the word Psallo in the NT period only meant to sing.
Another thing I want you to remember is what said earlier about Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16. Remember how I said the grammar of the verses demands that everyone sing. Well if the word Psallo means musical instrument then that would mean that everyone would have play an instrument and sing or they would violate this passage.
argument people like to make is
that it was ok for them to use them in the OT so it should be ok for us to use them in the NT. Now I have already answer this argument in the
beginning of this lesson because I clearly have shown that our authority comes
from the NT and not the old and if you try to bring one thing over from the Old
you must logically be able to bring over including animal sacrifices. Now real
quickly I do want to show you a verse in the OT that does show that their use
was commanded by God because I have heard some
2 Chronicles 29:25 And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king's seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.
So God did command them in the OT but he did not command their use in the NT. If God had wanted us to use them he would commanded us to do so.
Now we have came a long ways in this lesson and please bear with me as look at last argument that is made. It comes from,
Revelation 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
They will say see there instruments in heaven therefore its ok for us to use instruments in our worship to God. This is just another desperate attempt of misuse of the scriptures. First of all the book of Revelation is highly symbolic book talking about beast with multiple horns, a sea of glass and burning of incense and so one should be very careful of how they use the book of revelation. Now think about this there is no marriage in heaven according to Mt. 22:30 and so if we can take that which applies in heaven then that would mean that we should not have marriage here on earth.
In this lesson I have done my best to share you what the Bible teaches on singing and how it is to be done. I have tried to cover every argument that have heard on this topic and I have shown through the scriptures and good old fashion logic that it is a sin and it an addition to Gods word to use mechanical instruments of music. I hope that you will share this message with all who are willing to listen.