Summary: In this sermon, we explore a number of things about worshiping in song.
A. We are in a sermon series called UR Church – Be the church of Christ.
1. We are learning about the church that Jesus built and how we can continue to be that church.
2. We have been learning about restoring the form and heart of NT Christianity.
3. We have talked about the place of the Bible, and how to interpret it.
4. We have talked about how to obey the gospel and we’ve learned the truth about Jesus – He is the way, truth and life.
B. Today we want to explore some things about NT Worship – specifically worship in song. Let’s start with some questions.
1. Why do we sing in worship? Is it important that we sing?
2. What should be the content of our songs?
3. And what about the style of the music, does it matter?
4. Why do we as a church sing without instrumental accompaniment? Why do other churches choose to sing with instruments?
B. Can you see how important these questions are?
1. Isn’t it surprising how we might sing during worship for years and years without ever stopping to ask those questions?
2. Singing is a very important part of our worship.
3. It comprises close to a fourth of our time together.
4. Wouldn’t you say that it behooves us to understand some things about it?
5. That’s what I would like us to do this morning.
I. THE PRIORITY OF SINGING
A. God’s people have always been and always will be a people of song.
1. The first place the Bible mentions God’s people singing is in Exodus 15 after the Lord safely led the Israelites through the Red Sea and drowned their Egyptian pursuers.
a. That I’m sure was a great time of song – a joyous celebration!
2. I’m also sure that was not the first time that God’s people had sung.
a. My guess is that many a time they sang the blues while they were in slavery in Egypt.
B. We see singing throughout the OT.
1. It was common for the Hebrews to attribute praise even coming from parts of God’s creation other than mankind.
a. Job stated that the stars sang, and David said that the mountains sang praises to God.
2. As you well know, King David was the sweet singer and musician of Israel. Most of the psalms composed by him were written to be sung.
3. Israel continued to sing in worship at the temple and the synagogue.
C. When we turn to the NT, we continue to see the people of God in song.
1. Mary rejoices at the announcement that she will give birth to God’s Son (Lk 1:46-55).
2. Zechariah breaks out in a song at the birth of his son John, the forerunner of the Christ (Lk 2:14)
3. Simeon sang as he held Jesus while being presented at the Temple (Lk 2:29-32)
4. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he instructed them about worship and suggested that the songs people bring to worship should be done for the strengthening of the church.
5. Paul also wrote in his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians almost the exact command about singing. Look at these two passages with me.
a. To the Colossians, Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and counsel one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Col 3:15-16)
b. To the Ephesians, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 5:19-20)
6. When Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned in Philippi, guess what they did? They prayed and sang hymns to God.
D. So, you see, singing has always been both the natural and an expected activity of God’s people.
II. THE POWER OF SINGING
A. Someone said: “music is the language of the emotions”- it stimulates the emotions like nothing else.
1. But in addition to the way music can effect the emotions, the words of songs can effect the mind.
2. When you couple the words and the music you have a very powerful combination.
B. All we have to do is take a look at the impact of contemporary secular music on young people, and we can see the power of music and song.
1. Did you know that singing is a great vehicle for memorization?
a. Consider how many songs you know by heart without ever having studied them.
b. I can begin the first few words of a song, and most of you can finish at least that sentence, if not the entire song. Let’s give it a try…I will start a song and you supply the next words.