WORSHIP-4 - Worshiping in Song
Please feel free to download audio and video for personal listening or teaching. Please do not alter any content. All material is copyrighted and intended to be used in its entirety and is free for distribution under these terms. To save, simply click the button and the download will begin.
“Lesson 4- Worship Through Singing”
Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:15, "I'll sing with the spirit,
and I'll sing with the understanding. I'll pray with the spirit, and I'll pray with
the understanding," 1 Corinthians 14:15.
We welcome you today to our study of worshiping God through our
singing. What a great subject the idea of worship is. We have the privilege
to bring God the honor and glory with our voices by the singing that we do,
and we can uplift and laud and magnify the beauty of our God.
As we think about the subject of singing and the music that Christians
use in our worship to serve God, this is indeed a very important subject.
For as you read the Bible, it's one of the ways Christians, together,
corporately worshiped Almighty God. If we're going to worship God
correctly today, we need to do it in the way that God has asked us to.
As we think about the subject of singing and as we think about the
subject of music in our praise of God, let's begin by reminding ourselves
that what we do in worship and how a Christian even lives his life must be
governed by the authority of God. Don't we all agree that we need to do
what God asks us to? We need to listen to God and obey the voice of God
to be pleasing to him. Even Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my
For instance, we think about the subject of worship and as we think
about worshiping God in song, let's realize the Bible is our authority for
worship as well. Do you remember John 4:24? Jesus said, "God is a spirit.
And those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." I've got to
put my whole heart, soul, mind, and body into worshiping. I also need to
worship God in truth. God's word is that truth, and so we want to worship
God according to the Bible.
As you think about examples, we want to illustrate the importance of
doing this by showing some examples of people who didn't do it correctly to
really emphasize and illustrate our need to follow the Bible in worship.
Let me give you an example. There are two men in the Bible by the
name of Nadab and Abihu. We read about them in Leviticus 10:1-2. These
two priests did not do what God commanded, and they perished because
of that. Let me read the story to you, so that you can see what they did and
the reason that they suffered like they did. Listen to Leviticus 10:1-2 about
Nadab and Abihu. The Bible says, "Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of
Aaron each took his censor, put fire in it, put incense on it." Now watch this,
"and offered profane," some versions will say “unauthorized fire, before the
Lord." Here's the important thing: "Which he had not commanded them. So
fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the
Lord." Did they do something God didn't ask for? Sure, they did something
unauthorized, which God had not commanded them. Was God okay with
that? Did it matter to God their may have been right? Maybe they were
doing what they felt was right, but it wasn't according to God. Was God
okay with that? Fire reigned down from heaven. God was serious about it.
Fire reigned down from heaven and destroyed them. Why? Because they
did that, which God did not command.
Think about King Saul in 1 Samuel 15. King Saul gets tired of waiting
for Samuel. He's a not a priest, but he's tired of waiting for Samuel, and so
he decides to take the authority of the priest upon himself and offer
sacrifice. God says, "Behold, to obey is better to sacrifice and to heed, than
the fat of rams. For your sin, he says, is as the sin of witchcraft and
rebellion." What did Saul do wrong? He did something he wasn't authorized
Friend, here's what we're illustrating today. What we do in our
worship in every aspect, including song, must be based on the authority of
Now, as you think about the New Testament, we need to realize it's
our law and our authority today. Colossians 2:14, the Old Testament's been
nailed to the cross. Ephesians 2:14-15, the handwriting of requirements
which God wrote with his own hand and Moses took down to the people,
the 10 Commandment Law, that's not what we're living under today. We're
dead to that law, Romans 7:1-4. Today, were living under the new
covenant of Christ, Matthew 26:28, which he established with his blood,
Hebrews 9:14-17. It is the perfect law of liberty, James 1:25.
When we think about the church and Christians worshiping today,
we're looking to the New Testament: Matthew through Revelation. How did
Christians worship then? The New Testament clearly teaches that we're
only to do that which is authorized. Let me illustrate it to you with several
passages. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, "All authority has been given to
me in heaven and on Earth." Then he said, "You go make disciples of all
nations." He told them how to do that as well. But here's the important
thing, who has all authority in heaven and on Earth and in the church?
Jesus does. God has given him all authority. If Jesus has all authority, how
much does that leave for me and you? None. Christ is the head of the
church. He has all authority, and therefore, we must follow His law and His
In John 2:5, the mother of Jesus illustrated it this way to the servants
at the wedding in Cana. She realized Jesus was going to perform the
miracle. She turned to those servants and she said this, "Whatever he says
to you, do it." That's the mindset and the attitude. Colossians 3:17,
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of," which according
to Acts 4:7, means by the authority of, “Whatever we do in word or deed,
we're to do all in the name or by the authority of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ.” Revelation 22:18-19 says we're not to add to or take away. I can't
put something in that I like. I can't take something out that I don't like. I've
got to follow the word of God. "Do not add to his word lest he rebuke you
and you be found a liar," Proverbs 30:6. We must only go by the Bible and
do what the New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ says.
With that in mind, let's ask this question. What does the New
Testament say about singing and music for Christians today? Friend, I want
to share with you every passage in the New Testament as it relates to our
worship here on this Earth as God's people. Matthew 26:30, the Bible says
that ‘Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn, and they went out. They left the
Mount of Olives. They sang a hymn.’ Acts 16:25, ‘Paul and Silas are
praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners are listening to them.’
1 Corinthians 14:15, the apostle Paul says, "I will sing with the spirit, and I'll
sing with the understanding. I'll pray with the spirit, and I'll pray with the
understanding." Paul taught the Christians there to sing as well. Listen to
Romans 15:9, the Bible says these words, "And that the Gentiles might
glorify God for His mercy as it is written for this reason, I will confess to you
among the Gentiles and sing to your name." We are to teach one another
in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs singing and making melody in our
heart unto the Lord, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. James 5:13
says, "Is any among you happy? Let him sing psalms." And then of course,
Hebrews 2:12, "Saying, I will declare your name to my brethren, In the
midst of the assembly, I will sing praise to you."
Friend, as you study everything the New Testament says singing is a
very important part of Christian worship. It's one of the ways that we
worship God in spirit and in truth. My friend, I hope you'll listen very
carefully to this idea. In the New Testament, we do not find an example or
authority for singing or music with mechanical instruments of music.
Now let me say that again. In the New Testament, in the worship that
you find that is our law today in the examples of Christians, we don't find
any mechanical instruments of music in worship. Remember, there's just
not any authority for it in the New Testament. We're to do whatever we do
in word or deed; we're to do by the authority of Jesus Christ, Colossians
3:17. We're not to add nor take away, Revelation 22:18-19. It's just not
found in the New Testament. When you think about this idea, what the
Bible does teach, a mechanical instrument of music cannot accomplish.
Let me illustrate it to you this way. Let me mention those two
passages, premiere passages again, about singing for the church. They're
Ephesians 5:19, let's look at it first. Look at Ephesians 5:19, and I want you
to see what is commanded in music and in singing, a mechanical
instrument cannot accomplish. Notice Ephesian 5:19, the scripture says
this, speaking, here's what Christians are to do, "speaking to one another in
psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your
heart to the Lord." Can an instrument teach, admonish? Can it do those
things? No, that's not the idea. The other passage is Colossians 3:16 and I
want you to notice what it also says on the subject of singing. Colossians
3:16 says this, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual
songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Again, a mechanical
instrument cannot do that. Now listen carefully. Does the Bible teach that
we are to make melody? You bet it does. Where? ‘We're to sing and to
make melody in our heart unto the Lord.’ As a man thinks in his heart,
what’s the heart? The heart is the thinking organism. Okay, my spirit, my
emotion, as well as my intellect. I am to sing, and I am to make melody in
my heart to the Lord. That's the way God has authorized us to worship him
through singing and through making melody in the heart that man has
When you think about the fact that God doesn't anywhere in the New
Testament mention mechanical instruments of music, we have to realize, if
God wanted that, he would have told us. Hebrews 7:14, "It is evident that
our Lord sprang out of Judah of which tribe Moses spoke nothing." Why
couldn't Jesus be a priest of the Levitical order? Well, because he's from
the tribe of Judah. Do you see the point that he's making though in
Hebrews 7:14? Moses never said anything about anybody from Judah
being a priest. What's that mean? Because Moses didn't say they could
meant that they couldn't. When Moses said the Levites were to be priests,
he didn't then have to go and name all 11 other tribes. When he said the
Levites that naturally excluded everybody else. When God has told us to
sing and make melody in our heart and has said nothing about mechanical
instruments of music, friend, we need to do what God says.
Let me illustrate it to you maybe this way. I think we can all
understand that we need to go by what God says, and when He says
something, that's kind of exclusive, right? Let me illustrate it this way to
show that we mean what we say, that we don't have to go back and then
say you don't do this and don't do that. What God says is what he wants.
Let me illustrate it. Let's say that you're going to order pizza. Let's say you
call up the local pizza place. Let's say you call up Domino's, and you say,
‘I'd like a large pizza with Pepperoni and black olives.’ ‘Okay, be there in
about 30 minutes.’ Wait about 30 minutes, doorbell rings. Somebody shows
up. They've got your large pizza. They open it up, and it's got black olives,
and it's got pepperoni, but it's also got pineapple, and it's got ham on it.
Now what would you say about that? You look at the bill and you're saying,
‘I said pepperoni and black olives. Why is there pineapple and ham on it?’
What would you say if he said, ‘you didn't tell us not to.’ Would he be
correct? Of course not. Why not? Because when you said black olives, and
you said pepperoni, that excluded everything else. Friend, when God said
‘sing’ and God said ‘make melody in your heart,’ God then doesn't have to
go back and say ‘don't pluck a guitar. Don't beat on a drum. Don't bang on
bongos. Don't play a flute. Don't play a violin.’ When God said ‘sing and
make melody in your heart,’ naturally, that's what God wants. He doesn't
then have to go back and condemn everything else.
In fact, did you know that actually, most religious people, even some
who started or who have religious groups named after them, most in years
past realized mechanical instruments were not approved by God. Let me
give you a couple of illustrations. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia says this,
the voice of Catholicism says, "The first Christians were of too spiritual a
fiber to substitute lifeless instruments or to use them to accompany the
human voice." That's what the Catholic Encyclopedia says. The Orthodox
Church says this, "The execution of the Byzantine Church by music by
instruments or even the accompaniment of sacred things by instruments
was ruled out by the Eastern Fathers as being incompatible with the pure
solemn spiritual character of the religion of Christ," -that's Constantine
Cavarnose in the Byzantine Sacred Music. Here are some others. John
Calvin, who many believed, recognized as the founder of the Presbyterian
Church, he said this in his commentary on the Book of Psalms, "Musical
instruments, in celebrating the praises of God, would be no more suitable
than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps, the restoration of other
shadows of the law, talking about the old law. The papists, therefore, that's
the Catholic church have foolishly borrowed this as well as many other
things from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in
that noise, but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is
far more pleasing to him." Listen to what John Wesley, who many
recognize as the founder of the Methodist Church said. John Wesley said,
"I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they
are neither seen nor heard." Another Methodist commentator, Adam Clark
said this, "Music as a science, I esteem and admire, but instruments of
music in the house of God, I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of
music, and I here register my protest against all such corruption in the
worship of the author of Christianity." Martin Luther, founder by many
believe as the Luthern Church, and the McClintock and Strong
Encyclopedia said this, "He called the organ, the ensign or symbol of Baal."
It was idol worship to him. Charles Spurgeon, famous Baptist preacher said
this, "I would as soon attempt to pray to God with machinery as to sing to
him with machinery." He said it's as authorized to use a mechanical
instrument to pray as it is to sing. Well, of course neither are authorized,
and so, what do we mention all this for?
Friend, we mention this to show that mechanical instruments of
music are not authorized in the New Testament. Every passage you read
about worshiping God here as the church, tells us to sing. There's not one
passage about mechanical, manmade instruments of music that are
authorized, and therefore, we want to sing and make melody in the heart as
God has told us to in the scripture.
Now, let's shift gears just a moment then, and let's think about if
singing and if worshiping God, making melody in the heart is what God
wants- how can I improve my singing in such a way that it really brings God
the glory and the honor that he deserves? Friend, I understand not
everybody has that beautiful of a voice. Not everybody can sing as
beautifully as others can, and so, although we may not all have that
beautiful voice that we think of, that's not necessarily a requirement to
worship God in song in such a way that glorifies him. How do we do that?
Well, friend, you worship God in our singing by participating. I've seen
people, maybe you have as well, during the singing of hymns of praise to
God, and they just sit there. They don't participate. They don't do anything.
They never open their songbook. They never open their mouth. Why not?
Well friend, singing, just like any other item is not an option. Is it an optional
matter to live for Christ every day? No, that's not optional. Is it an optional
matter to try to remove sin from your life, to try to avoid? That's not an
option. It's something I've got to do. Is giving an option? No, it's a
command. Is praying an, that's something we ought to do. What I'm trying
to get across is singing is not an optional matter. It's not if my music is
pleasing, if I sing in such a way that everybody think it sounds good- that's
not the idea. If I'm going to worship God in song, I have to sing, and I have
to participate. Sing one to another. That, in the New Testament language is
reciprocal. I sing to you, you sing to me. It's not I sing to you, and you sit
there. That's not the way it goes. It's a reciprocal thing by in which we can
teach and encourage and admonish one another. If you're sitting there like
the proverbial lump on the log doing no singing, my friend, you're not
teaching, encouraging, and admonishing, and you're not worshiping God
as God would want you to do.
Secondly, as we think about improving our worship through song to
really bring God the glory and the praise, then friend, to do that we need to
think about the words of the song. We need to mediate on them, and we
need to engage our mind. 1 Corinthians 14:15 Paul says, "I will sing with
the spirit, and I'll sing with the understanding. I will also pray with the spirit,
and I'll pray with the understanding." When Paul says I'll sing with the spirit,
that's the spirit of man. That's the emotion. That's our joy, our happiness,
our thanksgiving. That's the spiritual side of it, our emotional side of it. But
then he says, "I'll also sing with the understanding," Not only do I need to
have my spirit engaged, emotion, I need to do it from my whole heart, soul,
mind, and strength. I also need to sing with the understanding. It isn't
enough just to mouth those words. I want to think about it. Heaven's going
to be more beautiful than I can imagine, and when I sing that song, not only
is God praised, not only are others taught and admonished, I'm
encouraged and uplifted because I've thought about those Biblical truths,
and they reminded me of how wonderful that is.
Friend, if you want to improve your singing, sing as if you're teaching
somebody. Sing as if this might be your opportunity to encourage and
admonish somebody else. Let's say you've got a visitor come in. Let's say
somebody's visiting and they hear our singing. They see the way that we
do it with joy and passion, and they're listening to the words. Maybe they
don't have their songbook open, but they're listening to the words you're
saying. You're singing things that are true to the Bible. They're being
taught. They're being admonished by those words, Colossians 3:16. You're
actually teaching them by doing so, and so what a wonderful idea that is.
As we mentioned, our singing needs to always be in spirit. You can't
sit there with a somber look and no emotion. I'm not saying you're jumping
up and down. That's not the idea, but we ought to be excited. We ought to
be passionate. We ought to have joy. When we sing songs about the
suffering of Christ, it ought to make us think about it. What Jesus suffered,
what He went through, and there ought to be an emotion involved with that,
not guided my emotion alone. We ought to sing with feeling and emotion as
well. God is a spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in
truth. My human spirit must be involved in that also to bring God the glory
and the honor that he deserves.
The challenge for us today is to, open your New Testament, the law
that we're under today, and read every passage in the New Testament
about worshiping God here on this Earth. How are Christians to worship
God on this side? What did the church do? What did Jesus do? What did
the apostles do? What did God command others to do? And you'll find, in
every instance, they sang.
Then we encourage each of us to sing in such a way that it brings
glory and honor to God. Just think about it. As you think about worship, just
think about how much God has done for me and you. Think about the
beautiful words of verses like this, "God so loved the world he gave his only
begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have
everlasting life," John 3:16. Look at how much God gave up so that we can
have the hope of heaven. God wants all men to be saved, 1 Timothy 2:4.
All men includes me and you. He wants us to be saved. We're told to cast
all our care upon him. He cares for us, 1 Peter 5:7.
The God of heaven cares deeply for you. So much so, that he sent
his son to die a cruel death on a cruel cross so that we could have the hope
of eternal life. Have you obeyed the Gospel? Are you a Christian? You
might be thinking, ‘well, what do I do to become a Christian?’
Here's what the Bible teaches. You have to hear the word of God.
"Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God," Romans 10:17.
Having heard that message, you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
‘Unless you believe that I am he,’ Jesus said, ‘you'll die in your sins,’ John
8:24. You must also turn from sin and turn to God. Jesus said, "Unless you
repent, you'll all likewise perish," Luke 13:3. Having made the good
confession, I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Acts
8:37, you must do what Peter said in Acts 2. Peter said in Acts 2:38,
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins."
Have you done those things? If not, we beg you today to do that.
May each of us really think about worshiping in God in such a way
that the product of our worship will be God is honored and praised by our
Study Questions for:
“Worship Series: Lesson 4”
1. What does John 4:24 say about how we should worship?
2. In Leviticus 10:1-2, what did Nadab and Abihu do that the Lord had not
3. What was the consequence in Leviticus 10:1-2 of not following God’s
4. According to Matthew 28:18, who has all authority?
5. What did Jesus’ mother say in John 2:5?
6. According to Colossians 3:17 how are we to do things?
7. What does Revelation 22:18-19 say we are never to do?
8. According to Ephesians 5:19 & Colossians 3:16, what are we do to?
9. Where are we to make melody according to Ephesians 5:19?
10. According to 1 Timothy 2:4, what does God want?