Music is an incredible gift that God has given us, and it is a gift that the church should always embrace. I believe that in order for a Church to be healthy and thriving, music and singing should play and integral part of the Worship Service. I love music, both listening to music and or singing along. I can’t think of many things that are more encouraging, more inspiring, where I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in an incredible way , than when I hear all of your voices passionately singing praises to God together on a Sunday morning. I have this dream that God has given me that one day our church will be filled to capacity every Sunday with believers who have no other motive than to passionately worship and praise Jesus, because of the transforming good news of the Gospel, and the abundant life that he purchased and gave to us. We serve and amazing God who deserves our very best, which honestly sometimes when we are at our worst is not very good, but if it is our best on that day even on our word day it is glorifying to God.
Below I invite you to read an article by Bob Kauflin which compliments very well what I talked about on Sunday on why we sing and Praise God through music as a church.
Singing in the Bible
by Bob Kauflin
There are almost 50 direct commands to sing in Scripture, as well as 400 references to singing. Two of those passages (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16) instruct us to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God and to one another. These aren’t suggestions, preferences or good ideas. They’re commands. Which means God intends for us to obey them.
Since not everyone is a musician, how do these apply to us? Why does God want us to sing?
1. Singing is more a matter of our hearts than our voices.
Years ago, Ronald Allen wrote in his book Worship: Rediscovering the Missing Jewel:
“When a non-singer becomes a Christian, he or she becomes a singer. Not all are blessed with a finely tuned ear and a well-modulated voice; so the sound may not be superb—it may even be out of tune and off key. Remember: Worship is a state of heart; musical sound is a state of art. Let’s not confuse them.”
We sing and make melody to the Lord with our hearts (Eph. 5:19). The sounds we make affect those around us, for better or worse. But God hears what no one else can. It’s the song of the Redeemed for their great Redeemer. It’s a song we didn’t originate and can’t improve upon. It’s true that those who led the singing at the temple were trained and skilled in music for the Lord (1 Chron. 25:7). But there’s no indication either in the early church or in Revelation’s depiction of heaven that anyone gets a pass when it comes to singing praises to God. Even if we can’t sing a note, we can still sing in our hearts.
2. Singing helps us remember words. Throughout Scripture, God reminds his people of their tendency to forget his promises, commands and warnings. In Deut. 31, as Israel is about to enter the promised land, God tells Moses that his people will turn to idols after they enter Canaan. He then instructs Moses to teach the Israelites a song, so that “when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring)” (Deut. 31:21). We sing to remember God’s word, and most of all, the word of Christ or the gospel (Col. 3:16). Science has confirmed that we remember words, patterns and categories more easily when words are set to music. It’s why hardly anyone can quote a John Wesley sermon, yet most people know the words to Charles Wesley’s “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
3. Singing expresses and engages our emotions.
In every culture, music is a language of emotion that helps express what we feel. So David writes, “My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed” (Ps. 71:23). The words of his redeemed soul overflow into song. It’s why musicals are so popular, why we sing our country’s national anthem and why every revival since the Reformation has been accompanied by an outpouring of new songs. As John Piper said in a sermon, “The reason we sing is because there are depths and heights and intensities and kinds of emotion that will not be satisfactorily expressed by mere prosaic forms or even poetic readings. There are realities that demand to break out of prose into poetry, and some demand that poetry be stretched into song.” At the same time, music engages our emotions. In Mt. 11:17, Jesus implies that music can lead us to either dance or mourn. It can draw out a variety of feelings including romance, peace, joy, fear, playfulness, sadness or awe. Singing can help us feel the truth more deeply.
4. Singing reflects the nature of God. The Father sings over his redeemed people (Zephaniah 3:17). Jesus sings with us in the midst of the congregation (Heb. 2:12). One of the fruits of being filled with the Spirit is singing (Eph. 5:18-19). We worship a triune God who sings, and he wants us to be like him.
5. Singing together reflects and deepens our unity in the gospel. Being together in the same room is one way we can express our unity. But singing together draws attention to that bond as we sing the same words at the same time. In fact, Paul uses a musical analogy when he wants to encourage gospel-driven unity: “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14).
Connecting With God
There are more reasons to consider, but this is a blog post, not a book (which I’m currently writing). God never promised we would connect with him through singing. The way we “connect with him” is through faith in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, that paid for our sins and reconciled us to God (Heb. 10:19-22; 1 Pet. 3:18). The ways we express that faith are wonderfully varied—working, playing, serving, proclaiming, gathering, etc. But we have no reason to abandon God’s good gift of singing in the name of being more genuine. God knows how we work. And he’s appointed singing to be one way we deepen our relationship with him and each other.
The singing in your church may be dreadful. Your voice might sound like a cross between a beached whale and an alley cat in heat. Singing might make you feel uncomfortable. Those who lead the singing in your church might do it poorly. And if there’s anything we can do to change the situation, we should. But our confidence and comfort in singing comes from this: Jesus, our great high priest, makes all our offerings acceptable to God through his perfect life of obedience and his perfect sacrifice of atonement. The Father loves our singing not only because it’s sincere, but because when offered through faith, it sounds just like his beloved Son. And besides, one day we’ll all have better voices, and our songs will far surpass anything we’ve sung here. It’s then we’ll realize that eternity won’t be long enough to contain the songs worthy of the Lamb who was slain.