There are several biblical components of worship which we are examining in our studies of God’s Word at Calvary. Yesterday morning and evening we considered Musical Worship. You can listen to the morning exposition of New Testament texts on musical worship here and the evening application to our church family here.
There are several New Testament texts that are descriptive of musical worship. The New Testament prescriptive texts for musical worship include Ephesians 5:18-19 and Colossians 3:16. We examined the prescriptive texts that give instruction to believers and the church regarding musical worship.
Principles based on these texts
The setting for musical worship (Eph. 5:18) is saved, Spirit-filled believers gathering on the Lord’s Day as well as at other times to recognize God’s worth and respond accordingly (worship).
Kinds of musical worship (Eph. 5:19) include vocal and instrumental, formal songs of praise as well as personal songs of testimony. The Psalms provide a model of content (descriptions of God as well as individual experience of God’s work), language (lofty and exalted as well as intensely personal), and tone (formal as well as passionate).
The origin of musical worship should be your inner man, the source of your thoughts and emotion (Eph. 5:19 “in your heart” + 1 Corinthians 14:15 “with the spirit . . . with the understanding”).
The motivation for musical worship is your personal experience of and appreciation of the grace of God (Col. 3:16 – “in grace”).
The object of musical worship is, of course, God (Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16 – “to the Lord”).
Applications based on these principles
Christ-filled believers will worship with music.
Worshiping God with music is an outflow of being saved and under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Christians will sing!
Both voices and instruments contribute to musical worship.
See Psalm 150. Develop musical skills in order to contribute to the worship of God.
Variety in musical worship is right and good.
We endeavor to use music that contains a balance of theological and doctrinal content with personal and experiential testimony. We use a hymnbook and we use PowerPoint to project words onto the screen so we can access and benefit from both old and new music not contained in our hymnbook.
What is spiritual in content should not be unspiritual in style and presentation.
Music can be worldly in sound or style because of its sensual appeal. It can lead to wrong thoughts because it is associated with sinful practices. It can be worldly because it is performed in a showy manner. Each individual, family, and church must exercise wisdom and make decisions regarding their musical worship. We don’t rock and roll at Calvary.
Mindless singing is not worship.
Engage your mind. Develop your understanding of Scripture. Music leaders should help us with archaic language and unfamiliar biblical allusions, especially in older music, by explaining, updating, or eliminating them.
Musical worship should edify Christian brothers and sisters, not offend them.
We try to use music in public worship that reflects not only true doctrine and faithful practice, but also the character, culture, and conscience of our church family. We will undoubtedly use music that some choose not to use personally, and we will not use music that some will use as individuals or families. We should be gracious and accommodating in our attitudes toward one another when we differ.
Every believer is a participant in musical worship.
Everyone can participate. Gifted and skilled musicians lead and present. “Spiritual music comes from spiritual people; beautiful music comes from skilled people; poor musicianship clouds the message.” (Clayton Erb)
Musical worship is not a performance but a presentation.
Hebrews 13:15 By him let us therefore offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Music is an offering to God.
Listen to the messages for more detailed explanation and application. Comments welcome!