BY: Gregg Purcell
Theme Verse: "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching
and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with
thankfulness in your hearts to God." (Col 3:16)
- Not too many issues can claim the same divisiveness as this issue has had in the Lord's Church
in the past 150 years. Satan accomplished much by tempting many brethren to add the musical
instrument to worship of the Lord! What, though, is so wrong with that? Isn't it still honest,
heartfelt worship if music is involved? Is it really such a big deal? These are tough questions that
have a simple answer! Let's study the Scriptures to see how important this issue is, not to us
only, but also in God's Word!!!!
1. God's authority -- His wisdom, His Son, and His Words
- To understand this and any question, we must have an understanding of God's authority and its reign over our lives!!
- To begin, we must understand that man's wisdom is of no profit spiritually.
- Read the following verses and note the value given to man's wisdom in spiritual areas:
- Jer 10:23 --
- Prov 14:12 --
- So, if man's wisdom isn't to be relied on, whose wisdom should we rely on?
- Rom 11:33 --
- 1 Cor 1:18-30 --
- We see, then, that God's wisdom should be what we rely on to guide us through this world.
- We must next understand how we can know what God wants us to do today.
- Read the following Scriptures and note how God has told us what to do spiritually:
- Matt 28:18-20 --
- 1 Cor 2:10-16 --
- 2 Tim 3:16 --
- Now, read Eph 5:17 -- What are we told we are if we don't understand God's will?
So, God's wisdom is made known to us through Jesus's authority and through the spiritually
inspired Word of God!!
2. Respecting the Sanctity of God's inspired word
- Since we are to get our instruction from God's word, we need to understand how we must approach God's word!
- Read the following Scriptures and note God's attitude toward his word in Old Testament times:
-Deut 4:2, 5:2, 12:32 --
- Prov 30:5-6 --
- Now, examine these Scriptures and note God's attitude toward His Word in New Testament times:
- 2 Jn 9 --
- Rev 22:18-19 --
The fact is, if we are truly seeking to serve God, we will respect his Word and do only what it
tells us to.
3. Respecting and Responding to God's specific authority in singing
- In just a moment, we'll be examining New Testament passages where God commands us to worship Him in song. After studying about His authority and His Word, we must also understand how to react to his authority in this specific case. The question is, what do we do when God has told us exactly what to do? Do we take liberties with God's commands, or just follow them?
- Read 2 Sam 6:1-7 --
- Did Uzzah have good intentions for breaking God's specific command (priests only to touch the ark)?
- Did these good intentions help Uzzah any?
- What did God strike him for?
- What is the difference between this and not respecting His authority today?
- Also, consider Noah, told by God to build an ark out of gopher wood. (Gen 6:14,16)
- How did he respond (Gen 6:22)?
We must obey God by doing exactly what he's told us to do and only what he's told us to do!
This is respect!!
4. God's New Testament Commands to Sing
- The following Scriptures are the entire New Testament references to music (except the symbolic Revelation):
-Read the following passages and note what every verse mentions to be the form of music that is acceptable to God!
- Matt 26:30 --
- Acts 16:25 --
- Rom 15:9 --
- 1 Cor 14:15
- Heb 2:12 --
- These have been examples of behavior of others! What did they do to worship God!
- Now read the following three passages, which are our commands:
- Eph 5:19 --
- Col 3:16 --
- James 5:13 --
- Answer the following questions:
1. How has God told us to worship Him, exclusively?
2. Who is to sing?
3. What is to be sung?
4. Why are we to sing?
5. How are we to sing (What is important in song?)
6. If we add instruments to God's command, what are we guilty of?
7. Read Matt 5:19 -- by adding, what have we done to our worship?
God has confirmed for us in His word many things. We are to respect His authority, or suffer the consequences. While we may like the sound of musical instruments, while we have the ability even to play one, we must understand that God hasn't told us that He wants us to play these instruments in worship to Him. Let us respect His authority!!!
5. The Greek words involved
- There are two Greek words to understand from the verses on the previous page, specifically, two Greek verbs.
- ado or ado -- a Greek word that means to sing, and is always used to describe praise to God. (Vine)
- psallo or psallo - translated as "making melody with" in Eph 5:19
- psallo can mean to sing, or to play the string of an instrument
- Name the instrument mentioned in Eph 5:19.
True Christian worship in song comes from hearts joined together in the love of Christ!!!
6. Possible objections answered
- These teaching, while many have no doubt of their truth, are unpopular teachings in today's emotional denomination world!!
- What all must understand is that nobody wants to hurt feelings, and yet God's truth must be spread to all!!
- Consider the following objections and Scriptural answers that could be given!!
1. "Instruments of music were played extensively in the Old Testament"
- This is true. However, read Col 2:14 , Heb 9:15 , Gal 3:24-25
- What is our standard of living today? From which testament must we receive our daily living commands?
2. "The New Testament doesn't say not to . . ."
- Refer to section 3 -- "Respecting and Responding to God's Specific Authority in singing"
- If I were your boss and told you to do a report by tomorrow, would you go skiing? I didn't say not to!!
3. "We can listen to instruments at home, why not at church?"
- First, any song of worship to God shouldn't include instruments -- Not according to how we understand authority!
- Secondly, we do many things at home that we don't do at assembly (Common meals, Volleyball, etc.)
- Individual rules for life from God are different from rules we have as an assembled group of Christians!
4. "But my denomination has instruments and always has!"
- Again, first, we must understand God founded one church through Christ, not 10,000 different ones (Eph 4:4-6)
- Secondly, are you sure your denomination has always had it? Note some remarks from some denominational founders.
- "Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in the noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostles is far more pleasing." (John Calvin)
- "An organ in the worship of God is an ensign of Baal" (Martin Luther)
- "I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither seen nor heard" (John Wesley)
- "I'd as soon pray to God with machinery as to sing to God with machinery." (Charles Spurgeon)
- These men are Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, and Baptist founders or influential members!!
- The instrument was only added later in history, friends, and I'd imagine your denomination didn't always have it!!
5. "But I like to hear instrumental music!"
- Isn't this actually the reason most people forgo God's commands and include instruments?
- The question is -- Who are we here to please?
- Read Gal 1:10 --
Col 3:22 --
-- Who should we never seek to please?
- Read Col 1:10 -- Who should we always seek to please?
We must always seek to serve God! Adding to His word
is doing the opposite! Let's serve and respect Him!!!!!