Friday, January 13, 2017

Singing, Silence, and Heart Songs

The other night I had the opportunity to share with my Creative Team the reason that we sing in church. I believe we easily forget why we actually sing when we gather as the Church. We become jaded by our personal preference, our stylistic choices, and the mundane and routine of church life. Before we know it we find ourselves no longer engaging with the corporate body through song.

Ephesians 5:18-20 says, And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

I want to take a few minutes of your time and share three reasons that I believe we should sing in our corporate gatherings.

Firstly, we sing because we are commanded to.
Christine Cain said at Passion 2017, “Obedience to the Word is not legalism”. Please hear my heart behind this, singing because we are commanded to is not legalistic, it’s being obedient to God.

Psalm 95:1-2 says,

“Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to Him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to Him.”

Psalms 96:1-2 carries the thought with,

“Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to Him; praise His name.”

Psalms 98:1,4-6 continues with,

“Sing a new song to the Lord,
For He has done wonderful deeds.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth;
Break out in praise and sing for joy!
Sing your praise to the Lord with your harp
With the harp and melodious song,
With trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!”

The invitation to sing is scattered throughout scripture. The people of God have always been a singing people. It’s who we are! This is not a new thing we are doing, it’s the way that believers have responded for generations. I believe God commands us to sing because He knows that when we sing we are reminded of His faithfulness, His goodness, His sovereignty, and His authority in every season of our lives.

Can I encourage us to sing? Can I encourage us to move past our personal preferences and lift our voices in song to the One who is worthy?

Secondly, we sing because there is a horizontal spiritual impact taking place.
Paul says, “be filled with the Spirit addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”. The word Address means: to speak, preach, say, talk, tell, utter. We have an opportunity to build up those around us by the words we are singing together.

I’m going to make some assumptions about my readers right now.  My assumptions are that the majority of Christians who have taken the time to read this are not baby Christians.  My assumption is that you’ve been saved for years, that you’ve been baptized,  led a small group or served on a leadership board.  If that’s you - what a huge responsibility and privilege you have to encourage other believers around you.  And haven’t you heard? The  person two rows ahead was just diagnosed with cancer and they need to know that God is the healer.  Proclaim it for their ears to hear. “Our God is healer, awesome in power!” We sing because our brother fell back into sin this week. He needs to know that God still loves him and that the blood of Jesus covers his sin… “No secret, no sickness, no chain is strong enough to keep us from your love”. We sing because our sister  is struggling with an addiction or drowning in debt, and she needs to know that she is more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ! “We are more than conquerors in Christ.  You have overcome this world, this life..”  We sing because people around us are hurting, depressed, questioning if God is good, and walking through a valley of death.  If you’re not the one in that place, you have the great privilege and obligation to lift up the ones around you who are. By declaring the truths of God through song, your brothers and sisters are encouraged, and their faith is built up.

You never know the spiritual impact that is taking place when you make a choice to open your mouth and sing.

Can I encourage us to sing? Can I encourage us to move past our personal preferences and lift our voices in song to the One who is worthy?

Lastly, we sing because there is a vertical spiritual impact taking place.
Paul writes, “Making a melody to the Lord with your heart”. I believe God has placed a song in each of our hearts. I believe He has given us a melody to sing back to Him. I believe He delights in hearing the songs of our heart.

Here’s the thing, God doesn’t need our worship, He is not dependent upon whether or not we sing. But He desires to hear melodies born out of our heart for Him. I believe He desires to hear his Church, in unity, with one voice, lifting His name.  Not just a couple people who sing all the specials, or a well-rehearsed choir, but his Church. His people - excluding no one. He is not concerned with the quality of our voices, He’s concerned with the condition of our hearts. Jesus said,out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” What’s in our hearts? Are they the thoughts of God or the pride of flesh…?

I Believe we lack joy in our lives because we don’t sing. I really do. Singing, especially singing a heart song that God has given you, moves the heart of God. When God is moved, He responds. See, this beautiful exchange is taking place when children are singing to their Father, when the Bride is singing to her Bridegroom, when the saints are singing to their Savior. Intimacy is born out of those moments. Joy is born out of intimacy with God. If you want to grow in intimacy, learn how to sing the song of your heart.

Church, can I encourage us to sing when we gather? Can I encourage us to sing because God knows it will remind us of who He is? Can I encourage us to sing for those around us? Can I encourage us to sing the songs of our hearts? Can I encourage us to raise anthems of worth to the One who is worthy?

May we sing and not be silent about the glory and worth of Jesus!