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and singing in church
Paul, an apostle of Christ, wrote in
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all
wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Singing and music is a part of our worship of God. Does any and
all music honor Christ? Are all songs in the hymn book acceptable?
Exodus 32:1-35, 1.“when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down
out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron,
and said unto him, Up, make us gods, 17. And when Joshua heard the noise
of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of
war in the camp.” Acting congregational leader, Aaron, made the
people an idol. In doing so, he ceased to honor God. He
became an abettor to sin and a follower of their contemporary ideas
instead of acting as their leader. Now leaderless, the people of
Israel worshiped the idol with dancing, shouting and singing so loud
Joshua mistook their sin for the noise of war.
Numerous medical studies have proven that loud music causes permanent
hearing loss and brain damage. So, why is some church music so
loud? 1Kings 19:11-12 “And he [God] said [to Elijah], Go forth,
and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed
by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces
the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after
the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and
after the fire a still small voice." Does loud and shaking mean
that God is in it?
The words of a hymn cause me to favor some over others. It is
difficult for me to name a favorite hymn because there are so many
wonderful hymns. Hymns which speak of the majesty and glory of our
Savior and Lord and draw attention to Him and His Word give me the
privilege to worship my King and Savior. These I love the
most. The melody, the tune, to which we sing hymns is secondary to
me. I do not favor a hymn that affects my feet more than my heart.
The words of a hymn reveal the heart of the author. Jesus said in
Matthew 12:35 , “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart
bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure
bringeth forth evil things.” This truth is manifest in the words
of hymn writers.
Martin Luther's great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, exposes the
heart of one whom God freed from sin and tradition and shielded from
those who would kill him. He wrote of Christ's protection and of
Satan's helplessness before Him and of the eternal power of God's word.
A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
Charles Wesley wrote many wonderful hymns. His hymn “O for a
Thousand Tongues to Sing” show us a man who would praise Christ with a
thousand tongues if he could. Singing his hymns is a wonderful
O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.
Robert Grant wrote 12 hymns. His best known hymn was inspired by
Psalm 104 and we know it as “O Worship the King”. What wonderful
honor and glory this hymn ascribes to our God.
O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing God's power and God's love;
our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
Robert E. Lee’s favorite hymn was, “How Firm a Foundation”. It is
from “A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, by John Rippon,
1787”. The author is not known. We are so blessed of God to
be able to sing such a Christ honoring hymn.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
Conversely there are hymn books which contain songs that do not honor
the Word of God nor our Lord Jesus Christ. A song often sung in
many congregations is the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. It was
written by Julia Ward Howe who left the Episcopal Church to become a
Unitarian (Transcendentalism). She accepted the Unitarian beliefs
that the doctrine of the Trinity is untrue and that Jesus was just
another good man or a prophet but not the only begotten Son of God and
not God in the flesh. Jesus Christ was not born “in the beauty of
the lilies” as she wrote. It is not a Christian hymn but a song
which glorifies war in the name of God. It has no place in a
Again the words of Jesus, “A good man out of the good treasure of the
heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil
treasure bringeth forth evil things.” The words of a hymn
communicate the message of the author. It is my duty, as a member
of Christ's body, to sing hymns which are doctrinally sound and exalt
Christ and His Word.
1Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only
wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.