THE MUSIC OF THE CHURCH
EPH 5:18-21 - COL 3:16 - 1 COR 14:15 - HEB 13:15
INTRO: In the year 1906 a great division occurred among disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. While other factors certainly contributed to that division, the use of instrumental music in the worship assemblies of the church was one of the most prominent of the causes. There are matters of opinion, and there are matters of sound doctrine. The division involved those two viewpoints. One group said it was a matter of opinion while the other held that this was an issue of sound doctrine. The whole issue really revolved about ones view of the authority of the scriptures. May I kindly and lovingly affirm that it really does matter what you believe about the music of the church.
I. LOOKING AT THE BIBLICAL TEXTS
A. Eph 5:19 - "...singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord"
1. singing is specified as the way in which we are to speak to ourselves
2. the word translated "singing" is correctly translated and does not include or imply the addition of any instruments of music
3. the melody made in the heart is expressed from the mouth by singing!
B. Col 3:16 - "...singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord"
1. singing is specified as one way in which we teach and admonish by the use of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
2. the word translated "singing" is correctly translated and does not include or imply the addition of instrumental accompaniment to the singing
3. in both texts there is the reflexive action of one to another singing - and the notice that the ultimate objective is "to the Lord"
C. 1 Cor 14:15 - "...I will sing with the spirit, and...the understanding also"
1. singing in the assembly of the church is specified here
2. the word translated "singing" is correctly translated and does not include or imply the addition or use of any instruments of music.
3. translators for years to the present have never suggested in their translations the use of instrumental music in translating the words in these texts
II. SO, WHENCE HAS COME THE IDEA OF ADDING INSTRUMENTS?
A. For 100's of years music of the church was a cappella
1. this, in contrast to the music of the Jewish temple - Levites only!
2. textually and historically singing without accompaniment was the pattern
3. it was perhaps as late at the 10th century before instruments were used in religious services of the then apostate church - the general use of them is a relatively modern historical phenomenon!
B. "The New Testament does not forbid their use"
1. I believe this to be the most used defense of the use of instruments
2. however, the well defined laws of language do, indeed, forbid their use
3. in an imperative setting a specific term is exclusive in its nature - "singing" is a specific kind of music - that term used in scripture excludes other kinds of music
4. "a cappella" - "in the manner of the church" - all choral people know the meaning of this word and this style of music ... unaccompanied singing
5. a Biblical example? my favorite has been Gen 6:14 - "gopher wood"
C. "This is not a serious issue involving sin"
1. in one form or another I hear and read this justification for instruments
2. how are we to make such arbitrary decisions? who says it's not serious?
3. an illustration: 1 Chron 13:2-10 with 1 Cor 15:12-15
a. "it's not important how we get the ark to Jerusalem"
b. but God has specified how the ark was to be moved (Ex 25:12-15)
c. the word "sin" was not used in the specifications - but Uzza died for not following the prescribed directions (Num 4:15)
d. what man considered "opinion" God considered to be "doctrine"!
4. this may not be part of how sins are remitted and we are added to the body, but it is very much a part of faithful observance of God's plan, pattern
5. whatever violates God's revealed pattern is sin - and sin is serious
D. Instrumental music in worship is clearly a departure from revealed pattern
1. language and history both attest to the pattern of congregational singing
2. just as certainly as the use of donuts and diet coke for the elements of the Lord's supper would be a departure from the pattern
3. am I aware that there are those departing from the pattern? of course
4. and I fear the reason for their departing has everything to do with pleasing people and nothing to do with pleasing God! there is no scriptural authority!
5. I love all kinds of music - as most of you know ... I am a musician by desire and education ... but in matters in which God has spoken I will not put my personal interests and desires ahead of His
CLOSE: Precious friends, I implore that you give careful thought and attention to this subject. And hold fast to the pattern of sound words (2 Tim 1:13).
Cecil A. Hutson
16 July 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)