1. In John 4:23 Jesus said that God seeks "true worshippers" to worship Him. 2. The Lord's statement indicates that God does not accept all worship -- He only accepts true worship. 3. In this verse Jesus identified true worshippers as those who worship God "in spirit and in truth." 4. We are studying a series of lessons designed to help us be true worshippers. 5. In this lesson we are showing that "true worship includes singing." 6. The first step we need to take is to determine whether . . .
I. THE NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORIZES SINGING IN WORSHIP
A. This is where we need to begin because we are to only say and do those things that Christ has authorized us to say and do (Colossians 3:17, 16a). B. As we examine the Bible in general we see that God's people have sung praises to Him for many centuries. 1. (Exodus 15:1) Moses and the Israelites sang a "song unto the Lord" after He destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. 2. (Judges 5:1-3) Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise to God after Israel defeated the Canaanites. 3. (Matthew 26:30) Jesus and His apostles sang a hymn after He gave instructions for eating His Supper. C. The New Testament specifically teaches Christians to "sing" in worship. 1. 1 Corinthians 14:15 2. Ephesians 5:19 3. Colossians 3:16 D. Some people claim that these verses do not relate to worship assemblies, but a close examination of each verse shows that they do. 1. The context of 1 Corinthians 14:15 shows that Paul was dealing with activities and conduct in "the church" (vs.12, 19, 23, 26, 34-35). 2. In Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, Paul was dealing with an assembly in which Christians are able to address each other. E. The New Testament clearly teaches that "true worship includes singing." F. Since this is the case, we must sing "in spirit and in truth."
II. SINGING "IN SPIRIT" [from the heart, in sincerity, having the proper attitude and disposition]
A. Our hearts must be in our singing. 1. (Ephesians 5:19) We are to sing and make melody "in the heart." 2. (Colossians 3:16) We are to sing with grace "in our hearts." B. We must also sing "with the understanding" (1 Corinthians 14:15). 1. We must concentrate on the words of the songs we sing. 2. We must carefully consider the messages taught in the songs we sing. 3. We must mean what we sing. C. To motivate us to sing as the Lord desires, let us remember that He is present (Matthew 18:20).
III. SINGING "IN TRUTH" [according to God's revealed will in the New Testament]
A. We must sing the proper kinds of songs, including: 1. "psalms" [sacred songs, many of which are in the Old Testament -- "The Lord's My Shepherd"] 2. "hymns" [songs of praise to God -- "We Praise Thee O God"] 3. "spiritual songs" [songs that promote greater devotion to God -- "My Jesus, I Love Thee"]. B. We must sing the right kinds of songs to the proper individuals, including: 1. God -- we are to sing "to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) 2. others in the assembly. a. (Ephesians 5:19) "Speaking to yourselves" b. (Colossians 3:16) "Teaching and admonishing one another" C. Since we teach others when we sing, we must sing songs that teach the truth. D. We must sing in the manner prescribed in the New Testament. 1. There are 2 types of singing: a. "vocal" [a cappella] b. "vocal accompanied by mechanical instruments." 2. The New Testament authorizes "vocal" singing. 3. Instruments were used in the Old Testament, but that covenant has been taken away and replaced by the new covenant (Colossians 2:14). 4. Seeking justification from the law is a serious offense (Galatians 5:4).
1. In His Word God has revealed the way He wants us to worship Him. 2. "Singing" is one of the authorized acts of Christian worship. 3. Let us be sure that we follow these principles that relate to singing "in spirit and in truth." 4. One time we sing a song is when the Lord's invitation is extended. 5. To anyone who is in special need of the Savior, won't you allow this song to encourage you to come to Him? 6. Matthew 11:28-30