Music in Church Praise and Worship Pleases God
- Summary: Musical praise and worship is a powerful contributor to your own joy, to dynamic church services, and to ongoing victory over the spiritual forces of evil arrayed against the growth and expansion of the kingdom of God.
Hebrews 2:11-12 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises” [12, KJV - in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee].
Mark 14:26 [Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper] When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the mount of Olives.
- • In both verses the word for “praise” is the Greek humneo. Strong’s concordance says this word means “to sing a religious ode; by implication, to celebrate (God) in song…”
- • Vine’s helpful dictionary of Greek words defines the noun form (humnos): “…denotes a song of praise addressed to God.”
- • Music (and especially singing) is inseparably associated with our Christian faith.
1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
- • The NIV says “a hymn.” The King James says “a psalm.” The underlying Greek word psalmos means “a set piece of music, i.e., a sacred ode (accompanied with the voice, harp, or other instrument…)” [Strong’s concordance].
- • The related word psallo means “…to twitch or twang, i.e., to play on a stringed instrument.” So today’s church worship teams, which almost always have one or more stringed instruments, are thoroughly biblical. This is confirmed by Vine’s dictionary of New Testament Greek words, which says, “The psalmos denoted that which had a musical accompaniment.” In contradiction to this, curiously, there is a small segment of Christians who erroneously believe that there should be no musical instruments in church worship.
Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
- • Whether alone or in a church service, the Christian is exhorted to “sing to God,” to “make melody in your heart to the Lord,” “to admonish one another … through psalms, hymns, and songs.”
- • So the Christian can engage in a broad spectrum of music in worship to God. It can be alone or in the assembled congregation. It can be with or without instrumental accompaniment — for example, “making melody in your heart to the Lord.” It can be learned songs or spontaneous “spiritual songs.”
1 Corinthians 14:14-15 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.
- • Our singing to the Lord can be in either of two dimensions, both of them good: (1) “with my spirit” — that is, in tongues [vss. 2, 14] or (2) “with my understanding.” The balanced prayer life and worship life include prayer and singing with the understanding and with the spirit.
James 5:13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
- • Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful…
- • There is an interesting principle here. Happiness and joy within have a way of breaking forth from us — here, by making “the face cheerful” and by singing “songs of praise.”
- • I do realize that there are situations in life that may at any given time be diminishing our joy. If that is the case with you right now, ask the Lord to grant you an extra measure of “the fruit of the Spirit [of] joy” (Galatians 5:22). Whether alone or in church, you will find that Holy Spirit-given joy beginning to come forth from you in joyful songs of worship.
Revelation 5:8-9a; 14:2-3a; 15:2-3a And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song… [14:2] And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders… [15:2] And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb…
- • We are given a glimpse of scenes in heaven. What do we see and hear? Praise, worship, singing, new songs, harpists playing their harps, and more. It is undeniably clear that musical praise and worship pleases God.
- • The perfect worship in heaven is a wonderful pattern to us for our worship on earth as we assemble to honor the Lord. As in heaven, so on earth let us songs of praise and worship, psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, with instrumental accompaniment (“harps”), singing and making melody to the Lord that springs from hearts rejoicing in Him.
1 Chronicles 15:16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.
1 Chronicles 25:6-7 All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives — all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord — they numbered 288.
- • Israel’s great psalmist, King David, considered music in worship to be so important that he had Levites appointed as musicians, with lyres, harps, and cymbals, “to make a joyful sound” before the Lord.
- • For this important “ministry at the house of God,” these appointed music ministers were “all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord.” Church leaders, take note. Look among your members for spiritual men and women called and skilled in music. Their ministry will greatly enhance the power and impact of the worship time of the church service.
2 Chronicles 20:1, 21-22 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat…  Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
- • One closing thought. Satan and his demons are relentlessly “invading” and opposing the people and work of the Lord on this earth. Remember this great scene from the Scriptures. As the singers went out ahead of the army and began to sing and praise, God confounded and defeated the enemy!
- • We believers are God’s army on earth (2 Timothy 2:3-4). As we “soldiers of the cross” gather to worship, our singing and praising can rout the spiritual forces of darkness and bring victory to our individual lives, our church services, and the advancement of God’s kingdom on this earth.
- • So let there be music in the church!
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©2014, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.