The Purpose of Singing

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Christianity is a singing faith. Christians all around the world come together to sing. One of the most helpful things to remember is the why. We don’t want to just go through the motions, but rather know why we do what we do. 

How does worship, particularly worshiping with other people, change and transform us? One of the many realities of life is that human beings desire to worship. We’re hardwired for worship. If you choose to believe there is no God, one of the things you’re going to have to reconcile is why we’re hardwired to find something of value and worship it. What is worship? Let’s just begin with a definition.

Worship is expressing our love and gratitude to God for who He is, what He’s done, what He’s said, and what He’s promised to do!

Anytime you express your love to God, you’re worshiping.

“The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’” Mark 12:29-30

The most important command from God is to love Him with our emotions, our bodies, and every area of our lives mentally. There are four big reasons we express our love to God. 


Why We Express Our Love to God

1. Because we were made to be loved by God.

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NIV

If we don’t feel like worshiping it just means we don’t realize how much God loves us. If we understood how much God loves us, we couldn’t help but love him back. Our worship is the response to God’s love. The only reason there’s any love in the universe is because God is a God of love. God is love, so he made us as objects of love. God wanted you, so He created the universe so you could exist.

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT

2. We worship because everything comes from God.

The air we breathe, our heartbeats, the water we drink, food we eat, the sunshine; everything comes from God. Not only did God create you, He created everything in the world to sustain you. In 1 Chronicles, King David says something very beautiful about this. They have just collected the largest offering ever in history. Actually, in today’s terms, about $300 million in a single offering. It was for the building of the temple in Jerusalem.

David: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” 1 Chronicles 29:14 NIV

Everything comes from God. He is the source, everything else is just a resource. Your job is not the source. It’s just a resource. That’s what we remind ourselves when we give, it’s an expression of worship. 

3. We express our love to God because we understand life through worship.

Every time you focus on God, you come into His presence. You drown out everything else to focus on God in worship. It raises your perspective and broadens your understanding. You come in and everything’s inverted. My problems are big and my God is small. Through worship, God is put in his rightful place. My God is big and my problems are small.

David: “I tried to understand it all, but it was too hard for me to see until I went to the Temple of God. Then I understood what was happening…” Psalm 73:16-17

This is true for whatever you’re dealing with. In this instance, David is dealing with the problem of evil and wondering why these people who were trying to harm others seem to be getting away with it. Then he realized who God is and that they ultimately weren’t getting away with anything. He received God’s wisdom. You receive God’s wisdom when you worship. We’re not going to get that kind of perspective from television or sports or the lake. 

4. Because God strengthens us through worship.

We get the energy and power through worship. When you love and express your gratitude to God, He strengthens your heart, soul and body.

“O Lord, you give me light; you dispel my darkness. You give me strength to attack my enemies and power to overcome their defenses. This God—how perfect are his deeds How dependable his words! He is like a shield for all who seek his protection.” Psalm 18:28-30 GNT

God gives you strength to defeat the things that would defeat you in life. There is a successful therapist who says that impression without expression leads to depression. Singing helps your emotional health. 


The Kind of Worship God Loves

These four reasons help us understand the why of worship. Next, we will look at what kind of worship God wants. The Bible says very clearly, there’s a right way and a wrong way to worship God. You certainly don’t want to worship God in the wrong way. 

Here is the kind of worship God loves: Wholehearted worship.

It’s the opposite of half-hearted or insincere worship. He loves passionate worship. God loves it when you tell Him that you love Him. When you’re grateful for what He’s done in your life, you tell Him and thank Him passionately. When you praise Him, you praise Him passionately with your whole heart. When you do worship with your whole heart, then God blesses you in ways that you wouldn’t normally be blessed.

“In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result he was very successful.” 2 Chronicles 31:21 NLT

Hezekiah had one of the most successful and prosperous reigns as a leader of Israel. God gave Hezekiah such amazing success because he worshiped God wholeheartedly. Look at God’s response to those who were worshiping insincerely.

GOD: “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” Isaiah 29:13 NLT

In some church services it seems everything is memorized and said by rote and nobody actual feels it. They’re saying it because of their tradition. This is not pleasing to God because it involves just going through the motions and not thinking about why and what they are doing. In scripture, Jesus tells us what kind of worship God wants.

Jesus: “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” John 4:23 NIV

He’s not talking about the Holy Spirit in this passage. He’s talking about your spirit. He says when you worship God, it needs to be authentic and it needs to be accurate. Some people may say it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe it sincerely. The problem with that is it makes it all about you, but life isn’t all about you. Yes, we worship God sincerely, but there is absolute truth. God is truth. So we worship the true God. Worship needs to be passionate and it needs to be true, based on God’s word.


One Primary Way to Worship God

There are many ways to worship, but for the rest of this post we will focus on one primary way. This method is one we all know about, but we may be forgetting the power of it. We can worship God and show our love to God by singing to Him: by singing together with our whole hearts.

It’s really important for us to learn to celebrate with other people. This is why even where the gospel and worshiping together is illegal, the believers start a house church or a small group. They’re risking their life to do it because Jesus said that where two or three gather in His name He is in the midst of them.

God wants us to worship Him with the church body every seven days. The Bible says we sing together and that is an act of worship. As far as the Bible’s commandments, many scholars have said that singing is the most frequently commanded thing in the Bible. The reason you may not think that is true is because it’s commanded in several different ways. The Bible will say: Sing to God… Give thanks… Praise God… Rejoice…Make music… Make melody in your hearts… Shout aloud…Shout together… Sing a psalm… Sing a hymn… A spiritual song… Make music with a harp… Make music with a lyre…Make music with a trumpet… Clash Cymbals… Etc…

That’s not a checklist of different ways to praise God, it’s all the same thing. When you combine it all together it’s one of the most frequently commanded things in the Bible. Some of those words we might not see as being musical words, but they are. In the Bible, the music and singing is implied. Take the word rejoice, most people don’t think of that word as being inherently musical, but biblically it is. The word rejoice is used synonymous with singing or giving praise.

The most important word in the Bible that has an implied musical component that we totally miss is the word prayMost of the time, when you see the word pray in the Bible it’s talking about singing. Psalms is the prayer-book of the Bible but it is also the song-book of the Bible. All of the Psalms had tunes that went with them. Jewish prayer was sung, which is still true today. If you went to a synagogue, their service would be similar to ours, they would have songs and a sermon. They call the sermon a sermon but they call the songs prayer. When Jesus was up all night praying, He probably spent most of the night singing because we know Jesus prayed the Psalms. This was the prayer language of Jesus. The Psalms are set to music so Jesus knew the tune to all the Psalms. If he knew the tune, He wouldn’t just sit there and recite. When’s the last time you just sat and recited a song instead of singing it? 

There are four primary ways to pray. You can think your prayer, write your prayer, speak your prayer or you can sing it. You only think a prayer when you can’t speak it out loud or can’t write it down. Writing and speaking, that’s better because God is real at that point. Real enough that you would say it out loud or write it to him. From a biblical perspective, singing is by far the best.

Prayer is words and music combined. Not every single time the Bible talks about prayer is it referring to singing, because if you strip the music away, of course it is still prayer. But, we think default prayer is spoken, and then you can add music in as an extra flowery ornamentation.  In reality, if you only speak the prayer, you’re stripping something away. Singing is prayer and it’s an essential habit in the Christian life.

“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.” Colossians 3:16 NIV

One thing that can happen is we spend so much time saying worship is more than singing, that people will just start to disregard it. It’s true that worship is more than singing, but singing is really important to God. Every time God pulls back the veil to his throne room or to heaven, there’s singing.

On the other hand, some people think just catching the sermon online is all they need. But the music doesn’t just set the stage for the sermon or echo the sermon. Singing is a spiritual discipline. Just like reading the Bible, giving, or sharing your faith. God likes it when we sing to him. He says He takes pleasure in it. And as far as we can tell, music is God’s language. 

An evolutionary biologist has two things that are really hard to explain. First, they have to explain why music affects us the way it does, why it moves us so deeply. The second question is why music exists in the first place. Mathematically, with all those pitches and harmony, where you have two notes and then the two notes lock into each other but then they procreate and you’ve got hundreds of notes. The answer is that God wrote it into the fabric of the universe. 

“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:18-20 NLT

The wrong way to take that is to say that he’s talking about a bad thing verses a virtuous thing, like when you tell your kids, don’t watch TV but do your chores instead like they should be excited about that. No, the reason he’s comparing them is that they are the same type of thing. The high or the low you get from alcohol, whatever you’re seeking, the sense of your problems going away or the relaxation, alcohol will give it to you sometimes, but it’ll ruin your life. The better way is to get it from the Holy Spirit. Seek that feeling from God. Receive your joy and peace from Him. When you sing, you’re opening up a door that the Holy Spirit can walk through. 

We all face different things. Some of us need God to strengthen our bodies from sickness, illness, or soreness. Some need financial direction. Some need the strongholds of materialism to break. Some need revitalization in our marriage. We need something to turn around in our kids. We may all come with different needs, but we all worship the same God.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions on the message, on the purpose of preaching?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Spend some time in the word. Read Colossians Chapter 3.

Christianity is a singing faith. Each week we gather to worship through singing.

Worship is expressing our love and gratitude to God for who He is, what He’s done, what He’s said, and what He’s promised to do. Why do we express this love to God?

  1. Because we were made to be loved by God.
  2. Because everything comes from God.
  3. Because we understand life through worship.
  4. Because God strengthens us through worship.

One of the primary ways to worship God is by singing together to God with others.

Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

— Ephesians 5:18-20 (NLT)

Application

  1. What’s your history with church worship services? Did you go as a kid? How did your family growing up think about worship services?
  2. What stood out to you in this message?
  3. Have you ever experienced “the inversion” of your problems and God? “I come into worship and my problems are big and my God is small. Through worship, my God is put in his rightful place. Now I see my God is big and my problems are small.”
  4. How could you be worshiping God more wholeheartedly?
  5. How will this message change the way you see the singing time at Rock Brook?
  6. What do you need from God right now?

Tell Someone Else

What is this message leading you to do? Who can you encourage as a result of this message?

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