Worship through music

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by AndrewB93, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. Among the brethren with whom I walk in fellowship, none of the teaching or preaching is pre-written. It's good to come with an impression in your heart and some scriptures in mind, and the Holy Spirit is free in the assembly to bring out divine speaking. I believe there freshness when we allow the Spirit complete freedom when we come together. I know from my own experience when I've been asked to preach, and I spend some time in contemplation beforehand, I might think of something to say that I think will be very good. I stand up to preach, and I end up not saying what I'd intended to, and saying something else instead as the Spirit has directed me at the time. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what the assembled saints need at any particular time, and He would bring it out. The thing that I had in mind to say might well have been sound teaching or a good message, but the Spirit has something particular He wants to bring out at the time. I find, more often than not, that the Spirit is teaching me something by what He brings out when I'm serving. If I was reading my earlier thoughts and impressions - spiritual though they might be - from a pre-written text or sermon notes, then I wouldn't be giving the Spirit of God freedom to operate in the assembly. The Spirit doesn't force His way, I have to make way for Him.

    For many people (myself included), public speaking isn't easy. Public speaking without any kind of notes would appear to be on the verge of terrifying. I've served in the preaching of the glad tidings for a few years now, and it doesn't get any easier, and most brothers would say the same. But what I have found is that the word is clearer and more powerful as I rely more on the Holy Spirit. The more dependent I am on Him, and the less I try to memorise the terms of the gospel in the mental way, the more effective the word is. That might seem an obvious thing to say, but it is the natural tendency of many of us to rely on oratory and forms of words. But, as we get older and grow in our knowledge of God, we learn to trust in Him more and more, and ourselves less and less. This year I've been privileged to serve quite frequently, and a number of brethren have said to me that they're glad to hear that I've been helped in the preaching. Not to hear good things about my preaching, or that I'm a good preacher (because I certainly am not!), but that I've been helped. I've proved the Spirit's power. I'm glad to be able to say that. Well, that's enough about me. I've talked about myself more than I like to, or is profitable.

    As for music, we have to be practical. The hymns and songs we sing have been written down beforehand, by people who've had an impression of God and written it down in that way for use in His praise. The brethren with whom I walk in fellowship have a hymn book, a collection of hymns and spiritual songs, chosen after a great deal of prayer and soul exercise. We're all familiar with melodies that we can sing these hymns and songs to. Even in this though, there's scope to allow the Spirit of God freedom in the assembly. At the Supper, for example, if the Holy Spirit brings to the mind of brother or sister the line of a hymn or song, or the impression expressed in the hymn or song, a brother announces the number of the hymn or song in the book, and then starts to sing it, and we all join in with him.

    At the Supper, if we were to predetermine what prayers were to be prayed when, what hymns would be sung at what time, what scriptures would be read... what liberty is there for the Spirit, in the assembly?

    It's wonderful for us to be able to come together, and having broken the bread and passed it from one to another, and having taken the cup and done the same, to be led by the Spirit in praise and worship to the Lord Jesus, then touching on praise and worship to the Spirit Himself, before moving on to worship of the Father, then to God, the Triune. The Spirit is free throughout to lead us to sing a certain hymn or song, to lead a brother to pray, or to share a scripture or an impression. We don't decide who goes to the table to break the bread, the Spirit does. He is free in the assembly, there and then, to direct our worship. The result is wonderful life, freshness and spontaneity, and a taste of heaven, the sphere where Christ is in glory.

    I could not, in good conscience, have it any other way. It isn't just that a pre-ordered service, with pre-written thoughts and impressions would be less full of life and spontaneity than a service led by the Spirit. It's the fact that a divine Person desires to direct our worship actively. If we try to determine the order beforehand, we put Him out of His place. How grievous that is to Him, to be replaced by a committee or a director, regardless of how godly these people or person might be.

    Well, these are just a few thoughts on a very holy and expansive subject. I want to make it clear that in making these observations, as always, I'm not intending them in a critical spirit toward other believers. Nor am I claiming some sort of higher ground. These are simply my experiences and convictions, which I hope will be profitable for the brethren, if the Lord will.
    Big Moose likes this.
  2. Praise is an expression of worship, but it isn't worship itself. I can praise you, brother, but I mustn't worship you, because that would be idolatry.
    Fish Catcher Jim likes this.
  3. Everything we offer up to God of and from ourselves is acceptable! He takes what paltry things we offer up Him and turns them into worthy offerings! It's one thing to have humility and it's quite another to be considering what God has wrought in us as worthless when He dwells within us and has made us new creatures in Christ. We are to offer up all we are on His altar...in praise and worship and in complete yieldedness. Withholding from God expressions of praise and worship because somehow we have been informed that to do anything other than singing is of the flesh---is really a pride issue. God wants it all. Who are we to say no to Him?

    God enjoys us in the many ways we enjoy Him!
  4. In Ephesians 5:19, we have what's inward: "speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and chanting with your heart to the Lord" and so on. I wouldn't like to set a limit or a definition on these things, because it is inward and personal to each believer individually. Psalms, however, are the fruit of experience. It's good to go over our experience with God with Him in private. For myself, I've increasingly found blessing in doing that in prayer at the end of each day. Our experiences with God would move us to worship, and we can praise Him with our own personal psalms.

    Hymns and spiritual songs are different from each other, in that hymns are ascriptive and spiritual songs are descriptive. For example, "How great thou art, Lord Jesus" would be a hymn, and "The Lord Jesus is great" would be a spiritual song. But, that's just the technical differentiation. In terms of singing and chanting them with our hearts, I wouldn't put a difference between them, both are wonderful. We might be thinking of a hymn or song that someone else has written, which has touched a chord in our hearts, or we might be singing our own song. Some people are more technically able to make a rhyme and metre a hymn, but I wouldn't think that God would think any less of a heart-song which didn't rhyme or flow when written down on a page. The worship would be in the impression of Christ the words have formed in our hearts, rather than the music or poetry.

    In Colossians 3:16, we get an outward expression of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (though still underlaid, of course, by singing with grace in our hearts to God). Again, psalms are the fruit of experience, and we can share that experience with others for profit and edification. When we sing hymns and spiritual songs together, the words of these recorded impressions can serve to teach and admonish. This lovely little section begins with "the word of the Christ" dwelling in us richly, and continues with "grace" in our hearts. It isn't merely outward - what we have here is the outflowing of precious impressions, stored up in the vessels which are the saints.

    But, what differentiations would you make, dear brother? [emoji2]
  5. We bless God by heeding what He desires of us, especially those of us who have the great responsibility to lead. Preparation is necessary for almost everyone, unless they walk in a great gift of spontaneity in their teaching and preaching. But, we all need to be prepared, and to do study of the word.

    God is the God of excellence, and prayer, planning and preparation are all a part of what we as spiritual leaders (that's all believers, to varying degrees!) must dedicate ourselves to.
  6. If we look at the tabernacle system, we see Christ in all the offerings. Offerings of cattle, or sheep, or goats, or pigeons or doves, or fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened cakes anointed with oil, or wafers, or incense... there isn't an offering which God accepts which isn't wholly, totally and utterly Christ. The offerer doesn't come to put himself or herself on the altar - it's the offering that is Christ which God accepts. That is pure worship, essentially. What is of human nature can creep in, as we see in the case of the fowl of the burnt offering, and the strange fire. But an offering which is Christ isn't paltry, and anything which is the work of God is perfect - the work of God in me is perfect, though I've yet to be perfected. The only limitation on the offering is the measure of my appreciation of Christ - that's the only thing that can limit the size of my offering and determine whether I bring a bullock, or a sheep, or a fowl. I should be exercised that I can bring a bullock, a substantial appreciation of that blessed, glorious, perfect One. If we offer up a wholehearted appreciation of the Lord Jesus, we're holding nothing back, we've laid that offering on the altar. As priests, of course, we offer it as well as bringing it, but that's another matter.
  7. I would absolutely agree that preparation is needed - we all need to examine ourselves, judging anything that would hinder the Spirit of God. That would be a daily exercise though. Studying the scriptures is also absolutely vital for every believer. If we're guarding our hearts and keeping a close walk with the Lord Jesus, when we come together in assembly the Spirit will be free amongst the brethren.
    Fish Catcher Jim likes this.
  8. Romans 12:1
    And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
  9. When I think of a psalm, I think of the many psalms which represent rejoicing and praise, an excited, energetic, rattle the rafters and let everyone hear type of singing and music. I guess celebration could be the word for it.
    A hymn seems to me to be more of honorary in nature, being in awe of His glory. Maybe the attitude of bowing down before Him.
    A spiritual song is something that moves the spirit inside you, making that connection with God. Quite often the Holy Spirit speaks to my spirit in this way, revealing messages or bolstering my faith to remove doubt or have me see a perspective to consider. Music is very important for me in this. It clears my thoughts which are blocking or dominating my consciousness and puts me in tune with spiritual things.
    Euphemia likes this.
  10. We can make our plans BUT it is God who determins our steps
    A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

    Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

    We give God our plans and trust Him totally with them - no matter if He agree's or not - we still trust them to Him
    Through His word and prayers and the divine leading of the Holy spirit - WE WILL begin to think along the line of Gods thoughts in this -If we seek Him
    HE WILL ESTABLISH His way in this in our hearts......
    Our plans will succeed according to HIS WILL.

    People think they can dream up things just because it seems good and then God will just say oh ok I shall bless those plans.........NOT - it simply does not ever work that way.
    Grant Melville likes this.

  11. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

    2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    1I a beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies b a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your 2 reasonable service.2And c do not be conformed to this world, but d be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may e prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
    Grant Melville likes this.
  12. This a momentous verse of scripture, for sure. But, we have to see it in its context in the epistle to the Romans, then we'll know that Paul isn't speaking about presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice to God in worship. Here, it's a matter of subjection, our being that we're "holy and acceptable to God". It's a matter of practical holiness, and it would be linked with putting to death our members which are on the earth. Once a sacrifice is offered, it can't be taken back again. Our bodies, once offered, aren't ours to do what the flesh wills with. The next thing is for us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and the end in view is that we may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. It's a matter of giving up what I am and proving the excellence of God's will.
  13. Thank you, that's interesting. We can all learn from one another about these wonderful experiences.

    When we gathered for the Supper this morning, we had psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Through all of these, there was a great sense of celebration, of adoration, and of reverence. I couldn't say that I distinguished between the hymns and the spiritual songs, because they both combined the elements you've described, and the singing, together with the experiences of the brethren with God (which added lustre to the prayers and filled out the impressions of the saints) all flowed together in one theme of resounding praise and adoration. Each expression of worship is distinct, as is the worship which flows from the heart of each saint, but it all combines in perfect unity under the direction of the Holy Spirit and the leading of the Lord Jesus. That's why I say that we have all the instruments, here in the assembly. That was our experience this morning, the filling out of the many types of the tabernacle system, everything secured for the divine pleasure by the work of Christ, His death, represented by the emblems, though He is the Living One, taking His place in the midst of the assembly to sing the praises of the Father.

    After the meeting was over, a brother said to me, "I wish we could've gone on." Well, one day we will, and that blessed, incomparable experience will never end. We will go on, and on, and on, in a sphere of divine love and joy, the Father's house, where time has ceased to be. These are things which are just too great for the human mind to comprehend, yet we taste them by the Spirit.
    Big Moose likes this.
  14. #394 Euphemia, Sep 6, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
    Amen. That should go without saying, but now at least it has been said! I am saying that men and women of God need to know that we are to be considered people of excellence, and preparation in serving God is a given. God is in the prep as well, speaking to the one who serves before Him and the people, in His name.
  15. I like the NLT version. Good verse, eh?
  16. If one has actually laid down his life before the Lord Jesus Christ, then he must use that physical body, anointed by God, to do the works of Christ, and use our bodies to worship Him fully---mind, spirit and body!
  17. Use of the physical body, anointed of God, used in worship? That is simply not an idea that can be found in the New Testament scripture. As believers we're occupied with what's heavenly and eternal, what will go on into the everlasting day of God. Our earthly bodies are not included in that.

    "And there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies: but different is the glory of the heavenly, different that of the earthly: one the sun's glory, and another the moon's glory, and another the stars' glory; for star differs from star in glory. Thus also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruptibility. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body: if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one. Thus also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam a quickening spirit. But that which is spiritual was not first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual: the first man out of the earth, made of dust; the second man, out of heaven. Such as he made of dust, such also those made of dust; and such as the heavenly one, such also the heavenly ones. And as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly one." - 1 Corinthians 15:40-49

    It's not until Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians that he can tell them that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassingness of the power may be of God, and not from us..." - 2 Corinthians 4:7. The body is not the treasure, not the valuable thing. In the Law, an earthen vessel, if it came into contact with something unclean, it had to be broken. There was no washing for it, it had to go.

    Everything in connection with our bodies here on earth is connected with responsibility. Not allowing room for the flesh, keeping ourselves from unclean things, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. Adam and Eve saw that they were naked, and since then it's been comely for man to cover his nakedness.

    In this conversation, we come, time and time again, to the truth of 1 Corinthians. Shouldn't that tell us something? The state of the Corinthians was fleshly, earthly and carnal, and that's what Paul is addressing in his first epistle to them. As believers, we all need to go through the exercises of 1 Corinthians, but that's with a view to getting into 2 Corinthians. Let's not get into a state where we never get beyond 1 Corinthians. The goal is Ephesians - the heights of the truth, and Philippians, the practical working out of these wonderful things.
  18. Sorry, but it is ALL throughout scripture.
  19. We worshiped our Lord this morning with this magnificent song of love and adoration and welcoming of the Holy Spirit to make Himself known among us...and He was.

  20. It would be good to expand on that, if it's so. I mean, bring in the scriptures, the context, the great themes which run through all the scriptures. As I've said before, we can't take up parts of the truth in isolation - the whole truth is connected together. Nothing is at odds or out of joint with the rest, and no doctrine that really is truth invalidates another part of the truth. This doctrine we're discussing... it doesn't stand up to scrutiny, when we view it in light of the types of the tabernacle system, or the epistles, or the gospels.

    It's not hard to understand why these ideas do appeal. Music, art and so on all appeal to the natural man and the emotions. The world and the unbeliever enjoy all of these things, even in a religious form. The practical effect of bringing these things into the assembly is clear: among other things, it allows empty professors and false brethren to get in undetected. Jude draws attention to that, very early on: "These are they who set themselves apart, natural men, not having the Spirit." (Jude 1:19) The NIV translates it in this way: "These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." Following mere natural instincts, indulging natural tendencies, that is divisive. It divides brethren into different groups according to their natural tastes in a whole range of things.

    James is on a similar line: "Who is wise and understanding among you; let him shew out of a good conversation his works in meekness of wisdom; but if ye have bitter emulation and strife in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This is not the wisdom which comes down from above, but earthly, natural, devilish." (James 3:13-15). Bringing natural things into a spiritual area is bound to cause bitter emulation and strife. Putting people on a platform to showcase their natural talents in front of the brethren is a sure-fire way to stir up these things. It might be done with the best of intentions, but it is wholly without scriptural sanction, and the result is bound to be harmful. The harm might be secret, and it might take a long time to manifest itself in open strife and emulation, but it works under the surface, a root of bitterness.

    If anyone could claim the merit of natural things, it was Jude and James. They were the half-brothers of Jesus, according to nature. We might think that would give them a distinct position. But, see how they sign themselves in their epistles: "Jude, bondman of Jesus Christ, and brother of James..." (Jude 1:1), "James, bondman of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ..." Neither even mentions the natural link. Both put themselves in the position of bondmen (or 'servants') of the Lord Jesus. That is just how it should be. "The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him; and he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned..." (1 Corinthians 2:14). We have to know that what we are after nature has puts no valuation on spiritual things, nor can it understand them, nor can it be used in them or alongside them. Again, we're in the first epistle to the Corinthians, going over that ground. "And I, brethren, have not been able to speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly; as to babes in Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:1). The word fleshly here is sarkinos, the material or composition of a thing. It was what they were, naturally. But it wasn't Paul's desire to leave them in that state, of course. He has better things in mind for them.

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