Singing to Our Joyful God

In Colossians 3:16 Paul says: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Today we are going to talk more about the importance of public worship.

The word dwell is from the Greek word that means to “live in” or “to be at home”. Paul calls upon believers to let the Word take up residence and be at home in their lives. Richly could be translated as “abundantly” or “extravagantly rich”. In other words the truth of Scripture should permeate every part of a believer’s life and govern every thought and word and action. To let the word of Christ dwell in us richly is identical to being filled with the Spirit.

Teaching is the impartation of positive truth. Admonishing is the negative side of teaching. It is to warn people of the consequences of their behavior. Having the word of Christ richly dwell in us should produce emotion. It should generate songs and hymns and spiritual songs. How should this affect us in our worship?

Bryan Chapell said: “Making God the exclusive goal of worship sounds very reverent but actually fails to respect Scripture’s own Gospel priorities. Certainly it is true that God is the most important audience member for our worship but if God were not concerned for the good of His people, His glory would be diminished. He expects us not only to praise His name (Psalm 30:4), but also to teach, admonish, and encourage one another in worship.”

As Bob Kauflin said: “God never intended that He be the only one concerned for the good of His people. He invites us to join Him.”God wants us to sing His praises. Psalm 96:1, 2 says: “Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day.”

John Piper said: “The reason we sing is because there are depths and heights and intensities and kinds of emotions that will not be satisfactorily expressed by mere prosaic forms, or even poetic readings. There are realities that demand to break out of prose into poetry and some demand that poetry be stretched into song…Singing is the Christian’s way of saying: God is so great that thinking will not suffice, there must be deep feeling; and talking with not suffice, there must be singing.”

Douglas Moo writes: “Worship of God should always involve the emotions; how can we praise a holy God who has redeemed us without getting emotional about it? But what should move our emotions is not the sonorous tones of the organ or the insistent beat of the drum, but the mind’s apprehension of truth about God.” In other words truth transcends tunes.

Kent Hughes said: “Imagine the early church. One got up and sang perhaps from a psalm, and another answered antiphonally. Hymns broke forth in hearty chorus. Others sang spontaneously about what God had done. There was music in their hearts. That is what Colossians 3:16 is all about. You can find this repeated in church history. The record of Christian awakenings during the last 2000 years shows that whenever the word of God is recovered, it is received with great joy which is inevitably expressed in song. The Medieval Latin hymns cluster around the fresh days of the monastic movements. The Protestant Reformation brought a rebirth of music to the Church. When we think of the Wesleyan Revival, we not only think of John Wesley, but his brother Charles who has given us so many great hymns. The great harvest of souls here in our own country in the late 1960’s and 1970’s brought a revival of scripture singing. When the word of God dwells richly within you, you want to sing ‘with gratitude in your hearts to God’.”

We can sing at home in the shower, we can sing in the car but this does not replace the singing that takes place in corporate worship as we all express with our voices the glory of God.

See you Sunday.