This message, "Why Do We Sing", based on Colossians, was the introduction to Pastor Mike's "Hymns of the Faith" Message Series. This message is from January 18, 2017.
Despite its fundamental role since the church’s beginning during the days of the apostles, music and singing have seemed to always be a uniquely contested issue in the church. To this point, many within our own congregation debate what kind of music should define Central Baptist, and what role music should play in the corporate gathering of the church. Where else would you see such a random collection of individuals within a community come together to sing songs that touch hearts and speak to the larger truths of our existence? Frankly, the notion of such a gathering can seem awkward to some who are not used to this unique practice. And yet, we are called to do just that all throughout scripture.
Interestingly enough, science has been able to add some clarity to the question of why. Did you know that you are likely to only retain up to 20% of the sermon that you hear today? However, when confronted with a combination of words and music, your ability to remember is greatly enhanced. Not to mention, when ideas and theological truths are repeated, your retention rate only increases that much more! This can help to explain why music and songs have held such a dear place in the heart of the church and culture as a whole since its beginning.
It is also for this reason that we
must not only ask ourselves why we sing, but also why we sing what we
sing. If we can see that we are much more
likely to remember the ideas and concepts that we sing, then we must take seriously what we are singing. We must make it our hearts’ focus to ensure that what we sing represents biblical truth because the things we sing are likely to shape the people who sing them. To this end, you’ll find that we are careful about what we sing at Central. We want to sing songs that are God-centered rather than man-centered. We want to sing songs that are rooted firmly in scripture and thus are doctrinally sound, and that are speaking rightly about God as He has revealed to us in scripture. These priorities allow us to be sure that as we come together to sing, our hearts are focused on singing the truths about God as our hearts overflow in thanksgiving to Him.
Which is why it is equally as important to not only ask ourselves why we sing or why we sing what we sing, but also to ask ourselves how we sing. Colossians 3:16 commands that we “Let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in [our] hearts to God.” Therefore, we must come to the altar ready to sing songs to Him as His Word has dwelt richly in our hearts. Once that happens, the songs, hymns and spiritual songs will flow out of what the Word of God is doing within our hearts and lives. Furthermore, we are careful to sing songs that are corporate in nature and thus allowing us to sing praise with one another rather than individually, and finally that are written to give God the praise rather than receive fulfillment from Him.
Therefore, the why, what, and how we sing must represent the truth of the Gospel and its impact in our hearts. The why, what and how we sing must speak clearly to the fact that our hard hearts have been made new by the truth that God has saved us through His Son’s life, death and resurrection. When we come together to sing this truth, we are no longer defined by the style of songs we sing but are defined by the Savior Who has paid everything for us.
The beauty of such a time is that it will not be spent in thinking about what songs we like, or what types of songs we dislike, but it will be spent by us communicating to the world around us that our God is so amazing and good and deserving of our all. When we’ve come to the altar in this frame of mind and heart, God will be and is glorified and lifted up and people are invited to come to taste and see that the Lord is indeed good.