God evaluates our singing — Hugh Wetmore

The Divine Trinity had just been looking through the Body of Christ on
earth. Now They meet in conclave to review their findings. Their
special focus this time was the question “How does the congregation
sing?” Let’s eavesdrop on their trialogue:
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“It’s interesting to notice how they usually equate singing with
worship“, said the Father. “I’m encouraged to see that they want to
worship Us, but they don’t realise that worship includes singing, but it
is far wider than singing.

“Worship embraces corporate sacred gatherings and festivals (Psalm 95:6) as well as homage (Matthew 2:11), personal praying and a holy lifestyle (Romans 12:1,2). The elaborate rituals of worship in the Old Testament Temple are fulfilled in the sacrificial death of Jesus (Hebrews 9,10) and especially the bodies of worshippers as Our earthly residence, Our contemporary Temple (1 Corinthians 3;16).”

“Yes,” said Jesus the Son, “it’s a pity they have made worship so
narrow that it is only singing. I would love to enrich their worship, and
make it wider as You describe it, Father.”

And the Holy Spirit chipped in: “I was so excited and honoured when
the charismatic revival raised My profile in the Church, and brought in
new refreshing forms of song.”

“So was I,” said Jesus, “but it did not reach Our purpose — they only
sang ‘spiritual songs’.”

“Yes”, agreed the Spirit, “they have ignored the ‘psalms and hymns’
which those who are ‘filled with Me’ would want to be singing.
(Ephesians 5:18,19). When We looked at SongSelect’s latest list of the
100 most popular songs We noticed that they are mostly in the
spiritual songs genre. No psalms, only a few hymns. Yet I went to so
much trouble to inspire the psalms, and to distribute hymn-writing
gifts. But today most churches seldom sing them. It hurts Me to admit
it.”

Jesus the Son voiced a similar complaint: “In fact, We gave clear
instructions to the Church to sing songs that are rich in the Word of
Christ
(Colossians 3:16), but it seems they now prefer songs that are
rich in spiritual experience, songs that give that fuzzy feel-good mood
that humans the world over enjoy.”

“Hang on a moment,” the Spirit interjected, “we mustn’t condemn ALL
contemporary ‘spiritual songs’. There’s one thing many of these do
very well – they express praise, gratitude and thanksgiving. That is
always a good thing. Gratitude kills pride, and keeps Christians
humble. That’s something we must encourage (Ephesians 5:20;
Colossians 3:16,17).”

God the Father had been quiet for a while. But now He spoke up, “Yes,
I value every expression of gratitude in song. It’s a fact that everything
I created is dependent on me for everything.”

“But,” the Father continued, “I constantly remember My ultimate goal,
which every apostle and prophet, pastor and elder, song-leader and
Sunday School teacher must keep in mind: That Christians should be
mature in Christ
(Colossians 1:28). I purposely predestinated them to be conformed to the image of Jesus My Son (Romans 8:29). I earnestly desire that every believer should demonstrate Christ-like maturity – and not remain baby-believers, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine and deceitful schemes. I long that they grow up in Christ. (Ephesians 4:14,15).

“I agree”, said Jesus the Son, “that’s why I gave my followers My Great
Commission, to make disciples of all nations, baptising them and
teaching them to observe all that I taught them
. (Matthew 28:18,19).’

The Holy Spirit added His approval: “That’s why I inspired the apostle
Paul to include discipling, through using Christ’s Word to teach and
admonish
. Such discipling is a major purpose in singing.” (Colossians
3:16).

“Spot on,” the Father affirmed. “We emphasised to the Church that the
songs the congregation sings should use the Scriptures to teach and
admonish, instruct and correct each other in all wisdom.
We’ve
listened carefully, and know that most popular congregational songs
fail to teach and direct the singers in the Word. And there is little
spiritual wisdom in many of the spiritual songs they sing.”

“I know WHY this is the case,” the Holy Spirit added. “Some spiritually
gifted believers are not serving within the sphere of their gifts. I have
carefully chosen some pastors, teachers and elders who think clearly
in the Scriptures, and I have given them the spiritual gift of writing the
lyrics of songs. But the Church doesn’t recognise their giftedness,
because My people are slaves to the world’s pattern of thinking.
(Romans 12:2) They think that if a person is a gifted musician s/he is
also automatically gifted in writing lyrics that ‘teach and admonish’.
They write Christian songs just as secular songs are written. So they
expect the musicians to write the lyrics, which they are not gifted to do.
I do not give all My gifts to a few people. I give a wide variety of gifts
to the whole Church, and spread them out so that everyone can serve
together in the Body. In that way the whole Body is built up for the
common good
(1 Corinthians 12:4-7; 14-25)”.

The Trinity concluded that They had a tough task ahead of Them: to
renew the congregational singing in the churches, in such a way that it
conformed to Their divine instructions. And there are only three
Scriptures in the New Testament that spell out these instructions:

1 Corinthians 14:26 When you come together, (sing) a hymn …
for the strengthening of the church
;
Ephesians 5:15-20 Do not be foolish but understand what the
Lord’s will is … be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another
with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in
your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father
for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
;
Colossians 3:16,17 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as
you teach and admonish one another as you sing psalms,
hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God …
Do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the
Father through Him.


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Having eavesdropped on this Divine trialogue, we should use these
three Scriptures to evaluate the songs in our repertoire and Sunday
song-lists. Set aside those songs that do not fulfil our Triune God’s
expectations, and add the ‘psalms, hymns and spiritual songs’ that do.

Am I now trying to win the approval of people, or of God? Or am I
trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would
not be a servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:10)

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