What is True Worship Music?

The gathered church is to sing to God and edify each other when we come together. “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” [Col. 3:16]. “Dwell in you richly” actually means to “fill the house with riches.” This scripture speaks of our being filled with the riches of God’s Word, out of which will come true worship. The Bible tells us to sing with understanding. If we can’t hear the words then we certainly can’t worship with understanding.

Paul gives the same instruction to the church at Ephesus where he connects the singing and the singer to being filled with the Spirit. “But be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Eph. 5:18-20].

God sets a high standard for music in the church. It should never simply be “music for music’s sake.” The music we play and sing must come from the riches of God’s Word and in the fullness of His Spirit in us. When music is used under the influence of the Holy Spirit, it prepares the way for the preacher to preach. We don’t “work up” worship by the music, but rather, true music comes from a worshipful heart.

Church musicians are not performers or entertainers that attract attention to them selves, but lead the people to God. If we leave the service drawn to the singer or singers, then something went wrong. Music must be God-centered and not man-centered, which is operating in the flesh. We don’t use God to display man’s talents, but man’s talents are used to display God. Any offering that is not acceptable to God will bring no spiritual or eternal benefits to God’s people, no matter how much they enjoy what they hear or do. If the beat or music supercedes the message, then we are not leading people to God through the scriptures and have merely fleshly entertainment. Adrian Rogers used to say, “If the beat or rhythm move the feet before the heart, then it is from below. If it moves the heart before the feet, then it is from above.” True worship will stir the spirit and not the flesh. True worship was never intended to “get them in,” but rather, to be an expression of their worship because “they are in.”

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