WORTHY TO BE PRAISED

Due to problems with the central heating system, we met in Cornerstone Cafe on Sunday morning. This meant we could not record the teaching. Alan Welsh spoke on the topic of God as a father worthy to be praised. Alan’s notes are below and we hope you will be blessed by them. From 15th March 2020.

IN JOHN CH 4: 23 JESUS SAID “YET A TIME IS COMING AND HAS NOW COME WHEN THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, FOR THEY ARE THE KIND OF WORSHIPPERS THE FATHER SEEKS”

THE FATHER SEEKS WORSHIPPERS!

PERSONNALY, I LOVE PRAISE AND WORSHIP, WHAT ABOUT YOU?

PERHAPS YOU DON’T, YOU MAY BE SOMEONE WHO PATIENTLY ENDURES THE SINGING ON SUNDAY MORNINGS UNTIL YOU HEAR WHAT YOU REALLY CAME FOR; THE MESSAGE.

IF THAT’S WHERE YOU FIND YOURSELF, LET ME SHARE WHAT MARTIN LUTHER SAID IN REGARD TO WORSHIP.

“WE NOTE WITH GREAT SURPRISE THE GREAT AND PERFECT WISDOM OF GOD IN MUSIC, WHICH IS, AFTER ALL, HIS PRODUCT AND HIS GIFT”

GOD HIMSELF IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SINGING, THE PSALM ARE FILLED WITH WORDS OF WORSHIP, IT IS A BOOK OF SONGS.

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WE ARE TOLD TWICE, TO SING PSALMS, HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS TO ONE ANOTHER WHEN WE MEET (EPH 5:19, COLOSSIANS 3:16).

WHY DOES GOD SO OFTEN TELL US NOT SIMPLY TO PRAISE HIM BUT TO SING HIS PRAISES WHEN WE MEET, WHY NOT JUST PRAY AND PREACH?

WHY ARE GOD’S PEOPLE THROUGHOUT HISTORY ALWAYS SINGING? WHY WORDS AND MUSIC AND NOT JUST WORDS ALONE?

WHY DOES GOD WANT US TO SING, ONE REASON IS THAT GOD HIMSELF SINGS, ZEPHANIAH 3:17 TELLS US “HE REJOICES OVER US WITH SINGING”.

ON THE EVE OF HIS CRUCIFIXION, JESUS SANG HYMNS WITH HIS DISCIPES, MATTHEW 26:30 “WHEN THEY HAD SUNG A HYMN THEY WENT OUT TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES”

PSALM 22:22 “I WILL DECLARE YOUR NAME TO MY BROTHERS, IN THE CONGREGATION I WILL PRAISE YOU”.

WE CANNOT DENY THAT NOT ONLY DOES GOD SEEK OUR WORSHIP HE IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED.

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY GOD DESIRES HIS PEOPLE TO SING AND WHAT ROLE SHOULD SINGING PLAY IN THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN, WHY IS WORSHIP SO IMPORTANT TO GOD?

ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN SCRIPTURE.

READING: PSALM 96: 1 – 9

SING TO THE LORD A NEW SONG, SING TO THE LORD ALL THE EARTH, SING TO THE LORD, PRAISE HIS NAME.

PROCLAIM HIS SALVATION DAY AFTER DAY, DECLARE HIS GLORY AMONG THE NATIONS, HIS MARVELLOUS DEEDS AMONG ALL PEOPLES.

FOR GREAT IS THE LORD AND MOST WORTHY OF PRAISE, HE IS TO BE FEARED ABOVE ALL GODS, FOR ALL THE GODS OF THE NATIONS ARE IDOLS, BUT THE LORD MADE THE HEAVENS.

SPLENDOUR AND MAJESTY ARE BEFORE HIM, STRENGTH AND GLORY ARE IN HIS SANCTUARY.

ASCRIBE TO THE LORD, O FAMILIES OF NATIONS, ASCRIBE TO THE LORD GLORY AND STRENGTH.

ASCRIBE TO THE LORD THE GLORY DUE TO HIS NAME, BRING AN OFFERING AND COME INTO HIS COURTS.

WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE SPLENDOUR OF HIS HOLINESS, TREMBLE BEFORE HIM, ALL THE EARTH.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

I WANT TO SHARE A NUMBER OF REASONS WHY SINGING MATTERS IN THE LIFE OF AN INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN AND THE CHURCH.

FIRST: SINGING ISN’T AN OPTION IN SCRIPTURE, IT’S A COMMAND, THE PSALM WE JUST READ BEGINS WITH “SING!” IT’S NOT BASED ON IF WE FEEL LIKE IT OR YOU CAN BE BOTHERED OR WETHER WE LIKE THE SONG OR NOT (I CAN’T HONESTLY SAY I DON’T LIKE EVERY SONG THAT WE SING) BUT IT’S ACTUALY EXPECTED OF US, WHEN WE SING WE OBEY, WE ARE DOING WHAT GOD ASKS OF US.

WHEN WE WORSHIP, WE ARE BEING OBEDIANT, WE ARE TAKING THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPRESS THANKFULNESS FROM OUR HEARTS TO GOD.

SECOND: WHEN WE SING, WE DIG DEEP ROOTS IN THE WORD, THE APOSTLE PAUL EXHORTS US TO LET THE WORD OF GOD DWELL IN US RICHLY, THEN FOLLOWS IT BY TELLING US HOW,

IN HIS LETTER TO THE COLOSSIANS 3:16, HE SAYS “LET THE WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU RICHLY AS YOU TEACH AND ADMONISH ONE ANOTHER WITH ALL WISDOM, AND AS YOU SING PSALMS, HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS”.

FIRST HE ADVISES TEACHING BUT THE SECOND IS SINGING, WE FIND THAT SINGING IS ONE OF THE CHIEF WAYS IN WHICH GOD’S WORD DWELLS IN US RICHLY.

OUR SINGING IS MORE THAN A WARM-UP FOR THE SERMON, WE DON’T SING TO SIMPLY FILL IN A GAP, SINGING STANDS ALONGSIDE PREACHING AS ONE OF THE WAYS WE LEARN GOD’S WORD.

E.G THE SONG “IN CHRIST ALONE MY HOPE IS FOUND” YOU FIND A BIBLICAL SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT TRUTHS FROM SCRIPTURE, THOROUGH THEOLOGY OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST WITH CLEAR AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS. (READ SOME LINES).

IN CHRIST ALONE.

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song[2] 

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,

Fullness of God in helpless babe.

This gift of love and righteousness,

Scorned by the ones He came to save

Till on that cross as Jesus died,

The wrath of God was satisfied[3] 

For every sin on Him was laid

Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,

Light of the world by darkness slain:

Then bursting forth in glorious day

Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,

For I am His and He is mine

Bought with the precious blood of Christ[4] 

No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath,

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from His hand

Till He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
[5] 

THIRD: WHEN YOU SING YOU BUILD UP FELLOW BELIEVERS, EPHESIANS 5:19 SAYS “SPEAK TO ONE ANOTHER WITH PSALMS, HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS, SING AND MAKE MUSIC IN YOUR HEART TO THE LORD”

WHEN WE DO WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS AND SING TOGETHER AS A CHURCH FAMILY, WE ARE HEARING CONFESSIONS OF FAITH ALL AROUND US,

MUSIC TOUCHES OUR HEARTS, THE WORD OF GOD STIRS US,

AND AS THAT HAPPENS WE ARE HELPING OTHERS WHO DO NOT BELIEVE AS THEY HEAR THE TESTIMONY OF PRAISE FROM GOD’S PEOPLE.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN IN WORSHIP AND A TEAR RUNS DOWN YOUR CHEEK AS YOU HEAR THE PROCLAMATION OF WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US, FOR SOME THEY FALL TO THEIR KNEES IN WORSHIP, OTHERS STAND WITH OUTSTRETCHED ARMS.

WE PROBABLY DO NOT REALISE THE IMPACT OF GOD’S WORD THROUGH SONG, AS WE SING HIS PRAISES AND TELL OF HIS WONDERFUL WORKS, WE BUILD EACH OTHER UP.

AMERICAN PASTOR AND AUTHOR TIM KELLER SAID “GOOD CORPORATE WORSHIP WILL NATURALLY BE EVANGELISTIC”.

FOURTH: WHEN YOU SING, YOU ARE IN A BATTLE.

YOU MAY NOT CONNECT SINGING AND WARFARE TOGETHER, BUT IT IS A THEME VISIBLE IN SCRIPTURE, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE HABITS WE ARE TAUGHT IN SCRIPTURE.

WE FIND COMMANDS TO LOVE, PEACE, FORGIVENESS, TEACHING AND SINGING ARE ATTITUDES OF THE BELIEVER THAT WILL KILL SIN.

WHEN WE WORSHIP, THIS IS MORE THAN SIMPLY SINGING SONGS, IT MAKES TOTAL SENSE WHEN YOU CONSIDER WHAT POSTURE WILL THE ENEMY OF OUR SOUL DETEST.

A BELIEVER WHO SINGS WITH THEIR EYES, HEART, MIND AND VOICE FOCUSED ON THE LORD OUR GOD AND PRAISING HIS NAME.

YOU KNOW, IT’S VERY HARD TO LIE, BE GREEDY OR TO LOOK AT SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATELY WHEN YOU’RE SINGING AND MAKING MELODY IN YOUR HEART TO THE LORD.

A SINGING HEART WILL NOT EASILY GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION.

FIFTH: WHEN YOU SING YOU ARE SPIRITUALLY STRENGTHENED TO FACE TRIALS.

OFTEN WHEN WE THINK OF SINGING, IT’S WHEN WE’RE HAPPY AND TIMES ARE GOOD, BUT SCRIPTURE SHOWS THAT IT BRINGS STRENGTH FOR THE TRIALS WE FACE.

WHEN PAUL AND SILAS WERE UNJUSTLY PUT IN PRISON FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL, WHAT DID THEY DO?

THEY SANG!

THIS WAS AFTER BEING SEVERLY FLOGGED AND THEN PUT IN CHAINS.

ACTS 16: 25 SAYS “ABOUT MIDNIGHT PAUL AND SILAS WERE PRAYING AND SINGING HYMNS TO GOD, AND THE OTHER PRISONERS WERE LISTENING TO THEM”.

WHAT A WITNESS, AND YOU CAN STILL HEAR SIMILAR STORIES TODAY OF PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS.

I READ OF A PASTOR WHO WAS RECENTLY PUT IN PRISON, HE SAID “WHEN WE WERE IN PRISON WE SANG ALMOST EVERDAY BECAUSE CHRIST WAS ALIVE IN US, THEY PUT CHAINS ON OUR HANDS AND FEET, YET WE DISCOVERED THAT CHAINS ARE SPLENDID MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.

WHEN WE CLANGED THEM TOGETHER IN RHYTHM, WE COULD SING “THIS IS THE DAY (CLINK CLANK), WHICH THE LORD HAS MADE (CLINK CLANK) WHICH THE LORD HAS MADE (CLINK CLANK).

SINGING STRENGTHENS YOU AND HELPS YOU PERSEVERE IN THE FACE OF TRIALS. IF IT CAN STRENGTHEN THEM, WHAT COULD IT DO FOR YOU AND I?.

EVEN IN SUFFERING, SING!

SIXTH: WHEN YOU SING, YOU WALK A PATHWAY TO JOY.

THE PSALMS ARE FILLED WITH EXAMPLES.

“LET ALL WHO TAKE REFUGE IN YOU REJOICE” PSALM 5:11

“DELIVER ME FROM MY SIN…AND MY TONGUE WILL SING ALOUD OF YOR RIGHTEOUSNESS” PSALM 51:14

“I WILL SING ALOUD OF YOUR STEADFAST LOVE IN THE MORNING, FOR YOU HAVE BEEN TO ME A FORTRESS AND A REFUGE IN THE DAY OF MY DISTRESS” PSALM 59:16.

PERSISTENTLY IN SCRIPTURE WE WILL FIND THAT JOY AND SINGING ARE BOUND TOGETHER.

IF YOU STRUGGLE FOR JOY…SING.

IF YOU ARE JOYFUL…SING.

ALL OF THESE EXAMPLES ARE SUMMED UP IN OUR FINAL POINT: SEVEN:

WHEN YOU SING, YOU GLORIFY GOD.

HOPEFULLY, THIS IS OUR GOAL AND PURPOSE, SO THAT ALL THESE THINGS BRING GLORY TO GOD, HE IS TO BE THE OBJECT OF OUR PRAISE.

SINGING HAS SUCH A UNIQUE WAY OF BRINGING YOUR HEART, SOUL, MIND AND STRENGTH TOGETHER TO FOCUS ENTIRELY AND COMPLETELY ON GOD.

WE LIVE IN AN AGE OF DISTRACTION, WHEREAS SINGING GRABS THE ATTENTION OF ALL OUR SENSES AND FOCUSES US ON GOD.

THERE IS A DAY THAT LIES AHEAD OF ALL OF US, WHEN WE WILL BE ONE OF A GREAT MULTITUDE THAT NO-ONE CAN COUNT, ALL SINGING THE PRAISES OF GOD.

LET’S BE THE WORSHIPPERS THAT THE FATHER SEEKS.

CLOSE WITH WORSHIP IN SINGING TOGETHER, “IN CHRIST ALONE”.

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