"I will sing with the spirit
and I will also sing with the understanding,"
1 Corinthians 14'15.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice," Philippians 4'4. For those who believe Jesus there is indeed much to rejoice, give thanks and sing about.
Saved, redeemed, immersed, filled and more.
Believers sing! Especially so when they are gathered together. But who would sing in prison?
"... at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening ...".
These two travelling preachers found themselves imprisoned - unjustly. In spite of that they prayed and sang to God. Who would not pray, but sing?
But their fervent faith sounded out in the dark, dank, no doubt dirty, probably pest-infested, prison in prayers and songs. Everyone heard them. And so did their heavenly Father!
He shook the earth so much that the prison doors came adrift, resulting in havoc which shook the Keeper of the prison in more serious ways than one. Consequently, he and his family believed and were saved (Acts 16'16-34).
The two men's godly behaviour was testimony indeed.
Joyous thanksgiving arises from the hearts of those who repent and receive the Lord. Being born-again from above, justified, reconciled, adopted by God, Believers are given sonship and worship emanates from them. And here's why:
"... because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, 'Abba, Father!'," Galatians 4'6.
"... you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'," Romans 8'15.
In harmony with the Holy Spirit Believers speak out, sing their praises and thansksgivings to the Father in worship.
SING, SING, SING!
The Lord sang:
Jesus and His disciples, "when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives," Mark 14'26.
The Lord's People sing:
"... at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them," Acts 16'25-26.
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms," James 5'13.
"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name," Hebrews 13'15.
"You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 2'5.
"They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: 'Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the saints!" Revelation 5'9, 14'3, 15'3.
"... fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: 'Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.'" Revelation 7'11-12.
As the above scriptures show, the worship the Lord refers to in John 4'23-24 includes singing:
"... the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him".
as He said:
"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth".
Of course, Saints worship the Father in various ways.
However, participating in a Gathering in Jesus' name is an act of worship in itself. And in that context psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, prayers, etc, are worship.
Paul declared what he does in a gathering:
"I will pray with the spirit and I will also pray with the understanding. I will "sing with the spirit ... sing with the understanding".
Believers can lift their voices in:
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God," Ephesians 5'19-21.
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God," Philippians 1'11.
Scripture points out that love must sound out in everything, including singing, when ministering to the Body of Christ.
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13'1-8).
Love - the greatest motivation and the most precious conduct.
"LET" AND "BE FILLED"
One very significant aspect of Kingdom singing is that it's a way of exhorting, comforting or building up other Believers and our own selves while doing it.
Singing the word of Christ in thanksgiving, praise, worship or prayer has power.
In Colossians and Ephesians, the Lord makes two exhortations about singing. And it also goes to show that our Father wants His Children to be singers.
However, before each exhortation the Spirit emphasises some spiritual character aspects that Believers should have when singing.
Added to these spiritual character aspects, each exhortation (in italics) begins with a requirement: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you ..." and "Be filled with the Spirit ...".
In Colossians 3'12-16:
"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;
bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs".
In Ephesians 5'14-19:
"'Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light'.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; 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".
The flowing of the ministries of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs blesses everyone in many ways (together with the manifestation of the Spirit in the ministering of God's gifts, of course).
These two exhortations involve Believers with the Holy Spirit and the word of Christ for "teaching and admonishing one another and "speaking to one another".
"Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" is all part of the way God's People are built up as Jude 1'20 says:
"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith".
IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH?
It may be, that a contribution is made in a Gathering, sung, spoken or prayed, that is unacceptable. Occasions like these present a challenge to the Elders.
It could be that some words of a psalm, or hymn or song are unacceptable because they do not harmonise with the New Covenant word of Christ.
The same goes for someone's eroneous understandings being presented as scripture although they clearly differ from, even contradict, what is preached or what is believed.
Some errors come about through:
lack of understanding of the Believer's assured position in Christ
Old Testament orientation over the New Testament,
earlier adverse experiences or background,
mis-taken Old Covenant scriptures,
traditional "church" traditions in their backgrounds,
confused teachings of preachers, etc.
Usually the contributors are sincere and ignorant. Nevertheless, there is the danger of other Believers taking up error, misapplied doctrines and typology that is mixed with truth.
Things like these call for correction and not left. A corrected person will be grateful that there is a caring oversight to help them grow.
Let us remember that the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Prayer: Heavenly, Father, thank you for the wonderful ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of the word of Christ.
Lord, restore this wonderful ministry of singing to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs - and the manifestation of the Spirit's gifts too.
In Jesus' name. Amen.