Encouraging a higher standard for Christian music

Posts tagged ‘order of worship’


True Worship

This sermon/teaching was recommended to me and I must say it’s one of the best I have heard on this subject.

The balanced approach to the subject of music and worship in the church is refreshing.

Highly recommended!












I could not download it,

so here is the link: True Worship by Tim Pruitt




a word infused with the essence of God himself. It appears (along with its cognates) over 500 times in Scripture. One verse in particular is of great significance to us:

Psalm 66:2:

Sing out to the honor of his name;

make his praise glorious

In this verse, the psalmist (King David) exclaims with strength and power, “Sing out to the honor of His name“. The psalmist then follows this declamatory proclamation with an even stronger assertion:

Make His praise glorious!

There is to be nothing ordinary about this praise, it is to be of the highest order and of the greatest magnitude.
To create a powerful platform for praise, God inspired King David to marshal a corps of 4,000 professional musicians who were spiritually prepared, skillfully trained, highly organized and spent their lives giving praise to God.
The musicians were organized under three men of God (Levites) who carefully crafted their worship in a musically and theologically acceptable manner. (See 1 Chronicles 23 and 25.) David and his musicians would take no chances that their musical sacrifice of praise would be presented in a frivolous or careless way. This was music that was to exalt “the honor of His name and make His praise glorious!”

The result:

a spiritual environment

that brought this high worship of God

to the Israelites

in a way that united the best of music and poetry.

In Scripture, it’s important to note that glory is not only an attribute, it is an actual place: Glory…heaven, the dwelling place of God.
In looking forward to “glory”, Jonathan Edwards made this observation:

“If praising God in song is very much the employment of heaven…let all be exhorted to the work and duty of praising God [here on earth.]
(See: “Thankgsgiving Sermon”, 1734)

Note the reformer’s words regarding the use of music as a “work” and a “duty”. Like David’s original musical organization, music in heaven will be a joyous fulltime occupation infused with His glory, majesty and greatness!
For twenty-first century Christians this must all seem strange, having been persuaded by their culture that music:

a. exists for their own personal pleasure.
b. is all good–style is relative!
c. can be utilized for any purpose.

Today, begin your preparation for glory right now — forget popular culture and sing in the great tradition of King David and his spectacular choir of Levite musicians. Sing — and then memorize — a great hymn of the faith! You’ll be glad you did! To God be the Glory!

–Center for Church Music

The Order of Things

When poetry is set to music, you have a powerful tool of communication that can express both ideas and emotions. That is one reason why the Bible has so much poetry in it–and talks about music so much. God knows how He made us. He knows that we can testify to the facts of our faith much more feelingly in poetry and song. See how the process is described in Psalm 28:7:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.

But there is an inherent danger with the emotional power of music. In our use of it, we must be careful not to confuse emotional excitation with spiritual exaltation. That replaces legitimate emotion with emotionalism, which may be simply an easily manipulated visceral response to the music. Consider the above verse again, and notice particularly the order of things.

1) The Lord is my strength and my shield; (a basic truth)
2) my heart trusted in Him, (the truth accepted by faith)
3) and I am helped; (faith verified in life)
4) therefore my heart rejoices, (an inward emotional response)
5) and with my song I will praise Him. (an outward expression with poetry set to music)

The order there is significant. The excitement and joy David feels is not generated by the music, but by an appropriation and appreciation of God’s truth, and his experience of God’s blessing. That is how our hymnody should be used, and it ought to be the reason why we sing. It expresses what the Lord has done for us, and how we feel about it. As an old gospel song by Albert Ketchum puts it:

Deep in my heart there’s a gladness,
Jesus has saved me from sin!
Praise to His name–what a Saviour!
Cleansing without and within.

Why do I sing about Jesus?
Why is He precious to me?
He is my Lord and my Saviour,
Dying, He set me free!



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