How that’s done differs, but the following aspects should be present:
1) Substance Music teaches; it’s memorable; therefore, we should take care of what our songs teach. Are saints better served to remember the words,
“Breathe on us Holy fire fall Come and fill this place with Your presence Like a rushing wind Send Your Spirit here Breath of Heaven breathe on us Breath of Heaven breathe on us”1
or better served to memorize,
“Finish, then, thy new creation True and spotless let us be Let us see thy great salvation Perfectly restored in thee Changed from glory into glory Till in heav’n we take our place Till we cast our crowns before thee Lost in wonder, love and praise”?2
One of those examples teaches of regeneration, sanctification, glorification, reigning with Christ, and eternal fellowship with God. The other asks God to redo something done in the New Testament without stating why we should ask for it or why God might do as we ask.
2) Sing-ability Can the congregation sing this song? Is the range too great? It is too complicated? Is it too fast? Musical styles aren’t prescribed in scripture, but some genres tend to be better suited for the assembly. And Christians are gathered to sing, not to be a passive audience.
That’s why hymns are so useful in corporate worship: the meter rarely changes; in hymnals singers can “see” where the notes are going and how long to hold them; the structures and tunes are typically simple. Many can pick up a hymn and start participating after only one stanza and refrain (if the hymn even has one).
3) Simple beauty Take away all the lights, sound equipment, and musical instruments. If those and all our polished performers were suddenly unavailable, then would the songs still stand on their own as lovely, memorable, and inspiring? Would they point us to God? Or would we simply miss the former things that moved us emotionally because those were what we sought?
Believers should certainly be moved emotionally by our worship through song, however it must be by the content of theelement and not the manner of the form. Truth (the content; knowledge) in song (the element) is what should make us feel our faith. The manner (the talent) of the form (the genre) is important only insofar as it encourages and aids worship.
Once you seek to exalt God by singing of who He is in a way that edifies your congregation and educates yourself and fellow believers on the truths of God’s Word, you’ll find no greater feeling.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing oneanother in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:16-17
1 “Breathe on Us” by Kari Jobe 2 “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” by Charles Wesley
Welcomed to the table of the King 1 Though no worth unto this meal we bring 2 Come! Rememb’ring Him, we dine and sing 3
Like no bread the fathers ate and died 4 This His body, broken for His Bride 5 Eat! Proclaiming Christ the crucified 6
This the cleansing blood of our High Priest 7 From His cup the low, the last, the least 8 Drink! Awaiting Heaven’s wedding feast 9
1 (1 Corinthians 10:17, Ephesians 2:13) 2 (Job 35:7, John 6:53-57) 3 (1 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:30) 4 (John 6:58) 5 (1 Corinthians 10:16, 1 Corinthians 11:24) 6 (1 Corinthians 11:26) 7 (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12; 1 John 1:7) 8 (Job 22:2, Mark 2:17, Luke 17:10) 9 (Matthew 26:29, Revelation 19:7-9)
Our church really only sings one hymn about the Lord’s Supper, so I studied scripture and wrote this. I wanted to be brief (your church can sing this in about one minute) and really make clear what God’s people are invited and expected to do.
Believers are invited to come, eat, and drink. In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, we do so in remembrance of Him, we proclaim His death until He comes, and we await His coming and the marriage supper of the Lamb!
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.
We encountered Colossians 1:24 in our scripture memory passage earlier this week, and that verse is particularly difficult to understand given the phrase, “I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body ….” On the surface, it appears Paul is saying the work of Christ was not sufficient for salvation, but that Paul himself must contribute something to finish the work of salvation for the people of God.
Well, let’s not look at this verse in a vacuum. Remember: we allow Scripture to interpret scripture. What do other parts of the Bible have to say about Jesus Christ and his work to secure our redemption?
1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”
Ephesians 1:7 tells us concerning Jesus: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace …”
Of Jesus, Hebrews 9:12 says: “He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”
And Paul writes in Romans 3:24-25 that God’s people QUOTE “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
Christ’s suffering of the punishment we deserved for our sins is sufficient to redeem a people for his own possession. Since Paul clearly is talking about something other than the effectiveness of Jesus Christ’s suffering and afflictions, it becomes a question of just what he does mean. Here’s what I believe is clear in the context, so bear in mind Paul finished his thought in the sentence in question by talking about his ministry:
Notice Paul uses here his favorite word picture to teach us about the church: the body. Paul says he’s filling up what is lacking QUOTE “for the sake of his body, that is, the church …” And remember that Paul told us explicitly just a few verses prior what Christ’s place is in the body: the head. So whatever Paul is talking about is for the sake of the church, but not its redemption. Thus, I believe it is about the building up of the church, or in other words, the growth of the church–God the Son’s Kingdom. Redemption came through the first cause, Jesus Christ. Expansion comes through the means God typically uses: people. People who minister.
Think about the mission of the church: to make disciples. In discipling, we have discipline–in our context, the spiritual disciplines. Our serving and suffering sanctifies us and can be used by God in the salvation and sanctification of others. It’s not that there is anything lacking in Christ’s afflictions unto salvation, but there are afflictions—there is suffering—to come to Paul, John, the martyrs, and in likely small ways to you and me, and these afflictions are for the sake of the church which grows every day because of the power of the Gospel ordinarily so through the means of its members. Listen to …
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Paul writes in Romans 5 of Jesus and the fact that QUOTE “2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope …” verses, 2-4.
1 Peter 2:21: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”
Finally, in Paul’s second letter to Timothy he beautifully ties together mission as a member of Christ’s body, suffering for the sake of Christ, and eternal hope found in Christ:
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
In this episode, Ryan gives his recommendations for trying out the wonderfully relaxing and contemplative hobby of pipe smoking. He also talks about what he and his fellow elders have done during the quarantine to shepherd the church family.
In this episode, Ryan talks about burning garden beds, how, and why. Ryan also discusses how the fact that all human authority is derived from God’s ultimate, divine, and comprehensive authority determines his political beliefs. Secondarily, Ryan relates how his Scripture reading informs his beliefs about how other human institutions relate to God and one another.