Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "The Words and Music of Worship"

Introduction:

Bob opened by explaining that singing is Biblical (Psalm 96:1-2, Ephesians 5:18-19, Colossians 3:16). There are 400 references to singing in the Bible, 50 direct commands to sing, and Psalms (a book of songs) is the longest book of the Bible. There are three schools of thought when discussing singing in the Church:

  1. Music supersedes the words – Words by themselves are ineffective and music has a superior impact
  2. Music struggles with the words – Concern that the congregation is more moved by the music than the words
  3. Music serves the words (this is what God wants) – Music intends to heighten the words and deepen our relationship with God

Bob discusses 3 ways music has an appropriate relationship with words, and for each, 2 implications for the Church:

Outline:

Music helps us engage with words memorably

Before writing, historical events and memories were passed down the generations by song

Tempo, meter, and rhyme help us memorize words

Implications for the Church:

  • We want to set music to lyrics we desire to remember
  • The words we sing matter. The Word of Christ is meant to dwell in us and songs are meant to teach and admonish us.

Music helps us engage with words emotionally 

Music softens our hearts, allowing us to focus on what we are singing

Breaks and repetition give us time to reflect on the words

Songs amplify words that should bring us abundant joy and gratefulness for Jesus’ atoning work on the cross

Implications for the Church:

  • Songs should be evidently passionate. We don’t engage with God through our personality or temperament, but instead by His worthiness. We shouldn’t have churches that are sound in doctrine, but unemotional when worshipping through song (and vice versa)
  • Music should cover a broad emotional range. We can’t use just one musical style to cover all emotional elements of the Gospel

Music helps us engage with words in unity 

Music allows us to proclaim biblical truths together

Implications for the Church:

  • Music should unite, rather than divide, the Church
  • Music should make it clear that the Gospel (not the music) unites us. We should not be gathering based on our musical preferences. Musical style is not what unites us, it is the work of Christ on the cross that knits us together (Ephesians 2:14, Revelation 5:1-12)

Conclusion:

Singing the Gospel together every week helps us remember it with our hearts and our minds. However, our singing on earth will not compare to the songs we are yet to sing in the eternal presence of the Lord.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you have a favorite worship song or hymn? What about that song helps you reflect on the Gospel?
  2. Which aspect of music’s engagement with words exhorted you most and why?
  3. In 1 Samuel, it is written that David would play his lyre for Saul when a harmful spirit from God was upon Saul and he would be refreshed. In what ways do you use music to be refreshed and draw near to God?
  4. As Bob discussed, there can be wrong approaches to perceiving worship through song. For example, joining a church only because of their musical style or letting the emotional highs of a song supersede the words being sung. Have you seen this affect a Church? How can we (Sovereign Grace of Louisville) be on guard against sinful ways we approach musical worship?