Why the Songs May Matter More Than the Sermon

November 10, 2017

Colossians 3:16

16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

CONSIDER THIS

Have you ever thought of singing songs to God as a way of teaching and admonishing one another with the message of Christ? I haven’t either.

We pretty much think of teaching and admonishing as coming from one person who stands in the front of a room, delivering a message to a group of people who listen.

As I reflect on today’s text about Letting the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts, I can’t help but think of the church of my childhood. I grew up in a small church in rural Arkansas. We were there every Sunday and I have the perfect attendance pins to prove it. When I get still and listen, I can still hear the singing.

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering of shame. And I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain. . . 

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper he amidst the flood of mortal ills prevailing . . . 

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word; just to rest upon his promise; Just to know thus saith the Lord, 

When we walk with the Lord, in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way! While we do his good will, he abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey!

Love divine all love’s excelling joy of Heaven to Earth come down, fix in us thy humble dwelling, all thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus thou art all compassion, pure unbounded love thou art, visit us with thy salvation, enter every trembling heart. 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

I never imagined that while we were singing to God we were teaching and admonishing one another, but when I think about it now, that’s exactly what happened. The singing wasn’t particularly good, but the message of Christ was undeniable. I can still hear Peepaw’s voice singing out above the crowd, loud, proud and slightly off key. I could pick my parents voices out of the choir.  My best friend Jeff sat a few rows back. Though he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket he added his voice to the cacophony of teachers anyway. At the time it seemed pretty ordinary. I see it now as a glorious treasure; extraordinary richness.

Though I know they mattered, I can’t remember a single sermon. I can’t forget the songs. Same for you? I think Paul may be onto something here.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, is our story and our song. He is the message and the melody. Awaken me to my singing voice, even if I can’t sing because it’s not about the singing but the song. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. What songs come to mind in your memory?
  2. What is it about songs and singing that teach us at another level than speaking and sermons?
  3. What about this dynamic of a group of people teaching and admonishing each other in this way? Ever considered that?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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