Preaching to the Choir


“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

Our text divides Christ-worthy music into three categories:

• Psalms- musical scripture (Psalm 118:24 “This is the day” or Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always”)

• Hymns- music about Bible themes (“Surely Goodness and Mercy,” “I Know Whom I Have Believed,” or, “The Solid Rock”)

• And Spiritual Songs- music about an illustration of a Bible theme (“Fill My Cup, Lord,” “Till The Storm Passes By,” or, “Rejoice In The Lord” by Ron Hamilton)

You may have a preference for one of these more than the others. God has an affinity for singing all three of them. Some cults are marked by their exclusion of certain types of music, or their over-emphasis of just one type. The Bible encourages us to “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:5

The Christian’s song-life is a primary part of his walk and fellowship with God. It is listed in Ephesians 5 as one of the evidences of an awakened soul, and given as the first of three attitudes that allow the Holy Spirit to infuse and influence you:

1.Proving what is acceptable to the Lord (vs. 10)

2. Redeeming the time (vs. 16)
3. Understanding the will of the Lord (vs. 17)
4. Speaking to yourselves in music (vs. 19)
5. Giving thanks always (vs. 20)
6. Submitting one to another (vs. 21)I love music. I love to listen to it, sing it, play it on an instrument. I like variety in music, sometimes to the point of variety trumping Godliness. What God has equipped our church with is something more than just VARIETY music. Christ-worthy music has DEPTH. This Sunday, as you sing, consider from our text what I believe the New Testament church commission of song is:

• Commission One: To Aid our Remembrance of Scripture- “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”


A Christian can gain wisdom from committing verses to memory. He can practice good advice from Proverbs he has memorized, and he can avoid certain sins by hiding the word in his heart. However, God’s ultimate blessing calls for something more… something deeper.

Paul calls us to allow the voice of Jesus Christ himself to abide with us in a full and satisfying way. He echoes the exhortation of David: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2) Delight… meditate… these ideas are deeper than modern, fleshly ‘church’ music.

• Commission Two: To Attract our Attention to the Gospel- “In all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another”

Every person who tries to market his music to a church will digress to two common motifs, regardless of the style. First is, that our method should be to reach everyone where they are. Second, is that the message is the main thing, not the music. Let’s take the litmus test of Christ-worthy music.

A. Is it wise? Does that beat reflect wisdom? Is the way they dress to sing wise? Are those special effects wise? Does this performance exhibit the wisdom of God? “Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom”

B. What am I learning? Does this song teach me that God likes noise as long as somebody says, ‘Jesus’ once in a while? Am I being taught sound doctrine at all? Am I learning about how God’s nature is, or what He is not? “Go ye therefore and teach all nations”

C. What does this song make me want to do? Does it give me an adrenaline rush, or does it make me want to ‘chill’? Does it make me love God more, or love the musician who performed it more? Would I like to meet Christ, or the author of the song? “But be ye doers of THE WORD and not hearers only”

Christ-worthy music draws the listener into deep fellowship with Him. It is the right message, and the right method.

• Commission Three: To Accentuate the Work of the Holy Spirit in the Heart “Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”

The professional singer will show off his manners. His eyes scan the crowd; his hand raises with the music. The practiced singer will demonstrate great control of his voice. Everything sounds just right, every note is sung at perfect pitch. It is nothing great or special to imitate grace, but it is everything to God when His Holy Spirit works grace into our hearts.

Grace IN the heart sings because of what Christ has done for you. Grace IN the heart gives the very best without restraint because of the Heavenly Audience. Grace IN the heart performs just as well at midnight in prison as well as Sunday morning in a sanctuary.
“For by grace are ye saved”
“By the grace of God I am what I am”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is grace. Grace for living. Grace for dying. Grace for singing. It is the grace that lets us know that, regardless of how far we’ve fallen, no matter how low we feel, He is deeper still. That’s what praise and worship music is all about.

Abigail Miller, drawing from the experience of Betsie ten Boom (The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom) puts “grace in your hearts” into words in the song “Deeper Still:”

If you have walked the valley, sailed through a troubled sea,
If you have been alone, with no-one to help you in your need,
If you have called on Jesus, reached up to touch His hand,
If you have known His healing touch, you will surely understand…

There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.
There is no emptiness too great for Him to fill.
And there is no life so lost, that Jesus cannot restore.
There is no-one beyond the reach of the love of our living Lord.

If you are in the valley, sailing a troubled sea,
If you are all alone, with no-one to help you in your need,
Reach up and call on Jesus. He will reach down to you.
When you have known His healing touch, you will know that this is true..

There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.
There is no emptiness too great for Him to fill.
And there is no life so lost, that Jesus cannot restore.
There is no-one beyond the reach of the love of our living Lord.

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