While the world is striving to attain perfection, I realize the only perfect One took my place, as a perfect sacrifice, on a cross. Through Him my weaknesses are made strong. I'm not afraid to be different, because I AM different. I'm a child of The Most High. I can be imperfect because I am loved by a Perfect God.

Praying for Direction. Lift by Prayer. Working for Peace. Labor by Power. Driven by Love. Love by Patience. Living by Faith. Live by Presence. Held by Hope. Learn by Faith.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Music of Praise or Praise of Music

Let me preface this post by saying that I am a music person. I grew up playing the piano and singing. I currently sing in church and listen to music almost all the time. However, this has been something God has laid on my heart, and I will do my best to accurately convey what I am feeling.

Whiteestate.org Accurately depicts the Role of Music

The Power of Song. --The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song. Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and it thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation. But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul.

As the children of Israel, journeying through the wilderness, cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life. There are few means more effective for fixing His words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures; power to quicken thought and awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.

It is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. How often to the soul hard-pressed and ready to despair, memory recalls some word of God’s, --the long-forgotten burden of a childhood song, -- and temptations lose their power, life takes on new meaning and new purpose, and courage and gladness are imparted to other souls!

As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer.

A Weapon Against Discouragement. --If there was much more praising the Lord, and far less doleful recitation of discouragements, many more victories would be achieved.
Let praise and thanksgiving be expressed in song. When tempted, instead of giving utterance to our feelings, let us by faith lift up a song of thanksgiving to God.
Song is a weapon that we can always use against discouragement. As we thus open the heart to the sunlight of the Saviour’s presence, we shall have health and His blessing.
To Impress Spiritual Truth. --Song is one of the most effective means of impressing spiritual truth upon the heart. Often by the words of sacred song, the springs of penitence and faith have been unsealed.
A Means to Conserve Christian Experience. --Evening and morning join with your children in God’s worship, reading His Word and singing His praise. Teach them to repeat God’s law. Concerning the commandments, the Israelites were instructed: "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Accordingly, Moses directed the Israelites to set the words of the law to music.

If it was essential for Moses to embody the commandments in sacred song, so that as they marched in the wilderness, the children could learn to sing the law verse by verse, how essential it is at this time teach our children God’s Word! Let us come up to the help of the Lord, instructing our children to keep the commandments to the letter. Let us do everything in our power to make music in our homes, that God may come in.

"speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:19)

"But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." (Acts 16:25)

The book of Psalms is a book of songs -- songs of many diverse topics, such as worship, jubilation, praise, lament, Messianic prophecies, judgment, etc., all set to music. God fully desires and expects that we sing songs to him and about him as long as they praise him.

I include all of the above simply to ensure not to discount the effectiveness of music. I also do not want to be mistaken. I whole heartedly believe that the use of music in praise is biblical.

However, I have two points. 1. The power of music and also 2. Music's importance

Music forms a part of God’s worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs. Singing, as a part of religious service, is as much an act of worship as is prayer. The heart must feel the spirit of the song to give it right expression.

Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God. What a contrast between the ancient custom and the uses to which music is now too often devoted! How many employ this gift to exalt self, instead of using it to glorify God! A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world lovers in pleasure gatherings where God has forbidden His children to go. So, that which is a great blessing when rightly used, becomes one of the most successful agencies by which Satan allures the mind from duty and from the contemplation of eternal things.

How silly is our thought process when we use Godly music to get us to a Godly mindset and help usher in the presence of God, but we think there is no effect on us when we listen to other types of music?!

Let's take a spiritual look at the history of music.

Lucifer is a fallen angel who was the head of the ministry of music in Heaven when he was in heaven. It has been said of him he was the most beautiful of ALL angels and he was the director of the flow of music there (Praise and Worship).
Of course, now he no longer is….. but there are several scriptural references throughout the bible the denote his previous authority over music when he was in heaven. One is
Isa.14:11 – “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.”
This verse is speaking of his fall from heaven, and how all of the glory he had, and the gifts he had fell with him. The noise of thy viols indicates the stringed instruments he had charge over. Throughout the bible in passages in the books of Ezekiel, Job, Isaiah, even Psalms upon speaking of his past life…it tells us he was the minister of music there.

Lucifer was basically a walking talking musical instrument.

Ezekiel 28:13 - Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: THE WORKMANSHIP OF THY TIMBRELS AND OF THY PIPES WAS PREPARED IN THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering CHERUB, from the midst of the stones of fire.
These were the same words that were spoken of lucifer in
Isaiah 14:11-14 (11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the NOISE OF YOUR HARPS; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.)-(New International Version)
King James Version
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee

The Seraphim (singular “Seraph”), mentioned in Isaiah 6:1-7 , serve as the caretakers of God’s throne and continuously singing his praises: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the earth is filled with His Glory.” It is said that they surround the throne of God, singing the music of the spheres and regulating the movement of the heavens as it emanates from God. It is also said that such a bright light emanates from them that nothing, not even other divine beings, can look upon them. It is said that there are four of them surrounding God’s throne, where they burn eternally from love and zeal for God.

The Seraphim have six wings; two covering their face, two covering their feet, and two that they fly with.

Unlike other Seraphim who had six wings, Lucifer was featured to have twelve wings.

The Cherubim (singular “Cherub”) are beyond the throne of God; they are the guardians of light and of the stars. It is believed that, although they are removed from man’s plane of reality, the divine light that they filter down from Heaven still touches the lives of living things.
They have four faces: one of a man, ox, lion, and eagle. The ox-face is considered the “true face”, as later on in Ezekiel the ox’s face is called a cherub’s face (Chapter 10). They have eight conjoined wings covered with eyes, and they have ox’s feet.
Cherubim are considered the elect beings for the purpose of protection. Cherubim guard Eden and the throne of God.
Their rank among angels is uncertain but they are always categorized in the First Sphere. Some believe them to be an order or class of angels; others hold them to be a class of heavenly beings higher than angels. Cherubim are said to have perfect knowledge of God, surpassed only by the love of the Seraphim.

The Cherubim are mentioned in Genesis 3:24 ; Ezekiel 10:17-20 ; and 1 Kings 6:23-28.

Since Lucifer/beelzebub seemed to have been greater than the other beings, he is thought to be the chief of music.

So it is obvious that Lucifer, at the very least, contained something akin to musical instruments – the tambourine, the flute, and the harp all within the confines of his own body. Since Lucifer is a created being, he was originally created with instruments to provide beautiful music for none other than the glorification of God. Lucifer, being the most authoritative and superior angel that he was, at best, was also probably the angel of music.

The point of this study is to see, purely from a theological view, if in fact Satan has a connection with and a direct influence on music, which has become undoubtedly clear that he does. Ironically, it is amazing how easily he can create discord in the music department. A song isn't done right : attitude.  Someone else gets to sing a solo : attitude. I don't like who is singing a certain song : attitude. I don't like the song we are singing tonight : attitude.  The musicians can't get their act together : attitude. The drums are too fast/slow/off beat : attitude. etc. Every time an attitude comes up, our worship is affected. Not just the worship of the singers/musicians but also of those in the "audience". If we aren't worshiping, how can we lead others into worship?

We must remember that some, not all music, can come from evil sources no matter how lovely, beautiful or pleasing it may sound to the ears. For we know that the devil can masquerade as an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14).

As mentioned above, the devil can be an imitator. We've seen in the Bible, in Genesis 7:10 Aaron threw down his staff and it turned into a serpent (at the instruction of God)  However in verses 11 and 12 Pharaoh called his own wise men, sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians did the exact same thing.

Music, I believe, has a twofold purpose. To glorify God or not, it’s as simple as that. As we have seen, music was initially created for that purpose up until Satan’s rebellion. What he has done with music from that point on becomes a whole other issue.
Conveniently we can see the devil doing the same thing (imitating) with music. What was created for God's glory has been twisted and is sending other messages that does not glorify God. 

I recently had a conversation with a friend about this: This friend and I have connected because of our love for music. He mentioned going to to a concert to see a band. No biggie, the concert would be in a bar, and it was ok, because he can be a christian everywhere he goes. While the flesh side of me agrees with him, another part of me asks what kind of witness that would leave, and what sort of temptations am I setting myself up to face? I will reitterate: A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world lovers in pleasure gatherings where God has forbidden His children to go. 

Besides, what type of music would be played there? Is it Godly music? I think it would be safe to assume not. Since it's not feeding God's spirit in us, what part of us is it feeding? Our flesh.

What goes in the body is what comes out through the way in which we live our lives.
He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery. – (Mark 7:20-21)

So ask yourself

"Do I know what kind of music I'm listening to?"
"Do I know what kind of music my kids are listening to?"

So while I've just (hopefully) adequately explained the power of music, I believe we have put too much emphasis on the importance of music ministry in the churches of today. 

Music is designed to be for the glory of God. Our music is NOT going to save someone. Besides, if we are completely honest with ourselves, there are other churches and organizations who have much better means to put on a show, program, have the best singers, and musicians. 

The purpose of the church is to share the Gospel and God's love to a hurting, lost, and dying world. Music can only share the gospel and minister to people if we get them inside our buildings, and it can only do that if spirits are right, and our music is truly glorifying God, not for self gratification.

What am I getting at? 
I'm glad you asked. 

EPHESIANS 4:11-13   And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13   Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

This is the five-fold ministry. I believe that this needs to be in effect in ALL of our churches today. Verses 12 and 13 explain what the five-fold does. If I'm not mistaken, I do believe that simply uses other words to depict the purpose of the church. 

Now, if you read that passage closely you will notice that music, music ministry, singing, playing instruments etc are not listed as part of the five-fold ministry. That being said, I don't think one ministry needs to be elevated above another. However, I believe the five-fold is essential to the growth and revival of a church. 

If you choose a random person and ask them if they would rather sing a solo or teach to kids, most would choose sing a solo. Why is this? Teaching is part of the five-fold ministry, it is passing on knowledge-biblical knowledge, for perfecting of the saints and edification of the body of Christ. 

It seems we have put a stigma on being used in the church. You have to have some sort of musical talent in order to be used of God. At a young age, kids dream of being able to sing, or play the piano. We even have programs where the kids get to sing special songs. But this is demonstrating that only music is important. 

What if we had a special week where kids were able to "shadow" those who do live the five-fold ministry. Spend the day with the pastor, see the preparation, share their time in prayer. What about helping a Sunday School Teacher prepare a lesson, and also the follow through-helping teach that lesson. Spending time with an evangelist, understanding the time and energy that is spent in prayer and preparation before a service. Maybe we should even let the kids help those who clean the church. This might teach the kids a little about respecting the house of God. 

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