Making Melody In Our Hearts
MAKING MELODY IN OUR HEARTS
Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd
Cortland Church of Christ / July 9, 2017
This evening brings our annual Songs Of Light. Rod Sheldon has once again agreed to be our worship leader.
This gathering begins at 6:30. We are anticipating visitors from other congregations.
It’s still not too late to invite your family and friends.
Afterwards, pizza, pop and coffee will be provided along with finger foods brought by our church family.
For tonight’s songfest we have selected the theme, Songs Of Strength & Bravery.
This theme also ties in with our recent Camp 2:52 Summer Youth Retreat.
It’s going to be a great evening of praise and fellowship and we are eager for all who can to join us.
For this morning’s sermon I have chosen the text of Eph.5:15-20
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time because the day are evil.
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation,
but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody
with you heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.
One of the noticeable characteristics of our gatherings is that we SING.
In particular, we sing a cappella.
This term, a cappella, is frequently translated as “without accompaniment”.
The literal meaning of a cappella is “a la chapel”, i.e., in the manner or mode of the chapel.
This term reaches back to the earlier days of Christianity before instrumental accompaniments were added.
Let’s look again at the wording of this Eph.5:18-19f citation.
What exactly does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit”?
The first-century saints lived in the days when the Holy Spirit worked in a variety of miraculous ways.
In the context of a discussion regarding a misuse of “speaking in tongues”, Paul writes in 1Cor.14:26 - -
When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.
Let all things be done for edification.
A few verses earlier (1Cor.14:15), Paul speaks of praying and singing with both the spirit and the mind.
Like other gifts of the Spirit (prophesies & revelations, tongues & interpretations), songs were often inspired by God.
In his letter to the church at Colosse (Col.3:16), Paul writes words similar to those in Ephesus (Eph.5:19-20) - -
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another
with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
In this text Paul doesn’t say be filled with the Spirit, but rather let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.
This answers a key question that needlessly perplexes many Christians today.
How can I be filled with THE SPIRIT? The answer is to be FILLED WITH THE WORD.
In the early days of Christianity - - particularly during the first half of the first-century - - the church sang.
William Barclay succinctly notes: The early Church was a SINGNG Church.
(The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, pg.166).
The believers sang psalms (from the Old Testament) and hymns of praise from numerous Old Testament Scriptures.
Keep in mind that the New Testament was not yet fully revealed, written and codified.
The also sang spiritual songs.
These spiritual songs were not the likes of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, but were songs inspired by the Holy Spirit.
S-p-i-r-i-t-u-a-l songs - - songs given to them by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s note also from Eph.5:19 that their singing was a form of speaking to one another.
The verbiage of our singing matters both to God and to us as well.
One of the frequent perils of adding instruments to our music, is this loss of “speaking to one another”.
I had been somewhat surprised to read some of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s writings on the subject of singing.
(cf. Life Together, pg.57-61).
Our earthly song is bound to God’s revealing Word in Jesus Christ.
It is the simple song of the children of this earth who have been called to be God’s children;
Not ecstatic, not enraptured, but sober, grateful, reverent, addressed steadily to God’s revealed Word.
The heart sings because it is overflowing with Christ…
Where the heart is not singing there is no MELODY…
Our song on earth is SPEECH. It is the SUNG WORD…
All devotion, all attention should be concentrated upon the Word in the hymn…
We do not hum a melody; we sing words of praise to God, words of thanksgiving, confession, and prayer.
Thus the music is completely the servant of the Word. It elucidates the Word…
Because it is bound wholly to the Word, the singing of the congregation…is essentially singing in unison…
It is the voice of the Church that is heard in singing together. It is not you that sings,
It is the Church that is singing, and you, as a member of the Church, may share in its song.
I want to emphasize the psalms in leading our singing this morning.
(cf. list on pg.1039 of our hymnal).
One more comment and then we will expand our worship this morning by including this element of singing.
The first-century church was charged to engage in “singing and making melody with (their) hearts”.
Marshall’s Greek Interlinear gives a literal reading of Eph.5:19 as:
speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and songs spiritual, singing and psalming with the heart of you to the Lord.
Singing and Psalming.
This term “making melody” is an effort on the part of the translators to capture the meaning of “psalming”.
The root word psallo speaks of plucking strings (of the harp or lyre).
You will note that the instrument specified in the text is THE HEART.
Col.3:16b helps us understanding this simple point - - singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Let me briefly summarize what we’ve noted thus far with three major points of instruction.
(1) Our singing is a means of praise and edification - - as we speak to God and one another.
(2) The content of our song is provided by The Word of God as revealed by The Holy Spirit.
(3) Our singing flows from the heart - - it is making melody with a heart filled with gratitude.
One more point - - a lesser point, but a point that can have significant ramifications.
Have you ever been in an assembly where the congregation appeared to be half-heartedly singing?
While this might be somewhat depressing to those assembled, it must be rather insulting to God our Father.
In the 100th Psalm we are directed to SHOUT JOYFULLY … to come before Him with JOYFUL SINGING.
While I recognize that all of us sing in various ways: some sing loudly, others sing more softly.
Remember we are to SPEAK to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
At whatever level you choose to sing your singing need to be AUDIBLE.
To my knowledge, we are never directed in Scripture to whisper songs to one another.
Sometimes our song leader and/or the written music may call for a softer singing for dramatic effect.
And last but not least, we must not mumble or grumble the words.
We are to sing (to shout joyfully) with thankfulness in our hearts to the Lord.
Every First Day (and every day) it is good to sing of God’s glory and beauty and our love for Him.
Sing without interruption
#779 – I Love You, Lord
#97 – I Sing Praises
#273 – More Precious Than Silver
#275 – O Lord, You’re Beautiful
#276 – Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (refrain only)
#578 – We Will Glorify
Before our prayer, let us sing the 23rd psalm - - #533 – I Am A Sheep
Let us pause now to gather round The Table Of The Lord.
2Cor.5:21 / (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Song #337 – Man Of Sorrows (vss.1-4)
Offering - - #52 – Father And Friend, Thy Light, Thy Love
Sometimes life is a real struggle, but the psalms remind us that God is ever present and always caring.
Sing without interruption
Song #806 – Sun Of My Soul (vss.1 & 4)
Song #137 – Unto The Hills (vss.1 & 4)
Song #139 – In Heavenly Love Abiding
In every circumstance whether good or bad, let us rejoice in the Lord and let us determine to shine for Jesus.
The Scriptures tell us plainly that we are to be the light of the world as we reflect Christ in our lives.
Sing without interruption
#238 – You Are The Song That I Sing
#239 – In Moments Like These
Song #722 – Let The Beauty Of Jesus Be Seen (vss.1 & 3)
Closing – Song #778 – Be With Me, Lord (vss.1 & 3)