Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Aug 27, 2014
*Think of some of the things we tend to take for granted. There are many things, but with the focus on music tonight, I want to mention the music program of our church. Our Sanctuary Choir rehearses every Wednesday. Our Children's Choir also practices every Wednesday during the school year. Our Grayson Baptist Youth Band practices every week, and they play for Orange every Sunday night. By the way: When I left about 8:00 last Sunday night, I noticed a light on in the middle building, and part of our Youth Band was still there practicing.
*Also think about all the behind the scenes effort to learn how to play instruments and new songs, all the effort to get the sound system right, all of the prayer and planning that goes into worship services, and a lot of extra for special days like Christmas.
*What we hear in the worship service is maybe five percent of the time it took to get us there. So it's easy for us to take our music program for granted. But what Herb, Anita, and all of our people involved in music do is very important. If you are involved in our music program in any way, would you please stand and remain standing, so we can show our appreciation.
*What you do is very important. And tonight we are going to look into the Word of God to see why. Let me ask everybody to please stand with you in honor of God's Word, and open your Bibles to Colossians 3:16.
*In vs. 16, Paul tells us to: "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."
*Musicians and singers: What you do is vitally important to the Lord's Church. Music matters.
1. And it matters first of all, because music helps educate God's people.
*Paul said: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." But that can't happen unless we learn God's Word. God wants all Christians to grow in godly wisdom, affection, grace, love and goodness. He wants us to grow up to be more and more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
*But that can't happen unless we learn God's Word. And one of the best ways to learn these things is through music. So Paul tells us to be "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs."
*We know what "teaching" means. "Admonishing" means to gently caution or warn someone, and godly music can do that too. That's why we sing hymns like this:
"Are you weary, are you heavy hearted?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you grieving over joys departed?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Have you sins that to men's eyes are hidden?
Tell it to Jesus alone.
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that's well known.
You've no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone." (1)
*Paul tells us to be "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Think of one of your favorite psalms, hymns or spiritual songs. What does it teach us about God or salvation or prayer or the cross?
*"What can wash away my sins? -- Nothing but the Blood of Jesus" (2)
*Here's part of a song that reminds me how much we need God's Spirit to work in our lives:
"Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down
Oh, Comforter and Friend
How we need Your touch again
Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down
Let Your power fall
Let Your voice be heard
Come and change our hearts
As we stand on Your word
Holy Spirit, rain down." (3)
*Here's part of a hymn that teaches us about God's goodness and glory:
-"Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
opening to the sun above.
-Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!
-Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
-Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine. (4)
*Music matters because it teaches us about God and how to live the Christian life. Music matters, because it helps educate God's people.
2. It also matters because it helps encourage God's people.
*Again in vs. 16, Paul says: "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."
*Paul says we should be "singing with grace in (our) hearts to the Lord." That's real singing: Singing not just with our lips, but singing in our hearts and souls.
*The good news is that singing itself can help put more grace and gratitude into our hearts. There are key times in the Bible where we see people encouraged by singing. For example II Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were in terrible danger.
*Chapter 20 opens with these words:
1. It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat.
2. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, "A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar'' (which is En Gedi).
3. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
*Then God spoke through one of His prophets and he said:
15. . . "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.
16. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel.
17. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.''
*Then, the next day:
20. . . They rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.''
21. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.''
22. Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.
23. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24. So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
25. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much.
*The people were encouraged by the singing. And it was so important that they put the singers out in front of the army! (I would say those singers needed encouragement too.) And no doubt they were encouraged by the songs they sung.
*Think of a hymn or a song that has greatly encouraged you.
*I asked Anita to give us an example tonight, and she gave a moving testimony of a song that encouraged her. It happened when Anita found out that her sister had serious cancer, and it was impossible for Anita to be there with her sister. Anita felt like her heart was falling apart, but God encouraged her through the words of a song called "Everything Falls."
*That song was from a band called "Fee", and here's part of the message:
"Sorrow will last for the night
But hope is rising with the sun, it's rising with the sun
There will be storms in this life
But I know You will overcome, You have overcome
When everything falls apart, Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart, You're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong, You keep holding on
You keep holding on" (5)
*Music matters, because it helps encourage God's people. -- And we need encouragement.
*Let me tell you a good news story that started out as bad as can be. It happened in metro-Atlanta back in April. A man kidnapped nine-year-old Willie Myrick from his southwest Atlanta driveway. Then he drove the little boy around for three hours before dropping him off unharmed in East Point.
*But Willie's actions during those three terrifying hours have inspired people around the country. Little Willie started singing a gospel song, and he kept on singing until the man let him go!
*Willie said while he was singing, the man kept cursing and telling him to shut up. But eventually he kicked Willie out of the car. Willie said: "He opened the door and threw me out."
*Willie's story traveled fast and soon caught the ear of Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Hezekiah Walker, -- the man who wrote the song. Then Walker flew from New York City to Atlanta to meet Willie. And on a Thursday evening at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, the singer hugged Willie, and led the church in singing the song that most likely saved that little boy's life.
Here are the words of the song that kidnapper heard for three hours:
"Every praise -- is to our God.
Every word of worship -- with one accord
Every praise, every praise -- is to our God.
Sing hallelujah -- to our God
Glory hallelujah -- is due our God
Every praise, every praise -- is to our God.
God my Savior
God my Healer
God my Deliverer
Yes He is, -- yes He is." (6)
*For three hours! -- What an encouragement! -- For the boy, for his family, for their church, for the man who wrote that song, and for everyone who shares in the joy of God's Hand at work in that story.
*Music matters, because it helps encourage God's people.
3. It also matters because it exalts our God.
*Again in vs. 16, Paul says: "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."
*Whether you are in the choir, the band or the congregation, always remember this: The main audience for our singing is never the people around us or in front of us. The main audience for our singing is God!
*The God who hears all things can always hear our singing, and He wants to hear our singing. God wants to hear our songs of praise to Him.
*There are many songs of praise and victory in God's Word.
*Here's part of the song Moses and the Children sang in Exodus 15, after they miraculously came though the Red Sea:
1. . . "I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!
2. The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will exalt Him.
3. The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name.
4. Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.
5. The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone.
6. Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.
7. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath which consumed them like stubble.
8. And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; the floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
9. The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.'
10. You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
11. Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
*Here's part of the song of praise that Mary sang after she learned she was going to be Jesus' mother:
*In Luke 1:46-50:
46. . . Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47. and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
50. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation."
*If Moses and Mary sang praises to God, then we should too! -- Especially when we remember that there will be singing in Heaven.
*In Revelation 5, the twenty-four elders sing this song of praise to Jesus:
9. . . "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10. and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.''
*Christian: Don't wait 'til you get to Heaven before you start singing praises to our God! -- It matters.
*Music matters a lot...
-Because it helps educate God's people.
-Because it helps encourage God's people.
-And because it helps exalt our God.
(1) "Tell it to Jesus" - Words: Edmund S. Lorenz in "Fröliche Botschafter" 1876; translated from German to English by Jeremiah E. Rankin in "Gates of Praise" 1880 - Music: Dayton, Edmund S. Lorenz 1876 - www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/e/tellitto.htm
(2) "Nothing But the Blood" - Words & Music: Robert Lowry, in Gospel Music, by William Doane and Robert Lowry - New York: Biglow & Main, 1876 - http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/n/b/nbtblood.htm
(3) "Holy Spirit Rain Down" - Songwriter: Russell John Fragar - Published by Integrity's Hosanna! Music - www.metrolyrics.com/holy-spirit-rain-down-lyrics-natalie-grant.html
(4) "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" - Words: Henry J. van Dyke, 1907 - Music: Hymn to Joy, from the 9th Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven; adapted by Edward Hodges, 1824 - http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/j/o/joyful.htm
(5) "Everything Falls" is on the album "Hope Rising" - Songwriters: Kirkland Eddie; Steven Fee - Published by SIXSTEPS MUSIC; WORSHIP TOGETHER MUSIC - http://www.metrolyrics.com/everything-falls-lyrics-fee.html
(6) 11Alive - "Boy's love of gospel music may have saved his life" by Blayne Alexander, WXIA 7:09 a.m. EDT April 18, 2014 - http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/southwest-atlanta/2014/04/17/willie-myrick-gospel-kidnapping/7851279/ - "Every Praise" - Artist: Hezekiah Walker - Album: Azusa: the Next Generation