Commanded To Sing

Commanded to Sing

Pastor Don Carpenter

Sing! / Psalm 149:1; Colossians 3:16; Matthew 26:30

As we digest the Word set in song and respond with thankfulness in our hearts to God, we are guided into His path of peace. That peace is Him. Singing, as with all these outward expressions of our worship, will never save us. But singing will help lead us to the One who will. The command to sing leads us to Christ with joy to praise and follow Him. How kind of God to command us to do something so wonderful!

 Kristyn Getty remembers being in the kitchen with her mum as a teenager having a conversation with her about prayer. Growing up in a Christian home, she had been taught about, shown, and helped with praying. But on this day, she was dragging her feet over the idea of praying and was somewhat over complicating the process (something that, in future years, her husband would not find hard to believe!). After a little while, her mum, with her kind, strong eyes, very simply said, “At the end of the day, we are commanded by God to pray—so we must do it!” 

 The same is equally true of singing. We are commanded by God to sing—so we must do it. Not to sing is to disobey

Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2017).

Psalm 149:1 KJV

Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, And his praise in the congregation of saints.

There are 400 references to singing in the Bible and at least 50 direct commands. 

Obedience to God’s gracious commandments help unlock the key to our own liberty!

James 1:25 KJV

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

John Newton once wrote, 

Our pleasure and our duty, Though opposite before;Since we have seen his beauty, Are joined to part no more .

We Are Given Instructions to Follow

Where We Are To Sing

 • In our hearts

Ephesians 5:19 KJV

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

 • In the assembly of the saints – part of sacred worship just like preaching or praying. 

Psalm 22:22 KJV

I will declare thy name unto my brethren: In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

Psalm 22:25 KJV

My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.

Psalm 68:26 KJV

Bless ye God in the congregations, Even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.

Psalm 89:5 KJV

And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.

Psalm 111:1 KJV

Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, In the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

Hebrews 2:12 KJV

Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

 • In the assembly we individuals are not the majority some music may not be your chosen style or accompaniment or your favorite song. 

 • Practice Christianity 101

Philippians 2:3–4 KJV

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

What to Sing

Colossians 3:16 KJV

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.

 • The Word of Christ – Bible Verses

 There was an elderly woman who was a true saint of God in her long life of devotion. She knew much of the Bible by heart and would repeat long passages from memory. But as the years went by, the strength went and with it the memory gradually went too. Finally, there came the time when she was able only to quote one passage: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able, to keep that which I have committed, unto him against that day.” But by and by that also seemed to slip. So there came a time when all she could say was “…that which I have committed to him…” But toward the last, as she hovered between this world and the next, her memory failed even more. Her loved ones would see her lips moving and, thinking that she might need something, they would bend down and listen for her request. Time and again they found her repeating only one word from this song over and over and over. It was the same word: “HIM! HIM! HIM!” She had lost the whole song — she had lost the entire Bible — with the single exception of this one word. And what a word it is! She had encapsulated the entire Bible in this one word! The Bible is “HIM.” This “HIM” is Jesus. 

-Submitted by J.D. Brown+ 

 • Bible Truths 

 • New Song

Psalm 33:3 KJV

Sing unto him a new song; Play skilfully with a loud noise.

Psalm 40:3 KJV

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

Psalm 96:1 KJV

O sing unto the LORD a new song: Sing unto the LORD, all the earth.

Psalm 98:1 KJV

O sing unto the LORD a new song; For he hath done marvellous things: His right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

Psalm 144:9 KJV

I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: Upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

 • Be picky with congregational Hymns make a good use of the time we have. 

 • Not surface 

 • Not phrases out of context 

 • Not focused on ourselves 

 • Not describing Jesus in a way His Word does not.

 • Every lyric should link together to bring thoughtful deep expression of scripture.

 • Don’t just sing… THINK

 If you are singing the songs as a member of the assembly of the saints, then don’t just sing, but think. What are you singing? How does it point you to Jesus as He reveals Himself in His Word? What truths are being laid on your heart, and how is your singing being used to lay them on the hearts of those around you? Which lines in the lyrics flood you with joy because they move you to consider Christ afresh, and how will you sing them to others and back to yourself this week?  

1 Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2017). 

How We Are To Sing

Colossians 3:16 KJV

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.

 • With grace in your hearts… a thankful response to the grace of God bestowed upon you. Gratitude.

 • Not just out of duty.

 • It is not Christlike if you are only singing with your lips and not also your heart.

Isaiah 29:13 KJV

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, And with their lips do honour me, But have removed their heart far from me, And their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

Matthew 15:8 KJV

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

  It is hard—impossible, in fact—to sing what you are excited about in your spirit and grateful for in your heart in a way that is tepid, tentative, and withdrawn. Deeply felt thankfulness produces a sound from our voices that is robust and enthusiastic. What is happening when we sing is about so much more than the audible sound we create, but not less. How we sing does reveal how we think and feel about something.1 

1 Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2017). 

 So as we obey the command to sing, we are (or should be) unleashing a congregational sound of conviction—whether there are a dozen of us or thousands of us. If we aren’t, our children or visitors looking on have every right to wonder if what we are singing is truly important to us. In this sense, Our singing betrays the truth about us, for better and for worse. 

1 Keith Getty and Kristyn Getty, Sing! How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2017). 

We Are Given Examples to Follow

Our Singing Savior

Matthew 26:30 KJV

And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

 • As He headed toward arrest, He sang.

 • Before the Hour of agony, He sang

 • He led His men in singing

 • On the Cross he quoted from a Psalm, a song!

Psalm 22:1–3 KJV

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; And in the night season, and am not silent. 

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

The Singing Missionaries

Acts 16:25 KJV

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

 • In the darkness of literal and figurative midnight.

 • After praying and settling their hearts, they prayed .

 • They sang praises to God out loud.

 • The hopeless hears a song of hope.

 • The power of God was unleashed.

 A tradition that Evelyn Knowles has chosen for posterity is to sing to her babies. The very first time she held each of her newborn grandchildren cheek to cheek and heart to heart, they heard their grandmother softly sing– Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Why? Because she wanted to be certain that they would never remember a time when they hadn’t known Jesus. 

 Growing up in church, Evelyn learned all the songs in the book. In her family of 10, singing church songs was second nature. Sitting on the front porch, riding in the car, or doing dishes “assembly line” style, would more often than not find them bursting into song. Hymns meant little more than an excuse to sing as a child, but how they instructed in adulthood. 

 Soon Ok Lee grew up in North Korea and devoted herself to its communist party, only to be “rewarded” with 6 years of brutal, inhumane prison life. When she was released and escaped to South Korea, she was aided by a kind, Christian gentleman. She heard him sing songs that were somehow familiar to her, and was puzzled that she knew these songs well enough to sing along. One of those songs was “Amazing Grace.” These hymns were certainly not sung in godless North Korea! 

 Ah, but a faint and long forgotten memory was triggered—a memory of her own mother singing these very songs when she was a tiny child. So tiny, in fact, that she hadn’t realized they were hymns. But gospel seed had been planted in her wee heart—her mother’s secret way of teaching little Soon Ok Lee of God’s love. Secret, because under their North Korean government, children were taken away from parents who taught them the Bible. Yet after years of trying to live up to Communist ideology, the message of her mother’s songs comforted her and brought her to Christ. 

 Sound doctrine tucked away in our old hymns can be ingrained in a child’s heart. It might not be understood at the time, but it may very well instruct them at a crucial point later in life. 

Source: Evelyn Knowles, Peace on Earth Ministries, Joplin, MO. Citation: Ok-Lee, Soon (Sun Ok Yi). Eyes of the Tailless Animals: Prison Memoirs of a North Korean Women. Living Sacrifice Book Company, 1999. 

How could we ever think we can be passive about singing? 

As we digest the Word set in song and respond with thankfulness in our hearts to God, we are guided into His path of peace. That peace is Him. Singing, as with all these outward expressions of our worship, will never save us. But singing will help lead us to the One who will. The command to sing leads us to Christ with joy to praise and follow Him. How kind of God to command us to do something so wonderful! 

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 10:56 AM February 5, 2021.

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