As I talk with more and more people every day regarding music in their lives, whether it be in the privacy of their own personal home, headphones, car, Ipods, PeaPods, QPods, etc. workplace or within their own church, I am coming to realize that the scriptures are really not being considered as their "final authority in all matters of faith and practice," as it has so truthfully stated. People will certainly discuss other "issues" and will be quick to quote scripture to prove their position. But when the subject of 'music' comes up, most of the responses are "I know what I like"; "my pastor approves it"; my pastor listens to it, too"; "Don't be so judgmental!"; "Don't be so divisive!"; and the most popular comment is "The scriptures leave music in a gray area".
Those personal statements carry nothing but man's own final authority and opinion and that last statement about music being a gray area is most definitely not true. Studying the Scriptures will leave no doubt that the Bible does NOT leave music as a gray area. The answers are in those scriptures - verse by verse and rightly divided, of course!
So, here we have four Classic Verses on Music
These mini messages make a good foundation for many specific music issues.
click on the reference below to go directly to that particular 'mini-sermon'
Let the Word of Christ Dwell In You - Colossians 3:16
Music Lights the Final Fire - Daniel 3:5-7
Moses Does Wrong & Still Gets Great Results - Numbers 20:10-12
Woe to Them That are at Ease in Zion - Amos 6:1a, 5
This single verse is rich with music application. The most important point to be made here, and one that is highly skipped over by most, is the obvious statement that we are to Let the word of Christ dwell be the emphasis. It is not the psalms, hymns or spiritual songs that teach and admonish - it is the word of Christ. The music is a "means", not the power in teaching and admonishing.
The contemporary christian music (CCM) world most definitely has a total disregard to the word of Christ in their music. If anyone were to study the texts of the contemporary songs of today, one would find false doctrine abounding. If there is to be a 'best reason' to dump today's CCM, Contemporary Christian Music, it is this one - FALSE DOCTRINE in the music!
Unfortunately, that problem is showing up more and more in the good ole' KJV churches all over the country. Many years ago, I heard a well known pastor of a large church pray and address his prayer to God, the "Father of Heavenly Lights". Readers, that is a blasphemous prayer - nowhere in that KJV 1611 Bible is God called the "Father of Heavenly Lights". In that same year, Steve Green sang a 'hit' song where he called God the "Father of Heavenly Lights", taking his reference from James 1:17 (Father of lights - KJV 1611) where the NIV calls God the "Father of Heavenly Lights". That song contains false gospel - a gospel which is accursed in Gal 1:8. Satan is the angel of light in II Cor 11:14, and that says it all, amen? amen!.
That is only one of thousands of examples one would find if they ever cared enough to check their CCM music 'textually' with their Bible. With that simple conclusion, that song, that 'artist' and that music should have been trashed. If that song would have been publicly exposed as false gospel and the 'artist' as a false teacher at that time, that church today would not be caught up in the contemporary music scene that it is now caught up into.
A second application to this verse is found in the part ...psalms and hymns and spiritual songs... If anyone were to study the history of America from the Pilgrims in 1600's up to today, one would see that the direction of the music began with Psalms, then turned to hymns and has ended up today with spiritual songs. People today don't have the Psalms in their bibles let alone in their churches, they are all mostly bored with hymns and so spiritual songs is all folks can sing. They slap them up on their overhead screen and clap and sway with some of the most fluffy worthless spiritual and praise songs.
God's words are not only pure, but their placement is in a divine order.
A final application refers to the singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
We all need to have grace regarding our singing. We are to make a joyful noise to the Lord Psalms 66:1; 81:1; 95:1,2; 98:4,6 & 100:1. But we certainly can't claim loud for loud sake or because of speakers and amplifiers - nor can we consider 'polluting praises' as singing with grace. The point of grace there is the simple fact that God doesn't strike folks dead with the kind of music they 'sing unto God' today!
Do so many pastors exhibit so little grace regarding their own congregation and their singing capabilities that they choose to bring in all these professional singing groups and families to sing praises "FOR" and in "FRONT" of their congregation? When a congregation sings 'with grace', the rafters will shake - and it will not be because of the rhythm section of the band or keyboard nor will it be the foot stompin' teen section in the back of the church! It will be because there are true praises being sung unto God - to his name, before him, etc. It isn't the music that is to "move us", it is the preaching of God's words!
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. I Corinthians 1:18, 21
That at what time ye hear the sound
of the cornet, flute, harp,
sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick,
ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour
be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the
cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick,
all the people, the nations, and the languages,
fell down and worshipped the golden image
that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Most people are not even aware of the role that music played in the well known story of Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego? In fact, music played such an important role, that verse 5 is repeated in verse 7, 10. When the action gets thicker, the same command is repeated one more time in verse 15.
Note the list of instruments in those four verses. All those instruments were in their early stages of development with the possible exceptions of the psaltery and dulcimer. These stringed instruments have been around for a long time and have not changed much since their early years of use. The cornet mentioned here can not be the type of cornet or trumpet that we think of today as the valves that are used today had not been invented yet; the sackbut is the early creation of today's trombone, but they are still early thoughts of what we have today.
Note also in verse 7, that all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image. That is a great illustration of the power of music as the universal language. All nations and all peoples respond more to the language of music than any other language. There may be different notation symbols from different parts of the world used in music notation today, but the power of music is the same for everyone everywhere and in any language.
Also note, that in the verses 5, 7, 10 & 15, the phrase "all kinds of musick" was used as the description as to what 'kind' of music would be heard to begin this process of bowing down to the golden image.
Today, there rages the issue of 'good' and 'bad' music in the homes and churches of Bible believers, etc.. The questions are asked... "Is there music that could be considered 'good'? Is there music that could be considered 'bad'? Is there 'good' music and 'bad' music as far as God is concerned - or is it just thoughts and the wisdom of man and his own preferences?"
Further Bible study AND music language study will show that there truly is 'good' and 'bad' music and there is music that God will hear and will not hear. Many people think music is a gray area, but a complete review of the music verses in the Bible would show anyone quickly that God mentions the use of good music AND the use of bad music - for the people and for Him. But typical of today's scholarly approach to Christianity, we have ignored the 'simplicity that is in Christ"! II Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
As you again consider the phrase, "all kinds of musick", it appears that there must be the possibility that people could even bow down to Baal, Satan, etc. even when they 'hear' 'good music'. ALL KINDS of music means ALL KINDS!
It is obvious today (well, to some, anyway) that there is music that is wicked, sick, gross, deadly, unnatural, satanic and is of the world. A Bible believing, born again, washed in the blood, redeemed Christian would not listen to that kind of music. It does not honor God! It does actually effect the physical health of that individual - It leads to murders and crime, etc. etc. etc. That kind of music would definitely signify worship to the false gods of the world. Amen? or Amen! Again, a Christian would not think of listening to THAT KIND of music!
But when we consider what kind of music is being played in supermarkets, stores, elevators, street corners from cars & boom boxes, telephone answering systems, restaurants, malls, office waiting rooms, etc. we must accept the obvious fact that we hear that wicked & ungodly kind of music everywhere we go. Ten to twenty years ago, if people would have said that awful rock and roll would be the common music all over in America, we would have not believed them. If we would stop and listen to the music in most of these places today, we would be shocked at what words are actually being sung. In fact, in those very same places, if you tried talking to the clerks or other customers with that same language telling those same stories that are being portrayed and sang over their in store music system, you would probably be asked to be quiet or to leave the store. So, as Christians, we must remind ourselves that we are subjected to this wicked music daily.
Then there is the other side of 'all kinds of musick" - the 'good' music of today. The many different kinds of music that is considered by many to be clean and good musick. A person can get so involved in that 'good' music that is also becomes as much a god to them as rock music does the world. A person who lives and breathes symphony music and concerts, band programs, choir programs, performances of the professionals in all reality is living their life for music as a career and ignores God, etc. is bowing down to a false god just as much as the person who bows down to wicked music. A false god is a false god no matter how bad or good the tool of worship is. Music has becomes the false god of many Americans these days. It stands between God and themselves - their music has become an idol to them.
As music becomes more and more spread out with styles and variations of styles, orchestrations and instrumentations, there gets to be more and more music that begins to 'cross the bridge' between the obviously 'good' music and the obviously 'bad' music of our daily lives. One could even call that music 'lukewarm' as it is 'sorta' bad and 'sorta' good. It doesn't lead the person towards wickedness, but it also does not lead the person toward the God of the Bible! It all seems to be a fitting description of Revelation 3:14-19, doesn't it? The coming Tribulation, also called the Laodicean church age with it's own Laodicean music. Sure - why not!
Then we have the Bible believing Christian who even believes the KJV as the perfect and preserved words of God, but who spends all their time or most of their time listening to music - good music - good 'Christian' music - good 'Family Singers' music. But they never read their Bible or they at least have it 'after' their music - and for some, even 'during' their music listening time. They wake up in the morning and turn on their good 'christian' music. It gives them their charge and start for the day. They play the radio or CD player, IPod, etc. all through the day - no possible chance for meditating of God's words. They get into their car, turn on their cd or IPod music - another chance for meditating 'thrown out the window'. The Holy Ghost can't get a thing into the mind of this person because they constantly have their music playing, even though it is good 'Christian' music.
The Holy Spirit works through words, not music!
So as one becomes more and more aware of the power of music, we must realize that the issue is far more than 'good' or 'bad' music. All kinds of musick can make anyone bow down to the golden image - even today.
And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock,
and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice:
and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron,
Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel,
therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
We have here a very simple but extremely important illustration here. We all should know that Moses did know what he was supposed to do this second time with the rock. Instead, he chose to do it "his own way."
Moses was able to get the results he wanted. There was 'success' here. But Moses still disobeyed God in the manner that he went about doing his ministry. And so Moses paid in the end. Success? Only according to man!
I Samuel 15:22b ...Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice...
As pastors, we cloud learn a great lesson from Moses. I am convinced that there are two things we could do to increase listeners at the website - in other words, 'draw water out of a rock'.
But just because that would give good results, I would be using music that would not please God. I would be disobeying his orders. Moses got the results that he wanted - but he had to pay a big price. I am more concerned about 'doing right' and letting God be concerned about the results. We plant and we water - but the increase is His department. That can be difficult at times, however. We often think we know how to do the work. In fact, we are such an educated Christianity, we can tend to make things happen with such good results, we wouldn't know if God was in it or not. We who rightly divide the word of truth tend to still seek signs more than live by faith, and that would be 'doing right' in spite of lower results.
- First, I could back off the King James Bible "issue" - which would be literally kicking out the 'voice' and 'light' of God - which I would never do, but it would sure please a lot people.
- Second, I could 'loosen' the music standard and 'bring in the off-beat'.
- We could get away from singing only the old-fashioned hymns.
- I could quit looking for out-of-print hymns from the 'good-ole-days.
- I could replace the instruments with a tape machine that plays all kinds of music in all different styles.
- We could order all new music books that have more empty & humanistic praise songs and choruses.
You know - Moses would have gotten water out of that rock if he would have had faith in what God was was true and simply obeyed the words of God.
The best way to go about God's work, even as concerning music,
is not to judge the work by the results
but whether or not it is in obedience to the Scriptures.
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds,
and destitute of the truth,
supposing that gain is godliness:
from such withdraw thyself.
I Timothy 6:5
Woe to them that are at ease in Zion...
That chant to the sound of the viol,
and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;
Amos 6:1a, 5
In a war, sometimes the best place to be would be inside the enemy lines. As you would discover what the enemy was planning, you could then make the proper plans yourself to stay ahead in the war.
One of the best reasons for knowing what the many bible versions say about particular verses is that we quickly see exactly what Satan is going after by noting what he has changed or taken out. For example, Colossians 1:14 has the word "blood" missing. Well, we then know Satan took the word "blood" out of the Bible so people today would forget the importance of the blood of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, most people HAVE forgotten the importance of the blood. In fact, one popular pastor teaches that the death of Jesus Christ that saves us, the blood is not important - it is only symbolic. Such things, eh!
The same thing can be done with the subject of music. Where has Satan 'messed' with the Bible so that contemporary musicians and followers could turn in to their Bible and find a verse that would support their modern actions and personal beliefs about music.
Amos 6:5 is a good place to look in modern bibles. We will note that in type, God is addressing chapter 6:1-6 the "believer" who is lazy and spoiled with the world, etc. In our own studies, we should know that obviously this is the Old Testament application and is not written TO us doctrinally as Christians today. But as all the Scriptures are FOR us, but just not all to us, we can still look to these verses spiritually in a most surprising way.
Many newer bible versions will rewrite Amos 6:5 this way: ...invent to themselves instruments of music, like David did; Or another way: You sing foolish songs to the music of harps, and you make up new tunes, just as David used to do...; Then there is this: ...croon to the sound of the lute; who like David invent for themselves instruments of song...
Do you see Satan's plan in this verse after he changes it?
This is a great verse of warning to those people who are lazy Christians (today) who lay around and listen for themselves (invent to themselves) Christian music (like David).
BUT NOT LIKE DAVID 'DID'! Do you see that? The new versions implied that David 'did.'
According to I Chronicles 23:5, David did NOT invent his instruments nor play music for HIMSELF! says, ...that four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith. David's music and his instruments were for God's praises - not for himself!!!
Do you see, however, if a modern Christian were to look at that verse in a new version, he would see that David did it for himself, so if David can do it, why can't I?
Adding one word and a comma can justify the contemporary, ungodly, false teaching and putrid music that so many Christians today call Christian music.
No, David did not play his music for himself - and neither should we!
"What does God say about the music," that is the question we should ask ourselves; not what we think of the music. Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. We ought to stick to that truth, and follow HIS thoughts - and HIS words, not our own!