"MAKING MELODY IN YOUR HEART”
"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord"-Ephesians 5:19
The singing of "spiritual songs" is a vital part of the worship service. It is not a prelude for the sermon, nor did God design it as a time allotted for the gathering of the congregation. It is not a time that God winks at. It is worship in and of itself. If we miss this portion of worship we have missed much, for many times the unction of he Holy Ghost may be felt as genuinely during the song service as during the prayer and the preaching. Though we should never replace preaching and prayer for this mode of worship alone, it is important that we understand the necessity of it.
SPEAKING TO YOURSELVES
It has been said that there is something wrong with people who talk to themselves. But in reality, that is what we are doing when we sing the songs of Zion. "When you sing", writes Paul, "you are Speaking to yourselves". While many might be offended if a person called them a wretch, they can find comfort in speaking to themselves, "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me". I have heard of some who have changed the word of this old tune from "wretch" to "one". But if God has blessed us with light upon our depravity, wretch is the word that fits our case and brings comfort to the soul as the inner man confesses his condition to the Lord of glory. Such is the benefit of "Speaking to yourselves".
"Speaking to yourselves" also means that we are speaking to one another as we are speaking to God. It is a collective prayer and consent of truth. I know what you are saying and you know what I am saying; and as we are saying it, we agree that we agree; and God knows that we have agreed. I have personally witnessed a genuine peace come over a congregation as they sang, "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love."
"Speaking to yourselves" must also mean that we are thinking upon the words that we are saying. What profit is singing if we do not notice the words nor care for their import? Just like preaching and praying, the mind is exercised by this spiritual mode of worship. This brings us to Paul's next point: what we should sing.
PSALMS AND HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS
The beautiful book of Psalms was the principal song book of the Old Testament worshipers. I believe it was the first songbook of the infant church. But since that time, many beautiful hymns have been written. Though not divinely inspired as were the Psalms, they convey numerous scriptural, practical, and experimental truths that not only comfort the heart, but instruct as well.
They are called "Spiritual Songs" because they are not carnal. They do not excite the flesh nor do they stir up the world in the heart. They do just the opposite. They serve to crucify the flesh, encourage the pilgrim, revive the heart and built up our most holy faith. They help to take our mind off our worldly sorrows and cares.
If they are "Spiritual Songs" they must be scriptural: they must harmonize with the teachings of the Bible. They must contain Biblical truth. Many times, I have been taught a scriptural truth during the song service. One of my favorites is, "Not the labor of my hands; Can fulfill the laws demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, All for sin could not atone; Thou must save and Thou alone."(Rock of Ages). Oh, that all could understand the scriptural principles and experience the grace revealed in this song!
Many times the writer of a song has expressed a prayer of his heart; his experience of grace; of trial; of doubt; or of wonder. These kindred experiences have a calming influence upon an anxious heart as we learn that others, who lived long before we did, have experienced similar trials and tribulations. Yes, these are our people, other believers. We can identify with their experience and claim a kindred spirit. But finally, let us notice where all of this singing takes place.
IN YOUR HEART
Though the heart is not a musical instrument, it is the place the Lord looks for the melody. It is the instrument that He delights in. This is the instrument that places every participant in the spotlight of God's affection. He looks upon the heart. I may not be able to carry a tune in a washtub, but in God's ears, my melody is just a beautiful as the angelic chorus when I sing from the heart. The heart is involved in this mode of worship. I am involved, I am taught, and I feel God's spirit because it is not for show. It is worship because it is "to the Lord".
Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning.
By His mercy and grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor