“GIVE THANKS TO GOD IN MUSIC” By Pastor YAU
Text: Revelation 5:6-14 November 22, 2009.
1) Going to a concert: When was the last time you went to a concert? Some people may think that going to a concert means very little or a waste of time. But for those who know the value of music by a choir, an ensemble or a soloist, a concert means more than just the performance, it is the total of music, the musicians, the dedication of practice and the spirit summed in a harmony. Even the musical items we enjoy each Sunday at our church by the Praise-Team, the choir, the small group, a duet, trio or quartet, they all mean so much to those who put their time, talents and effort to make it possible.
2) Going to The Concert: In the text of today’s message, John, the Apostle, was inspired to see a vision in which the greatest of all concerts in the history of the earth one may ever see. This is a concert in heaven, join by elders and angels, all the saints and the creatures, brings praises and adoration to the Lamb of God who was slain for the salvation of men. In this concert, no one is a spectator, but everyone is a participant. There is only one who will see and listen to the new songs this concert is about and He is the Lamb on the Throne. The theme of the concert is on the glory and honor, power and majesty of the Lamb of God, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Rev. 5:12-14)
MUSIC IN THE BIBLE:
1) Music at deliverance: “Then Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them: Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted. The horse and its riders He has hurled into the sea.” (Exodus 15:20-21) Using music, either in songs and dances to celebrate the mighty act of deliverance of God in ancient time as good as we sing songs to celebrate Thanksgiving today.
2) Music at thanksgiving: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalms 136:1) This “His love endures forever” is a translation of 2 Hebrew words “Hollelu Yah” means “praise the Lord” or “hallelujiah” we sing many times in many songs. The psalmist used the same ending words in all the 26 verses of this psalm to express his gratitude to his God. This is why we also say “Alleluia” when we have some thing important to give thanks to God.
3) Music at time of victory: “David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hands of all his enemies and the hand of Saul.” (2 Samuel 22:1) The last part of chapter 21 recorded the victories God had given to David over his enemies, the giants of the Philistines. At the end of the great battles, David praised God with the “The Victory Song”, a long song of 51 verses.
4) Music at time of worship: “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual song. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19) This is about singing songs and praises in worship services with others in the congregation. It is an important part of worship services to sing songs and praise to honor and exalt God and His name. That’s why there are hymn books next to Bibles in every church and God’s people use them to give God the honor, praise and glory He deserves. Singing in worship services is not just a prelude to the message. It is part of the program to give God glory before our hearts are ready to hear His words, the sermon.
THE GRAND FINALE: (Rev. 5:6-14)
1) The star of the concert: “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne.” (5:6)This grand finale of all concerts in human history is prepared for the Lamb of God who was slain but was raised to life by God the Father. This concert is for the purpose to honor the Lamb who was sacrificed to save the souls of the world. Any and all music program in any church should be for that same purpose: for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord and never for anyone, any musical superstar or any musician. Anyone who tries to steal the glory with musical presentation is a blasphemer of God’s glory.
2) The support of the concert: “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.” (5:8)The elders and the saints and their prayers were introduced before the concert begins. This tells us that all leaders and members of God’s church should support the concert with their prayers that the choir members and all who take part in the concert may do the right thing to magnify and exalt the name of God.
3) The musicians of the concert: “And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the Scroll and to open its seals, because you are slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (5:9)Who may be qualified to take part in the concert? Not the kings and queens, princes and the powerful but those who were purchased by the blood of the Lamb, those who were saved by His name. No one in God’s church may say he/she doesn’t know music or never likes music so he doesn’t have to sing in this concert. If Jesus had died for you, saved you from eternal loss, you are in.
4) The theme of the concert: “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand. In a loud voice they sang: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them, singing: To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever! And the four living creatures said, “Amen”. And the Elders fell down and worshiped.” (-14) There is only one theme in Christian music: to the glory and power and honor of God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All participants are there to praise God, not themselves.
THANK GOD FOR MUSIC:
1) Thank God for the gift of music: Music is a gift of God to us, human beings. This is a very special and glorious gift so we may express our hearts, feeling and dreams in music. No one may imagine how this world would be like if there were no music in any form or shape.
2) Thank God for the musicians: Professionals and amateurs and everyone else in between, we need to thank God for His giving us the joy of using music to glorify His name, to worship Him in His churches and to express our life in personal singing. We thank God for those who take time, energy and talents to learn, practice and present their talents to God in our worship services.
3) Thank God for the opportunity: In every church, at least in this church, anyone who want to sing may sing in congregational music, in choir music, in small group music and in individual music. We have all the opportunities for all the people and no one should feel being left out in serving God with music.
4) Thank God for the freedom: We need to thank God for the freedom of worship, freedom to sing, freedom to express our life, hearts and feelings in music. Above all, thank God for the freedom from sin so we may sing new songs to God without the fear of rejection or condemnation.
1) Thank God: Even though we have a particular day called Thanksgiving Day, we should give our thanks to God each and everyday. Not just thank God for day days, we also thank God for not-so-good days. Everyday is a gift of God and we need to thank God for that.
2) With Music: The easiest way to thank God is through music, all kinds of music and all kinds of participation. We may sing loudly and joyfully in congregational singing. We may join a small group or in a choir. You may play an instrument of use your voice, we all have a voice, to enjoy music. You can do it if you open your heart and your mouth.