OceanSide church of Christ

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Wayne Rodgers


TEXT:  Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19


THESIS: To show the type of worship God is pleased with.



1.       Proper New Testament worship must be done according to the Word of God.

2.       We must have Bible authority for our worship to God (Col. 3:17).

3.       One has said, in our worship to God, we must have the right: attitude, actions, authority, and attendance.

4.       This is truly a biblical principle, as we will learn as we notice the following:

·        Lessons on disobedience and obedience.

·        What does the Bible say about music in the New Testament?

·        Quotes from various religious leaders.

·        Efforts to justify the use of instrumental music in worship.

5.       It is interesting that all religious organizations agree that music has a place in worship, but they are not all agreed as to whether it should be vocal, instrumental or both.

6.       May our efforts in this study be that which will bring glory unto God and true worshippers before the throne of God.


I. The Bible gives many lessons on disobedience and obedience.

A. Nadab and Abihu.

                                           1. Leviticus 10:1-2 tells us of the priestly sons of Aaron offered “strange fire before the Lord”.

                                           2. They were consumed by that fire, because they offered something that God “commanded them not.”

                                           3. Their disobedience was punished by God.

                                           4. He expects us to do only that which he commands whether by silence or direct command.

B. Noah and the flood.

                                           1. In Genesis 6-9, Noah is commanded to build an ark of gopher wood, given very specific instructions on its layout and construction.

                                           2. “By faith Noah, being warned by God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became the heir of righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11:7)

                                           3. Noah and his family were saved, because he was obedient unto God’s commands and instructions concerning the ark’s preparation and materials.

                                           4. Again, God expects us to do only that which he commands whether by silence or direct command.

II. What does the Bible say about music in the New Testament?

A. Notice the following verses:

                                           1. “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Mat 26:30).


                                           2. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Act 16:25). 


                                           3. “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name” (Rom 15:9).


                                           4.  “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also (1Co 14:15).


                                           5. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Eph 5:19).


                                           6.  “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” (Col 3:16). 


                                           7. “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (Jas 5:13).


                                           8. “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb 2:12).


                                           9. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Heb 13:15).


                                       10. “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.  (9)  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” (Rev 5:8-9).


                                       11. “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:  (3)  And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth” (Rev 14:2-3).


                                       12. “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.  (3)  And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Rev 15:2-3). 


B. As each verse clearly teaches, the music used by Jesus, his apostles and the early church was vocal.



A.  “The use of singing with instrumental music was not received in the Christian churches, as it was among the Jews in their infant state, but only the use of plain song” - Justin Martyr (139 AD).


B. “I am an old man and an old minister, and I here declare that I have never known instrumental music to be productive of any good in worship of God, and have reason to believe it has been productive of much evil” - Adam Clark (Methodist, and one of the worlds greatest commentators).


C.  “I would as soon as to pray to God with machinery as to sing to God with machinery” - Charles Spurgeon (One of the greatest Baptist churches preachers of all time).


D. “I have no objections to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither seen nor heard!” - John Wesley (founder of the Methodist church).


E. “Musical Instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the Law” - John Calvin (Founder of Presbyterianism).


F. “The organ in worship of God is an ensign of Baal” - Martin Luther (founder of the Lutheran church).


G.  “Such musical accompaniments were gradually introduced; but they can hardly be assigned to a period earlier than the fifth of sixth century.  Organs were unknown in the church until the eighth or ninth century.  Previous they had their place in the theater rather than the church” - Lyman Coleman (Presbyterian Historian).


H.  “The organ is said to have been first introduced into the church music by Pope Vitalian I in 667 AD” Chamber’s Encyclopedia.


A. Some say, “The Greek word psallo in Ephesians 5:19 means to pluck; therefore, one has the authority to pluck an instrument.”


                                           1. However, the apostle Paul says that the heart is the instrument to be plucked.

                                           2. One must remember New Testament worship is spiritual (John 4:23-24) and is to be done from the heart of man.


B. Some say, “The Bible does not say not to have an instrument in the New Testament worship.”


                                           1. However, God did not tell Noah not to use oak or pine in the building of the ark.

                                           2. The fact that he commanded gopher wood excludes oak or pine.

                                           3. The fact that Paul wrote to “sing and make melody in your hearts to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19) excludes the addition of an instrument to be used.


C. Some say, “The Old Testament contains examples of the use of instruments in worship.”


                                           1. One must understand we have never lived under the Old Covenant; therefore it is not binding upon us.

                                           2. If it were binding on us, we would be obligated to keep all of the Old Covenant (James 2:10).

                                           3. The Old Covenant was “nailed to the cross” (Col. 2:14).


D. Some say, “I just don’t see anything wrong with it!  I like it!”


                                           1. To begin with, this is just a blatant rejection of the scriptures (John 12:48).

                                           2. Note the following warnings: 2 Kings 5:1-11; Prov. 14:12; Matt. 15:9; Col. 3:17.


E. The Bible is clear in the commands to sing that we are to:


                                           1. Speak to one another … the voice can do this; the instrument cannot (Eph. 5:19).

                                           2. Teach and admonish … the voice can do this; the instrument cannot (Col. 3:16).

                                           3. Sing with the spirit and understanding … the voice can do this; the instrument cannot (1 Cor. 14:15).

                                           4. Praise God … the voice can do this; the instrument cannot (Heb. 2:12).

                                           5. Make melody in the heart … the voice can do this; the instrument cannot (Eph. 5:19).


F. Only we are able to worship God, not a piece of wood, string, brass, etc.




1.       We have examined lessons of obedience which teach us to walk by faith.

2.       We have noticed New Testament verses concerning the type of music authorized, which is vocal.

3.       We have seen even what denominational founders and leaders have said concerning instrumental worship.

4.       We have refuted efforts to justify the use of instrumental music in worship.

5.       We must remember that worship is to be to the glory of God and must be that which pleases him.

6.       We can only know what pleases God through His Word.

7.       May we obey His Word and enjoy the blessings of a worship to God which is “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).