January 10, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

the consequence with ourselves: singing

speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; (5:19)

The Spirit-filled life produces music. Whether he has a good voice or cannot carry a tune, the Spirit-filled Christian is a singing Christian. Nothing is more indicative of a fulfilled life, a contented soul, and a happy heart than the expression of song.

The first consequence of the Spirit-filled life that Paul mentioned was not mountain-moving faith, an ecstatic spiritual experience, dynamic speaking ability, or any other such thing. It was simply a heart that sings. When the believer walks in the Spirit, he has an inside joy that manifests itself in music. God puts music in the souls and then on the lips of His children who walk in obedience.

When missionaries began evangelistic work among an Indian tribe I visited high in the Andes of Ecuador, they were frustrated for many years by lack of results. Suddenly the Spirit of God began to move and a large number of Indians were converted within a short time. In addition to a hunger for God’s Word, one of the first evidences of their new life in Christ was a great desire to sing His praises. I listened as they stood for hours in their thatched-roof church and sang hymn after hymn. The song from their hearts was the most inescapable characteristic that set those believers apart from everyone else in their pagan village.

The Spirit’s music is not hindered by a monotone or enhanced by a musical degree or magnificent voice. Spiritual joy will shine through a song sung with the raspy, off-pitch voice of a saint who is rejoicing in the Lord, and it will be absent from the song sung with technical skill and accuracy, but with a voice that rejoices only in self.

One of the greatest distinctions of Christianity should be in its music, because the music God gives is not the music the world gives. In Scripture, the word new is used more frequently in relation to song than to any other feature of salvation. God gives His new creatures a new song, a different song, a distinctive song, a purer song, and a more beautiful song than anything the world can produce.

“Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones,” says the psalmist; “praise is becoming to the upright” (Ps. 33:1). It is because we have been made righteous, purified from sin, and have become partakers of God’s own holiness that we sing. No one but a Christian has any legitimate reason to sing. God Himself puts a song in our mouths, “a song of praise to our God” (Ps. 40:3). Because we have salvation we sing songs of salvation. “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day” (Ps. 96:1–2; cf. 149:1).

One day the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders will fall down before Jesus Christ, the Lamb, and sing “a new song, saying, ‘Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:8–9). God’s new song is the song of redemption.

When God delivered Israel out of Egypt, all the people came together and sang a song to the Lord (Ex. 15:1–18). After they finished, Moses’ sister, Miriam, led the women in further singing and dancing (vv. 20–21). After Deborah and Barak delivered Israel from the Canaanites, they “sang on that day” (Judg. 5:1). Of the 38,000 people who ministered at the Temple in Jerusalem, 4,000 were musicians; and in Nehemiah we read of antiphonal choirs (Neh. 12:31, 38). Throughout the Old Testament, and particularly in the Psalms, we read of many kinds of musical instruments that God’s people used to praise Him.

The last thing Jesus and His disciples did after the Last Supper was to sing a hymn before they went out to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was arrested (Matt. 26:30). While they were imprisoned in Philippi, “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). On the heavenly Mount Zion the 144,000 who will have been purchased from the earth will sing “a new song before the throne” of Christ (Rev. 14:3).

In Ephesians 5:19 Paul explains among whom, from where, with what, to whom, and how Spirit-filled believers are to sing.

Among whom do believers sing? The primary audience for our singing is to be fellow believers, one another. Throughout Scripture the singing of God’s people is shown to be within the fellowship of believers. No music in the Bible is ever characterized as being or intended to be evangelistic. God may use the gospel content set to music to bring the truth to the lost and thus lead them to Himself. Since the message is so powerful, the open heart may receive it even though it comes with a melody. But that is not the intent for music, and when emotions are played on without a clear or complete presentation of God’s truth to the mind, such music can be counterproductive by producing a feeling of well-being and contentment that is a counterfeit of God’s peace and that serves to further insulate an unbeliever from the saving gospel.

It should be noted that the many contemporary entertainers who think they are using their rock-style music to evangelize the lost are often doing nothing more than contributing to the weakening of the church. Evangelizing with contemporary music has many serious flaws. It tends to create pride in the musicians rather than humility. It makes the gospel a matter of entertainment when there is not one thing in it that is at all entertaining. It makes the public proclaimers of Christianity those who are popular and talented in the world’s eyes, rather than those who are godly and gifted teachers of God’s truth. In using the world’s genres of music, it blurs the gap between worldly Satanic values and divine ones. It tends to deny the power of the simple gospel and the sovereign saving work of the Holy Spirit. It creates a wide generation gap in the church, thus contributing to the disunity and lack of intimacy in the fellowship of all believers. It leads to the propagation of bad or weak theology and drags the name of the Lord down to the level of the world. The music of the gospel is certainly not a legitimate means for making money or seeking fame, and it must never be allowed to cheapen what is priceless, or trivialize what is profound.

The songs of faith are not for the world to sing or really even to hear. The unsaved person has no comprehension of the praises we sing, because he has no presence of God’s Spirit within him. He cannot sing the song of redemption because he is not redeemed. Christian singing is an expression of individual and corporate worship, of celebrating life together in Jesus Christ.

For over a thousand dark years of its history (c. 500–1500) the church in general did not sing. From shortly after New Testament times until the Reformation, what music the church had was usually performed by professional musicians. The music they presented could not be understood or appreciated by the average church member. In any case, they could only sit and listen, unable to participate. But when the Bible came back into the church during the Reformation, singing came with it. Martin Luther and some of the other Reformation leaders are among the greatest hymn writers of church history. Where the true gospel is known and believed, music is loved and sung. God’s Spirit in the heart puts music in the heart.

How do believers sing? When they are filled with the Spirit, they are to be speaking … in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody. Speaking comes from laleō, is an onomatopoeic word that originated from chatter or babble, probably of little children first learning to talk, saying sounds such as “la, la, la.” It was also used of the chirp of birds or the grunts and other noises of animals. In its most basic sense, the term simply meant to make a sound.

Trumpets (Rev. 4:1) and even peals of thunder (10:4) are said to be speaking. The psalmist called God’s people to join all the earth in shouting “joyfully to God” (Ps. 66:1). Speaking here includes any sound offered to God from a Spirit-filled heart. The music from an organ or choir is no more acceptable to God than the sounds of a guitar or home-made flute. The sound that pleases Him is the sound that comes as a result of a heart submissive to His Spirit and that sings or plays to His glory.

Psalms refers primarily to the Old Testament psalms put to music, but the term was also used of vocal music of any sort, such as solos and anthems. The early church did most of its singing directly from the psaltery, using various tunes familiar to the congregation—a pattern followed for hundreds of years by many European and American churches, and still used in some congregations today. The psalms primarily speak about the nature and work of God, especially in the lives of believers. Above everything else, they magnify and glorify God.

Hymns refers primarily to songs of praise, which in the early church were probably distinguished from the psalms, which exalted God, in that they specifically praised the Lord Jesus Christ. Many biblical scholars believe that various New Testament passages (such as Col. 1:12–16) were used as hymns in the early church. Spiritual songs were probably songs of testimony that covered a broad category that included any music expressing spiritual truth.

In the church today we could classify renditions of Psalms 23 and 84 as psalms, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “The Old Rugged Cross” as hymns, and “O How He Loves You and Me” and “I’d Rather Have Jesus” as spiritual songs. The intent of the writer here, however, is simply to give latitude for all kinds of musical expression to exalt the Lord.

Singing is from adō, which simply means to sing with the voice. But in the New Testament it is always used in relation to praising God (see also Col. 3:16; Rev. 5:9; 14:3; 15:3).

The human voice is the most beautiful of all instruments. Its various tones, inflections, and moods seem almost limitless. Because it is itself human, it can speak to us as no other form of music.

Yet the sound God is looking for in His children is the sound made out of a Spirit-filled heart—whether the voice that makes the sound is rough and unpolished or smooth and highly trained. That is why every believer is just as capable as any other believer of singing the praises that God puts in his heart.

The gift of a good voice or of other musical talent does not demand, as many argue, that it should necessarily be used for performing special music in the church. The gift of music no more demands public display than does the gift of carpentry, cooking, medicine, or any other. That which is done to glorify God is done for that purpose alone, and its being noticed or unnoticed is secondary and incidental. Whether we sing alone in our home or car, sing with a few friends around the piano or with guitars, or sing in a large choir leading hundreds of people in worship, we should do it from a Spirit-filled heart that seeks no glory but God’s.

Psallo (making melody) is related to the term from which we get psalm and literally means to pluck on a stringed instrument, particularly a harp, with the fingers. The word, however, came to represent the making of any instrumental music. The Spirit-filled heart expresses itself in any sort of vocal or instrumental music, in both singing and making melody.

Much music in the church today truly honors God and blesses those who hear it. And whether given as psalms about God’s greatness, as hymns of Christ’s redemption, or as spiritual songs of testimony of God’s power, help, or comfort, such music is to be an expression of the Spirit-filled church. Whether given through the voice in singing or through instruments in making melody, that is the music that honors, glorifies, and pleases God.

Our Lord Himself will sing one day, and in our very midst. He said to His Father, “I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise” (Heb. 2:12). But even now, when our hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus sings songs of praise to the Father through us. Therefore when we quench the Spirit, we quench the song of Christ to the Father in our life.

From where do believers sing? The songs of salvation originate with your heart. The Greek form of this phrase allows for several meanings. There is no preposition here in the Greek, and in such cases the preposition is determined by the case of the noun—which here has several possibilities, all of which seem appropriate to the context. If the case of heart is taken as an instrumental of cause, the idea is that our hearts cause us to sing and make melody to God. As an instrumental of means, the idea is that our hearts are the channels through which we sing praises. As a locative, the idea is that the singing is centered in our hearts.

A person who does not have a song in his heart cannot sing from his heart or with his heart. He can only sing with his lips, and neither his music nor his message will have the power of the Spirit to bless others in Christ’s name.

Even as Christians we will not have a true song in our hearts unless we are under the Spirit’s control. It is possible to sing for pride, to sing for acclaim and fame, and to sing for money—but such singing is Spiritless singing. A person who comes to worship while bitter toward God, angry with a loved one or friend, or in any other way is out of harmony with God’s Spirit should not participate in singing God’s praises. Hypocrisy can neither praise nor please the Lord. When peoples’ hearts are not right with God, He has a way of turning their “festivals into mourning” and their “songs into lamentation” (Amos 8:10). Through the same prophet God said, “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream” (5:23–24). “Stop your songs until your hearts are right,” he was saying.

Our music cannot be like the music of the world, because our God is not like their gods. Most of the world’s music reflects the world’s ways, the world’s standards, the world’s attitudes, the world’s gods. To attempt to use such music to reach the world is to lower the gospel in order to spread the gospel. If the world hears that our music is not much different from theirs, it will also be inclined to believe that the Christian way of life is not much different from theirs. Christians cannot honestly sing the world’s philosophies nor can the world honestly sing the Christian’s message, because they sing from utterly different hearts. The Christian’s heart and music belong to God and His righteousness, while the world’s heart and music belong to Satan and his unrighteousness.

Because the Christian’s music is God’s music, it will be sung in heaven throughout all the ages to come. And because the world’s music is Satan’s music, it will one day cease, never to be heard again. The sounds of the world’s “harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard … any longer” (Rev. 18:22). To those who make music that is not His, God declares, “I will silence the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps will be heard no more” (Ezek. 26:13). In hell, the ungodly will not even have their own music.

The pulsating rhythms of native African music mimics the restless, superstitious passions of their culture and religion. The music of the Orient is dissonant and unresolved, going from nowhere to nowhere, with no beginning and no end—just as their religions go from cycle to cycle in endless repetitions of meaningless existence. Their music, like their destiny, is without resolution. The music of much of the Western world is the music of seduction and suggestiveness, a musical counterpart of the immoral, lustful society that produces, sings, and enjoys it.

Rock music, with its bombastic atonality and dissonance, is the musical mirror of the hopeless, standardless, purposeless philosophy that rejects both God and reason and floats without orientation in a sea of relativity and unrestrained self-expression. The music has no logical progression because it comes from a philosophy that renounces logic. It violates the brain because its philosophy violates reason. It violates the spirit, because its philosophy violates truth and goodness. And it violates God, because its philosophy violates all authority outside of self.

Not only the titles and lyrics of many rock songs but the names of many rock groups shamelessly flaunt a godless, immoral, and often demonic orientation. The association of hard rock with violence, blasphemy, sadomasochism, sexual immorality and perversion, alcohol and drugs, and Eastern mysticism and the occult are not accidental. They are fed from the same ungodly stream. A leading rock singer once said, “Rock has always been the devil’s music. It lets in the baser elements.” Another testified, “I find myself evil. I believe in the devil as much as God. You can use either to get things done.” Putting a Christian message in such musical form does not elevate the form but degrades the message to the level already established in the culture by that form.

A great majority of young people in modern Western society are continually assaulted with a philosophy set to music that simultaneously destroys their bodies, short-circuits their minds, and perverts their spirits. A young man who was converted out of that involvement once said to me, “Whenever I hear rock music, I feel a tremendous urge to get drunk or go back on drugs.” The association was so strong that simply hearing the music triggered his old addictions.

Many of the physical and emotional effects of rock music can be demonstrated scientifically. Howard Hansen of the Eastman School of Music once wrote, “First, everything else being equal, the further the tempo is accelerated in music from the pulse rate toward the upper limit of practical tempo, the greater becomes the emotional tension.” He says further that “as long as the subdivisions of the metric units are regular and the accents remain strictly in conformity with the basic patterns, the effect may be accelerated but will not be disturbing. Rhythmic tension is heightened by increase in dynamic power.”

Several years ago a college in Colorado made a study of the effects of music on plants. Plants exposed to beautiful, soothing music thrived and turned toward the speaker. In an otherwise identical environment, another group of the same type of plant was exposed to acid rock. Those plants turned away from the speaker and within three days had shriveled and died. Further experimentation proved that the sound waves of the rock music had actually destroyed the plants’ cells.

Whether or not human cells are destroyed by rock music, things of even greater value are destroyed. When fast tempo, unrhythmical beat, high volume, and dissonance are coupled with wild shrieks, blasphemous and lewd lyrics, and suggestive body movements, the brain is bypassed, the emotions are mangled, the conscience is hardened, and Satan has an open door. Even the ancient pagan Aristotle wisely observed: “Music represents the passions of the soul, and if one listens to the wrong music he will become the wrong kind of person.”

Scripture’s admonition that “all things be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Cor. 14:40) applies to music as well as to everything else. God created an orderly universe, and anything that is confused and disorderly is out of harmony with the universe and with its Maker. “Watch over your heart with diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23). Paul commanded believers: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8).

The Spirit-filled Christian is happy, peaceful, assured, and productive regardless of the circumstances. Whether he is freely worshiping among fellow believers on Sunday morning or sitting in painful stocks in a dungeon at midnight like Paul and Silas (Acts 16:24–25), his heart will always be singing and making melody.

In his great allegory Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan pictured the pilgrim, Christian, falling into the slough of despond, straying into doubting castle, and enduring many other hardships, frustrations, and failures. And though the expression “filled with the Spirit” is not used in the story, each time Christian is delivered we see him going on his way singing. Every time he came back under the Spirit’s control he had a song in his heart.

To whom do believers sing? Although believers sing among themselves, their songs are to be directed to the Lord. Our singing and making melody is not for the purpose of drawing attention to ourselves or of entertaining others but of rejoicing in and praising God. Whether we are singing a solo, singing with a choir, or singing with the congregation, our focus should be on the Lord, not on ourselves or other people. He is the audience to whom we sing.

At the dedication of the first Temple, “all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord” (2 Chron. 5:12–13). Because the Lord was pleased with their heart-felt and harmonious worship, “the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God” (vv. 13–14). It should be the heart desire of all Christians that their praise of God in music, and in every other way, be “in unison” and that they “make themselves heard with one voice to praise and glorify the Lord”—because that is the only way God’s people can acceptably praise and glorify Him.

Johann Sebastian Bach, probably the greatest musician of all time, said, “The aim of all music is the glory of God.” In his own life and work the great composer and organist sought to live out that aim, and through the music he dedicated solely to God countless generations of believers have been blessed.

The words of every Christian song should be biblical—distinctly, clearly, and accurately reflecting the teaching of God’s Word. It is tragic that much music that goes under the name of Christian is a theological mishmash, often reflecting as much of the world’s philosophy as of God’s truth. Much is little more than personal sentimentality colored with Christian words.

Music that honors the Lord also blesses his people. A beautiful, soothing piece of music can calm nerves, remove fear and anxiety, reduce bitterness and anger, and help turn our attention from ourselves and the cares and problems of the world to God.

David not only was a man of God but a skillful musician. We are told that “whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him” (1 Sam. 16:23). The music blessed Saul emotionally (he was “refreshed”), physically (he was made “well”), and spiritually (“the evil spirit would depart from him”).

Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century physicians often prescribed music for mentally disturbed patients. They even recommended certain types of music to treat certain types of disorders. Music does have “charms to soothe a savage breast.” Working from a more scientific basis, modern behaviorists have proved those ideas to be sound. They have determined what kind of music makes a person more relaxed in a dentist’s chair, what kind helps production in an office or assembly plant, what kind helps reduce impatience in an elevator, and so on. Music has been found to affect the muscles, nerves, and the flow of body fluids, including blood, saliva, and lymph. It can influence metabolism, heart rate, and pulse for either benefit or harm.

It is not possible to submit the spiritual effects of music to scientific testing, but it is beyond question that music that focuses the heart on praising God can help heal the spiritual ills of His people.[1]

(5:19). Seemingly entering right into the heart of contemporary worship discussions, Paul exhorts us to speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19a). The instruction first endorses gathering our expressions of worship from numerous sources: the psalms of the Old Testament; hymns (i.e., the songs of the New Testament church, presumably such as the one he has just quoted in verse 8); and spiritual songs (i.e., personal songs of the heart that in this Spirit-filling context are apparently an expression of the Spirit’s ministry in the individual). But these worship expressions are not simply for the individual. The musical expression of the church involves “speaking to one another.” In contrast to some contemporary teaching that says that our worship is to be directed entirely to God, Paul presumes that there is a horizontal dimension to our worship. In praising God we consciously should be directing our worship to the edification of others. As Christ ministers to others by extending himself for them, when we worship with the needs of others as our concern, then we are ministering Christ and consequently being filled with his indwelling Spirit.

But the music of our worship is not exclusively a horizontal ministry. To be filled with the Spirit, Paul also says, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19b). Our worship is not to be merely formulaic and perfunctory, but a true expression from the heart of our love for God. We are singing to the Lord. We are honoring him in our worship. He is the audience and object of our praise and, thus, we are filled with his Spirit in our worship. This understanding of being filled with God’s Spirit in worship, however, creates an additional glorious perspective of our privileged vessels. Since in true worship we are filled with the Spirit, our God is both the audience and the voice of our praise. We are the instrument by which God becomes present in praise to himself, a concept that brings rich meaning to the psalmist’s observation that God inhabits the praise of his people (Ps. 22:3 KJV). This realization that we are generating the voice of God for the praise of God in our worship makes our praise more glorious than we normally imagine, and should give our sinful hearts much hope in the realization of the spiritual power by which he can use us to praise him as well as speak to his people.

The power of praise both to glorify God and to minister to his people recently shined brilliantly in our town. We faced the tragic and, as yet, unexplained death of a dear young woman. Her college and high school friends packed the largest church in our town for her funeral. During the service a young couple sang to us of their abiding faith through the words of a contemporary song: “the valley of the shadow will lead to the river of joy.” As the couple sang, a row of the deceased woman’s friends rose from their seats at the front of the church and stood together as a stirring affirmation that this song was their faith, too. At one point, one of these young women even raised her fist as if to say in defiance of death, “We will not let even this darkness conquer the light of our faith or the testimony of our friend who is now with the Lord.”

I wept then at their courage and faith made so evident, knowing that the young people who joined in the presentation of that song were speaking to the rest of us of the beauty of faith and, at the same time, were praising God for the eternal promises that made their faith so precious. But the young friends were not the only ones speaking and singing. As they spoke to us and sang to God, they were being filled with God’s Spirit, so that he himself was ministering to us and glorifying his name. One glory reflected a greater glory, as our God filled the praises of these young people to speak comfort to the rest of us and to make his name great so that we would all know the light of heaven that we so desperately needed in the darkness of that tragedy.[2]

19. To psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. These are truly pleasant and delightful fruits. The Spirit means “joy in the Holy Ghost,” (Rom. 14:17;) and the exhortation, be ye filled, (ver. 18,) alludes to deep drinking, with which it is indirectly contrasted. Speaking to themselves, is speaking among themselves. Nor does he enjoin them to sing inwardly or alone; for he immediately adds, singing in your hearts; as if he had said, “Let your praises be not merely on the tongue, as hypocrites do, but from the heart.” What may be the exact difference between psalms and hymns, or between hymns and songs, it is not easy to determine, though a few remarks on this subject shall be offered on a future occasion. The appellation spiritual, given to these songs, is strikingly appropriate; for the songs most frequently used are almost always on trifling subjects, and very far from being chaste.[3] 19 Following and grammatically dependent on the finite verb “be filled” is a series of participles (continuing through v. 21). Several versions (e.g., NIV, NJB, NLT) render each participial phrase as a new sentence, while the NASB and NRSV preserve the grammatical form. Precisely what nuance do these adverbial participles convey? Though some understand this in an instrumental sense (we are filled with the Spirit by means of doing the following actions), I think “result” better captures Paul’s uses of the participles. When believers allow God’s Spirit to fill them with God’s fullness, as a result they will engage in these behaviors. God’s Spirit will enable his people to become praising, grateful, and submissive people. We must note here also, in keeping with this entire section, that the results are corporately experienced.

First, the Spirit’s filling results in musical worship, literally, “continually speaking to each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Here is the horizontal dimension of worship: it is speaking “to one another,” affirming in the congregation God’s mighty acts and his presence. Can we distinguish among these three types of speaking? “Psalms” in the NT refers to both the OT book of Psalms (Lk 20:42; 24:44; Ac 1:20; 13:33) and Christian songs of praise, often translated “hymns” in English versions (1 Co 14:26). “Hymns” refers to religious songs or songs of praise (used only here and in Col 3:16). “Songs,” described here as “spiritual,” denotes sacred songs (cf. Rev 5:9; 14:3; 15:3); more pointedly, “spiritual songs” are generated by the Holy Spirit. All in all, the three terms are roughly synonymous for Christian songs of praise to God, incorporating, as seems natural, appropriate entries from the OT Psalter. We have no warrant to limit this singing either to preexisting songs or to spontaneous ones composed on the spot under the inspiration of the Spirit; both are probably in view.

Paul adds two parallel participles that virtually repeat what he has said, though with an important qualification as to how believers ought to engage in such singing. Such “singing” (cf. Rev 5:8–9; 14:2–3; 15:2–3) and “praising” (NIV, “make music”; the word psallō, GK 6010, means “to sing songs of praise”; cf. Ro 15:9; 1 Co 14:15; Jas 5:13) must be performed “in your heart to the Lord.” The “heart” must be engaged. Singing that results from the filling of the Spirit will engage the core of the singers’ beings—their essential inner selves (see commentary on “heart,” 1:18). Singing will involve the worshipers’ minds, they will be fully engaged, and they will sing with conviction.

Paul also affirms the vertical dimension of worship. Spirit-filled music is made “to the Lord,” as though Christ is the audience—certainly the object of the singers’ devotion. Spiritual music leads the congregation to the worship of Christ as Lord; its goal is not to entertain the saints. If church music does not meet these qualifications—edifying each other and honoring the Lord—it is not spiritual music and risks being harmful if it replaces a counterfeit for the genuine.[4]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 256–263). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 263–265). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 315–316). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 144–145). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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