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Always Singing - A Note from Dr. Merril Smoak about Music & Worship

November 18, 2021

Christians Musicians Are Always Giving Thanks

Christian musicians are always looking for scripture verses that mention music and singing.  These verses guide us in our song selection and deepen our understanding of how to lead others in worship.  In the New Testament, we find two examples of these selected Bible verses:  Ephesians 5:15-20 and Colossians 3:15-17.  These two well-known passages mention the familiar “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” of the first century Christian church.  These verses are singularly important because they teach us that singing was an important part of early Christian worship. 

Yes, singing is an important part of our Sunday worship, but as we read and study Ephesians 5:15-20 and Colossians 3:15-17 other themes emerge that must impact our worship leadership.  Note these phrases:

         “always giving thanks”       Ephesians 5:20

         “And be thankful”               Colossians 3:15

         “with gratitude”                  Colossians 3:16

         “giving thanks”                   Colossians 3:17

In these verses Paul reminds us of the link between singing and giving thanks that was already established in the Old Testament:

         “It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
         to sing praises to your name, O Most High
”          Psalm 92:1

As we sing together during times of worship we are giving thanks.  As we pray we are giving thanks.  As Christians, we live a life of everyday giving thanks to God for his blessings, mercy, and grace.  We continually give thanks to God for his Son Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Thanks be to God!

Let’s take a closer look at Paul’s teachings on “giving thanks” in these verses from Ephesians and Colossians.  Here is Ephesians 5:19-20

        “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Notice that the phrase “always giving thanks” is a continuation of the sentence “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.”  In verse 20 Paul answers three questions:           

To whom do we give thanks?         “to God”

For what do we give thanks?          “for everything”

How do we give thanks?                “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

We give thanks to God for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!  Amen!

Here is Colossians 3:16b-17

       “...singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Again Paul links “singing” with “gratitude” (giving thanks).  He then reminds us that our spoken words and our actions are all to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus as we give thanks to God through Jesus.

On November 25 of this year, we will celebrate a national holiday called Thanksgiving Day.  As Christians, we understand that setting aside one day per year to give thanks is certainly not enough!  Every moment of every day we give thanks to God for our very breath and our new life in Christ Jesus.

Here are the words to one of my favorite closing worship songs:

         Giving thanks, giving thanks,
         To God through Christ our Lord.
         Giving thanks, giving thanks,
         To God through Christ our Lord.

Christian musicians and worship leaders always remember to live a life of daily giving thanks as you prepare to lead your people in worship by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  Thanks be to God!

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