A bit weird, isn’t it? We almost never do it anymore: kids’ birthday parties, at a good concert, karaoke maybe. In normal life it just doesn’t happen.
Except at church. It happens every week at church.
Why? Why do we sing?
1. We sing for God. Scripture instructs us to sing (see Psalms), Jesus says if we don’t inanimate objects will (see triumphal entry), and singing is perpetually happening around Christ’s throne (see Rev. 5). God will be worshipped. We sing for him.
2. We sing for others. Singing as part of a group is incredibly unifying. When you’re lonely, when you’re weak, when you’re confused – hearing the truth sung by others around you says, “You’re not alone” like nothing else. Paul and Silas in jail… Dr. Martin Luther King and others marching arm-in-arm… their courage sustained through singing.
3. We sing for ourselves. Beliefs become fortified through profession. Truths access the soul as they’re declared. What we say affects us.
In worship we respond to Truth, we declare Truth, and we are transformed by Truth. We are built to sing.
One-third of our community’s weekly worship time is committed to preaching. That’s a lot. And if we understand its purpose, it can make a significant impact.
Four thoughts about preaching at Emmaus:
1. 1. It’s not the most important thing. (It’s just one of many tools to be used in working toward the most important thing: the maturity of the church. Eph. 4:11-13)
2. 2. But it’s really important. (Because it’s God’s Word for us.)
3. 3. It’s designed to disturb. (It should provoke, stir things up, make you think, leave you with more questions than answers. See the parables of Jesus.)
4. 4. And it’s designed to direct. (It’s supposed to point you in the right direction. It’s not supposed to answer all your questions. But it is supposed to clarify things. Again, see Jesus’ parables.)
Bottom line: The answer to the question, “How was the sermon?” should have more to do with what the hearer does with the sermon than whether or not he “likes” it.
A friend once characterized my job as “preaching to the choir,” meaning, I guess, that we’re of no consequence.
Truth is, we’re way more provocative then a choir. We’re the Church. And we’re making a difference.
What does it take for something to truly change your life? What takes something from being a New Year’s resolution to a personal revolution?
Lots of things claim to “change your life.” Few things do.
There’s a reason the things that change our lives do. And there’s a reason the things that don’t, don’t.
The things we love change us.
The Church spends a lot of time talking about change – a change in thinking and a change in living – a change to a way of being found in the pages of the Bible which we believe is God’s Word.
At least we say we believe it.
We don’t often actually believe it. Truth is, even though we own God’s very words, we rarely read them. We don’t really know them. We don’t love them.
David’s 119th Psalm is a shockingly confrontational testimony of devotion to God’s Word. Read it with caution. David’s passion will astound you.
Many of us truly want to be changed by God’s Word. We want His peace to fill us. We want His wisdom and strength to characterize our lives. We want his love to inform us, to affect us. We want the things that God says to make a practical difference.
So may we truly love His Word. May it change our lives.