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Why We Sing

This is not a sermon about instrumental music; it is a sermon about singing!

Psalm 95.1–7c

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 19, In the year of our Lord, 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Wayne Duncan – Psalm 66.1–4


  1. I want to add to the Scripture reading by reading from Psalm 95,

    1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
    2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
    Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
    3 For the LORD is the great God,
    And the great King above all gods.
    4 In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
    The heights of the hills are His also.
    5 The sea is His, for He made it;
    And His hands formed the dry land.
    6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
    7 For He is our God,
    And we are the people of His pasture,
    And the sheep of His hand.
    (Psa 95.1–7c)
  2. I titled my sermon, “Why We Sing,” and I subtitled it, 
    1. “This is not a sermon about instrumental music; it is a sermon about singing.”
      1. Why would I do that?
      2. I believe that we have heard so much
        1. that music in the church is not supposed to have instruments
        2. that we have also come to believe
          1. that the only thing that matters is not using instruments, and
          2. that we sing merely because God said to do it.
    2. The New Testament does not say
      1. do not use instruments of music, but
      2. it says to sing.
  3. Therefore, I will not present any argumentation along those lines, but 
    1. I do want to say we are not the only a capella group.
    2. Reformed Presbyterian Church,
    3. some Baptists,
    4. Plymouth Brethren,
    5. Eastern Orthodox Church,
    6. Amish,
    7. various Mennonites, and
      1. some Roman Catholic masses and
      2. the Lutheran Divine Service.
  4. I do not want to answer the question of why we do not use instruments, but 
    1. I want to show why we sing, and
    2. even those who use instruments will say these things about singing.


  1. Singing Connects Us to God 
    1. Think about the words of Psalm 42,
      1. remembering that the sons of Korah wrote it as a song, and
      2. see the content of their hearts in singing,

        1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
        So pants my soul for You, O God.
        2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
        When shall I come and appear before God?

        5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
        And why are you disquieted within me?
        Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
        For the help of His countenance.
        (Psa 42.1, 2, 5)

        1. Is that not why you sing, because you need God?
        2. Is that not what happens, you remind yourself of God in your life?
    2. In the Spirit, we connect with our God.
      1. We do not know how this happens, but
      2. we do know that He hears us, and
        1. that He likes to hear His children sing, and
        2. that His children like to sing to Him.
    3. God fills our hearts with awe and we express that with singing.
    4. Think of what we say in our songs to God.
  2. Singing Connects Us with One Another 
    1. The New Testament adds a dimension to our singing
    2. that I do not see in the Old Testament.
      1. In the Old Testament, they sang exclusively to God, but
      2. in the New Testament, we also sing to one another.
        1. Notice in these two well-known texts
        2. that our singing is both to one another and to the Lord,

          19 …speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord… (Eph 5.19).

          16 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).

    3. Would you like to have been present when Jesus and the apostles sang?
      1. Matthew 26.30
      2. Mark 14.26
    4. How do our songs affect you?
    5. How does good singing affect you?
    6. Why do we have an invitation song?
      1. Is it merely to make it easier for people to come forward?
      2. Or do we hope to change them?
  3. Singing Connects Us to Power 
    1. If you are not sure about the power of music, or singing in particular,
      1. just observe young people.
      2. Music formed the foundation of my life as a young person, and
        1. it still is at the center of my life.
        2. It has a way of taking me out of this world.
    2. Singing connects us to power because it renews our faith.
      1. We could talk about God is love, but
      2. when we sing of it,
        1. it has a different affect upon us, and
        2. renews our faith in God.
    3. Singing is both intellectual and emotional.
    4. Think of the Psalms.
  4. Singing Connects Us with Heaven 
    1. We enter heaven’s halls now through singing.
    2. By singing we engage in a foretaste of heaven, because
      1. as the Book of Revelation shows, we will sing there.
      2. We are heaven’s instruments.
        1. Instruments do not play themselves, but
        2. we play our hearts.
    3. Evidently God likes singing, and
      1. He wants to hear it here,
      2. He wants to hear it there, and
      3. He wants to sing,

        17 The LORD your God in your midst,
        The Mighty One, will save;
        He will rejoice over you with gladness,
        He will quiet you with His love,
        He will rejoice over you with singing.
        (Zep 3.17)

        1. Therefore, when we sing,
        2. we do something He enjoys and
          1. that makes a connection with heaven.
          2. Heaven hears our singing.


  1. All these things being true, 
    1. let us improve our singing
    2. by making it more meaningful.
  2. Here are some things that I suggest. 
    1. Let us see ourselves as musical instruments in the hands of God,

      19 …sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord… (Eph 5.19).
    2. Let us sing to the glory of God,

      31 …whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1Co 10.31).
    3. Let us sing with love,

      14 Let all that you do be done with love (1Co 16.14).
    4. Let us sing to the best of our ability, and try to improve our ability,

      23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ (Col 3.23, 24).
  3. The text that Wayne Duncan read tonight spoke of singing praises to God, but 
    1. I only had Wayne read verses 1–4,
    2. which speak of God’s awesome works without listing those works.
      1. Now listen to the next two verses,

        5 Come and see the works of God;
        He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.
        6 He turned the sea into dry land;
        They went through the river on foot.
        There we will rejoice in Him.
        (Psa 66.5, 6)
      2. The writer invited us to view the work of God in saving Israel from
        1. the Egyptians by drying up the Red Sea, and
        2. the Jordan River.
  4. Remember again how Psalm 95 began,

    1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
    (Psa 95.1)

    1. The greatest thing we can sing about is our salvation.
    2. God saved us
      1. from our sin, and
      2. from hell.
        1. Can you find a greater reason for rejoicing in singing?
        2. If you do not sing heartily,
          1. perhaps you are not saved, or
          2. perhaps you have forgotten about your salvation.
  5. Let us help you remember why you were saved!