A Cappella Evangelism

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A Cappella Evangelism 

Let us sing with all our might

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 17, In the year of our Lord, 2014

Scripture Reader and Reading: Tim Braden – Acts 16.25–30


  1. The present generation needs to learn from the older generation 
    1. that what is worth doing is worth doing right.
    2. We should apply that to matters in the church, such as our singing.
      1. Let us not do song writers a disservice by half-hearted singing.
      2. Let us not do the Lord a disservice by failing to offer Him our best effort.
      3. Let us not do unbelievers a disservice by careless singing.
        1. Let us not be content simply to make music
        2. without the assistance of man-created instruments.
          1. Let us not convince ourselves that all God wants is a joyful noise,
          2. as though that justifies doing less than our best.
  2. Is a cappella music a disadvantage?
    1. Do instruments attract more people?
    2. That is a matter of opinion.
      1. In the beginning, the church did not use instruments. 
      2. Instrumental music came about 600 years after the church started.
        1. It did not become widespread until about AD 1000.
        2. However, the eastern church, including
          1. the Greek Orthodox,
          2. the Russian Orthodox, and others,
            1. broke off and never used instruments and
            2. still do not.
          3. The Orthodox Churches outnumber the Catholic Church.
            1. Therefore, a cappella churches outnumber instrumental churches.
            2. In America instrumental churches outnumber a cappella churches.
      3. The Churches of Christ are the main group in America
        1. still maintaining a cappella.
        2. A Cappella is Italian derived from Latin, meaning
          1. According to the chapel;
          2. In the style of church or chapel music,
            1. especially in the old style,
            2. without accompaniment.
    3. Here is my point: The early church took over the mighty Roman Empire.
      1. If a cappella music was effective 
        1. in the highly entertainment-oriented Roman Empire,
        2. it can still be effective in highly entertainment-oriented America.
      2. However, it needs to be effective according to our own thinking.
  3. I learned to love vocal-only music, 
    1. although I still saw it as a negative.
    2. I saw the positives of it, but
      1. those positives were lost in the overall negative aspect
      2. so that I became persuaded that instrumental music attracts more people.
  4. However, we have to do a cappella music right. 
    1. We cannot be satisfied just as long as we are singing.
    2. We act as though the actual command is do not use instruments of music.
      1. Brethren, If we do not use instruments,
      2. we have not obeyed God.
        1. We obey God when we do what He commanded and
        2. how He said to do it, if He did say how to do it.
    3. Compare our singing to preaching.
      1. Is it enough that we preach the word?
        1. Before you answer that question,
        2. think about some things.
          1. Yes, we want the word of God only, but
          2. what about its presentation?
            1. If you invited someone to the worship services,
            2. how do you want the preacher to present the word?
      2. Do you want it done…
        1. In love?
        2. Zealously?
        3. Interestingly?
        4. Understandably?
        5. Intelligently?
        6. Boldly?
        7. Emotionally?
      3. I visited my grandparents on a Wednesday in Southern California.
        1. They were not members of the church,
        2. so I took them to the Bible class of the local congregation.
          1. Brethren, it was lifeless and boring.
          2. The truth was taught, or at least read.
            1. The teacher read a verse from John’s Gospel Account, then
            2. stopped and asked for comments.
          3. It embarrassed me.
  5. Obey the command to sing like any other command. 
    1. To the glory of God

      31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1Co 10.31).
    2. In love

      14 Let all that you do be done with love (1Co 16.14).
    3. To the best of your ability

      10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going (Ecc 9.10).

      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).

      1. What would change about your singing,
      2. if you saw God listening to you?
    4. Zealously

      14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Tts 2.14).

      1. Did Jesus die that we might sing apathetically?
    5. Evangelistically
      1. Not only does the Lord listen,
      2. the world does too.

        25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16.25–30).
      3. Most people know us as the church that does not use instruments.
        1. That means they are listening.
        2. Let them hear voices blended together in the spirit praising God.
    6. With the spirit and with the understanding

      14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified (1Co 14.14–17).

      1. Notice the evangelistic nature of Paul’s teaching.
    7. With grace

      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).


  1. If you sing 
    1. meaninglessly,
    2. routinely, and
    3. without zeal,
      1. that does not please the Lord, and
      2. you will not save souls.
  2. Some people think that it does not matter how well we sing. 
    1. How can that be argued after seeing these passages?
      1. Should we not be trying our best and
      2. trying to improve?
    2. We do not have to be professional singers.
    3. What if we used this same view toward preaching?
  3. Purpose to grow in your singing ability 
    1. even as you grow in your faith.
    2. I will provide more music instruction.
      1. After returning from Singing School,
      2. I said that I would give instruction during our last Wednesday of the month singings, but
        1. that will not be enough.
        2. I have talked with the elders, and
          1. proposed that on Sunday evenings
          2. at the start, I will use about 10 to 15 minutes.