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Singing In Worship Part 2

Fundamentals 2021  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As you all know we have been studying through the theme “Fundamentals” with the express desire to better understand or be reminded again of the “pure spiritual milk” of God’s Word that allows us to “grow up into salvation” by way of the meat of God’s Word.
1 Peter 2:2 ESV
2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—
Thus far, we have examined an number of vital fundamental doctrines but as of late we have been focusing on the worship, specifically the “five acts of worship.”
We have examined prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and began last week studying “Singing In Worship.”
We looked at the “History of Music” and what it means to “Sing in One Place” or “When We Are Alone” in worship of our Creator in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Today I want us to focus our attention and study on a very “touchy” subject but yet a vital subject the further in history we go, especially here in America in the church.
That subject is dealing specifically with “Mechanical Instruments” in worship.
Now the reason I say “mechanical instruments” is because there is no doubt we are to use an “instrument” when we sing but that instrument isn’t mechanical it is biological.
Ephesians 5:19 ESV
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
So with that in mind let’s examine our lesson for today.

Mechanical Instruments In Worship

The Secular History.

It is quit amusing to read about how old some of the oldest mechanical instruments are according to secular history.
The Divje Babe flute discovered in 1995 is said to be between 43,400 to 67,000 years old. 1
There is much disputed as to whether or not it is a flute or not.
“The earliest known handcrafted musical instrument has recently (2009) been found in the Hohle Fels cave, located in southwestern Germany in an area known as Swabia. The nearly complete flute was hollowed from the bone of a girffon vulture and measured about eight and a half inches (21.8 centimeters) long with five finger holes located along its length. Carbon dating and other dating methods indicate that the flute is more than 35,000 years old.” 2
As you can see even history cannot deny the fact that instruments have been around for a long time.
What about…

The Biblical History.

As mentioned last week we can see that Jubal was founder of the lyre and pipe.
Genesis 4:21 ESV
21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.
We see Laban discussing the lyre and tambourine.
Genesis 31:27 ESV
27 Why did you flee secretly and trick me, and did not tell me, so that I might have sent you away with mirth and songs, with tambourine and lyre?
As we also mentioned last week, the mechanical instrument was an interracial part of Mosaic Law and worship as seen in Psalm 150 and 1 Chronicles 25.
Now considering mankind has only been around for about 6,000 years we can see that there was not a great gap between man’s creation and the invention of the mechanical instrument.
Remember Jubal was only about 800 years after Adam & Eve left the garden and could have easily known Adam.


So, we can clearly see the mechanical instrument has been around for a long time, however not as long as some try and suggest.
This of course leads me to our focus, if mechanical instruments have been around for most of man’s existence and it is clear, as we saw last week and mentioned today that they were used in worship by the Jews, why do we not use them in worship today?
To answer that I want us to examine the “doctrines” or “teachings” some have suggested for why they use these mechanical instruments and see if they hold biblical water or not.

Teachings Justifying Mechanical Instruments

The Bible Doesn’t Say I Can’t.

Over the years there have been varying quotes and discussion on this thought.
Tertullian 160-220AD, spoke of those who contended that “the thing which is not forbidden is freely permitted.” 3
Tertullian was opposed to such a thought.
Martin Luther stated “What is not against Scripture is for Scripture, and Scripture for it” 4
When answer these types of questions we must remember what God has stated concerning us being godly and where we can find how to live godly lives.
2 Peter 1:3 ESV
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
So what does the God’s Word say about “God’s silence” on a subject?
To begin I want us see if there are any illustrations within God’s Word of those that got in trouble from God for doing something that God didn’t specifically condemn.
What about Nadab and Abihu.
Leviticus 10:1–2 ESV
1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.
What about Jesus being a High Priest on earth.
Priest on earth could only be priests if they were from the tribe of Levi (Leviticus 21-22).
Jesus was from the tribe of Judah not Levi (Matthew 1:1-17).
Hebrews 7:14 ESV
14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
Let’s not forget common sense either in this.
There is no one here that believes in if someone doesn’t say I can’t then I can in their lives wherein it involves them.
No one is ok with someone charging them for everything in a store because we didn’t say “I don’t want everything I only want what I brought up here.”
Another common argument is…

Psalo Means With Mechanical Instruments.

There is no doubt that the word “psalo” can mean to sing with or play mechanical instruments.
Strong partially defines psalo as…
“1 to pluck off, pull out. 2 to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang. 2A to touch or strike the chord, to twang the strings of a musical instrument so that they gently vibrate. 2B to play on a stringed instrument, to play, the harp, etc. 2C to sing to the music of the harp…” 5
Mounts partially defines the word as…
“to move by a touch, to twitch; to touch, strike the strings or chords of an instrument; absolutely to play on a stringed instrument…” 6
The question is does that word “exclusively mean such” and thus require such or are there other factors?
Again look at Strong’s complete definition.
“1 to pluck off, pull out. 2 to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang. 2A to touch or strike the chord, to twang the strings of a musical instrument so that they gently vibrate. 2B to play on a stringed instrument, to play, the harp, etc. 2C to sing to the music of the harp. 2D in the NT to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song.”
Again look at Mounce’s complete definition.
“to move by a touch, to twitch; to touch, strike the strings or chords of an instrument; absol. to play on a stringed instrument; to sing to music; in NT to sing praises.”
The reality is if the apostles were ok with using mechanical instruments in making melody to the Lord in worship, like they had done as Jews their entire life, then why is there “zero” mention of it there use until 600 years after they church was established?
Obviously, as the lexicons bear out with this word, by the time of the New Testament era the word psalo meant simply to “sing praises.”
What about the last argument…

Psalms Were Sung With Mechanical Instruments.

Friedrich Kittel and G.W. Bromiley (by no means ones that were anti mechanical instrument folk) defined the word psalm this way concerning the N.T. era.
“Emphasis is given in v. 19 by the verbs “singing and making melody” (cf. Ps. 27:6). psállontes does not now denote literally playing on a stringed instrument, and the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs hardly refer to different kinds of texts. In 1 Cor. 14:26 psalmós is a Christian song which the individual sings at worship.” 7
James Swanson of the Dictionary of Biblical Langues writes…
“sing praises, make music with voice (Ro 15:9; 1Co 14:15; Eph 5:19; Jas 5:13+)” 8


The point is there are no lexicons or dictionaries based on the original Greek language here that comes even close to saying psalms were sang with mechanical instruments in the New Testament.
So the better question would be what are…

God’s Thoughts On The Subject

God Is A God Of Pattern.

Our God is a God of pattern and order not confusion and chaos.
1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV
33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,
This tells us there must be patters found within God’s word then.
In the Old Testament we clearly see that God set forth the patter for mechanical instruments in worship.
Numbers 10:10 ESV
10 On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”
2 Chronicles 29:25 ESV
25 And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets.
Psalm 150 ESV
1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! 2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! 3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 5 Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
In the New Testament what pattern do we find there?
We never find one time God authorizing or commanding the use of mechanical instruments in worship.
We never find one time in the early church that mechanical instruments were used, even though Jewish and pagan worship was full of worshiping with mechanical instruments.
You would think someone would have said, “I like singing with mechanical instruments lets do that” but we never read of it.
The pattern set forth by God, through the Word, clearly demonstrates that there was no usage amongst God’s people, in worship, with mechanical instruments.
Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12; James 5:13; Revelation 14:3; Revelation 15:3.


God clearly authorized the use of mechanical instruments in the Old Testament and yet not in the New Testament.


The reality is there is no authority for using mechanical instruments in worship.
There is no “magical doctrine” that someone how makes their use biblically ok.
As ones striving to worship in “spirit and truth” our concern cannot be with either…
Our own wants (we like the way it sounds) or others’ wants (they say it is ok therefore I say it’s ok).
Our concern is with what God wants!!!
Isaiah 59:1–2 ESV
1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Romans 10:17 ESV
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Acts 17:30 ESV
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
Matthew 10:32 NKJV
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Romans 6:3–5 ESV
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
1 John 1:7 ESV
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.


Slovenian Academy of Sciences (April 11, 1997), "Early Music", Science 276 (5310): 203–205
Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
Mounce, William D. Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006.
Kittel, Gerhard, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985.
Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.
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