Can you finish these song lyrics?
Lean on me, when you're not _____________
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you ___________ _____
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to _________ _____
It’s amazing how a song can become ingrained in our memory, isn’t it? I still remember the jingle I was taught in third grade to memorize the fifty US states in alphabetical order. Let’s be honest, there is absolutely no practical application for that kind of information in my life, yet it’s still embedded in my memory more than two decades later. Maybe that’s why a philosopher once said: “Let me write the songs of a nation – I don’t care who writes its laws.”
There’s something about music that just…sticks.
And I don’t think it’s by coincidence, I believe it’s by design.
You see, the people of God have always had a song, from the song of Moses in Exodus 15 to the song of the Lamb in Revelation 15 and everywhere in between. In fact, God Himself is a singing God. Zephaniah 3:17 says that God rejoices over us with loud singing! Incredible, right? And because you and I have been created in the image of God, we have been hardwired to sing.
So the fact that we sing every week at Eleven22 wasn’t our idea, it was His.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul says:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Paul says that when the church sings (1) it has purpose (2) it has power and (3) it sticks.
Let’s unpack these points a little bit.
Singing Has Purpose
Singing isn’t just a warm-up before we hear the gospel preached later in the service. We are singing the gospel. There’s actually a sermon being preached through our songs. For instance, check out this lyric we sing all the time:
“Then on the third at break of dawn, the Son of Heaven rose again. O trampled death where is your sting? The angels roar for Christ the King!”
That’ll preach! Right? And that’s what Paul means when he says we are “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” We’re singing the gospel into our souls.
Singing Has Power
I remember one time after a service, a father came up to me and said, “Phillip, you need to know what just happened. While we were singing about Jesus dying on the cross, my 10-year-old son grabbed me by the arm, looked up into my eyes and said, ‘Dad, I get it now. I understand what Jesus did for me and I want to give my life to Him.’”
Can you imagine the joy in that father’s heart? That’s real! That’s life-changing. And that’s exactly what happens when we sing together. God is among us, and His Spirit is moving in power.
During the Reformation, music was one of the primary ways Martin Luther propelled the gospel. How? He simply wrote songs that people loved to sing. Even his opponents admitted that Luther won more converts through his songs than his preaching. They said, “The people are singing themselves into his doctrines!” They could burn his books, they could force him into hiding, but then they’d walk down the street and hear people humming his songs.
The same principle explains why a third grade jingle is still stuck in my brain a quarter of a century later. It’s because singing sticks! So if we want the Word of Christ to dwell in us richly, we’ve got to sing. If we want to anchor our lives in the promises of God, we’ve got to sing. If we want to soak our hearts in the truth of the gospel, we’ve got to sing.
So this week during corporate worship, enjoy the God-given gift of singing.
Remember its purpose.
Feel its power.
And let the Word of God stick to your soul.
Contributed by: Phillip Townsend