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March 31, 2022 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues a series entitled “Seeking Things Above” with a message titled, “The Unity of the Church pt. 2,” from Colossians 3:14-17.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series entitled seeking things above, which is a study of the book of Colossians. Today's message is part two of the sermon titled the unity of the church today, I'd like to finish where we started last week on the theme of the unity of the church that last week we started out by talking about the fact that there was a form of teaching going on in the church of Colossae that could pull the church apart. That's basically what what what the issue was and so Paul gives four commands to maintain the unity of the church and to counteract the false teaching. And these are things that believers are to do.
It's what were to do within a local church. I can say this after my experience of 4045 years of being parts of local churches. There's no greater blessing than to be in a unified church and there's no greater misery debate be in a church that is been pulled apart and so as believers we all have responsibilities.
Every one of you one day the Lord willing, will graduate you move move on from Bob Jones and you're going to go out in the world and you should seek a local church where you can go and become a part of, and be involved in so you will be a part of either the problem or you'll be a part of the solution. So one of the things that we are commanded to do and he gives us commands. First of all important verse 14 he tells us that we are to put on love, or to put on charity, love is the belt that holds everything together and love is sort of the supreme quality of the graces that we are to be putting all and essentially he tells us in EE brings us out in the passage of Scripture that we were before we were saved a part of what is called the old man what we were prior to salvation.
Now we are the new man were to put on the qualities of the graces of the new man and and you do that by putting off the old and at the same time putting on the news like changing your clothes so you command maybe you exercise in your hot and sweaty and you take your clothes off the shower and the what you do you put on clean clothes, and he's talking about the transformation of our life as a Christian and that we are to put on these qualities. These graces and they are they are they are supreme in the living a life of love, then the second command he gives us is in verse 15 when he says let the peace of God rule in your heart.
The idea here is not peace in a just subjective way where you feel peace. It's an objective way. It's talking about in the church where there's disunity and disruption and disharmony.
Then I found has been committed and somebody needs to blow the whistle. Somebody needs to be the referee and say love. Things are not right. We need to fix.
That's exactly what referee does in a good game when there's a fat now became a stock things are made right in and go back to playing the game, and so let the peace of God rule in your hearts is the idea of making peace, a driving focus of the church. We want to live in peaceful harmonies and then number three. The third thing and that's what were to focus on this morning I started last week and I'd like to finish today and that is that how is it that we maintain unity in the church and that is we focus on the word of Christ. Look at what he says in verse 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in your hearts, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. We have a similar verse in the book of Ephesians and I'd like you to turn back a couple books if you would please to the two Ephesians chapter 5 and I want to read to you.
Verse 19 this is in essence the same thing. It says, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord that what he's telling us here is that the central unifying focus of the worship of the church of Jesus Christ is always to be the word of Christ, and we see this in two primary ways number one.
First and foremost, it is through the preaching and the teaching of the Word of Jesus Christ that is centrally what is the most important aspect of the church. What's the most important aspect of the worship of the church in it always is to be the word of God.
That's what we invest our time in. That's why we come to church. That's why the pulpit is always in the center of the church building as opposed to a lectern.
On the far side over here over here in the middle you have some form of sacraments are you have different other things that are there. We put the pulpit in the middle because the word of God is to be central in the church, and specifically he speaking about the supremacy of Jesus Christ we see that throughout the book of Colossians where he says Christ is preeminent. He's the creator. He's the head of the church.
Jesus is our all and all, and when we come to church what must be central and what is sufficient for the church is the preaching of Jesus Christ, one of my daughters a number of years ago was attending a church in the summertime in a particular city, and she down to the church for number of weeks. I called her up on Sunday and is it sweetheart has church going and it was dead quiet and use what is dead quiet. That's not good, and she said dad I just really struggling as to what you struggling with. She wasn't a member. She was just attending. She said I just really struggled with the servants.
She said I feel like it's a lot of rhetoric that's okay. I want to go this church on Sunday. The next Sunday I want to go hear the preacher there and she did and I called her up that Sunday afternoon us and how is the service and she said dad he preached from Colossians 1 of Jesus Christ and she said I cried through the whole service. That's what I'm talking about when Christ is preeminent in the church is always sufficient for the congregation. Why, because Christ is bread to the hungry and Christ is water to the thirsty, you see is the Holy Spirit who loves to magnify Jesus in our hearts. He is guidance for the traveler and he's truth to the seeker. He strength for the weary in his comfort for the brokenhearted, when the word of Christ is preeminent in the preaching ministry of the church that bonds the entire body together like super glue, the supremacy of Christ leads to the sufficiency of Christ and what should be central in the congregation is the preaching of the word of Jesus Christ. That's number one.
Then secondly he says that the church is unified not only through the preaching and the teaching but through the congregational singing of the church.
Let's go back to Colossians 3 and look at what he says let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, a well in all wisdom, and then he is very specific teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing he says with grace in your hearts to the Lord. The focal point here is the importance of congregational singing. Not so much special music but congregational singing and what he says is that it should unify and edify the church yesterday morning we were in a church in Hartford, Connecticut, last night we were in a church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and in both churches.
What we do.
We came together and we sang and it was the congregational singing that built the church or at a flimsy edify the church music should always unify and never divide it should always build. It should always enrich the church and how are we enriched it is by singing the word of Jesus Christ. Now what we read this morning is one of the few verses that you find in the new testament on the subject of music, but music is a big deal, I think you would agree with me on that is a big issue in some cases, maybe it's bigger than it should be, but it is a central issue and I want to say to all of you here, you need to think through the issue of music.
Don't be a person who spends all their life just simply doing what they're told and they become a follower and they never become a thinker.
You need to think it through and that's one of the things that we done here at Bob Jones University. We have a we have an outstanding statement on the biblical philosophy of music that's online that every single one of you should read fact is I decided today that I Mexican ascended to you as a file attachment in your email just so that you have it so that you don't have to go searching for it online but is called music in the image bearer of philosophy of musical stewardship for BJ.
You and in and we talked about music from a scholarship standpoint that is is an educational institution.
We talk about it from worship standpoint and we talk about it from an entertainment standpoint, it is really really important.
It is a big deal and Paul here is commanding us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly through singing and you can say that Paul is giving us instructions here on how to sing so I like to do is try to answer three questions in this passage of Scripture that I hope will be practical to us this morning. The first question is this what should we say and he tells us we should saying the word of Christ and then he breaks it down.
He says psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. These are different types of songs. Some are songs of praise. Some are songs of worship, some of them are songs of experience were often times you'll use the word I in the song and and you speak about your experience as a Christian and all of these are legitimate now. Summit suggested that these three types of songs are all psalms. We know that the Jewish hymnbook with the 150 Psalms as time is gone along the course as always in the church. There's debate over music, whether or not we should just sing the Psalms are, should we sing songs that were written by human beings.
And that's a legitimate argument because the songs were written by God and everything else is written by a fallible man are fallible human being.
So there's always been some kind of disruption over that or some kind of discussion over that. But throughout history. There's always been songs that have been written by the Saints of God for the purpose of unifying and edifying the church. They are songs of praise. They are songs of worship, and they are songs of spiritual experience and in either case, whether it's the book of Psalms or the songbook that we use in the church. There are some things that should be in those songs I want to read to you a statement that I wrote numbers of years ago for our own ministry when I was an evangelist and when I was a camp director because we had a statement of philosophy of music and I wrote this I said the text of the hymn about the way the text is always supreme. You have yet text you have the two and you have the author of the rider and number one. The text is always to be supreme.
The text of the hammer song responded source directly in Scripture must clearly and accurately reflect the truth of God's word. The lyrics of sacred music must be balanced reflecting both doctrine and practice, and emphasizing the complete experience of the Christian life. In other words, is not just about getting saved are going to heaven because there's more to the Christian life than just those two things. The music should be beautiful and both order and meter that is it singable, and it should be presented in a very clear manner which clarity is of the essence and the focus here is on the message. The centrality of Jesus is not primarily on the messenger. For example, when Paul wrote the book of Galatians, he put a dividing line on the gospel. He was so bold. What he said. He said this, that if an apostle, or an angel, preach any other message than that which I preach to you letting, and the curse of God is pretty serious business that you think I mean, Paul, Peter, Apollo's that if they don't preach the gospel that they face the same judgment as everybody else, even if an angel comes and announces anything to you that is not according to the Scripture and let them come under the judgment of God and what we read in the book of Galatians and we read throughout the New Testament that what is central is the word Jesus Christ.
She is the message as I was not about Paul is not about Peter's not about a policy is not about Luther's not about Calvin is not about Wesley is not about daddy is not about Anderson is not even about Steve that it glowered to songs. It's about Jesus folks and that's where we don't want to mess up so so what do we sing we sing the word of Christ. Number two how should we sing and we read the Scripture is very interesting when it tells us how to sing. Most of us don't sing this way, the first thing that were to do when we sing is were actually the sing in such a way as that we are preaching to one another but he said I guess I don't miss what I said your to sing in such a way as that you are to preach to one another one is Colossians 3 say teaching and admonishing what is it mean to admonish. It actually means toward it means to stir people up teaching and admonishing one another.
Ephesians says, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs when we saying we are literally preaching to one another. We had a revival team for many years ice until our team that I know when I music is starting to actually have an impact. To be effective and that's when our singers start preaching to the congregation through song. You know ideas, yet you learn a song you learn the word you want to sing it right you want to get every note perfect okay we did all of that and you know what, as far as I was concerned, we really were not at the pinnacle until those singers knew the song so well that when they stood up they actually felt like they were preaching to the congregation singing is essentially preaching sat to song and that's why singing is so powerful.
It is a sermon before the sermon. Often times when the most moving experiences for an unbeliever is to enter into a congregation and listen to the Hardy singing of the believers because when they sing heartily. It really means that they believe what they are singing.
Now when I get to a church in the singing is dead is not because the music is dead is because the singers are dead. There's no such thing as dead music. Music doesn't die. People die if you walk into a congregation and they're not busted out. Okay, preach, and that's what I'm doing on a preaching unengaged emotional. I feel it say it is processing at some of you I want to. Some of you don't even open your mouth. Learn singing. You know I could your hearts dead as a doornail or somehow you're engaged in something else and you're definitely not here. You probably have an out of body experience you're standing here but you're not here, and when we say what are we to do. We are to pray each to one another. We believe it and that's why singing is so effective in the congregation because after you saying you sit down and what are you ready to do a ready to receive God's word when you don't sing what is that say about you reveals that you're focused on yourself and your preoccupied it can reveal an emptiness of your own party can reveal an absence of the word of Christ in your life. That's why usually I the best singing is always with a group of preachers not because they sing well is because they sing loudly preach when they sing or could be that you just simply don't believe you're not really a believer.
So when we saying how do we sing we saying in a manner when we preach to one another. Number two. We seem to worship the Lord and that's what we read here in both Ephesians and Colossians he says singing is a biblical form of worship, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, who are we singing were singing to each other but primarily we are singing to the Lord and what is the effect of the right kind of music it is always affect on your spirit. There is reference.
There's joy their submission.
That's what happens when you think there's your singing these truths in and you're really surrendering to those truths.
There's there's the desire to obey to trust God to have confidence and most of all, there is a spirit of grace. When we sing about Christ. Grace is in the atmosphere.
Somebody said Paul's theology to be summed up in grace in his ethics are summed up in gratitude God has given me grace and I live out my Christian experience with gratitude and that's what singing is all about.
It is singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord and at least me to my third and last question and that is this what should be our style of music. Now when you read this tax I think is quite clear.
It doesn't say anything about style. We talk about style. We talk about the manner of doing something. For example, in leadership we talk about leadership styles like top down a collaborative style is is something that has that it has a distinction to a distinct appearance.
For example we talk about architectural styles of building we talk about a style of music. I think we all understand that. Especially today because we're living in a world because of technology that there's like hundreds of styles of music out there. So as a Christian, how do we cut through and come back to truth and think this through and I want to say this this morning and I say this with somewhat reluctance but I just II just to be truthful and honest to be straightforward, even if some of you can't handle what I'm about to say because sometimes people take a preachers word and they run with it.
You don't run with it. You need to think it through. There's really no style of music, specifically in the Bible. The Bible doesn't talk about country and western doesn't talk about rock. It doesn't talk about R&B doesn't talk about folk doesn't say any of those things if women taught us out music.
The closest. Maybe we could get to is a Jewish form of music that would come out of the Old Testament may be, but that's even questionable. So what we have to do we have to do what we have to do with everything and that is we have to be discerning. In other words, God intends for us to use our mind in our conscience and our sense of conviction to make good decisions, and their two things I want to say about our musical styles number one, they should reflect our new life in Christ. That's what Colossians 3 is all about.
We been commanded to put off the old man and put on the new man. That's what happened at the cross. Remember, you died in euros with Jesus, our new life should reflect our pursuit of things above. So whatever manner of style we use in worship and whatever it appears like it should be a reflection of the new life of Jesus Christ. God has put in our hearts, a new song but then secondly, it should not reflect the old life it says put off the old man with his deeds put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts every church that is serious about worshiping God will have to discern what music is acceptable for worship in their congregation. What is a reflection of the new life and what is a rejection of the old life. This is not rocket science folks. Hebrews chapter 5 verse 14 says mature believers have exercised their senses to discern between good and evil. Obviously, a church should be led by mature believers and they have to be discerning. I discovered as I traveled around the world that churches that take biblical worship seriously. Their music was always distinctly different from the prevailing corrupt culture always. I remember the first time I went to Africa and African music is beautiful, especially in the churches. They have no stringed instruments.
They got these little on shaky shaky sick, like drum tight beats. I mean those people got serious rhythm. I mean serious rhythm and and I mean they could flat sing and it was it was stunningly beautiful and I asked the missionary as it is this music different than the music of the world here in Zambia. He said oh yeah, he says go down to the marketplace. You can hear it.
There is a distinction ever music is not distinct and we got ask ourselves a credible question. Are we discerning second thing is this. Every individual every Christian has to take their new life seriously by making personal choices. Musically, that will build up their spiritual life. I think it should be a no-brainer that music that constantly reflects the old life of sin and perpetually feeds the sinful emotions of your old life should be put all this, like, come on man. I mean, this is not rocket science. I was confronted me.
I was confronted with my musical choices in college when I was a sophomore.
I've been a Christian for maybe six months and I had visited a secular school and he said to me, Steve, you should not is a Christian listen to rock music about what ultimately elicited because I did. Even though there was Christian music and I started listen to Christian music. There's a radio station in town in Charleston South Carolina that only played old hymns. On Sunday morning only and I would wake up and turn the radio on and I loved it. My heart was stirred and I began to change my appetite. You know of all your life you ever ate fried chicken. You might not like grilled chicken right away so I began to make musical choices used to be a Bob Jones University.
When he came here to be a student, we would have a music check because the only way that you could get music was by what you brought you had a cassette on a track or a CD and you had your own system set up and that's the way that you play and every single musical piece that was brought to Bob Jones University was checked to see if it was acceptable so semi-asked me so well, will you check music at Bob Jones. I said no I can't do it is in the cloud it's on your phone is also bona fide so the truth of the matter is we really can't check your music. So, since we can't check it. I will be straight up. Some of you listen to horrible music is I don't like your preacher. Why don't like your listening. I can't check you pay, let's just get real. I can't check what you're listening to so let me just speak truthfully some of you are worldly because all you listen to his worldly music. Fact of the matter is you don't even listen to the words you say which style I don't know I can go check out on spot about it like 100 of you use your brain. Is this something that is going to build your life spiritually, for the going to tear you down. You need to get real and then let me say secondly, you need to develop standards of music. We have standards at Bob Jones University.
We have some people who think Bob Jones University is going off the deep end and where way to loosen music and some of you think your way to loose. Not sure where that leaves me, but I want to tell you this. We do have standards you know why because we want to be discerning. We want to build an atmosphere that is conducive for spiritual growth and putting on the new man and putting all the old man so though though there is no control that there's no control on our part can't really control it.
I want to speak to you directly. You need to put on your big boy pants give me your big girl pants don't get mad at me and so we want to get maximum yard he met last semi-pre-so music men. Students were so ripped I'm going, can't you take it, but I just don't agree with you will, why don't you take it and think about that. We really need to take this seriously and ask ourselves is this a reflection of the new life. I didn't even speak about one style, but does this build up my faith and lead me into a spirit of worship and gratitude and grace. That's what Paul is saying, and that's what he saying to us today. May the Lord give us grace to be faithful to him or thank you for your word.
Help us Lord to live our lives to honor you Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon from the study series in the book of Colossians by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow is we continue the study and Colossians on The Daily Platform