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Six Reasons to Sing Theologically Rich Songs During Corporate Worship

Kim Melnick

Aug 31, 2023

Every Sunday at Restoration Church of Sanford, I look around the room as we sing together. I love seeing the raised hands, the closed eyes, the enraptured smiles and the reverence of those who stand still, heads bowed in worship as they sing or pray. Corporate worship, by definition, is not a solitary activity and seeing my brothers and sisters in various postures of worship blesses my heart and increases my love for others and my joy in worship. 

But there was one particular Sunday morning worship, years ago, that I will never forget. I was sitting in the left rear of my church as the band led us in the song, “Good, Good Father.” I was in my own little world, asking the Lord to awaken my heart to praise, as the song began, 

When I opened my eyes, I saw her, sitting on the opposite side of the church about four rows back from the stage.  My dear friend who, just weeks before had lost her son in a senseless murder, was singing her heart out.

“You’re a good, good Father and I’m loved by you.”

The song continued, “You are perfect in all of your ways!” The tears were streaming down her face yet her hands were raised high and her face shone with the victorious hope that only Christ can give. 

“Oh, it's love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak. Peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think.”

My heart broke and rejoiced at the same time. Her pain was devastating - I knew that. But the love of Christ, the hope of which she sang was stronger than her pain. Across the room, my heart was knit to hers. My prayers were deep and fervent as I united with her in prayer and worship.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37 

Her worship was a living testimony to these words. 

In that moment, I learned much about the beauty of corporate worship, the power of song and the importance of singing together. 

I’ve known people who purposely showed up late to church every week. Their goal is to arrive as the last introductory song wraps up - just in time for what they consider “the good stuff,” the preaching of God’s Word. I would agree, that the preaching of God’s Word is of highest value, but the time they miss, the time of corporate singing and prayer, prepares our hearts to hear that Word.

So, why is singing so important? Well, first of all, we are commanded to sing. It’s been said that there are over 400 references to singing in the Bible and 50 of those include commands to sing. 

“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.” Colossians 3:16 

That alone is reason to sing but, there is more to this story. Not surprisingly, we find that singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is beneficial to our souls and is glorifying to God. 

At Restoration Church of Sanford, the songs we sing are chosen with great intention. They are theologically sound and selected with the Biblical text that will be preached in mind. With that as a backdrop, I’d like to give you a few reasons to engage wholeheartedly during our time of congregational singing. 

1.Singing theologically rich songs expands our understanding of doctrine and helps us to know God

Oftentimes, the meaning of a deep theological concept becomes more clear in our minds as we sing and remember the words in their poetic form. In the old hymn, “Before the Throne of God Above” we sing this line,

Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free, for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me”

Now, we may not have studied the doctrine of Christ’s imputed righteousness, but we have learned it in a song. And, if we know this doctrine, how rich it is to deeply reflect on what’s been done on our behalf as we sing.

2. Singing theologically rich songs often convicts and brings us to repentance.

There are many songs with lyrics that the Spirit often uses to cause me to pause and reflect on my life as I sing. A few lines that come to mind…

“I surrender all”….Oh Lord, I want this to be true. Help me to truly surrender all and increase my desire for your will in all things.

“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise”…..Forgive me Lord, I do long for riches and I do enjoy the praise of men. Help me to be satisfied in You alone. 

“In Christ alone, my hope is found”…..Lord, forgive my misplaced hopes. Increase my hope in You.

3. Singing theologically rich songs unites the body in truth and love

There is something precious that happens as we sing alongside those whose stories we know. Whether we are rejoicing with our sister whose marriage was recently restored or

mourning with our brother who is battling cancer, when we sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” together, our hearts are united as we remind one another of great truths about our God no matter what our circumstances seem to say.

4.Singing theologically rich songs strengthens our resolve and encourages our hearts in hard times.

There are times we show up to worship weak from the battles of the previous days that have been filled with concerns of the world. These moments ought to drive us to our brothers and sisters for prayer and encouragement but, oftentimes, our tired souls put on a smiling face and go through the motions without sharing our burdens. But, even before we get to the preaching of God’s word, the Lord can use a song that expresses Biblical truths to strengthen us, remind us of His glory and power and to confim our own frailty and weakness without Him.

It is nearly impossible to sing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and not be strengthened as we are reminded that, in our own strength, “our striving would be losing” but also reminded that we are not left alone in our struggle. Instead, we are informed, by the Spirit, of the strength of our God, that He is for us in Christ Jesus and that “he must win the battle.”

When we sing ‘10,000 Reasons” our weary souls remember all that God has done for us. In spite of our circumstances, our hope and strength are renewed as we sing the words, “You're rich in love and You're slow to anger. Your name is great and Your heart is kind. For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing. Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.”

5. Singing theologically rich songs helps us preach the Gospel to ourselves and proclaims the Gospel to unbelievers.

There are songs that, with well-appointed words and beautiful melodies, magnify the beauty of the Gospel in our hearts and minds. 

Songs like, “In Christ Alone,” “Hallelujah! What a Savior” and even some modern day hymns like “What He’s Done” tell the Gospel story in ways that move us beyond mere head knowledge of the work of Christ. By God’s grace these songs can penetrate our hearts allowing us to know and experience the love of God in Christ as we sing with hearts of gratitude. 

We glorify the Lord when we celebrate the great work He has done, and we also share, in a memorable way, the transformative work of the Gospel with those who do not know Him as Lord and Savior. We know that, even expressed in song, the Gospel is, as stated in Romans 16, “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” 

6. Singing theologically rich songs inspires us to pursue wholehearted dedication to the Lord. 

Singing can help us make the move from our heart to our hands as we grow in Christ. “Take my Life and Let it be” is a beautiful example of this type of song as it calls us to set apart every aspect of our life as we pursue holy living in full submission to the Lord.

“Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own. It shall be Thy royal throne.”

Every verse calls us to holiness, to obedience, to love for God in all things. It is a prayer asking the Lord to do His work of growing us in the likeness of Christ. I am reminded of Paul’s prayer to the Colossians to walk in a way that is worthy of the Lord. 

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:9-10 

So, when we gather next, I hope that you will be encouraged, in new ways, to engage in worship. I pray that you have seen the value of singing together - that it is good for us as individuals, it is good for the body, it is good for the unbeliever in our midst and, most of all, it is good because it brings glory to our God. 

And, I pray that you will take it all in - the beauty of the melodies, the rich theology of the words, the presence of your brothers and sisters surrounding you and the Spirit of Jesus that is present and uniting us as together we sing.

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