In this sermon, I share what happens when praising God is authentic and how to select songs to help in your praise to God.
Ephesians 5:18-20 says
18 be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We can interpret this scripture two ways: Singing songs to the Lord and so on is evidence of being filled with the Spirit or speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our heart to the Lord is how to be filled with the Spirit. The latter interpretation is better, but both can be accepted.
As we learned in the last sermon, praise succeeds worship. Praise and worship are not interchangeable. Worship is deep respect for God which leads to obedience and service; once this is accomplished praising God can and will follow.
Here’s another passages that shows us what can happen when our praise comes from authentic worship:
Acts 16:25-26 says
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Paul’s worship (respect and service to God) was so strong that his praise enacted a dramatic response from God by loosing the chains of everyone in the prison and opening the doors. This is the kind of praise we should reach for.
About different kinds of praise to God
On how to be filled with the Spirit, the verse says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
Spiritual songs could be lyrics and melodies given to us by the Holy Spirit to sing privately to God. It also says that we can “sing and make melody in our hearts” meaning we don’t have to be able to speak, nor does our praise have to be audible.
Before that, we see the use of psalms and hymns can lead to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. These are what we call “praise music” today: audio recordings and song books.
Three notes about selecting praise music
Some of the following is my opinion.
- Psalms and hymns should glorify God. Beware of having a bulk collection of songs that focus on what God does for you, as if God was made for you. We were made for God, to glorify God (Colossians 1:16). It’s nothing wrong with songs that talk about what God does for us, but we want to make the focus mostly about Him.
- Praise music should make you think about God and not so much on the singer and their abilities. Some singers are glorifying themselves and are puffed up. “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
- Consider the stances of the singer is important. If you find that the artist doesn’t align themselves with God’s word, entertaining their music could be offensive to God.
With so much noise out there, it’s great to create your own songs to the Lord.