Singing – Gospel in Life


Tim Keller |  April 13, 2008

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  • Worship
Ephesians 5:18-21
RS 202-02


An awful lot of people who believe in God are as messed up and as selfish as everybody else. Why? Because beliefs don’t automatically create changed character. You have to turn beliefs into character with something in the middle. Between beliefs and character come spiritual disciplines or Christian practices. Unless you understand what those practices are and unless you participate in them, you will not actually change your character.

The second most commanded Christian practice in the Bible is one that when you see it, you usually don’t even realize it’s a command. We’re commanded to sing God’s truth, to sing God’s praises. Ephesians 5 gives five things that flow from being filled with the Spirit. Of the five results, three are about music. If you do not learn how important it is to sing God’s praises regularly with others, to listen to God’s praises sung, you will not be changed by the gospel.

Why would music be that important? Let’s take a look at Ephesians 5, especially in light of the entire history of music in the Bible. We’ll learn the power of music (what it does), the grace of music (what it can do), and the future of music (what it will do).

Ephesians 5:18–21

Our faith in Christ isn’t just about believing the right things. It’s also about practicing our faith through actions like prayer and singing praises to God, which the Bible frequently encourages us to do. Music, especially when we use it to worship God together, plays a key role in helping us grow spiritually.

1. The power of music

Music is a powerful part of worship because it can move us in deep and inspiring ways. Even famous musicians like Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein, who weren’t necessarily religious, recognized that there’s something special about music. When we sing songs about God’s love, peace, and joy, we’re reminded of His presence in our lives and the significance of our existence.

2. The grace of music

Music can also help us understand and experience God’s forgiveness. When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, it’s kind of like being joyful and courageous, which helps us grasp the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice and find our value in Him. Singing, especially songs about Jesus, can be a way that we express the Spirit within us and let the gospel message sink deeper into our hearts.

3. The future of music

Music has been a part of our lives since the beginning of time, and it continues to be a way we can express our faith in a broken world. Through song, we can share our love for God, and despite our flaws, Jesus makes our praises beautiful to God. This transforming power of music, grounded in the gospel, helps us rise above our everyday lives and experience a deeper connection with Jesus, which changes us and brings joy to God.



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