Jesus commanded us to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We must seek to please God in all things because of our love for him. In our worship, we please the Father by connecting with him spiritually and worshiping in truth. Worship demands we submit ourselves to him completely as we bow before the mighty throne of God.
“Deep respect and adoration of God will alter our attitudes, because our worship will be directed toward God and not toward men. Reverence will prevent us from turning our worship into a production designed to please men. We will, instead, see ourselves at the feet of the Almighty God in Heaven.” /1
Prostrating ourselves before God will allow us to follow his word rather than our own. We will be more pliable as we seek to please him above everything.
What kind of music does God authorize in worship to him? Should it include mechanical instruments?
We live under the New Testament and it alone is our authority. The Old Testament was written for our learning but it no longer serves as our authority (Romans 15:4). We live under a new and “better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).
In the Old Testament, instrumental music was indeed used in worship to God (1 Chronicles 23:5; 2 Chronicles 7:6). David invented these instruments to worship the Father (1 Chronicles 23:5; Amos 6:5). However, once the Old Testament ended, we were no longer under the Old Covenant. The worship of animal sacrifices, musical instruments, Levitical priesthood and festivals passed into history. When the New Covenant was established, we were then under its teachings, exclusively.
Instrumental music is never mentioned in the New Testament in the context of the worship of the church. Every time music is mentioned, it is vocal and without instrumental accompaniment (Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13).
Whether we should utilize instrumental music in worship to God becomes an authority issue. Shall we practice something that the New Testament never authorizes? /2 If God said to sing, then why go beyond what he has given us? Should we practice God’s will or our will?
Often the argument is used that instrumental music is pleasant to the human ear. Human pleasure, as we have established, is not the authority for New Testament worship. /3
Biblical authority is all that is under consideration in this issue. Whether we like music or whether it makes worship more exciting or soothing is immaterial. When we bow for worship at the feet of God, the only thing that matters is what pleases the Father on the throne. The worship of God is not about the worshipers but about the source of the worship.
The picture becomes clearer when we look at authority in light of parenting children. The parent tells the child what they will allow their child to do and that it is non-negotiable. The child then continues to plead with them because they want their way. The parent stands firm and tells the child the consequences of rebellion. We say these are good parents.
Why would this not also be true of God, the Father? Will not God also be firm in what he wants no matter how much we demand our way? God’s authority supersedes any and all desires of men, even in worship.
God loves us and through him we have spiritual life through his graceful blessing. Yet, he has certain things he has asked of us. That is his right as Creator. Because of this grace and love we seek to please him however we can. Worship is no exception.
What Kind of Music does the New Testament Call for in Worship?