Implications and Applications for Corporate Worship
Given the high nerd factor of the last post, let’s make it practical. Here are a few practical implications that flow from Col 3:16 and corporate worship:
It means that what is sung must have as its purpose to teach and admonish. Therefore, there are songs that we will do, and there are those that we cannot do.
There is a big difference between, for instance, Kim Walker’s “How He Loves,” and Sovereign Grace’s “Jesus Thank You” or Gateway Worship’s “O the Blood.” Look them up if you’re curious (“heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss” Really? Am I thinking about a holy God and a reconciled people or about making out? Seems like this lyric would turn the teens on and turn the seniors off—neither of which are good for corporate worship). We do the last two with great passion, and yet cannot, in good conscience, do the first. See #2.
It means that whenever we sing (and preach for that matter) we are teaching something.
This should go without saying. To quote my oldest son whenever music is played, “Dad, are they singing for Jesus?” I am teaching my family by the music I lead them in – both at home and at church. What do I want them to learn? Worship leaders and parents, choose wisely. More to parents later.
It means that when we are taught and admonished by biblical songs, we are building a greater capacity to suffer well.
I know this one personally. When my mother was dying of cancer and I was at my lowest, great, Gospel-centered songs (ancient and modern) sustained and fed my soul. They drove me to the Lord and to the word—living and written.
It means that we need to be on time to the worship service, since when we gather to sing we are teaching and admonishing so that the word of Christ will richly dwell within us.
Being late means you are missing out on a sweet time of hearing and learning more of the Word of Christ, and is neglecting the one time that we as a body gather together to audibly and corporately tell God what we think about Him and what He has done.
It means that if Christ-centered worship teaches and admonishes us to love and live out the word of Christ that richly dwells within us, then the other side of this is that Christ-less worship aids and abets the action of believers drifting away from the gospel.
Again, since we are teaching and admonishing, what is taught will either promote depth and faithfulness, or will aid in doctrinal and ecclesiological drift. As a worship pastor, this one is always at the front of my mind and on my heart. May what we sing push us towards the Christ of the Bible and zeal for Him.
I will post a few more implications soon. May Christ be praised as we gather!