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The Church: Advanced Book 3,
The Church -- The Kingdom of God
The book of Daniel is a book of
prophecy as are many of the Old
Testament books. These books called "Prophecy," can be divided into two groups, the large
books of many chapters and the others that are small or short. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations,
Ezekiel, and Daniel are long books.
You may have learned a way to organize the OT books: 5, 12, 5, 5, 12, the number in each
category - Law, History, Poetry, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. Daniel is one of the 5
"Major Prophets." It is not more important; it is just larger.
Daniel is often misunderstood. I attended a Bible class in the Nazarene church. They teach the
doctrine of Pre-millennialism. This doctrine teaches that the kingdom of God is yet to be
established. It will be established when Jesus returns to the earth. He will reign over all
the earth on David's throne, they say. He will reign for 1,000 years, they say. The problem is
that the predictions of Daniel have already happened. The problem is that there are no
references in all the Bible that teach that Jesus will put his foot on the earth for 1,000
years. Take a look at their proof text - Revelation 20. There is not a single claim mentioned
in that chapter.
The theory's ideas have been invented. They "read into" the text what
they think instead of "lifting out of the text" what the author intended. Check out Paul's
story about end times - 1 Thessalonians. 4. No, that is not just part of the events of the
premillennial system. Then, see what Peter says in 2 Peter 2:7. The
passages in Revelation came to pass "soon," said John. See chapter 1, as
did the prophecies in Daniel come true.
The teacher in the Nazarene church was confused about the numbers in the
book of Daniel. He didn't have an answer to all those numbers. The answer about the coming of
the Kingdom is in the words of Jesus. See Mark 9:1. The kingdom came before some of those
standing there listening to Jesus died. The kingdom, according to Jesus "is not of this
world"; it's a spiritual kingdom. Review Jesus' comments in the garden when he was arrested.
The throne of David is not the furniture of David; it's the position of King. Jesus is King!
See Acts 2. The church is God's Kingdom on earth. We are members of it now. We are citizens of
it. See Colossians about our "citizenship." The church on earth is like being a part of God's
heavenly kingdom. Jesus did not fail to establish his kingdom and must come again to do that
job. Jesus does not fail!
It's great to be a part of God's family.
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The Church: Advanced Book 3,
The Church -- The Kingdom of God (Continued)
Question II, 3: (a) Ten, (b) Fifteen, (c) Fifty, days
after Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles.
The correct answer is (a) Ten.
The time line of Jesus
death, burial, resurrection, appearances, and ascension is best determined by studying Jesus'
prophecy. He said he would be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights. Which day was he crucified and
which day was he resurrected will give the picture. Then, we need to understand the meaning of
The sequel of time regarding Jesus, the church and his disciples is as
1. On Wednesday, after 6 PM, Jesus ask for the Passover feast to be prepared
in the upper room. Note: after 6 PM, the Jews counted the time as the next day.
He and his disciples ate of the bread and the wine. This was the 13th day of the Jewish month,
Nisan. On this day, the Jews removed all unleavened bread from their houses. Leaven or yeast
was consider an impurity. It has to be removed before the preparation of the Passover feast.
This day was the preparation for the feast of Unleavened Bread.
2. Thursday, the 14th day, the Passover lamb was to be killed. It was this
day that Jesus was crucified -- our Passover lamb. He was dead before 6 PM, so the soldiers
did not hasten his death by breaking his legs as they did the thieves. He was in the tomb that
same day, before night. This was his first day and first night in the grave.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast -- as
you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of
malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
By God's direction, the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed on the 14th day, Thursday. The
Passover meal was to be eaten that evening after 6 PM. This was the beginning of the Jewish
15th day of the month. And, the entire day was cerebrated as a special Sabbath. This day was a
Sabbath day regardless of the day of the week on which it fell.
3. Friday, Jesus was in the tomb for his second day.
4. Saturday, the regular Sabbath day, Jesus was in the tomb the third day.
5. Sunday morning he was raised from the grave making it a total
of 3 days and 3 nights just as he had said.
6. Sunday began the 40 days on the earth with the disciples and appearances
to other. He ascended into the heavens on Sunday.
3 To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many
convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things
concerning the kingdom of God.
7. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles. Peter used the
"keys to the Kingdom" as promised in Matthew 16 to open the door to the church. The church was
established on this day, the day of Pentecost. The day of
Pentecost (meaning 50) was one day after 7 weeks past the Passover making it 50 days. This would leave 10 days from the ascension to the coming of the
Holy Spirit. The year was AD 33 as we know the calendar.
Corrections would make it AD 34.
8. Within the next few days, the church had grown to over 5,000 men. (Acts
4:4) Women were not mentioned, but were baptized also making the count very large for such a
short period of time.
9. Persecutions caused people to leave Jerusalem and go into all the world spreading the good
The Holy Spirit was
promised (John 14) after Jesus said that everything that he knew came from
the Father (John 8). The words that Jesus told the Holy Spirit were
"mine." So the sequence is Father > Son > Holy Spirit > Apostles > Spoken
and written word. All of the Bible is from the Father.
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The Church: Advanced Book 3, Lesson 3: The Church -- The Body of Christ
Question 2: Why is it so important for the church to be pure and holy?
Student Answer: It is very important because the church stands for
(represents) the bride of Christ so that the world would see the love of Jesus in her.
Purity before Satan defies Satan's power over us. It accomplishes God's purpose
and shows Satan who is wise. God and Satan are at war and God wins when we choose to follow
him. The ultimate purpose of the church is to show Satan that God is wise. Ephesians
10 His (God's) intent was that now, through the church (Christians living
righteous lives), the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and
authorities in the heavenly realms,
The phrase rulers and authorities refers to powers "in heavenly places, not of this earth."
The phrase is used five times in Ephesians and no where else in scripture. It has a special
meaning -- Satan! This special announcement of our purpose on earth gives us reason to keep
our lives pure. It motivates us by telling us how important a Christian is to God.
Question: how does it feel to be "on stage" before all of heaven?
1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for
us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual
immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy
4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are
out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--
such a man is an idolater-- has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
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The Church: Advanced Book 3, Lesson 4: The Church -- The Body of Christ (Continued)
Teacher's Comments:There are 3 words in the New Testament that are
translated "love." Actually, there are 4 Greek words translated "love" in
English. The word for "family love" is Storgae (GK). The word for
"physical, sexual love" is Eros (GK), the word used for really good
friends is Phileo (GK), and the word for making sure that the other is
treated just right is Agape (GK).
Above, you have described Agape love. It is the "better way" according to
Paul's writings in the "LOVE CHAPTER" of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. This
is a description of God's love. It is the how a Christian treats
even his enemies. Jesus said that we are to love our enemies. When this is
done, the bad guys wonder why are you being so kind? It is like heaping
hot coals upon his head. He can't figure out why you treat him so kindly.
This is God's way of saying that I Agape sinners, even you!
There is a wonderful example of Philo and Agape in John 21:14-19
14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he
was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son
of John, do you truly love (agape) me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love (phileo) you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love (agape) me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love (agape)
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love (phileo)
me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were
younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are
old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and
lead you where you do not want to go." 19 Jesus said this to indicate
the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him,
Later, Peter was crucified. Peter chose to be crucified upside down
instead of like Jesus was crucified. That's agape!
The Church: Advanced Book 3,
Lesson 5: The Church -- The Temple of the Holy
True or False -- On the day of Pentecost, Philip and Stephen received power to perform
The correct answer is (F) The day of Pentecost was the day the church was established --
Sunday, Acts 2. Philip & Stephen, found in Acts 6, received power later.
True or False -- Philip put his hands on the new Christians in Samaria, and they received
special powers from the Holy Spirit.
The correct answer is (F). Philip did not have the power to enable one to do miracles. He
had to call Peter to do this. Acts 8. This is an important passage because it shows that only
the Apostles could pass on the power to do miracles. When the last Apostle died in about AD
100, miracles ceased. They were no longer needed. Hebrews 2:4, 1 Corinthians. 13:10.
As the lesson text states, miraculous gifts of the Spirit ceased soon after
the death of the apostle John. The purpose of miracles was to prove to people that the Good
News was God's truth.
4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles,
and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
The purpose of the gifts of prophecy and teaching was to spread the truth of God by
word-of-mouth while the New Testament was being written. Once the Bible was completed,
these spiritual gifts faded away.
Paul said that the gift of prophecy, the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages, and
the gift of knowledge would end. "These things will end, because this knowledge and these
prophecies . . . are not complete (perfect). But when perfection comes, the things that are
not complete will end" (I Corinthians 13:8-10). When God's revelation was complete, when the
Holy Spirit led the apostles into all truth, when the infant church grew to maturity, then the
gifts of the Spirit came to an end.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where
there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
During the Apostolic period, from AD 34 to John's death in about AD 100, letters were written
to the churches to warn and to correct error being taught by several groups. Prominent were
the Jews who taught you had to be circumcised before you could become a Christian (Letter to
the Galatians) and the Gnostics who taught they had special revelations (Refuted in 1 John).
There were unacceptable practices of others (1 & 2 Corinthians) that prompted letters of Paul
and Jude. Peter wrote letters of encouragement to people under persecution. The gospels were
written to tell the story of Jesus. These are recorded in the New Testament for us
The end of the Apostolic period came with John's death. No longer did people
speak in tongues or perform miracles. These all stopped.
In Acts 8, we read of Philip, who could do miracles to prove his message was
true, was ask for this power. Philip could not pass this power to another, so he sent to
Jerusalem to get Peter, an Apostle to lay on hands and give this power to others. The
necessity of calling an Apostle shows that only the Apostles could pass on this power
and that miracles had served their purpose by the time John died.
This is why Christians today cannot speak in foreign languages without training. They cannot
perform miracles today even if they claim to do so.
Notice that "tongue speaking" today is not speaking a foreign language as it
was on the day of Pentecost where all of 15 nations understood the gospel in their own
language, Acts 2:6. It is "gibberish" or meaningless sounds called their "prayer language."
Actually, it is deceptive even to the one speaking.
Today, we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where it is silent. We
have God's word written down in an understandable language for our study and teaching. 2
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Student Question: When will prophesy
We have studied the Bible stories from Creation
to the growth of the church of Christ in cities all over the world -- from the first book of
the Bible to the last. The Bible records these stories and is partly a history book. To
understand prophecy you need to see how God used prophecy throughout history.
First, a prophet is a "mouthpiece" of God. He speaks for God. The very words
he speaks are from God. By his direct voice, angels, dreams, and prophets God spoke to man
Hebrews 1:1-2 9 (This is a book in the New Testament that explains much of the Old Testament.)
1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various
ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,
Second, prophecy often had two purposes -- to give instruction and to tell
In the Garden of Eden, WEI lesson 2, God spoke to Adam and Eve and gave them
instructions as well as his love. Then, He told Satan that someone would come to crush his
head, his seat of power (Genesis 3:15) -- a prediction of the future. This was the first
prophecy that predicted the coming of Jesus. Jesus is the "someone" whose body was "bit" by
Satan, but he got over it in his resurrection. In his resurrection, Jesus made Satan powerless
In the sense of speaking for God, Noah was a prophet. He preached. So was
Abraham. He instructed Isaac. Moses was a spokesman for God. He spoke for God to Pharaoh.
Actually, Moses was afraid to speak; so, God sent his brother Aaron to speak for Moses. Moses
was God's prophet. Aaron was Moses' prophet. Moses then gave the 10 commandments to the
Israelites. These came from God.
In the time of Israel and the kings, Samuel was a prophet who established the "school
of the prophets." Prophets were messengers of Jehovah who gave guidance and
instructions to the people. They were in many cities.
Beyond Samuel, the prophets warned and advised the kings and they predicted the fall of Israel
and Judah. Their prophecies had a predictive nature in that they warned of impending
captivity. The captivity by Assyria and Babylonia happened. The prophets were right in their
predictions. The prophets also foretold of the coming of the Messiah. This is especially true
of Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Micah, Zechariah, and some others. These messages are called
the Messianic Prophecies. The detailed prophecies by the Prophet Isaiah all
came true, proving that Isaiah was a true prophet and that the Bible is true.
Their messages were more than predictive. They were instructive to the kings. The prophets
were more like preachers. Prophecy is usually thought of as prediction, but a vital
part of a prophet's message is instruction. The prophet is a teacher, denouncing,
warning, instructing, and encouraging the kings and the people.
The last of the Old Testament prophets was Malachi. After Malachi, the prophets were silent
for about 400 years until John the Baptism came. John announced Jesus. He instructed
the people of Israel to repent.
17 "Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how
God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would
suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of
refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed
for you-even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore
everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, 'The Lord
your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen
to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off
from among his people.'
24 "Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.
25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said
to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' 26 When God raised
up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked
Jesus was a prophet and spoke only the words of the Father.
27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, "When
you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and
that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent
me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." 30 Even as he
spoke, many put their faith in him.
After Jesus' resurrection, he gave instructions to his Apostles. They were told that the Holy
Spirit would come. Jesus said that he would give instructions to the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit would then tell the Apostles what to say and to write. The process involves Jesus as a
prophet. How did prophecy work? In John 7:16 (from the Father to the Son); John 8:28 (Son
speaks from the Father); John 16:13 (the Holy Spirit hears only what is "mine" or from Jesus);
John 16:13 (Holy Spirit will guide and not speak on his own); John 16:15 (Father >
Son, "mine" > Spirit > Apostles), said Jesus.
In 34 AD, after Jesus ascended into heaven, the church of Christ was established in Jerusalem.
Peter preached the first sermon. What did Peter preach? Peter was to preach
as the Spirit told him. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus told Peter to speak what was already bound in
heaven. The message came directly from the Father to the Son, to the Holy Spirit, and to the
Apostles. Peter preached what he was given from God. He preached God's message.
On the Day of Pentecost, there were people from 15 nations who heard Peter. How did they hear
Peter when they did not know the language? They did not speak Greek or Aramaic, the languages
of Jerusalem. The answer is that they heard God's message given to the 12 apostles who were
given the ability to speak in foreign languages. This is called "tongues" in our English
Bibles. The people were amazed that they could hear and understand in their own languages.
Finally, in 75 AD, the story was written for us by Luke who wrote the record of Peter's speech
in Acts 2. We have a copy of Peter's message recorded in the "Bible," the book of books. The message had been revealed and written down.
Now, the Bible tells us that the words "church" and "kingdom" are the same thing -- people who
follow Jesus. We know how to get into the church. Peter told the people in Jerusalem and the
message to us is recorded in the Bible. We are added to the church or kingdom of heaven when
we believe, repent, confess, and are baptized. The Apostles taught this message from the Holy
Spirit and the new Christians were forgiven. They were given the Holy Spirit to live in them.
(Acts 2:38) They continued in the Apostles' teachings. What a wonderful promise for us too.
47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to
their number day by day those who were being save.
We learned this from the apostles, prophets, and teachers.
The church spread to other nations and cities all over the world. Soon after the church was
established in Jerusalem, there was serious persecution by the Jews. The believers left
Jerusalem and scattered into all of the world preaching the gospel of Jesus. The message
How did the people prove that their message to the world was from God? There
were only 12 apostles, but there were hundreds who went everywhere preaching. Some, but not
all, were given special gifts. Some had direct revelations from the Holy Spirit. They were
prophets -- people who spoke for God. They had no Bible; it had not been written. Some could
tell the message in a language that they had never studied. Some could perform miracles and
heal the sick. These people used their special gift to prove that what they were preaching was
1 Corinthians 12:28
And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then
miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
In this passage, prophets are those who speak for God. Some had a special revelation as did
the apostles. These were special gifts. Miracle workers and healers were able to prove their
message to be from God by doing special acts that were not natural. Helping those in need and
directing the church (administrations) were powers given to people who had no training or
instructions. What they knew was given to them directly by God. Speaking in tongues, literally
speaking in a foreign language, was another special power given to confirm their message.
The purpose of these special gifts of the Holy Spirit is told to us in Hebrews.
Hebrews 2:3-4 (This book explains the teachings of Jesus giving us
This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard
him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy
Spirit distributed according to his will.
When Paul became a disciple he started churches in Europe on 3 journeys. One of these cities
where he establish the local church was Corinth. While Paul was in another city, he learned
that the church in Corinth had problems. The people loved their special powers. Speaking in a
foreign language was liked very much. Those who could speak in a tongue were showing off
(acting proudly). This created problems. Some were not given this gift. Now, the church was
divided. The church in Corinth had 16 major problems. This was one of them -- pride in
Paul wrote 3 letters to them. In one of the letters he tells them that the church is one body
and that all gifts came from the same Spirit. He addressed one gift in particular -- speaking
in a foreign language. He told them that their special interest in tongue speaking was
dividing the church. He said that when they showed off by speaking in foreign languages and
that this could not help the church learn. They were just showing off and benefiting
themselves only. The purpose of tongues was to prove that their message was from God. It was
to be a sign to the unbeliever. (1 Corinthians 14:22)
Prophesying was much better for the church than tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:1-6
Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but
in his spirit he speaks mysteries.
3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.
4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.
5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater
is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church
may receive edifying.
6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I
speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?
To help them understand the purpose, Paul told them that these special gifts were
temporary. The Holy Spirit would stop giving them these special gifts someday. He
wanted them to know that the special gifts were for the purpose of confirming the word. These
special gifts were not for show. They had a special purpose and would not be needed
later when God's Word was fully revealed and understood. Having a direct message from God, or
prophesying, in Corinth would stop too.
But, for now they should desire to have the ability to be a prophet because they were speaking
for God by direct revelation. The gospel was still being revealed to the world through them.
The Bible was yet to be written.
In a later time, this special revelation would no longer be needed and it would stop.
Miracles, healing, interpreting foreign languages, and having a special knowledge of helping
and administration would stop too when they were no longer needed to confirm the word.
Teaching by special revelation would stop. But, teaching would continue until unity and
maturity was achieved.
For now, they were do it right and stop dividing the church. They should desire the
greater gift of love. Prophesy will continue for now.
Ephesians 4:1-16 (This is Paul's letter written to the church in Ephesus
before he died.)
4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have
received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one
body and one Spirit- just as you were called to one hope when you were called- 5 one Lord, one
faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
8 This is why it says:
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men."
9 (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?
10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill
the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets,
some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's
people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach
unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the
whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and
there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful
scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who
is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every
supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
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The Church: Advanced Book 3, Lesson 6: The Church -- The Temple of the Holy Spirit (Continued)
This lesson on "The Church -- the Temple of the Holy Spirit" tells us about the lives of
Christians. It's all about belonging and having an inner strength.
One of the most important needs of a human is to belong. Everybody needs to belong and to be
wanted. Only after we belong can we move on to do something worthy. Psychologist who study
people tell us that after we are no longer hunger and cold, we must satisfy the need to have
security. We don't want to be hungry and cold tomorrow. After we are secure comes the need for
a social connection -- to feel that we belong to others. It's a need to fit into society.
People will do almost anything to find food, security, and to fit into some society. This need
is part of being a human being. Finally, a human needs an inner strength and the power to do
something meaningful in his life.
All of this describes the needs of a human being.
Belonging is what Adam and Eve lost when they disobeyed God in the story of the Garden of Eden
-- Book 1, Lesson 2. Because of their sins, they were separated from God. They no longer
belonged to God. Instead, they had a deep sense of guilt because they had disobeyed. Satan
took away their sense of belonging. They "died" in a spiritual sense -- separated from God.
But, after God's plan for redeeming man was completed in showing his love through Jesus'
willingness to die for mankind, forgiveness and power to live right lives was restored. We can
come to God and be completely free. We can be close to God again. We can belong. We
can have his Spirit living within us. We can have his power working in us. We can live lives
that are meaningful.
People who choose to come to God on his terms are filled with his Spirit. It's called the
"Holy Spirit." Lives change because everything is right with God. Freedom in our spirit is
real when God's Spirit is within.
See the verses in Romans 8 and read about real freedom.
In this chapter of the New Testament, Paul writes to people who thought that being good was
the way to freedom and inner power. They had "the law." But, they could never really keep the
law. In Chapter 7, Paul described how difficult it was to be free by trying to keep the law
himself. He knew what was right, but he could not always behave in the right way. It
was frustrating. He often was a failure. He had no real freedom. He needed God's
Spirit within and could not find it by himself. Just being "good" was not enough. Trying to be
good gave a sense of failure and incompleteness. His need to belong was not genuine. He only
belonged to himself and tried to be good.
But, in Jesus, he found no condemnation. He was really free. He belonged to God. He
was a part of the church, the people of God. He belonged to God's society. He was
completely forgiven. He could now live a life of freedom and power. This new power was God's
Spirit living in him. He was the temple of God, a place where God lives within. Being led by
God's Spirit is a rich blessing.
It is God's Spirit that empowers Christians so they can live
The Church: Advanced Book 3,
Lesson 7: The Church -- The Worshiping Community
QUESTION: True or False For hundreds of years, the human voice was the only
instrument used in Christian worship.
The Correct answer is (T).
Musical instruments were used in the Old Testament for
war, celebrations and to praise God (2 Chronicles 29:25, Psalms 150). However, there is
no evidence that they were used in the Holy Place of the Temple which foreshadowed the church.
Instrumental music permeated the life of the Jewish people even in the time of Christ (Matthew
9:23; 11:17). It was also used throughout the pagan world in its worship. In the early church,
only singing was used so far as we can tell. (Romans 15:11, 1 Corinthians 14:15, Ephesians
3:19, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 2:12). Singing satisfies the criteria of edifying, instructing,
and being of spiritual and rational content. Instruments do not meet these criteria set forth
in scripture. When instruments were introduced, it was rejected again and again by those who
chose to follow the Apostles teachings. It was about AD 800 or later before the instrument
made it into the worship assembly. This strongly suggests that something changed between the
Old Testament practice and the time of the church described in the New Testament. Something
changed with the New Covenant period -- our period of time, the Christian dispensation of
time. Christian worship changed with the beginning of the church.
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after
that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one
another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the
The change was from worshiping with the "hand" to worshiping with the "heart," --
A simple answer to the use of the instruments in
worship is this: Jesus' instructions to the apostles was that the Holy
Spirit would "teach them all
things" which includes music. "All things" includes singing.
Had the apostles taught "make music," then, we would be free to choose the
form of music. But, Paul did not say "make music," he said to "sing." This
excludes all other forms of music in the church. Jesus wants us to sing.
It enriches the soul.
(Or The use of Instrumental Music in the Worship of the Church) Richard L. Walker
Three types of worship are described in these pages. They are: (1)
ritualistic worship, as was carried on at the temple in Jerusalem, (2) pagan worship, as has
been performed in many different cultures, and (3) spiritual worship, as described in the New
Testament. I want to show that instrumental music is more compatible with ritualistic worship
as described in the Old Testament, and with the worship of pagan gods, than it is with
spiritual worship as described in the New Testament.
The ritualistic worship that is found in some of the more traditional churches of
today has been patterned to some extent after the worship that took place at the temple in
Jerusalem. Let us look briefly at that type of worship.
"The temple in Jerusalem was an elaborate building surrounded by a courtyard. Inside the
building itself, Jewish priests had special work to do. They kept the oil lamps filled with
oil. They renewed the special bread that was set on a table before the Lord, and they kept the
incense burning. The priests carried out these functions in what is sometimes called "the holy
place." Into another part of the temple, called "the most holy place," the high priest went
once a year to sprinkle a little blood from animals that had been sacrificed in the courtyard
"In the courtyard was a large altar upon which the priests burnt parts or all of the animals
that they had slaughtered. There was also a large basin of water in the courtyard where the
priests washed the various pots, pans, forks, and so on which they used in preparing their
offerings. It was also in the courtyard that musical instruments were played: Horns were
blown, harps were plucked, and cymbals were clanged. No evidence suggests, however, that these
musical instruments were ever taken either into "the holy place" or into "the most holy place.
The absence of musical instruments in "the holy place" should give pause to anyone who argues
that the use of musical instruments at the temple justifies using them in church, for the "the
holy place" was a foreshadowing of the church.
"The above description of the worship at the temple m Jerusalem is extremely brief. Yet even
from this brief description it can be seen that the worship that was done at the temple was
ritualistic and physical.
"JESUS PREDICTED A CHANGE
Jesus predicted that a day would come when people would worship God in a different manner. To
a woman in Samaria Jesus said,
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in
this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father.
22 "You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know,
for salvation is from the Jews.
23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall
worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and
"Jesus foresaw that spiritual worship would supersede ritualistic worship. Jesus emphasized
that God is Spirit and that He is seeking people who will worship Him in spirit and truth. In
spite of what Jesus said, however, ritualistic worship continued to be carried on at the
temple in Jerusalem for about forty years. It continued until the temple was destroyed by the
Romans in the year AD 70. During these forty years, temple worship and Christian worship both
existed side by side in Jerusalem. While animals were being sacrificed on the temple grounds
and instruments of music were being played there, a different type of worship was being
carried on by believers in Christ. They were gathering quietly in various places, associating
with each other, teaching God's word, celebrating the Lord's Supper, and praying (Acts 2:42).
"SHOULD CHRISTIAN WORSHIP BE PATTERED AFTER
THE WORSHIP AT THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM?
No, these are two different types of worship. Christian worship is mostly informal while the
temple worship was ritualistic and formal. Christian worship is spiritual while temple worship
was largely physical. In spite of the differences between these two types of worship, however,
evidence of ritualistic worship can be found in many traditional churches of today.
"One example of the influence of temple worship on present day churches is the presence of an
altar in many church buildings. What is the purpose of an altar? It is throwback to the time
of the Old Testament when animals were sacrificed. Christians, however, do not offer animal
sacrifices, because Jesus Christ is their sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2). He offered Himself once
for all (Hebrews 7:27) and His sacrifice does not need to be repeated. Even if it needed to be
repeated, no human could carry it out, since Jesus is the only one who could offer Himself
"To be sure, there are certain spiritual sacrifices that Christians offer (1 Peter 2:5), but
those sacrifices do not require a physical altar. Spiritual sacrifices include such things as
presenting one's body as a "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1), offering "the fruit of lips,"
which is praise of God (Hebrews 13:15), doing good deeds, and sharing one's possessions
"THE PIPE ORGAN
The pipe organ is another example of ritualistic worship. If the Jews had possessed a pipe
organ during the days when the temple was still standing, it would have fit nicely with the
elaborate rituals of Old Testament worship.
"Another carryover is the use of ornate robes by the clergy. These elaborate robes call to mind
the robes worn by the priests at the temple. See Exodus chapter 28. The use of ornate robes,
along with the altar and instruments of music, is evidence of an attempt to recapture
something of the earthly grandeur of that physical temple which once stood in Jerusalem.
"In contrast to this, the New Testament teaches that Christian people are themselves the temple
of God and that God's Holy Spirit lives in them. The apostle Paul wrote, "Do you not know that
you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)
"Therefore, the worship which Christian people offer to God should be in accordance with the
reality of their nature, which is spiritual. The apostle Paul said,
3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and
glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
Today, in addition to ritual worship, an entirely different pattern of worship is emerging. I
call it neo-pagan worship. Instead of an altar, many newer church buildings have a stage in
them. That is due, I believe, to the fact that many church leaders think they must put on a
good show if they are to compete with worldly entertainment for people's attention.
"Christian worship in the early days, however, was not directed toward entertainment. It was
directed toward worship. Even though the worship at the Jewish temple was ritualistic and
physical, it was at least directed toward pleasing God. Today, I fear, more thought is given
to pleasing men rather than God. A skilled performer can easily step from the stage of a
nightclub in Las Vegas to the stage of a church. He can bring along his electric guitar, his
synthesizer, his brass horns, and his drums. He does not even have to change his extravagant
"In view of this, one should ask, is worship to be led only by professional entertainers?
Whatever happened to quietness, meekness, and reverence in worship?
"THE MANIPULATION OF EMOTIONS
Successful poets, authors, and musicians are skilled at manipulating the emotions of people.
Many evangelists are good at it, too. It is, to be sure, always appropriate to make an
impassioned appeal for people to obey the gospel, yet are there no limits to what should be
done to manipulate people's emotions? Is manipulation of people's emotions the main purpose of
the assembly? Is not the manipulation of emotions more suited to a theatrical performance, or
to a concert, rather than to a church?
"AN EMOTIONAL HIGH
Most people usually get an emotional uplift from going to church. That is normal and to be
expected. Getting uplift is one reason for going to church, but is that the primary reason?
Should not a person attend church in order to worship God and to encourage others? Should not
an emotional uplift, if it comes, be a byproduct of worship and of hearing God's word, rather
than it being produced by frantic and artificial stimulation?
"Suppose a person goes to church primarily to get an emotional high, and he gets it. Can such a
thing be addictive? An emotional high can soon evaporate and to recapture it a person must go
and allow himself to be worked upon again. Each time it takes a little more frenzy to produce
ecstasy. To accomplish this, always something new and exciting has to be done. Each worship
service must grow wilder and wilder. The shouting becomes more raucous, the hand clapping ever
more persistent. Until, finally, the waving of arms resolves into dancing. All of these things
are tools that skillful manipulators use to whip up the emotions of people.
"This sounds very much like what goes on at heathen temples around the world and which has gone
on for centuries. It is a type of worship that has always been associated with false gods,
demons, and idols. It is not far removed from the ceremonies of primitive peoples who dance
around campfires seeking aid from the spirit world. Nor is it far removed from the chanting
and dancing done in primitive villages, where people attempt to get rid of demons. This type
of worship has nothing to do with Jesus. Jesus never participated in such excesses, nor did he
encourage others to do so. He had a quieter approach to worship. After Jesus celebrated His
last Passover, He sang a simple hymn with His disciples before leaving the place where they
were gathered (Mark 14:26).
"THE SOLEMN SUPPER
Jesus desired to be remembered by His disciples in a very special way. He wanted them to
remember Him by celebrating what is called "the Lord's Supper" in His honor.
"In the night in which Jesus was betrayed, He sat (reclined) at table with His apostles for the
Passover meal. He took some bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying,
1 Corinthians 11:24-25
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body,
which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is
the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
"Ever since Jesus died and arose from the dead, Christians have met on the first day of the
week to remember Him. It was the main reason why early Christians came together on the first
day of the week (Acts 20:7). Not a single Sunday has passed without Christians meeting
somewhere in the world to partake of the Lord's Supper. Still today, the Lord's Supper should
be the centerpiece of Christian worship on the Lord's Day (Sunday).
"The Lord's Supper should be celebrated in a reverential manner, because it is communion with
the body and blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:16). Such communion is a sacred privilege. It
should not be treated lightly as some of the brethren in the city of Corinth were doing (1
Corinthians 11:21). Before a person partakes of the Lord's Supper he should examine himself (1
Corinthians 11:28) to see if there is anything in his life that he needs to change. This
examination is not to see if he is worthy of partaking of the Lord's Supper, for no one is
worthy. Rather, it is to identify what changes need to be made in his lifestyle.
"The Lord's Supper sets the tone for worship at the Sunday assembly. When people partake of the
Lord's Supper they cannot avoid thinking about Jesus' death, His burial, and His resurrection.
Therefore, a certain seriousness is brought about. Although there is joy over the resurrection
of Jesus, there is also sadness over the fact that He had to die for our sins. Sadness,
however, is not always bad. Solomon said,
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of
feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be
"When the worship on the Lord's Day is anchored to celebrating the Lord's Supper, as the
Scriptures indicate, it helps keep the worship on a spiritual level. When someone is partaking
of the Lord's Supper he is prompted to be quiet and introspective. It is the neglect of the
weekly observance of the Lord's Supper that makes it possible for the tenor of the worship on
Sunday to be changed. In the absence of the Lord's Supper, humble reverence can quickly turn
into raucous exuberance.
"It would be entirely out of place to celebrate the Lord's Supper in nightclub style. Jesus,
the poor Carpenter from Galilee, would not appreciate all the glitter and all the brass. The
humble Savior, who gave his life for others, would not be impressed with the blatant
self-praise which sometimes is heard in worldly preaching. Nor would the holy Son of God
consider Himself properly revered by the sensuous strains of some modem music.
"No attempt was made, so far as we know, by the early congregations to make a grand display in
their assemblies. There is no indication that they used elaborate rituals like those of the
Jewish temple. They certainly did not put on a show like the pagans did, except perhaps at
Corinth, where the apostle Paul had to reprimand the brethren for their disorder.
"TEACHING IN THE ASSEMBLY
In addition to celebrating the Lord's Supper, what early Christians did in their Sunday
assemblies was similar to what the Jews did in their synagogues. The synagogue was a kind of a
school. It was a place where the Old Testament Scriptures and other writings were read. A
similar thing happened in the meetings of early Christians. In Jerusalem, for example, the
brethren spent time listening to the apostles, who were present (Acts 2:42). Later, as the
gospel spread and the apostles were scattered, brethren in various places read the letters
from the apostles (Colossians 4:16). They also read the accounts of the life of Jesus and
portions of the Old Testament. Since there were no Christian schools in those early days --
not even any Sunday schools -- much of the teaching had to be done in the assembly. The
assemblies of early Christians appear to have been very simple. If a brother had anything to
say, he could speak out. He should be careful, of course, to say something which would edify
(build up) the church (1 Corinthians 14:26).
"PRAYING IN THE ASSEMBLY
Prayer was a prominent feature of the worship of the early Christians (Acts 2:42). Their
prayers were a fervent outpouring of their innermost thoughts. Several types of prayers are
described in the New Testament: Among them are prayers of praise, prayers of thanksgiving,
prayers of confession, prayers of intercession, and prayers of requests. See 1 Timothy 2:1.
"SINGING IN THE ASSEMBLY
Singing in the assembly had a two-fold purpose. It was to praise and to educate the people.
Early Christians sang in order to teach with songs. This was a beautiful feature of their
teaching. The apostle Paul wrote,
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching
and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with
thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Would we not rather have someone sing to us than to have someone preach at us? Any teacher who
uses songs in his or her teaching is wise. The apostle Paul said that Christians should sing
psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. What are these?
"PSALMS, HYMNS, AND SPIRITUAL SONGS
When the apostle Paul instructed the Christians at Colossi to sing "psalms" (Colossians 3:16),
he was most likely referring to the psalms of the Old Testament. Some of the psalms of King
David were intended for education. David made this promise to God:
13 Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted
Also Moses composed a teaching psalm (song), at God's instigation. Moses' psalm was designed
to remind the children of Israel of what God had done for them (Deuteronomy 31:19).
"Hymns" were well known in antiquity. Many hymns were composed to honor pagan gods. When
Christianity came along, new hymns were written to reflect Christian teaching.
"Spiritual songs" are songs that have a spiritual content. In order for a song to be truly
spiritual, the words of the song must be compatible with the Holy Scriptures. Some of the most
beautiful songs are simply passages of Scripture set to music. The melody, the harmony, and
the rhythm of a spiritual song should be compatible with the words. Some songs used today have
a spiritual message, but the melody is straight out of the discotheque.
"The music in spiritual singing should always take a back seat to the words. Nowhere does the
disadvantage of using instrumental music in the worship service become more evident than here,
for who can sing against the backdrop of a booming pipe organ, that drowns out the words of a
song. When the organ is bellowing some people give up trying to sing. They just sit back and
listen. They allow themselves to be lulled and entertained by the music. Therefore, a pipe
organ, rather than helping the singing, often stifles it. Even though the members of a
congregation may be accustomed to worshipping in spite of the noise, there is one person who
is definitely not worshiping. It is the organist. He (or she) is looking at the music and
watching for signals from the minister while his hands and his feet are flying. That is
definitely not worship.
"An orchestra is just as disadvantageous to worship as is the pipe organ, for when an orchestra
is playing who can sing against blaring trumpets? Or who wants to sing when the musicians are
talented and the music is beautiful? Indeed, why should ordinary church members bother to sing
at all when their untrained voices only detract from the beauty of the performance?
"It is a well-attested fact that congregations that do not use instruments have better singing
on average than those that do. What is not generally known, however, is that congregations
that do not use instruments of music also do a better job of teaching in song than those that
"INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT
From the above it can be seen that singing in the assembly should be done, not only for
praising God, but also for teaching. Musical instruments, however, do not teach. They only
entertain. Their function is to put people into a certain mood. Music can make them feel
happy, or it can make them feel sad. It can make people want to dance or to go to war. It can
even make them amorous. Such music is fine for the concert hall, but it is not appropriate for
an assembly of the Lord's church. The assembly of the church is for worship and teaching, not
for entertainment. To be sure, if the worship is sincere and the teaching is done well, it can
be also entertaining, but entertainment is not its purpose.
"HOW THE USE OF INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC GOT STARTED
No example can be found in the New Testament for using mechanical music in the worship of the
church. Its use sprang up centuries after the church got started. When the early Christians
came together, they sang. Members of the Easter Orthodox churches, in Russia and other places,
have preserved this custom until now. They sing without instrumental accompaniment. They did
not accept instruments when the Roman churches introduced them, and they have not accepted
them to this day. It would be a travesty if well-meaning people from America and Europe, in
their efforts to revive religion in Russia and other Eastern nations, were to introduce the
Western custom of using instrumental music in worship after the East has preserved the
original practice for so many centuries.
"INSTRUMENTS CHANGE THE NATURE OF WORSHIP
The use of instruments in worship changes the nature of worship in several ways: 1.
Instruments make it more difficult for people to hear the words of a song. 2. For that reason,
instruments make teaching by singing less effective. 3. Instruments have been introduced to
please men rather than God. 4. Instruments change the thrust of the assembly from edifying
others to gratifying oneself. 5. Instruments help turn worship into a performance. 6. The
musicians who play the instruments are too busy to worship. 7. The use of instruments tempts
people to introduce unsuitable music into their worship.
"WHAT ABOUT "PSALLO?"
Those who want to retain instrumental music in the assembly sometimes defend it by saying that
the Greek word "psallo," that is used in Ephesians 5:19, means to pluck the strings of a lyre
while singing. Granted the word "psallo" may have originally meant that, but words change
their meaning with time. In modem Greek -- as it is spoken in Greece today -- the word
"psallo" means simply "to sing."
The meaning of "psallo" in the Greek New Testament stands somewhere between the original usage
"to sing and to pluck a lyre" and the modern usage "to sing." In the two places in the New
Testament (Romans 15:9 and James 5:13) where "psallo" means to "sing," the word "psallo" is
used by itself. When, however, the word "psallo" is used to mean "to sing and play an
instrument," the instrument is named. There are three places in the New Testament where
"psallo" means to sing and play an instrument. In each of these places, in order that there be
no confusion, the instrument is specifically named. The three instruments that are named are:
the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15), the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15), and the heart
(Ephesians 5:19). In none of these places is an actual musical instrument intended. It is
clear then that the apostle Paul was speaking of spiritual worship, i.e. singing, when he
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled
with the Spirit,
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing
and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
When one sings with sincerity he is plucking the strings of his heart. That is, he is singing
from the heart. Ephesians 5:19 does not imply the use of instrumental music in worship. If it
did, the use of instrumental music in worship would no longer be optional -- as many hold it
to be. It would be obligatory. If obligatory, then Christian people would be under obligation
to use instruments in their worship. Otherwise they would not be following Ephesians 5:19, and
no true worship could be carried on without an instrument. Each person would have to bring his
own harp to church with him and accompany himself as he sang.
"SINGING WITH UNDERSTANDING
The apostle Paul's instruction to the Ephesians that they should make melody in their heart is
similar to what he said to the Corinthians, when he wrote
1 Corinthians 14:15
15 "I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I
shall sing (psallo) with the spirit and I shall sing (psallo) with the mind also.
Some Christians in Corinth had the gift of tongues, which enabled them to speak or to pray
(and possibly also to sing) in languages that they had not leaned. A few of them, however, may
have been only pretending to have the gift of tongues (languages), for they appear to have
been making unintelligible sounds without knowing what they were saying. By way of contrast,
the apostle Paul said that when he prayed, or when he sang, he did it with the understanding.
He prayed and sang with emotion, but he also knew what he was saying. We conclude, therefore,
that in spiritual worship both emotions and thought are essential.
"ARE INSTRUMENTS ONLY AN AID TO WORSHIP?
The final defense for instrumental music that some people make is that instruments are not a
part of the worship itself, but only an aid to worship. However, if instrumental music is
commanded by Ephesians 5:19, then the instrument is not a mere aid to worship, but a vital
part of it, since it should be done, as Paul said, "unto the Lord."
In the Old Testament such things as harps and trumpets, were very much a part of the worship.
2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of
Again we read,
4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the
lyre I shall praise Thee, O God, my God.
Even if instruments were not a part of the worship, but only an aid, one should still be wary
of them, because many aids to worship are fickle. They start out being a help, but they often
end up being a hindrance. Take for example statues and pictures of the saints. They were
perhaps originally intended to give inspiration to people by reminding them of the holy men
and women who had gone on before. They may have been useful at a time when there were only few
books and many people could not read what few there were. With the passage of time, however,
people began to revere the statues and pictures themselves and even to pray to them. So, what
may have started out as being an innocent aid to piety ended up as being an inducement to a
form of idolatry.
Take the matter of praying with rosary beads. Originally, someone may have had the idea of
using beads to remind unlettered people of things to say in prayer. As the people became more
dependent upon the rosary, however, free and open expression in prayer was often curtailed.
Thus, aids to worship can backfire. They can produce results that are far from what was
originally intended. The question is has the use of instruments in the assembly of the church
produced results that are different from what was originally intended? Yes, it has. Those
people who introduced them no doubt thought they were adding beauty and excitement to the
worship. Perhaps they introduced them at a time when the singing in the churches was
especially bad. In the end, however, instruments have all too often overshadowed the singing
and changed the nature of worship. In addition, instruments can rob a congregation of the
ability to sing with power and understanding. Even on the basis of being an aid to worship,
instruments have proven to be of doubtful help.
"HOW SOME PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO AVOID USING INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
The current efforts to restore New Testament Christianity in the United States got started
around the beginning of the 19th century in the backwoods of Pennsylvania and Kentucky. This
movement has resulted in millions of people looking at the New Testament afresh in order to
determine what Christianity should be like. It is providential that these efforts to restore
New Testament Christianity got started in the backwoods for it is doubtful if sophisticated
city people would have been brave enough and humble enough to dispense with traditions and to
rely upon the Bible alone. At any rate, the poverty of the people on the frontier precluded
their having access to most musical instruments except the fiddle. The fiddle, however, was
associated with dancing and perhaps for that reason was not considered proper for worship.
What a blessing it has been for New Testament churches to have gotten started without the use
of instrumental music in their worship! It gave them a chance to get a taste of a cappella
singing. They experienced what it is like to sing without an instrument, and they found it to
be good. By the time the trappings of civilization had caught up with the people in the
western part of North America, and instruments became available to them, many who had
experienced a cappella singing wanted nothing to do with instruments m worship. They found
that they could worship God just as well, or even better, without them. By studying the Bible
they also found themselves to be on firm Biblical ground when they sang without an instrument.
"DOES GOD ESPECIALLY LIKE MECHANICAL MUSIC?
What makes us think that God especially likes mechanical music? Could not God, who created the
ear, and who ordained the laws of harmony, construct instruments far better than ours if he
desired to hear mechanical music? Do not the stars themselves sing in harmony (Job 38:7)? Why
should we think that our skill with musical instruments is entertaining to God? Our musical
attainments may sound to Him no better than savages sound to us who pluck a one-stringed
instrument and pound on a drum. In a word, primitive! There is one thing, however, that we can
do for God that He treasures very much. We can express to Him our heartfelt thankfulness and
our sincere love. These He cannot create, except in the way He has created them, at the
expense of the death of His Son. Are not the voices of God's children on earth many times
sweeter to Him than the bellowing of pipe organs, the tinkling of piano keys, and the twanging
of guitar strings?
"FOLLOWING THE BIBLE CLOSELY
If religious people had been reading the New Testament carefully and following it closely, the
backwoods experience would not have been necessary for them to know that singing without
instrumental accompaniment is better than singing with it. The New Testament does not say one
word about Christians playing a flute, a harp, or any other instrument in their worship
service. It only says that they should sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
"Many people feel that what the New Testament says in this case is too flimsy a guideline to go
by. They feel it is unwarranted to reject instrumental music in worship merely because the
apostle Paul commanded people to sing. They also feel that the absence of any reference in the
New Testament to early churches using instruments in their worship has nothing to say about
whether or not we should use them today. They feel that if God did not want people to use
instrumental music in their assemblies, He could have expressed Himself more explicitly on
"Such thinking, however, is based on a misunderstanding of how God deals with people. In the
Old Testament, God shouted from the mountaintop so that the children of Israel could know for
sure that He was there. Now that Christ has come, God does some things differently. In the Old
Testament, God gave elaborate laws. In the New Testament, He has quietly expressed His
preferences. So, when God said through an apostle that people should sing, He no doubt
considered that what He said was sufficient. Why should it be necessary for Him to say more?
Why should He have to say, "Sing, but do not play the flute, do not play the harp, and do not
beat the drum?"
"IS THIS LEGALISM?
Someone may say, "To attempt to follow what the New Testament says is legalism." No, following
what the New Testament says is not legalism. It is loving obedience. A truly obedient person
will be guided by any hint or suggestion from the Lord. A quiet expression of preference on
God's part will be sufficient for him.
"Does a wife try to please her husband only in things about which he has given her elaborate
instructions? No, she tries to find out his preferences. She asks herself such things as,
"Does he like cornbread? Does he like sugar in his tea?" She manages to find out the answers
to these questions because she loves him.
"THE PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament sheds light on what God wants His people to do. It also shows where the
pitfalls lie so that His people can avoid them. Some things in the New Testament can be
quickly understood. For example the New Testament says, "Let him who stole steal no longer"
(Ephesians 4:28). That can be quickly understood, but other things may take a little longer to
understand. As we mature, however, even difficult things begin to make sense to us.
If God said in the New Testament that people should sing -- and He did say that -- then surely
He had some reason for saying it. Everything in the New Testament is there for a purpose. Any
passage in the New Testament can later cause us trouble if we disregard it, even if it is only
one verse. Therefore, we need to listen carefully even when God speaks softly.
People who will not follow God if He speaks softly, will also not follow if He were to shout.
If they will not follow just one verse, they will not follow a hundred. If they will not
follow God's wishes in the matter of worship, that is designed to please Him, in what area
will they follow?
Author: Richard L. Walker
Teacher's Comments: Yes, many
churches use instruments for worship. Only a few do not. We do not. The
reason is simple but not accepted by those who use the instrument.
When one decided to follow the Apostles' teachings, the decision involves
worshipping as the early church did. How does one learn how they
worshipped? Well, there are 3 avenues of teachings in all scripture
whether it be about worship, salvation, or any other subject. Here are the
1. Did God command it?
2. Are there any examples in the New Testament?
3. Are there teachings, comments, records, or history that tell us what
the early church did?
When we read the NT we are reading from the writings of a number of
authors, most of whom are apostles or writers such as Luke who recorded
what the apostles did and taught. We need to see the entire picture on
difficult subjects such as worship and especially about instrumental
music. So, we need to follow the 3 elements above and then see what each
of the writers said about a given subject, e.g., what did John say? what
did Paul teach? What did Peter teach?
There is another factor in reading critically, context. It is essential
that the context be understood -- to whom, from whom, when and why was the
letter written. Also, what is the style of writing of the author? Paul is
very different from other writers. He is argumentative. We take that into
account and try to "read his lips." What does he mean?
One more factor when we interpret any scripture -- silence. What does it
mean to us when there is no more said on the subject, when the scriptures
are silent? A "rule of exclusion" comes into play. For example, when we
are commanded to sing in worship, that excludes all other ways to make
music. Instruments are excluded when we are told to use the voice.
It is important to read all of the accounts about music and see what the
Lo-rd really intended. Then, we come to a conclusion about the subject.
These ways of reading the text are called "hermeneutics" or how one goes
about interpreting text. Note that it is essential to interpret the text.
When we studied the Garden Story in Genesis, it was necessary to interpret
what was meant when God said to Eve that she should not eat of the Tree of
knowledge of good and evil. In interpreting that text, we observed that
the Tree was a symbol. It was not a real tree with bark, limbs and leaves.
It represented the decision that she had to make -- God Vs Satan. Which?
So, we apply all of these rules and guidelines as we study any subject.
Now, about music in worship:
1. Command - Ephesians 3:19 and Colossians 3:16 command us to "sing and
make melody in the heart." Both of these letters were written by Paul. In
these statements, command statements, we learn that singing with the voice
is proper. Not only in worship, but Paul is talking about in our lives -
at home, at church, everywhere. Note, the text by Paul was not addressing
worship inside a church building or place where people assembled to
partake of the Lord's Supper, sang, prayed, gave an offering, and listen
to a sermon or teaching. Instead, the context is about life -- he takes
about singing as a way of life.
2. Example - there is no reference in scripture of an assembly who used
the instrument. Examples of assemblies worshipping do not tell us about
their music. Singing and prayer were common, however. Here, we find no
direct instruction; however, the rule of exclusion leads us to choose not
to use the instrument -- sing instead.
3. Teachings that show what was taught -- review your WEI lesson and see
that never was the instrument allowed for the first 800 years of records.
When the instrument was wanted, it was not allowed by church leaders. Why?
Is it that they knew what the apostles taught and what Go-d wanted? Most
likely, this is true.
So, we ask ourselves, "What would the apostles tell us today if they were
My conclusion is simple -- don't argue with the facts. Sing and do not
play an instrument in worship. This is certainly the safe way and we do
want to please God. Just do it his way as best as we can determine.
Music is very important in our lives. It soothes the soul, it brings our
emotions into play. I learned this about music in general:
There is 1) melody, 2) harmony, and 3) beat.
When one sings melodies in a group, all sing together with emphasis on the
words, singing that appeals to the thought. When there are several lines
in the song, soprano, alto, tenor, and base (called 4 part harmony) these
voices blend to express emotion. And, when there is a noise such as a
drum, it not only gives a beat, it arouses the flesh. Melody is
historically said to be what the early church did -- "Sing and make melody
in your heart unto the Lord. I will sing with the understanding and I will
pray with the understanding..." Paul wrote. Appeal is to the thought of
When we sing 4 part harmony, there is an emotion. I love to sing tenor and
bass. These tones fit my vocal range much better than the soprano, a
higher pitch. I harmonize with those who sing the other parts. We seem to
"fit" together. We are expressing emotions together and these are
reinforced between us. Note, that we also read and say the words. So, we
have both melody and harmony.
Some songs have a sort of beat to them. I try to stay away from these.
Many newer songs invoke clapping of the hands. Some love clapping because
it involves the body. Is that what we are to do? Are we to appeal to the
flesh and let our fleshly selves guide or flood out our thoughts?
Back to the instrument. First, it cannot worship for me. It is an addition
to "Sing and make melody in the heart." Secondly, I observe that in
churches that use the piano the people are poor singers. Many do not know
how to sing or even want to learn. They depend upon the instrument, love
it, and argue for it.
What about the "heart" in the scripture above? Here is an interesting
question: if you have a string around your neck, is your heart above the
string or below the string? The meaning of "heart" in "make melody in your
heart" refers to the mind of man. Below the string is your blood pump
called the heart -- in English.
It is in our minds that we give our offering to the Lord. We praise him
and glorify him in our minds. We do indeed express our love and commitment
with feelings -- melody + harmony.
Your question is about buying a piano. If it is for worshippers to use,
don't do it. If it is for your home where you learn and appreciate music,
the right kinds of music, it is great! I have had a piano in my home for
all of my life. We sing around the piano, we go to concerts and watch and
listen to the experts who can play it well. We take our kids and grandkids
to hear orchestras. When we have Bible study in our home, we do not play
the piano. We prefer to give Go-d the glory using the vocal chords that he
gave to us.
One more point about interpreting scripture -- word studies and grammar.
There are resources such as Vine's word studies -- you can get this on
some websites -- and Greek word dictionaries. In Paul's letters he uses
the Greek word "psallo" translated "sing." He says, "Psallo in your
heart..." which is a subject (You) + verb (psallo) + direct object (your
heart). Now, my study shows that the word psallo always demands a direct
object. The direct object is "heart." Are we to use our vocal chords
because that is what the apostle intended? I think so. When we sing, we
use our vocal chords. We worship with our minds.
The instrument is simply an addition to worship and not allowed. It was
not taught by the Holy Spirit, and man argued over it for 800 years before
nobody objected again, many generations later. Remember the "frog
principle"? No one objected because the water go hot and they never
noticed it. That is how we are today -- the instrument has no scriptural
basis and it is divisive. It splits churches and families.
Some say that the instrument in worship is not a salvation issue. I
consider that to be argumentative. People who first used the instrument
simply liked it; so, they split churches as they demanded having their
way. I consider all that God intended for me is a salvation issue. How can
we decide whether displeasing God is not a salvation issue? When we get
before the final judgment seat our argument will put us at great risk.
It's not worth the risk especially when singing with the voice is so
blessed and brings us together as one in the Lord.
I hope that this will give you the necessary guidelines for reading and
interpreting scripture and using a piano.
In your home, enjoy your piano. In worship, sing!
author: Bob Patterson
The word "worship" means to show the "worth" of another. We
show God that he is worth more than anything else when we worship him. Worship is not limited
to Sunday morning when everybody gets together to sing, pray, and take communion. It is all of
the time -- day and night, every day.
The Bible tells us to pray without stopping. This means that we have him in our heart and mind
at all times. When we are at home, we know that he is with us; so, whatever we do, we do it
like God would do it. When we are with our families, we treat each other just like God treats
us. When we are at work, we do our job like God would do. When we are with those who are our
enemies, we treat them just like God would treat them. We love them and pray for them.
The life of a Christian is one of showing God that he is most important to us. We show him his
"worth" at all times.
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The Church: Advanced Book 3,
The Church -- The Worshiping Community (Continued)
The Lord's Supper, or communion, is part of the
regular worship of the church and it is to be observed on the first day of the week. Acts 20:7
tells us this. Since every week has a first day, this scripture implies that communion should
be practiced every week. This is consistent with the practice of the church as they followed
in the Apostles teachings. It was Jesus who taught the Apostles about the bread and the wine.
His message was that it should be done "in remembrance of me."
All Christians partook of the both the bread and the wine weekly.
Teacher's Comments: The Lord's Supper or
communion is a time to reflect upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He was
willing to die for us. The Apostle John related that it would be rare that someone would die
for another, but Jesus died for all mankind. When Jesus was 30 years old, he didn't eat for 40
days and nights. Matthew 4. He went to the wilderness. While he was there, he thought about
his future. He could be a successful business man if he wanted to, but he knew that he was
born to die for all and for our forgiveness. This was the one who would crushed Satan's head.
When Jesus came out of the grave, he had destroyed Satan's power over death. He did this to
take away our sins so we can come back to God.
In the communion we remember how important this is to us. We partake of the bread and the wine
(grape juice) to help us remember.
The bread reminds us of his body. We also remember Jesus' words when he said that the church
is his body. So, we as a group of Christians become aware again that we represent Jesus on the
earth. We are his body on earth.
It is good to remember that there are Christians all over the world. They are all partaking of
the same bread and wine on the same day. We are one. We belong.
The fruit of the vine, or red wine, reminds us of his blood. Life is in the blood. He gave us
life by shedding his blood for us.
The communion is a time to reflect on these things and to make a commitment to him every week.
We reflect on the changes we need to make in our lives to be pleasing to God.
The communion is also a time of celebration. We celebrate because we are free of sin and have
the Holy Spirit to give us power for the next week. We sing, pray, and have a lot of joy at
This is why we assemble every week to worship. It gives us encouragement to know that we are
saved and that we live by God's Spirit who lives in us.
The Church: Advanced Book 3,
The Church -- The Family of God
The Church: Advanced Book 3,
Lesson 10: The Church -- The Family of God (Continued)
True or False Deacons were usually older, wiser, mature men whose
experience qualified them to lead the church.
The correct answer is (F).
Older men, the elders, were
designated as Elders, Bishops or Pastors. They were appointed as a group and never any single
one person was a Pastor of the church. They were appointed to "watch for our souls," thus they
were mature and experienced. One differentiating qualification was their having led their own
children to obedience. Then, there were those men who served to accomplish certain tasks. They
were designated "deacons." In the list of qualifications, the requirement to have believing
children is missing. This would indicate that they were younger leader of the church.
Question 5. True or False When the whole church came together for
worship in New Testament times, women often preached and led the congregation in songs and
The correct answer is (F).
In the Bible, women have a special role, but not
as worship leaders. According to the scripture they were not allowed to speak in the assembly.
Men were the designated leaders of the assembly. Today, denominational churches are troubled
with the "women's movement" in America. Now, we see a departure from scripture with women
preachers, worship leaders and even women Priests in their churches. Note: Silent in 1 Cor 14
means "speechless" in "church," the assembly. In 1 Timothy, silent means "quietness &
respectful" to men who are in charge.
1 Corinthians 14:33-35
33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the
congregations of the saints,
34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to
speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.
35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own
husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
The Church: Advanced Book 3,
Lesson 11: The Church -- The Royal Priesthood
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The Church: Advanced Book 3,
The Church -- The Bride of Christ
There is an interesting
analogy that Jesus used when telling about his preparation in heaven and his return for us.
2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am
going there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am. (NIV)
tradition was for a boy and girl to get engaged and the young man would
tell his betrothed to go to her home and wait until he goes to his
father's house and builds a new room onto his father's house. Now, when
the room was ready, the young man would go get his betrothed, marry her,
and they would go live in his father's house. Jesus used this tradition to
make his message understandable.
Author: Bob Patterson,
Reference List - Key Verses
For yourself and your students, learn how to find scriptures
when you need them.
One Way is to Do This
On a blank page in the back
of your Bible, make a list of chosen topics and key verses.
(My list is below.)
2. Then, in your Bible in the margins at the key verse,
make a list of the relevant verses.
Choose your own relative verses as you study. (some are below).
At each verse reference,
make a note of the key
verse where the list can be found. HOW? Beside each reference verse,
the key verse and an exclamation point after the key verse to note where the list will be
found. For example: Key Verse for Baptism is Act 2:38.
At Rom 6:3 put Acts 2:38!.
As you study, listen to sermons, and do your own research, add to your list
in the margin.
The key verses below and the order of references may be
useful as you teach another. Yes, it will be a new habit to write in your
Bible (only in pencil); but, it will pay off!
Table of info to be added as you study.
Acts 8, 8, 9, 10, 16, 16,
18, 22:16, Into Christ Gal 3:26
1 Pet 3:15
Christ in you
2 Tim 4:2
1 Tim 6:12
Fall from Grace
1 Tim 1:3
1 Cor 15:1
How to be Saved
1 Jo 4:8
1 Jo 3:2
1 Jo 5:14
2 Cor 5:15
1 Pet 4:18
1 Jo 5:19
1 Cor 14:1
2 Tim 2:15
1 Cor 10:13
1 Cor 14:11
1 Cor 1:10
1 Tim 2:11
2 Cor 6:14
1 Pet 4:7
Author: Bob Patterson,
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References to Strong's Greek/Hebrew Dictionary is acknowledged.
Scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) except
where noted as New American Standard Version (NAV).,/strong
Book 3 /
New Birth /
New Life /
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Advanced Book 3
Books of Prophecy
The Holy Spirit
Jesus, a Prophet
notes in your