Pastoral Exhortation

Sacred Music

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 13 October 2013

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Music that Christians enjoy must be sacred. Our songs and music must glorify the Lord and edify the hearers with the truth of God’s Word. The apostle Paul taught the Ephesian believers about the musical activities in Ephesians 5:19 – “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”.

Our singing must not serve our carnal pleasure or material gain but our Lord. Our singing and its music is not making noise but that which moves our minds and hearts to solemn devotion unto God. Also, our songs must be the sacred words that magnify our God, His words and His works.

I often wish that our church were filled with many godly musicians to sing sacred anthems of our great Lord in our worship. How wonderful it is if those who are endowed with musical abilities would desire to be like David, the King, who was known as “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1).

Many young people of our time seek to be known for their singing and musical abilities. They join secular musical competitions which have become highly popular on TV and YouTube. It is sad that many Christians are drawn away by these musical extravaganzas. How I wish that Christians would rejoice to sing sacred music, which is a celestial experience.

We must be like David who would muster all his power to render the praise of God in sacred music – “I… will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high” (Psalm 7:17). And sometimes, he calls upon others – “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works” (1 Chronicles 16:9). Nay, sometimes he summons the whole earth to join in this duty: “Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation” (1 Chronicles 16:23; Psalm 68:32). Likewise, King Hezekiah was a promoter of sacred music in the Lord’s house (2 Chronicles 29:30).

There is a place for godly musicians in the ministry of sacred music in the Lord’s house. Men were appointed in the house of the Lord to sing the praises of the Lord continually (1 Kings 10:12; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 20:21). Preaching of the Word and singing of sacred music have been part of divine worship. In God’s plan, music is the accompanying counterpart to the Word of God. In the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation we have constant reference to music. Some books in the Bible, in part or in entirety, are songs, poems or psalms. Therefore, in our church, we must regard music highly.

Every Christian must joyfully sing unto the Lord in his heart. We are not to be just musicians but sacred musicians who sing from the heart to the Lord. Singing is the soul’s jubilee. Every soul sanctified by the truth of God’s Word will sing hallelujahs, the sweetest expression of a sanctified soul. In the past, singing filled the temples of Jehovah in Israel. In the future, singing will fill the heaven. Now, it must fill our hearts and our church for the glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

O dear worshippers, sing unto the Lord with joy and gratitude. Sing with understanding. Sing not idly and frivolously, but in the power of the Spirit and in the knowledge of His Word. Sing to glorify God. Sing to edify one another. Sing in your hearts and sing in the congregation of His saints

 

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Cebu and Bohol Mission Trip Report (4–9 Oct 2013)

The team which comprises Brothers David Ng, Jimmy Tan and myself left Singapore on Friday, 4th October, for Cebu, the Philippines, via Tigerair. We arrived safely and were warmly received by the Rev Reggor Galarpe at the airport. Rev Reggor hosted a scrumptious lunch for us before proceeding to TGCM, Cebu, where the brethren greeted us. We had a short time of fellowship with them before going to the “pension house” for a night’s rest.

On the morning of the second day, Elder Richard Tiu came to fetch us for the morning devotion in TGCM. Brothers David and Jimmy gave their testimonies while I preached from Genesis 28:11-22, assuring the brethren of the reality of God and His presence with Jacob. As He was with Jacob, He would surely be with every child of His too.

After the devotion, we spent time with the brethren in TGCM, and they hosted a lunch for us. There are currently eleven residents. Some of them have completed their programme but decided to stay on while others are still carrying on with the programme. The brethren are very appreciative of the work of TGCM, and thankful to God for this ministry. It was an encouragement to talk with them, and it warmed the heart to see their gratefulness to the LORD.

At the thanksgiving service, I exhorted the brethren and visitors from Psalm 105:1-7. Many of us were there to thank God and make known His deeds among the people. We were there to tell the people of the wondrous work of the LORD in our lives! Only the living and true God has the power to transform lives that were once bound to addiction of substances and vices. All glory be unto the LORD!

On the third day, which was also the Lord’s Day, brethren from Gethsemane BPC, Cebu, fetched us to the church for worship. We attended the Sunday school and worship service. Many of the brethren took time to fellowship with us. We had a blessed time there.

On the fourth day, we went ahead with our plan to visit our mission church in Bohol. Rev Reggor sent us to the pier to board the ferry to Bohol. Preacher Edsel received us when we reached Bohol. We went straight to the church. Pr Edsel and his mother stay in this place. There we were treated to a home-cooked lunch. During our conversation, we were much encouraged to know how Pr Edsel has persevered in the work of the Lord through the years.

Preacher Edsel led the evening devotion and exhorted us from Genesis 15:1. The LORD is our Reward! The next morning, I preached from Philippians 1:1-6 in the morning devotion. I reminded the brethren that those in Christ Jesus are already saints. Secondly, I challenged them to be a reason for the joy of those who pray for them. Lastly, I exhorted them to press on, knowing that the LORD who calls us is faithful, and He will keep us till the day of Christ.

By the providence of God, we also had an opportunity to visit the home of a member of the Bohol church. (They just arrived the previous night from another town situated a hundred kilometres away). Thanks be unto God for granting my desire to visit our church members and encourage them. I preached in that house and we prayed for them.

The time spent in Bohol was very short. In the late afternoon, we took the ferry to return to Cebu. We were blessed by the mutual encouragement in the faith and exhortations in the Word. Upon our arrival in Cebu, Rev Reggor fetched us to the church to have a night’s rest.

On the last day of our mission trip (Wednesday), we had breakfast in the church with Rev Reggor and his family as well as Bro Gervacio from our mission church in Bogo. On our way to the airport, we had an opportunity to visit TGCM once again.

Thanks be unto God for a blessed time of fellowship with the brethren in the Philippines on the joyous occasion of the fourth anniversary of TGCM and also with our missionary, Preacher Edsel, during the visit to our mission church in Bohol.

Pr Kelvin Lim