Tag Archives: Praise

Songs and the Trinity

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty

Throughout the ages the church has confessed that there is One God in Three Persons. We declare it in our creeds:

“I believe in God the Father, Almighty, 
Creator of heaven and earth. 
And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, 
Born of the Virgin Mary;
Suffered under Pontius Pilate;
Was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended into hell;
On the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And is seated at the right hand of God 
the Father Almighty;
From there He will come 
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic church;
The communion of saints;
The forgiveness of sins;
The resurrection of the body;
And life everlasting.
Amen.”

The Apostle’s Creed

We affirm it in our confessions of faith:

“In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him.”

1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, 2:3

And we celebrate it in our songs. Below is a list of psalm settings, hymns, and spiritual songs that teach on the doctrine of the Trinity: One God in Three Persons. This List is from my Theological Index of Music for Worship. If you have additional suggestions for songs related to the doctrine of the Trinity that should be included in the index, please comment or send me a message.

Note: The songs are listed below by title and author. For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the page for Songs and the Trinity in the Theological Index of Music for Worship online. I will be updating the online Index with more songs and topics in the days ahead as I receive recommendations. 

Songs and the Trinity: There is one God in Three Persons 

  • All Creatures of Our God and King (St. Francis of Assisi / William H Draper)
  • Angels from the Realms of Glory (James Montgomery)
  • Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation (Latin Hymn – 7th C / J M Neale)
  • Come Praise and Glorify (Bob Kauflin / Tim Chester) • Sovereign Grace Music 
  • Come, Thou Almighty King (Anonymous)
  • God, Our Father, We Adore Thee (G W Frazer / A S Loizeaux)
  • Holy God, We Praise Your Name—Te Deum(Anonymous / I Franz / C Walworth)
  • Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber)
  • Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now (Anonymous / Catherine Winkworth)
  • We Believe—Apostles Creed (Keith and Kristyn Getty / Stuart Townend) 

2.  The work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Creation

  • All Creatures of Our God and King (St. Francis of Assisi / William H Draper)
  • Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber)
  • Of the Father’s Love Begotten (Prudentius / J M Neale / H Baker)
  • We Believe—Apostles Creed (Keith and Kristyn Getty / Stuart Townend) 

3.  The work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Salvation

  • All Glory Be to Thee Most High—Gloria in Excelsis (Latin Hymn)
  • Behold, My Soul (Ken Puls) to DUANE STREET • Ken Puls Music
  • Come Praise and Glorify (Bob Kauflin / Tim Chester) • Sovereign Grace Music 
  • God, Our Father, We Adore Thee (G W Frazer / A S Loizeaux)
  • Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son (Mark Altrogge) • Sovereign Grace Music 
  • Vast the Immensity, Mirror of Majesty (Edmund Clowney)
  • Only Jesus (Doug Plank) • Sovereign Grace Music 
  • Savior of the Nations, Come (Ambrose of Milan / M Luther / W M Reynolds)
  • There Is a Redeemer (Melody Green)
  • We Believe—Apostles Creed (Keith and Kristyn Getty / Stuart Townend) 
  • Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Dawn Rogers / Eric Wyse) 

4.  Prayer to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

  • All Glory Be to Thee Most High—Gloria in Excelsis (Latin Hymn)
  • Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word (Tobias Clausnitzer / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Come, Thou Almighty King (Anonymous)
  • God, Our Father, We Adore Thee (G W Frazer / A S Loizeaux)
  • Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son (Mark Altrogge) • Sovereign Grace Music 
  • Holy God, We Praise Your Name—Te Deum(Anonymous / I Franz / C Walworth)
  • Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber)
  • Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word (Martin Luther / Catherine Winkworth)
  • O God, We Praise Thee—Te Deum (Anonymous – 5th C)
  • Only Jesus (Doug Plank) • Sovereign Grace Music 
  • Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Dawn Rogers / Eric Wyse)

5.  Praise and adoration to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

  • All Creatures of Our God and King (St. Francis of Assisi / William H Draper)
  • Alleluia! Alleluia! (Christopher Wordsworth)
  • Angels from the Realms of Glory (James Montgomery)
  • Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word (Tobias Clausnitzer / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation (Latin Hymn – 7th C / J M Neale)
  • Come Praise and Glorify (Bob Kauflin / Tim Chester) • Sovereign Grace Music 
  • Come, Thou Almighty King (Anonymous)
  • Doxology (Thomas Ken)
  • God, Our Father, We Adore Thee (G W Frazer / A S Loizeaux)
  • Holy God, We Praise Your Name—Te Deum(Anonymous / I Franz / C Walworth)
  • Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber)
  • Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now (Anonymous / Catherine Winkworth)
  • O God, We Praise Thee—Te Deum (Anonymous – 5th C)
  • Of the Father’s Love Begotten (Prudentius / J M Neale / H Baker)
  • Savior of the Nations, Come (Ambrose of Milan / M Luther / W M Reynolds)
  • The God of Abraham Praise (Thomas Olivers)
  • Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Dawn Rogers / Eric Wyse)

The next post in the series will be Songs and God’s Uniqueness—He alone is God.

For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the online Index:

Entry for “Songs and the Trinity”

TOC for Index Theology and Song

Wondrous King All-Glorious

Mountain and Lake

Wondrous King, all glorious,
Sovereign Lord victorious,
O, receive our praise with favor!

These words begin a glorious hymn of praise composed by the German Reformed hymn-writer Joachim Neander (1650–1680). According to John Julian’s Dictionary of Hymnology, the hymn was based on Psalm 150:6, and intended for “Thanksgiving” with the original title: “Inciting oneself to the Praise of God.” It was published in 1680 (the year of Neander’s death) in a collection with other hymns that he had written, including “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.”

Neander composed both the tune and the text for “Wondrous King All-Glorious.” The first 16 measures of the tune are based on an often-used chord progression of his day. It is the same chord progression that Johann Pachelbel also adapted and made famous in his “Canon in D.” Pachelbel’s Canon was written sometime in the 1680s, near the time Neander’s tune was composed.

Wondrous King, All-Glorious

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
(Psalm 150:6)

Wondrous King, all glorious,
Sovereign Lord victorious,
O, receive our praise with favor!
From thee welled God’s kindness
Though we in our blindness
Strayed from Thee, our blessed Savior.
Strengthen Thou,
Help us now;
Let our tongues be singing,
Thee our praises bringing.

Heavens, spread the story
Of our Maker’s glory,
All the pomp of earth obscuring.
Sun, thy rays be sending,
Thy bright beams expending,
Light to all the earth assuring.
Moon and star,
Praise afar
Him who glorious made you;
The vast heavens aid you.

O my soul, rejoicing,
Sing, thy praises voicing,
Sing, with hymns of faith adore Him!
All who here have being,
Shout, your voices freeing,
Bow down in the dust before Him.
He is God
Sabaoth;
Praise alone the Savior,
Here and there forever.

Hallelujahs render
To the Lord most tender,
Ye who know and love the Savior.
Hallelujahs sing ye,
Ye redeemed, O, bring ye
Hearts that yield Him glad behavior.
Blest are ye
Endlessly;
Sinless there forever,
Ye shall laud Him ever.


“Wondrous King, All-Glorious” 
Words and Music by Joachim Neander, 1680
Translated by William J. Schaefer, 1938
Tune: WUNDERBARER KÖNIG (6.6.8.6.6.8.3.3.6.6.)
©Public Domain

Download free sheet music (PDF) for this hymn, including guitar chord charts, an arrangement of the hymn tune WUNDERBARER KÖNIG for classical guitar, and an arrangement for the tune for instrumental ensemble.

More Hymns from History

Hallelujah Praise Jehovah

Mountain Lake

Psalm 146 reminds us to put our hope and trust in God alone.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
The Lord shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!
(Psalm 146:1–10, NKJV)

Below is one of my favorite psalm settings of Psalm 146 from The Psalter, 1912.

Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes,
Nor for help on man depend;
He shall die to dust returning,
And his purposes shall end.

Happy is the man that chooses
Israel’s God to be his aid;
He is blessed whose hope of blessing
On the Lord his God is stayed.
Heav’n and earth the Lord created,
Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression,
Righteousness He will maintain.

Food He daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning pris’ner free,
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous,
And the stranger He befriends,
Helps the fatherless and widow,
Judgment on the wicked sends.

Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns forever,
Through all ages He is King;
Unto Him, your God, O Zion,
Joyful hallelujahs sing.
“Hallelujah Praise Jehovah” 

Words from Psalm 146, The Psalter, 1912
Tune: RIPLEY (8.7.8.7.D.)
Music arranged from Gregorian Chant by Lowell Mason, 1839
©Public Domain

Download free sheet music (PDF) for this hymn, including guitar chord charts, an arrangement of the hymn tune RIPLEY for classical guitar, and an arrangement for the tune for instrumental ensemble.

More Hymns from History

Songs and God’s Creation

Open Bible and hymn near an ocean at sunset

This is the first of what I hope to be many posts exploring the connection between music for worship and the study of theology. Below is a list of psalm settings, hymns, and spiritual songs that teach on the doctrine of creation: natural revelation. The songs are arranged under 16 theological statements, including 5 statements for which I have not yet found related songs.  

If you have additional suggestions for songs related to the doctrine of creation that should be included in the index, please comment or send me a message.

Note: The songs are listed below by title and author. For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the page for “Songs and God’s Creation” in Theology and Song: A Theological Index of Music for Worship online. I will be updating the online Index with more songs and topics in the days ahead as I receive recommendations. 

Songs and God’s Creation: Natural Revelation 

1. Creation affirms that there is a Creator—God created heaven and earth

  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (Cecil F Alexander)
  • Before Jehovah’s Awful Throne—Psalm 100 (Isaac Watts / John Wesley)
  • God, the Lord, a King Remaineth—Psalm 93 (John Keble)
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas Obediah Chisholm)
  • Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah—Psalm 146 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • Hast Thou Not Known, Hast Thou Not Heard (Isaac Watts)
  • I Sing the Mighty Power of God (Isaac Watts)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis • Welsh melody)
  • The Spacious Firmament on High (Joseph Addison)
  • This Is My Father’s World (Maltbie Babcock)
  • Vast the Immensity, Mirror of Majesty (Edmund Clowney)
  • With Glory Clad, With Strength Arrayed—Psalm 93 (Tate and Brady’s New Version)
  • Wondrous King, All-Glorious (Joachim Neander / William Schaefer)

2. Creation glorifies God—all things exist for His glory and praise

  • All Creatures of Our God and King (St. Francis of Assisi / William H Draper)
  • All Glory to You (Steve and Vikki Cook) • Sovereign Grace Music
  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • All that I Am I Owe to Thee—Psalm 134:14–24 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • Before Jehovah’s Awful Throne—Psalm 100 (Isaac Watts / John Wesley)
  • Behold Our God (Ryan, Jonathan & Meghan Baird / Stephen Altrogge) • Sovereign Grace Music
  • Exalt the Lord, His Praise Proclaim—Psalm 135 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • For the Beauty of the Earth (Folliott Sandford Pierpoint)
  • From All That Dwell Below the Skies—Psalm 117 (Isaac Watts)
  • God, the Lord, a King Remaineth—Psalm 93 (John Keble)
  • Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah—Psalm 146 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • I Sing the Mighty Power of God (Isaac Watts)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis • Welsh melody)
  • Of the Father’s Love Begotten (Prudentius / J. Neale / H. Baker)
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Joachim Neander / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above (Jonann Schütz / Francis Cox)
  • The Spacious Firmament on High (Joseph Addison)
  • This Is My Father’s World (Maltbie Babcock)
  • With Songs and Honors Sounding Loud—Psalm 147 (Isaac Watts)
  • Wondrous King, All-Glorious (Joachim Neander / William Schaefer)

3. Creation testifies of God’s wisdom and design

  • All that I Am I Owe to Thee—Psalm 134:14–24 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • Hast Thou Not Known, Hast Thou Not Heard (Isaac Watts)
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Joachim Neander / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Vast the Immensity, Mirror of Majesty (Edmund Clowney)

4. The testimony of creation is insufficient for knowing the way of salvation.

  • Vast the Immensity, Mirror of Majesty (Edmund Clowney)

5. The testimony of creation leaves man inexcusable

  •  

6. God delights in creation—all things were made for His pleasure

  • All Glory to You (Steve and Vikki Cook) • Sovereign Grace Music
  • Vast the Immensity, Mirror of Majesty (Edmund Clowney)

7. God made all of creation and pronounced it good

  • I Sing the Mighty Power of God (Isaac Watts)

8. The world was spoken into existence by God’s Word.

  • I Sing the Mighty Power of God (Isaac Watts)
  • Of the Father’s Love Begotten (Prudentius / J. Neale / H. Baker)
  • Vast the Immensity, Mirror of Majesty (Edmund Clowney)

9. The world was created by God ex nihilio (out of nothing).

  •  

10. The world continues to be upheld and sustained by God

  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (Cecil F Alexander)
  • Exalt the Lord, His Praise Proclaim—Psalm 135 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • Forever Settled in the Heavens—Psalm 119:89–97 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas Obediah Chisholm)
  • Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah—Psalm 146 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • Hast Thou Not Known, Hast Thou Not Heard (Isaac Watts)
  • I Sing the Mighty Power of God (Isaac Watts)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis • Welsh melody)
  • Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above (Jonann Schütz / Francis Cox)
  • With Glory Clad, With Strength Arrayed—Psalm 93 (Tate and Brady’s New Version)
  • With Songs and Honors Sounding Loud—Psalm 147 (Isaac Watts)

11. God creates all people—He is the One who gives and sustains all life.

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis • Welsh melody)
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Joachim Neander / Catherine Winkworth)

12. God created man (male and female) out of the dust of the earth 

  • Before Jehovah’s Awful Throne—Psalm 100 (Isaac Watts / John Wesley)

13. Man was breathed into a living being by God.

14. God made man (male and female) in His own image

  •  

15. God gave man dominion over all other living things on the earth.

  •  

16. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.

  • Today We Gather in This Place (Ken Puls) • Ken Puls Music

_______________

The next post in the series will be “Songs and God’s Word: Special Revelation.”

For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the Theological Index of Music and Worship online:

Entry for “Songs and God’s Creation”

TOC for Index: Theology and Song

Salvation Is of Our Lord!

Sunrise over ocean waves

Here is another hymn from my archives. According to my journal, I composed my 2nd hymn 34 years ago (September 1985) as “a call to worship proclaiming God’s sovereignty in salvation as well as in creation.” The title is taken from the prayer recorded in the 2nd chapter of Jonah. In this prayer Jonah says: “Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God (2:6)” At the end of the prayer in verse 9 he declares: “Salvation is of the Lord.” 

Salvation Is of Our Lord!

But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the Lord.
(Jonah 2:9)

1. We, Your children, praise You, Father,
And receive Your love outpour’d.
We proclaim this truth in wonder:
Salvation is of our Lord!

2. We were sinners lost in darkness,
Bound to death by sin’s strong cord.
Your free grace has wrought our freedom;
Salvation is of our Lord!

3. We, Your saints beforehand chosen,
Called of God, by You adored,
Given part in Christ’s atonement;
Salvation is of our Lord!

4. Guide us, Father, as we worship,
Join our hearts in one accord.
Joyfully we sing before You:
Salvation is of our Lord!

Words ©1987, 2019 Kenneth Puls

Download free sheet music for this hymn, including an arrangement of the tune ST. OSWALD for classical guitar.

More Hymns and Songs from Ken Puls Music

More Hymn tunes arranged for classical guitar

The Lord Is My Delight—Twenty Years

Waterfall and Valley

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (Philippians 3:7).

The Lord is my delight!
To serve my Sov’reign King;
My life poured out to do His will,
A joyful offering!

As I arise this day,
May I count all things loss,
To the know the joy of life in Christ
By taking up my cross.

I long to be like Christ,
His will my meat and drink,
Delighting in obedience
In all I do and think.

This day the Lord has giv’n
Belongs to Him, not me,
To be lived out in faith and love,
And not spent selfishly.

Each person that I meet,
Each circumstance I face,
Is an occasion to make known
The riches of His grace.

My joy is in the Lord,
To serve Him all my days;
My life poured out for all to see,
A sacrifice of praise.

Words ©1998 Kenneth A Puls

This is the title hymn from the album The Lord Is My Delight, a collection of hymns and songs celebrating the joy of following and serving Christ. I wrote the hymn twenty years ago, in October 1998, in my final semester at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I had successfully defended my dissertation in September and I was looking forward to graduation in December with a PhD in Church Music Ministry. The hymn is a declaration of my ongoing commitment to acknowledge every day as a gift from God to be used for His glory. 

Check out the lyric video on youtube:

And download the music from band camp:

Click here to download lyrics and free sheet music, including an arrangement of the hymn tune TRENTHAM for Classical Guitar.

—Ken Puls

More Hymns and Songs from Ken Puls Music

More Hymn tunes arranged for classical guitar

Magnify the Lord with Me!

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
(Psalm 34:1–3)

Magnify the Lord

The first three verses of Psalm 34 are an invitation—a call to worship. In verse one David expresses his own commitment to praise God.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(Psalms 34:1)

God is worthy of all praise—worthy of unending praise. David desires that God’s praise be continually on his lips—at all times, whether it be in enemy territory or in the courts of God’s temple with His people.

In verse two David calls upon the humble to hear him and rejoice with him as he lifts his praise.

My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
(Psalm 34:2)

His words are good news to the humble. For those whom God has brought low, for those who see themselves in peril and needy of a way of escape, David knows where to point them for hope and strength.

In verse three he invites those who hear him to join his praise, that God would be magnified.

Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
(Psalm 34:3)

This psalm, like many in the book of Psalms, begins as personal praise and then spreads as it is shared and joined by others. What was individual devotion is now sung by many as corporate worship. David is not content to praise God by himself for his deliverance—he wants the people of God to join him. He wants the Lord to be magnified.

As we help and encourage others to look to God and acknowledge God and praise Him; as we share what God has done for us to encourage the hearts of others to look to Him and trust in Him, He is magnified—not in the sense that we add to God or make Him appear large or great (as a microscope would take a small thing and make it look large), but rather we take who God is and what He has done and bring it close to others, so they can see it and know it and rejoice in it (as a telescope would take a large and magnificent object and bring it into focus so all can enjoy and marvel in viewing it up close).

David wants to take the deliverance he has experienced by the grace and mercy of God, and bring it close to the people of God so that they can see it and rejoice with him in an overflow of praise and thanksgiving.

Read more from this sermon on Psalm 34 entitled “Taste and See!”

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Out of Zion

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
(Psalms 14:7)

Church and town at Sunrise

Verse 7 of Psalm 14 represents a crucial turning point. The psalm began as a meditation, that quickly turned to a lament, but now is a petition, looking forward to a time of praise and rejoicing.

David considers the hopeless of man left to himself. He mediates on the depravity and corruption of man, and realizes that if anyone can be saved, it must be through God’s grace and life-giving power.
But notice from where God’s salvation is to come: out of Zion!

What is Zion?

David could have prayed that salvation would come from hand of God. He could have said that salvation would come from the promised Messiah. And this would be true. But he expands his statement at the end of the psalm, praying that salvation will come out of Zion.

This is more than a reference to the physical city of Jerusalem, where Christ would be crucified and accomplish in time and space the salvation of God’s people. Zion is also used in Scripture as reference to the people of God.

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion.
(Psalms 65:1)

God’s purpose in salvation includes its being fulfilled and accomplished by Christ-but also its application and proclamation in us! God is the One who saves. Notice—

Verse 7 continues: “When the LORD restores…”

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
(Psalms 14:7)

It is the Lord who restores! But God uses means to accomplish His salvation. As God saves, we respond with joy and gladness-joy and gladness that compel us to share the good news of salvation with others. It is our joy and responsibility to spread the Gospel—out of Zion, knowing with confidence that God will work-His Word will go out and will not return void.

He has established us here as a church in this community for a purpose. I encourage you to think from this mindset—out of Zion. God has put us here to make Him known. Every friend, every acquaintance, every relationship is in your life for you to magnify Jesus Christ.

Read more from this sermon on Psalm 14 entitled “Out of Zion”

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A Song Book That Begins With Words of Wisdom

The Book of Psalms

The Book of Psalms is an important collection of songs in Scripture for the worship of God. These songs are commanded to be sung by God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments.

In the Old Testament they comprise the songbook of the Temple. God appointed the Levites to sing and teach the people to sing psalms to God in worship. As the people gathered in Jerusalem and brought their sacrifices, these were the songs being sung and heard in the congregation.

In the New Testament Paul sets the psalms at the forefront of church music, exhorting us in Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. The psalms speak of Christ, point us to Christ, and find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ (Luke 24:44).

When you think of the book of Psalms, and remember the purpose and use of the psalms, its beginning may at first surprise you. It might not be what you would expect.

The psalms are about our communion with God in worship.

How then would you expect such a collection of songs to begin?

What opening words do you envision?

  • A lofty song of praise?
  • A hymn exalting the attributes of God?
  • A call to God’s people to come to the Temple and enter into His presence?
  • A call to God, asking Him to hear His people as they lift their voices?

All of these are songs you will find in abundance in the Psalter, but not at the beginning.

Let’s go to the Word of God and read how the Psalms begin:

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
(Psalm 1:1–6)

God opens His hymnal with a psalm of wisdom—a psalm for teaching that portrays a striking contrast between two groups of people: the ungodly and the righteous—those who are committed to walking according to the ways of God, and those who have forsaken that way.

For the righteous, the psalm offers a promise;
For the ungodly it declares a warning.

Continue reading this sermon from  Psalm 1 entitled “Two Paths and Two Ends.”

See more Sermons and Articles by Ken Puls

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Can Music Be Evil or Worldly?

Rock Guitar

You may have read books or watched videos that teach on music and warn against various styles of music, pointing to their association with things that are ungodly. Those discussions about music can be both helpful and at times misleading. They are helpful in that—

  1. They make us aware that we should be concerned about the music we hear.
  2. They expose some very real issues of sin and abuse of music to promote evil.

But they can be misleading in that—

  1. They tend to pick on just 1 or 2 styles of music (Rock, Pop), and give the rest a pass.
  2. They often misidentify the problem.

Let me give you some guidelines for thinking about music as it relates to sin. First we must realize that—

1) All music belongs to God.

All music that we create is a part of this world. And all music belongs to God as a part of His creation. God gave us music to enjoy and glorify Him in all of life.

2) Music itself cannot be “sacred” or “secular.”

When you are considering just the music—not music and words together—not music in other contexts—just evaluating the tune—music itself is not “sacred” or “secular.” It is a false dichotomy to divide music into categories—thinking that God has His music over here—music that He prefers and delights in—and the world has its music over there that it delights in and prefers—and the really bad stuff—that is the devil’s music.

There is no “God’s music,” “world’s music,” and “devil’s music.” It is all God’s music. No tone or beat has ever been sounded in this universe that does not belong to God.

Music is not inherently religious or worldly, good or evil. There is only music—which can be employed for worship, for recreation, for celebration, for numerous occasions in which we wish to raise our affections and give voice to our emotions.

3) Music can’t be evil because “evil is nothing, i.e. no–thing.”

Evil does not consist of things, be it bullets and guns or tones, rhythms and instruments. [For an explanation of this principle listen to the message by R.C. Sproul from the Ligonier National Conference held in June 2010 on “What is Evil and Where does it come from?”] Evil does not consist of things, rather—

4) Sin is an issue of the heart.

When we see music that is wed to words or actions that dishonor God, if we are not careful, we can come to the conclusion that the problem is the music, when the real problem is sin. Sin is always an issue of the heart. Sin is found in our motives and intents as we create and use music, not in the tones, rhythms, and instruments we use to create and make music. Music can certainly be used in sinful ways to express sinful desires and wicked intentions. But the music itself is just a tool.

It has been this way since the beginning. In Genesis 4:21 we read of Jubal—the father of those who play the lyre and pipe—the first time music is referenced in the Bible. Two verses later in Genesis 4:23 we have the first recorded song in Scripture—a boast exulting in murder and lust for revenge.

All styles of music can be abused in sinful ways. Often it’s styles like Rock and Pop that are targeted as “worldly” or “evil,” while styles such as Classical are championed as wholesome and safe. Critics point to the perverse lifestyle and evil intentions of many Pop and Rock musicians. And we should heed their warnings and be on guard against using music to sin against God. But honestly, all styles of music can be abused by sin. Classical, Rock, Pop, Country and Jazz can all express a wide range of emotion. And all have a history tainted by sin. All have had composers and performers whose lives have been shattered by sin. We need discernment to judge every style and genre of music. A better way think of music in regard to evil is—

5) Music can be used in ways that honor God or profane God.

When music honors God, it is intentionally composed or used to praise Him, acknowledge Him or celebrate what is good and right. Music that honors God does not necessarily need to be worship music. It can be music that celebrates life, love, marriage, family, children, home, and many other gifts of God—and celebrates these good gifts in God-honoring ways.

When music profanes God, it is composed or used without thought of God, as an end in itself, making music to be an idol or empty. Or it is composed to celebrate or promote things contrary to God and His revealed will. And this can happen in all styles of music.

Music itself simply expresses and reflects emotion. It does not in itself distinguish between sinful expressions of emotion and pure expressions of emotion. All emotions can glorify God when channeled and expressed in God-honoring ways. God created our emotions for us to express to His glory. But emotions can be hijacked, misdirected and used in sinful ways. And music has certainly been abused and misused to express emotion in sinful ways. This world has produced some wonderfully passionate and expressive music. The music is for us to use and enjoy to God’s glory. The problem lies in that the world is often passionate and expressive about the wrong things. Their emotions have been hijacked and sent in sinful directions. And so the music they use to express themselves has been hijacked and misdirected as well.

[This excerpt is from the study “What Then Shall We Sing?” Read more from Part 1: Thoughts on Music.]