“…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,” (Ephesians 5:19 ESV)
In Ephesians 5:18-6:9, Paul describes the Spirit-filled life. He begins with the call that the Spirit-filled man or woman sings and makes melody in their heart. Such singing, says Paul, is directed specifically to the Lord. It is the individual filled with the Spirit whose heart and voice goes out to the Saviour: “Unto him be glory in the church through Christ Jesus, world without end. Amen.” That is the spirit of Pentecost, where men and women filled with the Spirit were heard proclaiming the mighty deeds of God. They are not singing ditties or singing to create an atmosphere or for the sake of self-expression. They are magnifying their Prophet and Priest and King; they are rejoicing in the finished work of Christ; they are singing of a grand free redemption accomplished and applied. And they are conscious of others as they sing – they speak to one another; they even teach and admonish one another in their singing.
The Spirit-filled person wants the world to hear this song, as the early church was heard telling of God’s mighty works at Pentecost.
There is doctrine and admonition in our singing. We teach about Christ in our singing. What is it we’re teaching about Him? We must be concerned to edify others in our music. We are to edify one another in psalms, hymns & spiritual songs: in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament, these terms were used of the different psalms. We also see other scripture songs and scriptural songs in the Word and in the history of the Church. These are the texts that teach of Christ. With the advent of the Internet and the shift from printed hymnals to projected lyrics, with a flood of new songs, the concern is whether these hymns faithfully reflect biblical truth. What will we learn of God and His ways in them? Will they accord with truth? There is a concern that they be rhythmic and tuneful with a good beat; but, first-most, does it square with the Word?
Also, the Spirit-filled man, woman, child, will have the Word fill his heart and mouth: “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 40:3). The Spirit-filled person wants the world to hear this song, as the early church was heard telling of God’s mighty works at Pentecost.