Topical Sermons

The Instrument of Music in Worship


1.  Perhaps no other practice among churches of Christ is so at odds with the religious world as that of not using mechanical instruments of music in worship.

2.  Most say it is a trifle, insignificant & straining at a gnat. Not an insignificant matter:

  a.  How we approach God in worship is of fundamental importance - Jno. 4:23-24.

  b.  Failure to approach God acceptably causes rejection/death - Heb. 11:4; Lev. 10:1-3; Amos 5:21-24.

  c.  Use of instrumental music in worship has caused of division in church.

3.  Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16 - NT of Christ endorses & approves singing - NOT playing added to singing.

4.  Opposition to the use of instru. of music in worship is based upon principles of Bible interpretation which are essential to preserving NT Christianity.



  A.  When Was The Instrument First Used In Church Worship?

    1.  NT is silent on the use of instruments in worship.

    2.  The attitude & practice after the NT age. (Quotations from history)

      a.  History is silent until the 7th century.

      b.  Still only sparingly used until the 13th century.

      c.  Protestants.

  B.  Assessing The Historical Evidence:

    1.  Use of instrumental music in worship was not instituted by Christ or His apostles (they had no controversy over its use -- it was not used!)

    2.  Added by man - cf. 2 Jno. 9-11 Does not have God’s approval!



  A.  All Activities Must Be Authorized - Col. 3:17; Matt. 17:5; 28:18.

    1.  Illus.: A check is valid only when the authorized signature is present.

    2.  Where is Christ’s "authorizing signature" for instrumental music in worship? - 1 Pet. 4:11.

  B.  We Must Respect The Silence Of God’s Word & Not Add To It.

    1.  "The Bible doesn’t say ‘thou shalt not’ use mech. instru. of music in worship!" (cf. Lord’s Supper:  Hamburgers & coke)

    2.  Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Cor. 4:6 - Do not go beyond what is written!

    3.  Heb. 7:13-14 - Silence from God is restraint (not license) for man.

  C.  The Mechanical Instrument Of Music Is An Addition, Not An Aid, To True Worship.

    1.  God has specified the kind of music He accepts: Vocal - Eph. 5:19.

    2.  Any other kind of music is an addition. (cf. Gopher wood).

    3.  "Aids" do not change the force or action of the commandment:

      a.  Books, pitch pipe, leader - Aid (expedite) singing.

      b.  These do not introduce another kind of music into our worship.

  D.  Whenever We Disregard & Violate God’s Authority, We:

    1.  Open floodgate to error & apostasy - 2 Tim. 2:16-17 (cf. Christian Church).

    2.  Forfeit fellowship with God - 2 Jno. 9.

    3.  We sin & lose our souls - Matt. 7:21-23.



  A.  They Were Used In OT Worship - 2 Chron. 29:25.

    1.  Yes, as was burning incense, animal sacrifices, feast days, etc.

    2.  Must continue in all things or cursed; Not justified by OT appeals; Christ is of no profit to those who so argue - Gal. 3:10-12; 5:2-3.

    3.  Old covenant is done away in Christ - 2 Cor. 3:14.

    4.  OT is a shadow of NT substance - Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 10:1.

    5.  We must hear Christ, not Moses - Acts 3:22-23.

  B.  In Eph. 5:19 "Psallo" Means "To Pluck/Twang" - Must Be An Instrument Involved.

    1.  Yes, but what is to be plucked? ........Eph. 5:19 - The heart!

    2.  Otherwise, all would have to play an instrument!

    3.  psallo - "In the N.T., to sing a hymn, sing praise" (Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Js. 5:13) - Vine, III:58.

    4.  "In the N.T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song." Thayer, 675.

  C.  There Are Instruments In Heaven - Rev. 14:2-3.

Rev 14:2 - And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and the voice which I heard was as the voice of harpers harping with their harps: (ASV)

    1.  Heaven is a spiritual realm - not a physical one (1 Cor. 15:50).

    2.  Physical things in a spiritual place?

      a.  Revelation a book of signs, symbols & figures.

      b.  No more literal than the chain which binds Satan (Rev. 20:1-2).

  D.  We Use Them At Home.

    1.  Things can be morally right but religiously wrong (Hamburger & coke).

    2.  No authority to use them in worship to God anywhere! - Jas. 5:13

  E.  It Sounds Pretty, We Want It, & We Are Going To Have It.

      -Obstinate rebellion - walking by sight - 1 Sam. 8:19, 7; 2 Cor. 5:7.

  F.  Worship Is A Right Thing To Do, & There Is No Wrong Way To Do It.

-Tell that to Nadab & Abihu! Jesus said there is a wrong way to do it - Matt. 15:7-9.

  G.  The Argument We Never Heard:   "We Should Use Instrumental Music In Worship Because The NT Commands It & The NT Church Used It."



1.  We must never go beyond the authority of Christ revealed in His NT - We are complete in them - 1 Cor. 14:37; 4:6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

2.  Be content with God’s ways!  (Isa. 55:8-9)