It Is Time to Sing a New Song

It Is Time to Sing a New Song

It Is Time to Sing a New Song sermon teaches us that a new song is the song of a changed life of one who has been redeemed. It is the song of a heart that has been renewed by faith in Christ Jesus.

Key Verses:
Psalms 33:1-3

In Psalms chapter 33 we read:

Psalms 33:1: “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.”

Psalms 33:2: “Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.”

Psalms 33:3: “Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.”

Whenever we meet as a congregation, we sing and that is a good thing. We will talk about the value of singing tonight. We will not cover it all, but we will talk about some of it. In recent decades, the kind of songs we sing has become a point of controversy. I want to share something with you that is very personal. In our church, we have had a controversy over these matters. Years ago, we established a policy that has brought a lot more peace and we have not had as much controversy. There are still folks who feel so strongly about their point of view that it is still a point of controversy with them, but for the most part, we have had a lot of peace. I like peace and I am sure the Lord does too.

A New Song

I want to share with you a concept. A concept is that of a new song. Something can be new because it never existed before. For example, let’s talk about automobiles. Many years ago, about 1974, I worked at a car dealer, and it was my job, at least part of my job to clean up the new cars when they came in from the factory. If you saw a brand-new car that comes in from the factory, you would never buy it. Why not? They are filthy when they come in from the factory. They are so dirty, they have road dust all over them, grease on the seats, there would be all kinds of things, so you would have to clean them up and get them ready for sale. But that is a brand-new car, nobody has ever owned that car before. So, if I bought a brand-new car that just came from the factory, that would truly be something new, that car has never existed until just recently. Does that make sense to you?

But, if I bought a 50-year-old car and said to you that I bought a new car, you would say to me that it is not new. But it would be new to me, wouldn’t it? So, it can be new to you without actually being something that never existed before. That is important to understand. It is important to understand because the concept we are going to share with you is about singing a new song. A new song could be one that was recently written that nobody has ever heard before or it can be a song that is new to you. It might not be new at all. It might be 50 or 100 years old. You may think that any song we sang tonight is over 500 years old. “Fairest Lord Jesus” is a Crusader hymn, more than 500 years old. But if you did not know that song before, it would be new to you and understandably so. I want to share with you the phrase “a new song” found in your Bible 31 times and nine verses. We will look at all of them, it will go fairly quickly. But I want you to follow what is said in the Bible about “a new song.”

A Chance Encounter

I want to tell you a story before we go any further and I hope you understand. Those of you who traveled by air very much know that the airlines have hubs. Depending on where you are going you stand a good chance of changing airplanes at one hub or another. I have done that in Houston, Texas, St. Louis, Missouri, Newark, New Jersey, and New York City, and a lot of other places, changing planes. More often than anywhere else, probably because I lived in the South all my life, I changed planes in Atlanta, Georgia.

On one occasion, I was coming home from somewhere and changed planes in Atlanta, Georgia. There was a very unusual seating arrangement on this particular aircraft. I was in the second seat behind the bulkhead, it was not a full flight, on my side of the plane there were two seats and on the other side, there were three seats. In front of me was one aisle seat in front of the bulkhead, so that was unusual, it was not normally like that.

As we were boarding the plane, I overheard a gentleman say that he was a passenger and sat in that single seat in front of me. Because there was nobody next to me, I could lean over and talk to him. We talked the whole flight from Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale. He told me that he was on the pastoral staff of a very large church, a senior pastor of that church, and was very famous and well known.

One of the things we talked about was that at his church, keep in mind this was years ago and I do not know if they still do it, but on Sunday morning on the church grounds, they had eleven different venues which we call services. He described how it works. All of them get the same service. It would be whatever pastor was preaching live that day and the rest would be cast on big screens, but they all got the same sermon. Why have eleven different venues? There are reasons for that.

When I lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the church I went to had about five services taking place on the grounds because we could not fit everybody in the same building. There was no way to do it. We had a 3,500 seat auditorium and we could not get everybody in there and had additional services. Then they had several other services as an outreach.

But this church, the one that the pastor told me about, had eleven services. Why? They had a large attendance. But the main reason for having eleven services that went on simultaneously, he said each one of those services has a different style of music. So, each had the same sermon, but you choose what sermon you want to attend by the style of music that you want. Can you imagine eleven different styles of music? In one church, that is pretty amazing.

Let me carry that just one step farther. The lead pastor of that church, again this was not the lead pastor who I was talking to, wrote a popular book. In that book, he made a statement that there is no such thing as Christian music. He said the only thing that makes a song Christian as opposed to non-Christian is the words. He said you could not listen to Christian music and recognize it is Christian. You might think that through a little bit, and it is true in some cases. But I think in other cases that would not be true.

Why am I telling you this? Because there are many different viewpoints on Christian music. In that church, there are at least eleven different viewpoints. That tells you something, doesn’t it? What do you do with that? There is a lot you can do with that. But what I think we always need to do, as with everything, is to come back to the Bible. We will talk a little bit and not be controversial tonight and see what the Bible says.

Psalms are Songs

All the psalms are written to be sung. When we sing them, we usually do not sing them in their original tunes because number one, I do not think anyone knows the original tunes of these 3,000-year-old songs. Number two, if you did know the tune, it would be Middle Eastern music, very different than what we are used to and difficult to sing because the meter and so forth are very different.

In Psalm 33, the psalmist says:

Psalms 33:1: “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.”

Psalms 33:2: “Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.”

Psalms 33:3: “Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.”

Keep in mind “a new song” may not be something that was just written. It can be that. But it could also be a song hundreds of years old, but you are not familiar with it, so it is new to you. But the main thing we see in this phrase, “Sing unto him a new song.”

New Song Principles

Our singing should be for the Lord. When we worship, who do we sing to? The Lord. If I came up to the pulpit and sang a solo, we would probably have a smaller congregation. But the fact of the matter is I am not singing to the audience, I am singing to the Lord. When we sing, we are not singing to you, we are singing to the Lord. And so “Sing unto him a new song.”

Now, this new song says, “play skilfully with a loud noise.”

To play skillfully means we should practice playing skillfully. I believe in practicing. I am not a musician, but I have played a few instruments. When I first began to learn an instrument, the first was a guitar. I wanted to learn how to play the guitar and I started practicing eight hours a day as a teenager. I also went to school for six hours a day, so eight and six were 14 hours a day learning. I did not care so much about homework, I cared about playing the guitar. I played eight hours a day because I wanted to learn and get good at it. Now I do not have time to do it. But the truth of the matter is, it pays to practice. It is important to practice so that you play skillfully.

And then verse three says, “with a loud noise.” Some of us do not have any problem getting loud. But what it means “with a loud noise” in this case is that we are to sing loudly enough to be heard. We are singing to the Lord and not to the congregation. It is true and in Ephesians 5, Paul says:

Ephesians 5:19: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”

What the psalmist says is to sing out to the Lord. Do not be afraid to sing out. Try not to drown out everybody else. The Lord wants you to sing with a full heart and sing out. Let’s go to Psalms 40:

Psalms 40:3: And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”

David wrote this song to the chief musician, a psalm of David. This psalm tells us something else about our music. When we are born again, the Lord gives us a new song in our life. Paul writes in Corinthians:

II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

This verse tells us that everything becomes new even the song in our mouth should become new. Old things are passed away, the things of this world are gone, and we turn to the things of the Lord. But it tells us also that it is to be a song of praise, praise to our God. And when we sing, praise the Lord. That is what a hymn is. One of the things that classify a hymn is that it is sung to the Lord, to praise the Lord. Then Paul writes in Ephesians chapter five, about psalms, singing the “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” A spiritual song is not necessarily a hymn. It is a song with a spiritual nature or message but is not necessarily a hymn. A hymn is directed at God, Himself.

Psalms 40:3: And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.”

Note that the verse says, “many shall see it.” If we are not singing to the people but to the Lord, what does it matter “many shall see it”? Well, notice the rest of the verse, “many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Our song should teach the fear of the Lord. Are we going to sing scary songs? That would not be pleasant at all. No, we are going to sings songs that cause people to recognize the holiness of God, to recognize the majesty of God, and recognize the authority of God. That is the fear of the Lord. That is what the Bible means when it talks about the fear of the Lord – recognizing in our life His holiness, His majesty, and His authority. We ought to sing songs that do that.

But there is something else in verse three. The last part of the verse says, “and shall trust in the LORD.” Our songs should teach other people to put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. Can you think of a song that does that? Sure you can, such as “Trust and Obey” a really easy example.

The Whole World Sings

Let’s look at another one:

Psalms 96:1: “O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.”

Again, we are singing to the Lord, a new song He has put in our hearts. Isn’t that something? Not the old song of the world, but when we do sing, the whole earth shall sing, in this case, the planet, Earth. Not the people but the planet. Why? The planet cannot sing. Well, it can, first of all, one of the songs we sing, “This Is My Father’s World” talks about the music of the spheres. Did you know that planets and stars emit something similar to music? They emit sounds. But there is more to it than that.

That is only one part that is meant there, the other part is this. Remember when Jesus was coming into Jerusalem with a triumphant entry, what we call Palm Sunday? The people were shouting out hallelujahs and Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. The pharisees stood by and told Jesus to tell the people to be quiet and not to let them call Him that. What did Jesus say? He said if they should be quiet, they should hold their peace, the stones would cry out. Isn’t that something, the earth itself would praise the Lord.

You know what the earth does? David says:

Psalms 8:3: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;”

Psalms 8:4: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

If we do not praise the Lord, creation praises the Lord. We are not going to stop creation from praising the Lord, but we ought to join in.

Sing for What God Has Done

Psalms 98:1 “(A Psalm.) O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.”

Several things here. We ought to sing to the Lord for the things He has done. We sing, “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice.” And “To God be the glory, great things he hath done.” So sing a song to the Lord of the great things He has done. Like what? Let’s start with creation. He is our Creator, we ought to sing for His creation. What about salvation? Thank the Lord for saving you. The song we sing 44 “And Can It Be” is my favorite song in all the world. I like the tune and the sound of it, but mostly, I like the message of it:

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

I do not know if that speaks to your heart, but it sure does to mine. So, sing and praise the Lord for His salvation. What about answered prayer? And the Lord tells us to pray for the kingdom that is to come. We sing about that. I love the hymn, “When We All Get to Heaven.”

(When we all). When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
(Of rejoicing that will be)
When we all see Jesus
We’ll sing and shout the victory

And there is something else here in Psalms 98:1, “his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” We sing songs like “Victory in Jesus.” It is not any victory we have done, it is the victory in Jesus. As David said as he stood before Goliath:

I Samuel 17:47: “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.”

Sing with Music

Psalms 144:9: “I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.”

These last 50 psalms were written for the people to sing as they were on their way to worship in Jerusalem. When we were back in Psalms 33, we saw similar wording, “an instrument of ten strings and play on the psaltery. We had a musical group come here one day and sat right up here and one played the psaltery. It was beautiful and the one I ever heard played. It is a Middle Eastern instrument.

It is not wrong to play a cappella. Not long ago, we were singing a hymn here and the instrument dropped out on the last verse and we sang it a cappella, it was beautiful. I like that, nothing wrong with that at all.

Our former pastor resigned on a Sunday morning, and I took the service that night. We had no instruments to accompany singing in the service because we did not have musicians to play them. I told the congregation that we would just take the hymn books and we were going to sing, and we did. A cappella is fine but I like a little instrumental accompaniment.

The truth of the matter is, that scripture tells us to use instruments in Psalms 33 and Psalms 144 “O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.” It is good to sing songs and play instruments. We have had different instruments over the years, piano, organ, four people playing harmonica while we sang. We have had the violin and viola, and many other instruments played here for people to sing. And the same with the music. I remember one of our song leaders years ago played the trumpet and other instruments. It is good, we ought to use instruments.

Did you know there is a large Christian denomination that forbids using instruments in their services? If I told you a very popular “Christian” writer who many people bought this person’s books and so forth, he is part of that group. They do not use instruments because they say it is not right to use instruments. Well, the Bible tells you to use instruments, doesn’t it? And it tells you not just once but a number of times to use instruments to sing praises to the Lord.

Congregational Singing

Psalms 149:1: “Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.”

This verse says that we are to do congregational singing. You can sing elsewhere and sing by yourself, and you can sing solos, duets, trios, quartets, all that is fine. But we are to sing in the congregation. That means we are all supposed to sing together in the congregation. Does that mean when the congregation gets together to sing? Sure, but why wouldn’t we sing as a congregation? When you get to Heaven, you are going to find there is singing going on in Heaven. Let’s go to Isaiah:

Isaiah 42:10: “Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.”

Before I told you that the whole earth would sing out, but this is not that. This is talking about people all over the world singing to the Lord. You know what? How are they going to sing to the Lord if they do not know the Lord?

Romans 10:14: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Romans 10:15: “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

This tells us we are to take the songs of the Lord all over the world so that people can know them and sing them. I love the story about John F. Kennedy during WWII, long before anyone knew he was going to be president. He was a commander of a PT boat that got torpedoed and sank. Some island men rescued and as the islanders brought the men to shore the islanders were singing, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” Isn’t that something? He knew that song in the Pacific islands. That is a great illustration of how we need to carry the song of salvation to the entire world.

Singing in Heaven

Revelation 5:9: “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”

The scene here is the throne room of God. it says, “And they sung a new song” – who are “they”? Take a look at verse eight:

Revelation 5:8: “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”

There are 24 elders around the throne and bow down with golden harps in their hands. And what do they do? They sang a new song. What did that new song say? It says, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”

That is beautiful. The Lamb and only the Lamb was worthy to take the book from Him who sits on the throne. This book of the judgment of God upon this world. But only the Lamb of God was worthy to take it and He paid for that with His own blood. He shed His blood for our sins, and He is worthy it tells us here because He shed His blood for our sins and He is worthy because He saved people from every ethnic group, every language, every family, every country, all over the world. He is the Savior and that is why He is worthy, and that is why we sing a new song to Him because He is worthy. Let’s go to Revelation 14:

Revelation 14:1: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.”

Revelation 14:2: “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:”

Revelation 14:3: “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.”

The scene is quite different in this verse. The 144,000 are all people from Israel sent forth by God to proclaim the Gospel during judgment of the Great Tribulation, and they have a song that only they know. What is that song? I do not know. What the words are, I could not tell you. It is a song of praise. So, is it wrong to sing a song, does it have to be 500 years old? No, it is not. Is it wrong just because it is new? Certainly not. That is not true at all. A lot of the old hymns we sing are wonderful and that is why we sing them.

But there is something else we learn in Revelation 5 and Revelation 14. There is and there will be singing in Heaven. There is and there will be singing around the throne of God. And who is singing? The redeemed of the Lord will be singing. So, children of God should sing. Children of God should sing to the Lord. I can carry a tune, but I am not a great singer, it doesn’t come out like some of you who do it so beautifully.

Sing and Share the Message

The child of God could sing anyway with a new song that comes from the heart. A child of God should sing a song of thanksgiving, thanking Him for what He has done. A child of God should sing a song of praise. A child of God should sing a song of salvation. A song that has messages in it. Sometimes we sing “brethren we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God.” – well that is why we come but the words have power. But in that song, it says, “will you pray with all your power while they try to keep the Word.” Then it tells us to “pray for those around us, to our mothers and our fathers, sinking down.” It says, “Brethren pray, pray for them.”

Share the message. Share the message of the Gospel. “At Calvary” we sang a while ago is the message of the Gospel, “Years I spent in vanity and pride knowing not my Lord was crucified, knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary. Mercy there was great and grace was free. Pardon there was multiplied to me, at Calvary.”

Then, the child of God is to sing to bring others to the Lord. All of these principles, all of these are found in the verses we looked at. Our new song does not have to be new as is written although it can be. It is the song of a changed life. It is the song of the one who has been redeemed. It is the song of a heart that has been renewed by faith in Christ Jesus. So, our song needs to be all about Jesus.

Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: It Is Time to Sing a New Song

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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