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Worship and Entertainment Part 3 Do we always “draw the line” in the right places?

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Presentation on theme: "Worship and Entertainment Part 3 Do we always “draw the line” in the right places?"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Worship and Entertainment Part 3 Do we always “draw the line” in the right places?

3 Worship and Entertainment We’ve been talking, for the last couple of weeks, about the “thirst” our society has developed for entertainment, and how this thirst has corrupted education, and in turn, modern worship. A case in point can be (again) found by simply reading the Tyler newspaper. Note the following quote from an Op-Ed piece by noted economist Walter Williams:

4 “A 1999 survey taken by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni of seniors at the nation’s top 55 liberal-arts colleges and universities found that 98 could identify rap artist Snoop Dogg and XXXXX (two inappropriately named MTV cartoon characters omitted, PCS), but only 34 percent knew George Washington was the general at the battle of Yorktown.” Why do college seniors know these characters and not historically important ones? Surely is it because these are “entertainers”!

5 Worship and Entertainment At the close of last week’s lesson, four questions were presented as being the basis for this week’s study: When do sermons become “entertainment” (humorous stories, visual aids, etc.)? Are our bible classes educationally entertaining, or vice versa? Why do we sing the songs and the way we do? Is it really for us or for Him? Should our worship services be an evangelistic tool? Let’s answer all of these questions- just maybe not all today.

6 When do sermons become “entertainment”? First, are sermons “worship”? Let’s review what “worship” actually is: Simply, worship is paying homage, reverence, and respect. More specifically, it is a specific act done to accomplish these goals. Do “sermons” fit this definition of worship? -1Tim.1:3-11 contrasts proper and improper “instruction”- which may not be limited to “sermons” but would certainly include them. -Acts 2:42, 20:7, and 1Cor.14:26-40 certainly indicate that “devotion to the apostles doctrine,” “speeches,” and “teaching” were a part of N.T. worship.

7 When do sermons become “entertainment”? So when do sermons cease to be “worship” and become mere vehicles of “entertainment”? When they stop being designed and presented for the specific purpose of paying homage, reverence, and respect for God. When they are dominated by humor, dramatics, anecdotes, and special effects rather than biblical teaching about God, His power, majesty, provision, and requirements. In short, when they become more focused on the “creature” (audience) than the “Creator” (God), Rom.1:25!

8 “But what about…. Humorous stories in sermons?” Jesus, and other bible “teachers” often used illustrations in making their points, Matt.18:1-6. This is what a “parable” is all about. And, humor can be a good vehicle of point making, John 9:30, as can other “emotions” cf. 2Sam.12:1-7. But the distinction that has to be purpose and propriety: -Is the purpose to tell a funny story and get people to laugh, therefore to “entertain”- or is it to teach a biblical truth? -Does the humor utilized still pay honor, respect, and homage to God, or is it just a funny story “made to fit” so that it could be included? Surely, great care must be given to insure that both our intentions and actions are to worship God by teaching divine truth- not to get some emotional reaction from the audience.

9 “But what about…. Visual aids and PowerPoint presentations, etc.?” Again Jesus, and other bible “teachers” often used visual aids in making their points, Matt.22: Like humor, visual aids can be helpful or hurtful to the intent and purpose of “worship,” depending on how they are utilized: -Does the visual aid assist in making the biblical point, or distract from it? Does it make or become the point? How do you know? Which is remembered afterward? The illustration, or the point it was supposed to illustrate? -Does the visual aid utilized still pay honor, respect, and homage to God, or is it just an eye/attention-getting trick to engage an entertainment-seeking audience? 2Tim.4:1-4 Surely, great care must be given to insure that both our intentions and actions are to worship God by teaching divine truth- not to “wow” with technology or dramatics.

10 “ Are our Bible Classes educationally entertaining, or vice versa?” First, are bible classes even supposed to be “worship”? Why or Why not? No, if they were supposed to be “worship” why bother to keep them separated by time and name? -Our “Bible Classes” start at 9:30 am and our “Worship” begins at 10:20 am. cf. Acts 16:13-15; 17:10,17ff > 20:7ff -If they were intended to be “worship” we would just say that our “Worship begins at 9:30 am,” and act accordingly. Note therefore the difference in purpose for the two: -Bible Classes are intended to teach the Bible to various age groups on levels and in ways appropriate for that age. -Worship is intended to praise, honor, revere, and respect God through the acts of worship He has specified.

11 “Are our Bible Classes educationally entertaining, or vice versa?” Second, is it wrong for bible classes to be entertaining? Let me answer with a question(s): -Does learning about God and His Word have to be “boring” to be acceptable or appropriate? Of course not, cf. Matt.7:28. -Are our Bible Classes just “baby sitting” services so the adults can study and learn without the distraction of caring for their children? Of course not- we have curriculum and teachers there to teach “children’s classes”! -Are there methods and tools that can be utilized to teach children in ways that are more conducive to their learning capabilities? Sure, their mental development demands such. A three year old doesn’t learn much from a 40 minute sermon, but can learn basic “facts” about God and the Bible when presented on a level and in a way that is appropriate to his age.

12 “Are our Bible Classes educationally entertaining, or vice versa?” Second, is it wrong for bible classes to be entertaining? Let me answer with a question(s): So where is the “line” that we shouldn’t cross? Again, purpose and action must be appropriate. Is the intent to “teach the Bible” using some tool or aid, or is it to entertain and let the kids have fun while at “Bible Class”? Does the activity make the point, or become the point? What’s remembered by the participants- the activity/method, or the point being made with it about God and His Word? We must always work toward encouraging knowledge and application of God’s word to individual lives in our classes rather than catering to the “thirst for entertainment” being cultivated by the rest of the society and religious world. 2Cor.6:17-18

13 Why do we sing the songs and the way we do? Is it really for us or for Him? First, vocal music, or singing, is commanded as part of worship, Eph.5:19 and Col.3:16. But are the words, melodies, and four-part harmonies “inspired” by God? No, No, and No. So what difference does it make if God did not specify these aspects of the singing also? The “words” must be appropriate to the objectives which are stated: “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” which praise God, and “teach and admonish” one another. >Psalms were probably O.T. psalms (as in Psalms), or those directly inspired by the Holy Spirit, 1Cor.14:26. >Hymns were songs particularly of praise to God. >Spiritual songs were songs that not only praised God, but also taught and admonished the participants- thus they encouraged spirituality.

14 Why do we sing the songs and the way we do? Is it really for us or for Him? First, vocal music, or singing, is commanded as part of worship, Eph.5:19 and Col.3:16. But are the words, melodies, and four-part harmonies “inspired” by God? No, No, and No. So what difference does it make if God did not specify these aspects of the singing also? The melody is required by the word “song”. It is said that the “psalms” were often recited in unison as a “chant” with no melody at all. Fine. But the same passage (Eph.5:19) also states “hymns” and “spiritual songs”- which at least imply, if not require, an accompanying tune. Since God did specify that we should “sing” but did not give the melodies or tunes we are to utilize in our singing, we are free to use those which are in accordance with the purposes of praise and teaching and admonishing. Adding an instrument to “play” the tune does not follow. Why? Tell one to sing “Amazing Grace” and another to play it. Which one praises God and teaches and admonishes?

15 Why do we sing the songs and the way we do? Is it really for us or for Him? First, vocal music, or singing, is commanded as part of worship, Eph.5:19 and Col.3:16. But are the words, melodies, and four-part harmonies “inspired” by God? No, No, and No. So what difference does it make if God did not specify these aspects of the singing also? But what about “four-part harmony”- is it required? No- we can and sometimes do sing songs in unison. Does that make four-part harmony wrong? Why would it? Does four-part harmony alter the purposes of praising God or teaching and admonishing one another? No. Can it enhance them both without violating or adding to the command to “sing”? Sure. cf. Heb.2:12; 13:15 Can the words, melodies, and harmonies of songs become so complex and complicated as to at least distract from if not impair these purposes? Absolutely! Care must be taken.

16 Why do we sing the songs and the way we do? Is it really for us or for Him? First, vocal music, or singing, is commanded as part of worship, Eph.5:19 and Col.3:16. But are the words, melodies, and four-part harmonies “inspired” by God? No, No, and No. So what difference does it make if God did not specify these aspects of the singing also? The words used in songs should accurately convey biblical truths and principles. They should also be understood by those singing them, 1Cor.14:15. The melodies utilized in our songs should be “singable” and pleasing so that they encourage true praise, teaching, and admonishing. The harmonies should likewise enhance the purposes without becoming so complex that they either: 1) cause us to forget “what” we sing by having to concentrate too much on the “how”; or 2) render those without musical training incapable of participation.

17 Why do we sing the songs and the way we do? Is it really for us or for Him? If we’re not careful in these ways, our “singing” can easily become mere entertainment. So…. Select songs with words that accurately convey biblical truths in words that are understood by those singing (or explain the meaning if necessary). Lead songs with melodies that are conducive to the proper purposes of praise and teaching/admonishing. Sing songs with harmonies that encourage rather than discourage participation. Does that mean we can’t ever learn new songs that might be more difficult or challenging, or might be more pleasing musically to us? Certainly not. There is always a time and way to improve this aspect of our worship. Just don’t distract from true worship by ignoring its purpose for the sake of pleasing “us”.

18 Our last proposed question is: “Should our worship services be an evangelistic tool?” We’ll save this one for next Sunday morning’s lesson since there is too much to be considered to include it now. Remember: >While true worship does and should “benefit” us in a number of positive ways, if and when we make ourselves the objects of it we have failed to properly worship God and have turned our service into mere entertainment. >This, if it occurs, is to our shame! >When the Corinthians did such, Paul rebuked them strongly, “Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.” 1Cor.11:22b

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