The following is an excerpt from Church with Jesus as the Hero.
Our Hero Saves Us from Singing Identically
When we sing with Jesus as the Hero, we remember that the expanse of the kingdom of God extends beyond the individual and includes believers from every tribe and tongue and nation. We sing, acknowledging that the kingdom of Christ stretches beyond cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic differences, and our music reflects the glorious diversity of the kingdom. We often read that the church is the most segregated hour of the week in the United States. Does the music of the church reflect that accusation?
The world is as full of musical genres and backgrounds as it is cultures and people groups. As Christ rescues sinners from each of these people groups, not only are other languages and cultures included in the ever-expanding kingdom, but other unique musical languages are also added to exalt Jesus the King. While each local congregation has a core musical language and identity (largely dictated by the culture in which it exists), in as much as it is able, the church should seek to push out from that core and expand the diversity of music utilized to worship the King of the nations—the King of all kings. A song sung in a different musical genre and style than the congregational and cultural norm provides a poignant reminder to each worshiper that he or she is not the only worshiper in the kingdom and that the expansive work of Christ is penetrating all cultural groupings. The gospel reminds us not to merely tolerate these differences, but to delight in the diversity of the congregation, as we are all one new man in Christ (Eph. 2:14-15).
Our Hero Saves Us from Singing according to Personal Preference
Singing with Jesus as the Hero reminds us that his kingdom transcends our own personal preferences. Within the context of the local church, there is no room for selfishness of any kind, including musical preferences. Musical styles are a blessing in the church, but they are often used as self-referential weapons. Instead of considering the selflessness of the Christ and joyfully submitting their preferences to him, some choose to exalt their personal preferences and create division among the people of God through one of God’s good and precious gifts. The varied testimony of the church through song is a gift that is meant to express the unity of the church and testify among all and to all that Jesus is Lord of all.
Jesus, as the perfect Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, left his heavenly throne and laid aside his power and glory to become a man. He lived a life full of temptation, yet he was without sin, and he bore the full weight of the wrath of God for us, his enemies, so we can be freed from the bonds of sin and death. When we see Jesus as the Hero of our worship and song, we gladly sacrifice our musical stylistic preferences for the sake of our brothers and sisters standing with us in the congregation.
In fact, we not only sacrifice our own preferences, but we delight in the preferences of others; in so doing, we recognize that the kingdom of Christ is bigger than us and our personal preferences. When we sing with Jesus as the Hero, we can rightly respond to a song that does not fit our personal style with full joy in celebration of the expanse of God’s grace in Christ. When we musically count others as more significant than ourselves in the body of Christ, we taste a bit of heaven on earth. Selfless, Christ-centered, gospel song in the church unifies diverse congregations as genuine and loving households of faith (Eph. 2:19) built by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
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