Saturday, February 19, 2011

What do we do?

Preaching the Gospel
Are you an evangelist? That question can be one of the most difficult questions I have to answer, since the answer depends upon what is meant by both "evangelist" and "gospel". To many, the evangelist is a showman who travels from church to church employing little more than the tactics of a used car salesman, with a motivational speech dressed up with a few (usually out of context) bible verses.

We believe that God gave His Word, exactly as He intended, for the purpose of declaring His glory and reconciling His people to Himself, so the sermon should be presented with the authority of God's revelation and must adhere closely with the text. This doesn't mean it should be a running commentary; on the contrary, God's revelation must be communicated in such a way that the congregation understands what God said about Himself and what response God expects from them. The message must communicate clearly and carefully, but it must also be communicated with appropriate emotion, rather than as a dry academic presentation. This is the soul of expository preaching.

So if you define an evangelist by one who seeks to preach the gospel in this way, then I would also need to know what you mean by the gospel. Some consider the gospel to be limited to a small subset of doctrines or to a method of getting people saved. The gospel is not shorthand for TULIP, and it is not a fire escape from hell. The gospel we preach could be simply described as "Christ crucified, so that we may die to sin, and Christ risen, so that we may live to the glory of God." The gospel includes directing all people to see the glory of God in the person and work of Christ and all aspects of calling them to repent of their sin and put on Christ, both for salvation from sin and for deliverance from sins.

God is, in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, and we endeavor to participate with Him in that ministry of reconciliation. If this fits your definition of an evangelist who preaches the gospel, then I will gladly consent to the label.

According to Colossians  3:16
Are you a musician? Now that is an interesting question, but it also needs some qualification. Some look at Christian musicians as professional entertainers, and there are many who fit that description. However, we are not aiming to perform music as a way to entertain God's people, and we are skeptical of the commercialization of worship in particular.

Others might tend to see the musical end of our ministry as simply leading worship, and while we do love participating with God's people in musical worship, this isn't the focus of our music. We think Colossians 3:16 has something specific to say to our age regarding the purpose for which music in the church should be crafted. From this text we see 2 essential purposes - teaching and admonishing the church, which means we should first to instruct God's people in the Word of Christ and then seek to influence or express a right response toward God, in the light of any circumstance. This can only be accomplished if the musician has so saturated their mind and life with the Word of Christ that this has become their native language - the most natural expression of both heart and mind.

We further believe that diversity in music should be encouraged, with the Psalms as a divine paradigm that we should employ and even imitate in our own Hymns and Spiritual Songs. This is one reason that we have spent so much time exploring and communicating the Messianic Psalms.

So what is Sermons in Song? It is expositional preaching, accompanied by music that is written to exposit both the truth and emotion of the Word of God.