Music has a key role, not just in society, but in the hearts of God’s people. The first mention of music in the Bible is in Genesis 4:21 where we read that “Jubal. . .was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” There are hundreds of references throughout the Bible about music. In Revelation 5:12 we learn of the scene in heaven around God’s throne where multitudes of saints and angels are singing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”Since this takes place in heaven, we can assume that music will continue on throughout eternity. The usual purpose of music in the believer’s heart is to praise and glorify God. As we start a short study about God’s revival music, let’s look at Ephesians chapter 5 verses 18 and 19. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
I believe that our country needs revival. But what kind of a revival do we need? First, do we need a revival of Bible reading? YES! So how do we have that revival? We simple start reading the Bible! That makes sense, doesn’t it? Next we need a revival of prayer. How do we have that? We start praying. Then we need a revival of soul-winning. So we start handing out gospel tracts; we start testifying of the Lord; we start telling folks how to be saved. How do we have a revival of Christian speech? We just start using our mouths the right way. We start thinking, talking, and behaving like Christians. That’s how we have these revivals. We start doing things God’s way.
Let me tell you something: Don’t expect revival to start at the bar. It’s not going to happen there. Will revival break out at the theater? No, it won’t happen there either. You say, maybe revival will break out in the business world. No, it won’t start in the business world. Psalm 85:6 says, “Wilt Thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in Thee?”The verse says that revival is for “thy people.”Revival is a Christian word. It’s the revival of God’s people. When God’s people get right with Him, revival will start! The little children’s chorus says, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” When we let our light shine, that’s revival!
Now let’s look closer at God’s revival music. Remember this statement: Nothing exposes indifference in a church like half-hearted congregational singing. I don’t like lukewarm, half-hearted singing, and neither does God. He says in Revelation 3:16, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”Do you want a lukewarm glass of milk? No! How about a lukewarm cup of coffee? No! It needs to be hot or cold. Friends, God is the same way. Lukewarm, half-hearted singing shows a lukewarm, half-hearted heart! I like it when the congregation sings with everything they’ve got!
I was preaching at a church recently that has been in revival for over a year. I was teaching them some brand new songs that they had never heard before. They were singing them at the top of their lungs! Now, why would a group of people do that? Because they were on fire for the Lord! They had passion and zeal for the things of God. When people are on fire for God, you don’t have to beg them to sing. They want to sing!
Now here’s a question for you. Can a Christian lose his salvation? No, he can’t lose his salvation. However, can a Christian lose his song? Absolutely! Sin kills singing. Sin will kill the song in his heart. There will not be hearty, revival music when sin is present. God’s revival music and sin do not go together.
Let’s look at our key passage again. It says in Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Verse 19 goes on to say, “Speaking to yourselves…”How? “In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”Music has a lot of power! Throughout the Bible you see God’s people singing; but sometimes you see them lose their song. In Psalm 137:2 we read, “We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.”They were not singing. Why? Because they’ve gone into captivity. Why did they go into captivity? Because of sin. They lost their song. But when God’s people are on fire for God, you find them singing.
Music has such power to it! Think of a great song like, “God, Bless America!” It was originally written by Irving Berlin in 1918. Then he re-wrote it in 1938. Hitler was coming on the scene, World War II was about to break out, and America needed a song. Kate Smith started singing it and it stirred up the hearts of millions of Americans. I still get stirred up by that song!
What about God’s revival music? What’s it all about? I want to give you four things to consider.
God’s Revival Music Will Proclaim Biblical Truth
God’s Revival Music Will Preach Jesus
God’s Revival Music Will Praise the Lord
God’s Revival Music Will Prod the Hearers.
In contrast to God’s music, the world’s music will lie to you. The world’s music says it’s fine to get drunk. But more than seventy passages in the Word of God condemn getting drunk. The world’s music will tell you that immorality is okay. But it’s not okay. The Bible still says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Much of the world’s music will teach things that are contrary to God’s Word.
God’s music will always tell you the truth. Colossian 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” That means that God’s music is going to teach and admonish.
What does God’s music teach? Simple. It teaches the Bible. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”Jesus said it this way in Luke 4:4, “And Jesus answered him [the devil], saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Again in Psalm 119:105, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”God’s revival music will tell you the truth because its precepts are based on the Bible. The Person of the truth is Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”So God’s revival music will tell you the truth and will point you to the Truth.
It’s so important that churches sing songs that are doctrinally pure. We don’t want songs that teach baptismal regeneration. We don’t want songs that teach works salvation. The music that we sing must be as pure as the message from the pulpit. There is no room for compromise!
Remember this: music is a powerful teaching tool. Fifty years ago I learned a song from my school teacher that started out, ”A-B-C-D-E-F-G…” I can still sing it today. When you put the right words to the right song, people will remember that message for years to come. What’s learned in song is remembered long. It’s our responsibility to be sure that the music that we’re using. . .God’s revival music. . .is going to tell people the truth of God’s Word.
There are many topics in the Bible that we sing about. We sing about prayer, about the second coming of our Lord, about the Bible, about our home in heaven, and about living for Him. These are all great subjects. But the main topic of our music should be the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not sure who they’re singing about in much of the so-called Christian music today. But it shouldn’t be a mystery in our Bible-believing churches. We’re singing about Jesus Christ. You’ll find Him in our songs. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest Name I know.” We sing the song, “O How I Love Jesus” because we want Jesus to be magnified.
In John 12:32 Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” We’re pointing folks to Jesus, and we’re praying that His Holy Spirit will draw all men to Him so that they can be saved. 2 Corinthians 4:5 says, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” Yes, we want to proclaim Jesus so that everyone can be saved by Him. Then we want everyone to live for Him!
If the right kind of music is used in the church, it will praise and exalt the Lord. Psalm 150 says it this way: “Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness.” And that chapter closes out this way: “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” Yes, God’s revival music is going to praise the Lord. Why is it going to praise the Lord? For several reasons.
We’re going to praise Him because of Who He is.
Who is He? He’s God! Psalm 148:13: “Let them praise the Name of the Lord: for His Name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.” Yes, we’re going to praise Him because He’s the Lord God Almighty, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!
We’re going to praise Him because of what He does.
Psalm 139:14 – “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” And we read in Psalm 27:5, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock.” Yes, it’s God that protects us, hides us, and leads us in our lives.
We’re going to praise Him because of what He has said and of what He has said in His Word.
I refer now to His affirmations. Psalm 119:171 says, “My lips shall utter praise, when Thou hast taught me Thy statutes.” When I learn God’s instructions, His precepts, and His principles, I want to glorify God. My heart starts blessing my Lord, and I sing His praises because of what He has said in the Bible!
It’s always, always, always appropriate to praise the Lord! Praising the Lord is never wrong and it’s never out of place. So where can you praise the Lord? When you go to the market and start buying your groceries, sing to the Lord. Sing, “The Old Rugged Cross.” When you stop to buy your gas, thank the Lord and sing praise to Him! Sing, “Alas, and did my Savior bleed, and did my Sovereign die.” Let your heart and soul meditate on those truths! Let your light shine in your neighborhood and in your home.
Shouldn’t your family hear you sing to God? When granddad sings to the Lord, it helps the whole family. What a legacy for those grandchildren to hear him sing. . .even if he doesn’t sing well! He’s singing to God and that makes it beautiful. When grandma sings of her Savior, that helps the whole family, too. I can tell you stories of folks that were near to death’s door, but they were still singing God’s praises. What a blessing to their families. Psalm 107:15 says, “O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.” Yes, it’s always the right time to sing praises to God!
God’s revival music will prod, stimulate, and invigorate the hearers. At Bible Truth Music, we produce music that touches people’s heads, their hearts, and their volitions. We have a song in the hymnal that we published: “I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today.” Now that’s Bible truth! I do serve a risen Savior. That song states an intellectual fact and declares, “I serve a risen Savior.” If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, there would be no salvation, and we would be hopeless. Since God spoke the whole universe into existence, it wasn’t hard for Him to raise His Son from the dead. So that song touches people’s heads with the message, “I serve a risen Savior.”
Now think about the tune to that song. It’s not a depressing tune. It’s an exuberant tune that speaks to your emotions. Since God made us body, soul, and spirit, emotions were included! Now here’s a technical word for music that does not touch your emotions: Boring! If music does not touch your emotions, it’s stale and lifeless.
Music also touches the volition or the will. The song says, “I serve.” I’ve made a choice to “serve a risen Savior.” Who’s serving? I’m serving. It’s a personal choice to submit to the Lord. Everybody needs to make that choice. That song is touching the head, heart, and volition. That’s what God’s revival music does. It brings folks under conviction.
Another song that we sing is, “I Surrender All.” So how much should we surrender? All! And how often should we do that? Every single day! I’ve been brought under conviction by the good Lord while singing that song. The Holy Spirit said to me, “You need to do that again. You need to surrender everything that you are and everything that you have.” Is it enough that I was saved? No. That’s the starting point. I continually need to keep surrendering it all again, and again, and again!
God’s revival music prods us to conviction and commitment. A song like “I am resolved no longer to linger, Charmed by the world’s delight” reminds us again that it’s a choice. “I am determined, I’ve made up my mind, I’ll serve the Lord.” That’s another song that leads us to commitment.
Some people might say, “I’m afraid I’ll break my commitments, so I just won’t make any.” If that is your attitude you’ll never grow as a Christian. The way you start growing is by making some commitments and then keeping your commitments. The right kind of music will challenge you to make the right decisions.
God’s revival music will also prod you to consecration. “Take my life and let it be, Consecrated Lord to Thee.” You say, “Brother Foxx, are you trying to get us to be a bunch of fanatics?” Oh no! True revival among God’s people is not fanatical. It’s normal! When we get to heaven, we won’t say, “I wish I hadn’t done so much for the Lord.” When we get there, we’ll wish we had done more for the cause of Christ. God’s revival music plays an important part in getting people to be consecrated to the Lord.
Another effect of God’s revival music is it will lead you to sweet communion with the Lord. We sing this song quite often: “My faith has found a resting place.” I love that song. One reason I love that song is that I heard my mom sing it many times. My mom walks with God, and she sings to the Lord. Our churches are as close to God as they want to be. Every family is as close to God as they want to be. If we draw nigh to Him, He will draw nigh to us. God’s revival music can help bring us closer to the Lord.
One more thing that God’s revival music will do: It will bring comfort to your heart when you need it. My wife’s grandmother passed away in February several years. At the end of her life, Mamaw couldn’t open her eyes or talk. In fact, she was comatose. We’d jam the room full with 25 to 30 family members.
One day my father-in-law said to my brother-in-law, “Greg, please get the Bible and read Mamaw’s favorite scripture.” Greg turned to I Thessalonians 4:17 where it tells about the rapture of the church. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” You know what it says next? “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” God’s Word began to comfort us right there in that room. Then my father-in-law said, “Let’s all sing Mamaw’s favorite hymn.” When we had song services at church and the song leader would say, “Who has a favorite that you want us to sing?” Mamaw would always ask for the same song. What was it? “I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able.” So at the nursing home, with Mamaw about to meet the Lord, we all sang, “I Know Whom I Have Believed.” What a comfort! Praise the Lord!
A church that is experiencing a heaven-sent revival will have vibrant singing in it! So will an individual. Though the world misuses and abuses music, God created it to bring glory to Him. It’s not just a filler. No, it’s doing many great things. God’s revival music is proclaiming Biblical truth, it’s preaching Jesus, it’s praising the Lord, and it’s prodding us in the right direction. Hallelujah for God’s revival music!
President, Bible Truth Music
Dr. Byron Foxx is an evangelist, music publisher, songwriter, and the founder and president of Bible Truth Music. As an evangelist, he preaches about 500 times each year in about 100 cities. He also directs city-wide evangelistic campaigns called God Bless America Rallies.
Bible Truth Music is a conservative Christian music publishing company that provides music to over 7,000 churches! The Bible Songs for Kids series, the Bible Truth Hymnal, and the new Bible Stories For Kids are gaining wide distribution.