Q & A: How do you Evaluate Music?

This Question and Answer serves as suggested answers regarding the Message Based Discussion Questions from the message presented on April 28, 2013. These are only suggestions and there is room for many more in discussion groups. The manuscript for the message was posted on April 29, 2013.

How do you Evaluate Music?
Ephesians 4:29

 

What music is appropriate to worship God?
1)      Music communicates meaning Ex. 32:17-19
  • Music communicates war Ex. 32:17-19 
  • Music communicates refreshment 1 Sam. 16:14, 17-18, 23
  • Music communicates emotionally
    • Laments Job 30:31; Love song Is. 5:1
2)      Music communicates by association like a symbol
  • A symbol communicates something
  • Conventional Association
  • Natural Association
 3)  Evaluate music by Scripture Eph. 4:29

  • There is both edifying and corrupt communication Eph. 4:29
  • Bad association can corrupt 1 Cor. 15:33
  • Associate with what edifies 1 Cor. 10:23 
  • Application:
  • 1 Cor. 8:4, 9-13   

Corrupt
Edifying
 
Avoid at all times
Fitting
Unfitting
Negative Association
Positive Association
 
Avoid for this occasion
Avoid for this occasion
Room for preferences

Evaluate your music by Scripture to what is fitting for the King!
Philippians 4:8-9
 

Message Based Discussion Questions
1)      What kinds of music do you like?
Digging Deeper:
2)      According to Ephesians 5:18-20, how is the Christian to be filled?  __________________  What will be the result if a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit?  What will that look like in Church?
3)      What idea is found in both Eph. 5:20 and Rom. 1:21? ________________________  What is the contrast between the two verses?  What will be true of the believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit compared to the unbeliever who is not filled?  So, if a believer is not giving thanks, what does that say about his life?
4)      As a reference to Satan, what does Ezek. 28:12-15 say Satan was good at (cf. 28:13c)? ______________________________  How do you suppose this might have caused his fall?
Applying the message to life:
5)      If music is like a plate that serves food, why should the plate fit the occasion?
6)      What are several examples of conventional associations in regard to music?  When you hear a particular song, what do you think of without hearing the lyrics?
7)      If there is room for preference, how do I discern what I should not listen to in life? 

Message Based Discussion Questions

1)      What kinds of music do you like?

a)      Classical, Country Western, Big Band, Traditional church music, Contemporary, Gregorian chants, Men’s Chorale and Military Marches.

b)      I like most music, depending on the setting, but there are some that seem corruptible.

Digging Deeper:

2)      According to Ephesians 5:18-20, how is the Christian to be filled?  __with the Spirit; dependence upon Him__  What will be the result if a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit?  What will that look like in Church?

a)      The result will be speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs , i.e. singing to one another.  We will be giving thanks to God for the salvation we enjoy, the relationship with God and the opportunity to serve Him in worship.

b)      It will look like a unified chorus of people singing to God, while also singing to and for each other.  There will be joy on their faces as they consider what can happen in life when God the Holy Spirit is filling (controlling)(Gal. 5:22-23).  People will warmly welcome and encourage each other, exhorting to love and good deeds and talking about God’s mighty deeds.
 

3)      What idea is found in both Eph. 5:20 and Rom. 1:21? _giving thanks to God__  What is the contrast between the two verses?  What will be true of the believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit compared to the unbeliever who is not filled?  So, if a believer is not giving thanks, what does that say about his life?

a)      The contrast between the verses is the contrast of the Spirit-filled believer and the rebellious unbeliever.

b)       The Spirit-filled believer will be in the habit of giving thanks in everything (1 Thes. 5:18) and displaying a thankful heart in prayer (Phil. 4:6) rather than grumbling (Phil. 2:14).  The unbeliever who is not filled might give thanks for benefits he gets, but he doesn’t see how God works things together for good and doesn’t thank God in all situations for His watch-care and provision.  The unbeliever certainly doesn’t give thanks in singing to God.  He doesn’t glorify God as God and he exchanges the glory of the Father for the corruptions of the creature.

c)      If a believer is not giving thanks, he is not filled with the Spirit.   He is living a carnal, fleshly life.  He is depending on himself and he is not living by faith.  He is living in sin, even though he is a child of God (1 Cor. 3:1-3).

4)      As a reference to Satan, what does Ezek. 28:12-15 say Satan was good at (cf. 28:13c)? _ The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes –this refers to his musical abilities, both instrumentally and vocally___  How do you suppose this might have caused his fall?

a)      He was leading worship of God among the angels.  He had the voice of a pipe (pipes) organ. With the power of music, he led 1/3 of the angels to rebel against God and thus be condemned. 

b)      Somehow this may have led to his arrogance of ability and leadership to cause the angels to fall.  Note Is. 14:12-14. 

Applying the message to life: 

5)      If music is like a plate that serves food, why should the plate fit the occasion?

a)      The dish is the medium or mechanism that delivers the food.

b)      The dish conveys meaning to the food and to the occasion.

c)      A paper plate is great for picnics; fine china is fitting for a king and special occasions.

d)     Music also says something about the occasion and the truth that it (music) serves.

 

6)      What are several examples of conventional associations in regard to music?  When you hear a particular song, what do you think of without hearing the lyrics?

a)      Movie scores, like “Out of Africa” convey the great vastness of the continent of Africa or “Star Wars” the majesty of space or “The Sound of Music” that lifts the heart to the mountains. Other associations might include:

i)        Snare drum with marching

ii)      Salpinx trumpet marked pronouncements and fanfare of something important.

iii)    Flute playing soft, gentle flowing emotional music, but it can also play strong alive Scottish music.

iv)    Star Spangled Banner represents freedom, men and women who fought and died for liberty.

v)      Music of “Jesus Loves Me” is universal.

vi)    Lullaby for putting babies to sleep as gentle quieting music.

vii)  Hard Rock and Roll for rebellion and sex.

viii)            Death Metal for raging angry rebellion.

b)      When I hear the song, I think of the symbol it conveys.  For example:

i)        Soft music – caring, soothing

ii)      Death Metal for raging madness.  Maybe this would be good for soldiers going into battle when hand-to-hand combat is expected.  What do you think?

iii)    Put in different words and the original meaning is still what comes out.  Put different words to music and the message may not change.  How loud or powerful is the music compared to the lyrics.  For example, the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” fit the metrics of “House of the Rising Sun,” but the words are not a good fit for the music, because the music and lyrics of “House of the Rising Sun” carries dark meaning from the drug years of the 60s and 70s.

 

7)      If there is room for preference, how do I discern what I should not listen to in life?

a)      First go to the lyrics. If they are not appropriate, then avoid.

b)      Then consider how secular artists describe their music.  Many Hard Rock artists define their music is about rebellion and sexuality.  What is the meaning behind other music like Death Metal or Hip hop or other forms of music?  Do we want to be named by them?  Just because Christian lyrics can be put to modes or forms of music, is it wise?

c)      Then, and from the beginning, stay in Scripture searching for the holiness of God and ask what is appropriate for carrying the truth of God’s Word and exalting a holy God.  It is not a question of what I (my flesh) like(s).  What honors the Lord? 

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