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Work Zone: Why We Do What We Do  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:57
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Have you ever wondered why music is such an important part of worship services? Is it just because we like to sing? Or is there a more meaningful reason? And when we sing, are we just making a pretty sound? Or are we doing something bigger and more powerful?

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Why do we sing when we gather? (Exodus 15)

Singing allows us to express ourselves together as a group.
Exodus 14:30–15:1 NIV
That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.
Singing allows us to express not just thoughts, but feeling and emotions.
Exodus 15:2–6 NIV
“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone. Your right hand, Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, Lord, shattered the enemy.
Singing is the natural response to recognizing who God is and what he has done.
Singing helps us learn and remember.
Exodus 15:13 NIV
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
Exodus 15:17–18 NIV
You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established. “The Lord reigns for ever and ever.”

What does singing do? (Ephesians 5:15-20, Colossians 3:15-17)

Ephesians 5:15–20 NIV
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:15–17 NIV
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
When we sing, we make an offering that blesses God.
Hebrews 13:15 NIV
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
When we sing, we make our gratitude real.
When we sing we teach and bless each other.
When we sing we live out the unity of the church.
When we sing we join in harmony with all of creation—and with God himself.
Isaiah 6:1–3 NIV
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
“Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your name:”
Psalm 98:4–9 NIV
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
Psalm 19:1–5 NIV
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
Ephesians 5:18–19 NIV
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
Hebrews 2:11–12 NIV
Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”


Singing as a church is about God first, the church second, and me last.
What matters is not the quality or the style but the gratitude that is expressed.
The singing of God’s people can change the world.
Revelation 14:1–3 NIV
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

Small Group Questions:

1. Getting Started:

What did you find most interesting about the sermon this week? The most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?
What is your favorite hymn or worship song right now? Why?

2. Into the Bible (Read Exodus 15:1-18)

The Israelites sang this song right after they crossed the Red Sea. Why do you think they stopped to sing a song?
How does this song communicate the way it felt to witness the parting of the Red Sea? How does it express the Israelites’ hearts?
What does this song teach future generations of Israelites about who God is?
Throughout their history, the Israelites divided over many things. How would singing this song help them to find unity and harmony as God’s people?

3. Going Deeper

What role does the heart play in our relationship with God? Why do we need to involve the heart as well as the head?
Today we often approach singing as a personal experience. What does it mean to approach singing as a group experience? How might that change your expectations or preferences?
How has singing in church changed you? How are you different because you sing with God’s people? If you’re not sure, then how could someone be different because they sing with God’s people?


Thank God for the ways he has changed you through singing, and ask him to continue to (or begin to) transform you through singing with God’s people.
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