Know Your Bible
August 2002

What Is Meant By "Calling On The Name Of The Lord"?

The verbal expression, "Lord, Lord!" is not what is under consideration contrary to the thinking of so many. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21).

One cannot "call" except he believe; and this kind of faith demands an objective approach to external evidence or testimony (Rom. 10:13-17). It is brought about by teaching; not by an "experience of faith" which is usually an emotional feeling, stirred in those who expect God to operate upon them in an immediate fashion. Paul was "calling on the name of the Lord" when he was baptized, and in that act of submissive obedience (Acts 22:16).

"Calling on His name" means to look to Him for salvation, putting our trust in Him. If we "call upon the law" to protect us, we depend on the law and its operation. If the police says, "Halt, in the name of the law!" he is saying by the authority of the law, and subject to its power. Samuel reminded the Israelites of past times when they "cried unto Jehovah" for deliverance; but now they wanted a king to save them from their enemies (1 Sam. 12:6-15). He said, "If ye will fear Jehovah, and serve him, and hearken unto his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of Jehovah, followers of Jehovah your God, well." That is what Old Testament writers meant by "calling on the Lord." Joel said, "whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered" (Joel 2:32); and Peter quoted this to show that salvation in Christ was of universal application (Acts 2:16,21). When he was asked what men must do, he replied, "Repent and be baptized" (2:38-f). There is no legitimate reason for anyone to think that a verbal outcry, or prayer alone, is "calling upon the name of the Lord."

Those who look to Christ for their salvation believe, and obey, and thus "call upon the name of the Lord."

---Adapted From Plain Talk

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Music In Worship To God

God seeks man's worship (Jn. 4: 23). However, He does not seek just worship, but worship that is "in spirit and truth" (Jn. 4:24). For worship to be "in truth" it has to be directed by His word for His "word is truth" (Jn. 17:17).

The fact that God desires man to worship him in music is made evident in such verses as: "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Eph. 5: 19) and "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". (Col. 3:16).
To show that we must worship God in the way He has prescribed is found in the verse following Colossians 3:16. Verse 17 say, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and Father by him". God demands that we have authority or book, chapter, and verse for our religious beliefs and practices.

When it comes to the kind of music authorized or specified, it is generally understood there are two kinds of music: vocal and mechanical. The Old Testament scriptures abound with references to mechanical music in praise to God. Mechanical instruments such as the trumpet, harp, and timbrel were commonly used (Ps. 150). However, just because a matter is mentioned in the Old Testament scriptures and was practiced by those who lived under that law, does not mean such a practice can be engaged in by Christians today. David in the book of Psalms also mentioned animal sacrifices (Ps. 51: 19). To use the same line of reasoning to justify Christians using mechanical instruments in worship to God, we would be just as authorized to offer animal sacrifices on the basis that they are found in the Old Testament.

Yet, this point must be dealt with: It is interesting how we find many references in the Old Testament to mechanical instruments in worship; but, when we come to the New Testament, only vocal music with the human heart is the instrument that is taught.

What is so sad is that many people have become so accustomed to mechanical musical performances in worship that they never question or think about the origin of such devices in worship. What is even sadder is that most present day religious people do not study or challenge the matter of mechanical instruments in worship. Consider the comments of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, regarding music and types and antitypes:
"Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is far more pleasing to Him" (Commentary on Psalms 33 and on I Samuel 18: 1-9).
Also consider the words of the famous and respected Bible scholar Charles Spurgeon:
"Praise the Lord with harp. Israel was at school, and used childish things to help her to learn; but in these days when Jesus gives us spiritual food, one can make melody without strings and pipesą.We do not need them. That would hinder rather than help our praise. Sing unto him. This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument like the human voice" (Commentary on Psalms 42).

It is vocal music which we find in the worship of God in the New Testament. "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives." (Matt. 26:30); "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." (Acts 16:25); "And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name." (Rom. 15:9); "15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying." (1 Cor. 14:15,26); "Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." (Heb. 2:12); "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms" (Jas. 5: 13). (As well as the passage in Ephesian 5:19 and Colossian 3:16.) From all these verses which mention music in worship to God in the New Testament, we must conclude there is no authorization for mechanical music in worship under the New Testament.

Before we conclude this article, let it also be said and understood that the songs we sing are to be rendered "unto God" (Acts 16:25). Therefore, such singing is not to be viewed as entertainment. In singing, we are "teaching and admonishing one another"; not performing in front of and entertaining one another as singing has seeming become in most denominational services. Man needs to understand that he is worshiping God (Jn. 4: 24). God, then, not man, has the right to specify the type of desired worship. God's word says singing praise to God is an expression of the heart (James 5:13) and the making melody in our heart (Eph. 5:19). Singing in worship is "praise and thanks" that is being rendered to God. (Heb. 13: 15).

Instead of using a piano or organ or plucking the strings of a guitar or harp, the Christian is to pluck the spiritual strings of his heart! To have mechanical music in worship to God, we are going to have to add to the word of God. That we must never do: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (Rev. 22: 18,19).

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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It Is Easier...

It is easier to compromise the truth than to stand for it.
It is easier to ignore sin than to expose it.
It is easier to justify the sinner than to demand his repentance.
It is easier to criticize the preaching of truth than to endorse it.
It is easier to be silent than to contend for the faith.
It is easier to refuse an admonition than to receive it.
It is easier to be worldly than to be godly.
It is easier to commit sin than to avoid it.
It is easier to neglect than to take heed.
It is easier to give sparingly than to give liberally.
It is easier to make excuses than to be faithful.

Why is this true? Simply because it is easier to travel the broad way than the narrow way. (Matt. 7:13,14).

---David Harkrider

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