THE SWEETEST OF ALL SONGS

Rev. 14:3 – And they were singing a wonderful new song before the throne, in front of the four living creatures, and in front of the twenty-four elders.

Singing is a gift given to us by the Lord. Singing is obviously the release of the emotions of our heart. That’s why they always say “you have to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues”. So singing is the release of our sorrow, our joy, faith, or really anything that we are experiencing in life. Singing the new song of the Lord is literally a taste of heaven (I emphasize the word literal). So when someone is filled with God their cup overflows with joy. Often our joy is released in beautiful songs of joy. The heavenly song is saturated with life. Everyone who embraces this song is filled to overflowing and becomes a participant in singing the songs of the Lord. Here is how Jonathan Edwards responds to this passage.

“The singing of songs is used as a token of mirth and rejoicing. Singing and rejoicing are wont to go together. When carnal persons meet together to sing songs, it is in token of carnal mirth. But there is no joy like that which is expressed in singing this new song…..The melody is pleasant to the angels, and pleasant to the Lamb of God, and pleasant to him that sits upon the throne, and most pleasant to the soul that makes the melody. The act of praise is an abundant reward to itself. He that sings it has communion with God in it, for in the same time that there flows a stream of love out of the heart towards God, there flows a more full stream of love from God into the soul. At the same time that he praises God with a sweet voice, Christ with a sweeter voice speaks peace to the soul and manifests his love to it.”

Next time you go to church make a real attempt to hear His voice. He is present in His gatherings and He loves to minister to each of us. There is a supernatural joy that hovers in the midst of God’s people. As we sing the new song of the Lord spontaneously and corporately the presence of the Lord comes and hovers in our midst. He is setting us apart by His love so that we can glorify God in the world that’s confused and hurting. Maybe you are the vessel He wants to use in these last days.

NEW SONG OF THANKSGIVING

Rev.14:2,3 – The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne.

There are many things to be thankful for that come to us from the hand of the Lord. We are thankful for the Lord’s hand upon our families, our health, His provision, His protection, our church family. You could write a list and never exhaust it because His mercies are daily and they are extravagant. But if I had to nail down why I am thankful I would have to go to redemption. Redemption is our greatest gift. Recently, as I was giving the altar call for Beyond the Grave, I got stuck looking at the faces in the crowd and wondering about the circumstances they may be facing. I was wondering if they understood and if they were able to appreciate God’s great work and the redemption He was offering to “whosoever will”. This gift when embraced changes everything. It actually produces a kind of song in your belly. Suddenly you will be singing the new song with the angels and the redeemed. Here is how Edwards describes this passage.

“By this work of God in renewing the heart, the man that is the subject of it becomes a new creature or is a new man, as it is often said in Scripture. And therefore no wonder that his song is new: for we are told that “old things are passed away” and “all things become new with him”. [The] hearts of the redeemed are new. He has a new spirit put within him. Their natures are new. In some sense their bodies are new. They have new eyes. They are renewed in the whole man. They are said to be “a new lump,” having put away “the old leaven”. They are newborn babes. They have new garments, for their filthy garments are taken away and they are clothed with change of raiment. And they have a new name. Rev. 2:17, “He that overcometh I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” And ch. 3:12, “I will write upon him my new name.”

The new birth is supernatural and mysterious. Somehow our very makeup, our nature, is totally changed. We have a different rhythm and lyrics beating inside of us. We have become part of heaven’s brand new song.

EVEN CREATION FINDS ITS VOICE-

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

You crown the year with your bounty;

your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy” Ps.65

I’ve been learning to sing with the whales and the stars of late. What’s so sad about that is I’ve been so stopped up for so long that I never heard them before or the many other thousand of creatures singing at me everyday. Recently in my morning devotions while walking I was overcome with some intense praying. I just couldn’t shake it, my universe was calm at the moment so there was no need for all of that drama. It was as if I heard the Lord speak to me, “what if all these tears through the years about your loved ones was really me praying through you for the city. You see Parris, I create hunger, I create the prayer within you.” I tell you I was undone. Ps.19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utter speech, and night unto night shows knowledge.There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” Did you pick up how the day pours forth his speech? Everyday we are given a cornucopia of beautiful images that declare their speech along with ours back unto their maker. These creatures in fact take on a life all of their own as each created thing “dress” for the day’s celebration. Don’t you too want to be a part of the production that is all around you? But it just doesn’t stop with the voice or the many variety of species for in Ps.19 it talks about how the pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy! We can become a part of the harmonious praise back to God because we are recipients of his great bounty. I mean the mountains are singing and the valleys are shouting! The psalmist has hit upon something of immense theological and ecological significance: that “all creatures of our God and king” have a God-given voice to “lift up and sing.” They have been given back their voice and can you imagine what they are singing? HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD FOR STARTERS! There are a hundred billion galaxies all making noise about just how great is our God. I better join in with them for if the stars are made to worship, so will I!

HEAVEN’S SONG

Rev. 14:3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.

We live in a world of songs and melodies. From country to rock, from classical to rap music; we live in a musical world. We sing about love gone wrong and love gone right. There are songs about cars, surf boards, drug use, politics, and social issues. Everybody is singing about something. If you really think about it, song is the expression of what we feel strongly about or what we love. It is the natural vent created by God to express our feelings. With that it mind, maybe the Lord intended our best and most passionate songs to have a heavenly theme. He does say He is a jealous God. I wonder if that means He wants to be the subject of our strongest feelings? If that is true, Maybe He wants to be the subject of our songs. Heaven is filled with songs. It may be that the very atmosphere is melodic. If that’s the case, when we taste heaven through the infilling of the Holy Spirit our heart is filled with heaven’s song. The melody and the lyrics become part of our makeup, we have no choice, we just have to sing. Here are some thoughts by Jonathan Edwards on singing heaven’s song on earth.

“The melody of this song is most acceptable to God. The great God is delighted with it. ‘Tis acceptable to Jesus Christ. He accepts of such praise, and never rejects it. If we sing this new song in our hearts when we are alone and retired from the world, to spend some time in secret between God and our own souls, Christ will come to us and will as it were listen to the melodious notes, and will reward us with some token of his favor. If we sing this new song in our public assemblies, it will be to worship God in the beauty of holiness, and will be the way to have God delighting to be in the midst of us. In singing this new song to God and the Lamb, our thanksgiving days will be acceptable to God. This song is more pleasing to God than the offering up of thousands of rams and ten thousands of rivers of oil.”
Maybe there is a song welling up in you today. Don’t hold it in, let it out. You won’t be singing alone, you will be joining in with the angels and the redeemed singing heaven’s song.

CHARLES WESLEY’S ANGELS

But to you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings;
and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. (Mal 4:2)
You can tell a lot about what is going on in a culture by the songs they sing. We have been affected more than we know by the songs written in special times of God’s awakenings throughout history. One of the special times was the 1740’s. One of God’s instruments in those days was a song writer and preacher by the name of Charles Wesley. Our churches still sing many of his songs, but the whole world sings one of his Christmas songs known as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. This song is filled with worship and great theology about the unveiling of God’s love to man. One of my favorite parts of the song goes like this:
“Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.”
What an incredible thing that today in malls, shopping centers, church services and Christmas programs around the world, this special message is being proclaimed. Hail the Sun of Righteousness who brings the revelation of God’s love and forgiveness to our hearts. Hail the Sun of Righteousness who is risen from the dead with healing for our bodies. Hail the Sun of Righteousness that has given us the second birth that men no more may die. Today the angels are singing, “preach it again Charles,” as his words are being sung amongst the nations. This Christmas, listen carefully to the old songs; you never know, you may hear the angels singing just like the shepherds from so long ago. As you do, your world will begin to change. Like the shepherds long ago, like Charles Wesley 250 years ago, the birth of Christ will become a living reality inside of you. When that happens, you will know what life is all about and you will know why you are alive, and you will know for yourself why the angels are singing!

TUNING YOUR HEART

TUNING YOUR HEART

Rev. 14:3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.

Singing the new song of The Lord takes more than just learning the words and the tune of this song, it must become part of the fabric of your soul. Actually, that’s the way music is. Music is the expression of our heart. It is not only the words of a song that are important, the melody and the rhythms actually communicate the condition and affections of our heart. Secular music is often sensual, it is not only the words of sensuality but actually the very sounds of the music itself that are communicating the feelings of our soul. That is why the song of The Lord cannot be learned, it flows out of who we are. Here is something Edwards said about this song in his Thanksgiving Day message in 1740.

“There must be an ability to sing. Not only the matter of the song must be learnt, but also the music of the song. But the music of this tune consists in the melody of the heart. Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” As in order to learn the music of other songs, the voice must be tuned, so in order to learn the music of this song, the heart must be tuned. The music of this new song consists in holy admiration, in exalting thoughts of the glory of God and the Lamb and the great things of the gospel; and in divine love, in loving God for his excellency appearing in the face of Christ, in holy rejoicing in God and in delight and complacence of the soul in Jesus, whereby we, having not seen him, do love him and “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” [1 Peter 1:8]. They that are unacquainted with this spiritual melody, they can’t learn to sing that new song.”

Edwards said that in order to sing this song that “our hearts must be tuned”. He said our hearts are tuned by “holy admiration” which comes from seeing the great work of our God seen in the life of Jesus Christ. We think about the miracle of His incarnation as a man and our hearts swell with gratitude. We remember the power of His earthly ministry and we are amazed at the power of His word. Considering His death, His song begins to capture our love. Amazing grace, the song of the ages, begins to beat deep inside of our souls. And then it happens, the love of God generously pours over us in the person of the Holy Spirit. We are done: His song is on us, His song is all around us, His song is beating in every cell of our bodies. We have joined the happy throng in heaven, the new song has become our song.

SONGS OF JOY IN TOUGH TIMES

SONGS OF JOY IN TOUGH TIMES

Psalm 40:2,3
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth –
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

The song of The Lord becomes part of the very make up of our souls. As a result, this song sustains us in the darkest of times. The worldly man sings songs of joy only when things are going well for him in this world. For the Christian, we have no such limitations. Our songs of joy are not even related to our present circumstances. Our songs are spiritual in nature and flow out of the relationship with Christ that burns in our souls. We have tasted His love, we have been touched deeply by His power, and we have sensed the nearness of His coming kingdom. What else can we do but sing for joy. Here is how Jonathan Edwards saw this song in relationship to our troubles in this world.

“How great does the rejoicing of this company that John saw in his vision seem to be in singing this sweet song. So engaged were they in it, and so loud and sweet was the melody of their united voices, that John seems not know how to express it, and therefore uses various similitudes. Says he, it was “as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder,” and as “the voice of harpers harping with their harps”. The joy and praise and melody were inexpressible. This song is fit to be sung in the mournful and sorrowful times. We have always reason to sing it, whatever afflictions we may be under, and there is support and joy to be had in the melody of it in the darkest times. This is the song that God gives in the night in the night of affliction. ‘Tis very proper to sing this new song on a death bed. And many of the saints have sung it then, and thereby have triumphed over death; yea, many have sung this new song in the flames of martyrdom and have exulted in the midst of torments. The joy and sweetness of it is enough to carry the soul above pain and above the cruelty of men and devils.”

This new song is actually a foretaste of our incredible life to come. When the reality of that other world is in us, the troubles of this present life lose their sting. This is the way Paul was able to sing from the dungeon in Philippi, this is how John endured his isolation on Patmos, and this is the strength that kept Peter in his martyrdom. All of us face troubles in this life, only those who know the new song can actually face their troubles with joy.