Pastor Beth Jones brought the final message in the Heart Ablaze series where she shared the secret to staying on fire for the Lord. If you’ve missed any of the messages in this series, catch up on the VFC YouTube Channel! You’ll find part 1 with Eric Jones, part 2 with Pastor April Wedel, and part 3 with Pastor Jeff Jones, all of which precede this weekend's word with Pastor Beth Jones: Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs.
We discover how to break the chains of apathy and stay fresh in our relationship with the Lord as Pastor Beth shares details on the life-changing and life-giving act of honoring God through singing. Some things in our Christian life are best caught, not taught. Instead of just teaching us about singing, Pastor Beth demonstrates the real meaning of praise and worship in Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs and shows us how praising the Lord through song connects us to Him in a way that prevents our fire, our passion for Him from being snuffed out.
“A Christian should be a hallelujah from head to foot.” – Saint Augustine
But how do we have a song, a hallelujah coming out of us all the time? Jesus talks about it in John 4:23-24:
(NKJV) 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
God is seeking the kinds of people Jesus describes in the book of John and we, as believers, are all striving to be those people. Sure, we all go through lulls in our Christian walk but worshiping in spirit and in truth is what fires us back up for the Lord. Worship through psalms and hymns and spiritual songs all set our hearts ablaze when we’re experiencing our own season of apathy.
All of the elements and practices we’ve covered throughout the Heart Ablaze series are critical in developing and growing in our relationship with God but without worship, our relationship will become dry and rigid. It’ll turn into religion instead of relationship. And that’s definitely not what we want!
Worshiping in spirit and in truth will keep your heat in a happy place with the Lord. Amen!
In Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs, at timestamp 6:28, Pastor Beth Jones reflects on her first experience worshiping in spirit and in truth. Similar to her experience, songs and phrases will bubble up in our hearts, too, when we are on fire for God. This pure, organic, honest worship comes from our hearts, not our heads, and it refreshes and encourages us in our passionate pursuit of the Lord.
In Jesus Christ there is liberty; there is freedom. If we come to church on Sundays with a hungry heart for God, we will enter His presence and sense His goodness surrounding us as we worship His holy name.
Do you remember the first time you worshiped in spirit and in truth?
In what ways have you experienced liberty and freedom since becoming a believer?
In Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs at timestamp 13:03, Pastor Beth Jones shares a powerful story about an encounter one of her mentors had with God as he was nearing the end of his life. This experience highlights the importance of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs as we worship in spirit and in truth. God speaks to our hearts and guides us on this principle in Ephesians 5:18-20:
(NKJV) 18And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the most important things for us, as New Covenant Christians, is to be filled with the Spirit. Remember in our foundational scripture for this message, John 4:23-24, Jesus tells us that God is seeking people that worship Him in spirit and in truth. In order to worship Him in that way, we need to be filled with the Spirit! How do we do that? We sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Being filled with the spirit is a silent thing. It doesn’t stay bottled up within; it comes up, pouring out of us in song and praise. We are called to sing and make melodies from our hearts to the Lord!
Worshiping in spirit and in truth prevents us from being apathetic and instead nurtures our personal relationship with the Lord as we walk with Him daily. Singing with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs keeps our Christian life in the front and center, active and present in real time.
Let’s define the differences between these 3 elements of worshiping in spirit and in truth, so we know what to do and when to do it, as we seek after God! There’s a time and place for each, and all 3 will help keep our hearts ablaze for the Lord.
PSALMS: A psalm is a spiritual poem or ode. It may rhyme or it may not; however, there is an element of poetry about it. It may be sung, chanted, or just recited. The word psalm means “praise.” The Old Testament records 150 psalms - some were given to the psalmist for his own special benefit, they bless us because they are Spirit-anointed and because we may be going through a similar experience. Even when the psalmist was crying out his questions or frustrations to the Lord, he usually ended with a call to praise God in spite of everything.
HYMNS: We could say that in hymns, we are declaring God’s wonder and works through song. The classic hymn can be described as doctrinal statements set to music. Certainly, Luther saw this as an important burden: that music carries a teaching function. As hymns evolved however, they started taking on a very personal, experiential flavor, describing a person’s encounter with God, such as “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.” Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn at the Last Supper.
SPIRITUAL SONGS: Spiritual songs are more spontaneous and prophetic (to encourage, exhort, or comfort) in character. In the New Testament, the Greek term for “spiritual song” is ode pneumatikos, songs that are breathed or inspired by the Spirit of God. A spiritual song is a song that brings forth the revelation of the Word that the Holy Spirit has given you.
Which of the 3 ways to worship in spirit and in truth comes easiest for you? Which is the most challenging?
Share a specific time when you connected with God through praise and worship and felt moved by the Holy Spirit.
In part 2 of the Heart Ablaze series, How to Spend Time with God, Pastor April encouraged us to follow our heart in our time with the Lord in her message. In Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs, Pastor Beth instructs us to do the same as we worship in spirit and in truth.
If we want to hear from heaven, we must first tune in to the Spirit and open our hearts to receive the word God wants to share with us. As we check in with our hearts, we search for a phrase or a word, a theme or a question or a topic that’s on our hearts. We tune in to see if we sense something from the Lord. From there, we follow our heart.
When we follow our heart and sing from our spirit, there’s no script; it’s not manufactured words. Worshiping in spirit and in truth is fresh and spontaneous, ignited by the Holy Spirit. This is how we receive revelation knowledge! This is how God reveals himself to us and ministers to our hearts.
“When we are filled with the spirit then psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are the natural expression of our hearts. A spirit-filled person is a singing person. One clear indication that a person is filled with the Holy Spirit is a natural desire to sing and praise God. Musical ability has little to do with it.” – Christian Theologian (name unknown)
Consider both Pastor April’s (part 2) and Pastor Beth’s (part 4) encouragement to follow your heart. Has your heart ever led you in a direction you didn’t expect during your time of worship?
Share a psalm or hymn that God has used to deeply minister to your heart.
To help us better understand worshiping in spirit and in truth with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, Pastor Beth Jones abides by verse 19 of Ephesians chapter 5 by “speaking to one another in psalms.” Some things are better caught, than taught after all. To better “catch it,” listen to Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs at timestamp 26:55, where you’ll see Pastor Beth worship in spirit and in truth.
After listening, think about what our hearts ablaze could look like this year if we did this in our private lives? If we speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, we have the ability to bless and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ while simultaneously keeping a river of living water flowing in us and through us. Amen!
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) 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.
The Holy Spirit wants to encourage us to keep our hearts ablaze as they fill with the Spirit. God is seeking those who will enter His presence and worship Him in spirit and in truth. We’re endeavoring to partner with the Lord and pull up the bubbling of the spirit inside of us to then sing out in praise to Him.
Now, we don’t just sing human thoughts; we want to sing the Word! God will pull up the word that’s in our hearts and He’ll connect scriptures for us, He’ll encourage us when we need help or to help someone else in our lives.
God’s word needs to fill our hearts like a crock pot; it needs to be cooking within us for decades so that when we worship in spirit and in truth, we can dish up the word that has stewed within us. In Remain in the Word, Pastor Jeff shares an insightful message on 5 ways to get the word into our hearts that will in turn help us worship God in spirit and in truth through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Proverbs 18:4 (TPT) Words of wisdom (words that touch the heart) are like a fresh flowing growth–like deep waters that sprang forward from within, bubbling up inside the one with understanding.
As we see in this verse, God’s given all of us the ability to worship and sing in spirit and in truth through psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. We can sing and make a melody in our hearts to the Lord while also teaching and admonishing one another. Listen to timestamp 39:32 in Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs and be ministered to by the words Pastor Beth shares.
Singing, praising, worshiping in spirit and in truth through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs will radically change your Christian life and take you out of apathy as your heart stays on fire for the Lord. Be filled with the spirit for the Father is seeking such that will worship Him.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping us to “catch it.” God we pray that heaven will hear songs and praises going up to your throne from our hearts. Father put a bubbling river in our hearts and words that we can speak and sing out to be encouraged by and strengthened by. Give us prophetic words, revelation words, words that will answer our questions, minister to our hearts, and lift our spirits. Help us not just be hearers of the word but doers of the word, because it’s the doers that are blessed. We thank you for it, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.