DiM | Are we Proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel?

trebleclefToday we are going to try a different approach to “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)). On Tuesdays, we look at what is currently popular on Christian Radio top 20 charts. Thursdays are going to be music focused, but the topics will vary. Last week we looked at a theologically rich rap song by Jovan Mackenzy.

This week, I thought we’d take a moment to ask the Christian Contemporary Music Industry one vital question…

Are we proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel to the World, to the Church, and to our Children?

Please take a moment to think about the question, and when you feel a desire to answer, ponder the point further. If our DiM Tuesdays are any indicator, I think we’d be hard pressed to defend the claim that we are doing a good job. We put out a lot of vague, seeker-sensitive, feel-good music, but we don’t provide a lot of answers. Which is a shame, considering we have the very Words of God.

Stay With Me by Sam Smith

Today I want to take a hard look at a popular secular song. I intentionally avoided the crass and obnoxious songs, but this one might get stuck in your head, so I apologize in advance. The artist is fairly new, and a rising star, and he’s hurting. You’ll see it in this song and in the interview later. That this song is popular indicates that the world is also hurting and can relate. The video and the song are intentionally vague on the sexuality, but the sex is assumed… it’s the love that is longed for and elusive. The song is a question and a confession to the world “I don’t know what love is, and what we are doing clearly isn’t love… but would you help me survive the moment anyway?”

VEVO Music Video

[youtube http://youtu.be/pB-5XG-DbAA]

Song Lyrics included in VEVO Music Video

Sam Smith – Stay With Me Lyrics

Guess it’s true, I’m not good
At a one night stand
But I still need love, Cos I’m just a man
These nights never seem to go to plan
I don’t want you to leave
Will you hold my hand

Oh won’t you,Stay with me
Cos you’re, All I need
This ain’t love, It’s clear to see
But darling, Stay with me

Why am I so emotional?
No it’s not a good look
Gain some self-control
Deep down I know this never works
But you can lay with me
So it doesn’t hurt

Oh won’t you, Stay with me
Cos you’re, All I need
This aint love, It’s clear to see
But darling, Stay with me

Oh won’t you, Stay with me
Cos you’re, All I need
This aint love, It’s clear to see
But darling, Stay with me

Music video by Sam Smith performing Stay With Me. (C) 2014 Capitol Records Ltd.

VEVO Sam Smith Interview Regarding Album Inspiration

[youtube http://youtu.be/FFqeqzPwZGw]

The world is hurting

Februrary 26, 2015. This song is can be found at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This song has been on the Hot 100 chart for 24 weeks, with its peak being at #5. My heart breaks for this artist. He’s lost, hurting, and lonely. He knows he’s missing something, and also recognizes that the love offered by the world isn’t really love. Still, he is longing for comfort that seems to ever elude him. The interview video is even more sad. For now, he’s convinced himself that he loves his solitude… such rationalization is so fleeting… and, if we’re honest, so very easy for us to understand.

Matthew 9:35-38 (ESV) | The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few

35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Are We Proclaiming Truth or Echoing the Hurt?

There’s no arguing that Contemporary Christian Music emulates the styling and fads of Secular music. Many of our popular songs are just as vague as theirs. Even those songs we review favorably here at FaithfulStewardship come up short in that they do not preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Are we getting so engrossed in secularism that we are conforming to the world’s post-modern philosophy, angst, and doubt in our lyrics? Are we finding clever ways of asking the same questions as the world and forgetting to provide the answers that Only God’s Word can provide?

Romans 12:1-3 (ESV) | A Living Sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment,each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

There is only one way to discern what is the Will of God. There is only one source of Truth in this world, and that is the Written Word of God. Our music, our art, and our writing should proclaim the Truth of God’s Word as the only answer to all of the questions the world is desperately asking. Most will reject us and the Truth, because they’ve rejected their Creator. Let that be between them and God the Holy Spirit. Don’t obfuscate it further by muddying up the Gospel.

Romans 10:8-17 (ESV)

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says,“ Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Faith doesn’t come from a pep talk, from empathy, or from outward emulation of the world. Faith doesn’t come from a complementary cup of coffee, or from an exciting concert performance, or even from having your meal bought for you. Those are all nice things to do for others and are expressions of love, but they are not what grants a lost person Faith. They need to hear the Word of God, they need to hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The world needs the answers, and Christ is the Only answer. Which brings us to another point… you cannot skip the preaching of the Law. A person who fails to recognize their sin will not rightly understand their need for a Savior. What is it we are to confess? That we are sinners in need of a Savior. The Greek word translated “confess” here is not merely giving lip service; rather, it is to agree with God’s Word about our sin or to concede our guilt before a Holy God (I am not a Greek scholar, I owe that understanding to Pastor Jonathan Fisk of Worldview Everlasting). How can the lost agree with God and confess their sin if they are never preached both Law and Gospel?

Conclusion

The Seeker-sensitive, Mega-church model has had a huge impact on evangelicalism. This church model pushes the idea of “churching the unchurched” and evolving the way we do church so that the world will feel more welcome at our services. Is that evangelism or is it conformity. Even if you buy into the notion of bait-and-switch evangelism (come hang out with cool people and great music… and then BAM! hit ’em with Law and Gospel), if Law and Gospel are never preached, there isn’t a switch… only bait without a hook. The lost don’t need a place to assemble, they need to hear God’s Word preached faithfully so that the Holy Spirit can convict them of sin unto repentance so that they might be granted faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let us commit to proclaiming the Truth of God’s word as the objective and definitive answer to a world that is lost in a post-modern world of relativism and doubt. Where necessary, emulate their musical styling, but do not compromise the Truth of God’s Word. We do have the answers. While we are at it, let’s not neglect the preaching of the Gospel to the Saints as well. We are all sinners in need of a Christ’s Forgiveness. We need the reminder to confess and repent daily.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

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