“The Lord is great and greatly to be praised”
1 CHRONICLES 16: 25
We often sing Hymns in Sunday services and read spiritual Psalms that can at times be of great comfort to all those who are Gods chosen people. Likewise even the average unrepentant sinner can feel a warm glowing feeling when he or she sings certain songs that glorify the majesty of God. But how many people actually know and believe what they are singing? How many Christians actually believe the doctrines contained in the hymns they sing? Though this is a question that no one can answer but the one who hears, I can only speak for myself and my love for beautiful hymns. I have little time for the popular modern and poorly written songs people often sing in the evangelical world, and when I hear them sung in the evangelical parish’s within the Church of England, my heart breaks.
I love old hymns, they are so well written and somewhat divine. Not only are the hymns extremely well composed but they contain good Theology too and they firmly express the glory and majesty of God in both His word and His creation. But I have no time for many of the modern feel good songs that pay more attention to mans emotions than to the adoration of God.
The fantastic and beautiful Hymn “How great thou art” is one of those hymns that I and many others feel cannot be sung enough. It is arguably one of the greatest hymns ever written. The hymn lines up with scripture also.
We read in Acts 16: 16-24 of where Paul and Silas and arguably Paul’s disciple Luke, were in Philippi, Macedonia spreading the good news of Gods grace. I suppose back in those days they would preach and witness to anyone who would listen to what they had to say. Some days would be good, some days would be bad, not unlike today. Acts 16: 13-15 tells us that Paul and his companions discovered that some women met for prayer by the river which was just beyond the City. So naturally they ventured to meet them and pray with them. On the Sabbath day as they went walked along the via ignatia, a young girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination found herself constantly proclaiming that “these men are servants of the most high God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation” (Acts 16: 16). Notice that the text proclaims, “the way of salvation” not the ways. Even the demons proclaim that there is only one way to Salvation, how much more then shall we proclaim that non-eccumenical truth? That Christ Jesus is the only way to God. Verse 18 of the same chapter informs us that the possessed girl proclaimed this truth for many days, and soon Paul became annoyed with the demon and commanded it to come out of her in the name of Jesus Christ.
Thus the girl was not proclaiming this truth, but the demon and the spirit came out of her that very hour and could not return if it wanted to return. This is a theme that runs all the way through the New Testament, that once a demon has been cast out of a person in the name and authority of Jesus Christ, it cannot return. Thus I hope to assure all Christians, that if a person has memories or events hanging over from the past, things which haunt and play tricks with the mind and attempt to claim that you need to deal with these things. I hope to assure you that such things are only a ploy from the enemy and they have no power whatsoever over your life. They are attempts of Satan to deny the power and authority of Christ over all things. For once you came to Christ and accepted His forgiveness, all your past sins and mistakes in life have been washed away. There is no curse, no demon, no past sin or mistakes, or previous link to the occult or any false religion that can harm you in any way once the Lord Jesus Christ has His hand upon you. Thus if any chose to differ with me on this truth, I must state that you do not differ with me alone.
Scripture says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Romans 8: 35, 38-39.
When people read and understand the text of Holy Scripture we witness the power of God over all living things. We do as Paul did by proclaiming the truth that commands the demons to flee. The girl who was in Philippi was unsaved and she paid her way by prophesying falsely and yet still “ he (the demon) came out that very hour” Acts 16: 18. Note the demon did not leave after hours of prayer or many exorcisms but within the hour. This is a theme that runs throughout the New Testament and is a proclamation of the glory and sovereignty of Christ over all things. I am convinced that the victory and glory of Christ is over all things that move and breathe. Let us not wait for the future millennial reign that most theologians constantly proclaim, but look to what the scripture says about who really is working things.
Thus we come back to my point relating to the text contained in Acts 16. We read of the slave girls owners being very angry against Paul and Silas at their loss of profit through the slave girls prophesying and thus dragged Paul and Silas into the market place and they were beaten with rods and thrown into prison and placed in the inner prison where their feet were fastened in stocks (16: 19-24). Once more we witness the worlds hatred of truth and it hatred towards those who proclaim that truth.
The apostle Luke reports in verse 25 that the two witnesses were singing hymns to God and those around them were listening to them. Soon after we read in verse 26 that there was a great earthquake and the foundations of the prison were shook, the doors of the prison were opened and Paul and Silas’s chains were loosed. We further read in verses 27-31 that the prison guard was about to kill himself through fear and quickly repented before Paul and Silas, and asked them what he must do to be saved. They quickly informed him to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” Acts 16: 31. Thus we do not hear much in relation to whole families being saved anymore due to the repentance of the man of the home do we? But thank God we do hear this truth proclaimed in the scriptures, that whole families will be saved through the real repentance of one man.
Therefore my point is this, when we are in the pit sing hymns unto God and praise Him only.