What is a pattern? “Something designed or used as a model for making things” (Merriam-Webster). In the Bible we find words like pattern, form, and example. What does this mean? Is there a pattern, form, or example that we are to follow? Let’s see what the Bible says.
IS THERE A PATTERN IN THE BIBLE?
We find examples of patterns in the Old Testament: 1) Noah did according to all that God had commanded him (Gen 6:22; 7:15). God gave Noah a pattern to follow and Noah followed it. 2) Israel did “according to the word of Moses” (Ex 12:35; 12:50; 17:1; 39:42). 3) Aaron and his sons did “according to all that I have commanded thee” (Ex 29:35). We could give many more examples of a pattern being followed in the Old Testament. Does the New Testament have forms or patterns? Let’s look at some scriptures and see for ourselves.
ROMANS 6:17 - “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” What does this verse tell us? What did they obey? Paul was thankful that these individuals were no longer servants of sin. But, how did they come out of sin? What did they do? Paul wrote “but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine”. There are various forms of doctrine in the world today. However, there is only one form of true doctrine. There is only one form of doctrine, that when obeyed, brings man to God. This is what these individuals followed. They followed the form or pattern of doctrine that provides the forgiveness of sins. These individuals had this form of doctrine, this teaching delivered to them. It was delivered from God to them by men like Paul and others who would preach in Rome. What was the form of doctrine they obeyed that freed them from sin (6:18)? Romans 6:3-4 reveals to us that they had been buried in baptism and had been raised to walk in newness of life. Incidentally, this is exactly the same message that saved the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
ACTS 18:8 - “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” These individuals also obeyed a form of doctrine. The form of doctrine is found in their actions. Crispus and his household obeyed a form of doctrine by first hearing God’s Word. They then continued to obey a form of doctrine when they believed in Christ as the Son of God and were baptized for the remission of sins. This same form of doctrine is found in Acts 2. Those who heard Peter’s sermon on Pentecost obeyed a form of doctrine as well. What was it? They heard just as Crispus and his household did. They believed and were baptized just like Crispus and his household (Acts 2:38, 41).
WHAT HAS CHRIST SAID ABOUT PATTERNS?
Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12:48). Paul said that we are judged by the gospel that was delivered to him by Christ. It was the Gospel of Christ and the pattern from Christ. “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). Paul also reminds us that we are only to follow one gospel (pattern) as we read in Galatians 1:6-8. “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
ACTS 22:16 - “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” What did Saul do when he obeyed? He obeyed the form of doctrine (the gospel) that was taught to him by Ananias (Acts 9:17-18). This form of doctrine (the gospel) included being baptized. So following the pattern found in the New Testament results in obeying the gospel, as Christ gave the pattern of obedience. There is even a pattern for worship given to man by God through Christ and His apostles. While there are those today who deny any pattern, form, or example that is to be followed, an honest person can see that there are numerous examples of a pattern throughout the Bible - over and over again. To deny a pattern in the Bible is to deny and reject the words of Christ (Jn. 12:48). When we look into God’s word we find patterns. We find a pattern of worship in the Old Testament and a new pattern in the New Testament. We find a pattern to deal with sin for Israel in the Old Testament. We find a pattern to follow for the remittance of sins in the New Testament. When we follow the same patterns and forms those in the time of the apostles followed, we become what they became - New Testament Christians. Let us be humble enough to follow the examples and patterns we see in the Bible.
Part 3 Mechanical Instruments of Music
As we continue to answer the question: “Where does the Bible say that?” We come to the next topic of study: Mechanical Instruments of Music. “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” Eph 5:19 (NKJV). In this verse the New Testament tells how we are to give praise to God and by omission how we are not to praise Him.
Some use the argument that David used mechanical instruments in the Old Testament thus it is acceptable for us to do so today. It is also true that in the Old Testament sacrifices were offered up to God, lighting incense, multiple wives and concubines were also tolerated. We can see that it is not consistent to accept mechanical instruments of music in our worship services but reject other aspects of the old law. The Bible tells us that we are no longer under the old law (Law of Moses) but are under the new law (The Law of Christ, Col 2:11-14). We do not follow the Old Testament law today so why would one use an Old Testament example to prove what they do in worship today?
The question surrounding the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship is a matter of authority. Has God given us the authority in the New Testament to use mechanical instruments of music in worship to Him? Since we know we are under the New Testament law (Rom. 7:4; Gal. 3:24-25; Col. 2:14) we turn to the New Testament to find authority for everything we do. There is an instrument that must be used to worship God and we find it in Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19. The instrument we use is the heart. We are to praise God from our hearts through our lips. In the Old Testament when instruments are used they are mentioned by name and the same is done in the New Testament. The instrument is the heart and not a mechanical instrument.
Other justifications we often hear for using mechanical instruments of music are; 1) “I like it in my worship”,2) “I don’t see anything wrong with it” or 3) “this is how we’ve always done it”.
Let’s consider the first two arguments together. Notice how the worship of God is described in these first two arguments. God is not mentioned in either argument! Who is the worship service centering around in these arguments? The person and not God. On whom should the worship serviced be focused on? God. Who are the arguments for mechanical instruments of music focused on? Self. Is it not true our worship is focused on God and not on ourselves? If this is the case why use such selfish arguments for something that is not supported in New Testament scripture.
The final argument “this is how we’ve always done it” is a false statement. The use of mechanical instruments of music in worship was added long after the establishment of the church in Acts 2. Notice some statements by popular men of denominations who today use mechanical instruments of music.
John Calvin one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church made this statement: “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.”
Adam Clarke a well known Methodist commentator says this: “Music as a science, I esteem and admire: but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity.”
John Wesley a founder of the Methodist church says “I have no objection to instruments of music, in our chapels, provided they are neither seen nor heard.”
Martin Luther a reformer called the instrument an “ensign of Baal” which means a tool of evil or of the devil. Also note that Charles Spurgeon a popular Baptist preacher who preached in London, England for 20 years in front of thousands of people did not have mechanical instruments of music in worship. We can clearly see the mechanical instrument has not always been around but was added by man to please man. Where there is no authority we cannot do things that would go against God and His Word. Let us always remember worship and praise in our services are about God and not about us. Let us put God 1st and worship and praise Him as He has authorized and to do so with our whole heart.
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