Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 3, Number 45, November 5 to November 11, 2001

Music Matters

Show 18

by Robert Barnes

Originally aired Monday at 5:50 P.M. on WTLN 950 AM in Orlando, Florida, Music Matters is a weekly radio show that explores the nature of and antidote for the worship wars that exist in the church.

Good day, my name is Robert Barnes and this is Music Matters.

A pastor went out one Saturday to visit his church members. At one house it was obvious that someone was home, but nobody came to the door even though the pastor knocked several times. Finally, the pastor took out his card and wrote "Revelation 3:20" on the back of it, and stuck it in the door. (Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and him with me.) The next day, the card turned up in the collection plate. Below the pastor's message was the notation "Genesis 3:10." (I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.)

When's the last time God came knocking when you were in a worship service? Today on Music Matters, I want to ask an experiential question: What happens to your heart when you are in corporate worship?

God is everywhere. He's not more present in corporate worship than he is in a library. He's not more present with you when you are reading the Bible than when you reading the newspaper. The Bible teaches that God is omnipresent—he's everywhere! David rhetorically asks, "Where can I flee from your Spirit?" The answer is "Nowhere."

But God being everywhere does not diminish our experience of Him in corporate worship. As John Frame says, "Transcendence presupposes immanence. If God is everywhere, then he is most certainly here."

All of our worship, all of our life, for all eternity, God is with us. He is over and above us, high and lifted up, mysterious. He is closer than a brother. And because he is God, he can do both. But we experience his presence in different ways. We are limited in our ability to absorb all the data about God and his manifest presence in our lives. But he mercifully enables us to partially perceive his constant presence with us.

So, I come back to my original question: When is the last time God revealed himself to you? When is the last time you heard his voice in the garden, and rather than hid yourself, ran to him? When is the last time you met with God in corporate worship? Just think about it.

I'm not saying that God has to rattle your teeth every time you enter the church. But the worship of God is experimental, unpredictable — what I mean is that if your worship and all the trimmings surrounding it is predicable, then you have long since ceased to worship God and you are just going through the motions. You have every right to be bored if you are sitting around, singing the same boring songs about the same boring God that no one believes really matters in today's world.

Well, the Bible says He does matter, and because he does matter, worship matters and music matters.

Make room for God in your worship and see what happens when He fills your heart with himself!

This has been Music Matters. See you next week. For information about Music Matters seminars in your church or area, contact me at