Martin Luther’s Reflection on Music

Martin Luther - the father of song

God’s Fair and Glorious Gift

“Music is a fair and glorious gift of God.
I would not for the world forego my humble share of music.
Singers are never sorrowful, but are merry,
and smile through their troubles in song.
Music makes people kinder, gentler,
more staid and reasonable.
I am strongly persuaded that after theology

there is no art than can be placed on a level with music;
for besides theology,
music is the only art
capable of affording peace and joy of the heart…
the devil flees before the sound of music
almost as much as before the Word of God.”

– Martin Luther

Preach the Gospel to Yourself – How?

How have believers in the past proclaimed the gospel to their own hearts?

Why not reflect on the examples below and then write out your own summary of the gospel? Then use it as a tool in spiritual battle when you are plagued with a sense of condemnation, shame, and guilt:

1. The Apostle Paul recounts the stunning grandeur of the gospel throughout his life like this:

  • Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
  • 1 Timothy 1:15 – The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

2. John Newton captures the simple beauty of the gospel when writing as an 82-year-old man: “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things; That I am a great sinner, and that Jesus Christ is a great Savior of sinners like me.”

3. Bono: “Grace, she takes the blame; She covers the shame; removes the stain; Grace makes beauty out of ugly things!”

4. Jack Miller: “Cheer up and smile! You are more sinful and flawed that you ever dared imagine, yet at the same time you are more loved than you ever dared to dream because Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death for you.”

5. YOU: How about you?

The Power of Worship

Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience
the remedy is the same;
sincere and spiritual worship.
For worship is
the submission of all our nature to God.
It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness;
the nourishment of mind with His truth;
the purifying of imagination by His beauty;
the opening of the heart to His love;
the surrender of will to His purpose —
and all of this gathered up in adoration,
the most selfless emotion of which our nature is
capable and therefore the chief remedy for that
self-centeredness which is our original sin
and the source of all actual sin.
Yes—worship in spirit and truth
is the way to the solution of perplexity
and to the liberation from sin.
—William Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, 1939

Remaining Loyal to Jesus Until the End

The gospel of Jesus Christ demands my utmost devotion.

Listen to the words of a young preacher from Zimbabwe:

“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
I have the Holy Spirit’s power.
The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made; I’m a disciple of His!
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up,
until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and preached up
for the cause of Jesus Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

And his disciples will be hated to the end of time.
They will be blamed for all the divisions that rend cities and homes.
Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides
for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray;
they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace.
The disciples will be sorely tempted to desert their Lord.
But the end is also near, and they must hold on and persevere until it comes.
Only he will be blessed who remains loyal to Jesus and his word until the end.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

J.C. Ryle on Christ in the Psalms

A Greater than David is here!

We have probably little idea how much deep truth is contained in the book of Psalms. No part of the Bible perhaps is better known in the letter, and none so little understood in the spirit. We err greatly if we suppose that it is nothing but a record of David’s feelings, of David’s experience, David’s praises, and David’s prayers. The hand that held the pen was generally David’s. But the subject matter was often something far deeper and higher than the history of the son of Jesse.

The book of Psalms, in a word, is a book full of Jesus Christ—Christ suffering—Christ in humiliation—Christ dying—rising again—Christ coming the second time—Christ reigning over all. Both the advents are here—advent in suffering to bear the cross—the advent in power to wear the crown. Both the kingdoms are here—kingdom of grace, during which the elect are gathered—the kingdom of glory, when every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. Let us always read the Psalms with a peculiar reverence. Let us say to ourselves as we read, “A greater than David is here.”

The Transformation of a Scoundrel

If you are a person with a past and you feel hopeless today and think you are beyond God’s help and grace, click on this link to hear the story of Judah in first person from Genesis 38.

It is a sinister tale, yet God uses the sinful actions of a scoundrel to transform him and to ultimately bring the Messiah, Jesus Christ, into the world through the events of Genesis 38. How amazingly gracious and merciful God is. Take a listen:

The Transformation of a Scoundrel – mp3

Dare to Tell His Gospel Amidst Much Conflict

The Apostle Paul on Mars Hill in Athens long ago shows us how to proclaim the gospel in a secular, hostile age.

Vesper Outline – Acts 17 – Dare to Tell His Gospel Amidst Much Conflict