John Gray - The Price Of A Song
I'm John Gray, and welcome to my world. Right at the start, I want to let you know that we're going in on the subject of worship. We're going to squeeze out all the Revelation we can in the time we have today. I'm telling you, the more I studied this subject and saw how it impacted my life personally, I had to share it with you. There are so many benefits afforded to those who worship God. One of those is that worship has the power to fill any void you may have in your life. And causes your joy to be restored. I don't know about you, but I've had a lot of destructive voids in my life that held me back until the power of worship broke those bondages. So get ready, and I'll see you right after today's message.
How many folk are ready for the word this morning? Do me a favor, can you stand up? I'd like to start with something funny. Hold your Bibles up and let's declare: this is my Bible, I am what it says I am, I have what it says I have, I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess, my mind is alert, my heart is receptive, I'll never be the same. I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living seed of the Word of God. I'll never be the same, never, never, never, I'll never be the same. In Jesus' name, amen.
You can be seated. You know, I don't know about you, but times like this morning, that kind of worship is just, I don't know, it just gets me ready, I feel like I can just go 'head and just, you know, take over hell with a water gun, I can just go in there and just tear up the whole thing. You understand what I'm saying? Just a little bit of worship like that at 8:30, you all came in here acting up, I guess the barbecue was good last night 'cause you all done came in here just full, just ready to go! Something about the sound of worship and the sound of people from different backgrounds coming together, laying down whatever our culture is, whatever our background is, and picking up the name of Jesus. And all of us unified, worshiping Jesus, there is power in this place when we sing the song of the Lord.
And there's something about music that just, it just speaks to me. How many of us in here have a favorite song? Favorite song, when you hear that song it's like, "Oh, that's my jam! Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm, mm, hay"! Something about that song speaks to you, gets on the inside of you. And, you know, music is not just original to us, in fact, all of heaven responds to sound. The Bible makes it clear that when the seals are being opened, there's trumpets that sound, those trumpets weren't made in the earth, there are instruments in heaven, there are choirs in heaven, they sing songs.
And you can read Revelation, and John said there was 10.000 times 10.000, and thousands upon thousands declaring and singing, "Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb"! And I'm telling you, I can't wait to be a part of that choir, actually I can wait, Jesus, I'm not ready. I want to be here for a little while, Jesus. I want to see you, but not right now. And I know we sound good, and we sing to Jesus, but what if I told you Jesus could sing? Wouldn't it be amazing if you could hear your Savior sing?
There's one scripture recorded: Matthew 26, starting at the 26th verse, and I'm reading from the new King James version. And it says this: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, take, eat: this is my body. Then he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink, drink from it, all of you", say, "Everybody". Say, "All of you". "For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives".
This is a song I wish I could've heard. Here in this moment, Jesus institutes communion, the covenant meal that unites believers from all backgrounds. Remembering the sacrifice that he was about to give. And as he institutes the Lord's supper, he finishes eating dinner with his friends, because at this point they were no longer disciples, he said, "I don't call you disciples, I call you friends". It's important for you to know that Jesus didn't die for strangers, he died for his friends. We are friends of God.
A buddy of mine wrote a song, I helped him write it. But we are not strangers to God, and even if you might say that you don't know Jesus, he knew you. In fact he knew you before you knew him, and he took your sin before you knew sin had overtaken you. And he had already paid for it, before you ever acknowledged him. And so Jesus died fully aware of your true condition. And somehow, knowing the pain that was in front of him, somehow knowing the suffering, and being disconnected from his Heavenly Father, knowing the pain of the cross, and the thorns on his head, he had the strength to sing.
What kind of crazy do you have to be to know certain death is about 12 hours away, and you just bust out singing a hymn. I think of guys like Israel, who I'm just amazed at the anointing on his life, and the gift of God that he has, and I'm so blessed that he is a part of this local church. And if you're grateful for God planting such gifts, can we celebrate that? But it's weird because I call Israel my friend, we're friends, we talk. But when I see him functioning in the anointing that's on his life, I don't see him as a familiar friend, I see him in the office that God has established him for.
So when he sings, he's actually breaking something in the atmosphere, and I'm not looking at him like, "That's my buddy", I'm saying, "That's God's man, and I'm about to participate in what God is doing". There's something about the songs that he sings that unifies the body, but because he is my friend, I'm privy to information that most people are not. Like maybe he just got off a plane after flying for 15 hours, came straight to the church from the airport, picked up his guitar, with his tiny pants and his little vest. Yeah, your tiny pants. And he sings like he's been in town all week.
And it blesses the people, but in my mind I said, "I wonder how much that cost him. How much did it cost to sing that song? How much did it cost these worship leaders to come up here, what did they go through before they got on this microphone? What did it cost them"? And thinking about that, on this level, now I wonder about this moment in Jesus' life when all was on the line and he knew he was about to be betrayed, and the very people he just fed were going to leave him, and he had the strength to sing a hymn! And so my title, and my sermon's already almost over, is "The price of a song". "The price of a song".
See, Jesus, Jesus was singing out of a place of awareness, and when you know who you are and you know whose you are, you can sing in the middle of any trial. In the middle of any tribulation, in the middle of any circumstance. Guys like Thomas Dorsey who wrote "Precious Lord", he's singing a song after losing a wife and a child and he's singing, "Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, precious Lord, and lead me home".
I wonder what it cost him to sing that song. But you know what? You have a song. You didn't just get here by yourself. Something carried you to this place. Even if you don't have vocal ability, you've got a song on the inside. See because you have two vocal chords and you've got breath. And let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
We would have record parties and you'd have to flip 'em over, it wasn't nine songs, and you couldn't just figure out which one, the whole record had to be a hit, 'cause you couldn't just skip songs. Every song had to be a jam, especially on the fourth of July with your red cup and your kool-aid. And today music is like 99 cents a download. But how much would you pay to hear Jesus sing?
I need you to know, some songs are worth more. And I want you to know the enemy's been trying to stop your song. Oh, but he can't stop your song, 'cause he didn't write your song. Is there anybody in here that's got a praise bigger than your problem? Is there anybody who's got a worship greater than your warfare? Is there anybody in here that will give God just five seconds at an 8:30 service of praise, if you know you've got a song in your heart, in spite of the opposition of the devil, can you just give God a praise? If you know that your song, your sound, your testimony, is worth more than the attack that has come against you.
How much is your song?! Music is not just external, music is internalized. The best songs to me are the ones that leave space for improvisation. Songs that make you feel like you can sing 'em. They make you feel a part of it. Some people are so talented, they sing, you just be like, "Mm, praise the Lord. I can't do that, I don't want to sing that song".
That's the genius of people like Michael Jackson, they'd sing songs, and they make you think you can sing it with 'em. "Beat it, beat it, no one wants to be defeated". And people were getting Jheri curls, and wearing little jackets, and wearing one glove. And you look crazy, but the song was so banging that you felt you could just walk to work, just be like, "Chick-a-oo"! You go to McDonald's and order food, "Can I get a number one, with the fries and a soda. Could you add some chicken nuggets sweet and sour. Won't you hurry chicken nuggets are you okay, chicken nuggets are you okay, are you okay chicken".
The right song makes you think you can do anything. That hurt. The right song gives you that strength to feel like you could take over the world. But then there are times when another song will come in. Songs of brokenness, when life hits you and you can't find your praise anywhere. And you just singing the blues. "Dun dun dun dun dun, she getting on my nerves. Dun dun dun dun dun, ain't got nowhere to go. Dun dun dun dun dun, I told her I was going to church. But I went to the liquor store, 'cause I am angry".
A song. Whether you know it, your life is a song. But Jesus specializes in taking bad notes, tuning them to the frequency of the Holy Spirit and creating a sound that brings more people into the kingdom. Don't let one bad moment in the song of your life stop you from offering praise to God. Don't stop the sound of worship from leaving your lips just because you hit a bad moment in your life. The enemy always comes to steal your praise. Because praise is the thing that separates us from every other thing, we get to give God what angels can't give. I get to say, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain". Jesus didn't die for angels, he died for men, and that's why I can sing a song that the angels can't sing.
Is there anybody in here who's got a song the angels cannot sing? It cost Jesus something to sing that song in that moment. How can you praise God in the midst of certain death? How can you sing a song? How much did that song cost him? It cost him everything. But because he sang that song, we get to sing a different song.
See this is the power of Jesus, people don't realize is yes, he's the king, yes he's the Savior, but he's also a songwriter. You don't believe me? Go to Luke, Luke chapter 6. Luke chapter 6 and the 12th verse. It says this, "Now it came to pass in those days that he went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples to himself: and from them he chose 12 whom he also named apostles". 12, 12.
On a piano there are 12 notes in the scale. 12. Seven white keys, five black keys. 12 notes. And from those 12 notes, infinite possibilities. From 12 notes, multiple chords, multiple songs. From 12 little notes, infinite potential. And Jesus took 12 notes, 12 men. I'm going somewhere, stay with me 8:30. 12 men. And he played them into the very first song of the church. He took their lives from different backgrounds, different chords, different life experiences, and he built inside of them the kind of unshakable faith and commitment that all of them except for one other than Judas, died an unnatural death.
Only one of the disciples died of natural causes, the rest were so moved by what Jesus had invested in them that they went from fishermen to martyrs and were glad to do it! What kind of symphony did Jesus create with these 12 men that made them stand up and say, "I'm willing to give my life for this Gospel right here". That's the kind of king that we serve. And he's still writing on the hearts of men today.
Don't allow the enemy to whisper in your ear that your life is over, that your song is over, Jesus is getting ready to write the next verse, and it's about to be a beautiful melody. Don't be fooled by the enemy! He can read the music, but he can't write the music. Because Jesus is the author and finisher of your faith. And your faith is your story, and your story is your song. 12 notes on a piano, infinite possibilities, from 12 notes come every song you've ever heard, and Jesus took 12 men, 12 men, and he created the song called "The church".
And how much is your song worth? See, because whether you know it, every time Jesus touches somebody, they turn into a song. There's a note that only you can hit. And a note is just a sound that people can hear, and when Jesus touches you, he unlocks the sound of your testimony. And the sound of your experience. And even though I might not be able to reach certain people, your sound will be able to reach certain people. But when your sound connects to my sound, and connects to someone else, now we've got a chord, and a threefold chord is not easily broken!
And whether you know it or not, the person you're sitting next to is another string in the symphony of the Holy Spirit, and we need to understand that God meant for us to be here, that's why he's not big on white church and black church, and baptist church and methodist church, and episcopal church, and catholic church, and holiness church, and non-denominational, which, by the way, is a denomination! God doesn't care about that stuff! Because there's only one color of the blood, and it's red, and that's what unifies it! Can somebody give the one Jesus there is a praise?
There is not a baptist Jesus, there's not a black Jesus, there's not a white Jesus, there's not a Mexican Jesus, there's not a Hispanic Jesus, there is one Jesus, and he died for everybody! And the louder we sing, and the more that we praise, it drowns out the folk that would try to come and interrupt our song. Oh, I'm going somewhere. Stand up if you want to, I'll just keep singing. Say what you want to, I'm going to keep singing. Because God's been too good to me, he's been too good to us, and I'm not going to let one bad note drown out the symphony of God! God we're going to worship you at Lakewood, we're going to worship you on Sirius XM, we're going to worship you online!
We as the body of Christ will worship the Lord. Devil, you can try what you want. You can try Charleston, you can try this nation but we will not stop singing because our God reigns. He is great and greatly to be praised. And God bless America, land that I love. This country still belongs to you. I need everybody to give God a five second praise break. How much is my song worth? Trying to help 'em, is. Everybody can't sing like you but they all have a song to sing. See you've got a life to live. You got to live your life, run your race, play your note. Tell somebody, play your note.
See the beauty of Jesus is that he's the one writing the song so the notes don't have the right to be jealous when he plays another note. If I'm next to you and Jesus is playing your life and it's winning souls, I'm going to celebrate, "God, keep playing that note. Keep getting a harvest of souls. You want to use that gift? I'm going to celebrate. You don't have to play me but when you play me, I'll be ready". And the only thing that can stop you from being ready is if you're jealous while he's playing this note, your note gets out of tune. And so when it's time for him to play your note, you can't be played because your spirit is bad.
So he has to tune you and correct you. But guess what? If you keep your soul healthy and your heart right, you can celebrate when God is playing other chords that don't have your name attached. You can celebrate other culture that don't have your name attached. I'm so sick of this black versus white and this versus Mexican and them versus that. I'm so tired of all of that. It's a lie and a smokescreen from the devil. I am not a black man, I am a Christian man and then I'm a black man. But I am a Christian first because the blood saved me and took me from the kingdom that I was in to the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and can we lay down culture and pick up kingdom? That is the song of the Lord.
I'm trying to preach good but Israel took 75 minutes singing songs, him and Abner with the good hair, just... "God bless". Love you bro, bro. See, Jesus knew that one of the notes in the chord wasn't going to do right. You know there's people in your life that just are not going to do right. You just trying to serve the Lord. You're just right here. "Amazing", and then one person, "Grace". Just off.
Jesus chose Judas. Jesus, why would you chose a bad note? Because without the bad notes, you won't understand the beauty of the good notes. Without the chaos, you won't have beauty and peace. Without the lows, you won't celebrate the highs. You need the bad notes. You need those Judas moments. You need the broken places in order to understand and internalize the beauty of the symphony of the process that is your life. That's why God is adding value to your song every day. That's why I couldn't pay for your song because I couldn't live your life.
People always tell me, "Oh, I wish I had your anointing". No you don't. You'd have to live my life. You'd have to sing my song. You'd have to cry at night and nobody be there. You'd have to ask God where your dad is and I'm 42 years old and my father died 15 years ago and I'm still waiting for him to walk through the door so he could tell me he's proud of me.
You don't want this anointing. You don't want the anointing where I'm screaming saying, "God, am I being a husband that you want me to be? Am I being the father you want me to be"? And then I got to put that thing down and pick up the mantle and preach to other people while I'm still battling on the inside. You might want this but you would have to sing my song. You don't need this song but I betcha if you sing your song and run your race and play your note, you'll win some soul.
Let me close with this. Too many young people want to sing their song like it's the only song in the world. Young folk, the church didn't start with you and it's not going to end with you. Don't discount the wisdom of people like mama Dodie, who can sing a song you can't sing. So you can sing all that Hillsong stuff with your little jeans on, but she can sing a song "And he walks with me. And he talks with me. And he tells me I am his own. And the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other has ever known".
See when you're 15, you can't sing that song 'cause you haven't been through anything but when God heals you from end-stage cancer and you tell the devil, "No, i". And then you pray for people's healing for 30 plus years, you can sing a song. "And he walks with me, and he talks with me" am I talking to anybody in here? That's when you can sing, "This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long".
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. I can't sing your song like you can. I can't run your race like you can. But I'm telling you there's value in your story. How much is your song? The price of your song is priceless because the blood of Jesus was shed for you to sing your song. I don't care what you've done. I don't care what you've been through. I don't care what you drank last night. I don't care who you slept with. There's forgiveness in here today. God can change your song. I'm a living witness that God can change your song. "This is my story, this is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long".