"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." Romans 12:16
You don't have to be an expert in music to appreciate the importance of harmony. Even an untrained ear can hear when the music doesn't mesh!
First of all, you wouldn't want to listen to an orchestra consisting entirely of one type of instruments. One violin is beautiful when played properly. Even several of them when played harmoniously can sound good. But an entire orchestra made up of violins would grow tedious rather quickly.
Even worse, would be an orchestra made up entirely of violins and everyone of them playing out of tune.
When you listen to an orchestra or a choral group you expect to hear instruments or voices lifted in harmony. All the instruments or all the voices meld into one glorious sound, full and rich. It is a thing of beauty! It touches the soul!
But when you go to a concert prepared to be inspired by the music you notice right away if one of the voices or one of the instruments is out of tune or off key. The fine music of the many is spoiled by the lack of harmony by one.
Harmony is many blending their talents together into one beautiful result. It is what a local church is supposed to be. When each member plays his part so as to blend with the parts of the others in harmony, you have an example of what God wants His Church to be like. When that happens those people make beautiful music that is like a masterpiece in God's ears.
But the very thing that makes it beautiful is the same thing that makes it difficult – bringing all those different instruments and their musicians together!
Get In Tune – Vv. 1-2
“Do not have your concert first, then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all in harmony with Him." John MacArthur
Harmony is a matter of getting in tune with God! He is the Music and He is the Maestro! Until you harmonize with Him you will ever be out of tune with life, and love and hope! The inspiring music you just enjoyed happened because all the musicians got in tune with each other and the musical score.
Get Your Tone – Vv. 3-8
Harmony is a matter finding your tone. Each of those lovely Irish ladies sang a separate part. One was a soprano, one was a second soprano, one was an alto, and one sang the melody. In the orchestra, each instrument has a unique sound and different notes that when played correctly blended into beautiful music.
Similarly, in the church, each believer has unique gifts and talents that must be recognized, acknowledged and committed in concert with other believers in the church. When each plays his part, the church makes inspiring music for the glory of God!
Get His Timing
Every song has a time signature. For the music to work, the tune must be correct and in tone and then done together with the proper timing. The notes and the words must all be played and sung together at the same time and in the right way!
If this analogy makes sense to you, understand that it is a beautiful illustration of the Church! That is how God designed His church. It is not a place for solos or for stars to perform. It is a fellowship of God-lovers presenting a concert of love in unity with His Spirit and one another. At the heart of the harmony is humility.
The Church of Jesus Christ is better when each of us blend with all of us! When I humbly honor you and merge my talents with yours we hit all the right notes for God and He is glorified!
II. Let’s Think About Humility
My favorite definition of humility comes from Dr. Elton Trueblood, the great Quaker scholar and theologian. He wrote, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, humility is not thinking of yourself at all."
If humility is anything, it is certainly removing your self-interest from the spiritual equations of your life. It is being delivered from the natural human inclination to ask, "What's in it for me?" Humility is "seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness". Humility is factoring how you can benefit God and others.
Pictures work better than words, so let’s look at the best picture of humility - EVER!
Be invested in interests of others
Give up your “god complex” – (pride)
Die to self
Live to glorify God
Harmony is preserved and protected by humility.
Each member of the orchestra must agree to play his part and only his part, nothing more or less. Perhaps there is a brief solo piece somewhere in the score for the concert, but the beautiful music is realized when each member plays his music in a way that blends with the other instruments.
Leonard Bernstein was once asked which instrument was the most difficult to play. He thought for a moment and then replied, "The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm - that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony."
WILL YOU BE WILLING TO PLAY SECOND FIDDLE?
III. Let’s Harmonize!
Mark Twain once said, "I built a cage and in it I put a dog and a cat. After a little training I got the dog and the cat to the point where they lived peaceably together. Then I introduced a pig, a goat, a kangaroo, some birds, and a monkey. And after a few adjustments, they learned to live in harmony together. So encouraged was I by such successes that I added an Irish Catholic, a Presbyterian, a Jew, a Muslim from Turkestan, and a Buddhist from China, along with a Baptist missionary that I captured on the same trip. And in a very short time, there wasn’t a single living thing left in the cage."
The challenge to harmony is many different types of instruments played by many different people and they need to play in such a way that it sounds like one!
AS I WRAP THIS UP THIS MORNING I WANT TO SHOW YOU TWO EXAMPLES OF THE POWER OF HARMONY. ONE IN A NEGATIVE SENSE AND ONE IN A POWERFUL POSITIVE SENSE:
God says in Genesis 11:6, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." God realizes that when people are unified in purpose they can accomplish impossible feats, both noble and ignoble. This is why unity in the body of Christ is so important.
Acts 2:1-6 – “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.”
WHEN WE COME INTO UNITY OF PURPOSE
WHEN WE COME INTO COMMUNITY AND SERVE IN OUR PLACES
WHEN WE COME INTO SINCERE LOVE AND FIND OUR PASSION
WHEN WE FIND THE PEACE THAT COMES FROM GRACE-GIVING, AND ENTERING INTO EACH OTHER’S JOYS AND PAIN, AND LIVING HUMBLY – THE GOD WILL BRING US HARMONY AND MAKE US A SYMPHONY OF HIS LOVE AND POWER!
YOU KNOW HOW YOU SOMETIMES GET A CATCHY TUNE IN YOUR MIND AND YOU CAN’T GET IT OUT…….?
That is what God wants Christians to be. It is what He wants churches to be.
Is your life in tune with God?
Do you have harmony in your life? In your marriage? In your fellowship?