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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Communication: Matching the message and content

The content of a believers communication will usually always be truths from God's word. Those truths, whether the gospel of salvation or the doctrine of separation, or the many other truths found in scripture,  all need to be a consistent presentation of that content. 
This is mostly and can be easily seen in music, but can also be seen in preaching and teaching.  For example: the great hymn "A Mighty Fortress is our God" speaks of the great power and sustaining stronghold of The Almighty.  The melody of that hymn adds to the content simply because there is a sense of strength and power in the very melody.  For instance: holding a note to emphasize a strong word or having a strong word land on a note that is prominant in the melody. There would be a very different message presented if that hymn was sung to, say a clown theme or happy birthday.  There isn't anything wrong with those other melodies, but there would be an obvious confusion about what the hymn is about.  Because there is that consistency in this, and so many other great hymns, there is also much more clarity and very few, if any at all, questions regarding the content and message.
In the midst of doing research, I came across the lyrics of a testimonial worship song.  The lyrics were beautiful and very obviously a proclamation of the author dedicating his life to Christ.  It was both an encouragement and convicting to read.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord was pleased with the heart of the author.  I downloaded the whole song and listened to it.  I was trying to follow along with the lyrics, however it was too difficult.   I could hardly understand the lyrics, though they were right in front of me.  I couldn't even tell when the chorus started or if the next verse had started.  The music and the way that this person was "singing" did not line up at all with the message that was conveyed through reading the lyrics. 
This can also be observed in preaching.   Almost all preachers today want what they say to be heard and understood.  Some pastors have preached messages that are uncomfortable,  yet need to be heard, but perhaps for fear of becoming unliked or offensive,  they will fill a lot of the message with feel-good stories or jokes. This is, not only inconsistent, but in opposition to the commands found in God's Word.  Perhaps,  a teacher will not take the time to explain the things he says.  This can create a lot of confusion.
Here is a little experiment that can be done with children.  Pay attention to them when they say "I love you".  Sometimes it will be with all sincerity, sometimes it will be joking around or with older kids, it might be said with eye rolling.  If not done in sincerity,  the parents can very easily tell the true content behind those words.
As Christians, and obeying the command to be good stewards of His Word, we need to make sure that what is being taught is God's Word,  but also that it is presented in an unquestionably clear and consistent manner.
Consistency in communication is key if the content is to be clearly understood by, and to not confuse the listener.
1 Corinthians 14:40 "Let all things be done decently and in order."

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