Last week at CrossHope Chapel we looked at John 4:1-45 and afterwards I found myself wishing I had invested more time on Jesus’ words “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23, ESV).
I have been feeling that I may have given it too much of a simplistic spin when I tried to illustrate the issue as two pitfalls of chrismania feelings and factual assent. I believe it is true that too many in the American church are absorbed with high living rather than high thinking and unfortunately “worship” for many has become an activity for self gratification rather than glorification of the God we claim to serve.
Worship is something we can understand as being a relationship with our Heavenly Father. The closer we come to God, in heart knowledge and head knowledge, the stronger our relationship becomes. We know that God is love, and as we learn to express love for Him – in worshiping Him in our heart and head – we draw closer to Him in both “spirit and truth.”
We worship God in “truth” because we recognize the unwavering authoritative Scripture (John 17:17). Truth is not what we may feel or assume, it is not subject to opinion, nor is it progressive to cultural changes.
Scripture tells us that truth brings us freedom (John 8:32), that Jesus is truth (John 14:6), and that the church ought to be an unmovable pillar of truth in the world (1 Timothy 3:15). Truth is truly the center-post of our worship of God.
We worship God because there is none other, because He alone is worthy to be praised, and because He is holy, righteous, and just! We see from the truth of the Bible that God is for us, that He seeks after us, and that He has a plan to give us hope and a future!
We worship God in “spirit” because He is more than what is written on a scroll. We love our spouse because they are more than what is written on a certificate of marriage.
With the coming of the Messiah, man is no longer bound to outward conformity of rituals or locations of worship in Samaria or Jerusalem. With the coming of His Spirit we can now worship Him inwardly and anywhere.
It’s not that an outward expression is of no value, it is just that true worship is not dependent on the external or defined by the outside, but in the heart, through our attitude, and by our sincere intent. Outwardly the women at the well was recognized as having a bad reputation, but Jesus was able to see in her heart and draw out her sincere intent for truth.
It’s possible to have the outward appearance of being a Christian, but we all know that what makes us a Christian is what’s on the inside, not what’s on the outside.
Let’s keep in mind this week that our Father in Heaven is looking for us to worship Him in “spirit and truth” – in spirit through a relationship of our heart and truth through faith in the word of God.