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Worship in Spirit and Truth

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What is our proper worship?

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Upsetting the Equilibrium

Why are you here? Why this place and right now? I can tell you there is nothing special about the building. No event is taking place. The time is yet another evening for us. Maybe this is a place where you have the opportunity to be with friends. Perhaps an escape from an otherwise boring homework filled night. Might be you came for the games - to have fun. These are not bad reasons to be here. There is something to be said about fellowshipping with your friends. Fun is a noble pursuit, but, we have all, at one point or another, gone to church for the wrong reasons. There should be a better longing - a need to be here. There should exist only one fundamental purpose for gathering together.

Analyzing the Discrepancy

Will you please stand for the reading of God’s Word:
John 4:7–24 NRSV
7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
John 4:16–24 NRSV
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The Word of God for the people of God: you may be seated.
We see in this passage that Jesus is talking to a woman. And if you’ve heard this story before or if you read a little before this passage, Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus speaking to this woman would have been scandalous to the Jewish people. The Samaritans were seen as dogs and there existed a bitter feud between them. The Jews and the Samaritans were people of the same spiritual lineage: same forefathers, same Scriptures, same idea of worship. Throughout the Israelite history, however, a rift formed between them. So much so that the Samaritans built a temple for themselves on Mount Gerizim: rejecting the temple in Jerusalem.
And now Jesus, exhausted from the journey and without His disciples, sat down near a well. When the Samaritan woman approaches the well, Jesus asks for her help. Now Jesus obviously loved this woman because she was a child of God, but He is still crosses painful cultural, racial, religious, and gender divisions to speak with her. She even asks, “How can you ask me for a drink?”
In the midst of their conversation, Jesus asks her to call her husband. The woman responds with a masked truth: I have no husband. Jesus, however, knows this woman. Not only did she not have a husband, but she had five hubands and was living with one who was not her husband.
The Samaritan woman is in shock. “A Jewish prophet is speaking to me. He knows my past.” So, she sees an opportunity. Witnessing Jesus being a prophet, she wishes to know the answer to a burning question. In verse 19 shes says,
John 4:19–20 NRSV
19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”
She outlines the rift between their two peoples: “My people say to worship here and your people say to worship there: who is correct?” What is the proper place to worship. I imagine she expected Jesus (a Jewish prophet in her mind) to say that Jersualem, and not her people’s mountain, was the correct place to worship. Instead, Jesus says neither.
John 4:21 NRSV
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
This is a difficult concept to grasp. When I was growing up, my family went to the same church every Sunday until I was a freshman in high school. That building was my place of worship. When my family departed, because of a same religious rift as the Jews and Samaritans, my avenue to worship God was gone. In fact, I didn’t worship God in any capacity for nearly 10 years afterward. I didn’t comprehend the heart of worship and where it took place.

Disclosing the Clue to Resolution

So where does worship take place? In this building? At your house? At school? With your friends? Where are we supposed to worship and how? Verse 23 says:
John 4:23–24 NRSV
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
:
23-24

Experiencing the Gospel

Jesus says to worship in Spirit and in Truth. To worship, we first must understand the truth. This ultimate and one absolute truth is found only in God the Father, manifest in Jesus Christ, and is witnessed by the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in verse 22:
John 4:22 NRSV
22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
To worship, we must first know to whom we worship. Salvation is from the Jews—from Jesus. He died on the cross and rose again so that we may have life. He saves us from our sinful lives. Worship is foremost surrendering to the will of God and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Without this first step there can be no worship. This is worshipping in truth.

Anticipating the Consequences

We must also worship in Spirit. This goes beyond a physical location. The Holy Spirit is not bound by our physical limitations. He is here with us now! Not because we are at a church or because I have a microphone and lights are shining on me. No, it’s because we are gathered to together in the Spirit of worship. We are gathered here to give praise to God. To pray to him. To listen to the Holy Spirit. To fellowship with one another.
Worship is not a time or a place. I missed this important message when my church split. I viewed worship as a place. With the place gone, I could not worship. I had to realize that worship is what we do as Christ-followers. It is our identity as the people of God.
Because we love God we should NEED to worship. Every second of every day of our life should be worshipping God! When you are at school, you should be honoring Him with your lips. The people you hang out with, your actions, the way you serve all can be acts of worship - provided they bring glory to God. Do you honor your father and mother at home and respect them - this is glorifying God.
It is what we do as Christ-followers. Because we love God we should NEED to worship. Every second of every day of our life should be worshipping God! When you are at school, you should be honoring Him with your lips. The people you hang out with, your actions, the way you serve all can be acts of worship - provided they bring glory to God. Do you honor your father and mother at home and respect them - this is glorifying God.
We have this pre-conceived notion that worship is just the music time during service. While it absolutely is this, it is so much more. Our every breath should be worshipping God. Music is just one outlet to worship. Prayer is another. Our tithes and offering, fellowship, reading His Word, listening to the Holy Spirit.
So, how do we enter into a time of worship with God? You already have. The reason you are here, the fundamental purpose for your existence and presence in this place, is to worship God. We need to surrender ourselves to God and to the power of His Holy Spirit. Then we will be led in worship. Does this include raising our hands in praise? It can. Does it involve kneeling at the altar. Sure - if the Holy Spirit directs you there. Can I just stand still and worship? Of course! You can worship in whatever posture you feel comfortable - provided you are following the Holy Spirit’s leading. Trust me - when the Holy Spirit moves you’ll know.
Maybe this evening you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You can’t worship in truth because your heart doesn’t understand that truth. Tonight is the time to surrender yourself to God and turn your heart to Him. Worship with those around you in both Spirit and truth. Your adult leaders, including myself, are available to pray with you and answer any questions you may have if you’re feeling led to give your Heart to Jesus this evening.
My friends, we are a people of God called to worship God. In everything we do, we should be glorifying Him. Worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Will you join me in prayer as we continue to worship...
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