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True Worshipers

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:32
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This morning we will be looking at part of the conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman he met at a well when he travelled through Samaria.
Let’s review some of the context before jumping right into the text for today. Last week we read from the ESV. Today, I will be reading from the NASB.
John 4:1–4 NASB95
Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria.
Jesus was going to minister in Galilee after working in Judea.
As we mentioned the past couple weeks, John 4:4 says, “He had to go through Samaria.” He had to go because he was here on Earth to seek and save the lost. He knew that this woman needed him, the savior of the world. He knew the people of Sychar needed to be saved. So, he took the hard road to reach them; he went through Samaria.
That, to me, is a beautiful picture of how Jesus has gone out of his way to reach out to us! Jesus left Heaven to come to Earth. He willingly laid aside the glory He shared with the Father, coming as a man. He came not only as a man, but as a servant, instead of the exalted King that He is. He came not only as a servant that humbly served those who were not willing, nor thankful, and even laid down his life to save us after taking time to reach out in love and compassion to show us that He is our savior! He did all of that while we were his enemies! And, he reached out to me, he reached out to you to be sure we heard the gospel. He met us where we were and drew us to Himself just like he did with this Samaritan woman! What a wonderful savior!
When Jesus went through Samaria, he met this Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well.
John 4:5–18 NASB95
So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”
I love this account of Him reaching out to this woman that apparently did not have other friends. This woman who had sought after meaning and fulfillment in life through relationship after broken relationship.
He reaches out to her, not condemning her for adultery, but rather applauding her when she told the truth that she did not have a husband. What a wonderful savior that leads us to salvation through his kindness, rather than condemnation.
At this point in his conversation with the woman, he has shown that he is no ordinary man. He knows things—she had 5 husbands, and not a live-in boyfriend—things that he could not know as an ordinary man. We know that he knew this because He is God come as a man.
She did not know that yet. Instead she thought… well let’s read it together.
John 4:19–26 NASB95
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.
John 4:19 NIV
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
When Jesus told her about her life of having 5 husbands, and now a live-in, she had to be astonished. There is no way he could have known that. So, she concludes he must have a connection with God. He must be a prophet.
Samaritans only accepted the first five books of the Old Testament as scripture, and revered Moses as a true prophet. They did not accept the other prophets of the Old Testament, but were looking forward to another prophet because Moses had prophesied...
Deuteronomy 18:18 NIV
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.
From this prophecy through Moses, the Samaritans were looking for a prophet, and they linked this prophet with the promised Messiah.
So, when Jesus tells this woman what she has done, she realizes there is more to this guy than just being a Jew. He is a prophet! And, since He is a prophet, he should be able to help her.
John 4:20 NIV
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Why would she go to this question? Where are we to worship?
I think this woman was just like you and me. She knew all she had done, and she knew the law. She knew that her wrong choices in life needed to be addressed.
She also knew that the law required that sin required sacrifice. The punishment for sin is death, and a sacrifice should be made.
The problem was, where to do the sacrifice.
She drew a sharp comparison between Our Fathers and the Jews. In the NIV this is translated ancestors, but it is literally, our fathers.
Pointing back to Abraham, Jacob and Moses, the Samaritans saw Mt. Gerizim as the place that was blessed, and where worship of the Lord should be done.
The Samaritans had done sacrifices in Mt. Gerizim where Moses had instructed the Israelites to rehearse the law. However, the Jews had destroyed their temple.
The Jews claimed the sacrifices needed to be done in Jerusalem. Moses had said they should worship in the place God established His name. Later, in 2 Chronicles 6:6 we see God choosing Jerusalem.
However, the Samaritans taught the the Jews were wrong for having a temple in Jerusalem because they did not view anything apart from the first five books of Moses as scripture.
Where could she go, make the proper sacrifices and worship the Lord?
As a Samaritan, she would not have accepted the Psalms as scripture. However, in her experience of life, guilt and shame, I wonder if she felt like David in Psalm 32?
Psalm 32:1–5 NIV
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
I wonder if she felt the weight of her sin like David did? Have you ever felt that weight? That separation from God? Have you ever just longed for things to be made right again?
This woman longed for the forgiveness, but there was no temple to do the sacrifice on Mt. Gerizim, and she grew up hearing Jerusalem was wrong. What could she do? Hopefully this prophet could help her...
John 4:21 NIV
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
Remember this term, ‘woman’, is more like a gentle, kind reference, probably better translated, ‘My lady..’.
Jesus tells her that the place of worship is not what is so important.
Where she looked to the fathers—meaning the ancestors—and the traditions and places they handed down, Jesus brought the attention back to the Father—the One we are to focus on in worship!
Even today, too many people are raised up being taught that you must worship in this church, or that church. You must follow this tradition, or that tradition. You must sing this type of song, or read from this translation of the bible.
To think that these rituals are what worship is about is to miss out on True worship.

True Worshipers focus on the Father

The important thing is to focus on the Father, that is, our Heavenly Father! He is the one on whom we need to focus! Our worship needs to be about Him, The Lord of all Creation, The One True God, who is beyond comprehension, yet reveals Himself to us to be known! The One who is exalted above the Heavens, yet is not far off, but near to the broken-hearted and lowly in spirit.
Find a church that will point you to the Father, not to traditions handed down by the church fathers. Things start well, but when they become tradition, things tend morph into what they were never intended to be. When it comes to worship, too often, the tradition becomes the focus, and God is no longer center stage.
True Worshipers focus on the Father!
John 4:22 NIV
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
The Samaritans knew of God, and worshiped, but they did not know the Father. They did not know the whole truth because they failed to listen to the whole of God’s word. They did not fully know the One they needed to truly worship.
The Jews at least had the truth. They had the prophets. They had the truth presented to them as revealed by God.
AND, as Jesus literally said, THE salvation is from the Jews. The Messiah was coming from among the Jews. Even Moses indicated this in Genesis 49:10 when Jacob, renamed Israel, spoke of a descendant of Judah reigning.
But just because the Jews had the whole truth, and the Messiah was coming from the Jews does not mean they were true worshipers.
Jesus went on to say,
John 4:23 NIV84
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
True worshipers worship in spirit and truth.
First, what is worship? Worship takes many forms in the scriptures. We tend to think of singing. However, worship took many forms. Worship: is songs
Worship: is declarations of who God is and what He has done.
Worship: is offerings
Worship: is actions done for Him, caring for others, fulfilling His commands
Worship is meditating on Him.
But Jesus pointed out that the actions of worship are not enough.

True Worshipers worship in spirit...

This is not the Holy Spirit. Rather it is the spirit within us. Every human being has both a physical, material, part to their being, and an immaterial part of their being. We see this all through scripture, starting with when God created the first man Adam. He formed him out of the dust of the ground, and then He breathed into Adam and he became a living soul.
That soul, that immaterial part of man, is the real person. It is described in several ways in the scriptures: the heart, the mind, the soul, the spirit, the inmost being, the self.
The Jews had all of the right instructions for worship. They had the true knowledge of God. They had the covenants God made with them. They had the truth, where the Samaritans did not.
However, all too often, they physically went through with the traditions, but were not inwardly worshiping. They physical being was going through the motions and doing the ‘right’ things, but their spirit was not in it.
Isaiah 29:13 NIV
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Worship in spirit means doing it with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It like the Psalmist when he cried out,
Psalm 103:1 NIV
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Worship is not something to be done as a going through motions.
It is not something we do as a matter of ritual.
It is not to be something we do as, “Well, I have to go to church and sing those songs. Or, “Well, I have to go to church and hear the Bible being read.” Or, “I have to go to church and give my tithe.” Or, “I have to go to church and be with those people.”
It is something that should be done from our inmost being! “I get to go to church and sing praises to my Lord and Savior!” “I get to go to church and hear the Bible being read and taught!” “I get to go to church and give back a tenth or more to my Lord who has always provided for me!” “I get to go to church and be encouraged, and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ!” “I get to go to church and join in prayer!”
Every one of those things is worship! And every one of those things should be done from our hearts, our spirit, our inmost being!
True Worshipers worship in spirit!
For those who just go through the motions, and then walk out the doors to live their lives, This is what God has to say.
Psalm 50:16–20 NIV
But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.
These people would gather for worship, but it was just a recitation. It was not something that was in their hearts. Their words were not from their hearts, and therefore their actions did not follow through what they were saying.
He goes on to say,
Psalm 50:22 NIV
“Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
He does not want those who worship outwardly, yet inwardly do not worship. He does not want those who go through the motions, and then go and live how they please.
And, this verse shows what the problem is. They had the truth, but they did not remember God. They forgot God.
This is the root of wrong worship. It is not done in the spirit. Wrong Worship is not done in truth.
I think Romans 1:21 describes this well, but is more generally applied to all mankind, not just the Jews.
Romans 1:21 NIV
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

True Worshipers worship in spirit and truth

Truth: not worshiping some vague idea.
Truth: not worshiping some unknown God.
Truth: worshiping the God who has revealed Himself.
Truth: worshiping God for who He is, not some opinion about Him.
Truth: worshiping God for who He is, All He is, and All He has done!
And True worship is done in truth, meaning that what I am expressing or doing, I am doing with all my inmost being, and I am expressing truthfully, not just putting on a show of doing the right thing. I am truly meaning what I am saying!
True Worshipers Focus on the Father.
True Worshipers worship in Spirit—with all their inmost being, not just outwardly
True Worshipers worship in Truth—praising God for all He is, all He has done; not forgetting, and not just giving him lip-service.
John 4:23 NIV
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
They are the kind the Father seeks!!
John 4:24 NIV
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
And I love how Jesus wraps this up with this Samaritan woman!
John 4:25–26 NIV
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
I AM!!!
Jesus is the God of all Creation!
He is the One who seeks and saves the Lost.
He is the one who goes out of His way, following the hard road to seek us out!
He is the One who willingly gave up His exalted position in Heaven to serve us!
He is the One who laid down His very life for us!
He is the One who rose from the grave with all authority and power!
He is the one who is exalted at the right hand of the Father!
He is the One who draws all men to himself!
He is the One who gives the gift of the Father!
He gives forgiveness.
He gives peace with God.
He gives peace in this world and its trials. He gives comfort to our souls.
He is the One who gives satisfaction, purpose and meaning!
He is the One who gives the Holy Spirit and power for living!
He is judge and our advocate, standing their defending those who have received Him!
He is the One who calls us friend and brother! He is the One who washes us clean from guilt and shame! He is the One who is the author of our faith! He is our example! He is our Lord who takes glory in us! He is the One who opened the way for us to come to the Father! He is the One who will hear our prayers! He is the One who is with us! He is the One who is building His church, and leading us in triumph! Who will never leave, nor forsake us! He is the One who is preparing a place for us! He is the One who is coming back for us, to take us home! He is the One who will in the end take his stand upon earth, and put an end to sin and death! He is the One who will provide the new Heavens and Earth! He is the One who will be with us for all eternity! He
Psalm 103:1–5 NIV
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Romans 12:1 NIV
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Read the following verses: Dt 6:12; 8:11; Ps 50:22; 106:21; Isa 51:13; 57:11; Jer 2:32; 3:21; 13:25; 18:15; Eze 22:12; 23:35; Hos 8:14; 13:6. What did they do that kept them from being True Worshipers? Are you a true worshiper? How will we keep from being like this? How can we be True Worshipers who focus on the Father?
Read Joel 2:13. Often we go about our lives, and then come back to church and feeling the weight of our sin, we repent. This is good!! However, if our repentance (another act of worship) is just an outward show, it is not true repentance, nor true worship. For what is God looking? What would that look like in your life?
Read Isaiah 12. Note the first verse. Is worship just singing? No, it is also making declarations, saying. Notice the progression. After making the declarations, where does the worship go? See verse 5, and verse 6. What two verbs do you see? Meditate on this passage and follow the progression of worship either personally, or with someone.
Read Exodus 14, and Exodus 15:1-21. What is happening? What is the setting? How does the worship flow from the setting? What has God done for you? Remember and worship!
Read Psalm 103. Ask God to work in your heart, and the hearts of our church family to worship him with all that is within us!
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