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A follower is a Worshipper

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What if you were to make a list of the most valuable things to you. What would it be to you. Honestly. Let’s say in secret. What would it be, even things you don’t have. Would it be the winning mega-millions ticket? A super bowl ticket, a great career, a nice house, a good family. What is worth the most to you.
Lately, we have been discussing various traits associated with being a Jesus follower. A follower is growing. A follower is a prayer a follower has seen who Jesus is, a follower is strong. Another way you can tell if you are a follower of Jesus is that a follower is a worshipper.
A follower is a worshipper.
A worshipper is a result of your relationship to Jesus Christ. You worship in proportion to your relationship with Jesus. Worship quite simply means worth-ship.
Worship means worth-ship.
We are constantly making decisions everyday on how much value we give something. Whatever we spend our time on is what we are valuing at that moment. This changes and it has to change, and that is ok. For instance, on Sunday someone may place a lot of worth on football. They watch football every Sunday. At that moment football is worth a lot to them. However, come Monday getting to work may have a very high worth. We have priorities. Things which we know are important at what time and we place them in comparison order.
So when we are talking about worshipping Jesus, we are talking about placing Him in overall status of High Worth. An overall top priority so that ALL things are filtered through the supreme worth of Christ.
For instance, someone may place at the supreme point of worth in their lives. Yet on one particular Sunday morning a family member is ill, and needs care. That doesn’t mean that they say I can’t care for you, I have to go to go to church. It means they see the Supreme value of Christ, they try and live a life like Jesus lived and they see the worth and value of the sick and care for that as Jesus would care for that person. Thus giving supreme worth-ship to Jesus by caring for this person, rather than attending Church.
However there is a danger. As we shift our priorities, and move about through this fast paced life, we are constantly switching priorities, our enemy the devil prowls around looking to destroy, and sin creeps in and suddenly we start to elevate other things to the same worth, or even exceeding the worth of Christ in our lives.
Perhaps at first, this thing really seems that I should do instead of spending Jesus, and it is valid, like the sick person. But perhaps, we are up too late one night and we don’t spend time with God next morning, then gradually it is more and more other priorities, and those things gradually have more worth in our lives rather than Jesus.
Todays’s text and the point of the message today, is that Jesus calls us to something more. He calls us to place Him as the person of greatest worth in our life always not for one hour Sunday but continually. The question for us today is how do we do that?
Two weeks ago, we read John chapter 9 about a man born blind. At the end of the passage, when the man encounters Jesus in verse 38 John writes.
John 9:38 NIV
Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshipped him."
The man who was born blind and can suddenly see, says first, Lord I believe. Then, John wrote he worshipped Jesus. Jesus gave him evidence that Jesus cared for him. That this condition of the man was not something that would define him the rest of life. That God did not abandon Him, that God still cared for him.
Jesus also gave Him proof that he had power to change His life. That His power was not only available but also effective for change by opening the eyes of the Blind man.
And Jesus gave him evidence of his divine authority by declaring that he was the son of the man.
In this mans eyes those things were enough evidence and proof that Jesus was who he said he was, a living God that cares for people, and has the power by who he is to change lives. Because of that evidence, Jesus was of great worth to the man.
The man recognized the supreme worth and value of Jesus. He placed Jesus at the top of His list. He showed Jesus that Jesus was supremely valuable to him. Most likely by bowing down at his feet. Perhaps, at his feet. In other places, like John 12, a woman poured her expensive perfume on Jesus's feet and then kissed his feet. Again, she is showing that Jesus is of great worth.
In the ancient Hebrew mind the word for worship is associated with bowing down. These two ideas of bowing down and showing worth are a yielding or a submitting to someone or something that is worth more than oneself.
An important text on worship is in John chapter 4. That is our text today, John 4:1-23.
Scripture Reading
John 4:1-23.
John 4:1–23 NIV
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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.
Jesus is heading to Galilee from Jerusalem. He is heading north and he passes through the region of Samaria. Perhaps you know the history of Samaritans and Jews, They don’t get along.
Originally, the kingdom of Israel was one Nation. After king Solomon died his son Rehoboam became king. He was rather cruel to the people, they rebelled and 10 tribes of the North broke off and formed their own kingdom. The northern kingdom was called Israel and the Southern Kingdom was called Judah.
The northern kingdom people originally knew the true God. They originally worshipped in Jerusalem, with a pure heart, but after the split, had a real problem with worship.
Worship occurred in the temple. The temple was in Jerusalem, which was in the southern kingdom. The people of the Northern kingdom had to set up their own places of worship. At first they had a legitimate reason for not going to Jerusalem, but eventually any attempt to repair that reason was lost. Their hearts were fully dedicated to this sin of division.
Because they were not worshipping in the temple in Jerusalem they started to lose the true view of God. Worship should point our hearts and spirits toward the true God. Instead, their worship be influenced by the surrounding culture. The northern kingdom intermarried into the surrounding pagan tribes, so with marital influence, and without close contact to the religious center their worship really took on a style that was quite different to the true worship that God was calling to them to.
Their worship was not just simply the God of the Bible at the position of greatest worth. They also placed worth and value on the surrounding peoples gods. They elevated the surrounding culture and religions to equal position as the true God of the Bible. They also elevated their sin of pride and division. Somehow they believed that it was more valuable or more important to them to maintain the division rather than do what God says.
Eventually, God sent prophets to call the people back to him, and they stubbornly refused. God then sent the Assyrians to invade, and the 10 tribes of the North were scattered.
When we come to today’s text we see that Jesus travels right into this area. During Jesus’s time the wounds that caused the split, were far from being healed. Samaritans and Jews were still deeply divided. So much so that jews usually walked far out of their way to avoid going through Samaria.
Jesus, travelling in the heat of the mideastern sun, is tired and needs a drink and sits down at a well. A Samaritan woman approaches, and they start to have a conversation.
Everything about this passage is talking about division. Jews and Samaritans are sharply divided. The are racially divided. They are religiously divided. Jesus is a single man and she is a woman, and a woman who is probably an outcast and certainly who has a reputation for loose morals.
And as they sit by the well, they talk. Jesus and the woman, about as far apart as any two people in all of the Bible. And the conversation reflects that. Jesus asks for water, she questions that request. WhenJesus starts a spiritual discussion, the woman does not catch on until Jesus says something that gets her attention.
He starts to talk about her sin. It’s when Jesus mentions her sin that starts to draw into the spiritual. At verse 16 Jesus says,
John 4:16–18 NIV
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
Jesus starts to talk about her sin and then he has her spiritual attention. Why is that? Essentially, the root of our sin, is an ability to worship Jesus. Sin is placing something, someone above Jesus. Giving more worth to that thing than to Jesus.
Whatever it is that drew this woman to men, wether it was loneliness or lust or some other hurt , she placed her need to feel better as the most important thing. She elevated the worth of her hurt above Jesus. So she turned to men rather than turn to Jesus.
The fact that Jesus can tell her these things without even knowing her seems to her supernatural. This gets the woman’s attention. Today, we get that same conviction of sin on us supernaturally by the Holy Spirit through the word of God. As the word of God is read or preached the Holy Spirit brings that to bear on our soul, and we realize the state we are in. We realize our worth and quickly realize that we have fallen short of the standard of God.
To this woman it is clear that Jesus has something clearly supernatural about him. So she changes the discussion to one of theology. She questions this great division.
John 4:19–20 NIV
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
The people from the Northern kingdom could not go to Temple, that was in Jerusalem, so they set up their own worship center here in Samaria. It was on mount Gerizim. This woman says, yeah Jesus, I am a sinner sure, but you know there is a real problem with the church. What about this question of worship? It is almost as if you were talking to someone in the 21st century right?
I mean imagine talking to a non-believer and they are yeah sure I am drinking, but you know the church is so messed up too. They can’t agree on anything.
John 4:21–23 NIV
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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.
The question the woman posed was which one this one or that one. Who is right? Pick a side, Jesus which is the right church.
AndJesus says neither. It is not a matter of this one over that one. That is not the issue. Far and above the most important thing about worship is not the external things, but the internal things.
Jesus said a time is coming and has come that will change everything we know about worship. Up until this time how and where worship is done is of utmost importance. Pages ands pages of the Old Testament describe exactly how the temple sacrifices are to be carried out, the Jews are extremely careful about all of that.
But a time has come, Jesus said that will change all of that. Jesus is here now. The time is coming for Jesus to go the cross, and it is in that cross that all other worship will fall away. All of the externals will fall away because He will change the heart. He will change the heart from sin to Him.
The time is here Jesus said, look at John 17, verse 1.
John 17:1 NIV
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
Jesus is glorified when he goes to the cross for our sins. Jesus is glorified when are sins our removed. The sacrificial system of the temple is about to fall away. There will no longer be a divide, there will no longer be a division, there will no longer be a need to pay for sins with animal blood. And this new glorification of Jesus, this is elevating Jesus to the ultimate worth.
When we have faith in Jesus that he is who he says is, the Lord of the universe. When we trust in Jesus to pay the price for those things that we have placed a higher value of than Jesus, we can turn to Jesus and give Him the ultimate worth in our life, and we worship him.
Before Jesus our worship is false. It is in authentic. We are just rolling in and out of temple going out of duty, trying to find the right way to worship, yet all the while the things keeping us from worship is our sin. It is those things that we place more value on than Jesus. Things like Money or pleasure or pride or whatever it is that we place more value on.
But after Jesus, after Jesus went to the cross our sins can be forgiven, those things that were top on our list of value are now gone. The Holy Spirit miraculously changes our heart. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth -John 15:26
John 15:26 NIV
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.
The Holy Spirit teaches us the Truth of who Jesus is, the most valuable person in our life, the most supreme person of value in the whole universe. And with our whole spirit we then elevate Jesus. We give Him worship, by bowing down to him in all we do, and with all we have and with all we are.
This is true worship as Jesus says in verse 23.
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.
It is an authentic worship where we are giving Jesus full-time supreme value in every part of our life. This true and authentic worshipper is the kind of worshipper the Father seeks.
What other kind of worship is there? There is also false worship. It is when your heart is not in it. It is when your heart is not devoted to the true person of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes over time as we try and manage our many priorities, like work or money or relationships, or anything else the danger is that over time you start to value those things more than the Lord Jesus Christ,
The world, the temptations, the human heart they all try and draw us away from true authentic worship in spirit and truth daily. The enemy the devil prowls around attempting to draw us away from authentic worship of the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Once a week we come together as a a faith family. We are brought together as one body of Christ by our faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and we join together to exalt Jesus. We come together for this hour to remind us, to get us back on track, to reset us for the week to be that reminder to not fall into false worship.
Every week the whole service is carefully put together in an attempt to draw our hearts toward the worship and exaltation of the risen Lord Jesus. You may notice the headings in the bulletin that guide through what we are doing in worship.
We begin by entering into worship together, throwing aside the things of the world as the word of God is calling us into worship.
This week we have the word of God, next. We read and preach the word of God to bear on hearts and mind. We hear His words that should take our hearts and turn them once again back to the risen Lord Jesus from the places we may have been in the week. Then with our hearts turned to Jesus we express our love and dedication to him song. Singing our love to Him exalting him and lifting Him up in our hearts. Then we place God above even our financial needs by sharing the resources he has given us to further His church. And finally, we go back into the world with our hearts set right in faith that the Lord will keep us until we return once again to worship Him.
I encourage you as we move from worship in the word to worship in song that you sing with heart turned to the Lord Jesus as the supreme person of worth in your life.
In Jesus name
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