Text: John 4:19-22
Scripture Background: this is the familiar tale of the Samaritan woman. Jesus has been confronting her with her sin, and to redirect the conversation, and show Jesus that she is religious, she brings up another subject.
Proposition: There is a proper mindset in worshipping God.
Interrogative: What is the proper mindset of worship?
Introduction: To day we hear a great deal in Christian circles about worship. We have praise and worship music, we have worship teams, and we call the morning service “worship service.” But we often do not stop to consider what true worship is. When we meet together, are we worshipping the Lord? Is there a prescribed method of worshipping God? Is there a specific type of song we should sing in worshipping God? In many churches today worship seems to be completely a matter of opinion. We see signs advertising traditional worship, followed by contemporary worship. Without a set standard of what worship is or should be it is left up to the individual to decide what his method will be. The result is a confusion and often catastrophe, as worship is degenerated further and further. There is ample proof that, when left to his own designs, man will bring worship down, not raise it up. What is needed is a return to the Biblical concept of worship. Unfortunately, this study is often left unknown and undone.
Transition: There are three truths given in
Scripture regarding worship.
I. The first truth is that worship is a matter of the heart. John 4:19
a. The woman asks where, but Jesus turns the focus away from the location, or the external, and focuses on the heart, or internal.
b. Worship is done not externally, but internally, in your spirit. For example, I heard a devotional recently, and I am sure you have all heard something like this. The speaker remarked that here, we are made to attend church. Then he asked how many of us, when home and faced with a choice whether or not to attend church would still “worship God.” That is an interesting thought, but often we think that simply by the outward action of attending church, we are worshipping God. It has nothing to do with whether or not you attend church. Not once is church spoken of in the New Testament as the location of worship. It is a matter of the heart.
Transition: If worship is internal, the question might be asked why we don’t just sit around and meditate on God? Because while worship is internal, it also triggers outward action. The next two truths focus on the outward manifestation of worship. In the Bible, often see worship associated with bowing. While we are not specifically commanded to bow, this does show us the second truth about worship.
II. The second truth is that worship requires a mindset of humility . Ps. 5:7
a. The first perspective is the perspective of God. Ps. 5:7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. When you fear and bow before something, you are ascribing worth to that object. We do not bow to something that is our equal, only to things above us. Not simply above us, but far above us. I might show respect, even honor, to one of my teachers, but I will not bow to them. You may have heard or read of great rulers in the past who where referred to as “your worship.” Even Webster’s acknowledges this usage, as a title given to rulers or magistrates. We only worship things to which we ascribe great worth
b. The second perspective is the perspective of ourselves. Psa. 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
Psa 132:7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. We see from these verses that David had a proper view of himself. Not only does the idea of bowing show the great worth ascribed to someone else, but also the little worth ascribed to the worshipper. When you bow before someone or something, the attention is not drawn to you. All the glory and attention is pointed and drawn toward the object of your worship. You are saying, “I am nothing worthy of consideration. Look at Him!” David repeats the idea of bowing at His footstool. The footstool is not the position taken by the honored guest. It is the position of the humble, beseeching servant, who does not feel himself worthy of looking upon or touching his lord.
III. The third truth is that worship is a measure of our love. John 4:21
God himself is rarely seen giving specific commands to worship. While we understand the principles of inspiration, generally it is a man telling us we should worship God. This is one of the rare cases when God requests our worship. Jesus says that God is seeking people to worship Him, who will show Him what he is worth to them. How much do you love Him? Is he worth much to you? This might not seem to have much to do with what is true worship, but it is actually vital. If you want to show someone their worth to you, you do things they want, things that will be pleasing to them, not you. God is asking you to show Him your love.
Conclusion: These truths should cause us to rethink our method and mindset when we worship. The fact that God never prescribes a certain method of worship leaves us a great freedom, but at the same time presents great restriction. We are commanded several times to worship God “in the beauty of His holiness.” This should decide many of the questions we have about what is and is not permissible in worship. We can direct our worship toward many different facets of God’s character, and hence have great freedom of worship, but we must not violate another side of his character. For example, we know that God is a God of order, so our worship must be orderly. We are told that God is holy and that we must worship Him “in the beauty of His holiness,” so our worship must reflect that part of His character. So is music a part of worship? Not necessarily, but it can be as long as it doesn’t violate the principles and character of God. Is even preaching a part of worship? It can be, with the same stipulations. Our worship is a matter of the heart, requiring two proper perspectives. If we can return to a Biblical concept of worship, it would solve many problems in the church today. I challenge you to consider these truths, and worship God in “spirit and in truth.”