The Lord’s Message:  Worship: In Spirit and Truth

The Lord’s Message:  Worship: In Spirit and Truth
Date:  September 17, 2023
Where:  Tilghman Methodist Church
Scripture Reference:  John 4: 19-26

            This is the third message of our sermon series, Worship.  The first message was that God desires to have a relationship with us.  We are created in the image of God.  God loves us.  In 1Timothy 2:3-4, Paul says that God wants an eternal relationship with.  Our worship of God is because of the relationship that He wants with us.  Last Sunday’s message was that God knows us and loves us.  There are circumstances in life that trap people.  They are not responsible for the circumstances.  God knows us and loves us.  Then there are circumstances that we are responsible for.  Those are the times that we disobey God.  The Bible calls this sin.  God knows us and loves us.  We can praise and worship God in all the circumstances in life.  This Sunday, we are going to explore how we should worship God.

            Let us pray.

            Jesus is continuing talking with the Samaritan woman at the well.  She is uncomfortable with Jesus telling her that He knows that she has had 5 husbands and the man that she is living with is not her husband and changes the subject.  Even though, I explained, this is not her doing but a circumstance of the male dominated culture.  She has no control over her circumstances.

            In verses 19-20, the subject that she moves to is one that is controversial among Jews and Samaritans, where should one worship God?  This began when the nation of Israel divided into the nations of Judah and Israel.  After King Solomon passed away the people asked his son, Rehoboam, if he was going to tax them as heavily as his father had.  His response was that he would tax them even harder.  The ten tribes to the north separated themselves from King Rehoboam’s reign.  Only the tribes of Benjamin and Judah stayed.  King Jeroboam became king of the ten tribes and called the new nation Israel.  In 1 Kings 12:26-30, he sets up the worship of the golden calf.  Now, at this point, I do not think they are worshipping the golden calf.  Of course, the Jewish people worship God in Jerusalem. 

            In verse 21, Jesus answered her that it does not matter where you worship God.   We can worship God in church.  We can worship God in a house.  We can worship God in a boat.  We can worship God in a car.  We can worship God under a tree.  We can worship God everywhere.  The place does not matter where we worship God.  It is important that we worship God every day. 

            In verse 22, Jesus says that she does not know who she is worshipping.   In Acts 17:23-28, Paul tells the people in Athens that they have been worshipping an unknown god.   Today, many people do not know who God is.  They call God karma, Supreme Being, the Great Maker, Creator, the Divine One, etc. They worship God, but they do not know who He really is. 

            In verses 23-24, Jesus continues this conversation, saying that the true worshiper’s worship in Spirit and Truth.  What does it mean to worship in Spirit and Truth?  The truth is Jesus.  The truth centers on Jesus being the Son of God.  The truth centers on what Jesus does.  Jesus teaches the kingdom of God, performs miracles, and saves people from their sins.  Jesus is our hope, Colossians 1:4-6.  Jesus is the way to eternal life, John 3:16-18.  Jesus is the way to God, John 14:6. 

            Spirit is difficult to figure.  In John 3:5-8, Jesus tells us about this Spirit.  Is it our spirit or is it God’s Holy Spirit?  It is both.  Our spirit combined with God’s Holy Spirit brings about our sincere worship of God.  John Piper explains this as “True worship comes only from the spirits made alive and sensitive by the quickening of the Spirit of God.”

            Our worship of God engages both the head and the heart.  The head knows the Truth. The heart is moved by the Spirit.  We too often focus on the externals of worship; the building, the music, the person giving the message, the singer and/or musician, or how many are in attendance.  Now, I will say that these are not insignificant, they are the important to our worship.  I told you earlier that we can worship God anywhere.  If the music is traditional hymns, contemporary, or Gregorian chants, the music inspires our worship, but it should not be of major importance.  The person giving the message is not insignificant.  This person should not talk so fast that it is hard to keep up with what they are saying.  The words used in the message should not be difficult to understand.  There should have been much prayer to make sure that the speaker is giving an accurate and truthful message from God.  The singer and/or musician should not be the focus, they are not the star, but their talents should enhance the worship.  The attendance should not be the focus of worship.  Jesus says in Matthew 18:20. Paul says in Romans 12:1-3, that daily we should worship God.  So, whether we are engaged in private or corporate worship, the focus should be on God. 

            The externals should not hinder our worship, because worship comes from our heart.  The focus of our hearts should be on Jesus.  The Samaritan woman knows that her focus should be on the Messiah, but she is unsure if the Jewish man speaking to her is Him, verse 25.  In verse 26, Jesus dismisses all her doubts. 

            Worship of God should be in Spirit and Truth.  We should worship Jesus from our hearts and our heads.   Amen. 

            The Mission Statement for the Global Methodist Church is Our Mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.

            The Mission of the church:

            Anchored in our belief in Jesus Christ, the Church is of God and will be preserved to the end of time to worship God in spirit and in truth, to faithfully preach God’s Word and offer the holy sacraments, to edify all who believe and encourage them to grow in their lives of holiness and service to others, to minister to those who are in special need, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to present the world with a clear and compelling invitation to accept Jesus Christ as Lord. All those of every age and station stand in need of the grace that God has promised to extend to others through His Body, the Church. While it is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of individuals, ours is the task of sharing the good news of God as we respond to the summons of Christ in Matthew 28: “As you are going, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you,” even as Christ has promised to remain with us always, “even to the end of the age.”

            This Vision Statement is Our Vision is to join God in a journey of bringing new life, reconciliation, and the presence of Christ to all people, and to helping each person reflect the character of Christ.

September 19, 2023 12:34 pm