True Worship of the Father

True Worship of the Father

Home Church Service 5/28/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“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 4:21–26 (NASB95)

We return to our study of John chapter 4 and the conversation between Yeshua and the Samaritan woman. In our first message on this chapter, Thirst for Truth, we learned that things are not always what they appear to be, in fact, the traditional teaching on chapter 4 may be completely off base! We assume that this woman comes to the well at the hottest part of the day to avoid the judgmental glances and whispers of the other women gathered at the well to collect water. We also assume she has some sort of sexual sin in her past because she is living with a man not her husband, after having five pervious failed marriages. However, there is truly nothing in the text that leads us to believe this is true. Perhaps this woman’s routine has been upset by some unforeseen event and she is just now able to get her water for the day. It is also possible that the previous five marriages did not fail but, perhaps, the husbands died, or they committed the act of adultery. The point is, we have “Westernized” this story to fit into some sort of spiritual category, when in fact we have misinterpreted what is happing in the text.

Which brings us to our next section of this passage when the conversation turns to the subject of worship. It is at this point in the traditional interpretation where we assume the woman is changing the subject to avoid the condemnation that must surely be coming. Instead, let us look at the alternative interpretation of this passage. Having spent time with Yeshua, the woman now feels comfortable enough to break tradition and climb over the wall of forbidden associations. Remember, last week we learned that the Samaritans are part of the remnant God has kept for Himself from the ten lost tribes of Israel, the Northern King tribes. Thus, the Samaritans and the Jews share a view of worship that differs in location. Yeshua is about to set the record straight and show that it is not the place that matter but the manner in which True Worship of the Father must take place.

Jesus tells the Samaritan woman True Worship of the Father will not happen on a mountain or in Jerusalem, but the time has now come to worship in spirit and in truth. The woman claims the Messiah is coming to declare all things, but Jesus declares He is the coming Messiah.

Yeshua, the Christ, speaks with authority when He declares that the place of worship does not matter, but rather, the manner has now changed. True Worship of the Father must be done in spirit and in truth, for these are the people God wants as His worshipers.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What is True Worship of the Father?”

True Worship of the Father is not about the place of worship, but rather the manner of worship. 

1). We must first understand that True Worship of the Father means we worship God from the core of who we are.

To worship God in spirit is to have a soul connected to God.

Let me begin by asking a question. What does it mean to worship God in spirit? Worship comes from the old English word worth-ship meaning that we ascribe or declare that something or someone is worthy of our worship. The Greek word for “worship’ implies an attitude of reverence. Worship then is a life response to the worthiness of its object. When we worship God, we do so in response to who He is and what He has done. Our attitudes and actions reflect that we believe the character and conduct of God to be worthy of praise and adoration.

Worship can be expressed through corporate prayer, teaching, and prayer, but worship can also be expressed in our daily lives through music, prayer, Scripture reading, acts of kindness, gratitude, and love for others. Worship in spirit and in truth happen together, at the same time. Our spirit is the core of who we are – the center of our choices, our will, and emotions. This is where our soul lives! So, to worship God in spirit means we must worship God from a soul that is connected to God, for this is where the soul lives and to whom our soul belongs.

The Samaritan Jews are Mt. Gerizim-centered Israelites in their understanding of the Torah, while the Jews were Mt. Zion-centered in their interpretation of the same Scriptures, admittedly, with occasional variations. The question of where to worship may seem insignificant to the Christian today who states, “Jesus is in MY life as a PERSONAL Lord and Savior,” the emphasis on the individual. But let’s face it, when the Samaritan woman brings up the issue of worship of the Father, it will have tremendous and far-reaching impact on the entire world. For so long, Christians have been taught that Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus, and yes, that is true, but it is NOT the main thrust of the gospel message! God sent His Son, Yeshua, into the world to save the entire world. Not all will accept this invitation, but the intent is not on just the individual alone, it has far greater reach than that of one person.

Yeshua flips the script here by introducing a third mountain into the discussion. The Samaritan woman must now look beyond the choice of Mt. Gerizim or Mt. Zion to a third mountain, The Mountain of Spirit and Truth. We must go back to chapter one when Yeshua first meets Nathanael and mentions the dream of Jacob when he saw angels ascending and descending on the land where he slept. Yeshua tells Nathanael that he will soon see the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man, the center of earthly worship will be relocated from earthly Jerusalem to the spiritual Jerusalem – worship will be concentrated on Yeshua Himself!

What does this mean for Christ followers today? It means we must first come with a soul that is connected to the God we worship. We have been learning in our Soul Care sessions that our soul lives with God, it was meant to rest, live, and remain connected to God. So, we come with a heart set and focused on God. Our heart cannot be divided between the cares of the world, our fleshly cravings and desires and a soul that NEEDS to be in the presence of the One it was created to live for. Our focus must be fully and only on God and who He is and what He has done. He alone is the reason we are here, for what He has done and who He is in each of our lives as individuals and as a corporate body of Christ followers. He is the One we come to worship, praise, and offer our thanks to each week.

So, who is God? We begin each service with a greeting of grace and peace, for God is the One in whom grace is given freely and we find peace that goes beyond our understanding. We include a reading from the Psalms as a reminder of who God is, the One who called us from darkness into the Light of His Son, Yeshua. Our worship music is centered on Christ and what He has done for each of us individually, from the way He chased with His reckless love to the way He moves mountains to find us, and finally, how He died on the cross to bring us eternal life. We conclude each of our two teaching times during our message with questions designed to help us remember who God is and what He has done and is doing in our lives. We begin our prayer for communion with the words, “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe…” as a reminder that He alone has sovereign control over all things, including our lives. And we end each service with a blessing from the Father.

Questions for reflection/discussion:

In preparing for worship, how do you prepare your soul, making certain it is connected to God, for worship?

Our gathering together each week for worship is important for our daily lives, how do you include worship in your daily life as an individual?

Who is God to you today? What has He done to remind you He alone is God?

True Worship of the Father is not about the place of worship, but rather the manner of worship.

2). Secondly, we must understand that True Worship of the Father means we worship in response to who God is.

To worship in truth is to worship God regardless of our circumstances.

Let me begin again by asking a question. What does it mean to worship God in truth? Truth is the real thing, not the shadows or copies of the real thing, or the empty rituals and formalities of outward ceremonial activities. So, worshiping in truth means we worship based on truth. This includes who God is and what He has done. It also includes the truth of our circumstances. We worship God in good times and bad – for truth may, in fact, be our hurt.

What is the truth of who God is? From the Scriptures we know that God is infinite, He is without termination, He has no end. He is eternal, free from the succession of time – all things past, present, and future are all equally vivid to God. He is omniscient, meaning God knows all actual and possible things. He is omnipresent, God is everywhere. God is omnipotent, meaning God is all powerful. God is justice, meaning moral equity, He is not a “respecter of persons.” God is love, the highest standard of love for all relationships, He is the highest good of displaying His will. God is holiness – set apart and pure. God is truth, meaning agreement to and consistent with all that is represented by God Himself.

What is the truth of what God does? God creates – “In the beginning God created…” We are the highest and most prized of His creations, for we bear His image! God sustains, He did not set the world spinning and then fade into the background. He is active and present in all things and in the lives of all people. God forgives, in fact, He sent His Son in the greatest act of forgiveness known to all people. He is the Giver of Life – the Father gives life and has given to the Son to give life to whom He chooses. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith; the Shepherd who cares for the flock; the Protector and Guide of all who call Him Father, Lord, and Savior. 

What does this mean for the Christ follower today? First, we worship God regardless of our circumstances. We were never promised this would be an easy life. In fact, several times Yeshua warns those who would follow Him that they would find trouble in this world. After all, if they hated Him, why would we think they would not hate us?! Our surroundings should not impact our worship of the One who has created us, sustains us, loves us, teaches us justice, calls us to holiness and purity. God is the rock on which we build our lives to sustain us through the storms of life, not remove us from them.

Secondly, we must keep our eyes fixed on God the Father and Yeshua, the Son. We must be ready to move when we are directed to move, act when we are called to act; we must be prepared to do what the Father is doing, and we can only be ready to do so if our eyes are fixed on Him! Thirdly, we must be aware of the everyday presence of God. If we truly believe that God is everywhere, we should be able to see Him even in the most mundane of events throughout our day. We must keep our eyes clear to see the everyday miracles of God, done for our benefit and His glory. Finally, we must be able to look back and remember what God has done for us in the past while not losing sight of what God is doing in our present. It is easy to see God in the good things of our lives, but we must never forget that the truth of God may be found in our hurt. In all things, God has a plan for those who love Him and trust Him.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Where is God truth for you today?

What is the truth of who God is for you today?

What is the truth of what God has done for you today?

True Worship of the Father is not about the place of worship, but rather the manner of worship.

To worship God in spirit and in truth is to declare that God is worthy of our reverence. Worship in spirit and in truth is worship that corresponds to the nature of God – it takes place in the sphere in which God lives. No, not an “out of body” experience, but worship that is so rich and in tune with the object of worship, that your worship impacts the worship in heaven. How are you declaring that God is worthy of your reverence today? Is your worship impacting heaven?

We worship God based on the truth of who He is, the truth of what God does, and the truth of what is happening in our world. We worship God in spirit from our soul because the soul is with God, inclined towards God; we worship in submission to God. We worship God with attitudes, actions and words that declare God is worthy of our worship. Is God your truth in a world that is filled with chaos and uncertainty? Is your soul reaching for God today?

Worship in spirit and in truth comes from a soul that is connected God; it is worship activities that, not only reach God, but brings the real offering that pleases God. May we all be so in tune with God the Father, that our souls are found connected and resting in the One who brings peace, life and love.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord,

Amen.

Next Week: John 4:27-38

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