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Worship in Spirit and in Truth

April 18, 2010

“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. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman he told her that God is spirit and that worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth. What did he mean by spirit and truth? The Samaritans worshiped on Mount Gerizim, but the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem. Gerizim was a special place. Abraham and Jacob had built alters in the vicinity of Mount Gerizim. The Samaritans believed that Moses built his alter on Mount Gerizim. The Samaritans built a temple on Mount Gerizim and they believed that is where worship should occur. But the Jews believed that worship was to occur at the Temple in Jerusalem.

God is spirit, so the place of worship is irrelevant. Wherever people gather to worship, God is there. One of the great things about our common Christian faith is knowing that brothers and sisters are gathering all over the world on the first day of the week to worship the one true God. We share a common faith, we raise our voices together in praise, we encourage and admonish one another, we give, we hear the word of God, and we commune. All this we do in unity, even though we are thousands of miles apart. God is spirit, so we worship him wherever we are. We worship him with all our being. We worship him in spirit. The place is irrelevant.

God is truth. Jesus, who is God, is associated with truth throughout the Gospel of John. Part of worshiping in truth is worshiping the one true God, the triune God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is the appropriate object of worship. If we are to worship in truth, then we must worship the one true God. Some say that part of worshiping God in truth is to worship in the way the Bible teaches and indeed what we do in worship is important. We should worship God in the way he has prescribed (including in our worship those things that the early disciples did and allowing some grace for the practices of others where the Bible is silent). But even more important than the form of worship is the sincerity of worship. Perhaps what Jesus meant by worshiping in truth is that worship must be sincere. Worship must involve all of your being. Worship must be genuine.

God is seeking worshipers who will worship him in spirit and in truth. Will you worship him in spirit and in truth?

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