True Worshippers

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John 4:23-24 (NKJV)
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
 
Never has a subject been so important while at the same time been so misunderstood as the subject of worship. The subject of worship permeates and dominates the entire Bible. In the O.T., worship covered every area of the lives of God’s people—it was the focus of all they did. For example, the Tabernacle was designed and laid out to emphasize the priority of worship.
 
The description of its details requires 7 chapters containing 243 verses in the Book of Leviticus. When you realize that only 31 verses in Genesis are devoted to the creation of the world—you get a pretty good idea of how important worship is to God.
 
In John’s gospel, a woman of Samaria asked Jesus where the proper place was to worship God—
 
John 4:20-22 (NKJV)
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
 
So here Jesus settles the controversy about where true worship was to be conducted, and which people were offering it acceptably. He tells this woman that the people were the Jewish people and the place was Mount Moriah.
 
When the Lord said to this Samaritan woman, “You worship what you do not know,”—He essentially condemned the Samaritan mode of worship. This is in stark contrast to those people today who say that all religions are equally good, all forms of worship are equally valid—and that all roads lead to God.
 
However, Jesus absolutely rejected that idea when He said to this Samaritan woman that she and her people worshipped falsely out of ignorance—while the Father was seeking true worshippers who would offer Him true worship. In other words, He stated categorically that there is true religion and false religion, true worship and false worship—and true worshippers and false worshippers.
 
This is an extremely important statement by Jesus, because thru it He is telling us that God only accepts true worship offered by true worshippers—and only they will get into heaven. The Lord Jesus informed this woman that the worship of the Samaritans (no matter how sincere) was neither authorized nor approved by God.
 
They had invented it and practiced it on their terms and according to their liking in disobedience to what God had revealed in His Word about the proper and only way He was to be worshipped. This is what some have called ‘do-it-yourself, self-styled worship’ which was in contrast to the worship of the Jewish people.
 
In saying that “salvation is of the Jews,” Jesus was affirming that the Jewish people were God’s covenant people, appointed by God to be the messengers of the Old Covenant—which was why He gave to them His Holy Scriptures. But also, He was saying, that it was thru the Jewish nation the Messiah, the Savior of mankind, was promised by God to someday come to the earth (of course that day had already come as Jesus spoke these words).
 
However, under the New Covenant, Jesus came to bring a new kind of worship to the people of God which meant—the old sacrificial system would be no more.
 
No more would the Jewish people have to bring endless animal sacrifices to atone for their sins—Jesus, the Great High Priest of the New Covenant, would offer Himself as the Lamb of God once for all people to take away (not temporarily cover) their sin once and for all time.
 
John 4:23-24 (NKJV)
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
 
The term “true worshippers”, is synonymous with “true Christians.”
 
Let me share with you three elements of true worship as Jesus stated or alluded to—
 
  1.  It would consist of many different people
 
The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons and loves all the people of the world (John 3:16) because they have all been made by Him in His image. Nothing blesses the heart of God more than to see diversity in the Body of Christ—as blacks and whites, Hispanics and Asians come together as the family of God to worship Him.
 
  1. It would be carried out in many different places
 
Of course, the top of Mt. Moriah was the place where the Jewish Temple was located—the place where God had been worshipped for a thousand years. However, under the New Covenant, the Temple of God would not be a brick and mortar building—and worship would not be limited to any one location.
 
Jesus said it right here in John 4:21, that true worship isn’t a matter of locality, it’s a matter of the heart. Since Jesus came, died, rose again, ascended back to His Father and the Holy Spirit came to live in the heart of every child of God—we have now become the Temple of God and everywhere we go becomes a place of worship!
 
  1. It would be conducted in spirit and in truth
 
Not thru religious rituals, ceremonies, the lighting of candles, the praying of rosaries and all the other man-made, do-it-yourself worship techniques that man has developed over the centuries with which to worship God.
 
Those that practice these things, Paul said, are just like the religious Jews in his day who rejected Jesus and sought (like the woman of Samaria) to offer God unacceptable worship—
 
Romans 10:2-3 (NKJV)
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
 
In contrast, Jesus said—”God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
 
The only kind of worship the Father is seeking, the only kind He will accept is worship in spirit and in truth—
 
In Spirit—which a person cannot do until they are first born of the Spirit (born-again)—
 
John 3:3 (NKJV)
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again [‘born of the Spirit’], he cannot see the kingdom of God.
 
No one, no matter how sincere they are, can offer God acceptable worship if they haven’t been born of the Spirit (a genuine born-again Christian)—regardless of how ‘religious’ they are. But once a person is born of the Spirit (saved)—they must also then worship God:
 
In Truth—according to the truth of God as revealed in His Word.
 
Matthew 15:8-9 (NKJV)‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.‘”
 
Any so-called worship that is not according to the truth in God’s Word will be rejected by God now, and so will the worshipper who offers it to Him (on the Day of Judgment)—no matter how sincere they are:
 
Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
 
Now listen, as we wrap this up, worship doesn’t make you a worshipper—you worship because you are a worshipper. Just like the apples on a tree don’t make it an apple tree—they just prove that it is one.
 
What makes a person a worshipper is that they have been born again or born of the Spirit. And once they have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior and been born of the Spirit—then the result or ‘fruit’ of that relationship will be a life of true worship.
 
You need to understand that the goal of all of redemptive history was for the Father to gather from humanity a community of redeemed people who would worship Him in Spirit and truth. That is what He desires, that is what He is seeking after—that is the ultimate purpose for which we were created and redeemed—that we would become a community of true worshippers.
 
As Isaiah tells us—
 
Isaiah 35:10 (NLT2)
Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.