Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Worship in Spirit and Truth
Pastor Steve Schell
John 4:21-24
There are many things we do as a church which are intended to produce some sort of fruit for God. For example we hold prayer meetings to partner with Him in His saving and healing work, and we prepare and send mission teams to do the same. But when it comes to worship this is not something we do to produce something, for true worship is an end in itself. It is the highest goal of our lives. This weekend our worship leaders have held a special seminar to better understand how and why we worship. So today we‘ll continue that emphasis by turning to John 4 and listening as Jesus explains worship to a woman by a well in Samaria. He told her that His arrival had initiated a new era of worship. Because He had come people could now worship God in spirit and truth. And because we want to be such people we‘ll look more closely at His words and consider what steps we need to take to be those “the Father seeks to be His worshippers.”

A. What Jesus said (Jn 4:21-24)
1. (v.21) A new era is coming in which God‘s Spirit will be placed in every believer (God will “tabernacl“ in us)(Ezk 36:25; 37:27)
2. (v.22) Religious zeal is not enough, a person must come to the one true God through His Son Jesus Christ (Jn14:6 ”I am the way“)
3. (v.23) At the incarnation a new capacity for worship began. The cross, resurrection and ascension released a miraculous transformation in human fellowship with God (Jn 4:10,14).
4. (v.23) Now people can be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and are therefore able to worship God anywhere (Ac 2:3)
5. (v.23) God loves to fellowship with true worshippers and searches to find them wherever they are. This is why He created humans (Gn 1:26 ”Let us make man“) He does not need some sort of cheering section to reinforce His self-esteem.
6. (v.24) Since God is spirit and the unaided human mind cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit (1Co 2:12-16), people must be enabled by the Holy Spirit to fellowship with God. Our flesh cannot know Him ”face to fac“ (Ex 33:11).
7. (v.24) Truth: we can only know God after He has revealed Himself to us through His Word and the Spirit, He is too great and too holy for human speculation about Him to ever be accurate.

B. There have been different seasons of worship in the course of Biblical history
1. Seth: stone altar, blood atonement (Gn 4:26)
2. Moses: Tabernacle, altar, priests, festivals, prayer tent (Ex 34:18-26)
3. David: tent in Jerusalem, ark, psalms, dancing, singing, instruments, choirs (2Sa 6:1-19; 7:6)
4. Solomon: Temple, altar, priests, instruments, singing (2Chron 2-7:11)
5. Jesus: Indwelling Spirit, 2 or 3 believers, houses, gifts of Spirit, raising hands, singing, Lord‘s Supper, social & religious barriers gone. (Mt 18; Ac 2, Eph 5:18,19; 1Co 11, 12, 1Tim2)
6. Heaven: Immersed in Spirit, shouting, instruments, singing, prostrate on ground, waving palm branches. (Rv 5:9; 7:9; 11:6; 14:3; 15:2-4; Marriage Supper 19:9,21:22,23)

C. Defining Worship
1. What it‘s not: a)reading the Bible; b)listening to a sermon; c)praying (focus on our needs); d)thanksgiving (focus on our blessings), e)singing (though some songs sung in the proper spirit would be worship)
2. What it is: a)”to bow down“: the soul bowing itself in adoring contemplation (R.A. Torrey); b)”worship“: discovering what real goodness, love and justice look like; c)restoring the relationship God originally intended for us (Gn 3:8); there are levels of worship 1) fear; 2)submission; 3)love: joy & peace in His presence; desiring to bring Him joy by helping Him rescue and heal others.
3. Why we do it: a) it‘s our created purpose (Gn 3:8) and destiny (Jn 17:24; Rv 21:3,4); b) it‘s our greatest joy 1) we discover peace, inner fulfillment, cessation of loneliness, purpose and worth. 2) we fellowship with the One who loves us like no human can and is able to answer the questions no human can answer.
4. How we worship: ”to bow down“, to submit: a) my body/show up, wake up; b) my mind/read, listen, sing, remember; c) my will/refuse distraction, persevere; d) my heart/don‘t harden or turn away when the Spirit moves upon me, sincerely respond to what He reveals

MiniChurch Questions:
1. Think back over your life. What was the moment when you felt closest to God? Tell us about that moment and tell us how it changed you.
2. When you want to worship God what steps do you take that help you draw close to Him?
3. How would you teach a young child to worship?

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