Over and over again the prophets of Israel declared that when the Messiah came He would usher in a new era of the Holy Spirit. External religious practices would give way to transformed hearts. When that day arrived the Spirit of God would live inside His people and the change would be dramatic. Those who were Spirit-filled would worship and obey God because they loved Him, not simply because they feared Him. And they would know Him with a knowledge that comes only by supernatural revelation. Such deep changes would, of course, transform the way people lived and their new obedience would bring Gods covenant blessings of protection and abundance. So for centuries people of faith anxiously waited for that day. Jesus Christ knew that He had come to fulfill those promises. He knew His death and resurrection would usher in that promised era of the Holy Spirit. And this is what He announced to a Samaritan woman as He sat by Jacobs well. She asked Him where God wanted to be worshipped and He answered that location would soon not matter anymore. Those who believe in Him would become living temples themselves and would worship God on a whole new level.
1. The Conversation: Jn 4:1-26
- Sychar: Shechem (Ge 33:18-20; Josh 24:32)
2. The Prophecies: Is 44:1-5; 55:1-3; Jer 31:31-34; Ezk 36:22-29
3. The Announcement
- Note: vs 10, 13, 14, 21-24
- Jn 7:37-39
In Samaria and in Judah worship had become 1) ritualized: focusing on ceremonies and temple location, and 2) confused: having only a vague knowledge of the true God. The prophets had promised a new person when this would change. Here Jesus is announcing that the new season is about to begin. In the new era:
- Location and ritual will not matter (v 21)
- A new capacity will be given so people can relate to God on a spiritual level (v 23) (in spirit)
- Their worship will be a sincere expression from their heart (v 23) (in truth)
- Worshippers will know God accurately because the Holy Spirit within will reveal Him (v 23) (in truth)
- God the Father greatly desires this level of relationship with believers. It was His original plan. (vs 23, 24)
4. The Key Terms
a) Worship: To consciously be in Gods presence; to recognize who He is and what Hes done; and to respond with thanksgiving and love.
- Worship vs. Prayer (Prayer: talking to God; Worship: beholding God)
b) In spirit: Believers will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit opening up an entirely new level of communion with God and abundant resources.
c) In truth: People will not only know God by reading the Word but by direct revelation through the Spirit who dwells within them. People will know God personally, not simply know about Him.
5. The Potential
a) We are alive spiritually because we are united with the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:10), but to draw on His power we must be refilled again and again through worship.
b) It takes a decision, time and effort to drink from that well/river within us (Jn 4:14; 7:38).
c) We are transformed in worship (2Co 3:18) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
d) The process must be regularly repeated for us to grow and bear fruit.
- Bread: His word preached (2Ti 4:2)
- Wine: His transforming presence (Eph 5:18-20)
e) When we are transformed:
- We see situation differently
- Were able to hear Him speak to us
- Faith is refreshed
- We find attitudes improve
- Demonic oppression is lifted
6. The Practice of Worship Today
a) We arent:
- Putting on a concert for God
- Enjoying religious entertainment
- Performing a ritual
b) Were worshipping because
- We respect Him: He deserves worship
- We love Him: we enjoy being close
- We need Him: we dry up and need refilling
c) We wake up the:
- Body: joyful, faith-building praise
- Mind: remember His goodness
- Heart: expressing love and amazement person to person
d) I take practical steps:
- Give God time (I tend to hurry, not wait) - Remember His past faithfulness (have an active mind, not a passive mind)
- Focus my thoughts on Him (stop being self-conscious or worry)
- Soften my heart to receive His presence (drink from the well/river)
- Declare truth in spite of how I feel (this is faith not hypocrisy)
1) When was the last time you strongly sensed Gods presence in worship? What effect did that have on you?
2) Are some of the practical steps mentioned above difficult for you? Which ones? If someone else in the group has learned to take that step share how you learned.