Summary: A Thanksgiving message pertaining to God’s desire for us to worship in spirit and in truth. Easily adaptable to non-holiday Sundays.
Some information taken from The Gospel of John by Arthur Pink
When we come into this season, we begin to think a bit more about giving thanks. The season sort of dictates it. It is a day when our ancestors gathered around & gave thanks to God for all the blessings & bounty they received during the year. Thanking Him for freedom, for salvation, for the opportunity to worship. As I have been thinking about thanksgiving, one thought has stuck in my heart & in my mind. How do we give thanks to God for all He has done? We should do more than simply say thank you. The blessings we have received are usually only a glimpse of the blessings God wants to bestow upon us. But the fact is this. God deserves our thanksgiving, & if we will life a life of true thanksgiving, the blessings of God will multiply & flow in our lives. We haven¡¦t seen or haven¡¦t even began to imagine the blessings God has in store for those who will live a life of true thanksgiving.
1) GOD’S DESIRE.
„³ True worshippers, who seek to truly worship God. Not play religion, play church, be known as a member, but true worshippers will do so in Spirit & in truth.
„³ The Samaritan woman that Christ was talking to told Him that her fathers worshipped in the mountain which was probably above the well. Hers was a question of where was the proper place to really worship God.
„³ The response has a deep meaning to those who truly want to worship God. It is not the place that is important, it is the worship itself. Jerusalem didn¡¦t make true worshippers & Gerazim didn¡¦t make false worshippers.
„³ Christ’s came to fulfill the law. The intricacies of the law, ceremonies, & sacrifices were to point to Calvary, the offering of God’s lamb for man¡¦s sin.
„³ Christ basically told the woman ceremony was superseded by sincerity.
„³ This brings us to God’s desire. God is not impressed by our ceremony, not impressed by our big buildings, our huge programs, our temples. God’s desire is for us to worship Him. To worship Him in spirit & in truth. A clean heart is more desired than the pomp & circumstance of ceremonial religion.
„³ To worship in spirit is to worship spiritually ¡V not external rites & rituals, but an affectionate heart & a mind given to Him. To worship in truth is to worship according to the revelation of JC. Most of what we term worship today is more of the flesh than it is of the spirit. Evidenced by our ornate decorations & beautiful sanctuaries. Some argue God would like it to be so. The tabernacle God dictated to Moses in the mount was like this. Solomon¡¦s temple was, design & work of man. Rubble now. The tabernacle of God is now w/ man. God tabernacles w/ His people in their hearts. Not the place, the heart is important.
„³ Notice vs. 24 ¡V they that worship Him MUST worship in spirit & in truth. In the gospel of Jn, there are 3 MUSTS. 3.7 ¡V ye must be born again, 3.14 the Son must be lifted up, & here. First God the Spirit. It is the Spirit that effects the new birth. Second God the Son, He was the one who had to die to secure atonement for mankind. Third, God the Father, the true object of worship.
„³ What is worship? The new nature seeking God. It is having no confidence in the flesh, relying completely on the Spirit of God & rejoicing in JC. Phil 3.3. the spirit mentioned in vs. 23 & 24 is the new nature which is born of the Spirit of God.
„³ Worship is an activity of the redeemed. The COI did not worship in Egypt. They moaned & sighed & grieved. It was not until God had redeemed them from bondage that they could worship. When Israel passed through the Red Sea, Moses & all the COI sang unto the Lord. It was the song of redemption.
„³ Worship proceeds from the heart. We can come to God w/ the words, w/ the ceremonies, w/ our songs, & our services, but if our heart is not close to God we are not worshipping. In Matt 15, God says our worship is in vain is our heart is far from Him. True worship is from a heart concentrated on & occupied w/ God. When we express our true adoration & thanksgiving to God we are worshipping. When it is vain words & repetitive gestures done simply out of habit, it is in vain.
„³ If our worship is to be true, it will be void of any fleshly ideas. It will center on, concentrate on, & adore God from whom all blessings flow. This is done out of the new nature, not from the old form of ourselves. The entirety of our worship must flow from & originate from here, & must be directed toward God. If we sing to please the ears of man, it gets no farther than the ceiling. God knows why we sing. If it is for man, we might as well stay in our seats. If it is to praise & honor God, let it flow, no matter how muddy the waters of voice may be.