Summary: Authentic worship is essential for any church to function in a God-honoring way. Authentic worship is discussed by honestly answering three important question.


(Material taken from Bob Russel’s When God Builds A Church)

TEXT: JOHN 4:21-24


INTRODUCTION: A. After attending church one Sunday morning, a little boy knelt at his bedside that night

and prayed, “Dear God, we had a good time at church today. I wish you had been


--How sad but how true that statement is in our time

1. The primary purpose for attending a church service should be to worship God.

2. Ps. 95:6-7 – “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD

our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under

his care.”

3. Worship is more than just singing a few songs, performing a few rituals, and

enduring a sermon. We come to experience the presence of God, to acknowledge

his authority in our lives, and to worship him as our Creator.

B. What worship is not:

1. To some people, worship is ritual: a regular routine that they go through once a


2. They come to a building, sing a few songs, listen to a prayer or two, eat a stale

cracker and drink some grape juice; put a couple of dollars in the offering plate,

listen to a sermon, and go home.

--Nothing of any importance happens but they have done their religious

obligation for the week (or month or even year)

3. Several years ago Barna Research Group did a survey of adults in churches across

North America. 71% of the adults who regularly attend church said, “I have

never experienced the presence of God in worship. Never.”

a. Sad to say, but worship to many has no connection with God.

b. It’s rote; it’s routine

--In reality, it’s irrelevant and empty, and boring

c. But it’s not worship.

C. So, what is worship?

1. It’s a declaration of the “worth-ship” of God

2. Worship is when you see God and you go, “WOW!”

--It’s responding to all that God is and all that He has done, what He is doing, and

what He will do

3. When we worship God we acknowledge that there is a Creator who has authority

over us and to whom we are accountable.

a. We humble ourselves in his presence and praise him for his goodness.

b. We renew our pledge to obey his commands and seek his honor.

D. In Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, it didn’t take long before their

conversation turned to worship.

1. The woman’s question was sincere, "I know there are two ways to worship…the

Samaritan way and the Jewish way…but which is the right way?"

--Jesus dealt with that question once and for all as he explained that the true God is

seeking after worshippers to worship in spirit and in truth.

2. The Samaritan form of worship was characterized by enthusiastic, lively, and

highly emotional worship.

a. Although this kind of worship was stimulating and left the worshippers feeling

good, they were missing something.

b. They did not have important information about God and the Messiah that had


--The Samaritans only accepted the first five books of the Bible

c. They lacked many of the basic truths of God that should motivate us to worship

Him in the first place.

3. The Jews had the opposite problem.

a. They believed the truth as revealed to them by God and literally built their entire

culture around this truth.

b. Unfortunately, the Jewish form of worhip became as routine as lacing their

sandals or washing their hands.

c. They lacked a spiritual, emotional experience that should accompany

knowledge of such great truth.

d. The same kind of thing is happening today in worship.

4. Some people worship totally in the spirit.

a. Now, it’s true that worship happens from the inside out.

--Sincere worship begins within the depths of a person’s heart and overflows

into every area of life, bringing blessing and joy to those around.

b. But with all this emotional charge, it’s easy to set our emotions above God.

--That places us in danger of making an idol out of worship.

5. On the other hand are people who worship primarily in truth.

a. They know God as revealed in His Word and cannot be swayed in their beliefs.

b. People like this live with purpose and confidence.

(1). Their faith is a rock for them in times of trouble and they provide strength

for those around them.

(2). Their thinking is clear and untainted by emotion.

c. But we can easily be hindered in our worship if we become so afraid of feeling

that we disengage emotionally.

5. Jesus tells us there needs to be a biblical balance to our worship

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