Summary: Being a true worshipper means we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. But how do we do that.
Mission Possible: True Worshippers
Scripture References: John 4:16-26
Other References: Believers’ Bible Commentary
a. How many of you have ever dreamed of or fantasized about being a secret agent, like James Bond, complete with all the cool toys?
b. In my youth, there was a TV program entitled Mission Impossible. Each week the lead character of the program, Jim Phelps, as portrayed by Peter Graves, and his team of secret government agents, found themselves being tasked, if they chose to accept it, with seemingly impossible tasks.
c. The team was always used for covert missions against dictators, evil organizations, and crime lords.
d. Today, like Jim Phelps and his team, we are offered a mission. Likewise, we have the choice of accepting or rejecting it. Unlike Phelps and his team, our mission is possible, for it is a mission of True Worship.
e. In fact, our chief mission, as Christians, is to worship God. It is stressed throughout the Bible. Here are a few examples:
(1) In the garden we saw the test of worship.
(2) Moses received 10 famous laws from God that functioned as commandments of worship.
(3) The temple was filled with smells and smoke indicating the sacrifices of worship.
(4) The psalms and other works functioned as books of worship.
(5) When Christ came He showed us how important worship was by attending it regularly.
f. Christ, himself, spells out how we should worship. The definition of a “true worshipper” may surprise you.
g. Read John 4:16-26
2. Before We Can Worship, the Past Must Become Present — Verses 16-18
a. In this conversation, it is not a theologian, or a preacher, or a Bible school teacher, or even Christ who raises the subject of worship. It is a morally wounded woman, a woman living in great sin. She brings up the subject of worship.
b. An abrupt change in the conversation occurs.
(1) They had just been talking about water, a well, and living water.
(2) She had just asked for the living water and Jesus told here to go and call her husband. Why?
(3) Before she could be saved and truly worship God, she had to acknowledge herself a sinner.
(4) She had to come to Christ in true repentance, confessing her guilt and shame.
(5) Jesus knew all about the sinful life she had lived, and He was going to lead her to see it for herself.
(6) We must be brought face to face with the fact that we are dead in trespasses and sins, we need a Savior, we cannot save ourselves, that Jesus is the Savior we need, and, He will save us if we repent of our sin and trust in Him
c. At first the woman tries to withhold the truth without telling a lie. She said, “I have no husband.”
(1) Perhaps in a strictly legal sense, her statement was true.
(2) But was trying to hide the fact that she was living in sin with a man who was not her husband.
(3) Jesus, as God, knew all about this. And so He said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband.”
(4) Although she might be able to fool everyone else, she was not able to fool Him. He knew all about her.
d. The most important point of this scripture is that the woman was a sinner, and until she was willing to acknowledge it, Jesus could not bless her with living water.
3. The Physiology of Worship — Verses 20-26
a. Having become convicted of her sins, the woman tries to change the subject by asking a question about the proper place of worship.
b. Jesus did not avoid her comment, but used it to reveal further spiritual truth.
(1) He told her that the time was coming when neither the mountain nor Jerusalem would be the place of worship.
(2) In the OT, God established Jerusalem as the city where worship should be offered to Him. The temple was His dwelling place, and devout Jews went there with their sacrifices and offerings.
c. When Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know,” He condemned how the Samaritans worshipped.
(1) This contradicts religious teachers today who say that all religions are good and that they all lead to heaven at last.
(2) Jesus further told her that Samaritan worship was not only not authorized by God, but also that it was not approved by Him.
(3) It had been invented by man and carried on without being approved or authorized by God.
(a) Jews charged that the Samaritans were not only racially impure, but that they also mixed pagan worship with Judaism.
(b) Samaritan corporate worship was practiced on Mt. Gerazim.
(c) Jacob's Well, where Jesus and the woman are sitting, was at the base of that mountain.