Summary: The singer says he's "getting back to the heart of worship." It's a laudable and important goal. What does it really mean? Jesus interrupts a Samaritan woman's life to point her (and us) in the right direction.

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Core 52 Week 34 - The Heart of Worship

• There was a church where the preacher and the song leader were not getting along. This began to spill over into the worship service. One week the preacher preached on commitment, and how we should dedicate ourselves to service. The song leader then led the song, I Shall Not Be Moved. The next Sunday, the preacher preached on giving and how we should gladly give to the work of the Lord. The leader then led the song, Jesus Paid It All. The next Sunday, the preacher preached on gossiping and how we should watch our tongues. The song leader then led the song, I Love To Tell The Story. The preacher became very disgusted over the situation, and the next Sunday he told the congregation he was considering resigning. The song leader then led the song, Oh, Why Not Tonight. As it came to pass, the preacher resigned and the next week informed the church that it was Jesus that led him there and it was Jesus that was taking him away. The song leader then led the song, What A Friend We Have In Jesus.

• One church’s interpersonal conflict is also their worship war

o (def. - style of music, fashion, gender, physical expressions (hands, etc.) projection, times, dates, just all of it.

o Mostly over now?

o We are too often consumers of “religious content.”

o Probably not what we should have been focused on in the first place.

o Even so, pastors tread out into deep and dangerous waters when we try to speak to the topic.

o Focus today is more on what one contemporary song calls the “heart of worship.”

o Core 52 focus is:

John 4:24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Life Gets in the Way

John 4:4–9 He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5 Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

• A well-known church story and not that uncommon in every day life.

• Someone who’s made a lot of bad choices trying to avoid any more stares, gossip, rumors.

• Likely pretty beat down, just trying to survive.

• An encounter with Jesus - scandalous in its own way creates this intersection between a semi kind of life and true life.

True Life Is Offered

John 4:10–14 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” 11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12 And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

• Fresh bubbling water - leading to true, eternal life.

• She likes that idea but is still stuck in the old crippling life.

Her Life is Confronted

John 4:15–18 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” 16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. 17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

• Jesus knows that accepting true life will only happen when we confront and release all the useless props and compensations we’ve relied on.

• She isn’t ready to do this.

“Let’s Change the Subject”

John 4:19–20 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

• She introduces a new topic. (Trying to avoid the discussion?)

• Rather than deal with a heart/life change, she decides to argue theology.

• How often do folks find themselves arguing about all kinds of externals about life, church, worship and never get down to dealing with what’s really going on?

Life Is Changed by True Worship

John 4:21–24 21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

• Jesus explains that the externals aren’t nearly as important as connecting with God (spirit) and knowing what is “really real.”

Her Life Is Changed

John 4:25–26 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!”

• Jesus explains to a foreign woman that He is the One who transforms everything.

True Worship Changes Everything

John 4:39–42 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

• Her heart is transformed.

• Her worship includes others.

Take Away

• It doesn’t matter so much what you do when you come to the assembly on Sundays.

• What’s going on in you heart?

• What parts of life are more like this Samaritan woman who thinks she has to cover up, hide, go solo?

• Will you let streams of living water refresh your soul so you can connect with God who loves you so much?

• Will you allow Jesus to light up those dark places in life and show you a real, true life?

• Then, when you sing and pray, when you read Scripture, when you share the story about a man who told you everything about yourself - then you’ll be a true worshiper.