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Summary: What should church and worship be? What should be our attitude as we enter the sanctuary? Spirit and Truth


JOHN 4:20-24

INTRODUCTION… Video “Sports Sunday: The Big Show” from


There are so many things that a worship service is not. The comedic video that you just watched showed the Organized Church Rivalry Association… which is of course fake. It showed people tailgating in the parking lot before services. It showed people preparing for worship in the locker room and planning out songs like a football play. None of that really happens… at least at this church. There are many things that any church deals with when it comes to worship. The video shows outlandish things, but there are temptations that a church faces that are real.

* It is a real temptation to cater to everyone’s wishes when it comes to music and songs. Many people are highly offended when songs are played that they do not like. Perhaps you are one of those people who complain about song choice.

* It is a real temptation to make the worship time more entertaining and all about us. There is the temptation to try and make the church the most exciting place imaginable at the expense of Godly things. We live in a society that is image driven and in order to follow society the church must be exciting and entertaining and enticing. Perhaps you are one of those people who feel that church is boring and should change to be more like a TV show.

* It is a real temptation to compete with other churches and become something that we are not. People come to the staff of the church all the time with suggestions of how we should do things… not because of any other reason that another church does it that way. Some suggestions are good and some are not so good.

* It is a real temptation to leave worship and sermons on the surface level. There is a real temptation to let you all sit in the pews comfortable and not require commitment from you.

Any church that is striving to seek after God, to draw people close to Jesus, and that wishes to do things with excellence will encounter temptations like these. The temptation to be a Big Show is present. The temptation to water down the Gospel for the sake of excitement or entertainment is a real temptation. The church is not a Big Show. When you come to worship, it is not entertainment.

What should church and worship be?

What should be our attitude as we enter the sanctuary?

The passage that we are going to look at today to answer these important questions is John chapter 4. The chapter begins with Jesus traveling through Samaria. This was odd in Jesus’ day because most Jews walked all the way around Samaria and did not travel through it when traveling north to south or south to north. Jesus was traveling from the south to the north with His disciples (verses 1-4) and He chose to travel through this area. He stops in a town called Sychar to rest (verses 5-9). There was no rest stop or 7-11 that we read about, but Jesus does stop by the well outside of town. As a side note, I think it is interesting in the Gospel of John that Jesus is explained as “the Word made flesh” in chapter 1 and all throughout the Gospel the humanness of Jesus is shown… such as in this passage… walking Himself to exhaustion and needing to rest. Anyway, Jesus meets a woman there when He stops to rest and strikes up a conversation with her. Again we see something interesting for Jesus’ day because even the Samaritan woman was surprised that Jesus (a male Jew) was speaking to her in public. Jesus speaks to the woman about spiritual things. Jesus, taking a cue from the well which He was sitting at, describes living water to her and offers her some (verses 10-15). He is of course speaking about Himself and in the middle of the conversation, this woman exclaims ‘you are a prophet’ (verse 19) and the conversation focuses upon worship. And that conversation about worship is what we will focus on today. Let’s read together…

READ JOHN 4:20-24

The woman complains to Jesus about some of the attitudes the Jews had about worship. The Jews were telling the Samaritans that the only place they could worship was at the temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was a huge place with shops and money changers (Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, John 2:15) and many events. The Temple was where the priests would give sacrifices and where teaching about God went on. The Holy of Holies was there where the Jews believed the presence of God dwelt. It very well could have been overwhelming and a big show for many people. To be honest, prophets and kings in the past had said that Jerusalem was the only place to worship (2 Kings 18:22, Isaiah 27:13, Zechariah 14:17). They said those things to prevent the fickle people from worshipping idols, but over the centuries it had become twisted and oppressive for the Samaritans. The Samaritan woman complained to Jesus.

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