Summary: True worship draws people to Christ

(this message is a re-working of the 40 Days of Purpose message on worship)


TEXT: JOHN 4:20-24


INTRODUCTION: A. We’ve been studying in our series “The Growth Factors” for quite some time

--we’ve been looking at how God’s design for growing in number and in spiritual


1. We started this series with a message that surveyed the five basic purposes of the


2. We’re going to conclude the series by taking a little deeper look at those five


3. Please turn to the backside of your bulletin insert and let’s read those five purposes


B. One day Jesus was asked this question: “Lord, what’s the most important command in

the scriptures?”

1. Jesus basically says in reply, “If you don’t get anything else, get this. This will

summarize the whole Bible.”

--His answer is recorded in Mt. 22:37-38 – “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your

God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the

first and greatest commandment.”

2. Worship is the primary reason we exist.

--The other four purposes flow from this one.

C. In our scripture today, Jesus has an encounter with a Samaritan woman

1. In this encounter, the woman asks a question about worship

2. John 4:20-24 – “‘Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that

the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus declared, ‘Believe me,

woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this

mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we

worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and

has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,

for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his

worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.’”

D. Jesus referred to “true” worship by referring to “true” worshipers”

--That implies that there is a phony, false, counterfeit worship that also happens

1. To some people, worship is this regular routine that they go through each week

--They come to a church building, sing a few songs, go through the motions, but

they never really expect anything to happen

2. For others, worship has become synonymous with style

--To them, worship means a certain kind of music

3. For many, worship has no real connection with God

--it’s rote, it’s routine, irrelevant empty, boring ritual

E. Phony, false, counterfeit worship has existed since the very beginning and God has

rejected it from the beginning

1. Remember Cain and Abel - the children of Adam and Eve?

a. Cain offered worship to God - a sacrifice - but the Bible says that God “did not

accept Cain and his offering” (Gen. 4:5).

2. Several times, in Isaiah and in Amos, God says flat out that he’s tired of phony,

counterfeit worship.

3. Mal. 1:8-10 – [God says]“ ‘When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not

wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try

offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept

you?’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such

offerings from your hands, will he accept you?’-says the LORD Almighty. ‘Oh, that

one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on

my altar! I am not pleased with you,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will accept

no offering from your hands.’ ”

a. Malachi prophesied in an age of spiritual apathy.

--The people who were supposed to be the people of God continued to go through

the motions of worship but in their hearts were no longer in it.

b. I wonder how many times we’ve come into this place and lit “useless fires” of


F. We belong to what is called the Restoration Movement

1. There were some men in the 1800’s who began to evaluate what was happening in

their churches and in their own lives and could not square it up with the New


2. They made a commitment of their lives to restore the New Testament pattern for

churches and lives

3. We speak about restoring the name and the organization of the early church and

that’s great

--It needed to be done

a. But I think that we’ve failed in one primary area: completely restoring the

worship of the first century church

--the worship exhibited in the first century church was dynamic, evangelistic,


b. To think that we have finished this restoration of worship, to use the words of

Marvin Phillips, “is about like bringing home a muffler, fender, headlight and

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