Summary: True worshippers worship God in spirit and in truth. Last time we focused on what it means to worship God in spirit. Today we’re going to look at what it means to worship God in truth. Even though we’re looking at them separately, it’s not just about one
Once again, this morning we’re focusing on these few verses in the account of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. You remember that as Jesus was presenting the Gospel to the woman, He showed her her sin. And as He showed her her sin, she was convicted. Of course, when she felt that conviction, she wanted to get away from that as soon as possible. So she changed the subject. But she really wasn’t changing the subject as far away as she thought she was. She asked Jesus a question about worship. Who was right? Were her people right in the way they worshipped? Or were the Jews right? Jesus answer is summed up in the words of verse 23 and repeated in verse 24. True worshippers worship God in spirit and in truth. Last week we focused on what it means to worship God in spirit. This morning we’re going to look at what it means to worship God in truth. Next week, we’ll finish our time in this passage by focusing on the “and”. There is a danger in preaching through this passage the way I’m doing it. And that is that some of you will only hear part of it. Some were here last Sunday that aren’t here today. Some are here today that weren’t here last Sunday. I certainly pray that everything I said last week and everything I say this morning are biblically true and beneficial. But I know that if you only get part of it, you’re not getting the full, balanced, biblical teaching on worship. Last week when we looked at spiritual worship, we saw that spiritual worship is liberating. It is not tied to a specific physical location like the tabernacle or the temple anymore. Instead, spiritual worship is tied to the heart of the believer. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and as such, your body is where worship flows from. Spiritual worship is also animating. It is life-giving. Just like God breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a living soul… Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into believers when He brings them into new life in Him. And as believers, when we have breathed in the blessings of the Holy Spirit in salvation… we can’t help but breathe out praises and worship to Christ. Finally, we saw that spiritual worship is also sustaining. It is sustaining in that it is a display of our love relationship with Jesus. Just as marriage involves emotional, outward displays of affection, so does our relationship with Jesus as our bridegroom. Our relationship is created and sustained by His worthiness and our outward displays of affection show Him exactly how worthy He is to us. So spiritual worship is liberating, animating and sustaining. But Jesus said that spiritual worship is just part of it. Worship is not just an exercise of the heart. It is also an exercise of the head. Even though we’re looking at them separately, it’s not just about one or the other. As a matter of fact, you can’t truly have one without the other. But I’m getting ahead of myself to next week. This morning we’re looking at the second part of worship. Jesus said that true worshippers will worship the Father in truth. So, what does that mean? What does it mean to worship God in truth? This morning we’re going to answer that question by looking at four characteristics of truthful worship. Truthful worship is centered, it’s grounded, it’s focused, and it is evidenced. First, truthful worship is centered.
Truthful worship is centered. The sad fact is, that many things that people call worship today aren’t. I remember last year that the TV show American Idol had a special fundraiser. I don’t remember what they were raising funds for, but I do remember one of the things they did. They had a group of American Idol finalists get up and sing a contemporary Christian praise song. The song is a very good song called Shout to the Lord. But here’s what they did. In order to make it more acceptable to the TV audience, they changed the words. Instead of singing the words, “My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like you…”, they sang, “My Shepherd, my Savior.” Of course, after that happened, the Christian media was jumping. There were many comments that came out over the first few days that talked about what a wonderful thing it was. People commented on what a great thing it was to see all those people up there worshipping on TV. Is that worship? Of course it’s not worship. And it has nothing to do with the style of the song. It has to do with who the song is being sung to. In order for worship to be truthful, it has to be centered on the truth. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me.” In our passage this morning, Jesus said that those who worship the Father will worship Him in spirit and truth. So if you are going to worship God, your worship is going to be centered in the One who is Truth. If your worship isn’t centered on Jesus Christ, it isn’t worship. You know that I have no problem with contemporary styles of worship. I have no problem with them because what we call traditional is just an older version of contemporary. As a matter of fact, at one time, having a piano in church was scandalous. It was scandalous because pianos were barroom instruments. Only organs were suitable for church. You hear the same arguments today for other kinds of instruments. The issue is not style. There is no such thing as a sanctified style of music. We all have our preferences. That’s fine. But don’t try to justify your style preferences by saying that other styles are somehow less than worship. Truthful worship has nothing to do with style. It has to do with content. And is that content centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. One thing I will say about some of the contemporary praise music. Some of the choruses sing praises directly to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a personal being just like the other members of the Trinity. He is just as much God as the Father and Son are. Three persons—one God. But even though that is the case, the Holy Spirit is not who our worship is to center on. Because every place that the Holy Spirit is mentioned in Scripture, He never points to Himself. He is always pointing to Christ. The person and work of Christ is the center of our worship not the Holy Spirit. Certainly not personal preference or style either. Truthful worship is centered on the One who said that He is the way, the truth and the life. When we worship in truth, Jesus is the center of our worship. Truthful worship is centered. Truthful worship is also grounded.