Summary: God is seeking those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
August 17, 2008
Text: John 4: 22-24
Title: Unchained to Worship
There are many worship styles in the church world. Some churches draw comfort in a worship services that never changes – the same style, the same method, the same routine week after week. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that - it’s just not for me. There are a variety of responses in worship as well. Some sit, some stand, some raise their hands, others sit on their hands to keep them from raising, some shout, others remain silent. None of these re exclusively right and none are inherently wrong. They are just different. This much I do know. We are not tied down to any particular style or form of worship. The Bible is full of records of how different people worshiped the Lord in different ways. The Patriarchs built altars to worship every time God did something significant in their lives. Moses met with God in the Tent of Meeting. David danced before the Lord. The prophets fell on their faces as dead. Which one is right? All of them!
So if it doesn’t matter how you worship why am I preaching about worship? I don’t want to tell you today how to worship. I want to show you what frame of mind we need to be in when we worship and what we can expect to happen when we worship.
God has done great things for us that we can’t even begin to understand. The very creation which we are a part of, the intimate contact we can have with Him every day because of the wonderful gift of salvation He has given us, and the power He has poured out on us by the Holy Spirit all point to the fact that God loves us. So how do we respond to that? By worshipping Him! We give praise and thanksgiving, glory and honor to the living God.
I want to begin with a passage from John 4 today if you would turn there. This is the story of Jesus having a conversation with a woman at a well in Samaria. This is what He tells her about worship. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet 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. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
I want you to open your hearts today to hear what the scriptures say about worship and then prepare yourselves to worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.
Lord open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church…
I. FREEDOM TO WORSHIP 2 Corinthians 3:17, Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Let’s break that down and make it as clear as we can. The Lord is Spirit – The Holy Spirit is God, just like Jesus and the Father are God. – where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. In Exodus 34 it says, 29When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord… 33When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34But whenever he entered the LORD’S presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD. When Moses was speaking to his fellow Israelites he felt compelled to cover his face with a veil so they couldn’t see that the glory was fading. But whenever he was in God’s presence the veil came off. At that point Moses did not have anything to hide. If Jesus said that we will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth that includes freedom to be ourselves and not hold anything back. The word translated “Freedom” comes from a root word that means, “unrestrained, to go at your own pleasure as a citizen and not a slave, to be exempt from obligation or liability.” If you are going to worship God in Spirit you are not bound to anyone’s interpretation of what freedom is. Those in the church who are rather outgoing in their worship cannot make you worship as they do. In the same way, those who are subdued in their worship cannot hold you back. In the Book of Revelation John said that He was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. What does it mean to be in the Spirit? Here is my explanation. When you are focusing on who God is and all the marvelous things He has done you can get to the point where everything in the natural realm becomes just the opposite – it seems unreal or surreal. It is at that point that people begin to see visions. It is then that the Holy Spirit begins to pour out revelation and prophecy and knowledge. When that happens you now have the freedom to be yourself in the presence of God. It is at that place where God has you right where He wants you – in His presence – focused totally on Him. And when we see Him like that we worship! Maybe we’ll fall down. Maybe we bow or tremble in His presence. Maybe we shout. It doesn’t matter – there is freedom. Psalm 100, 1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! 2Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. Worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.