Summary: True worship begins as 1) A Response to Contact with the Living God 2) Not limited to a Specific Location 3) Only as Valuable as Who it is Based on and 4) Is all About the Attitude of the Heart.
Rico Tice makes an interesting observation in his book, Christianity Explored: “I didn’t have a particularly religious upbringing myself. In fact, my experience of Christianity was limited to a few dull sermons, slightly spooky people in strange garments, hanging about in dank halls and religious education lessons during which I attempted to find references to rugby in the Bible. Christianity was worse than boring: it was a fiction. Jesus walking on water, the three wise men, the feeding of the five thousand, Father Christmas and Winnie the Pooh were all mixed up in my mind together. They were all make-believe, best left in the nursery”. (Christianity Explored. The Good Book Company. 2002. P. 1)
When you consider who God is and what He expects people have many different ideas. Throughout history, people have tended to divide themselves based on who they think God is and how to worship Him.
In 931 BC, Israel divided in two and became Israel of the North and Judah of the South.
The Samaritans were so called because their population centered on the city of Samaria, which had been the capital of the kingdom of the northern tribes of Israel before it fell to the Assyrians in 721 BC. What the Assyrians did was to exile many of the Israelites out of their land and settle in their place peoples they had conquered from other lands
In 586 BC, Judah was conquered by Assyria and resettled with foreigners, which meant a loss of both racial and religious purity for those still living there.
• The Samaritans of the Judah built their own temple on Mt. Gerizim around 400 BC.
• In Verse 9: the Jews believed that all Samaritans were unclean.
o that phrase ‘for Jews refuse to have anything to do w/ Samaritans” could also be translated “Do not use dishes Samaritans have used” because a Jew would have been considered ceremonially unclean if they used a drinking vessel that had simply been handled by a Samaritan.
What is your vision of who God is? Who you think He is will impact your view of worshiping Him or if you see a need to worship Him at all.
True worship begins as 1) A Response to Contact with the Living God (John 4:19-20) 2) Not limited to a Specific Location (John 4:21) 3) Only as Valuable as Who it is Based on (John 4:22) and 4) Is all About the Attitude of the Heart (John 4:23-24).
True worship begins as 1) A Response to Contact with the Living God (John 4:19-20)
Before we can properly worship a Holy God we must, as the Samaratian woman was, be convicted of sin, the need for forgiveness, and repent.
Perhaps uncomfortable with her sin, trying to change the subject she asks Jesus:
John 4:19-20 The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." (ESV)
Her comment highlighted one of the major points of contention between Jews and Samaritans. Both believed that under the old covenant God directed His people to worship Him in a specific location (cf. Deut. 12:5; 16:2; 26:2). The Samaritans, accepting only the Pentateuch as canonical, chose Mount Gerizim. It was at nearby Shechem that Abraham first built an altar to God (Gen. 12:6–7), and it was from Mount Gerizim that the Israelites proclaimed the blessings of obedience to God’s commandments (Deut. 11:29). The Jews, accepting the complete Old Testament canon, recognized that God had chosen Jerusalem as the place where He was to be worshiped (2 Chron. 6:6; cf. Pss. 48:1–2; 78:68–69; 132:13).
We will see that in a New Covenant perspective the location is not the issue today. This passage is informative in what is still an issue.
• If God has directed something in regards to worship, we dare not disregard it for matters of convenience.
o In straight out disobedience, the Samaritans worshipped where and how it was convenient to them.
o We dare not pick and choose elements of God’s revealed will to suit our own preferences or a mistaken attempt to make others comfortable.
Quote: Pastor D. James Kennedy who died just a few weeks ago, defined what happens in most churches. “Most people think of the church as a drama with the preacher as the chief actor, God as the prompter and the congregation as the critic. What is actually the case is that the congregation is the chief actor, the preacher is the prompter and God is the CRITIC!”
Quote: Louie Giglio in his book on worship entitled “The Air I Breathe” gives this excellent definition of worship.
“Worship is Our response, Both personal and corporate To God –For who He is!