Summary: A brief study on the subject of worship.
Worship In Spirit and Truth John 4:19-26
INTRO. Tell story of Samaritan woman and her encounter with Jesus.
Her question about worship was intended to change the subject. It is a question popular in religious discussion in her day.
"Where shall we worship?" , she asks, "in the city or in the mountain?" Jesus reply seems to indicate the place of our worship is not as important as the quality of our worship. Sometimes we think we must "come to Church" to worship. Attendance is essential to spiritual growth and well being but not to worship. In fact, In fact, the Christian should have a time of worship, at least Bible reading and prayer, every day wherever he may be.
Webster defines worship as "the act of paying divine homage to a deity, reverence, homage." Jesus says worship must be in spirit and in truth. This implies the possibility of worshipping insincerely or incorrectly; something we definitely want to avoid.
Let us study the subject a little further:
I. We first learn the danger of incorrect worship in the case of Cain and Able. Gen. 4:1-5
A. We don’t know why God accepted only one offering. Evidently, Cain was in some way disobedient in presenting his offering.
1. The first religious controversy had extreme consequences.
2. Enoch walked with God. Gen. 5:23, 24. Surely this included proper worship.
3. Gen. 8:20-22: an example of pleasing worship.
B. Places of early worship:
1. Several times we are told Abraham built an altar wherever he went. He, and some who followed, worshiped outdoors.
2. Tabernacle given later because people seemed to need a visible symbol of God’s Presence and to provide a pattern for things to come (a sort of prophecy.)
3. Later, the temple reminded them God kept His promise, giving a homeland.
4. Synagogue came later as result of Israel’ rejection of God’s will and consequent exile.
5. When Christ established His Church, He did not prescribe facilities because He didn’t intend His people to be bound to one place of worship.
C. But, wherever he is, the Christian is expected to worship.
1. Jesus Himself worshipped regularly. Much more than once a week.
2. We can’t truthfully claim to follow Christ and not worship regularly.
3. There must be time set aside for worship. We must not fool ourselves into thinking "everything we do as Christians is worship."
II. The example of the early Church: Acts 2:42
A. Teaching and preaching the Word of God is worship:
1. Listening to God’s Word explained and applied is worship.
2. Sometimes people say "I’m going to the preaching" because we think it is the main reason we come together but it is not.
3. Important: it is means of growth and means of winning the lost I Cor. 1:21
B. Fellowship means sharing and was expressed by giving gifts. II Cor. 8:1-4
1. The wise men thus worshipped. Matt. 2:11
2. The offering we give is an act of worship.
C. Breaking of bread: Lord’s Supper
1. Only stated reason for meeting. Acts. 20:7
2. In public worship, something is missing if this is left out. We meet to remember Jesus and what He did for us.
D. Prayer: an expression of our unity with God:
1. Constant prayer stands out in the life of Jesus.
2. Prayer is worship, but should accompany our other worship, too.
3. We know He hears when we pray as a Church.
E. Singing: Col. 3:16
1. One way to teach and admonish each other. An act of worship in which all can participate actively. Lack of musical ability should not deter.
2. Pay close attention to the words we sing. They may be praise, prayer, meditation, instruction.
III. A New Testament example: Acts 20:7-12
A. A great preacher was preaching in that Church.
1. They observed the Lord’s Supper and prayed and he got up to speak.
2. The service started at 6 in the evening and at midnight he was still preaching. It was his last time to preach for that church.
3. A young man sat on a low window sill in order to enjoy the breeze coming in through the third story window.
B. As the preacher talked on and on the young man fell asleep and fell out the window to his death.
1. Nothing will break a service up like a death in the congregation.
2. The preacher, Paul the Apostle, raised the young man from the dead.
3. After this, they had a meal and he preached until daylight.
C. Lessons to be learned:
1. If you fall asleep in church do not be sitting by a window.
2. Even the Apostle Paul could bore
3. It is important to stay conscious in the worship service.
4. But, most of all is the importance of being together for worship and knowing that as we come consciously into the presence of God, He is here to hear and bless us.