Summary: What worship is about, and how to worship in spirit and truth.

Jesus’ words: worship in spirit and truth. WBC 4/4/4 am Jn 4:21f

Reading: Jn 4:19-26

Intro/ Illustr: Black man’s prayer

- hands up all of you who love true worship! (tee hee)

- THAT was true worship of God, eh?

o From the heart …and head….. and life


And it’s something we want to be better at, eh?

- we want to worship God in the way He requires

And here’s my first point about worship, this morning

- from Jesus’ words in Jn

Worship is not about US. It’s about GOD.

- it’s so easy to fundamentally misunderstand this!

- “I didn’t get anything out of worship this morning”

- “I didn’t like the songs we sang… or the hymns”

- “that wasn’t true worship”

And the truth is- if we think it’s about US, or how we feel, or whether we liked it

- even if we DID like it… it WASN’T true worship

Jesus says: “true worshippers must worship THE FATHER”

- and so the question we must ask is: “did GOD enjoy it?”

o and if HE did: you have worshipped!

o This is what He seeks: worshippers who will worship HIM (not selves or something else)

Often it’s a ‘sacrifice of praise’

- we don’t WANT to do it. Don’t feel like it. But it is RIGHT to

- as our cov service (and Anglican liturgy says)

- It is right to give Him thanks and praise

Father, all powerful and ever-living God, it is indeed right, it is our joy and duty, always and everywhere to give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

And so with all the company of heaven we join in the unending hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

It’s for an audience of ONE

And, the truth is- if you can grasp this… everything else will take off. Maybe, even, your experience in worship

- you may feel lost in wonder, love and praise

Tommy Tenney, in his new book tells this story.

He believes that God spoke to him and said, "You know, Tommy, your favourite worship services and My favourite services are not the same. You leave you services full and satisfied, but when you leave, I’m still hungry."

He writes, "God whispered this to me during a life-changing Sunday morning service. It was a divine encounter that forever imprinted itself with indelible ink on the pages of my memory."

He continues, "There were tears in my eyes when I whispered to my wife, I don’t think I’ve ever been this close to Him before. I wish I knew then what I have discerned since- that God will leave our meetings full and satisfied only when we begin to leave

them feeling hungrier for Him than when we first came."

God seeks worshippers. It is what He wants, what He deserves, what you need and what you were made for:

Westminster shorter catechism:

“Q What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”

So, there- we’ve clarified the object of our worship, and it’s purpose. Now what about this geography and ‘spirit and truth’ bit? What do Jesus’ words mean?


It’s easy to make the mistake of feeling that worship is about whether WE felt we worshipped, or not. It’s also easy to think that worship is about what we sing

- = one of the major issues in our churches, today

Always has been: the organ was the instrument of the devil. “I can’t worship with that sound of hell!”. Then the guitar was. Dunno what it is now: the projector or OHP

But some will think: “if you’re not singing a kind of song in a particular way- then that’s not true worship”

Well- the songs and the hymns and the style has more to do with US than GOD… more to do with our social culture than our or God’s sprit

- God is not impressed by what kind of songs you sing.

o He sees the heart. It’s the HEART that impresses Him

And that’s what Jesus is referring to, here, when He says we must ‘worship in spirit’

- your inner being must be yearning for and connecting with God’s Spirit.


You may be singing your favourite song or hymn.

- you may be singing it LOUD- but if your HEART’S not in it for GOD: it’s not real worship

- you may be feeling GREAT in singing it- but it may just be sentimentality and emotion- if you’re not connecting with HIM in doing it

Now- I’m not saying this to COMPLICATE things. Have you analysing yourself all the time!

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