Summary: When Jesus says, "A time is coming and now has come when true worshippers will worship the Lord in spirit and in truth," he was giving us some insights into worship.
If you were to ask 100 people what worship is, you’d probably get 100 different answers. The primary reason for this would be the wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
Another reason for such a wide range of views of worship is the never-ending list of “worship misconceptions.” Perhaps the BIGGEST misconception is the notion that WORSHIP IS FOR US – that when I go to worship, I am to GET SOMETHING out of worship. (While that will happen, you will get something from it, that is a by-product of worship and not the function).
Another misconception is the notion that IF I DO A CERTAIN SET OF RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES, I have worshiped. This was the misconception of the people of Israel when the Lord told Malachi (1:10), “Oh that someone would shut the temple doors, so that my people would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.”
Perhaps some of the contributing factors to these common misunderstandings are our EXPECTATIONS OF WORSHIP.
- Some expect intellectual stimulation from the sermon, and if they are intellectually stimulated, worship has taken place. If their expectation is not met, worship did not take place.
- Some expect a form of entertainment (though they would never call it that), and if they are entertained, worship has taken place. If their expectation is not met, worship did not take place.
What we must understand this morning is that worship is not about INTELLECT or ENTERTAINMENT, it is about an ENCOUNTER with the living God. He wants to communicate with us, he wants to commune with us, he wants to reside in us. That is worship.
Transition: This morning John 4 will help us better understand what worship truly is.
Read vss. 7-15
Read vss. 16-19
Read vs. 20 (relates to vs. 9 – she couldn’t get past the cultural barrier).
Explain the rift between Jews and Samaritans
Assyrian take-over (622 B.C.)
Some of the people remained behind and intermarried.
Over the decades and then centuries they became a separate people.
To the faithful of Judah, these Samaritans were unfaithful half-breeds and they wanted nothing to do with them.
As a result, the Samaritans developed their own system of worship and even built their own Temple, in Gerizim.
– In verse 20, the woman is saying, “My people have their place of worship on this mountain right behind me. You Jews go to your temple in Jerusalem. Now I’ve got a question: Which one is right?”
In countless churches today congregations struggle with the same question. Committees are established, task teams are appointed all in an effort to discover “which one is right” – “which style of worship is right.” Younger people want something contemporary while older folks defend traditional forms. What we need to understand this morning is that “neither synthesizers nor 18th century hymns guarantee genuine worship that engages the Spirit of God.” (Gary Burge, John, NIV Application Commentary, 164).
Verses 21-23: Jesus says, “It’s not a question of which one is right, for a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.”