“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

In the Hebrew nation of old, Moses built the Tabernacle according to the word of the Lord God. The tabernacle houses the Holies of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant rested, and the Lord God Almighty dwelt. The Hebrew nation was nomadic until they settled the Promised Land of Canaan with Joshua, their leader. King Solomon built the first Temple housing the Holies of Holies, where the Lord God dwelt and was worshipped. When King Solomon passed, the Israel nation split over who would be the successor to Solomon. Israel becomes the Northern kingdom, and Judea becomes the southern Kingdom. Both kingdoms continually forsook the word of their God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel was conquered by the Assyrians and Judea by the Babylonians.

King Cyrus invaded the Babylonians, which resulted in the Judeans returning to their land and the eventual rebuilding of the Temple. The King of Judea sent a call out to the Israelites living in the Assyrians conquered land, inviting them to return to Jerusalem. “The couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his princes, even according to the command of the king, saying, “O sons of Israel, return to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped and are left from the hand of the kings of Assyria.” (2 Chronicles 30:6)

The Israelites in Assyria had become intermingled with other peoples the King of Assyria had conquered also. They had intermarried and shared worship of other gods and lived north of Judea in Samaria. “The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.” (2 Kings 17:24)

When Zerubbabel began to rebuild the Temple, the Israelites living in Samaria came to aid in the Temple’s rebuilding and were rejected by Zerubbabel and Jeshua because they had intermixed with pagan people of foreign nations. “But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers’ households of Israel said to them, “You have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us.” (Ezra 4:3), Since that time the Judeans and the Samarians had no relations between them. The problem was between Judea and Galilee was Samaria. There is a long path around Samaria to Galilee, but Jesus took the direct route.

When Jesus met the woman at the well, His request for a drink sparked curiosity in the woman. “Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?’” (John 4:9) Jesus tells her that if she knew who He was, she would ask Him for a drink of water that she would never thirst again. “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14). The woman at the well deflects and speaks of the difference in the worship place between Jews and Samaritans. Jesus’ answered according to His purpose, teaching worship is not in a place other than the heart of the worshipper. “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” (John 4:23)

Let us look at these three elements of Worship, Spirit, and Truth. Christians gather together to worship, but worship is not confined to a place. They gather to fellowship together with the Lord and to encourage each other. Worship is a reverent recognition of the person and Authority of God the Creator and our inferiority as His creation. God the Creator is bigger than His creation and is not confined to any place or realm. Worship is a state of one’s mind and attitude in constant thought of His Lord God. The Christian is in complete admiration of God. Worship is a state of being where there is a continuous awareness of God’s presence and communication. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Spirit in the scripture is the word “pneuma” and is the spirit, soul, and creative source of a person. Humanity has a spirit breathed by God, and the pneuma is God-like, and the spiritually mature are believers in God. Those who have rejected God have a pneuma that is sarkikos, which refers to flesh that is governed by humanity’s human nature and sinful. Sarkikos would be spiritually immature. There is a contrast between the states of one’s spirit. One is spiritually dependent upon God’s Holy Spirit, and the other is carnal and lost to the desires of the flesh. When a person places His truth in Jesus for their salvation, they are infants in spiritual maturity but will grow to discern righteousness and wickedness. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:13-14) Christians need to grow quickly in faith and spiritual maturity, as Satan will seek to destroy their belief. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

The Christian follower of Christ is to grow in the like-mindedness of Jesus. Growing in their faith in His Word, building trust and obedience, he will grow in spiritual strength and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. They will boldly step out in faith and proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom, as their thoughts are expressed in spiritual words. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)

Jesus, who is the Word of God from the beginning and is God incarnate, and is truth. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Jesus prayed a High Priestly prayer to the Father and asked that His disciples be sanctified, spiritually mature by the Word of God He spoke to them. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) James encourages Christian believers to become spiritually mature, lacking in nothing God has for them in the purpose of His will. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21) No one can achieve spiritual maturity apart from the Word of God. Only by His Word can one carry their cross and follow Him. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (Colossians 2:6)

Worshipping in Spirit and Truth is a constant state of living and is not confined to a single place. Worshipping the Lord is inviting Him to be the center of life to love, guide, and equip the believer in all their endeavors through life. The key is to follow the One who loves you, who purchased you with His blood, and who has the best interest for you in His heart. Jesus is faithful and true and will never let you fall from the palm of His hand. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, May 11, 2021

wordpress analytics