July 21, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 21 July 2015
John 4:24 - "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Let us make a few considerations from this verse that can inform the manner in which we worship the living God.
First, it is important to note that true worship is always focused upon the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Beginning and End, the Alpha and Omega of our salvation, but also of our worship. Jesus is the reason why we can truly worship the living God. He is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5), and thus the only way to the true worship of God (John 14:6). Truly, no man comes to the Father, either for salvation, or for worship apart from Jesus Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. What Jesus revealed to the woman at the well in John 4, and what He also offers graciously to us today is worship that is focused upon Him.
Jesus commands all to worship Him in a certain manner so we do not in our own sinfulness worship something or someone other than God! We worship because God commanded it. John 4:22 reads, "You (plural, meaning all the Samaritans) worship what you do not know." Jesus used a relative pronoun: "what you do not know" rather than a personal pronoun "who you do not know." When worship is not focused upon the Lord Jesus, we worship something other than God.
In the Apostle Paul's sermon at the Areopagus, in Athens, Greece, he noticed the same tendency with all humanity. When we try to worship with mere general revelation, that is, without the special revelation of God in the Holy Scriptures, they we worship something (or someone!) that we do not know. Hence all so-called good intentions can do nothing but cause us to err when we are guided by our own opinions without the Word of God.
Worship is a dialogue with God. To worship God in spirit and truth is to worship him rightly in Jesus Christ alone. Worship is as God has commanded, yet it is also in spirit and truth. The term "spirit and truth" focuses our attention upon the spiritually truthful, and non-physical aspect of worship. In John 4:24, Jesus taught that God is Spirit and thus we worship Him in spirit and truth.
We should understand that in the context, Jesus was drawing the Samaritan woman's attention from the question of "where," meaning physicality or geographical location of worship. Jesus was focusing the woman's attention, as well as ours, on the true worship more specifically directed to "Whom."
We must remember that in order for us rightly to respond to God in worship, we must first be rightly informed of who God is and what He teaches us in Scripture. Who God is as Spirit, in all of His character and revealed attributes in the Scriptures, informs us as to how to worship Him. True worship of God is from a heart wholeheartedly captured and informed by God's Word, because of the work of God's Spirit, which is one reason for always making the revelation of God’s Word the emphasis in all worship. The focus is always on the Word of God because "God speaks," his people listen, and then we respond!
Worship is wholeheartedly honest and truthful—from the heart—only when the Word is central and we dialogue with the living God in our worship. Think about it! When you are convicted of sin, you respond in true repentance (that is worship in spirit and truth); when you are sad because life is not as it should be because of sin, you are suffering and you hear God's Word of comfort, you respond not with your own sadness to God, but with living hope (that is worship in spirit and truth); when you are feeling rightfully guilty for breaking God's commandments, rather than descending introspectively into shame, you hear that God has sent a Savior who was shamed for you, and you respond in belief again, knowing that Jesus truly loves you and is the Savior of your soul (that is worship in spirit and truth).
Pastor to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia