July 12, 2016
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 12 July 2016
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.
Who do we worship? First of all, 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 told the woman in John 4 to stop looking at the mountain, even the so-called religious traditions, and to worship and focus upon Him. Jesus was physically present with the woman, not merely to discuss past theological debates with regard to a legitimate mountain on which to worship, but He was there in the flesh to draw her (as well as our) attention to Himself alone!
Why do we worship? 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.
What is worship? 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 "Who."
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 despondent, you hear God's Word of comfort, and respond 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).
Your Capitol Missionary-Pastor,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.