Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:21-24)
"Worship in Spirit and Truth"
The Samaritan woman in John 4 was curious about a dispute between Jews and Samaritans about where God was to be worshiped. The Samaritans thought Mt. Gerizim, the Jews thought Jerusalem, where the temple was. But that dispute no longer mattered. Jesus told her that a new day was dawning, when worship would not be about the location or building, but about spirit and truth. As Paul said later in Athens, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man.” (Acts 17:24)
We live in the light of that gospel day, after Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! How do we worship in spirit and truth?
As promised in Joel 2:28-29, the Holy Spirit has been poured out. All who have been born of the Spirit (John 3:6) have new life in Christ, and can worship God who is spirit. When we gather for worship, we rely on the Spirit to sing with sincere hearts, to be shaped by the word of Christ preached, and to commune with Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
To worship in truth means to worship God as he has revealed himself to be. Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “You worship what you do not know.” This is because, as Don Carson says, the Samaritans were “outside the stream of God’s revelation.” So the more we know of God through Jesus and through His Word, the more we will delight in God. C.S. Lewis seemed to experience this when he said, “The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.”
Let us savor our worship gatherings, knowing that Christ dwells by his Spirit in the new temple of God, the people of God gathered in worship.
How to pray...
- Pray for our worship gatherings this coming year, that the Holy Spirit would reveal Christ in all his beauty through songs, readings, confession, the preached Word, and the sacraments.
- Pray for the human participants in our worship gatherings: Joel Pollard as he plans and directs our worship; the worship band and A/V team; the vocal ensemble, and those entrusted with the stewardship of preaching God’s Word.
- Pray for the LBC congregation, that we would come with prepared hearts, to worship God in spirit and truth. Pray that as we sing and engage our hearts, that we would be a part of that great worship ensemble, with the angels in heaven.
For the Family
Some things to discuss together:
- What does it mean to worship?
- Brainstorm ways to worship God.
- Share your favorite worship song (maybe from church, High Tide, radio or a CD) and why it is meaningful.
Family Band Activity:
- Go on a scavenger hunt around your house to find unique items that you can use to make sounds (e.g. a cereal box and a spatula to make a drum or a paper towel roll, tape and beans to make a shaker).
- Put on a favorite worship song and then have each person use their homemade instrument to play along in the band!
"Worship in Spirit and Truth" - Mike Tilley
Mike Tilley is the senior pastor of Lake Baldwin Church, and has lived in Orlando since 1994. He and his wife, Molly, worked with a core group from the Baldwin Park community to plant Lake Baldwin Church in 2006. Mike loves teaching the Bible in a way that relates to real life. In his spare time, Mike enjoys good movies, long dinner with friends, snow skiing, hanging out with his kids and two granddaughters, and travel.
"For the Family" - Michelle Crouse
Michelle Crouse has served as the director of LBC's children's ministry—SPLASH Kids—since the end of 2011. She and her husband Joshua were married in 2002 and have 2 children. Michelle grew up outside of Boston and graduated from James Madison University in Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She loves being with kids and loves the opportunity to be a part of teaching children how much they are loved by God, and helping them grow in their understanding of what that means.