• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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WorshipGod is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24 ESV)

Modern churches seem to constantly be in a self-evaluation mode to decide the best ways to meet the needs of the congregation. One popular question is “How can we make worship more meaningful?” There is, however, a fundamental problem with this question. The true worship of God is not discovered by asking how the average Christian feels about a variety of worship approaches or creating a new worship formula. God is worshiped in spirit. It is only through the gospel of Jesus Christ that worship is possible. Worship in spirit includes a spiritual sense of God and spiritual communion with God. True worship is the result of revealed truth. Truth is the reality of God as witnessed by Jesus. Truth begins with God. The Gospel proclaims it and through it God calls men to salvation.

The efforts to impose modern culture on the practice of worshiping a holy God will bring nothing but disappointment and failure. When we impose worldly culture on the worship of God, we also impose characteristics of the fallen world that God is calling us to abandon. We live in the world, but we are not to be of this world. We separate ourselves from worldliness because we hunger for truth and righteousness. If we base our worship practices on popularity instead of scriptural truth, we are not worshipping God at all.

Consider these questions: When you worship God, do you experience the burning away of self, pride, and love for the world? Are you truly worshiping God or are you thinking critically about the songs and sermon? Are you thinking of God’s glory? Are you looking to be motivated for success or to simply be entertained? Are you worshipping God or simply pleasing yourself?

But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV) God is holy. We should tread carefully to avoid sinning against Him as those children of Israel who offered strange fire to the Lord. (Leviticus 10:1-2 ESV) True worship springs from the grace of holiness in our lives. We must avoid manufacturing the sensual in our churches. “Getting high on Jesus” is simply a corruption of the true Spirit of Holiness. Jesus has said we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. Such worship is the result of obedience to the Scriptures. Where this is the case, you will find true meaningful Biblical worship.

Samuel at Gilgal

4 Responses

  1. Thanks for this blog post.


  2. Great insights!

    “Consider these questions: When you worship God, do you experience the burning away of self, pride, and love for the world?”

    The longer I follow Christ, the more I have come to believe that the true impact of a worship service is not to be measured by how well people respond during the service. Rather, it is how well the service helps the people respond to Christ OUTSIDE the service.


  3. I think Jesus was talking about worship “in the Spirit and truth” in Jn. 4:23-24. Already, in Jn. 3:34, it says he (Jesus) “whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit.” So Jesus speaking the truth to the Samaritan woman is already the beginning of this worship in Spirit and truth. Jesus has also told the woman he has living water to give her; later, in Jn. 7:38-39, Jesus’ living water is interpreted as the Spirit, which was not yet given (to disciples) because Jesus was not yet glorified. Thus in Jn. 14-16, Jesus’ hour to be glorified by returning to the Father has come, and he emphasizes that he will give his disciples the Spirit of truth so that they can remember Jesus’ words and be witnesses of him. This speaking the truth about Jesus through the Spirit is thus described as worship, a form of worship which can be done anywhere at any time.


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