Worship in Spirit and Truth Part 1
“The Kind of Worshippers the Father Seeks”
a. Engage: “Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-color-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out.”
i. There are rules for almost every arena of life. Some are arbitrary, some are foolish, while others come from the highest authority and are designed for the good, health, and safety for the persons in whatever institution or organization the rules are found.
ii. See I Cor. 14:23, 25
i. Regulations for Worship—Old Covenant. Even the Old Covenatn (OC) had regulations…
ii. So, we have argued that this means there are Regulations for Worship in the New Covenant—These regulations are gathered under what we call the Regulative Principle for Worship. While this is for many a new and unusual concept, the concern for proper Biblical and truly God-honoring worship was a primary concern for the Reformers of the 16th and 17th Centuries. In fact, when we consider what we call the Five Solas we see very quickly that they concern worship and the daily walk of the Christian as much or even more than they do theology!
1. Sola Scriptura means that worship must be ordered by Scripture alone.
2. Sola Christus means that there needed to be a correction to the gross error of the Lord’s Supper
3. Sola Fide meant that preaching from the Bible and the regular reading of God’s word in the common language of the people neede to take center stage so that people could be strengthened in their faith.
4. Sola Gratia meant a reformation in the prayers offered in the gathered worship assembly to ensure that all that was said and requested was in agreement with salvation by the grace of God and not a salvation by works.
5. Soli Deo Gloria, means, of course, that God was lifted up as the author of salvation the agent of sustaining life and the promise of preservation.
iii. Reminder of what we mean by worship. When we speak of worship we are talking about giving the honor and recognition to God that reflects his great worth, value, and impeccable holiness—the sum total of all that he has revealed himself to be. We worship as we bow, as we serve, and as we praise and exalt him.
c. Preview. Today we will continue where we left off last time in Hebrews 9:1 and pursue further what it means that we have and know the regulations for worship under the New Covenant. Our road map today is
i. First to describe The Four Arenas of Worship
ii. Then We will go to a well-known scene from Christ’s life reported to us (John 4) and take a quick overview/give a brief summary to set up the three verses specifically 23-25 that will form the basis for our sermon today.
1. We will look at the Context of the Encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well.
2. The Conversation in this encounter
3. The controversy that came out of the encounter
iii. Thirdly we will begin to unpack what it means when Jesus told the woman that God is seeking those who will worship God in Spirit and in truth.
d. Big Idea: Since God seeks worshippers, so then, let us be found as the kind of worshippers he seeks.
2. The Four arenas of Worship. Having defined worship we need to move from the broad or generic definition of worship and move to the specific
a. Generic: The devotion we owe God in all of Life as his creatures
i. I Cor. 10:31
ii. Col. 3:23, 24
b. Specific elements of prayer, thanksgiving, reading and hearing the word, singing, confession and the administration of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
c. Now the four arenas of Specific Worship
i. Corporate, Public, gathered worship
ii. Personal Private Worship (Generally we call this personal devotions)
iii. Family Worship
iv. All-of-life as Worship
d. The primary focus or benefit of each of these four arenas
i. In Personal Worship the emphasis and benefit is as its name implies personal devotion and fellowship with God. In this arena the individual seeks to experience personal
transformation and growth through a one-to-one interaction with God using various elements of public worship.
ii. In Family worship the emphasis is primarily the discipleship of family members. The Father teaches his family from God’s Word and leads them in a daily awareness of the place of God in their daily lives. Here the Father and Mother exercise their God-ordained responsibility to teach their children. You do know that it is not the Church’s primary responsibility to teach your children, nor is it the Christian School if you choose to send them to one. The parents who leave the instruction of their children to the weekly gathering of the church are telling their children that God and your religion are not important at all, or at least only important on Sunday.
iii. In our daily walk with God the benefit is two-fold, first it is the constant awareness that God is God of all of life, sovereign in all our doings and circumstances. Secondly we show by our seeking to do all things for the glory of God, we are able to give a witness for Christ.
iv. We will plan to address each of these first three arenas of worship and offer guidance and instruction for them at a later date.
v. So the Benefits of these first three arenas of Worship are devotion, discipleship, and witness. But the beauty and excellence of gathered public worship is that all three of these benefits are experienced at one time and place. In addition in the gathered worship of the Church we are confronted and comforted with the Spirit Annointed Teaching and Preaching of God’s Word, sharing one another’s burdens, and living in obedience to God’s command to gather and not to forsake gathering. The first three arenas are only helps to the fourth arena but one of them is sufficient by themselves nor are they substitutes for gathered public worship with the local church under the leadership and care of Biblically qualified elders. We are quite used to hearing that the word church, ekklesia, in Greek defined at “called-out ones”, but as Professor John Murray pointed out, from the Old Testament onward, the idea is more properly, “the called-together ones”. What we need to see is that without regular attendance and participation in the gathered worship of the local church every one of these other three kinds of worship will wither and fade away. You cannot be sustained when you forsake your gathering together with the saints of God for encouragement, learning, confession, and assurance. In fact we need to realize and remember that Christian worship is essentially a corporate activity, corporate as the Body of
Christ. We tend to think of all of our lives in individualistic, atomistic terms but our life in Christ is an inclusion into a body, a family, a holy nation of worshippers. Far from being a gathering of pious individuals each offering their own sacrifice of praise we a re a people –as we see in the book of Revelation—gathering with one another around the throne of grace upon which sits the lamb of God, the lion of Judah. The other three arenas are built on corporate worship, corporate worship is not built upon them. This is the chief function of the Church—to Worship as a body. Again it is not evangelism, it is worship—evangelism exists because worship does not. Note well I Cor. 14:24-25.
vi. In addition we need to realize that nothing we do away from the gathered public worship of the local church is really the same as the appointed gathered worship of the church. This includes churches getting together for a evening of singing, a small group bible study, a men’s group for accountability, a multi church non denominational Bible Study. These are all man-designed event to gather people together in the name of Christ—but they are not worship services.
This review is meant to give us both a broader and a more narrow understanding of what we are talking about when we answer the question, “what are the regulations for worship?”
3. An overview of the Account in John 4.
a. Geographical and Cultural Context.
i. Samaria lay between Judah in the South and Galilee in the North.
ii. The Samaritans were a mixed ethnicity of true ethnic Jews and displaced Babylonians, Assyrians etc.
iii. Not only were they mixed ethnically, but also they had developed a mixed religion that retained certain portions and practices from Biblical Judaism with additions from the religions of the peoples were settled in the area. They had only retained the first 5 books of the Bible. In order to separate themselves from the religion of the Jews they had their own temple on a mountain called Gerazim.
iv. This mixed up people and their religious practices were odious to the Serious Jews of Jesus’ days and they were avoided at all costs.
b. Conversation between A fallen Woman (World-weary) and the (Travel Weary) Savior/God-Man.
i. Jesus chose to travel through this area—“it was necessary—this is used to speak to the mission his Father had sent him to accomplish.
ii. He sits at a well and speaks to a woman who has come to draw water.
c. A Controversy meant to close one door opens another.
i. Verse 20—where are we to worship. (Let’s not talk about my failed marriages and life, let’s talk theology instead)
4. What can we learn here? Three things
a. Worship is not about where but about Whom and How. No special holy places…
b. Worship Begins with God. This is the Whom.
c. True Worship is Worship in Spirit in truth—this is the How.
d. Right and proper Worship is a necessity. Must worship him in spirit and truth.
5. Worship Starts with God—this may seem as though it is unnecessary to say…
a. It is God who seeks worshipper, not we who seek to worship him
b. Although we are by nature worshippers, we are created with a worship impulse. But, because of our fallenness and finiteness we will always tend to worship the creature rather than the creator and we will always tend to prefer worshipping according to our own ideas of what is pleasurable and profitable.
c. Because God is God and He is of himself of infinite worth He, by his very nature requires worship—his requirement for worship is, however, revealed to us in His Word.
6. What is Worship in Truth? Worship in truth is worship that is according to Scripture and it is worship that is filled with Scripture.
a. First it is worship that is according to Scripture. We dare not think that worship (because it is in spirit is an emotional, mindless feeling oriented exercise) “You worship what you do not know” Knowledge is important to right worship. Worship is not just sincerity, it is an exercise based on true knowledge—not the lies of Satan, the traditions of men, or the whims of culture. What is the source of this true knowledge? It is the Word of God. Jesus says in clear and unambiguous language “Sanctify them with truth, your word is truth. David describes the Word of God in Ps. 19. What does the Bible teach us that we need to know in order to worship rightly?
London Baptist Confession
The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
i. It teaches us that God is Sovereign. He is Holy. He is unique and alone. Being sovereign means he makes the rules for all of being. nothing operates outside of his commands, laws and rules. Why should we think that worship does?
1. Isa. 55: 8,9
2. Romans 11:33
ii. The word of God teaches us the truth about mankind. What it tells me is that every human being is sinful, that is, a
1. rebel against the authority of God
2. damaged in their ability to know God or his truth
3. The heart of man is a factory of idols—we will not naturally worship God, but the gods we have created in our own image according to our own imaginations and for our own please.
Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
The corruption of nature, during this life, does remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified; yet both itself, and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin. (LBC)
iii. Doctrine of Scripture:
1. Jettisons the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.
2. II Timothy 3:16-17
The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased. (LBC)
iv. The Doctrine of the Church—Not even the church has the right to add new ordinances and ways of worship that bind men’s consciences to issue and practices not in Scripture.
b. It is worship that is filled with Scripture. Remember, Worship is a two-way conversation beginning with God’s revelation and continuing with men’s response. It is the Father speaking from heaven to his children on earth and the children responding to him in love, appreciation gratefulness, and contrition. He speaks his Word and the best way for us to respond is to return his words to him. Again, we are to pray and sing in the Spirit—but as Paul tells us in I Cor. 14:14, 15 the mind is necessary as well. We come to worship to hear the words of God and our active mindful worship then, is to be saturated with the words of God. We are to Sing the words of God, pray the words of God and preach the word of God. Preaching is not an exercise in story telling, personal anecdotes, encouraging little pep talks of positive thinking.
i. Why the Word of god in our Worship?
1. Faith Comes by hearing the Word of God Romans. 10:17
2. The New Birth comes by the Word of God I Pet. 1:23-25
3. Growth in the Christian life comes by the Word of God I Peter. 2; 2
4. Sanctification comes by the Word of God John 17:17
5. Maturity comes by the Word of God. I Thess. 2:13
ii. So then our worship in truth is to
1. Read the Word
2. Sing the Word
3. Preach the Word
4. Pray the Word See the Word
5. Live the Word
a. See Congregational Worship as important
b. See RPW as Important