Monday, August 20, 2012

Defining Worship, part 3

This is part 3 of 4. To begin at the beginning, start here

Christian Worship is In the Holy Spirit
In John 4 we read about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. In verse 20 they talk about the proper location of worship. The woman says that she believes worship should take place on the mountain, but the Jews (including Jesus) say it should take place in Jerusalem. Jesus responds: “Woman, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

What can we learn from Jesus’ words?

Worship is not tied to a place. In the Old Testament the nation of Israel worshiped in the tabernacle or the temple, but this was a shadow of things to come. If our church building burned down tomorrow, our church would still gather and worship.

Worship is tied to a Person. Here Jesus (the Son) refers to the Father and the Spirit. True worship involves the whole Trinity. Father God is above us, Jesus Christ is with us, and the Holy Spirit is within us. When we worship, we are prompted and guided by God’s Spirit that lives in us. We can not worship without the Spirit’s involvement.

God seeks true worshipers. What is a true worshiper? What is true worship? James 1:27 might give us insight: true worship/religion is born of our relationship with God, but matures in caring for others and pursuing righteousness. We’ll talk about that more in the next part of this series.

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