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  • East Martin CRC

Physical Location or Spiritual Location

John 4:19-26

Verse 24 God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

Ever been to a church other than your home church? Maybe you were visiting a friend's church or were on vacation. Was it different than you're used to? Maybe they have a different style of music or a different style of preaching but if it is a Christian, Bible believing church, you are worshipping the same God that you worship at your home church. In today's passage we read about how Jews believed you had to worship in the Temple in Jerusalem while the people in the region of Samaria believed you had to worship on a certain mountain. But Jesus wants this woman to know that this isn't an eternal separation.

The Temple represented separation of Jews from Gentiles. Yes, the Israelites were God's chosen people but by Jesus' time there were Jews that took that an extreme, even going as far as avoiding the area of Samaria altogether no matter that it added unnecessary miles to the journey. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? Jesus used the man the Jews wouldn't have wanted anything to do with to be the hero.

Jesus then says something that seems a bit puzzling and condescending about the Samaritans not knowing the truth about who to worship as the Jews do. We know Jesus wouldn’t have been unkind and if He had the woman wouldn’t have responded so positively, so what was His point? Jesus knew that His mission wasn’t about building up the Jews. His mission was about God and bringing God the glory and payment of sins that He required. He was living a life that showed worship wasn’t about the place that it was done but about the heart of the one giving the worship. His next phrase explains this.

So what does it mean to worship God in spirit and truth? The Pharisees were very good about keeping the letter of the law. They didn’t work on the Sabbath day but condemned Jesus and His disciples for picking grain kernels to eat on the day (Matthew 12:1-8) proving that the understood how to keep the law but really didn’t understand that the law was about resetting our focus totally on God and resting in Him. So Jesus’ point to the woman, and to us, is that worship isn’t about obeying God because that is what we are supposed to do but because that is what we want to do because it brings God glory. It is not obeying just enough to get by but asking Him how much more we can surrender to please Him. It is shifting the focus from ourselves and our desires and giving full honor to Him and wanting His desires. To worship Him in spirit and truth is to align our spirit to His and to be sincere about it. It isn’t about playing a worshiper physically but being one in your deepest spirit.

Making It Personal

Have you ever asked yourself if you are worshiping Him the way He wants to be worshiped? If He were to say you were faking in an aspect of your living a life of worship, what part would it be? Are you willing to change for Him?

Making It Personal Kids

What is the difference between a real and a fake? Which do you like better? What do you think God likes, real worshipers or fake ones?

Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for calling us out of a life of fake worship and guide us in the way of truly worshiping You. We want to be true worshipers, help us! In Jesus’ name, amen.

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