Worship In Spirit & In Truth
10/11 OCTOBER 2020 | PRAYER & PRAISE SERVICES
Mr Aw Choon Hui
Scripture Passage: John 4:23-24 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (Video)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | Transformation occurs in a true worshiper whose worship is distinguished by spirit and truth.
With work pressures piling in the week, do we become short-tempered with people, less gracious and loving? Is Sunday church only a little habit we acquire, only to reveal our true selves come Monday? Repeated twice by Jesus in v23 and 24, what does it mean to worship God in spirit and truth?
1. With the Right Posture – To kiss the hand of the master is “worship” - Proskuneo in Greek - “pros” (toward), “kuneo” (kiss). This involves the posture of kneeling prostrate, literally or at least in total surrender of the heart, to God with deferential respect and homage. Kneeling to receive the grace of God at Communion or praying silently on bended knees at the altar illustrate a sacred submissive approach to our Holy God.
Do I pour my heart submissively to God when I worship Him?
2. As True Worshipers – False worship takes on an empty, outward ritualistic form without any contemplation of the heart. Conversely, TRUE worship in spirit expresses soulful, wholehearted love for God, and in truth engages all of one’s mind to the whole extent that is demanded by Jesus (Matthew 22:37). This is unlike heart-racing emotions of fear, anger, grief and love that are brain-induced and adrenaline-charged. Or mood shifts and emotionally-high mountain-top experiences that subside and cause us to lose the feeling of God’s presence.
When we equip ourselves with the knowledge of God in His Word, however, we become increasingly aware of Whom we are worshiping. A proper deliberate study of God’s Word every day is vitally important to enable us to worship God in truth. Unlike unreliable emotions coloured by personal experiences, God’s Word establishes a holistic understanding and accurate view of who He is and His purposes for us. Furthermore, experiencing the LORD personally and “strangely-warmed”, as John Wesley experienced in Aldersgate, will transform our intellectual convictions, inspire our heart and soul to worship the Father in spirit and truth as Jesus has revealed for this day and age (v23).
Do I truly aspire to know God who I am worshiping, to know as much about Him for as long as I live?
3. The One True God – The Almighty God designed mankind to commune with Him. Only God is to be worshiped, who deserves to command our worship (Exodus 20:3). Nothing else nor someone less. It ought to be that when we gather in church, we seek the LORD’s presence and to hear Him speak through His appointed servants. God forbid that we should desire to be entertained by how good the choir is or rate how well a preacher speaks. In response to Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross for our salvation, TRUE worship involves personal sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1). Patriarch Abraham was fully surrendered to offer to God his one and only beloved son Isaac. King David would not offer to God something that cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24).
What am I giving in worship? Do I go to church to assuage my conscience, satisfy myself, seek a personal benefit? Or to honour the one true God as my sole focus, offer Him my life with a contrite heart?
4. Anywhere – We worship the Father to celebrate His faithfulness, which as Jesus says, goes beyond physical boundaries – no longer confined on “this mountain or in Jerusalem” (John 4:21). As Christ disciples we are the temple of God to Whom we can worship in spirit and truth anyplace, anytime and in any circumstance. Even in the drudgery of mundane kitchen chores, our time of business should not differ from our time of prayer (The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence).
Beyond a quiet church sanctuary, am I worshiping God in my home, neighbourhood and workplace?
5. All the Time – King David lay prostrate in contrite worship of God while enduring the pain and punishment of losing his baby son to death from his illicit affair with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:20). Having experienced God’s compassion and faithfulness, he was able to anchor his confidence to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of his life (Psalm 27). In her time of great and painful personal loss, the mother of a leukaemia-stricken child who died at 22 years old after a 15-year battle, could say before he slipped away, “I will see you soon, son, with the LORD.” In their wretched moments of heartrending pain and loss, these saints move to God, not away from Him. Job’s example epitomises a supreme act of will to worship God regardless of the devastation he felt (Job 1:20). Indescribable beauty of nature over Wesley Methodist Church moved the Anglican Bishop John Leonard Wilson, whose flesh was lividly torn and shred by his war-time tormentors, to worship His Creator in spirit and truth. In TRUE worship he found strength to pray for his enemies.
Do I need a quiet sanctuary with cool air conditioning and melodic organ playing to truly worship God in spirit and truth? Or is Christ whose glory fills the skies, my reason to worship God in good and bad times?
(Sermon Notes by Marjorie Tan)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Read the scripture text for today’s sermon. What stood out for you?
2. In your own words, what is the overall message of today’s sermon?
3. Have you had someone in your life that modelled the principles in this passage? Explain.
4. Can you think of a situation or circumstance in your own life where you experienced what these verses are teaching?
5. What are some obstacles to applying this sermon to our life?
6. What is God’s personal invitation to you through this message?