Now I want you to open your Bible for a moment to begin tonight by looking at the text which is the foundation for our study on worship. It’s John chapter 4 verses 20 through 24, John chapter 4 verses 20 through 24. This very familiar and wonderful portion of Scripture tells the story of the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. And in that encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, our Lord gives us great insight into the theme of worship.
In verse 20, John writes, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain.” These are the words of the Samaritan woman. She’s referring to Mount Gerizim where the Samaritans held their worship. She says, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people...that is the Jews...say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” She is endeavoring to figure out where is the appropriate place to worship. Is it here in Mount Gerizim, the Samaritan place, or is it Jerusalem, the Jewish place?
To which, Jesus responds. Verse 21, “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall you worship the Father. You worship that which you do not know. We worship that which we know for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming and now is when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’”
Our Lord is saying there was a time when a place served as a focal point of worship. There is coming a time when worship will have nothing to do with a place and everything to do with an attitude. Worship in spirit and in truth. There is much in the words of our Lord that begin in verse 21 that helps us to understand worship. And so, we’re looking a little bit intently at this portion of Scripture and pulling out the salient elements that relate to worship.
Let’s go back to a basic definition just so we don’t assume anything. When you say you worship, you simply are saying you give honor to God. It comes from an old English word “worthship” and it was to ascribe to someone value, to ascribe to someone worship. And so when you say you worship God, you are simply saying God is worthy of honor...God is worthy of praise...God is worthy of glory. Worship is giving honor to God. And it is a life-dominating attitude. It is based on truth because how can you give honor to God unless you know God? And the more you know about God, the more you are able to honor Him for who He is. Because God is infinite perfection, you can continue to be exposed to the increasing understanding of His infinite perfection and thus your ability to give Him honor for who He is increases as well....
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