In the days following our Easter celebration, my mind and heart have been drawn to a portion of Scripture where our Lord Jesus speaks explicitly about worship.
The chapter is John 4, and the context is our Lord’s conversation with a Samaritan woman.
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24, ESV)
There are at least four big takeaways from this teaching of Jesus.
First, geography is not the critical factor in worship that pleases God (v. 21). You don’t have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, or Jerusalem, or Rome to really worship God.
Second, true worship and knowledge are vitally related (v. 22). The deeper our knowledge of God’s word, the richer and more robust our worship will be. Our love for God expressed in worship should “abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (Philippians 1:9, NIV).
Third, the Father seeks true worshipers (v. 23). God is glorified when more and more people truly worship him. A glimpse of the goal is revealed in the last book of the Bible where we see “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” worshiping around the throne of God (Revelation 7:9, ESV).
Fourth, true worship involves both “spirit and truth” (v. 24). True worship is enabled by God’s Spirit and is guided by God’s truth. True worship stirs our heart and engages our mind. Without the former it is dull and lifeless; without the latter it is shallow and superficial.
This past weekend, more worshipers gathered for Easter worship at Ingleside than ever before (more than 4,600). We worshiped in spirit and truth. God was greatly glorified!