God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.John 4:24 ASV
This is part one of three in our blog series regarding Worship.
The countless anthropomorphisms of the Old Testament probably caused Jesus to set such a statement as this over against them all.
God may be spoken of in terms of the activities of men, such as walking, seeing, hearing, etc., but there is a sense in which God is not like man at all.
God is a Spirit, eternal, immortal, invisible, omniscient, ubiquitous, omnipotent, and all-pervading.
He is nonetheless personal, hence the anthropomorphisms of Scripture.
They that worship him …
Just what is worship?
Is it the carrying out of any kind of ritual, the observance of any days or times, or the presentation of any kind of gifts and sacrifices?
Despite the fact that worship, from the earliest times, has been associated with such things, actual worship is spiritual.
WHAT IS WORSHIP?
A good description of worship is that of Isaiah 6:1-8, an analysis of which shows that worship is:
(1) an awareness of the presence of God
(2) a consciousness of sin and unworthiness on the part of the worshipper
(3) a sense of cleansing and forgiveness
(4) a response of the soul with reference to doing God’s will: “Here am I, send me!”
In the New Testament, it is evident that the worship of God involved the doing of certain things:
(1) meditating upon God’s word in sermon or Scripture reading
(2) singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
(3) praying to God through Christ
(4) observance of the Lord’s supper, and
(5) the giving of money, goods, and services for the propagation of the faith and the relief of human needs.
Very well, then, does the person who DOES these things worship God?
Not necessarily, because an apostle spoke of certain persons who ate the Lord’s supper in a manner unworthy of it, not discerning the Lord’s body.
From this: it is clear that the things done in the New Testament worship were the authorized channels through which the true worship flowed, and that worship has the same relationship to the channels that electricity has to the power line that carries it.
This, of course, does not disparage the authorized channels, nor suggest that man may select channels of his own. See part three: “Two Ways to Worship.”
Must worship in spirit and in truth … This speaks thunderously of the fact that the worship of God must be done properly, the two requirements being that it must be engaged in with utmost sincerity and as directed by the word of God.
God has revealed the manner in which he should be worshipped, and those who hope to have their worship accepted should heed the restrictions.