John 4:19-26


Conviction of sin will always lead you to repentance, which proceeds worship. This is what the gospel produces, this is what a holy God is looking for in those who are His, as Jesus called on her to get her husband. Shaken by Jesus’ amazing exact knowledge of her past, and present lifestyle choices, she says, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.”


This response gives evidence to His divine knowledge of her, and this statement revealed that she couldn’t hide from her sin any longer. Her eyes were beginning to open; and she is discovering that she is standing before some Mysterious Somebody, whom she declares to be a spokesman for GodIt was through her conscience that the True Light of Living Water was being made manifest in her heart to see her fallen state and lack of Biblical knowledge. We know this true, because she is seeking in her own strength to find this eternal joy and peace, but its only lip service, and not from the heart that has been transformed. (v19-v20) Jesus quickly responds by exposing her false worship, and that could be said of many churches today around the globe, especially in North America.  (v21-v23)


For example, one the largest churches, and has one of the largest audiences with the opportunity to preach gospel truth. False teacher Victoria Osteen said and I quote at the beginning of their service, “I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God. I mean, that’s one way to look at it, but we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy, that’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy… So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy,” Osteen continues. “When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?


“You worship what you do not know.” (v22)


What is Jesus saying here? Your worship is lacking because you reject Scripture, most of the Old Testament writings, that gives us insight into the character of God and beauty of God. His attributes of holiness, righteous, wrath, love mercy, grace and so on. And because of their ignorance, the Samaritans, were lacking the full revelation that it contained about God in authentic worship of God’s people.

This is also true in the church today…. Many in the church-goers have woeful ignorance of the God of the Old Testament, because all we need in our worship is to praise Jesus. That is true in part; but that is only one small portion of our active worship privately and corporately. The gospel through Christ is what reconciles us back to the Father; and its this reality that we worship the Father in the fullness of our worship. (v23) In our worship we reverence the Triune God, Father, the Son. and Holy Spirit; but we need to have the majesty of the Father, in all of His greatness, in our minds as we worship. Do you remember what Jesus said to Satan when He was tempted by him? “Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.’” Matt 4:10


Jesus came to return us back to God the Father. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Rev 21:3. In active demonstration of worship Jesus came to do the Father’s will. “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” John 4:34. Jesus also said, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does His works.” John 14:10


The Apostles understood who we are to have at the center of our worship. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Gal 1:3-5


There is a certain sense in which the supreme focus of our worship on Sunday is to be directed the Father. “true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.”


“spirit” here does not refer to the Holy Spirit, but human spirit, our worship must be internal, not external conformity….to ceremonies, or rituals created by man.

This means that the worship we offer comes from the depths of our souls, from our inner spirits, from the very core of our being. An example of this is when Mary sang her song of praise toward God. “And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46-55


This is what worship looks like from the depths of one’s soul. Genuine from the inside, not because they have to, but because they desire to, in the new birth. They worship because they have been given the understanding of genuine worship through the full revelation of God in His Word. But there is a false worship that makes people believe they are genuine in their worship; and this is the woman who stand with Jesus. If, the Samaritans, would receive the full revelation in the Old Testament, they would understand what is false, and what is trueAs Jeremiah wrote, because the Jews failed at this as well, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Stand in the gate of the LORD's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever. “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD. Jer 7:1-11


The Jews put their trust in the material buildings. The things in which they trusted, and in which the false prophets taught them to place their confidence in. They were coming up to the temple at certain times for religious exercises, their attendance on temple service and worship, offering of sacrifices, thinking that this will please God and overlook their way of life.


“You worship what you do not know.”


This is why Jesus says to her the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. “Truth” is calling our hearts to be consistent with what Scripture teaches and centers on in the Incarnate Word. But unfortunately, the Jews and the Samaritans were both guilty of false worship despite the fact the Jews had a more complete understanding of the truth. (v22) Both of these groups focused on external factors, they both conformed outwardly to regulations, observed rituals, and offered sacrifices. A W Tozer said, “Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” This is happening in many so-called churches today; and sadly its only window dressing or putting lipstick on a pig, to a greater issue that has eternal implications. Worship is a serious spiritual matter and its an attitude of the heart that see’s God as He is, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah 6:3. To worship in spirit and truth is to draw near to God with an undivided heart.

Worship Is An Internal Preparation Of The Believers Heart. 

Every child of God carries the responsibility for personal preparation of his/her heart. If God calls us to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), then we must constantly ask questions about the state of our spirit and readiness of our hearts. We have an obligation to do a spiritual check list over our own lives. A great place to do that is found in (Gal 5:22-23) Where do I need to change in order to exemplify these fruits in my life, and in the body of Christ? Self-examination is vital part of the Christian life: Psalm 139:23-24; Job13:23; 2 Cor 13:5; Luke 15:17-24; 1 Cor 11:27-31; Matt 7:5. God promises that if we are willing to admit that we have been walking our own way and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing, He will empower us through His Spirit to live above ourselves and live the abundant life for which He has created us. I John 1:5-10, 2:1-6)

Worship Involves A Pre-Arrival Preparation For The Believer.

We can learn from the Jews who believe the Sabbath begins at sundown the evening before. So, our Saturday night and Sunday morning activities before we gather have a formative affect, positively or negatively, on our readiness for active corporate worship. What are you doing Saturday night to prepare your heart for worship? Is it! Listening to sermons, reading the passage that we about to studying on Sunday, is it memorizing your verses for Sunday school, praying for the church family, and your pastor. Are you coming with a readiness of excitement to study the Scriptures? (Acts 17:11)

Worship Involves A Pre-Service Preparation For The Believer.

That short period of time between our arrival at church and the beginning of the worship service is also critical. How we interact with one another, reminds us that we are here as part of a body; and we need to care for the body, and its needs physically and spiritually. This also involves intentionally quieting our spirits before the service begins; this will enable us to set distractions aside and begin to focus our corporate attention onto God. For this one single purpose as the 24 elders praise God continually! “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Rev 4:11. And since worship does not start when we enter the worship service,it should not stop when we leave.

Worship Involves Post-Service Continuation For The Believer. 

Worship should always continue as we leave the service in conversation, with thankfulness in our hearts, as we begin another week of battle for His glory and our good. Worship prepares us for what the Lord has in store for our individual lives, to grow us, and sustain us, to be more content in Him, than in this present evil world. The Hebrew writer reminds of this when he wrote, “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Heb 13:12-15

Worship isn’t just set on Sunday’s alone when we gather, but if it ends here, our worship is incomplete unless it continues when we scatter. Worship can happen in our homes, and through our work day. It can’t be contained in a single location, context, culture, style, artistic expression or vehicle of communication. J C Ryle wrote, “The best public worship is that which produces the best private Christianity. The best Church Services for the congregation are those which make its individual members most holy at home and alone. If we want to know whether our own public worship is doing us good, let us try it by these tests. Does it quicken our conscience? Does it send us to Christ? Does it add to our knowledge? Does it sanctify our life? If it does, we may depend on it, it is worship of which we have no cause to be ashamed.” 

But all our worship must fall under the Regulative Principle Of Worship, this means “Scripture gives specific guidelines for conducting corporate worship services, and churches must not add anything to those guidelines.” Regulative the root word is “regulate or rules” This means that God dictates the elements when we gather corporately in worship. Light shows, fog machines, secular music, drama and antics are not what God calls authentic worship. The Second London Baptist Confession of 1689, “The acceptable way of worshiping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.” This is why Jesus says the time has come for the genuine worship of God be produced through the child of God, found in the true gospel confession. (v23) “When the true worshipers will worship the Father.” Why? Because God is sovereignly drawing genuine sinners to Himself in active worship towards Him.


We will see this more clearly in a couple of chapters when Jesus responds to His disciples grumbling to one another.,No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44


Jesus would also go on to say in the same chapter. “When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” John 6:60-65


True worship begins with an authentic confession of God’s saving grace in one’s life; that is who are the true worshippers. The Called-out ones, those out of darkness. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

Those who are not true worshippers are people who just go to church to appease their sinful conscience to make things better so they can continue in their sin like the previous week. Its not about showing your face once and awhile as a special guest among God’s children, this doesn’t constitute genuine belief or salvation. Christ died for the church, and loves the church, by producing saving grace and genuine worship in those who are truly His.


The church is where God’s children gather corporately to give

Him the glory for such amazing grace.


If this is not happening, genuinely, then its not worship at all; and sadly, this woman had a skewed understanding of worship because of their rejection to most Old Testament teachings the Prophets and the Psalms. If she read the whole book of Psalms alone, she would have understood they are Godward directed, being God’s words to us, to give back to Him in active worship. Robert Godfrey said this about the Psalms, “The timeless elegance of the Psalms, their depth of expression, and testimony to the greatness of God have enchanted and edified God's people for centuries.” The whole entirety of Scripture gives us all we need to know about God, and to why we worship Him; though we can’t see Him, audibly hear Him, or physically touch Him.


The Scriptures reveal He is everywhere present as Jesus reveals to her. (v24)


God is Spirit, this means that God the Father does not have a human bodyWhen we read that God has hands, and feet, this is to help the reader understand because its hard to describe something that you can’t see, smell, or touch. Verses like….Isaiah 59:1; Matt 4:4; Deut 33:27 for examples.  All of these verses are examples of anthropomorphism, this a way of describing God with structural or emotional terms so that humans can better understand Him. The use of anthropomorphism, is a form of figurative language, this does not imply that God has an actual body. By the Scriptures giving God human parts and emotions; we begin to see the form of a Father who leads us to Him. This was confusing for the disciples as well; and Jesus made it clear to them, when they said, “Show us the Father.” We read in a later chapter, “Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” John 14:8-9. Jesus is the manifestation of God to show the people the character and glories of God the Father, who is Spirit. It’s the knowledge of the Scriptures that reveal that God is Spirit, and that He is everywhere, and none is hidden from His sight.


J I Packer wrote, “God must be a Spirit in order to be infinite. Also, if God was limited to a physical body, He could not be omnipresent (in all places at once). God the Father is not limited to the dimensional restrictions of created things but can exist in all places at one time. God is the uncreated First Cause that is the power behind all other beings.”


This is why the Scriptures say, “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” Jer 23:23-24

Psalm 139:7-10, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

Hebrews 4:13 says, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”


It is this knowledge of holy Scripture in the complete revelation of God’s Word, that truly born-again people will, must, worship Him in spirit and truthIts genuine, its not a performance, or a duty, it is an inner passion to give God the glory based upon Biblical truth. The church’s greatest privilege is demonstrated in genuine worship, and that is evident when come together under the teaching of God’s Word every Sunday.


We pray theology, we sing theology, we teach theology and we sit

under the teaching of theology from the pulpit.


This is the true worshipper that God the Father is seeking. All our worship is pointing us to God. This is where we grow and express our worship towards the Godhead who saved us from destruction and death. True worship involves lifting our voice in praise to God for saving us from our sins, for making us more like Jesus, and for being there for us when we are hurting and feeling lonely. What we do corporately is not something we are to take lightly; its to be done by genuine belief in Him under the whole counsel of God’s Word. This is what Jesus is revealing to this woman whose heart is being stirred for the very first time. (v25) She still a little confused, but expresses her hope that one day the Messiah would come and clear up all those vexing questions that she has. And Jesus reveals to her the person standing before her, is the One, who God sent seeking bad people, to save from darkness and death. (v26) 

God incarnate, who has come down from heaven so people could see the One who loved us, despite the fact that while we were still sinners. “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Tim 12-17


What started as a simple request for water, began to change how this woman looked at her sin and what genuine worship truly is.       


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