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. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." -- John 4: 23-26 (ESV)
As a discernment minister I spend a great deal of time researching and reacting to the latest whims and waves of doctrine that can shipwreck the faith of my brothers and sisters or those who otherwise might encounter the real God. I have several websites I monitor daily who hold great sway over the minds of the sheep and who are leading them down the broad path that can only lead to their destruction. Nothing brings me more joy than the occasional email from someone I do not know, who has come out from the darkness or sometimes cult like experience and into the glorious light of salvation and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every now and again though, the Lord reminds me of an area I am overlooking. This past week I was visiting a church, where I had promised to meet some old friends. The main worship set consisted of two songs from Elevation Church and one from Jesus Culture. The conviction from the Holy Spirit was thick that night.
We just do not give proper consideration to the theology and topic of worship. There is no reason for this beloved as we spend more time worshipping collectively than listening to doctrinal sermons. The average sermonette in a purpose driven church is probably about 20 minutes. The time spent worshipping God well exceeds that as that is the more entertaining portion for the goats the service is marketed to. While the sermon content is vitally important it is still man speaking to man. Worship is man speaking to God. Consider that for a moment. There was a mega church pastor who was quoted once saying there were two types of worship songs he would refuse to play in his church. One was the Jesus is my boyfriend genre and hallelujah to that decision. The second however was the ones that ask for serious things from God that the worshippers often do not even realize. Don't sing Oceans to God about wanting to go deeper. If you want to go deeper stop listening to Hillsong! Realize what we sing forms our theology. Don't believe it? How many millennial Christians base theology is formed around their belief that they are a friend of God, who loves them so much, and owes them the blessings of Abraham? Quite a lot I would wager. Why is the reverent awe of the Lord lacking in the newer generations of "churched" people? Certainly, you can point to the sermons being watered down and the Gospel being sugared up but it also has to do with worship music focusing on us instead of Him. When you spend a half hour singing How Great Thou Art, you just develop a better sense of awe than if you spent it singing How Much He Loves Me. Why? Because one song is about God and the other is about you!
To get into this subject I went to the section of scripture where Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman and while this story is rich in theology from many different angles, I will focus on worship. You see the Samaritans were considered half-breeds by the Jewish people, who wanted nothing to do with them. This is despite the fact that the Samaritans claimed lineage and descent from a few of the tribes of Israel. When it came to worship, the Samaritans believed the proper place to worship God was Mount Gerizim, which the Samaritans held in reverent awe as the real place God wanted the temple built. The Jewish people obviously disagreed and swore that Jerusalem was the only place to worship God. The Samaritan woman recognizes that Jesus is a prophet and asks Him essentially who is right in this age-old dispute and the answer from Jesus is our key verses today. Within this answer we can learn a lot about the true nature of worship.
The first thing we see is God wants people to worship Him. He is seeking people to worship Him correctly. This is important in light of the false relationship that churchianity sells today. Jesus is not your wing man. Singing Friend of God does not make you a friend of God. Regarding the two men who wrote Friend of God; one is an atheist today and the other an adulterer. Before people think this is a matter of not liking new music, think again. There is a lot of buzz in the purpose driven landscape about being in relationship with Jesus and people use this to undermine religion -- which God established. Let me explain now to the disappointment of many who really worship themselves -- if your relationship with Jesus is not one of servant and Master than you have no relationship with Jesus. Wait a minute preacher! Jesus told His apostles that He now called them friend! Yes He did. I could point out that you are not one of the apostles He was talking to that day but instead will remind you of the verse that precedes His declaration of friendship:
You are my friends if you do what I command. -- John 15:14 (ESV)
Here is the hard lesson for today. If He is not your Lord -- you are not His friend. The second point from the key verses is that we must worship God in spirit and in truth. Well what does that mean? First of all, they go together. You cannot worship God in spirit and not in truth or vice versa. Let's start with truth. When this word is used it means the knowledge of who God is. It is directly referring to the word of God. When Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, He said the spirit would lead us into all truth. This is not our perceived truth based on personal experience, which can be corrupted by our wickedly deceitful hearts but rather from the immutable, unmovable, inerrant and all sufficient scriptures. Beloved, our worship at a bare minimum must be theologically correct. According to the Gospel of John Jesus is His Word. Bill Johnson likes to say we do not worship the bible because he does not know God to understand that He is the very word. So, what are we saying to God, about God, when we sing things that are simply unbiblical? For your consideration: