Saturday, November 7, 2015

John 4:24 Neither location nor ceremony important

Quoting Jesus: “God is a Spirit, and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.” The circumstances surrounding that statement involved a Samaritan woman that Jesus engaged in a conversation. She raised one of the differences between her beliefs and those of Israelites. Jesus’ response involved two key points recorded in the 21st and 24th verses. (Other translations) In verse 21 Jesus indicates that the location is not important to true worship. In verse 24 he indicates that sincerity, obedience, and understanding the true essence of a personal relationship with our Creator are the key elements to true worship in a manner that God approves.

Focus more closely now on verse 24 and consider: How does a person worship "in spirit"? According to the actual Greek text, the word "pneumati" (as used in verse 24) can have two meanings. The first is a personage (God, the demons, spirit beings). The second is a dominate disposition (meek, haughty, etc.). A current-day example might be when someone says: “You have a very kind spirit.”

In context of the scripture, to worship God "in spirit" would be to demonstrate the qualities of a true Christian such as recorded at
Galatians 5:22,23. (Note that none of the things listed in Galatians have to do with ceremony, ritual, or formalistic worship.) In contrast, the religious leaders in Jesus day were more concerned with outward appearance than with sincere devotion.

So how then do we worship "in truth"? With ceremonial and ritualistic forms of worship stripped away, what is left is realizing that the only truth is found in God's own word. For those living today, that "truth" can only be found in the Bible. So-called "truth" beyond that is not what God has sanctioned, no matter how good it sounds. Why is that significant? Because the Bible itself says that God’s word is all a true Christian needs to serve God properly.

Related articles:
What Does God Really Want From Us?
True Righteousness - Romans 14:17

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