Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The grace way to worship continued.

John 4 v 24: God is a spirit, and the ones worshiping Him must worship in spirit and truth.

In my October blog, I started exploring what was really meant by Jesus' discussion with the Samaritan woman on worship.

As I said, we have done the typical isolating of a text and have created nice notions about it, but not getting to grips with it.
I have looked at the whole story and to me it is clear to see that the discussion is a contrast in outlooks. There's this constant Physical vs. Spiritual going on.
Firstly the women thinks Jesus is talking about physical water, but He is speaking about spiritual water that He brings. They then move on to temple discussions. The physical place where worship should take place.
The women doesn't get it, she is not spiritualy minded at all it seems. So Jesus throws in the word of knowledge, which jolts here into understanding that Jesus is a prophet. There's something more going on here!!
It's at this point Jesus starts bringing the revelation. He gets to the crux of worship and begins talking about where salvation comes from and in essence, indicates that it has arrived!
He touches on the Jewish/Samaratin issue and makes a statement which I think says, salvation, access to God, real worship, is available to everyone. Not only for Jews!

He takes it further and now this is where it gets exciting.
He starts talking about Himself. This passage on worship is about Jesus. Not how we do church!Worship must always be about Him and nothing less (or more!)

It is in the context of temples ie. forms of worship that Jesus makes this popular statement. The nature of worship is that God is a spirit. Physical forms, rituals, religious practices cannot do it.
Jesus is the fulfillment of temple worship. The physical foreshadows are now being taken over into the Spiritual. Outward acts of access to the Father are now over. The Father is seeking those who worship through Jesus, His Spirit and not the externals. This is the grace way of worship. Temple worship was largely about the sacrifice. Offering up of sacrifices for guilt of sin and then there were also Thank offerings.
Heb 9:11 "But Christ having appeared as a High Priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation,
Heb 9:12 nor through the blood of goats and of calves, but through His own blood, He entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, having procured everlasting redemption."

I won't go into the temple imagery and how it is fulfilled in Christ now (later maybe) but I think in context, this is what Jesus is dealing with here.
Now that He is here. No more sacrifices. He will be our everything in order to truely worship and have access to the Father.

Summed up in John 1:17 "For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

Jesus goes onto say ... true worship has arrived. The hour has come. I am here.
"Joh 4:26 Jesus said to her, I AM! the One speaking to you."

When Jesus talks about truth, He is talking about Himself. I have heard interpretations on how worship must be inspired by the truth of who God is . Nothing wrong with that, but that's not what Jesus is saying here.

Joh 4:25 The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming, the One called Christ. When that One comes, He will announce to us all things.
Jesus speaks of Himself as THE Truth in John 14 v6: "Jesus said to him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

John obviously gets this theme as it is mentioned often in the gospel. Jesus is the word, the truth of God. He is the very representation of the Father. Everything true about God is found in Jesus. He is the Divine Expressed. John speaks of Jesus as being, The One and only son of God. He is the Christ, Messiah our saviour.

Joh 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and of truth."
So to me when we worship in Spirit and truth. It is saying we worship no more through the Physical, but by a The spiritual way, by God's Spirit, received through the TRUTH which is Christ!

I find it interesting how Jesus reveals this to the non-Jew. Ultimately He knew His own would not get it.

Sometimes I think we as Christians don't get it.
We have placed ritual, forms and traditions,yes even charasmatics, in place of Jesus.

We think that we have to do certain things. Sing 2 fast songs, 2 medium ones and 3 slow ones to get into the holy of holies. We even have the notion of going "to church" as though they are the temples where we get to meet with the Father. NO!!!
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Daily, always having access to the Father.
It is only through the blood of Jesus. The curtain is torn. No other way. It is the grace way to worship. True worship is only through Jesus. Don't try anything else. The Father is pleased with His Son and not our weak offerings.
"Phil 3:3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, and who glory in Christ Jesus, and who do not trust in flesh."

Access to the Father isn't even about the songs we sing!!!Songs assist us in communing not union, that's Jesus' work.

When we gather together as God's church, we are not there performing worship rituals. We need to get out of the mindset that we are there gaining access to, trying to get intot he holy of holies. Our place, our postion , our pivelege is settled. We are in Christ. When we gather we need to remind ourselves, tell our souls to commune. I am positionaly exactly in the same place in a church meeting as at home, in a fast song as in a slow song. The only difference is a relational/communal postion.
We have been brought near ...how through the blood of Christ. Not our feelings or works.

We could take this onto Romans 12 and explore the worship and sacrifice.
But for now . It is settled . JESUS Is THE WAY, the TRUTH and LIFE. Salvation comes only through Him. Worship can only happen Through Him by those who have His Spirit.