You got to agree that you can come to a worship service, your mind can be a million miles away, and you're not even close to worship.
Charles Spurgeon stunned his congregation one Lord's day when he said, I believe a very large majority of churchgoers are merely unthinking slumbering worshipers of an unknown God. Think of it this way, if I come and I sing and I raise my hands and I clap my hands, but if I don't go out and my life is not under the submission of the Lord Jesus Christ, am I really a worshiper? Am I what Jesus called a true worshiper? No, it just means I can act really well and play the part and on cue say the words really well.
And welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Worship is kind of a funny thing. For some, it's only a prelude to hearing a sermon or a Bible study. Worship is that time when music is playing so we can find our seats, get situated, say hello to a few friends and otherwise get prepared to have church. For others, worship is all about the experience, which is why they'll say the place doesn't matter as much as the feelings. Just be someplace that inspires you and there you'll discover worship. Well, what is the key to genuine worship?
How will we know when we find it and what's it all about anyway? That's exactly what we'll explore today here on Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. But first, this update from the Connect with Skip Resource Center. Your gift to this teaching program has helped us grow and we want to do more in 2023.
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When you help us expand Skip's teaching with your donation of $50 or more, call 1-800-922-1888 or go to connectwithskip.com to get your copy of Where's Dad? We'll cover more of John chapter four today, so turn there in your Bible and let's join Skip Heitzig. One night, I'm in my apartment in Santa Ana, a low sleep apartment, and I'm in my apartment and I open my Bible and I came across a passage that spoke to my heart so powerfully and it was like an epiphanal moment and I experienced the presence of God in a very powerful and unique manner and I thought, isn't this odd? It didn't happen in Gethsemane. It happens in Santa Ana. So now I'm thinking, I didn't have to save up that money and take a trip to Israel.
I'm gonna save my money and stay in Santa Ana. Now please, if you're saving up your money and you're gonna go to Israel, we're gonna have a meeting after third service today, don't be dissuaded by that. Just know this, Jeremiah 23, God says, am I a God who is only in one place? Ask the Lord, am I not everywhere in all the heavens and the earth? Worship can't be confined to a place. Here's something else worship can't be confined to, a single experience. You know that when this woman said, which is the right place to worship, you know what she was thinking of in terms of worship? An activity of worship.
You go to the temple, you bring your animal, you sacrifice it, you say some prayers, you sing a song, you do the liturgy, she confined worship to a single activity in a single place, much like some of us do. We have our worship service at our church or we have worship seminars or we have worship conferences and we limit worship to an event rather than it being a lifestyle. You got to agree that you can come to a worship service, your mind can be a million miles away and you're not even close to worship.
Charles Spurgeon stunned his congregation one Lord's day when he said, I believe a very large majority of churchgoers are merely unthinking slumbering worshippers of an unknown God. Think of it this way, if I come and I sing and I raise my hands and I clap my hands, but if I don't go out and my life is not under the submission of the Lord Jesus Christ, am I really a worshiper? Am I what Jesus called a true worshiper?
No, it just means I can act really well and play the part and on cue say the words really well. Now true worship has to be more than an event, it has to affect a life, there has to be life change. When thieves stop stealing and when adulterers stop the affair and when cheaters stop cheating because God changed their lives, that's true worship. George Smith said something profound, I love it, he said there are not four gospels, there are five gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Christian and most people will never read the first four. That's true, isn't it?
That's really good, isn't it? I mean a lot of people won't read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John but they'll read you, they'll read your life because you read those gospels. So worship can be confusing but worship can't be confined to a place or an activity. Here's the third truth the passage reveals, worship must be candid, that is truthful, honest, wholehearted and Jesus put it this way, the hour is coming and now is, verse 23, when the true worshipers will worship the Father, here it is, in spirit and truth. What does it mean to worship in spirit? Does that mean the Holy Spirit?
It's not what it's referring to. I know that because in Greek it lacks the article, the article would be in Greek ha, but the article is missing, the is missing and it simply says en numati, in spirit, not in the spirit formal, just in spirit and it's not referring to the Holy Spirit, it's referring to the human spirit, the human spirit. It talks about from the idea is from the depth of your heart, from the core of your being, from who you really are in essence, worshiping God.
You see man is a trinity, body, soul and spirit, body, soul and spirit. You can worship with your body, hands up, eyes up, mouth singing, you can worship with your soul, you're all emotional and involved and it's exciting, but if in the core of your being, your spirit is not worshiping, then you are not worshiping. Jesus referred to this when he said, these people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me, in vain do they worship me. So true worship must come from the depth of our inner being, it is not external, it is more internal. I'm going to read to you a little paragraph by an English Puritan named Stephen Charnock who said, without the heart it is not worship, it is a stage play, an actor acting apart without being that person really, a hypocrite.
We may truly be said to worship God even though we lack perfection, but we cannot be said to worship Him if we lack sincerity. You know God didn't care about your voices, He cares about your heart. That's why He said, make a joyful noise, that covers all the bases, all the bases. You can go, and God will go, love that if it's from the heart, love that, more of that, make a joyful noise.
It's not about how we articulate things, it's about the temperature of our heart. Now wouldn't you agree, it's possible to worship the right God in the right manner, in the right manner, but with the wrong attitude. And then we're not worshiping in spirit. Right God, right manner, wrong attitude.
I want to show you something. You have your Bibles, turn back to Malachi. If you don't know where Malachi is, just go to Matthew, first gospel, turn left, one block.
It's the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi. Malachi, God is rebuking religious formalism, when they made it all about the externals, not the heart. And He's rebuking not the people, but the priests, the pastors, the worship leaders. Verse six of chapter one, God says, a son honors his father and a servant his master.
If I then am the father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my reverence? Says the Lord of Hosts, to you priests who despise my name. Verse seven, you have offered defiled food on my altar, but you say, in what way have we defiled you? By saying the temple or the table of the Lord is contemptible. When you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? When you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? They were plopping sacrifices on the altar, they didn't care about what quality.
It's like, whatever, we've done this last week, we'll do it this week and next week, here, whatever. Look what God says. Offer it then to your governor, would he be pleased with you?
Would he accept you favorably, says the Lord of Hosts. Verse 12, but you profane it in that you say the table of the Lord is defiled and its fruit, its food is contemptible, but you also say, oh, what a weariness. Modern translation, what a drag, what a pain. Oh, what a weariness, and you sneer at it. In Hebrew, it's you puff at it.
They do this. That's the idea of sneering at it. Worship, yeah, whatever. To them, worship was a pain, it was a drag, and so I can sing and I can go through the motions, but if my heart isn't in it, that doesn't fulfill what Jesus said in spirit. Worship must be candid. Here's the fourth truth that comes out of this section on worship in John 4. Worship must be not only candid but credible, credible.
Needs a solid foundation, well grounded in the truth. That's why Jesus balances it out by saying true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, verse 24, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. What does that mean to worship Him in truth?
Simple. It means your worship must be based, my worship must be based on the truth that God has revealed about Himself right here in the Word of God. You see, sincerity is not enough.
Being earnest is not enough. You must be tethered to the truth. The most sincere, heartfelt worship without scriptural truth is not worship at all, and yet I always hear even Christians say, oh but He's so sincere and so earnest and means so well, but if worship is not tethered to God's truth, it is not true worship. That's what Jesus means in verse 22. He says to the woman, you worship what you do not know. We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
Remember what I said? The Samaritans only held to the first five books of the Old Testament, so they had a very limited revelation and knowledge of God, and so what Jesus is saying is we have the divine revelation, you don't. We have been and are the repository of divine truth, you are not. We worship the true God in the true manner.
We know the truth about the true God. Worship in spirit and in truth. Every failure in worship can be traced back to wrong thoughts about God. That's why theology is so important. It's not, well, you know, just whatever you believe, just pick something and be happy and be sincere. That's not based on truth.
This is not true that's not based on truth. This is why I'm committed to Bible exposition. Just in case you're wondering, how come every time I go to that Calvary church they've got to open the Bible and have a long Bible study?
Can't we just sing for an hour and just move back and forth and go, oh, and feel real? You could, we could, and it might feel really good, but it might not necessarily be true worship. Don't you understand that we always need our thinking realigned and readjusted every week, a couple times a week, according to truth, because we live in a world that doesn't give us the truth. So we get reoriented and our worship is balanced.
It's spirited, it's from the heart, it's sincere, it's heartfelt, but it's tethered on God's holy word. This, by the way, is why the reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin, when churches in mass converted to the Reformation, they tore the altars out and put a pulpit in the front with the Bible on it to say the word of God is where we will take all of our cues from. Here's the fifth and final truth that this passage reveals. Worship will be consequential. Worship will be consequential. In other words, it's a consequence or a result of coming into relation with God. You will become, in Jesus' words, a true worshiper.
That's just a synonym for a believer, a Christian, a true worshiper. Notice that Jesus said in verse 23, this is a great part, the hour is coming and now is when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, here it is, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. This is what God really wants. This is what God really wants.
God really wants and is seeking for worshipers. And this helps answer the question that rises in verse 4. It said He needed to go through Samaria.
Why does He need to go through Samaria? To get a hold of a lost woman and turn her into what? A worshiper. A worshiper. Here's the really big truth about worship. It's not that you're seeking God.
It's that God is seeking you. He is seeking to find true worshippers. So once we who are lost have been found, once we who have been blind see and come to Him, we're transformed into true worshippers. That's what God wants. Jesus said the Son has come to seek and to save those who are lost and once those who are lost are found, He turns them into worshippers. That's why God sent Christ and that's why we're redeemed. You know why you're redeemed?
You know why you're saved? It's not to make you happy. It's not. It's not.
No. The consequence of being a true worshiper will be the happiness and the joy that comes from deeper things than circumstances. But He did not save you or I to make us happy. Nor did He save and redeem us just to keep us out of eternal punishment. He saved us for His glory, to give Him glory, to worship Him. So that means to the extent that we worship, we are fulfilling the purpose for our existence. So to sum it up, it's not about the place, it's about a person. It's not about where, it's about where, it's about whom. It's not about externals, it's about the internals. And it's not about feeling, it is about spirit and truth.
And that's transforming. James Michener wrote a famous book called The Source. Some of you may have seen that book. In that book he tells of a man by the name of Ur-Baal, or Ur-Baal, who lived in 2200 BC and was a farmer. Ur-Baal worshiped two gods, says Michener, the god of death and the goddess of fertility. It was common to do in that era. As he was out plowing his fields one day, one of the priests of the temples came by and said, you must sacrifice your son if you want your crops to grow.
That was also common practice. So on the appointed day, he brought his little boy and his wife and drug them to the temple and offered his son as the priest plunged a knife and killed his boy and engulfed his son in flames to appease the gods and give them good crops. Then the priest announced to him and to the other men who had also brought their children for sacrifice, one of you will be chosen to spend the next week with the new temple prostitute, which was also a common way to worship the goddess of fertility. Ur-Baal's wife looked at her husband's face and was stunned when she saw an intense desire come over him like she had never seen before. And then the priest called his name, Ur-Baal, and he almost lunged forward toward that prostitute to spend a week with her in that temple.
So Michener writes, and picture the scene, the woman leaves the temple alone, not with her son, her son's been killed, not with her husband, he's with the prostitute. And she says, if he had different gods, he would have been a different man. What a profound truth that is. You become like the god you worship. If your god is false, you become false.
If your god is true and living, you become truthful and full of life. If he would have had different gods, he would have been a different man. God is looking for worshippers.
And when he finds them, they become different people. It's been well said that any true worship experience should leave us a little different from what we were before. After all, how many of you have a genuine encounter with the Almighty God and not leave at least a little bit changed? So I suppose we have to ask ourselves, if our time of worship doesn't somehow change us, even if it's just a little bit, then are we truly giving God what he wants?
And as we think about that, we're going to have to wrap things up for today. But first, here's Skip and Lenya with some closing thoughts. God moves powerfully in us when we fill ourselves with the truths in his Word. He can move us from indifference to an active and enduring faith in him. Skip, can you share some resources with our listeners that will help them go deeper in Bible study and encourage them in their faith? Can I give you resources? Yeah, this is like one of my favorite days ever to talk about it because we got you covered when it comes to resources. There's a thing called connectwithskip.com. Did you know you can download and listen to over 3,500 full-length sermons that unpack virtually every book, every verse in the Bible, verse by verse? So go to connectwithskip.com if you want those messages as well as online resource store with books that I've done, books that you have done, Lenya, as well. We have YouVersion devotionals. If you don't know what that is, YouVersion devotionals, if you don't know what YouVersion is, that's a great Bible app. It's the number one Bible app in the world, and we have streaming devotionals and everything from How to Break a Bad Habit to Spiritual Warfare. Then we have the podcast, Connect with Skip Podcast.
You can subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play. We have audiobooks of our teachings that are available. We have a YouTube channel.
See, it just keeps going on and on. You have all the things. We have all the things. So the YouTube channel, it's Connect with Skip Heitzig TV Broadcast, and we have so many people around the world that tune into that. It's such an honor to be on that platform. Some of you who are technically challenged, you can just sign up on email and we'll send you a devo. There you go. So if you can't find Hoopla, Hulu, Roku, or whatever these other portals are, just send an email to connectwithskip.com, and we'll send you a devo.
We'll do. We'll send you a devo. But let me just tell you, if you are not technically challenged and you're into tech stuff, if you have a phone, and I'm guessing probably every one of you that is listening to this as some kind of a device, you can get an app on your phone. It's called the Connect with Skip Heitzig app.
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Absolutely free. Well, thanks, guys. And as always, if you'd like to learn more about Skip and this ministry, you can visit our website at connectwithskip.com. And that's also where you can get a copy of today's teaching.
It's available for just $4, and you can order it online or when you call us at 1-800-922-1888. Next time, we'll learn a few tips for spiritual farming. We'll also learn exactly what that is. So be sure to join us here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. .... connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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