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May 25, 2022 4:00 am
So it all begins in with the resident Holy Spirit thought centered on God which come out of prayer and Bible study and discovery and that discovery comes meditation, a source of a manic and versatile, no discovery, no meditation, no meditation on the pulpit that's more Bible than storytelling and that same routine week after week as I sound like a church service you want to attend on a regular basis.
Where's the joy, the energy, the worshiping in the spirit as Scripture commands will it could be that there are plenty of people worshiping in the spirit in that very church today on grace to you.
John MacArthur looks at some of the myths surrounding worshiping the spirit and John identifies the sort of things that stifle worship. It's all part of John's classic study called true worship so follow along.
Now, as John begins the lesson the gospel of John chapter 4 in our text verses 20 through 24.
Jesus here is in conversation with the woman of Samaria. The woman that he met at the well in the middle of their conversation. The matter of worship comes up so she speaks in verse 20 our fathers worshiped in this mountain and he say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship Jesus at thunder her woman. Believe me, the hour, when he shall neither in this mountain nor yet Jerusalem worship the father you worship, you know not what we know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews, but the hour, then now is when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the father seek at such to worship him. God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
In verse 23 and 24 it says we must worship the Father in spirit now if Jesus says we need to do this, then we need to do and if you want to do. We need to know what it means.
How do you worship the Lord in spirit. First of all, you must possess the Holy Spirit, you must possess the Holy Spirit. Look at your heart.
If you have trouble worth remembering not say maybe the reason you get bored in church and maybe the reason you're ready to leave in 1/2 and are maybe the reason you soon miss church altogether is because you just can't get into the thing and the reason you can't get into it is because the Holy Spirit is and in you prompting your heart's fair question is you need to ask it of yourself school the second. The second principle and I think this is so important is that thoughts must be centered on God thoughts must be centered on God bless very simple, but it's a very profound thing.
Worship is an overflow of a mind renewed by the truth of God.
Contemplating God is the trigger that sets off worship. It's the it's the motor that turns the flywheel that energizes the emotion you must be thinking. Thoughts of God. Now I can translate into a very familiar word that's the word meditation true worship comes forth out of meditation meditation. I forget everything ever heard in the world about meditation. Transcendental or any other Retailer meditation meets reference focusing your whole mind on one subject is basically focusing your whole mind on one subject that's a MacArthur definition that I think it works to meditate is to focus your whole mind on one subject nephew find that hard. It's fairly normal. It's hard to do that is what we live in a distracted world a distracted work you know we have today just because of our exposure to media many more stuffed in our brain, and I think any civilization.
Every May we are exposed to so much stuff that the thing is so cluttered up that our attention span is very limited, very limited, but to meditate is to concentrate your whole mind on one subject and let me taste something that is good. She too. Effective worship without question your reason, your imagination, your emotion are all concentrating on one reality. If we go back from that one step.
Maybe we'll get even deeper insight. I really meditation is based on information. If you gonna be thinking on one subject. You got have a subject they got right seems basic to me got have something so was only give your word in this word you write down somewhere on the front of your mind, so you never forget the best the purest the truest the most wonderful and blessed meditation is based on discovery discovery. Discovery.
In other words, you discover a great truth about God and then you begin to meditate on the truth until it captivates every element of your whole thinking process and what it does is begin to build into you this worship and when somebody gives you an opportunity and you gather with God's redeemed Saints, and they pry open just comes out but it doesn't come out of it as an in there when you arrive, or when you begin to seek to worship so we can go back a step before that worship is is a response to meditation. Meditation is based on discovery and discovery is based upon ready for this time spent with God. Time spent with God in prayer and in the word, in prayer, in the word feeding feeding feeding. Sadly, we see prayer as a way to get things and we have long ago I think lost its communion element of just living in the consciousness of God's wonderful presence and communing with him. There see Jesus chided his disciples he attacked his disciples. In this way said you have eyes but you do not see, and you have ears but you do not hear the words your thinking is so shallow that you are dull. If you come here and are board, may I suggest to you that that is not a commentary on the sermon or the music that's a commentary on your heart for you just to pick up the truth about God come through and meditate on them should be the most exhilarating time of your life. So far we are from that hits us right to left Felix up whenever thought.
Now we want to do all we can to to present the word of God in a way that is meaningful. I mean the worst sacrilege you can do is bore people with the Bible to do that abilities the Bible teach Mother Goose and born with that but on form of the Bible at sacrilege is amazing how many people can do that many teachers and preachers can bore people with a bottle a horrible thing to the Bible was fabulous in the world when I get excited about. As you well know, I don't understand how people can prevent themselves from having that excitement but the excitement comes to me in the process of discovery. Discovery and and when I go to the word of God and I spent time talking to the Lord and I open my heart to him and I start to look at a passage and look deeper and show me Lord, which will be see in go into their and you begin to meditate.
You begin to think about that all the city discover some tremendous truths that saturate your mind.
And out of that comes the overflowing of joy and praise to God.
Spurgeon says why is it that some people are often in a place of worship. And yet they're not holy is because they neglect their closets. They love the week, but they do not grind it, they would have the corn but they will not go forth into the field together and the fruit hangs on the tree, but they will not get on the water flows at their feet.
But they'll not stoop to drink seaweed been deleted and grounded in Christ.
But how deep our roots grow and how beautiful our fruit appears has to do with how we meditate in the process of discovery God's wonderful truths. That's the joy it's hard for us to meditate is, you know, one of the things you learn as a preacher is a people to listen to everything you say they tune in and out so we just came back welcome when you know your redecorating your living room or walk the aisles. It may company seeing what you want to wear your figuring out how to make that big business deal next week. Think about the trip you take for your fish and some were playing golf and just doing all kinds of things in your imagination every once in a while someone hits you, you, your wife pushing the ribs or some comes out that startles you or you sort of tune back in. Or maybe I've said something it's tracked you onto a thought, and the Holy Spirit sorta chased you down little thought your thinking that thing and then all of a sudden you come back and you plug in again.
That's why I repeat myself because I have to keep you up to speeds. I just keep welcoming people back in the whole time I speak. This is very difficult for us to meditate.
It's very difficult for us to isolate our minds on a subject and it's a discipline you have to train yourself to be able to do that and I think about these learn how to sit in the middle of a teeming mass of humanity in India and contemplate their navel for days at a time in an undistracted fashion.
I wonder why Christians can't think on God without being distracted so it all begins in with the resident Holy Spirit thought centered on God which come out of prayer and Bible study and discovery, and out of that discovery comes meditation now that meditation works for me.
I make it very simple. No discovery, no meditation, no meditation, no worship, and if you come here with a high discovery that you got your own study or you've learned it from somebody and you meditate and you made your own, you're going to find it when your mouth is pried open the dust with praise others.
One other principal. You start with the Holy Spirit in your life are thought centered on God and then you must learn to have an undivided heart undistracted heart. Psalm 86. I want to take a moment to have you look at Psalm 86 it's just a beautiful insight into a principal in verse five David begins to worship God and he says in Psalm 86 54 thou Lord Art good and ready to forgive.
Not so good because it it doesn't mean you'll just forgive it means he's eager to do it. It's not reluctant but eager you're ready to forgive plenteous in mercy doesn't just have Mercy's got plenty of keys really just extolling the virtues of God for all who call upon your name, your good. You not only forgive your reader to forgive you not only have mercy. You have plenty regarding the Lord, would you listen to me.
Verse six. Give ear to my prayer attend to the voice of my supplications in the day of my trouble.
I'll call upon the four thou will answer me says I know you'll hear me among the gods. There's no and like under the Lord, neither are there any works like thy works, and there you have the heart of worship glorifying God for who he is and what he has done for who he is and what is that all there is no one like you, and no one is ever done anything like you've done all nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before the old Lord, and shall glorify thy name for thou art great and do as things thou art God alone is indolent definitely worship expression here pouring out his heart to God is not. He's just extolling the wonders in the virtues of God and we all can identify that we want to do that we long to do that but David faces a problem in his humanness that we face to and it comes in verse 11. First of all, he says, Lord, I have a basic problem my worship is hindered because I am lacking the truth so Teach Me Thy Way, Lord, I will walk in thy truth see that that the missing ingredient. David says as III want to discover and I want the thrill of discovery, and I want to know what your word is saying I want to see you and sometimes discovery isn't discovering some you never knew before.
It's discovering something you knew before and forgot, or it's discovering something you knew before and remember, but never saw with the same clarity, but he saying I want to know your way and I want to understand it, but I you have to teach me and so I would just suggest to you that when you find it difficult to worship when you find it difficult to meditate in the word of God to go through the process of discovery and let God open his word to touch your life in your heart and bring out praise. You need to stop and ask the Holy Spirit to be your teacher because we all have that problem. I get distracted just like anybody else and I struggle sometimes I say I look at a passage again. The isomer I'm I'm over and over and over this thing. I still, it's not coming through teaching and that's where you can claim the promise of first John that we have an anointing from God and the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things so that we don't need to depend on human wisdom right because he's our teacher is what Jesus said what he said is going to send his Spirit, who would teach you all things. John's Gospel, what problems the resident spirit is there, and so David says teach me the truth, Lord, let me see it. Let me discover and let me meditate on it so the first problem we have in worship is going to the truth will get into that more and in order to be able to see that you depend on the Holy Spirit. I know you said well you know I want to go to the Bible, one will start my Bible study and all of the submittals commitments right to get into the work you really say this is a very exciting amount. Try to discover, but are not discovered anything said that I don't understand it didn't seem to hit me I better get a book or taper and people often say to me you know when you do it so exciting. While it can be that way for you word of God could touch your life to you may not have all the tools that I do and I hope is a place for me in the kingdom somewhere that I can fill a need in that regard, but you can discover the truth of God because the spirit will be your teacher if you ask Zach second thing in verse this is the thing I want you to really see the end of verse 11. He says I have another problem I need you to unite my heart to fear that in our fear, thy name would be a euphemism for worship. I want to worship you, but I need you to unite my heart was the opposite of United heart recently was divided heart. The first problem you have in worship is you don't know the truth, you're not. You can't discover it if you don't have the thing you need to meditate on. So Holy Spirit teach me the truth.
The second problem in worship is your distracted right and you tend to have a divided heart and maybe sit down sometime and you know is that when you pray, I want to spend time with the Lord and you sit down and you just you prayed for about a minute and stuff floods your mind joke you know where is Alice. It's after so-and-so time she supposed to have delivered the and you know your all and the kids come blasting in the door at the moment of your greatest discovery and interrupt your meditation and then we we just are. Is it so difficult for us to concentrate and so David knew that. I mean after all it was a king and when you think a king had a little responsibility. We had a few things to worry about and he worried about anyone over the things going on in his kingdom there. A lot of the things going on in his own life that were right so it was diverted. He said got any two things I need to truth in the spirit. I need the be undivided to go along with the right instruction. I want to discover and I want to be able to meditate without being distracted through the heart of what our Lord is saying in John four. We must be able to set her heart on God and on his and I've asked the Holy Spirit many, many times for that same thing that David is asking for right here or teach me teach me teach I was studying and I found a passage in Jeremiah and I never understood the Fraser phrase says, in effect, Moab has not been poured from vessel to vessel what in the world is so I started to try to find out what that meant.
An idea I got so blessed.
But those discoveries and I went home to my car I could think about going home was that great truth or what a great truth that I've discovered begin to meditate on it.
My heart became filled with praise how you do, but I find myself singing when I do that I turn the radio off and sink in the car.
I don't try to move my lips too much because people think I'm you know arguing with my wife when she is in there so I can win but I really believe the discovery is a key and in it demands time with God. Time with God communion with in his word and in prayer and then the wonderful joy of an undivided heart on closing thought there will be a hindrance to this when you try to focus your spirit on worship effect. Somebody said to me you covered the importance worship. The source of worship, the spirit of worship, the nature worship and all the stuff. Have you thought about doing the hindrances to worship and list all the hindrances to worship when be great so I sat down I got my pencil my piece of paper. I thought I thought I got up I wrote down one word self.
And then I begin to think now would be number two. I could leaving.
I sat there for a long time and never thought of anything else is only 100 source is when you get in front of God.
That's all you could come in all kinds of packages but what hinders your worship is when you get in front of God she's you and you have got to do what you want to do to fulfill your desires and that's why you don't have time for discovery or time for prayer time for meditation or time for worship and you can't really have an undivided heart because you are all always thinking about your projects and your activities and your needs. She's always selfish that she is only to you're doing dealing with two things you didn't got are you that's and you can't really free yourself up to worship God until you can kill yourself, slay yourself all. You just have to get rid of self in the process and be lost in worshiping God self always in the way and I think maybe the biggest problem that we have with ourselves is that so very often we who are committed to the right things.
It really comes down to the fact that we just are too lazy to make the effort were so self-indulgent in our readings that we would expend ourselves to dig deep to scoop up the water aspersions the green and that's why we lose one of the great experiences of my brief life has been to reach Steven char Knox book called the existence and attributes of God's work of about seven or 800 pages takes a whole lifetime to digest all this is all of his thoughts about God rich profound insights and at one point he says in the book to pretend homage to God and intend only the advantage to myself is rather to mock God and to worship him.
When we believe we ought to be satisfied rather than God glorified.
We set God below ourselves and imagine that he should submit his own honor to our advantage." And that's the hindrance to worship you set yourself and your needs and your advantages your blessings in whatever above God, love, and let's be free to come and worship God, and we come together in the assembly was redeemed people in our mouths open May the gushing praise come out because of the meditation in the discovery so that our inner spirit offers worship to us.
We've faced some practical thoughts are Lord, we know that you never reveal the sure word to keep in arms length or to muse about or to contemplate, but always to act upon. So we pray Lord approaching this from a practical viewpoint might help us to refresh the commitment to find ourselves in the closet closet. Prayer and study positive meditation discovery that the praise might rush from our filled lives boiling over bubbling up that the Lord's day fellowship may be only bursting forth of all that is there. Pray to Christ name that's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary showing you some practical steps you can take to cultivate complete devotion to God with an undivided heart of worship. John's current series here on grace to you is titled true worship or friend to have that undivided heart of worship that John talked about today. That's particularly hard today because of technology.
It's probably easier than ever to get distracted and to stay that way and that, said John. What are some practical ways believers can make sure they stay focused and undistracted when there worshiping really practical. Turn off your phone turn off your iPad yeah you you you. You've got to divorce yourself from those things that are the distraction. I think that's the starting point. If you're going to study the word of God can read the word of God, you are spent some time in prayer and worship at your phone somewhere turn it off so it can't disturb you. And that's just sort of obvious beginning point, but I think there's another way that you have to approach this. I think the Scripture has to be for you more attractive than the junk in the world and I think that is the problem we have so-called Christians who have trouble concentrating on worship and prayer. The study of the word of God because they have more interest in the junk that's available to them on their own electronic media. You do an inventory of honesty in your heart.
Which would you rather do spend half an hour reading the word of God and praying are going to have an hour watching video or video games on your phone. The answer to that question is going to be very defining in terms of the priorities of your life with a talk about a book called worship in the subtitle of it is the ultimate priority. If worship is your ultimate priority as God says it must be then you're going to choose that over any other worldly attraction. Look, this is the priority for every believer. We are called to be true worshipers. You can pretty well tell whether you're following the path of the, the ultimate priority in pursuing worship or whether you would rather be attracted by the things of the world puts before you that are novel and seductive. It's a pretty good test for the depth of your spiritual commitment and I will remind you again about the book called worship we been talking about it now for number of days it will instruct you as to how to worship what worship is and how the Lord expects you to worship him order a copy today. Enjoy a 25% discount. By the way discount that applies to nearly everything we sell. But the sale ends Friday so order soon, yes, do order soon. That's right so friend to make sure you are worshiping God as you should pick up John's book simply called worship available now at 25% off the normal price. Contact us today. You can purchase this firstname.lastname@example.org or call us toll-free at any time 855 grace is a great resource for your own devotions or for a small group for someone you know once better understand the priority of worship again to order John's book title worship log on to GT Y.call us at 855 grace and keep in mind that 25% discount applies to nearly everything we sell, including books like the glory of heaven divine design, anxious for nothing, and also our flagship resource MacArthur study Bible, as well as all 34 volumes in the MacArthur New Testament commentary series. All of that and more is 25% off the regular price right now place your order at our website. GT Y.org or call us at 855 race.
That's our toll-free number translates to 800-554-7223 now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson. Remember Grace to you television errors this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378 or you can check your local listings for channeling times be here tomorrow when John looks at one of the greatest barriers to true worship and what you can do about another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace