True worshippers worship God in spirit & in truth… John 4:24

Worship begins with our HEART

The word “spirit” in Jn 4:24 is not referring to the Holy Spirit – it has to do with your heart (emotions, feelings, affections).  Worship is extravagant LOVE (meaning: ‘to kiss at’).  We love Him because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19) – our love is both responsive and reflective.  Mark 12:30 says God gave us emotions to use for His glory – just like He gave you a body and  mind.

Worship is INCLUSIVE, not exclusive.  I say this because so many people are so definitive of the ‘How’s’ / ‘How-Not-To’s.’ The book of Psalms mentions many ways to worship God but these are in no way the boundaries of true worship.  It is not limited to – but starting with…  *Posture: kneel, on face, standing upright, dancing;  *Music: only 10 instruments of praise are listed in Psalms;  *Voice: singing, shouting;  *Hands: raised, clapping…  I’ve asked this before, but what if an alien read the Bible and saw your church & a mosque thru the windows… which would he judge is more biblical by the way we worship?  Also – Sunday is just one day, 11-12 is just one hour… worship must be a lifestyle!

It’s possible to worship God in VAIN (Matt. 15:8-9). How? Heartless worship – Engaged mouth, disengaged emotions. But what if you don’t feel anything?  Can’t just force the emotions… can you? No.  The only thing that moves the heart is a greater pleasure  (compare late-life biographies of Lewis / Darwin).  Usually the joy/romance fades over time – thru external forces (not enough alone time).

#1 Enemy of Worship: sense of DUTY; ignoring the PRIZE.  Heb 11:6 says faith is believing God is & coming to Him for reward.  It’s not wrong to be motivated by desire / drive / delight (Ps 37:4).

Worship must include our HONESTY

The “truth” mentioned in Jn 4:24 isn’t God’s truth – it’s yours.  It’s being truthful &  genuine about your own condition.  Worshiping God without compulsion or facade.  Here are 3 Stages of Honesty in our Worship:  **find where you are**

A. WHY?  – barrenness / darkness / emptiness – Ps. 73:21-22
We can find ourselves hopelessly discouraged & depressed, being in a place w/o a song (like when the Jews hung their harps in the willows).  Christ endured this place for 3 hours… alone.  Being honest means that we might have to repent, accept responsibility.

B. WHEN?  – longing / desire / confusion – Ps. 42:5
Being honest means we might have to keep waiting and dealing w/ heartache… Most of Psalms written from this stage! Jesus said that those who hunger & thirst for righteousness will be fed.

C. WOW!  – gratitude / wonder / satisfaction – Ps. 63:5
These moments are more rare than we’d like – but the possibility of another fuels us on to endure the first two stages.