My Thoughts . . .
Some believe they cannot worship God unless they go with others to a specific location on Sunday and engage in singing, prayer, study of God’s word, giving, and communion. Most describe that process as “worship.” Research does not reveal that system in inspired history, but its birth came about through man’s traditions. In John 4:23-24 Jesus states to the Samaritan woman,
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Jesus is showing that the religious practices of the Samaritans and Jews were being replaced with a worship superior to both. First, Jesus uses the expression “hour” rather that day, week, month, year, or century. He then flows from that hour’s “coming,” and states, “and now is.” One will notice that Jesus did not say “and sometime in the future.” He used the word “now.” What would that word mean to that Samaritan woman? That is who he was speaking to. He wasn’t speaking to the apostles. He wasn’t speaking to a Jew nor a Samaritan male. He plainly said to that woman, “and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Who was Jesus’ audience?
Notice Jesus informed that woman, “Ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” Worship in spirit and in truth is not restricted to a specific place. One may worship in spirit and in truth in Jerusalem of in that Samaritan mountain, but that worship is not confined to either place. Neither is it restricted to a church auditorium on Sunday.
Whether a believer worships on Sunday or Thursday, by himself or with others, that in spirit and in truth worship is not restricted to a specific place, day, or time. Jesus’ prescribed “worship” is much broader than that. If it is possible to sing, pray, and study God’s word on Sunday night but forego giving and communion, one may worship in spirit and in truth by singing on his way to work on Monday and it be the worship Jesus spoke of. When family gathers around the breakfast, dinner, or supper table, the prayer offered is the kind of worship Jesus spoke of. When a family has a devo, it is that same kind of worship.
Some believe the John 4:23-24 “worship” is prayer, singing, giving, communion, and studying God’s word. Although the New Testament scripture does not specifically state that, it may be included by Paul in the Romans 12:1 lifestyle worship where we are to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” That kind is not limited. Although the Corinthians brought wine and unleavened bread for the Lord’s supper, Paul warned that their attitude should have never left home (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). Better to stay home than eat and drink damnation to oneself (vv. 27-29). Romans 12:1 points out that “worship” includes presenting our bodies as living sacrifices. If one is not doing that, he is not worshiping. Is that presentation to be made only on Sunday in the assembly? Is presenting our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” a worship that is not in spirit and in truth? Is it a worship that does not identify one as a “true worshiper”? Is it a worship where one is not worshiping “the Father in spirit and in truth”?
When John 4:23-24 is joined with Romans 12:1, worship is portrayed as a lifestyle rather than a limited action performed in 1 to 3 – one-hour services at the church building. Being a follower of Jesus is more of a lifetime worship process than it is a Sunday-go-to-meeting that ends with a “closing” prayer.
Since the saved are God’s temple, which He resides in, and God seeks true worshipers to perform the John 4:23-24 worship, is God not being short-changed? He lives in the believer 168 hours each week. Yet He is worshiped as little as one hour and no more than three out of a 168-hour week? He resides in us, but we don’t acknowledge His presence until those special times on Sunday and Wednesdays? Some even do it fewer than that!