Tuesday, 7 June 2011

True Worship

John 4:19-26 19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." 21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth." 25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." 26 Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

Lots of discussions about the building. Development cttee. PCC. But is the building really that important? (The Grk word for ‘church’ means ‘gathering’). Illustration – royal wedding (Westminster Abbey wasn't really in focus, was it?).
Samaritans (N kingdom of Israel, deported to Assyria, those left behind intermarried with foreigners who had been encouraged to move there, who only had the Pentateuch, and who’s worship was focussed on Mount Gerizim – 400BC rival temple, now destroyed) were looking for ‘one like Moses’. Their word for a Messiah figure. That comes out in the woman’s dialogue. She says, ‘I can see that you are a/the prophet?’

Not a place. 'Neither... nor...' v21.
Yet salvation does come through Christ, the Messiah, who was a Jew. ‘…we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews’.
He came full of grace and truth (1:14, 17). He is ‘the way, the truth and the life’ (14:6).
After the resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent his Spirit, the Holy Spirit (Spirit of truth 14:17, 15:26; 16:23). The Spirit leads us into truth.

The Father seeks worshippers. Normally we seek God (e.g. in Psa ‘I seek your face’). Here, and in parable of lost sheep (Mat 18:12) and in the parable of the lost coin (Luk 15:8), both showing us that ‘the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost’ (Luk 19:10) we have God seeking us.
Sacred Romance – Brent Curtis and John Eldredge is a great book to read on this subject.
Romances are pretty up and down. Fairly unpredictable. Relationships with people in general can be unpredictable. The word for ‘Spirit’ in the NT is the same as the word for ‘wind’. When explaining how to be born again to Nicodemus, Jesus says: ‘The wind [=Spirit] blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound [=voice], but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."’. 3:8 Let’s be ready for the unpredictable!
Are places important?
That isn’t to say that places are unimportant. The place where you met your wife, or had your honeymoon. But they are places connected with a person, not a religion.
So we need to think more about our relationship with Jesus Christ. We can do that as individuals, but also as a community focussed on Him. He is our life. He, by His Holy Spirit, leads us into all truth. He shows us the way to the Father.

1. How are we doing in our relationship with Jesus Christ:
a. What gets in the way?
b. What could be improved?
2. How are we doing in our relationship with each other – are we encouraging each other to follow the Lord more closely?
3. Are we ready for the unpredictable? (On Sunday, Malc was talking about our lives being more out of control, as God begins to work).

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