Thursday, May 2, 2024

Worship the Right God

“For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24 NLT)

Some people like to envision a meek and mild Jesus who walks around with a lamb draped around His neck, saying, “Whatever you want to believe is cool with Me—as long as you’re true to yourself.”

However, that isn’t the Jesus of the Bible. When He spoke with the woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria, she said, “So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” (John 4:20 NLT).

Jesus answered, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. . . . The time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way” (verses 21, 23 NLT).

He was saying, “Your form of belief is the wrong form. It is not going to lead you to God.” Jesus clarified the issue and brought it back home. He also pointed out that all religions are not true. He told the Samaritan woman, “You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews” (verse 22 NLT).

It’s important that we worship the right God. People say things like “I don’t feel like I need to go to church. I feel like I can commune with God in the great outdoors. I don’t like church.” Yet the Bible says that we must worship God both in spirit and in truth.

We need to know that God established the church. The church isn’t perfect. It has its flaws. But Jesus set it up. And He has said that when His people gather, when we meet for Bible study and worship, He manifests His presence in a special way.

Jesus said, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20 NLT). That is worshipping God in truth.

Having said that, we also must worship God in spirit. You can go to church every week but not really have a relationship with God. Jesus was saying to the Samaritan woman, “Let’s move away from the religion discussion and get back to the relationship discussion. This is about knowing God. If you want to know Him, then you can know Him right now.”

She said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us” (John 4:25 NLT).

Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!” (verse 26 NLT).

It appears that at this moment, she believed instantaneously—despite her hardened heart and world-weariness. She immediately responded to Him. She accepted what Jesus said. And it softened her hardened heart.

Maybe, like this woman, you have a hardened heart. There’s a void in your life that only God can fill. It is a thirst that only Jesus can quench.

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