Prayer to Worship in Spirit and Truth

Worship in Spirit and Truth

Prayer to Worship in Spirit and Truth

The issue is not whether we will worship, but what. Even better, whom and how.

On this Sunday, as many of us ready ourselves for corporate worship, perhaps the most significant single biblical text for guiding the essence of what we’re pursuing together when we gather is Jesus’s words in John 4:23–24.

“The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

True worship, says Jesus, is in spirit and truth.

The “truth” part is plain enough — with the coming of Jesus, that truth centers on his person and work, the one who is himself “the Truth” (John 14:6) and the message about his saving accomplishments for us, which is “the word of the truth, the gospel” (Colossians 1:5).

It is this “word of truth” (James 1:18) by which we’re given new birth, this “word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) that Christian workers endeavor to handle aright, and this truth that anchors and saturates worship that is truly Christian.

“True worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine.”

But what about “spirit”? Is this our spirit or God’s Spirit? Jesus’s memorable statement in John 3:6 helps: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” It’s not either-or, but both-and.

For those who are new creatures in Christ, our spirit owes its existence and vibrancy to the Spirit of God. As John Piper writes, “True worship comes only from spirits made alive and sensitive by the quickening of the Spirit of God” (Desiring God, 82).

God’s Spirit ignites and energizes our spirit.

Bone and Marrow

Christian worship engages both heart and head. It necessitates true doctrine about the Father and his Son, and their partnership in rescuing sinners, and due emotion about that doctrine. It is both an affair of the heart and an affair of the mind. Piper sums it up as “strong affections for God rooted in truth.”

Worship must be vital and real in the heart, and worship must rest on a true perception of God. There must be spirit and there must be truth. . . . Truth without emotion produces dead orthodoxy and a church full (or half-full) of artificial admirers . . . .

On the other hand, emotion without truth produces empty frenzy and cultivates shallow people who refuse the discipline of rigorous thought. But true worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine.

Strong affections for God rooted in truth are the bone and marrow of biblical worship. (81–82)

What It’s Not

So the essence of true worship is not external, but internal — heart and head, emotion and thought, spirit and truth — whether we’re talking all of life as worship (Romans 12:1) or corporate gatherings for worship.

“While the external forms that our worship takes are not insignificant, they are not the essence.”

Yet we’re so prone to identify worship with the externals: how nice (or shabby) the building is, how many are in attendance, how good the music is, how gifted the preacher is, whether someone near us is doing something on their smartphone other than reading a Bible app or taking notes, or whether one of the worship leaders is waving a hand distractingly or doing those odd facial expressions or swaying or even jumping. (There’s something to be said about “undistracting excellence” for those planning and leading worship services, but that’s for another time.)

But while the external forms that our worship takes are not insignificant, they are not the essence. They don’t make it, and they shouldn’t break it. True worship is not centered on and coextensive with the forms, but flowing from the heart. Spirit and truth.

Whatever Your Context

Take this reminder with you as you ready your heart and roll up to your next corporate worship gathering. The externals do matter, but they are not the essence. They need not rule the day.

Whether your corporate context is wonderfully conducive to what moves you most, or grates against all your personal preferences, the heart of worship need not be hindered — because the heart of worship is the heart.

At bottom, it’s not what we do (or don’t do) with our hands (or what someone else is doing or not doing), but what we do with our hearts and minds — because of the one who has captured our hearts and minds. Worship is in spirit and in truth.

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7 Ways to Worship God in Spirit and in Truth

Prayer to Worship in Spirit and Truth

“But 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.” –John 4:23

As believers, we’re called to worship God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).

But you may wonder, “How can I worship God daily? How can I worship God at home? How can I worship God wherever I am?” The good news is, you can—and worship is a powerful spiritual exercise in any believer’s life.

It played a vital role in the Israelites’ winning their first battle after entering the Promise Land (Joshua 6). It was instrumental in Paul and Silas’ release from prison (Acts 16:24-26).

It reflected the thanksgiving and heartfelt praise of God’s people throughout all 150 psalms, repeatedly allowing them to express their nagging fears, their miraculous feats and their enduring faith in the Him. These examples and more show just what can happen when God’s people worship Him “in spirit and in truth.”

What Does Worshiping ‘in Truth’ Mean?

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8, NKJV).
The first step in understanding how to worship is recognizing whom to worship. We worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

When we worship in truth, we don’t worship empty philosophies that come from the world’s way of thinking (Colossians 2:8). Instead, we focus on the message and the truth of Jesus Christ. “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.

Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts” (Colossians 3:16).

Man’s way of thinking is not God’s way of thinking (Isaiah 55:8). In order to worship in truth, we must know the truth, which is found in the Bible.

We must continually renew our minds to the Word of God by spending time studying every day (Romans 12:2).

When our minds are renewed to what He says is truth (and not the world), we will be able to come to Him and worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Why Preparing for Worship Is Important

“Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you” (1 Corinthians 14:26).

The beauty of worship occurs in community with other -minded believers. There is a depth and strength that comes when believers join together in worship, much the Israelites did around Jericho and Paul and Silas did in prison. In 1 Corinthians 14:26, Paul explains aspects of orderly worship.

While orderly worship is not the immediate topic here, this scripture shows the importance of preparing for worship. The one singing needs to select the song, practice and prepare his or her heart before the service begins.

wise, the one teaching needs to prepare to receive and deliver the message before the service.

The responsibility to prepare for worship doesn’t just fall to the worship team and the pastor.

We should all come to the house of worship prepared—whether you are singing, teaching, preaching, speaking, prophesying, serving or receiving.

Sunday worship is not a time to be entertained and expecting to be served, but it’s a time when God’s children gather to give Him honor and praise and to be strengthened.

So, how do you prepare for worship on Sunday? You prepare by getting your heart ready. Use the night before or early morning before the service to seek the Lord by practicing private worship, reading the Bible and praying.

Fix your thoughts on the truth of Jesus and all He has done for you. Pray for the service and ask the Lord to help you receive from Him.

You may even want to set aside a special time in your schedule to prepare for weekly worship.

For some, expressing themselves in worship can be uncomfortable, especially if they are new Christians. You go to some churches, and the congregation never stands up.

They don’t sing, but they just sit and listen to the worship music. Others may sing but they don’t play instruments.

Still others will be waving their hands, shouting and running around as the band plays every kind of instrument. Which way to worship is correct?

Well, the Bible outlines seven different types of worship, and they are all appropriate, with each having its place. Let’s examine them:

“He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them…. Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him, may the people always pray for him and bless him all day long.” –Psalm 72:12-15

Barak means to bow down to, or kneel before, the Lord. It communicates that the Lord holds a place of importance and helps us remember just how great He is. Barak is not done a begging attitude but rather an expectant attitude, because the Lord is more than willing and able to move on our behalf.

“David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the Lord—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.” –1 Chronicles 16:4

Halal appears more than 110 times in the Old Testament. It translates as to shine, boast, rave about, celebrate or even to be clamorously foolish. Can you imagine a more wondrous noise raving about about all the Lord is and all He has done?

“Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise!” –Psalm 47:1

Shabach means to shout loudly or command. Of course, it isn’t simply about being loud. Its focus is to worship the Lord with one’s whole being.

“But you are holy, O You Who dwell in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered].” –Psalm 22:3, AMPC

Tehillah means to sing unrehearsed, unplanned praises to the Lord. It can include adding words to an existing song or even singing in the spirit to the Lord.

“But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” –Psalm 50:23

Towdah is a type of worship that includes extending your hands or raising them in thanksgiving for something that has been done or will be done.

“After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!’”
–2 Chronicles 20:21

Yadah means to extend your hands vigorously as in complete surrender.

“Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!” –Psalm 150:3-6

Zamar means to touch the strings. It involves rejoicing and making music to the Lord.

Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about the seven ways to worship in spirit and in truth.

How can you incorporate them into your personal and corporate worship? Remember, praising God is to be on our lips, or spoken (Isaiah 57:19), and we are to do it continually as a sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15).

God promises that when we praise and worship Him, He inhabits those praises (Psalm 22:3), and it gives us strength to defeat our enemy (Psalm 8:2).

For an even deeper study into how you can worship God in spirit and in truth, check out the 7 Types of Worship Bible Study. Enjoy a deeper experience as you discover how to worship God daily, at home and everywhere you go, in spirit and in truth!

© 1997 – 2019 Eagle Mountain International Church Inc. Aka Kenneth Copeland Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

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Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth | Grace Communion International

Prayer to Worship in Spirit and Truth

In the last few decades, many churches have made major changes in the way they conduct worship. They have become more flexible and even adventurous, realizing that “praise and worship” (as worship in song and prayer is often referred to) is an important component of the service.

Congregations that formerly were extremely conservative and tradition-bound have learned to embrace multiple music styles.

They have also learned the importance of gifted worship leaders, musicians and others who facilitate worship.

Many churches, who previously would not have allowed anything but a piano or organ to accompany the hymns, now have praise bands. We have seen the increasing use of electronics to enhance worship.

Not all have appreciated this change, and worship styles, especially in regard to choice of music, have become a point of contention in many churches. Some have even talked of “worship wars.”

Something important is being lost in the clamor. Worship is so much more than just what style of music you choose, or what gizmos you hook up to go along with it. So let’s remind ourselves of what worship is, and why it is important.

Worship is an interesting word. It comes from an Old English word, weorth meaning “worth.” In its earliest form, weorthscipe (worth-ship) meant the appropriate treatment of something or someone of worth. So worth-ship or worship is the act of affirming God’s worth. It is a declaration that God is worthy — to be praised, preached about, confessed to and served.

Jesus makes one of the most pointed scriptural statements concerning worship in his encounter with the Samaritan woman.

Living in a society polarized over the details of “getting worship right,” this woman seized the opportunity to ask Jesus about it. “I can see that you are a prophet,” she said.

“Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem” (John 4:19-20).

Jesus explained that the physical details of worship were not most important. “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23).

The true worship of God is expressed in a number of ways. We see this by noting that there are three basic meanings to the Greek and Hebrew words translated as worship in our English Bibles.

  • The first meaning is that of praise and adoration. We express this when we sing and pray (together or individually).
  • The second meaning pertains to public or ceremonial gatherings, church services, where we sing, pray and fellowship together.
  • The third meaning, which is the broadest, is to serve. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word abad is used for both worship and for work. The Greek verbs for this meaning are latreuo and the similar word leiturgeo, which is the root word for our English word liturgy.

The most important point about worship is found in the New Testament book of Hebrews, where the risen and ascended Jesus is said to be our leitourgos (“minister”); our worship leader (8:2). He leads us in worship, conveying all of God’s graces to us and taking all our responses to him, sanctifying them and giving them to the Father in the Spirit.

Our worship of God, with and through Jesus, can occur in large groups and small. For the first 300 years of Christianity, church services occurred mostly in homes, and therefore in small groups. That original pattern carries the blessing of simplicity. The early church did not set up banks of amplifiers, speakers, soundboards, microphones, projectors, organs and such.

These resources are not needed in small congregations. In fact, it would be ridiculous to set up for a group of 250 people when there are only going to be 10 to 20 people in attendance.

Sitting in a circle is just as good as sitting in several rows — in fact, it is often better for small congregations, providing an intimate environment where genuine, quality worship can happen.

So let’s remember that, although advanced technologies and live praise bands can enhance worship, they are not essential to worship. A small congregation need not feel inadequate because its worship service is not a “mega-media-event.

” Keep it simple — make use of the resources you have, knowing that God will meet you where you are. Instead of becoming preoccupied with the mechanics of doing church ( Martha in the kitchen!), embrace the freedom that Jesus gives you to focus on worship ( Mary at our Lord’s feet).

Remember what Jesus told us: “For where two or three gather in my name, I am there with them” (Matthew 18:20).

What about liturgy?

Another important aspect of worship to keep in mind is that not all worship takes place in church, or even in a group setting. Remember, one of the Greek words that is translated as “worship” can also be translated as “liturgy.”

Churches with a “non-liturgical” worship tradition tend to equate liturgy with formal worship that incorporates standardized prayers accompanied by what my friend Professor Eddie Gibbs describes as “bells and smells.

” Though a “liturgical” approach toward worship might seem contrived and artificial to those used to a less formal style, it is perfectly valid when given to the Father, through Jesus “in spirit and in truth,” as Jesus explained to the Samaritan woman at the well.

But if we limit our understanding of liturgy to this particular worship style, we miss something important.

Liturgy is not just something that “high churches” Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox Christians do. Whether we recognize it or not, liturgy is fundamental to the rhythm of a Christian’s daily life before God.

The original meaning of leitourgia is a public duty or a service to the state undertaken by a citizen. A leitourgos was “a public servant.” In ancient Greece, leitourgia was performed by wealthy citizens at their own expense. It was not limited to religious good works.

Any general service of a public kind could be described as liturgy (and a person who did not accept his public duty was known as an idiotes!).

In Romans 12:1, Paul writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship [latreia].” He saw a parallel: as citizens of a community accepted their responsibility for public service, so Christians should make themselves available to God for the work of the kingdom.

Paul also draws from his own Jewish background of sacrifice associated with temple worship. The sacrifice here seems to represent an act of total self-giving of one’s life for the benefit of and in response to God’s mercy.

But notice the radical transformation of the idea of sacrifice. In ancient Israel, the animal gave up its life as it poured out its blood. The life was given over for others so that it became dead.

Here Paul proclaims that we are living sacrifices, continually self-giving.

Where did Paul get that striking insight? From the gospel of grace he laid out in the previous eleven chapters! Our sacrifice is a mirror image, reflecting the self-giving of Christ, who passed through death to eternal life, never to die again! We join in and participate in Christ’s own liturgy of pouring out his life even to the extent of death, but in a way that leads to fullness of life. Christ’s own worship transforms the very notion of sacrifice and worship.

Paul goes on to say: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

Our sacrificial worship demonstrates a whole new pattern of living that comes from sharing daily in the grace of Christ, our crucified, risen and ascended Lord. We read in Hebrews 8:2 that as one of us, in our place and on our behalf, he is our worship leader in every moment of our lives.

In union with Christ, we daily die to ourselves in repentance and rise with Christ to newness of life through faith in him.

Coughing up prayers

So you see, liturgy is not just something “religious” we do in church, or when we pray or study the Bible. It is characteristic of the whole rhythm of our daily life. When Paul admonished Christians to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, KJV), he was not saying that we continually pray and never stop.

The Greek word is used outside the New Testament to describe a hacking cough. When you have a hacking cough, you are not coughing all the time, but you feel you are.

That is what it means to pray without ceasing. It means being in an attitude of prayer at all times.

So, when I say that worship is the rhythm of daily life, it is saying that we “pray without ceasing” — just as we breathe without ceasing.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus showed how the practical aspect of living and worshipping in “spirit and truth” can be more important than engaging in more noticeable religious behavior.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.

First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23).

Whenever Christians are drawn together into Christ as the common center of their desire and faith, it is worship.

Jesus’ teaching of a process to eliminate conflict between fellow-believers includes purposeful fellowship, prayer, and church involvement so that forgiveness and reconciliation can occur when there are members in conflict (Matthew 18:15-17). This act of reconciliation is worship.

The temple in Jerusalem was a liturgical place that involved more than sacrifice. At its dedication, Solomon prayed, “May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there.

May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place” (2 Chronicles 6:20). We no longer have (nor do we need) a physical temple.

God’s people are God’s temple — built up by the Holy Spirit, where acts of sacrifice and service continue day and night, “without ceasing” as together, we share God’s love and life with those around us (1 Peter 2:5).

Worship is much larger than what we do when we attend church. Authentic worship is how we conduct our lives at all times. Or as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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Joseph Tkach

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What Does It Mean To Worship In Spirit And Truth?

Prayer to Worship in Spirit and Truth

On most Christian radio stations today you can find just about any kind of worship music. wise, in most churches you can find the same.

There are even college degrees offered in worship arts from a number of colleges. With all of these approaches to worship, a common description people use to describe worship is that it should be in Spirit and truth.

What most people wonder is what does it mean to worship in Spirit and truth?

What does it mean to worship? 

Worship is commonly defined as follows (1): Noun- 1. The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. 2.

Adoration or devotion comparable to religious homage, shown toward a person or principle. Verb- 1. Show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites. 2.

Treat (someone or something) with the reverence and adoration appropriate to a deity 3. Take part in a religious ceremony.

What is the foundation of proper worship?

A proper foundation of our worship depends on our motivation. If we are motivated by what appeals solely to our lustful desires (1 John 2:15-16), then our worship will not be pleasing to God.

However, if our worship is our love for God because of what He did by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, it is pleasing to Him (Isaiah 56:6-7; 2 Corinthians 5:5-9).

With the proper foundation, we can then focus on what it means to worship in Spirit and in truth.

Where does the phrase worship in Spirit and in truth come from?

The phrase worship in Spirit and truth comes from a passage a Scripture found in John 4 when Jesus was traveling though Samaria and he stopped at a well. While there Jesus had a conversation with a Samaritan woman about worship.

During the conversation, Jesus told the woman that the hour was coming when they no longer would worship in Samaria or in Jerusalem and that they did not know what they worship because salvation is of the Jews.

Jesus then said to her, “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” (John 4:23-24).

After this conversation, the Samaritan woman learned that Jesus was the Messiah and immediately left to go share the good news with others. This resulted in many more being saved as the word spread that the Messiah had arrived (John 4:25-42). To this woman, worshiping in Spirt and in truth took on a whole new meaning.

What does it mean to worship in Spirit?

Worshiping in Spirit means that our practice of worship should be produced by God the Holy Spirit. Evidence of this would be a worship practice that reflects the fruit of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23.

Does our worship reflect love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control? Or does it produce hatred, sorrow, anxiety, impatience, cruelty, sinfulness, godlessness, arrogance, and wild behavior? If it reflects the first list that begins with love, then it is worshiping in Spirit.

What does it mean to worship in truth?

Worshiping in truth means that our practice of worship should reflect proper Biblical doctrine (Psalms 71:22-24; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 4:17-25). Evidence of this would be avoiding worship practices that God condemns theologically (Deuteronomy 18:9-14; 1 Corinthians 10:20).

It also requires that the lyrics and even the writers of music used should be examined theologically. This is to ensure that the truth is being told lyrically, preventing possible endorsement of persons or organizations that are not doctrinally correct (Romans 16:17-18).

If we take the time to examine our worship practices theologically, then it is worshiping in truth or according to the teachings of God’s Word.


Worshiping in Spirit and in truth is more than just a slick phrase to put a stamp of approval on how we worship. It literally means that our practices of worship are examined to see what sort it is (1 Corinthians 3:11-14).

If it is examined and found to be reflective of the fruit of the Spirit and produced by the Spirit, then it is Spiritually correct. If our worship includes elements that are examined and found to be doctrinally correct it means that our worship practices are in truth.

In the end, worship in Spirit and in truth motivated by love is pleasing to God and edifying to the body of Christ.

Take a look at this article, also about worship: 15 Awesome Christian Worship Songs

Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version. (1) Google. (2014). “Worship”. Retrieved from Google, //

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True Worship Needs Both Spirit and Truth

Prayer to Worship in Spirit and Truth

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” — John 4:24

One fine day Jesus has an incredibly deep conversation with a woman beside a well. The conversation starts with talking about water – they are at a well, after all.

Then it ranges through the woman’s own personal moral history before closing with something that is truly profound.

Here is what Jesus says.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. — John 4:23-24

True Worshipers

There is so much packed into those two sentences. But I want to focus in on one thing – what God expects of our worship. Jesus says that to truly worship God, we have to do it in “spirit” and in “truth”. He said that we’re now in the time when the bar will be set there for truly worshipping God.

Notice the two parts to that worship: spirit and truth.

If that’s the standard to measure the quality of our worship, then perhaps it is important that we look at both sides of that equation. It will tell us what true worship looks . Then we can see how our own worship measures up to the standard Jesus laid out.

Keep in mind that Jesus said, “those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” What we’re talking about here is not an optional thing. We must have both parts in our worship.

So let’s look at these two components.

Worship in Truth

In order to be in true worship we must be in truth. The Bible explicitly states a number of times that God’s Word is truth. Here’s an example in the Old Testament:

The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. — Psalm 119:160

Jesus himself confirmed that scripture is truth in his prayer recorded by John.

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. — John 17:17

That means in order to be engaged in true worship we need to have our minds renewed with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the whole counsel of scripture. Just skimming through our favorite passages doesn’t cut it.

Worship in Spirit

At the same time our worship must be in spirit. This is something unique to the New Covenant, which is why what Jesus said to the woman at the well was so profound and revolutionary.

In the Old Testamant people did not have the Holy Spirit living in them. Instead the Holy Spirit would come upon them for a specific task or period of time and then leave. But Ezekiel prophesied that would change.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. — Ezekiel 36:26-27

Then along comes Jesus and says that people who worship in spirit (and truth) is something God is looking for.

In the early church there was a ton of worshipping in the spirit in their gatherings. So much so that Paul wrote a great deal about the orderly expression of spiritual gifts during church services in 1 Corinthians chapters 12, 13, & 14.

Paul never said not to exercise the gifts. He just corrected the abuse and reigned in the chaos.

Balancing Truth and Spirit

Jesus said we need both spirit and truth in our worship. Unfortunately most Christians are balance on one side or the other. Personally I tend towards the truth side of things because I am by nature a very Spock- analytical thinker. I’m working on connecting with the spirit side of things more in my worship.

Being balance in this causes serious problems.

People who are way off on the truth side to the exclusion of the spirit tend to get mean, excessively critical and judgmental. They lack the fruit of the Spirit. Their lives don’t evidence much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self control.

As a result they tend to become harsh and argumentative. They become more well known for the things they are against than what they are for.

The other ditch is just as bad. People who heavily emphasize the spirit but never really spend much time personally studying scripture are susceptible to drifting into all kinds of strange doctrines and beliefs. They tend to get sucked into some pretty unusual things that don’t have any backing in scripture.

Some of it can be downright weird.

True Worship Needs Both

Jesus said we must have both spirit and truth in our worship. It’s not optional. When we leave out one or the other, according to Jesus, we are not “true worshippers”. Unbalanced worship doesn’t please God.

We need both spirit and truth in our worship. That’s when we see God’s power and presence manifest among us in a way that’s not weird or nutty.

And that’s the kind of worship God is looking for today.

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