How do we worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

The concept worshipping God in Spirit and Truth was introduced by Jesus in John 4 where he met the Samaritan woman at the well. There, Jesus struck a conversation with the Samaritan woman and a few topics came up. Firstly, it was about Jesus claiming that he is the living water where no one will thirst again if they drink water given by him.

You can see the biblical context of living water in Psalm 42:1 about our souls pants for God like how the deer pants for water and that our souls thrist for the living God. We can also see the biblical context of living water in Zechariah 13:1 about a fountain being opened to clean people from their sin and impurity. Jesus is referring himself as this living water, this fountain that will flow and make the Jews and Gentiles alike to be atoned if only they were to ask Him.

The second topic discussed was the woman’s affair with many men. It signifies the sinful life of the Samaritan was brought into the spotlight during that conversation by Jesus. If the woman would just believe that He is the living water, that Jesus can make her thirst no longer, she will be saved.

The woman tried changing the subject by talking about subject on worship where Jesus responded that there will come a time when true worshippers will neither worship God in Jerusalem or on the mountain but they will worship in Spirit and Truth. Jesus emphasized again that salvation is from the Jews which points back to Genesis 12:3 that through the Jews, other nations will be blessed. Through the Jews, comes Jesus and He will be the Savior not only to Jerusalem and Judea, but to Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

We can see that in order to be true worshippers, one must believe that Jesus is the Living Water who will clean our sins once and for all. We will not “thirst” again spiritually. That is the prerequisite of a True Worshipper in order to worship in Spirit and in Truth.

TRUTH

Not only Jesus said that he is the Living Water, He also proclaimed himself as the truth in John 14:6 – I am the way, the TRUTH and the life. Since Jesus is the TRUTH, He must also be the WORD because it is described in John 1. Here we can see Jesus = Truth = Word = The Living Water = Salvation of the world by dying on the cross as a sacrificial lamb for the atonement of our sins.

In order to worship God in truth, in summary, we must worship God in Jesus.  We must understand the theology of truth as plainly shown to men in scriptures not creating our own theology on worshipping God. The only term of an acceptable worship which is pleasing to God is through Jesus Christ and that is the TRUTH.

SPIRIT

Jesus explained that God is spirit. In biblical context, we can see that in Gen 1:1-2 about the Spirit of God hovering over the waters. Matthew 3:16 suggest the Spirit of God descending like a dove after Jesus was baptized.
When God is spirit, it implies that God can be worshipped everywhere and will not to be bound by geological barriers. He is everywhere and can be worshipped at any time and any place. The Holy Spirit is at work as well as he will help us to pray when we do not know how to (Gal 4:6 and Romans 8:26 – Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.)

Therefore, worshipping God in spirit and in truth addresses not the where or the method we worship but rather the attitude we have when we worship. The Israelites was doing everything right in terms of sacrificial procedure but God said in Isaiah 29:1 – “The people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men”. The Pharisees and teachers of the law did everything that was commanded by the Torah in fact, they intensified their rituals, but Jesus called them “brood of vipers”.

Without knowing the truth of what Christ has done for us on the cross of calvary, we will never be able to worship God in truth as we will form our own doctrines and theologies of God in our own finite mind like what described in Romans 1:18 – 25. Hence, in order to know the truth, we need to search the scriptures diligently and more importantly to have a genuine relationship with God in our daily lives because worship does not happen and confined only on a Sunday in church if we want to worship in Spirit and Truth.

Worship should not be dependent on human emotions or hype without having a proper theology to guard us. In short, we ought to worship the RIGHT GOD and with the RIGHT APPROACH.

THE RIGHT GOD and the RIGHT APPROACH – Romans 12:1

When Jesus came and died for our sins once and for all, the way we approached and worship God was radically changed. We no longer need to sacrifice bulls and goats to appease as what have happened in the OT sacrificial system.

So, how do we worship now? In Romans, Paul tells us that our spiritual act of worship is the way we live our lives. We ought to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God, that is our living sacrifices offered to God.

It is no longer what we do in front of others when we worship God, but rather what is done closed doors. The things we done closed doors in our private lives will be our gauged on how we fair in worshipping God with our daily lives. Our very thoughts and motives in our hearts were challenged by Jesus when He taught his disciples that “we have committed adultery when we looked at a women lustfully” or “we have murdered our brethren when we hated them”.(Matthew 5: 21, 28)

Having said that, it does not mean that we need not come to church any longer. Paul encourages us not to give up meeting each other. What is more important here is that we must be careful not to be like the Israelites who were practicing a ritual given by God with the wrong understanding of it’s significance. Same like us, the Lord’s supper is instituted by Jesus and given to us to remember Him. But if we come to church every Sunday without understanding the significance of it, then we are just like the Israelites doing a ritual and forgetting what matters most to God.

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

I have just finished watching Prince Caspian. As the book was written by one of the famous christian writer, C.S Lewis, the same author who wrote “Surprised by Joy”, I was trying to see what spiritual element I could take home with me from this movie.

**Warning: There could be spoilers ahead.**
This is strictly personal opinion and what struck me when I watch the movie:

  • When only Lucy saw Aslan where the rest didn’t see Him. They didn’t believe Lucy.
    I learnt the lesson of “Child like Faith”. As we grew older, a lot of times we want something tangible instead of faith.
  • The first battle, they lost because they did not want to wait upon Aslan to help them. This action has caused the lives of their followers. I learnt that if we fought with our own strength in spiritual battle, we will fail miserably.
  • King Peter wanted to prove that he is a better leader than Prince Caspian. There is a personal agenda when they go to war the first time. Which lead to the above. The losing battle of course. If we have hidden agendas in Christian ministries, then we are bound to fail.
  • After the lost the 1st battle, Prince Caspian and King Peter fought with each other. They were desperate and needed help. There was disunity. This has led them almost releasing the Evil Ice Queen. Spiritual lesson is, if there is disunity in the leadership there will be chaos and this will give a foothold for the devil to come in.
  • (I like this best) In the second battle, they have to rush Lucy to seek for Aslan. They had to delay the time of the battle. And of course, Lucy found Aslan and Aslan helped to win the war against their enemies. What I learnt: During the battle, when Lucy went to seek for Aslan’s help, it represent that we need to seek God’s help in prayer. Aslan asked Lucy why she didn’t come to see Him earlier. Sometimes due to our disbelief and think that we can do things ourselves, we discard God from the picture. Seek God in every spiritual battle and He will help us to gain victory. Delaying the time for the battle to me represents waiting upon the Lord.
  • There was an “altar call” at the end of the movie. Aslan offer the Telmarine to this place which they have prepared for them to start a new life. Some didn’t believe that it was a good place, only a few entered. Salvation is offered to everyone but only some will accept it.
  • When the rat lost his tail, he requested Aslan to heal him coz of dignity and pride and honour. If it was for that reason, then Aslan won’t heal but Aslan healed him because of his love for his people. When we request for favour from God, make sure it is not for your pride but more for the love of His people.
  • The little dwarf, friend to Lucy didn’t see Aslan at first, but he saw Aslan through Lucy later on. We need to live a life that other people could see God through us.

Well, that’s my observation. To some people, I may have read too much into it, but anyhow, I felt blessed by it and was much encouraged by the movie through these personal observation, that’s what that matters. =)

Enjoy the movie to those who haven’t watch. I appreciate the movie through these parallelism.