Sunday, January 07, 2024

Stott: worshiping in spirit

Sunday, January 7, 2024
    [Jesus to the Samaritan woman at the well:] “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
    —John 4:23-24 (NIV)
    Instead of worshiping God “in spirit” (recognizing that he is spirit himself and asks for spiritual worship), idolaters become preoccupied with external, visible, and tangible objects. Even the worship of the people of Israel had a constant tendency to degenerate into formalism and even blatant hypocrisy. The seventh and eighth century [B.C.] prophets were scathing in their denunciation of Israel’s empty religion, and Jesus applied their criticism to the Pharisees of his own day: “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’” So whatever outward forms we may use in Christian worship (liturgies, processions, drama, ritual, kneeling or raising our arms), we need to ensure that they escape the charge of idolatry by passing the double test of being “in spirit and in truth.”
    ... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011), Basic Christianity, Nottingham, U.K.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008, third edition, p. 94-95 (see the book)
    See also John 4:23-24; Isa. 1:13-17; 29:13-14; Amos 5:21-24; Mark 7:6-7; John 1:17; Rom. 8:15,26; Gal. 4:6; Col. 3:5; Jude 1:20-21
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, give me the discernment to embrace truth and reject the counterfeit.
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