November 15, 2015
Well, I am excited this morning to preach the Word. I have been really thinking of this message for a while and just really, just almost savoring it throughout this entire week. I am very, very excited to preach this morning.
Another quick update. One week from today, last week, I was happily married for one year! So that was awesome. That was awesome to say the least. So I will be at the Next Steps to give any kind of tips or advice that anybody might…just kidding. I am just messing with you. I have a lot to learn, to say the least.
Very excited to preach this morning, as I said. The title of this morning’s message is “Well Side Theology.” Well Side Theology.
I don’t know about you but if you are like me, this one phrase is something that we all kind of know and we understand exactly what it means. And it goes like this: Boy, I wish I could be a fly on that wall. And many times when we hear that phrase, a lot of it has to do with the fact that something significant is going to happen and we actually are privy to what may happen. And man, would we wish to be in that room or in that location just so that we can listen in to what is going on.
Thankfully, we have one of the greatest resources that we can read that actually helps us be this fly on the wall, especially in Jesus’ ministry. And it comes to this one particular passage in John Chapter 4 where we have probably one of the most recognizable encounters between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. And we have an opportunity to be able to step into this conversation which is loaded with significance, loaded with theology and loaded with the Savior seeking out this woman that needed Him desperately.
And so what we are going to have a chance to do is just dive right into this conversation. And there is going to be a lot of things that I am going to cover that deal with how we actually interpret this passage of Scripture. And it will be very, very important to look at the actual significance of these two people.
So we arrive at this conversation. And you would imagine this is a very unique and different kind of conversation. Jesus, after traveling from Judea, is heading towards Galilee but He makes a pit stop in Samaria. And He did so purposefully. We know this. And what is interesting is, Jesus goes and He stops right by a well. And if you read through the story, who gets the short end of the stick; Jesus gets the rest, but who has to go into the city to get more food? The disciples. They actually have to go over there. Jesus rests. The disciples go into the city. And that is significant. They go into the city.
And as Jesus is resting and He really had to because this trek was 20 miles’ worth of traveling. And it wasn’t the easiest terrains. This was a tough terrain to go through. It is more like a hike. Jesus was exhausted, thirsty and hungry. What a beautiful picture of His humanity. Jesus got tired. And of all places, He stops at this particular well. The disciples go and they go into the city to go buy food. And then all of a sudden in Jesus’ fashion and the only way that He knew how to do, He sees from a distance a woman. The hour – it is noon. A very distinct hour. And all of a sudden in the distance, He sees this woman. And this woman, you would imagine, sees this man sitting by a well and just resting. And you would imagine here, Jesus knows exactly who she is, but she doesn’t have a clue who she is about to run into. She has no idea who this person is. And out of nowhere, Jesus breaks the silence as she approaches the well…and you would imagine she is putting things together to either drop the bucket or do whatever she needed to do to gather this water. And as she is probably dropping this bucket, Jesus breaks the silence and says, “Give Me a drink.”
Now you would imagine, this Man startled this woman to think to herself, wait a second. Did I hear these words correctly? Did this person just ask me for a drink of water?
Now you may ask yourself, and we all know this, why would she have such a reaction? Well, from what we understand from the text is that Jews and Samaritans did not have dealings with one another. That is what the text says. What does that mean? Well, there was a huge amount of animosity between Jewish people and Samaritans. And you might ask yourself, well, why? Why such animosity between these two groups of people?
Well, we have to take a step back into history and then place ourselves back into that one moment in time where Jesus is speaking with the Samaritan woman. Samaritans were the remnant of the northern Jewish kingdom who had intermarried with foreigners after chiefs and nobles had been carried into exile back in 729 B.C. Scholars state that this was during the time of Sanballat and Nehemiah. That is when this all began. Put your picture there, your mind there. In fact, some scholars have even said that once this rift and this separation happened, two things started to occur. One, the Samaritans began, or that group of people began to dismiss certain parts of the Old Testament, one being the Prophets. They only believed in the Torah. And then within the Torah, they started to do something that was very significant that the Jewish people did not change. They changed the mountain on which they would worship. In Jerusalem, you worshiped on Mt. Zion. That is where the Temple was. In Samaria, you worshiped on Mt. Gerizim and that is what they changed. This brought about a huge amount of animosity. They were going to change where they would worship. You don’t do that. And on top of that, they began to intermarry which meant that now the purity of the faith was now being mingled with others faiths.
And so for a Jewish individual to ever even step into the land of Samaria, you would be considered cursed; to speak to someone from that land, you would be considered cursed. In fact, it would be unthinkable for a Jewish man to also even speak to a woman, especially a Rabbi and given the circumstance of this woman. This was unheard of. But as we know in Ephesians, Christ came to tear down the wall of hostility.
Think about this for a second. Guess who steps into this conversation and breaks centuries old of silence? It is the Savior of the world. She may not know that, but we are privy to know that is the case.
Now you can imagine, me, Dave, Mark and John Richardson were doing our sermon prep. And given the circumstances, you could imagine why Jesus may have said, all right, guys, I need you to go into the city and get some fish po boys. And you would imagine Thomas may have said, “Jesus, you sure you want to stay here by Yourself?” Jesus may have thought, yeah, I think I have got this one, guys. You can go on ahead.
The kind of cultural divides that would have happened there would have been monumental. And Jesus may have known that. But I think there was a greater truth to why He sent them into the city. And we will cover that later.
So Jesus skips the cultural divides and continues on with this conversation. And notice what He says in this chapter. He says in Verse 7: “And a woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’ The disciples went away. The Samaritan woman said to Him, ‘How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’ (For Jews have no dealing with Samaritans.) Jesus does skip a beat and it says, “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get this living water?’”
I really believe at this point and at this junction, she is being sarcastic with Jesus. She doesn’t know who Jesus is and you would imagine, Sir, how are you going to give me water with something that you can’t even gather it with? You mean to tell me you are going to give me something without you possessing an ability to do so? Okay.
So Jesus again doesn’t waver and He keeps going. And she says, “Are You greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.’” Well, this is interesting as well. Isn’t it amazing to see how much she actually knew. Think about that for a moment. For me, in many ways, I have always laser focused on her past and didn’t include the fact that she was actually kind of knowledgeable of the Old Testament. She points out Jacob. She points out the livestock. She points out the fact that it was him that actually gave the well. That is very significant and very interesting to say the least.
You can’t say that it was wrong for her to be sarcastic because she had no idea who this person was. Jesus again doesn’t skip a beat and in Verse 13, He says, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.’”
Again, she doesn’t become rude. She addresses Him as Sir, and I would imagine at this point, she is probably being as kind as she can. But in the back of her mind, I would imagine she is thinking, this poor gentleman has probably been out in the sun for too long. Jesus, I think you are dehydrated. I understand why you need water. But in her mind, she is thinking to herself, what in the world is this Man talking about? At this point, you would imagine that she is probably already almost bringing up this bucket and is about to put it in her jar, the water, and is going to head back towards where she came from. And then, in Jesus’ fashion, He does what only He knows He can do because now, all of a sudden, we see His humanity and then He breaks open His divinity and peels back history from her that she only kept to herself, only the people in the town knew, but this man, who she never met, had no idea what she was about to hear from Him.
Notice what He says and this will be our main text in John Chapter 4 and Verse 16. Jesus again breaks the silence, calls her attentions and says the following: “Go, call your husband, and come here.” Think of the authority with which Jesus is saying this. “Go call your husband, and come here.’ The woman answered Him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband;’ for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.’” What an amazing statement that she makes.
My goal this morning is simply this: Jesus came specifically to reveal Himself to a Samaritan woman, to each her that in order to worship God, you have to first know Him. And Jesus is still doing the same today. He is out, reaching out to people that don’t know how to worship Him and is willing to reveal Himself in such a way so that people can worship Him. And what is interesting about all of this is the word that she actually uses, “perceive.” “I perceive that You are a prophet.” Now what is amazing about this is the way that she uses that word “perceive.” She wasn’t taking a shot out in the dark and kind of guessing; she knew. She understood Him to be a prophet. It is the same word that is used when Paul is speaking to the men of Athens and he says, “Gentlemen, I perceive that you are religious men.” Paul was around them enough to understand that they weren’t just ordinary men, they were religious. He understood that. That is the same word that she uses in this text.
And I say all of that to say that she now has His undivided attention because now, all of a sudden, she is gripped. Now what is interesting again is her theology. She didn’t call Him a magician. She didn’t call Him a medium. She called Him a what? A prophet. Against, peering into who and what she knows.
This is the interesting part about this entire text. It is split into three different ways. They discuss where to worship, who to worship and how to worship. So let’s look at this first point: Where to worship. Notice what Jesus tells her in Verse 20 after she claims Him to be a prophet. It says, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.’”
Jesus here makes a clear distinction that worship was not to be bound by location. He makes it crystal clear, neither on this mountain nor in where? Jerusalem. Now ask yourself this question, why? Why would He say that? Why would He say neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem? What is on the mountains? What is He alluding to? He is alluding to the Temples. He is alluding to the place where people actually went to go and worship God.
And all of a sudden, Jesus is now strategically moving in her mind that worship would not be bound by locations, would not be bound to what they were actually used to doing in these Temples, which was what? Rituals. Even the Jewish people at this point got so caught up in traditional rituals that they would do within the actual Temples that Jesus is now slowly moving her away from that thought of location. You would imagine that she was actually at a point in her life where she was thinking about all of these ways that you had to worship at this Temple.
Let me explain it this way. I grew up in a Roman Catholic setting. And I always perceived what worship would be like or what a worship service would be conducted like. And so, as I walked into a Catholic Church, I would sit down. I would grab my booklet that they would hand to you or have on the pew. And then all of a sudden, there was a moment when we knew that everything was about to begin. And what would happen? Well, one of my fondest memories that I would remember is when all of a sudden there was, I think it was a graduation service that my cousin had or something, and they were having a service that night. And so I went with my Mom. And in through the middle of the aisle, the processional began. The students sat down and then all of a sudden came the moment when those important people who needed to be there were about to walk in. And so in walks in the gentleman holding up a golden cross, walking all the way through. Right behind him was the gentleman with the Bible and he would walk in procession with the Bible. Behind him was a gentleman with incense walking in as he actually did the whole process of getting to the stage. And then in comes in the Cardinal. In comes in this man dressed in a beautiful gown and all of a sudden, they walk in and they walk towards the stage. Once they arrive there, the worship service had officially begun. But guess what every individual is doing while they are actually watching all of these rituals happening? They sat and they watched worship.
So you have to ask yourself this question: Did they participate? I don’t think so. They were so accustomed to the ritual of what they were doing that everybody just sat and watched.
So Jesus is here bringing to mind to her that this was your normal practice of the day. This is what you would do. And in fact, she may have thought to herself, well, if I am not doing it here, then perhaps I need to go to Jerusalem.
Now, I stress that as much as I say because notice the words very carefully in Verse 21. Look what Jesus says. This is highly significant, okay. “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman,’ (what?) believe (who?) Me.’” Well, hold on here. You are telling me to accept something here, to believe something in faith about what You are telling me? Yes. And notice how He continues. ‘The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the (who?) the Father.’”
Now you see how I have stressed so much with the Temple and the Temples that were located there, because Jesus is Himself directing her to believe in the statements that He is saying and furthermore to worship the Father. Now you would imagine, this was radical for her to hear. This was brand new to her ears. No one had stepped in and told her that God was Father. For all her life, knowing everything that she had probably experienced and heard, it revolved around a Temple. It revolved around rituals. It revolved around things that we bound in one location. And Jesus says, neither there, neither here, and furthermore, I want you to believe what I am about to tell you. Wait, a guy that I have never met before? Yeah, Me, and that it is going to be with the Father. Radical. Radical statement that she is hearing for the very first time.
And why would Jesus say something like that? Well, because Jesus knew that one day the veil would be torn. Jesus knew that one day, the Temple would be broken down. Jesus knew that the Spirit of God would one day indwell the believer and our bodies would be likened to a Temple. And Jesus knew that one day, I Corinthians 6:19 would say, “Or do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit within you whom you have from God.” Do you see it? Jesus is literally moving her away from that thought and moving her towards a different way of worship. It is amazing to see that.
For the believer, it is to bow the heart before the Lord, to bow what we are before Him. Why? Because He is worthy and because He is God.
Donald Whitney states it this way: “To worship God is to ascribe the proper worth to God, to magnify His worthiness of praise or better to approach and address God as He is worthy. And He is worthy of all the worth and honor we can give Him and then infinitely more.”
Now what is amazing is, we understand that. We recognize that. Why? Because we are on this side of salvation. We have been saved. But for her, the greatest act of worship that she could ever do is to be saved because she didn’t understand this. And what Jesus is trying to tell her and let her recognize is that before you can get to this point, you have to first be saved. How do I know that? Let me explain in the next couple of verses.
Jesus clears the ambiguity of where to worship and He directs the conversation to who to worship. That is our second point. Who to worship. Notice what it says in Verse 22 and 23. “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.”
Again, Jesus makes another very clear distinction: those who know and those who (what?) those who don’t know. Jesus is placing her in the category of those who don’t know. The Jewish people had an idea of who God was, experienced who God was, knew by Scripture Who God was, and so it wasn’t theoretical for them. It wasn’t something that was abstract. They knew who God was. As far and as distant as some of the Jewish people were during Jesus’ time, they at least had an active knowledge of who God was, not a misrepresentation.
For this woman, she had no idea who He was and neither did the people there. Why? Remember, intermingled in their faith was so many other faiths. And so at that moment in time, we could only imagine the amount of influence of other faiths that got embedded into her mind and into that group of people. They had no idea who God was at all. And Jesus says it specifically. And Jesus was making this crystal clear because at this junction, what was at stake was her salvation. This was the part where Jesus was laser focused on her heart and needed to dig deeply in there and tell her that everything that she may have been doing before was not only wrong, but it wasn’t even worship. Because she had no idea who to worship.
A. W. Pink, I think, is very, very good when he says the following: “Christ was continuing to press upon this woman the fact that she was a sinner. Again, Jesus did not neglect her adulterous background. He had to tell her that these actions that you were doing were a result of your lack of salvation. You didn’t know Me. You didn’t know who I was. And therefore, it was useless to occupy her mind with questions about places of worship. What she needed was salvation. And this salvation could only be had through the knowledge of God revealed as Father in the face of Jesus Christ. Such is the ground and the only ground of true spiritual worship. In order to worship the Father, we must know Him. And to know Him is salvation. And salvation is eternal life. They may have practice a form of worship, but they weren’t worshiping God.
And think about it this way, we can’t just get into the rituals of what we always know. And then think to ourselves that we actually know God. Has there been a time and a moment in your life where you know definitively that you have placed your faith and trust in Jesus Christ because, let me tell you, that is where it starts when it comes to worshiping God. It has to be there. And this is amazing what Jesus is doing. He was so good with His evangelism. So good. Think about it this way, you have to see what he is doing here. Jesus is removing the idea of a Temple worship. She is probably thinking to herself, okay, I am not going there because you are telling me I can’t go there. And then You are saying, I don’t know who I am even worshiping, what does leave me with? Because now I don’t know what to do. You would imagine that this conversation, if you are piecing everything together, the very next question that you are asking yourself is, how? How am I supposed to worship? And what is interesting is, Jesus leaves her with nothing less but Him. He is literally opening up the door of being the very access both to eternal life to God and so that she can be worshiping God the Father. And this all began by telling her the truth, that she did not know God.
And here is one of the most amazing things that happens. We know what happens here in this story. This woman comes in an hour where she knew that she didn’t want to get confronted by anyone. Why? Because of her past. And she was ashamed to come early in the morning to gather water with everyone else because that was the culture of the day. You came early in the morning because during the heat of the day would be unthinkable to come and draw water. But isn’t it amazing that this one encounter with Jesus then makes her become the greatest billboard for Jesus Christ. What she was formerly ashamed of before, she goes running into the town declaring that this is the man that told me everything about me and my past.
Let me tell you something, don’t let anything that was in your past, especially when you encounter Jesus Christ, stop you from being the kind of billboard that God wants you to be. You don’t need it to be that way. Why? Because this woman wasn’t ashamed anymore. And here is the interesting thing, this is greater than just her. Jesus was about to give these disciples probably one of the greatest lessons of their life that they would remember. And on top of that, she would be the vessel by which others would come to know Him as Savior and worship God.
Think about this, where did the disciples go to? They went into what? The city. What city do you think they went into? The very city that Jesus would go back into. So think about this for a second. The disciples are now rubbing shoulders with the people, the very same people that Jesus is now talking with in this woman. This is the same people that they are buying food from. And so Jesus is now, all of a sudden, in an awesome discipleship way teaching these disciples, did you realize who you saw? Do you remember who you spoke with? Do you remember who you may have bumped into? Because let me explain something to you. Later in that passage, what does Jesus saying Verse 35? This is amazing. He says, “Look, use your eyes, peer out into this group. Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for what? Harvest. They would get the greatest lesson of their life that the darkest of places that didn’t have access to worship God was right next door to them. What an amazing lesson that these disciples learned on the flip end because it all started with one individual. Isn’t that amazing?
Now what is amazing with this and I think John Piper says it well, very well, is this: Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. I told Barry this yesterday and said, Barry, don’t get mad at me. Let me explain. Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. For us, the goal is that we go and we deploy the discipled in such a way that we advance the gospel. We make disciples, why? Why would we do that? So that those that don’t know God and come to know Him may do what? Worship Him. So missions is not the ultimate goal. But what is? Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Let that sink in for just a moment. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. What we want to do the most is to go out there so that people can hear the gospel and then worship our Savior. That is why we do it. Worship is the ultimate goal because God ultimately is the One to be worshiped. And that is exactly what happened in that little city. That one woman literally became the very first worshiper and missionary to that town. It is amazing.
So Jesus makes clear the confusion of where to worship, who to worship and now He moves to a very practical area, how to worship. How to worship. Let me buzz through this as quickly as I can. Jesus uses a couple of key words in Verses 23 and 24. Notice what it says. Verse 23. “But the hour is coming and is now here when 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 Him in spirit and in truth.”
Jesus uses three very key statements within this passage. True worshiper, spirit and truth and seeking such people. True worshiper basically means to be a genuine worshiper, a real worshiper. And that all starts in the heart because it starts with who you worship and not where you worship. But Jesus doesn’t just teach that. This is amazing. He also teaches that this is the kind of worshiper that God is seeking after. And the way that word “seek” is used in the Greek New Testament is that it is an active thing consistently happening before God. God is even today consistently seeking out worshipers in this kind of fashion, that they would be genuine believers. So to put it home, even in this auditorium, He is seeking out those kind of worshipers. Think about that for a moment.
Then the other area is spirit and truth. But before we can understand that, we have to understand what is Jesus saying when He says that God is spirit, because this is huge. And let me ask you this question, when you think of God, what comes to your mind? What comes to your mind when you think about God? This is vitally important. You see, here Jesus is making it crystal clear that God is spirit. Why is He doing that? Well, you can imagine again all of the cultural understanding that is happening for this woman, she may have thought of so many different things of what God may be. To her, God may have been an idol. To her, God may have been image. So Jesus makes it clear that God is spirit. And to describe God as spirit is to describe His essence, His very being, who He is.
So let me explain it this way, in Acts Chapter 17 and you don’t have to turn here, it describes God’s very independence when it says that the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in Temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything. Since He Himself gives to all mankind life, breath and everything. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and boundaries of their dwelling place.”
The very earth declares His glory when it says in Psalms 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge.”
Psalms 145 describes how God is limitless in who He is and we could never outgrow learning more about God. And when it says, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.” Jeremiah says, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom. Let not the mighty boast in his might. Let not the rich man boast in his riches. But let him who boasts, boast in this, that he understands and knows (who?) Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in all the earth, for in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
What Jesus is trying to drive home is whenever you think of God, that is what I want you to think of. That is who our God is. He is independent of Himself. He is glorious in His being. He is limitless in His knowledge. We could never outgrow learning more about God. That is our God. And so when you think of God, think of Him in that way because what is the most important thing it says about all of us is what we can articulate about God. What we can actually say about Him, because here is what the adages always taught us: garbage in, what? Garbage out. Our minds, our hearts, what we place inside of them will determine a lot of what it means to worship God. How we perceive God to be will determine how we worship Him. And this is amazing because it brings us back to Verse 23 where we asked the question, what does it mean to worship God in spirit and in truth? Because that is vitally important. Okay, I know that God is spirit, but how does that apply to us? To worship God in spirit, I believe, and I think we take all of this into consideration, all that God is, should lead our hearts in the right attitude and spirit. That is what it means to worship God in spirit, to have the proper attitude before Him.
How do I know this? One of the greatest psalms that we can recognize is Psalms 51 and we know that as David’s repentant psalm. And notice what it says in Psalm 51 Verse 10 and 12. David says the following: “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right (what?) spirit.” God, renew a right attitude within me. Renew a right desire within me. And he says, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing (what?) spirit.”
You see here two amazing things; a right attitude before God, a right spirit and then you see what? Joy. You see emotion. What is amazing here is that it is right, it is perfectly fine to have emotion within worship. But it has to be the proper emotion. Why? Because it first has to stem with truth. Truth has to dictate our worship. Truth always leads us into proper worship. Why? Because the more we know about God, the more we know about what He is doing in our life, the more that He convicts us with His truth, it leads us into proper worship and it changes the attitude of our hearts.
John Piper again says this perfectly when he says the following: “The fuel of worship is the grand truth of a gracious and sovereign God. The fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit. The furnace made alive and warmed by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit and the resulting heat of our affection is worship.” And notice how it pushes its way out. It is pushing its way out in tears, confessions, prayers, praises, acclamations, lifting of hands, bowing low and living obedient lives. Do you see it? The mixture of a proper attitude before God and the emotions that result because of what we know from His Word. That is what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth. It should be an amazing thing to witness and to watch when all of a sudden we see a broken heart before God, when we are overjoyed about what we learn about God and then praise Him for it.
Now, the important thing here is the following: The truth that is supposed to fuel this flame within us is up to us because we need to dig into the Word. If the only diet of our worship comes from the truth that we hear on Sundays and we limit our worship throughout the week. It can’t just be on one day.
Mark Gouge said it this way when he taught the children. He said, “I am going to give you one day, today, just one day to pick whatever you want that you can have to eat. You can have whatever you want, even if it is pizza and skittles. We can have pizza and skittles. That is fine. Throw it on the pizza. That will be fantastic. But just know that once you eat this pizza and skittles for this one day and you are going to love it, this is the only day that you get to eat for the rest of the week.” You can imagine he kids got kind of glossy eyed like, I want pizza and skittles every day. But think about it this way, imagine if that is the only diet that we have with the Word and it is just one day. Imagine what that would do to our worship.
I think Donald Whitney says it perfectly when he says the following: “Can we expect the flames of our worship of God to burn brightly in public on the Lord’s Day, when they barely flicker before Him in secret on other days.” A challenging, challenging word when it comes to that.
So let me lead you into two walking points. Here is the first one. Do you know Him? Because this is vitally important. True worship begins and only begins here. You cannot worship the God of the Bible if you don’t know the God of the Bible. It can’t happen that way. It first has to start there. So if you don’t know Christ, I implore you, repent of your sins and place your faith in Christ because that is the greatest act of worship you can do.
Secondly is this, how is your heart? How is the spirit of your heart? When was the last time you were broken before God, overjoyed before God? When was the last time that you read and dug into His Word and it only led you to just think of who He is and praise Him? Ask yourself that question.
I am going to read this one last Psalm and then we will go into our time when we get to worship and respond to God. But what I want as I read this Psalm, let it engage your heart and read it with me. Let it engage your heart and lead you to worship.
Psalm 96 is amazing. Notice what it says. “O sing to the Lord a new song. Sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name. Tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations. His marvelous works among the peoples. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all gods, for all the gods of the people are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens, splendor and majesty are before Him. Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.” Notice these words, “ascribe to the Lord, O families of the people, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name. Bring an offering and come to His courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. Tremble before Him all the earth. Say among the nations, the Lord reigns. Yes, the world is established, it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar and all that fills it. Let the field exalt and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in His righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness.”
Church, that is our God. Amen? That should stir in you a real desire to say, that is who I want to worship. That is who I want to exclaim praise for.