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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 83 · 9 months ago

New Worship

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

New Worship

John 4:1-26

Dax Bryant - preaching

... morning, very very familiar passage for most of us, I am assuming, where Jesus is passing on his way through Samaria to get to gallop fly, he meets this Samaritan woman at the well and then engages in this meaningful, significant conversation. But before we get into that, let's let's take a moment here and just remember a couple of things that we want to be asking ourselves really all through this gospel of John. Since we weren't in John last week, I feel compelled to remind you this week. So first, we want to remember what is John's stated purpose for writing this Gospel, as it's found in chapter twenty, verse Thirty One. Anybody remember what's John Stated Purpose? He's writing these things so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. That is that is John's overarching purpose, and you have to remember that is what's driving every story that John puts forth to us here. And then the second thing that we want to remember before we get started is ever since chapter two began, we have been unpacking this theme and seeing how Jesus makes things new. Remember that there was the new wine, there was the new temple, the new birth, he mentioned in that conversation with Nicodemus, his new and greater witness that surpasses that of John The baptist. All of it has so far has been a kind of a response and a rebuke that the the old ways of Judaism are passing and the new ways of relating to God through his son, the Messiah has come. Now, interestingly, here in chapter four, Jesus starts to open that up to even those who are outside of Judaism. So so as we come to this passage with those things in mind, we want to be asking two questions that are related to that. So how does this story fit with John's stated purpose to reveal Jesus as the Messiah? How's he doing that? And in this story, in what way is Jesus making things new? So that's kind of the questions, the two questions that are going to drive our framework this morning, because there are many ways we could approach this passage. I'm sure you've heard many sermons on this passage before. We could we could come at it from an appreciation for the style of evangelism that Jesus models for us here, how he's able to connect and use things right in front of them to talk with this woman. We could think about the the bold yet compassionate way that that Jesus speaks this uncomfortable truth into this woman's life. We could ponder the the extraordinary grace that Jesus extends to this woman. There are many ways to think about this passage, but where I want to draw our attention this morning because I think it best helps us answer those two questions and also because it's sort of ties in with what we saw last week in Psalm one hundred and fifty when Ed preach from that passage for us. What I want us to focus in on here is the theme of worship, because when you look at the end of this very important conversation, that's where it lands. Worship. But before we get there, there's a lot of things to set the stage. So let's let's dive in here. Chapter Four, verse one. Now, when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John, although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples. He left Judea and departed again for Galilee. So to make a connection here you need to remember, remember what we just saw at the end of chapter three. Remember this from last time. We were in John's Gospel, where Jesus is popularity was rising. John's disciples are are getting antsy about that. Their dismayed, their confused or upset, and so they see Jesus is rising star and his ministry. And it's not just John the Baptist disciples, who noticed that. It seems also the religious authorities are taking note of that as well. So so here's Jesus. He's probably already aware of the the mumbling and grumbling that's happened, happening from John's disciples. Now he discovered, or is that he's also on the radar screen of the Pharisees. So what does he do? Well, he diffuses the situation by leaving the area of Judea and heading...

North to Galilee. And why does he do that? We got a hint of it back in chapter two when he was speaking with his mother and he said my hour has not yet come. It's the same thing here. They the hour has not yet come for this kind of conflict to come to a head. Jesus is operating on his father's divine timetable here. That brings us to verse four. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called PSYCAR, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. So this is the the quickest route from Judaea to Galilee, to cut just immediately north through Samaria. And despite, you know, the animosity that was there between Jews and Samaritans, this was, for the most part, the most common route that people would take as well. Now, in Jesus's Day, Judaea, Samaria. To the Romans who are occupying that makes no difference, but to the Jews and the Samaritans, of course, there is a long history here that is created some animosity and I don't want to assume that everyone knows that. I think probably most of you are familiar with that. But just by way of quick recrat recap, the Kingdom of Israel was broken right in the north and south. And fast forward a little bit the Assyrian Empire. They come in, they conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel, including its capital, Samaria, and they deport many of the powerful and influential Israelites and they import foreigners from other places that they had conquered. kind of a strategy there. And when they brought in those outsiders, the remaining Israelites intermarried with them and also they co mingled their religion together. They even built a temple on top of Mount Garazeem there in Samaria. And the Jews, who came back to Judea after their own exile the Babylon when they came back into their country, they viewed the Samaritans, as you know, these racial half breeds, these religious compromisers, just a just apostates. And, as I mentioned, there's this temple that they built. Even there's the temple in Jerusalem, is in shambles. The Sumerian Carton's have their own temple on Mount Geroze, which seems kind of crazy till you until you remember that the Samaritans. One of the things that's distinctive about them is they only placed authority in the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, the books that Moses wrote, and when you read that those first five books as your scripture, you see that this this mountain, mountain garrize, overlooks the town of Shechem, and Shechem is where Abraham built his first altar when he came into the promised land. Mountain Garazeem is where the Israelites gathered and stood as Joshua read out the blessings and the cursings of the Covenant. The blessings were pronounced to those who were standing on Mount Garazine, and Sycar is this town that is near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph, and that that seems to be a reference to Jacobs deathbed pronouncements, his blessing and Benediction in Genesis Forty Eight, where Joseph has given this land. In fact, if you were to visit this area today, the the trade aditional site of Joseph's Tomb is only like three hundred yards away from Jacobs well. So there's a lot of history, specifically history from the Patriarchs in the Pentitug at this region now Jacobs well and you can you can look through your Bible back and forth and you won't find an Old Testament reference to Jacob digging a well here, but it is reasonable to expect that he would have. And and actually, if you ever get the chance to go to this area, the location of Jacobs well is one of the few biblical sites where there is widespread agreement that, yes, this is the place. It matches up so perfectly with the way the Bible describes it that is really beyond the shadow of a doubt. And in fact there's a beautiful church there today that that stands over. You can go down to the catacombs and see this well that's there. But the point is this is where Jesus and his disciples arrive this Samaritan town of Psychar near Jacobs well. It's the sixth hour of the day, we're told, about noon, so when they get there they've likely already been walking for several hours. It's the middle of the day, it's hot,...

Jesus is tired and so he sits down beside this well. Seems insignificant, but but really, just in this simple people act, we are reminded that, yes, the one who became flesh is none other than the eternal word. But also it is equally true that the eternal word became nothing less than fully human. And there he is in his full humanity, exhausted, sitting down, hungry, thirsty. Were reminded of the reality of the incarnation of God made flesh. And as he's there sitting, verse seven tells us a woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, give me a drink, for his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, how is it that you, a Jew, asked for a drink for me, a woman of Samaria, for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. John tells us. Now you know the story right this, this is shocking. You have a man and a woman alone, you have a Jew and a Samaritan. He's asking to drink out of her cup, which, of course, would make him ceremonially unclean. Everything is wrong about this. And and she knows this too, and and because of that, she can't fathom what would possess this, this Jewish man, to ask her for a drink. She has no way of knowing that that, far from being defiled by what is unclean, Jesus sanctifies what he touches. Other people come into contact with lepers and they become unclean. Jesus touches lepers and he heals them. And and to Jesus it doesn't matter if you are a male, wealthy religious leader, like Nicodemus in chapter three, or if you're a peasant woman, uneducated, immoral Samaritan like like this woman here. Both of those people need Jesus and everyone in between, and Jesus is happy to break social and religious taboos to meet these individuals at their point of need. Verse Ten, 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. Now the woman, she just sees a worn out and thirsty Jewish traveler. She doesn't know, of course, who Jesus really is. If she did, Jesus says, she would be pressing him for a far better drink and, as Jesus likes to do. Right He's speaking on two different levels here, because living water, on the one hand, that can refer just to the spring of flowing water that feeds into this well. On the other hand, living water is a loaded term in the Old Testament. It speaks of God and His grace. It speaks of cleansing from sin, it speaks of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. and Jesus is saying only he can provide that water to thirsty souls. But but the woman's not there yet. She's still thinking very much on the natural level of things. Verse Eleven, the woman said to him, sir, you have nothing to draw water with and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are You greater than our Father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock. Really, the sense of what she's saying is here is come on, buddy, who do you think you are? Are You more important than Jacob? What are you talking about? This this water, and notice how Jesus responds. Verse Thirteen, Jesus said to her, 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. Do you want to know if I'm greater than Jacob. The water from this well, it will only satisfy...

...your thirst temporarily. The living water that I'm talking about, that I'm offering to you will will sanctify you and satisfy you forever and and Jesus makes it clear here, doesn't heed that, that he's not just talking about natural water. He's talking about the pouring out of the spirit to bring eternal life. And this is a promise, again, that's found all through the Old Testament. You can just look at Isaiah, for example, and see this all over Isaiah. We're told in Isaiah twelve, verse three that in the Day of God's salvation, with joy, God's people will draw water from the wells of salvation. Isaiah forty four, verse three says the pouring out of God's spirit will be like pouring water on the thirsty and streams on the dry ground. Isaiah fifty five, verse three comes to mind, where it says come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters that your soul may live. Now a Samaritan would can give much weight to those passages from Isaiah right because they only recognize the authority of the first five books of the Bible. But even then they understood in numbers. Genesis, exodus, Leviticus, numbers, numbers twenty four seven to be a reference to the Tahib, their their version of the Messiah, and numbers twenty four seven says waters shall flow from his buckets. Even so, with all of this, the woman seems to miss it. She's still thinking on the natural level. Verse Thirteen or fifteen, 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. The main benefit that she perceives here is is avoiding these daily trips in the middle of the day, for reasons that will become obvious to Jacobs. Well, to to draw water. She's thinking very much on the physical, natural level, and so in this conversation she is failing to understand things in a number of ways. She's failed to grasp who Jesus is. She's failed to understand that the nature of the living water that he's promising. And now Jesus is going to show here that she's failed to comprehend what her need truly is, that she's missed what the true nature of her thirst is. She talks about this, this water. She wants to she wants him to give it to her so she won't be thirsty, so she won't have to keep coming back. and Jesus to that says in Verse Sixteen, Go Call Your husband and come here. And that seems like an abrupt change of subject, but not if you see it as kind of flowing out of the continued misunderstandings she has about this whole conversation. He's pointing out her true need. For Seventeen, the woman answers, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, you are right and saying I have no husband, for you have had five husbands and the one you have now is not your husband. What you've said is true. When you read the Gospel accounts, Jesus deals with a wide variety of people, but he has a way of driving to every individual's greatest point of need, whether that need is despair or pride or hopelessness or guilt or idolatry. Remember the end of Chapter Two in John's Gospel where we were told that that Jesus knows all people. He needs no one to tell them what is in the heart of man, because he knows man. And and if it's true that that the lamb of God takes away the sin of the world, then we should expect that the lamb of God will personally deal with the sin of every individual who comes to follow him. That includes you notice this woman's response to Jesus's intimate knowledge of her life. vers nineteen, the woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship. Now some people think she is attempting to divert the conversation away from this very uncomfortable area of her life that she would rather remain private. That's possible. I think it's also possible that that as her...

...sin becomes known, as her sin is revealed, and as it dawns on her that Jesus is at least some kind of prophet, she's realizing that maybe she needs to do something about this sin. And where she stands before God. Now the question is, what is she to do about her sin? What is the cure for sin? For a Jew, or for Samaritan for that matter, sacrifice. Sacrifice is the prescribed method that they have to deal with this and so the question becomes where is the sacrifice to be made? I think that's what she's asking. On Mount Garazeem, as the Samaritans believe, or on Mount Zion, as the Jews believe? Now, whether she's kind of trying to sidetrack him with this comment or not, it doesn't really matter in the end, because she ends up exactly where Jesus wants her in this conversation. I think she's growing concerned about what God desires from her. So what does God desire from her? The same thing he desires from you. Worship. Worship. And now that the introduction is out of the way, we can start the sermon. Now I want to focus on these last few verses here and as I read these verses, keep thinking about those, those two guiding questions we have right. How does this fit with John's agenda? In what way does this show Jesus making something new? But also listen to what Jesus says about worship. In fact, just notice how often the word worship is used in these last few verses and along the way, what we'll talk about what these words mean for us as we think about worship in our church. Verse Twenty One through Twenty Six. Jesus said to her. Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the father. 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 the true worshippers 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. The woman said to him, I know that Messiah is coming, He who is called Christ. When he comes, he will tell us all things. Jesus said to her. I who speak to you, am He. Let's talk about worship. There are there are few things that have caused more confusion in the Church today, at least in this country, then how we worship, whether our worship is marked by coldness or carelessness or complacency. Worship is a problem in many churches today. So what's the solution? It's not necessarily the form or the style, but I think this, this passage here, these last few verses, point us where we need to start if we want to see a a revival and a recovery of true worship in our churches. Just how important is the subject of worship? Well, in John's Gospel there are three must you must be born again, John Seven, the son of man must be lifted up, John Fourteen, and then right here, Chapter Four, Verse Twenty Four. God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. Worship Matters to God. It is a must. Worship is important to Jesus, and that's why he answers the woman's question the way that he does. Here, in Verse Twenty One, he dismisses the irrelevant part of the question, the new worship that he's talking about. It will no longer be tied to a physical geographic location, a mountaintop or a temple, and he starts to get to the heart of the matter about what right worship looks like. And we can really break...

...down his response into three parts here, so so. First, in Verse Twenty Two, he speaks about the the necessity of worshiping God according to his revealed truth. Then, secondly, in verses twenty three and twenty four, he speaks about the importance of worshiping the true God and not someone or something else, and then thirdly, in Verse Twenty Six, he speaks to the fact that true worship of God happens only through him. If we wanted to state it a little more simply, in this conversation about worship, Jesus points this woman to the Bible, to God the father and to himself. And and those are the same three things that are the most important for us to remember and practice as we worship in our church, the Bible, God and Jesus. So let's let's take these each in turn. Worship Must Be Bible based, it must be word saturated, because of what Jesus says right here, that that God is spirit. Verse Twenty Four says and we cannot know him in less. He revealed kiels himself to US and instructs us how we are to relate to him. How does God do that? Through his word. This is how he has revealed himself to us. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman here that that they are worshiping. The Samaritans are worshiping in ignorance. He says, you worship what you do not know. He's not saying that they aren't actually worshiping or that their worship is halfhearted or insincere. It's just that they don't know who they're worshiping. Why not? Well, I think you could make the argument they're not. They're not worshiping according to the fullness of God's word that is available to them at this time. Remember, they have restricted God's authority to the first five books of the Bible, and here we are at the time of Jesus, where they have the entirety of the Old Testament available to them that they won't access. In contrast, when Jesus says we worship what we know for salvation is from the Jews. He's referring to the fact that the Jews stand within the stream of of the entirety of God's self revelation up until this point, and that's how they know the one whom they worship, because they know God's plan of salvation. They know that that the Messiah, the seed promised to the woman, will come by way of their people, will come through the Line of David. Even see that they are worshiping in more of a response to the fullness of God's self revelation. When you ignore God's word, that leads to an ignorance of rightly worshiping God and you can see how the the opposite would be true. When you add to God's word. That will also distort what right worship looks like, because to rightly worship God means to worship him according to who he truly is. And how do we know the truth about who God is? It's through his word, and that's why the Bible is at the front and center of everything that we attempt to do as a church, especially on the Lord's Day. In fact, even what we're doing right now, the the preaching and hearing of God's word, we see as the the high point of our worship together. You do realize that the sermon is part of the worship? It's not like we worship to kind of set the mood and then we hear the sermon. The apex of what we gather to do is to hear from God, and we do that from his word. It's our greatest act of worship together. Is that how you think of it? You know, not not so long ago, just a four five hundred years, it wasn't uncommon for a sermon to last three for five hours. Can you imagine that? But of course, many people who were listening to those sermons could still remember the smell of burning flesh from the deaths of the men who died because they translated the Bible into a language they could understand. Whhen you have that perspective,...

...you probably don't mind if you're a little bit late for lunch on Sunday because the preacher is taking a little bit longer to unpack the word. Right. You don't. You don't feel that way when you remember that that people have given their lives so that you can have God's word in a language you can understand. And that's one of the reasons why our worship can sometimes feel so cold. It may come down to a lack of love and a lack of appreciation of God's word and what it is and how we even have it. Perhaps we don't cherish the Bible as we ought to. We don't hunger for God's word. We don't we don't realize what a special thing it is to to hold it and to read it and to understand it. I don't have the exact numbers, but there's something like one and a half billion people on the planet today who don't have access to the word of God in their own language. And then there's US, who have bibles on bookshelves that we haven't cracked open in decades and we just we just take it for granted. We we roll out our Little Bible reading plan that we want to do and we just Labor to get through those three or four chapters a day. We just we just put up with it. We just we're just trying to get through it. But what I want us to remember is that that you cannot worship God rightly because you can't know God rightly unless he has revealed himself. And the way that God has revealed himself to us is through his word. That's what this book is. It is God's self revelation to us so that we can know him and worship him. Everything that God wants you to know about him is between those two covers of this book. Do you want to hear what the God of the universe has to say to you, read Your Bible. He said it. It is the truth by which you can encounter and know and rightly worship but one true God. And until we stop kind of just taking that for granted, until we develop an appreciation and a love and a hunger and a thirst for the word of God, our worship will be affected, it will likely be cold, because we can't worship in truth without being people of the word, because the clearest revelation that we have of God is in the word and we have to see all that we can of God through his word if we are to worship him in truth. So the Bible shapes our worship. Secondly, notice how Jesus points this woman to God, the father. Now we don't know a lot about this woman, but we do know that she was not pursuing God at this point in her life. She had been married to five men. Now, maybe the way that those marriages had ended was legitimate, we don't know, we're not told. But the fact that she is living with a man who is not her husband now tells us that God is not the desire of her heart. How can I say that? Because she's trying to to meet her knee needs for security or stability or intimacy, or whatever it is, through a relationship that God says is sinful. And that's the thing. You can't desire God and then say, but I'm going to disregard what he says. Willful disobedience does not reflect a true desire for God. Willful distance. So obedience think back to the garden of Eden, willful disobedience. It makes a statement to the effect of I know what's best for me and it's it's not what God has said. Now, you might not put it so bluntly when you're dealing with yourself, but your actions will usually betray your motives. And that's where this woman is when Jesus meets her. And it's interesting, I think, that of all things, with all this going on in her life, Jesus decides to talk to her about worship. And her problem isn't that she's not a worshiper.

She definitely is a worshipper. Her problem is that she's worshiping the wrong thing, not just her her worship at this other temple on Mountain Garazem. Ultimately She's worshiping herself by worshiping that security or or stability or satisfaction or intimacy or whatever it is that she's craving. She is not pursuing that and worshiping the Living God who can provide those things. And so Jesus redirects her focus from whatever she's searching for to God the father. Because, because the big question isn't do you worship the question is who or what do you worship? And what that means for us as Christians, when we meet together is that we want to be very clear that God is the focus of our worship. We don't we don't gather to seek an experience. We gather to meet with God and give him praise and and and you all are sitting out there and you're looking up here and even, as Scott alluded to, in the call of worship your that doesn't make you the audience right. You understand that God is the audience. We collectively are the choir who praise God and mutually benefit from that experience. And so what that means is when we this place, we don't ask, well, what do you think of the service today? Did you like it? Or what did I get out of the service today? Those, those are the wrong questions. More helpful, more biblical questions would be what did I give to God in Word Worship Today? Or is God pleased with how we worshiped today? Or how did I encourage my brothers and sisters to praise God and seek his face this morning? If we want to kind of steal a line from from JFK, it's ask not what this worship service can do for you, but ask what you can do in this worship service to bring glory to God. Because worship is a verb, it requires an object, and according to the Bible, the object of our worship is to be God, not false gods, of course, also not even the very good by products that the real God can provide either. Don Carson says it like this. If you seek peace, you will not find it. If you seek Christ, you will find peace. If you seek joy, you will not find it. If you seek Christ, you will find joy. If you seek holiness, you will not find it. If you seek Christ, you will find holiness. If you seek experiences of worship, you will not find them, but if you worship the living God, you will experience something of what is reflected in the psalms. Worship is a verb that requires an object, and the woman at the well, just like you and me, needed to understand that, because her worship was directed towards the wrong object. She was worshiping something else other than the one true God. And so Jesus points her to God as the one who is seeking true worshipers, because she needs to know who it is that she ought to worship. By the way do you see that? They're at the end of Verse Twenty Three. But the father is seeking such people to worship him. Isn't that amazing to think that the Lord of all creation is seeking something, that he's looking for something? If only we could find out what he is looking for. I wonder if we could learn something about the heart of God. But we don't have to guess what he's seeking. We're told right here he is seeking worshippers. Sometimes I get asked what I think about seeker sensitive worship, so let me go on record here. I think it's not only appropriate, but it's totally biblical, as long as you understand that the seeker to whom we are to be sensitive to is God. That's what Verse Twenty Three tells us right that's why we see he is the seeker, and so our worship must...

...always be oriented towards him. It must always be for him. It must always be about him, not us, not about us, not primarily for us, though we certainly do benefit from gathering together to worship God. It's really just a simple worship. Is a response to what you value the most. What you value the most, that is the thing that you will worship whether that is a relationship or a possession or some kind of pleasure. Whatever that thing is, that is the thing that you will worship. How do you know what it is? How do you know what you worship? It's very simple. You just you follow the trail of your time and your affection and your energy and your thoughts and your money, and that that little trail will lead you to a throne somewhere and whatever or whoever is on that throne, that is what you are worshiping. You might might say that you value God more than whatever's on that throne, but the trail doesn't lie the volume of your actions, where you put your resources. That speaks louder than your words. And in this case this woman is worshiping something else besides God. There's something else on the throne, and so Jesus points her to the true God. That's why it's so important that we worship in truth, because worshiping the wrong God, whether that's our idea of God or something else, that creates confusion, and God is not a god of confusion, and that confusion can lead to the coldness or the carelessness or the complacency that so often plagues our worship. And notice he says God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. Spirit and truth, these are not two separate things that happen in worship. They are they are an inseparable whole, two sides of the of the same coin. To to worship in spirit, essentially, this is to worship in a god centered way. That is made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit in you. And it's and it's made possible because you have a personal and intimate knowledge and submission to the word made flesh, who is the embodiment of truth. And so to worship in spirit, in truth, God makes you to do that by his spirit and his son, who is truth. We could say more about that, but I save it for another time. So Jesus first points this woman to God's word, which means our worship must be Bible based. Then Jesus points this woman to God, the father. We want our worship to be God focused, and then, lastly, Jesus points this woman to ourself, which for us means that our worship must be Christ centered. Ultimately, our faith and our worship is to be centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ and when we gather together on Sunday morning like we are now, we ought to worship in a way that reveals our delight and passion for this God man whom we say is that the center of our worship, that we would be consumed with worshiping him. Is that sound a little little loose for US reformed baptistic kind of people, a little too intense, little too emotional? Perhaps maybe have to take your hands out of your pockets during worship? I think this can be part of the problem, that to fail to realize that the true worship is marked by a genuine delight in Jesus, and this is something that Jesus stresses to this woman. Remember where where Jesus started to kind of turn this conversation a different direction, back in verse ten, he says, 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. And now, at the end of the conversation, look what happens. She sayys to him, I know that Messiah is coming.

When he comes, he will tell us all things, including sorting out all this confusion about true improper worship. And Jesus is response is I who speak to you. AM He? I am the Messiah. He. He doesn't say it any more, plainly, hardly anywhere else, then he does right here. And what else is he already said to her? The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and truth. Not only is the time coming, but with Jesus as arrival on the scene, the time has begun. What's He's saying? Well, we know, even thinking back a chapter two. He's saying that the temple will no longer be the meeting place between God and his people. But but be careful to not just think that's all this is. He's not just saying that the place where God meets with his people no longer matters. Sometimes we read that this way and say, well, because God is spirit, Jesus is saying you can worship God anywhere because God is everywhere. That's true, but that's that's not the point that Jesus is making. Listen, Jesus is not merely saying that, because God is omnipresent, that now worship under the new covenant can happen in any other place besides the temple. What he's saying is much more precious than that. So let's add all this up. Because God is spirit. You can't rightly approach him except by the way that he reveals himself. And, as we've seen, God reveals himself through his word. But his word tells us that he has most fully and finally revealed himself in his son. Here's what Jesus is saying. From now on, the place where true worshippers will come to worship the true God is is not the temple, it is in me. It's not just anywhere you want, it is in and through me. The message isn't once upon a time you worship in the temple, now you can worship anywhere. The messages went. Upon a time you worship in the temple. Now the only place you can worship rightly is through me. No one comes to the father except through me. He'll say later, do you want to worship the Living God? Do you want to taste this living water? He's saying, the only way that you can do that is if you come through me. True worship happens only through Jesus Christ. Why? Because in his perfect life he fulfilled all righteousness. In his substitutionary death, our unrighteousness was punished in him, and then in His resurrection that righteousness is transferred. God is pleased, God is satisfied with what Jesus has done, and now our unrighteousness is placed on him. We are gifted his righteous landing before God. That makes Jesus the only way to the father, which means that true worship can happen only through Jesus, and all true worship finds its delight and joy and satisfaction in him. John MacArthur shares a story about this girl from a Muslim country who came to study at the Master's college there in California and even though she was raised Muslim, she came to faith through hearing MacArthur's sermons. Whether that was online or on tape, I don't know when this was, but they've been translated into her language and and she wasn't allowed to study the Bible in her country, but her father let her enroll at the master's college so that she could study computer science. But even then, as part of her study there in that major, she was also studying biblical languages because she wanted to be able to translate God's word from the original language is into her native language. So that's pretty amazing. And one Christmas break she she gets to travel back and when she arrives at the airport she is detained. Something is suspicious. It sets the authorities off. She's there for several hours before eventually she's released to go home. And when she gets home, her father wasn't there, but her uncle was, and he asked her point blank if she had converted to...

Christianity and she said yes, I have. And this uncle told her you have disgrace the family, you have brought shame on Allah and he began to beat her mercilessly. He broke a chair over her back and he took one of the chair legs and just started hitting her over and over again, and he probably would have killed her if her father had not arrived home to restrain him and he, her father, took her to the doctor and then put her back on the next plane to California and he told her you can't come back here, you're not safe here. I can't keep you safe here. Now, several weeks after that happened, Macarthur was able to speak with this young girl and he asked what were you thinking while your uncle was doing this to you? And without a pause, she said to him, I was thinking, my uncle has a religion that he will kill for and I have a savior that I will die for. This is a this is a girl. She's only been a Christian for a little over a year. At this point in her life, she's still a teenager and she's studying the Bible in a land far from home so that she can translate it back into her own language, and she's ready to die because she prizes Christ. Do we value the word of God that much? Do we love God that much? Do We prize Christ that much? Maybe? Could it be that sometimes our worship is complacent or cold or careless, because we don't. We don't love the word of God like that, we don't desire God like that, we don't delight in Christ, not like that. How does this story fit with with John's purpose to reveal that is the mist? Well, it can't get any more plain than it is in verse Twenty Six. I who speak to you, am he, and in what way is Jesus making things new in this story? While, because of Jesus, the true worship of God can now only take place in and through him. This is how we are to worship in spirit and in truth, with a love for the word, with a desire for God and with a delight for Christ. May that be so in our hearts. May that be so in this church. Let's pray how to thank you for your mercy toward us. We know that we are called to love you with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our soul, all of our strength, and we acknowledge that we have never ever done that, we have never loved you with every fiber of our being. But we are thankful, God, that our worship and our relationship comes to you through your son, who has done all of those things, who has worshiped you perfectly, obeyed you, perfectly, loved you, perfectly, lived perfectly according to Your Commandments, and our identity is in him and based upon the merits of what he has done and who he is, we can approach you boldly, even, we're told in Hebrews. So, Lord, help us to not hold back, to not partition off certain areas of our life that we don't want anybody messing with, but enable us, by Your Spirit, to worship you in spirit and truth, with all of our being. We asked that you would make these things so in Jesus name, Amen,.

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