John 4:23-24 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. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
In the Body of Christ, all men are equal. Members of Christ’s Body have differing functions, but in no way does this give any of them preferred status with God nor extraordinary significance in the functionality of His Church (See Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:10-11, Romans 12:3-10; 1 Corinthians 12:5-27; Ephesians 6:9).
As Christians we are all called to grow up into the image of Christ. A baby may be born male, but his growth into manhood is measured, not by his increased shoe size, but by his accepting responsibility for his life’s decisions. This is why all Christians are called to grow from a child of God into a Man of faith. This requires men and women to become accountable for their actions and for their maturity in God.
Biblical faith is not a matter of what one believes, but instead deals with a man’s and a woman’s spiritual maturity, which is shown through their faithfulness to God. This is why we find Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38 saying that the “just” or “righteous” man shall “live by his faith.” Living BY his faith is ‘living BY his faithfulness’!
Such a call to commitment helps explain why Jesus said, “True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). Or to make Jesus’ meaning clearer: “True worshippers shall worship the Father in right ATTITUDES that are Christlike, and in right INFORMATION that harmonizes with God’s New Covenant and commands.
Webster’s Dictionary defines “worship” as: “Excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness.”
With this in mind, worship cannot be demonstrated by what is in a man’s mind. Instead, demonstration is required. When this is done in Jesus’ name, it not only gives worship to Jesus, but it also reveals the gospel’s effect on a Born Again believer’s life (See James 2:14-26).
“One demonstration is worth a hundred arguments, for though doctrines may be impressive, it is experience that is convincing.” – Elton Trueblood, The Company of the Committed, pg. 103.
When a man or woman’s life aligns with the fruit and Truth of God, it is then that they are truly worshipping God. Many may cry “fowl!” at such thought since they believe we are “saved by grace and not by works” (See Ephesians 2:5, Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:24). These folks are correct in premise, but are wrong if they believe that grace is simply “unmerited favor.” Strong’s Concordance explains biblical “grace” as “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude” (See Strong’s # G5485).
This shows that grace must have positive, biblically based reaction, before it can truly save the man on whom it is given. This is not salvation by our works, but salvation that comes from us responding correctly to the finished work of Jesus Christ. Grace then becomes an opportunity for men to grow more into Christlikeness. When men and women respond faithfully to God’s invite, they then mature more into Jesus’ likeness. But when a person responds to God’s grace unfaithfully, they stunt their growth and remain spiritually immature. A righteous man will understands this and therefore seeks opportunities to spiritually grow in God (See Hebrews 10:38-39, Hebrews 11:6).
A righteous man responds to these invites of grace because God is worthy; hence this man worships God’s worthiness as he lives in the right attitudes that come from the right information.
When defining the nature of Christ, we must keep in mind the place of His upbringing. Jesus was born and raised in a carpenter’s home. He grew and became the architect and builder of the house of God. We are called to be like Him. This includes always positioning our lives toward building, and never destroying. One man said, “Any mule can kick a down barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.” Life experience will show this to be true as it takes very little to destroy a man, but great effort and patience is required to build a man or woman into a soul of eternal worth. This is why Jesus taught the greatest love is for a man to give his life for another’s (See John 15:8-27).
And remember, 1 John 4:8 states, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Notice it does not say that God “loves,” but that He “is love.”
Christ’s love is best portrayed when a believer serves or protects the soul of another man, woman, or child. When saying “another,” I am referring to souls found both inside and outside the Church. In God’s book, our love toward another human being is equal to the measure of our love toward Him (See 1 John 4:20-21; Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:29-33; 1 Thessalonians 4:7-10).
God is the One who said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). From the beginning man was to live communally. We even see this in the Lord’s Prayer when He told us to pray corporately for one another (See Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). The word “Church” is plural, not singular. We must be connected one to another before we can truly be members of Jesus’ body. The glue that allows us to cling together, without being bothered with envy or strife, is God’s love. When we love like He commands, we can be in union with God’s Word and also with the many members that make up His Body, the Church.
From this we see that a person only truly “worships” Jesus Christ when they are living within His Truth. The litmus test is to see how one’s own heart beats for another person, for when you reach out to minister – in Jesus’ name – to another’s needs, you are in fact reaching out to minister to Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:32-46). This type ministry is not to be done to just a friend or family member, but instead to all men – even to a believer’s enemies (See Matthew 5:43-48).
If we find ourselves outside the Golden Rule, then we are outside the true worship of God (See Luke 6:31).
Copyright © 2011 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.