In Spirit AND in Truth
"23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
We talk a lot in the church about our focus and about our mindset. When it comes to singing we are to sing “songs, hymns, and spiritual songs.” We are to sing unto the Lord with our hearts through the only authorized instrument; our voice. We are refined by the way the song makes us feel; we learn that having the name “Jesus” on our lips makes what precedes and what proceeds spiritual. You are not singing to God if you are not singing with your heart.
When it comes to the Lord’s Supper we are to have a mindset worthy of that sacrifice
"27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body."
(1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
We recognize that the juice we drink and the crackers we eat are not just simply that. We know them to represent the blood and body of our Lord. We know the burden we bear in this world as a result, we understand the implications of our participation. We understand the spirit we ought to have when we bow at the base of that cross.
When it comes to the pulpit sermons we are to listen with an inward ear.
"9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death."
(2 Corinthians 7:9-10)
The lessons we hear should convict us; they should stir our spirits; they should cut us to the heart (Acts 2:37). The Word of God is filled with many spiritual things; many things which convince us emotionally. I used the word “convince” purposefully. Our emotionality – the observable behavioral and physiological component of emotion -- can often be mistaken for spirituality.
The key to John 4:24 is not spirit… nor is it truth. Rather it’s the two in tandem; inseparable, unyielding, and unified. The songs we sing might send chills up our arms or bring tears to our eyes but what spirit is there without the truth behind those words. The communion we have with our Lord might speak of our belief in his Son; but what presence has our God with unscriptural worship. The lessons we hear every Sunday and often throughout the week might convince us to return and might encourage others to attend; but what reward is there for false doctrine. I hope it is apparent that without spirit you have no truth and without truth you have no spirit.
I am thankful for The Church; for THE Church is known by its fruits and is recognized by God because it exists “in spirit and in truth” and only His word can tell us if our church is worthy to be called The Church.