The True Worshippers of God
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 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. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. (NIV)
What does it mean to worship God in spirit and in truth? Oh we must strive to understand this. This is no small thing here. If we are not true worshippers, who worship God in spirit and in truth, then we are false worshippers. The difference between worshipping God in spirit and in truth, and pseudo worshipping God with our minds is a subtle thing.
A Pleasant Lie, or the Plain Truth?
The topic of this letter is no doubt going to be frightening to a lot of people. What would you have me do, tell you that everything you are doing is okay with God, or would you have me tell you the truth. Don't we want to know the truth--even if it hurts and scares us some? What good does it do me if what I believe makes me happy but is not the truth? If I know what God wants from me, then I can either give it to him or not, but at least I'll know what I am doing.
What God is, is the truth. To really know God, is to really know the truth. To love the truth is to love God. To be satisfied in your ignorance does not please God. He wants you to seek him out. He wants you to desire him, to love him. God has hidden himself in the Bible and wants you to look for him.
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'
29 "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (NIV)
God is Looking for Those Those That Love Him
God is actively looking for people who will love him, and he is love and he is truth. He desires to have a relationship with you, if you will love peace, and joy, and goodness enough to set aside self and seek him. I am speaking now to those who love church more than they love truth, that is, God.
We Don't Go to Church--We Are the Church
People frequently think that if only so-and-so would come to church, then things would be okay. What does that mean?
And I hear, "That person hasn't missed a Sunday in twenty-five years, they are a good Christian!" What good is it for a person to attend church for twenty-five years, if they don't really know God? I am not saying that people shouldn't assemble together and talk of God, and encourage one another. We must meet together, regularly, but remember that we don't go to church--we are the church. When faithful church attendance takes precedence over worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth, we have a serious problem.
What is Truth?
Let us look a little more at truth. There is only one truth. What the Spirit meant when he brought forth a given passage is that truth. The truth is not subject to interpretation. The truth is the truth. The truth is what harmonizes with every passage of Scripture.
What we must do is seek, knock, ask, and pray, for the understanding that comes from God, so that we gain the subtle nuances that weave through the Scripture, that we come to understand the one truth that agrees with the whole Bible.
To Desire to Know the One Truth is to Desire God
Now here is the important thing:
- Finding the one truth of the matter makes us see God in that much clearer light.
- Not caring enough to search out the truth, is not caring to know God. If you really love God you will want to know him.
Going to church regularly and living up to its customary expectations is meaningless. Knowing and pleasing God is everything. Seeking God, and knowing God, and pleasing him with all your heart is worshipping him in spirit and in truth.
There were two sides to the kind of worshippers that the Father seeks. We have been looking at the truth aspect, so now let us examine the spirit aspect.
You are a spirit being. This fact is what makes you different than all of the other animals. In all other respects we are really very much the same as the animals. I read recently that our DNA when compared to the DNA of a chimpanzee is 98% the same, but in truth we are not at all like the chimpanzees, because we are God-like beings (spirits) that are hidden inside animal bodies.
The Flesh is from the Soil, but the Spirit is from God
...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (NIV)
Can you see in this passage that the body of the man came from the ground, but the life came from God, and it came after the body was formed?
And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. (NIV)
We see here that the bodies of all the animals also came from the ground, but God did not breathe his life into any of them, and so only man is called a living being.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: 'From any tree of the garden you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.' (NASB)
The Definition of Death
Did the man and the woman truly die on the day that they did eat? Even though they lived for hundreds of years and brought forth children they did in fact die on that day. The death that they experienced was the severing of their spiritual connection to God, because of sin.
Please let me show you one more passage that reveals this truth.
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (NIV)
From these passages we can understand that when the Bible is speaking of life and death it is usually speaking of the inner person, the true and eternal being, the real you.
The Real You is Called The "Subconscious Mind" by Man
Science calls this person, the subconscious, and recognizes that the forces that drive our lives come from there. In truth we are our subconscious selves, that is, we are a spirit being that is hidden inside our physical selves, or bodies. You are your spirit person. Your body is not you, and your mind is not you. You live, or at lease exist, beyond the life of the body and mind. In the same way that God was hidden inside of Jesus Christ, you are hidden inside of your body. This is why we have such different longings and desires than the animals. They are just bodies and minds. They live in the here and now, but we live in eternity. That is, our true selves don't really understand now. We dream of tomorrow. We are bigger than our bodies.
We Are Bigger Than Our Bodies
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (NIV)
The heart and the spirit are one in the same. And look at what this passage says concerning our heart. Psychiatrists have for years understood that the forces that drive us do not originate in the reasoning portion of the mind. It is the images and forces of the subconscious mind that drive us. A person with a drinking problem knows that the drink is killing them, but is unable to stop, because the mind is not really in control.
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. (NIV)
The birth that Jesus is talking about here is the rebirth of the dead spirit within a person. Please let me explain exactly what happens in the "born again" process.
Jesus Made it Possible
The first thing that had to happen was for God to make it possible. God is perfectly just. We have all sinned and have fallen short of the perfection that God requires. So God, himself, came to earth, and was born of a virgin--Jesus, the Son of man. Jesus willingly paid the price of death, but because he never committed any sin, death could not hold him and so he defeated him who had the keys of death, that is, Satan. Jesus paid the legal debt of sin, and obtained the right to give life to any he chooses. Jesus made it possible for us to be sinless in God's presence.
Faith is Required
The next thing that is necessary to the "born again" process, is for a person to believe in their heart that God did in fact pay the price for sin, and that God will give Eternal life to any who come to him, in faith, and receive it. Now it is critical that the belief comes from the heart, because it is the heart that will be born again, not the mind. When you believe the message of reconciliation, and open your heart to God, then God, by his Spirit, comes down from heaven and takes up residence inside your heart. This is the "Baptism" that must take place. With out this baptism you are not a Christian--period.
The Spirit Becomes Your Teacher
What takes place after you receive the Holy Spirit, is that he acts as your teacher and counselor, to reveal the truth to you. Having received the Spirit you must not grieve the Spirit by your continued disobedience. Ultimately the Spirit will change you, that is conform your mind, so that in the end you will have the mind of Christ, you will be conformed into a Christ-like person. You and Jesus will look the same in your thoughts and actions. God will raise you up, like any good parent, into a fully formed adult.
God truly abolished that which kept God and man apart, that is, sin. God is willing, and in fact, is eager to have you as his very own and very much loved child, but you, that is, your spirit person, must believe and reach out to God.
But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV)
Believe in Your Heart
This passage has been greatly abused and misinterpreted. It does not say that if you believe and confess, "Jesus is Lord" you will be saved. It says that if you believe in your heart and confess, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved. The distinction here is of critical importance. The person who believes in what Jesus did, in his heart, is born again, and the person who does not believe in his heart, is deceived.
The person who believes (in the subconscious mind) discards everything in pursuit of the relationship that God is offering. This person doesn't really know why they believe, only that they really do believe. It is this person who hears the Lord's voice and follows the Master and receives a revelation of the truth over time.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. (NIV)
The Teacher Inside You
You see, those who are true believers in Jesus Christ, that is, those who's belief springs from the spirit, have a teacher inside them that reveals the truth to them. As they walk in obedience to what is revealed to them, God is pleased to reveal more. As they search the Scriptures looking for the one truth, the Spirit opens their eyes so that they can see, and opens their ears so that they can hear.
One Spirit; One Truth; Without the Spirit You Can Know Nothing
A great deception has crept into what is called the church. A very subtle lie has crept in. Fine-sounding arguments of human reasoning have established what looks like the church, but is not. People who do not have the Spirit are reading the scriptures, and piecing together what they can understand of the truth, but without the Spirit of Christ truly living in you, you have nothing.
This is why there are so many denominations today, with so many different doctrines. There is only one Spirit. There is only one Truth. That one Spirit, who lives inside the true believer, will guide us all into the one Truth.
Well my beloved reader, does all this cause a little fear to well up in you? If it has, then don't panic. And please don't turn your face from me and hope I'll go away. It is to bring the solution to this very problem that the Lord has set me to write this.
All we need to do is to seek the Lord with all of our hearts. We need to surrender ourselves into his service.
Surrender Yourself Completely
1 Corinthians 8:6
...yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (NIV)
Live for God, and in Christ Jesus.
For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. (NIV)
The Mind Worshippers
Oh my friend, you have been deceived if you think that you can receive Christ Jesus as Savior and then live a lukewarm Christian life. The zeal that Paul expresses here is not just for him, but for you too. If you don't see that Jesus is worth your total devotion then you should be very afraid.
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (NIV)
Notice that here we see that many think that they are Christians but are not. They think they are, but their unchrist-like lives prove that they are not.
People today have made a Happy Little Club out of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They get people to pray the "Sinners Prayer" and everyone sits around agreeing with one another that they are saved. Are they? What does the Lord think of all this?
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (NIV)
Take careful note that this letter is written to the church and not the world. This letter is prophetic in nature and speaks to the church of today.
First let us look at this lukewarmness. People in the Church today are not living for God as though their lives depended on it. People today love church and not Jesus Christ. They even tell one another, I am a (denomination name). It's all about Jesus, and nothing else but Jesus Christ.
Notice also in the letter that the people in the church think that they have got all the answers. If they have all the answers then why are there so many doctrines around? Is each of them correct? Is your denomination the only one with the right answers? As far as I have been able to determine none are even close. They each have pieces of the puzzle, but not enough to form a clear picture of the goal, which is Jesus Christ. They use his name, as though they knew him, but they don't look like Jesus Christ to me.
Is the situation hopeless? not for you my friend. Though Jesus is shown to be on the outside of people's hearts, he is standing there knocking, with the promise that if you open your heart to him, he will enter in and sup with you and you with him. Praise God for this willingness to forgive.
Seek With Your Heart
Let us go back to the woman at the well story in John, where we learned what true worshippers were all about.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
11 "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water. (NIV)
Please notice that this woman heard Jesus tell her that he could give her water that would satisfy her forever, and she not understanding a word in her mind, believed in her heart and asked him to give her this water.
Belief, true belief, comes from the heart, or spirit, and not the mind. I say this because the situation today in the world is very much like it was at the time of Jesus' earthly ministry. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the law were all mind worshippers. They all spent countless hours reading the scriptures and piecing together a religion out of what they could understand of the Scriptures.
Let the Bible Tell You
Ah, my brothers and sisters, you who have been called, you who have true ears and eyes, you who honestly love the Lord, look around and see that things are pretty much the same. People are reading the scriptures to support some doctrine or other, but do not love the Lord with their whole hearts, and are not seeking him as though their lives depended upon it.
Friends don't listen to the Pharisees, or the Sadducees, or those who make out God's word to be a book of rules. Question everything, leave no stone unturned, until you know the truth, the one truth that fills every passage of the Bible. Listen to the Master, seek him, obey him, and draw near to him and him only.
"Give Me This Water"
Be like the woman at the well, who having heard spiritual truth from the Masters lips did not reject it, but asked the Master, "Give me this water."
The situation in the Church today, being all messed up like it is, is the reason I always advise people to get the bulk of their teaching from the Bible. Be leery of what is taught at church. Find true, Spirit filled, believers, to help answer your questions. Submit to God and let him fill you with His Spirit, so that you can understand the truth. The truth is not at all hard to receive. God is so willing, even eager, to fill you with himself, but we must be willing to give up everything for him. Also be careful of those who say that they are Spirit filled. Words are easy; do they look and sound like Jesus to you?
Oh my friends, we must repent of lukewarmness, and seek God in truth and in spirit.
Cry out to the Lord and ask to be filled with the knowledge of the truth, so that you can do it.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.
32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. 33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. 35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
40 How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness. (NIV)
Please take the time to read the entire 119th Psalm. This Psalm is the road to true understanding. It is an expression of the heart that pleases God. Unless you cry out to God for understanding you will never know anything. Unless you cry out to God for understanding and seek him with your whole heart you will be stuck in the Laodicean church, and you will be rejected when the Lord spits them out. Please do not let this be the case.