Today, I will continue my new series on the basics of what we believe. Last time we looked at the need for unconditional love for our fellow man. Today, we will take a look at why our worship of God must be spiritual. Our proof text is John 4:24 which says that God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
To begin, we must adequately understand just what happened in the Garden. When the Lord told Adam and Eve that the consequences of their disobedience would be death, he meant physically and spiritually. We see this in the fact that after having disobeyed, they did eventually physically die many years later, but they immediately died spiritually in that their fellowship with God was broken. This was the lie of the Devil in that he told them that they would not surely die (Genesis 3:4). Thus it had to be restored, blood was spilled, and they were covered or atoned for (Genesis 3:21; Hebrews 9:22). Of course, while the sacrifices of the Old Testament were temporary (Hebrews 10:4), the ultimate blood sacrifice came through our Lord's forever atoning death on the cross (Hebrews 9:12-14).
This is where the need to be "born again" comes from. To be saved, our spirits must be re-born. This is exactly what our Lord was telling Nicodemus in John 3:3-7 when he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
The bottom line is that to worship God, it must be in the spirit. That means that we must be born again to do so. Without it, there is no worship. Do you remember the conversation that our Lord has with the woman at the well? In John 4:20, the woman said, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Our Lord responded in vv.21-24 by saying, "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 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."
So, you see, being born again is salvation. Being born again is a restoration of the fellowship that was broken by our sin. That is why Paul said in Ephesians 2:1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,” Also, in Colossians 2:12-13 “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” It is only then that we can truly worship the Lord.
Warren Wiersbe once said, “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose -- and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.” What wonderful news!