Spirit and Truth

Ask a hundred people what worshipping in Spirit and Truth means and you’ll probably get a hundred different answers!

If we put the words of Jesus back into their clear context, almost all of the answers people have given, will be seen to be wrong. Most people will tell you HOW we should worship!

John ch 4 v 19-26 The Samaritan woman asked Jesus, ‘WHERE' do you say we should worship?’ Note: It was WHERE, NOT HOW!

Jesus answered:

Woman, believe me, a time is coming, when you will worship the Father neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem’…. v 24: ‘God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and Truth.’ 

It was a clear question and Jesus gave a clear answer about WHERE we should worship.

It was in Spirit and Truth! This is a place, not some sort of out-of-body experience that we have to work ourselves up into as so many worship leaders would have us believe.

To understand what Jesus really meant we have to look back at the Old Covenant that Jesus was about to replace with a new one.

A Holy Place

God told Moses to prepare a sacred place, a tabernacle where His Spirit could live with His people while they travelled to the Promised Land. This tabernacle contained a curtained-off area where the presence of God resided; it was called ‘the Holy of Holies’.

God’s instructions were that the Ark of the Covenant be placed inside this holy place. On the top of the Ark were sculptures of two angels and the light of God’s Spirit shone from between them. In the box part of the Ark were placed the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments - God’s Truth. So, here we see Spirit and Truth. God’s Holy Spirit and God’s Truth, together in a Holy Place! The essence of the Truth was that God was Holy and man was sinfulNo one was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, apart from the High priest, who only went in there once a year.

Still talking about a place to worship, Jesus told us firstly where worship was not going to be. Worship was no longer to be exclusively in a fixed location like the Temple in Jerusalem, or a mountain in Samaria. During his life Jesus had clearly respected the Temple as God's house but He was prophesying about the events that would shortly happen. When Jesus died on the cross his sacrifice was preparing a new place where we must worship! This new place would be even more holy than the Old Covenant Holy of Holies, it would be a place cleansed, not by the blood of animals, but by Jesus’ own Blood.

Matt 27 v 50-51 shows us that at the very moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain in Jerusalem’s Temple was torn open from top to bottom by God's hands. Spirit and the Truth were moving out of the old                                                                                                   Temple building to a new place, a place where God and man would no longer be separated.

A New Location

Where is this new Holy Place?…... It’s in our hearts!

After Jesus ascended to His Father, He sent The Holy Spirit to live in His followers!

So we can now worship anywhere, at any time!

1 Cor 6 v 19

What? you don’t know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Yes, our bodies are now the Temple where the Holy Spirit resides and Jesus has made our hearts the Holy Place where His Spirit now lives. Incredible!

So what about God's TRUTH?

Heb 10 v 14-23 – this really is worth reading!

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

As seen in this scripture, God’s Commandments are written in our hearts and minds. It’s part of God’s wonderful New Covenant plan that His SPIRIT and His TRUTH must stay together. As in the Old Covenant, they are inseparable!

Worship now takes place in the cleansed hearts of repentant sinners.

Repentance is as much an individual thing as the coming of the Holy Spirit is into our hearts. Today’s erroneous doctrines are trying to make a universal truth out of these things, but the Holy Spirit does not indwell those who haven’t got God’s laws written in their hearts. There is no way of getting around the sin issue. To really worship in Spirit means also facing up to God’s Truth - the Commandments, and our failure to keep them! But, Spirit and Truth are inseparable.

God’s ‘New Covenant’ plan is superb and it’s full of His majesty and power. It shows up the shallow and trivial message we now hear so often. The man centred church of today is obsessed with HOW we should worship. That HOW means: what do we want to see in worship? What turns us on? What sort of music appeals to us or will appeal to the World?

We don’t need to call the Holy Spirit down, or go to a special place, or find a formula to work-up a special atmosphere, if we need these things we don’t have the Holy Place in our hearts. 

We have to ask ourselves the question WHO or WHAT the church is now worshipping. Is it the Holy God or is it a ‘worship experience’? 

The fact is that today’s church is running away from anything that speaks of God’s holiness. If we get the question right then the answer follows naturally: WHERE should we worship?

We MUST worship in a Holy Place, a place where God’s Spirit and His Truth dwell together! - IN OUR HEARTS!

Martyn Cunnington

© Martyn Cunnington revised 2021