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The Scriptorium

God Wants the Truth

Worship and truth go together - or not.

The Gospel of John: John 4.16-26

Read and meditate on John 4.23, 24.
The question of worship – true or false – is never very far from the question of truth. Talk about the one must perforce lead to talk about the other.

                                              23But now the day
is coming when in truth and spirit they
will worship God. For such the Father seeks
to worship Him. 24For God is Spirit, speaks
His Word, and those who worship Him must do
so, worshiping in Spirit and in truth.”

- John 4.23, 24

1. If this woman’s worship was false, what does that suggest about the lifestyle she’d chosen in pursuit of that worship?  Complete this prayer: Lord, people who worship false gods are simply wrong! And this means their lives…

2.  What Jesus says in verse 23 sets aside both this woman’s worship and the worship which Jews practiced in His day. How was this the case? Why? Only when we worship You, Lord Jesus, do we…

3.  Twice in our passage, Jesus says that worship must be “in spirit and truth.” What does that mean? How can we know when our worship is in spirit and truth? Lord, I want my worship to be what the Father is seeking. Help me to…

4.  In a very real sense, Jesus draws us into this conversation by challenging us to consider whether we are worshiping in the way God is seeking. John is good at doing this, as we have seen. He uses the story of Jesus to challenge his readers to reflect on the things that matter most as they become engaged with and enthralled by Jesus Himself. Do you think this suggests that asking an unbelieving friend to read the Gospel of John with you might be a good idea? Explain. Your Word, Lord, is living and powerful. I can…

5.  What do we learn about true worship from these verses? What do we learn about God? What do you learn about yourself? Bring together your prayers from questions 1-4 into one prayer.

“When God is said to be worshiped in truth (by the proper meaning of the word itself often expressed after the same manner), it ought to be understood that the Son too is worshiped. So, in the same way, the Spirit is also worshiped because God is worshiped in Spirit. Therefore the Father is worshiped both with the Son and with the Spirit, because the Trinity is worshiped.” Ambrose of Milan (333-397 AD)

False worship leads to false living. True worship leads to true living, and can only be accomplished in the Spirit of God, through the Son of God, and unto our Father God. All other worship is false. How can you help someone examine his or her own worship?

Closing Prayer
I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comesin the morning.
Now in my prosperity I said,
“I shall never be moved.”

Psalm 30.1-6

Psalm 30.1-9 (Madrid: Come, Christians, Join to Sing)
We will extol Your Name: You have lifted us, O Lord!
Our foes retreat in shame – You have lifted us, O Lord!
You healed us when we cried; safe shall our souls abide;
Hell’s claim have You denied: You have lifted us, O Lord!

Lord, we extol Your Name: You have lifted us, O Lord!
Thanks we with joy proclaim: You have lifted us, O Lord!
Anger shall not prevail; grace will for us avail;
Day frees us from travail: You have lifted us, O Lord!

Firmly in You we stand – You have lifted us, O Lord! –
Kept by Your gracious hand: You have lifted us, O Lord!
Lord, when You hide Your face, I cry to You for grace;
Living, I’ll sing Your praise: You have lifted us, O Lord!

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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