John Frame author of Worship in Spirit and Truth, suggest several important facts about worship. He says that in order for worship to be done in truth we must understand some basic principles; worship is always to be God centered, Gospel centered, with the Trinity in view, Vertical and Horizontal, broad and narrow and pointed toward heaven to give God the praise.
I agree with Frame’s perspective about worship, I especially appreciated his chapter on the word and the sacraments. The author believes that Preaching and the reading of the scripture is a major part of the worship experience. This was refreshing to read, as I have been raised in this tradition, but now see various leaders getting away from the gospel message and pursuing music only services and calling it worship.(I never feel as If it has been complete without the reading and or preaching of the word.)
I find it quite interesting that Jesus spoke of worship in the New Testament. When encountering a seeker who had a concern for tradition and worship, Jesus explained what true worship was and who it is that is involved in it. The gospel of John records this conversation. In John four and verse twenty Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. Jesus first reveals to this sister that things are getting ready to change on God’s agenda with Worship in the earth. The way worship was accepted in the past will no longer be accepted! (“The hour is coming”)
Secondly, men on earth will no longer worship in one location! Worship of the Father is getting ready to go global! The Jews or the Samaritans will not have a patent on where God can be worshipped. The time was now at hand in which the spiritual worship of God was about to be established in the earth, and all the Jewish rites and ceremonies will be entirely abolished.
A change was about to come to Old Testament religion and worship would not be the same. Jesus said in verse twenty-two, you worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
The first thing we see here is that Jesus examines her form of religion, and reveals the truth about what she knows and what she doesn’t know. (If it is anyone who knows what God desires in worship it is Jesus.) He was responsible for telling Moses how to construct God centered worship in the Old Testament.
It was Jesus that gave the Hebrews guidelines and rites to worship (“Jehovah the self-Living One.”) The Samaritans believed in the same God of the Jews; but they rejected all the prophetical writings, they had an imperfect knowledge of God. They accepted the five books of Moses, but rejected the teachings of the Prophets. They also incorporated the worship of idols with their worship, they had a half breed religion, (“a little of this and a little of that” put all together) to make themselves appear to be true worshippers.
In his rebuke, he is reminding her that Salvation is of the Jews, or that God chose to redeem man through using the Jews as the vehicle of God. The Savior of the world had to come through a culture, so God choose Abraham, and the Jewish race to bring the world a Savior.
In verse twenty-three Jesus says, 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.
Now that God has chosen to change the location of where worship is he is also going to change who will be able to worship Him. (At first it was a corporate group of people by race that had a specific location set aside for them.) Worship is for all of mankind in all places across the earth. However, man will have to do so inwardly verse outwardly. Jesus calls them “True Worshippers”.
In the past they could come and do an outward show of worship, and their hearts were far from God, but now the Spirit of God would come to live in man, and his worship must be done inwardly. “His heart must be right, for God to accept his worship “You cannot hurt your brother, be cruel to the poor, mistreat the widow, rob God and try and worship God in truth.
Jesus says in verse twenty-four, God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Here in this verse we get the revealed heart of God. God is first of all Spirit. He is everywhere at all times, so no one location is going to suffice for him. He must be worshipped all over.
Jesus here is rebuking this woman because the Jews and Samaritans have tried to make their location the only place for true worship. Jesus has come to make God accessible to all men. He wants corporate worship for all men, that people everywhere, will be able to have access to him.