Tuesday, December 06, 2011

John 4:20-26

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21 Jesus saith unto her, 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.
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Key Observation:
God is a Spirit, but must be worshipped truly. No sincere person is given credit for sincerity of misplaced worship; God seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Salvation is of the Jews, said Jesus. What did He mean? Was he not rejecting the Jews and their wrongness in interpreting the Law? The answer, I think, lies in the person of Jesus Himself. All along Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. Salvation is of the Jews, and Jesus was born of the Jews. I can never understand the mindset of people claiming to be Christian with a bias against Jews. What are they thinking? If not for the Jews, we would not have our Savior. He is our salvation, a future help, but also a very present help in the time of trouble.

I do find it very interesting that Jesus tells the woman that perilous times were coming when neither the Samaritans nor the Jews would be allowed to worship. But it was not until nearly 600 years after Christ spoke these words that they came to pass. Who could have seen the arising of Moslems, with their total annihilation of both Jews and Christians? Most of the people living in the US are probably not aware just how deep the hatred of Moslems is for the Jews. Every constitution of every country around Israel has written in the constitution the destruction and annihilation of Israel. There is no land for peace being offered; many Moslems are just waiting for the chance to wipe out Israel totally. Who shall stand for Israel on that day? Not any other country. Every country on all sides will try to converge on her, bent on her total destruction. It is only the Lord, stepping in at the last moment, who will again save and readopt the wayward Israel.

God wants us to come to Him in truth. I think back on His calling of me, and the vision given me (no, I am not the sort to have visions all the time, and I only talk about this one). Somehow, when a multitude of other Christians, unknown to me, were praying for me, just at that moment, the hand of God seemed to touch me. I had become interested enough because, of the testimony of two Christians, to read Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Nahum. These two Christians had witnessed at great length about these books and I wanted to check them out. Reading such things is definitely not the common way in which common people come to Christ, yet when I finished reading most of what I could not understand, I felt compelled to pray: “Oh God, if you are really there, would you reveal Yourself to me?”

His Hand touched me in the most marvelous fashion. Within seconds of His answer, I saw the multitude of times earlier in my life when He had worked to bring me to Him. There was not a doubt in my mind of what I had seen being completely from Him. Overwhelmed I bowed my head and gave myself to Him. I did not understand, scarcely at all, what He was offering me in terms of sin and salvation. I did know that I was wrong, deeply wrong, and that I needed to agree with God that I had been going the wrong way. But I came to Him on the basis of knowing from His revelation that He was Truth, and that I needed to reorient my life and expectations totally toward Him. Actually it was soon afterward I began to learn the Christian terms about sin and the need for repentance. I knew that I had sinned, and I knew that I had repented, though at the time, those were not the words I would have used since I knew them not.

I was quite a strong minded young man, and had already oriented much of my life on the assumption that God probably did not exist, and even if He did, He would do very little in the lives of people. Now suddenly I was completely overwhelmed with His love and concern. I knew He cared for me. But what is really interesting to me now is that I knew Him first as Truth, something my own father has always brought me up to respect. All of a sudden I was face to face with revealed Truth, and I had to deal with it.

I remember that as I stopped my crying a bit that I realized what a change this would bring about in my life. My friends would despise me (many did), my teachers would ridicule my beliefs (many did), and my own family (most did not) would not understand what had happened inside of me. I can remember thinking at that moment, considering alternatives. I mused that I could just pretend that it never happened to me, that I could just go on somehow acting as if it had never happened. But for the first time I knew Truth, and walking away from that, even in the face of coming derision, seemed like a very poor choice to me.

I was not even aware that I had been given eternal life until I read it in the Scripture later that week. I remember seeing the promise and believing, thinking that eternal life was a pretty neat bonus that I had not even countenanced. I found out about my sin nature, my need to repent, and the challenge to walk with God through the power of the Holy Spirit LATER. My impetus to come to God was based upon His revealing His Word was truth, and that I should believe it. For that reason, this verse: “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth”, has always had great meaning towards me. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” It fell to me to first appreciate Him as the Great Truth. “I that speak unto thee am He.”

There is great power in the Word of God, as the Spirit will give it to you. There is great power in prayer, if those who are about you will attend faithfully to prayer. What a great God we serve, a God calling us, wooing us, and giving some of us (me) much more attention than we deserve. I think that is why I have always had a deep love of the Word, for was it not the Word which God used to work in my hard heart? And I think that is the reason that I have always had the highest regard for prayer. Did He not answer my feeble plea? Were not others steadfastly holding me up in prayer to God? I have a God who thinks of me, who cares when I stray, and who has provided for me fully in every way. Isn’t it neat to look forward to spending eternity with Him?

Blessed Assurance

1. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

2. Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight:
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

3. Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest:
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Lyrics: Frances Jane (Fanny J.) Crosby

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