'In Spirit and Truth' - Part 3

Part 5 - Worship series
By: John Herbert | Mar 9, 2008
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Joh 18:38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"
As we come this week to look at what it means to worship God in truth, this question that Pilate asks the Lord is one that we will have to answer. When scripture uses this word in relation to our worship, our faithful obedience, exactly what is meant by the word? Does it just have to do with being honest and always ?telling the truth?, or is there something more we should be seeing. Hopefully by the conclusion of today?s message we will have found the answer to Pilate?s question.

Message Notes

1). Joh 4:23 "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. 24 "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

2). We have seen in our previous studies that worship is not in fact a musical experience but rather a lifestyle of faithful obedience that will of necessity require us to be living sacrifices as we continually die to self.
a). We have also seen that the Lord?s discussion of worship with the Samaritan woman at Jacob?s well in John chapter 4 must be seen within the context of the present ministry of the Holy Spirit amongst the eternally saved, that of seeking a bride for God?s Son. Those who will be the Bride will be those who are described in John 4 as ?the true worshippers?.
i/ These are the same as those depicted as wise virgins and as the faithful servant in Matthew 25, those who are sown into good ground in Matthew 13, the overcomers of Revelation ? and typified in Rebekah in Genesis 24 and Ruth ? these are all parts of the same picture.
b). And last week we saw how our worship in Spirit denotes our complete submission to God?s will for us, and particularly as this would apply to the trials and testing of our child training as God prepares us for rulership with His Son - Heb 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
c). Which is accomplished through the work of the Spirit as our hearts are circumcised bringing about the metamorphosis, the inward change of Romans 12:2.
d). Our worship in Spirit demonstrates our absolute trust in a faithful Creator who is the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls as we respond in faithful obedience to the commands of scripture with respect to the suffering we may go through.
e). Php 2:14 ? Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
f). Always of course looking to the reward as our motivation and our hope.

3). This week we shall begin to uncover what worship in truth looks like, remembering please that spirit and truth are inextricably joined together. Our separation of the two is really just to aid the ease of presentation and our understanding.

4). There is an interchange that takes place between the Lord and Pontius Pilate in John Chapter 18 that provides us with an excellent point to begin our study ?
Joh 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." 38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"
a). To start at the end and move back, Pilate asks an intriguing question, ?What is truth?? And this is a question that we need to settle for ourselves.
b). Exactly what does scripture mean in a passage like this in John when it refers to truth?
c). After all 10 people could view exactly the same event and yet there could be 10 different accounts, all of which would be true.
d). According to the movies, when we appear in court we are sworn to, ?tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? ? within this setting we are really dealing with a matter of honesty in relating what we understand to be correct, rather than dealing with truth in any absolute sense. Is this what we are looking at?

5). Also from a humanistic standpoint truth is never an absolute term but a relative term. From this standpoint of what the world calls, ?situational ethics? truth will change and evolve with time and circumstance. And yet when we talk of the things pertaining to God we see this at the end of - Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
a). So clearly then, from a scriptural standpoint, when God refers to truth He is referring to an absolute that does not vary and change. And is dependable in its constancy ? this is not how the world perceives truth, but nevertheless, God?s perspective is the only one that can form our frame of reference.
b). And to go back to the beginning of our John 18 scripture we see Jesus talking of truth with regards to His Kingship, the very reason He had come into the world. And yet His Kingship, this truth for which He came into the world is not to be fulfilled in this age - Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world.[lit. age]

6). Jesus also says to Pilate, a representative of Gentile world power, that everyone who is of the truth hears His voice. Now Pilate clearly hears the words that Jesus speaks, but not being of the truth he does not hear the words of the Christ, the Son of the living God.
a). The only other place in the whole of scripture where the phrase, ?hear My voice? is used is in - Re 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
b). An admonition given to those in the Laodecian church of this dispensation with regards to their lukewarm attitude to the message of the Kingdom. A message that clearly presents the overthrow of Gentile world power and the establishment of the Kingdom in the age to come ? an event that takes place not long after this admonition is given in Revelation. The two scriptures go hand in hand.
c). In fact as we would view all our foundational material with respect to worship and as God desires that we should worship ?in truth?, with a focus on the coming Kingdom, we must conclude at the outset that when we are looking at truth, from God?s perspective, we are looking at something in a way that far transcends any idea of just being ?honest?.


7). As is always the case, it is helpful to go to the first mention of truth in scripture to see if this would give us any insight into God?s intention in using the word.
a). As I looked at this I discovered something that seemed to me quite remarkable.
b). Ge 24:27 And he said, "Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master. As for me, being on the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren."
c). The context here should be unmistakable for us ? it is of course Abraham?s oldest servant?s search for a bride for his master?s son from amongst his master?s family.
d). And we can see in our scripture, the connection between the purpose for the servant?s journey, the veracity of God?s truth and his being on the way.
e). It becomes even more interesting when we set this alongside the very next use of the word truth - Ge 24:48 "And I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to take the daughter of my master's brother for his son.
f). There are three things that really jump out at us here
i/ I bowed my head and worshiped the LORD
ii/ who had led me in the way of truth
iii/ to take the daughter of my master's brother for his son.
g). We have worship, being led in the way of truth, and the selection of the bride for the son all connected together.
h). We might remember the name that was originally given to the church at its inception ? Ac 24:14 "But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
i). The embryonic church, because of its beliefs and lifestyle was known as ?the Way? ? and given their focus on the coming Kingdom within a marriage relationship we can see the connection with our scriptures from Genesis 24.

8). The word translated ?truth? here in our Genesis scriptures is also interesting, primarily because of its origin.
a). It is the Hebrew word ? emeth = stability; (figuratively) certainty, truth, trustworthiness:--assured(-ly), establishment, faithful, right, sure, true (-ly, -th), verity.
b). And this word has its root, its origin, in the Hebrew word ? aman = a primitive root; properly, to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (Isa. 30:21; interchangeable with 541) to go to the right hand:--hence, assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, steadfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.
c). What is particularly intriguing here is the idea of fostering as a parent would foster a child. And would nurse as a mother would nurse a child.
d). Interestingly enough one of the names that scripture uses to describe God is ?El-Shaddai? which literally means the many breasted God, the God who nourishes and sustains - Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
e). Would it be too much of a stretch here to see the implication of child training at the very heart of this first mention?

9). I would suspect not ? look what we find written in - Ps 25:4 Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.
a). And here we see with David, the man after God?s own heart, a desire to be taught by God?s truth.
b). And the reason he desires this is because God is the God of his salvation ? and this would not be a reference to the salvation he already possessed, but rather the salvation that remains yet future ? the salvation of the soul. And it is with a view to this future salvation that David wants to be taught.

10). So how exactly would God lead David in His truth? How would God teach him? Well clearly David had the kind of relationship with God where God spoke audibly to him, but we also know enough by now to realize that God does not say anything that would be outside the context of His written word. And this is the basis on which God imparts His truth.
a). Ps 119:142 ? Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. 143 ? Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights. 144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding, and I shall live. 145 ? QOPH. I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes. 146 I cry out to You; Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies. 147 ? I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word. 148 My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word. 149 ? Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; O LORD, revive me according to Your justice. 150 ? They draw near who follow after wickedness; They are far from Your law. 151 You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth. 152 ? Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.
b). Ps 119:160 ? The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
c). So here in Psalm 119, it becomes very clear
i/ God?s Law is truth
ii/ God?s commandments are truth
iii/ The entirety of God?s word is truth

11). We find exactly the same thing in the gospels - Joh 17:17 ? "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
a). And of course God?s word is manifested in its fullness in the incarnation of Christ, Who is the word made flesh - Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
b). Christ is the embodiment of absolute truth.

12). Just as we saw last week in respect of Christ being ?the way? ? setting for us the example of death, burial and resurrection that we are to follow - 1Pe 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
a). So He is also the very embodiment of God?s truth ? and this would take us right back to John 18 and the Lord?s interchange with Pilate - Joh 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
b). As we would compare scripture with scripture we would know, that God?s purpose, manifested through Christ, His truth, has to do with the rulership over this earth by His Son and His coheirs.
c). Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today [for this day] I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"?
d). Col 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
e). From Genesis onwards the focus of scripture is the 7th Day, the age to come, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. This is the entirety of His word, this is His truth - Lu 24:44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 "And you are witnesses of these things. 49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."
f). The all things that must be fulfilled from the Law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms, refer not only to the events leading up to and immediately following the cross, but also those events recorded in the scriptures that are still to come.
g). And with a view to what is to come the disciples are commissioned to take this message to all nations once the Promise of the Father has come to empower them for the task.

13). The Promise of the Father of course is a reference to the Holy Spirit, Who was to be sent on the day of Pentecost, following the Lord?s resurrection to accomplish a specific task - Joh 16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 "All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
a). As we have already seen, the Holy Spirit comes in the antitype of Abraham?s oldest servant in Genesis 24 to search out a Bride for God?s Son from amongst God?s family. And note that He is ?the Spirit of truth?. Is it any wonder that scripture records that Abraham?s servant was led in the way of truth?
b). And in the process of searching for the Bride He will guide us into all truth ? the way of truth - the truth as an absolute ? testifying of Christ Who is whole, complete and the same yesterday, today and forever; telling us of things to come and declaring to us the inheritance that has been given to the Son ?
1Co 2:9 But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
c). And all of this of course through the written word.
d). The written word, according to the scriptures, is Spirit, and the Spirit is truth - 1Jo 5:6 ? This is He who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
c). The written word, according to the scriptures, became flesh in Christ and He is ?the truth?.
d). And all leads, according to the scriptures, via the way of truth, to the coming Kingdom.

14). And so as we think on these things with regards to worshipping in truth, we will realize the absolute necessity of our unwavering belief in the reality of this Kingdom, which none of us have yet seen, and that remains for now invisible to our natural sight.
a). Worshipping ?in truth? will bring us in complete alignment with that which can only be seen through the eyes of faith.
b). And in this we would have glorious company - Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

15). Now, of course, not only will our worship ?in truth? embrace the reality of the coming Kingdom, which really is the place we have to start, but it must also, of necessity embrace the instructions we are given on how to get there ?
Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
a). We can see here in Ephesians how the word of truth and the gospel of our salvation are one and the same - Col 1:5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
b). And within the context of Ephesians we are looking at the good news surrounding the salvation of our souls, not the salvation we presently possess.
c). Ephesians of course is also the book that deals with the spiritual warfare, and in order to stand against the wiles of the devil - Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,
d). It is the belt of truth that is the first part of the whole armor of God to be set in place, and is the part to which all other pieces attach ? it is then the very foundation of our defense against the enemy of our soul.
e). And if we have ?the truth? in place it will afford us God?s protection
i/ Ps 40:11 ? Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
ii/ Ps 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
f). This is a remarkable and encouraging promise, but one that in order to be fulfilled, will require our faithful obedience to the truth.
g). It is not enough just to know what God?s truth says ? It is not enough to know that there is a Kingdom to come, or to know what we must do to get there ? rather it is the knowledge of the truth that is the motivation to put that truth into action in our lives - 2Co 4:2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
h). The mature knowledge of the word, the epignosis, must encompass not only the reality of our inheritance and our future salvation, but also the means by which it is to be attained - 1Ti 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
i). It will be faithful obedience to the commands of Christ, which are truth as an absolute that will result in the salvation of our souls - 1Pe 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
j). We must not be deceived into thinking that receiving the message we receive is enough ? such a deception would make us the sorriest of all people.
1Jo 2:4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
k). Rather we should rejoice in the message of truth that God has revealed to us as it is the very strength that we need to patiently endure, the very substance of our hope, and that which makes faithful obedience not only possible, but also desirable.

16). Truth then, as it relates to God, is the scriptures ? truth in this context is an absolute, unequivocal and without compromise. It is our very life, our very hope.
a). And our worship in truth will be our complete submission to the word of truth. Our wholehearted embrace of God?s plans and purposes for the ages, and our wholehearted embrace of the change God?s truth is to bring to us that we might participate fully in His purpose.
b). Ps 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
c). Is this not the metamorphosis, wrought by the power of the Spirit of truth as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds? Is this not the child training of the Lord?

17). Next week, if the Lord is willing, we will pursue what the practicality of worshipping in truth will look like for us.
Other messages from this series Audio Video PDF Study Notes
Part 1 - Here I Am To Worship
Part 2 - Here I Am To Worship
Part 3 - 'In Spirit and Truth' ? Part 1
Part 4 - 'In Spirit and Truth' ? Part 2
Part 5 - 'In Spirit and Truth' - Part 3
Part 6 - 'In Spirit and Truth' ? Part 4
Part 7 - 'In Spirit and Truth' - Part 5
Part 8 - 'In Spirit and Truth' ? Part 6
Part 9 - The Temple of God
Part 10 - Sing to the King ? Part One
Part 11 - Sing to the King ? Part Two