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Worship in Spirit and in Truth

Jesus told the woman at the well,
“God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”
(John 4:24, NASB). God is seeking for true worshipers, who will worship Him in
Spirit and in truth. What is true worship?

It is clear in the Scriptures that there is worship which God will not accept. God received Abel’s sacrifice of worship but rejected Cain’s (Genesis 4). The Lord also rejected the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10). In calling His people Israel to repentance, God rejected their solemn assemblies, burnt and grain offerings, and the noise of their songs and instruments, and commanded them to walk in justice and righteousness so that their worship would be accepted (Amos 5:21-24; see also Luke 11:42 and Micah 6:8).

The foundation of true worship comes from two things – the Spirit and truth. This foundation of which I speak is the solid, unbreakable foundation of revelation. True worship is a response to revelation.

Without the Spirit, truth is dead – it is knowledge without the Life.

Without truth, the spirit is darkness – it is life without the Light.

Freedom is impossible without the truth (John 8:31-32), and truth is possible only through a revelatory act of God (Matthew 16:17; John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13), which requires the work of the Spirit. The effect and working of these two together is called revelation. Revelation (or illumination) comes when the Spirit of God uncovers a truth of God. Revelation is more than information or knowledge because the realm of revelation is the human spirit, and not just the human mind (see again 1 Corinthians 2). We can and do forget much of what we hear and learn. But we own what has been revealed to us, meaning it can never be taken away. This “ownership” causes us to obey what has been revealed to us (Matthew 7:24-27). Obedience, then, is an act of sacrifice in which we offer to God what He, and He alone, has given to us. Nadab and Abihu’s fire was “strange” because it was not the fire given by God, so God would not accept it. God will only receive what He has first given. This is the law of the holy and the profane (Ezekiel 22:26; 44:23). So true worship requires a sacrifice, the offering to God of that which God has given to us and is a response to revealed truth. This is why redemption requires sacrifice. All the sacrifices commanded by God in the Scriptures foreshadowed the complete sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and by which we have been redeemed (see Hebrews 9 and 10). In the same way, true worship is the sacrificial response of those who have received the offering of Christ’s redeeming death, and as such, our worship must reflect His sacrifice. I challenge you to consider how much and in what ways does your worship reflect Christ’s sacrifice? 

To conclude, (everyone’s favorite
part): how is redemption produced and true worship made possible?

  • Revelation
    produces ownership.
  • Ownership
    produces obedience.
  • Obedience
    requires sacrifice.
  • Sacrifice
    produces redemption.

Let us worship God in Spirit and in truth, and may our worship be acceptable and pleasing in His sight!


The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.

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