Worshipping| in Spirit and Truth

Posted on February 15, 2011 by


Worship is more than a style of music… It is all of life. From the moment we get up to the moment we fall asleep we are worshiping. What we are worshiping will differ from moment to moment, from person to person. But we SHOULD be worshiping the one true God.

So why do we call Sunday services or singing “worship”?  A lot of people use “worship” as short for Corporate Worship, which is the gathering of God’s people to give Him praise, be taught scripture, and fellowship with other believers.

The central text on worship is John 4:23-24 where Jesus says;

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

We are to worship in Spirit and in Truth.

Truth – There is objective Truth that we are to know and live life in light of.  This truth is communicated to us through the bible. One of the functions of the church is that the Word of God is preached. When we come together for corporate worship we should be taught from the bible. It is from the knowledge of this Truth that we worship.  So it follows that to worship rightly we have to understand rightly.

Spirit – Spirit is mentioned two ways in these verses. The first is referring to the way in which the worshipers worship. The second is referring to the nature of God.

To say that God is spirit is to say that He is not a physical being. He is not constrained to a single place, referring to the argument by the woman earlier in the passage about where valid worship took place, nor does He have physical needs.

To say that true worshipers worship in spirit removes locale, and physical nature from the act of worshiping. This sheds some light on 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  This passage is in reference to disputed acts among believers, eating meat sacrificed to idols, and has implications for our daily lives. The focus here is that our intent to give glory to God covers and overrides our physical actions. The things we do, and the things we avoid, are done/not done to bring God glory.

So as we sing, we sing to bring God glory. We do this with and in response to the truth that we have heard and now know. Our singing is a response to God, a reiteration of Truth, and a unifying act.

Response to Truth – We don’t sing just to sing, we sing because we have heard the truth and are expressing to God our gratitude, sorrow, hope, or joy.  Hearing the truth that Jesus is God who added humanity to His divinity, lived a perfect life on our behalf, died the death we deserve and now stands between us and the Father taking on our dirty, defiled lives while giving us the credit for His perfect life so that we can be with and enjoy the Triune God for all eternity should arouse joy and affection, relief and hope. Not to express these would be like having no emotion over someone running into traffic to throw you out of the way of a car and being hit by that car themselves. The Truth of God requires a response.

Reiterating the Truth – When we sing we are speaking truth to ourselves through the songs words.  As we sing we are agreeing with the words of the songs. This is no light thing,

1 John 4:2 “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God”

And conversely

“3… every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”

So when we sing these truths we are agreeing with God that they are true, we are also testifying to ourselves that we have the spirit of God living in us. It also deepens our conviction of what the truth is, because instead of just hearing it we are saying the very things we are being taught.

A Unifying Act – when we sing together we are saying the same thing as those around us, at the same time as them. This brings us together

Romans 15:5-6 “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Christ even prayed for our unity

John 17:22-23 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

When we sing together we are showing that we are unified in believing the truth being sung.


As we sing we are responding to God in a way that He has deemed appropriate to do so. We are also declaring truth with our own mouths, and we are showing our unity by agreeing with one another that these things are true. All of these bring glory to God.

There is a seriousness to this that cannot be overlooked.  The songs we sing must be conveying truth. If they aren’t conveying truths then we are not glorifying God, we are simply pleasuring ourselves with sentiment. I encourage you to be careful of what you sing. Just as we should test teaching against the scriptures, as the Bereans did, so should we test the songs we sing by the same scriptures. I would say this to those I lead in song, and I hope other worship leaders would agree.

If you don’t understand a song, or you feel that the songs we are singing are in error, please talk to me.

It will do two things.

1.)    It will give me a chance to explain why we are singing the song and how it is biblically sound.

2.)    It will keep me accountable to actually study the songs we sing.

I pray that we will be true worshipers who worship in spirit and in truth. May every aspect of our lives bring glory to God. He is the creator, the sustainer, the savior, and the greatest good. He alone is worthy of our praise and worship.

Posted in: Music, Praxis, Theology