“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and reality; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and reality.” John 4:23-24
What is the True Worship to God?
Everywhere you go, you see signs advertising “Sunday Worship” for all types of religion with people coming regularly to worship God. Is that the worship that satisfies God? Is He satisfied with listening to a nice sermon, to receive money, or have His people prostrate themselves before Him? What is the true worship that God the Father is seeking from us?
God’s Commandment for Worship in the Age of the Old Covenant
In Deuteronomy 12, God commanded His people, the children of Israel, how to worship Him. He did not want them to worship Him the way the nations worship their gods (vv. 1-4). God instructed His people to worship Him in a specific and special way (vv. 5-8):
“But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—”
He chose Mount Zion in the city of Jerusalem (Psa. 132:13-14) to be the place of worship. He required them to bring the offerings (Lev. 1-7) to be His food (Lev. 3:11) for the worship. His appointed time for worship was at the time of the feasts, three times a year (Deut. 16:16; Lev. 23). God’s people needed to labor in the good land, their inheritance from God, to gain the firstfruits of the harvest to bring to God for the worship (Deut. 26:1-2).
The Father Is Seeking True Worshipers in the Age of the New Covenant
Jesus said in the Gospel of John 4:23-24:
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and reality; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and reality.”
Today, God the Father is seeking true worshipers. As in the Old Covenant, He is very specific in your worship to Him. How does He want us to worship Him according to His word?
In Spirit and Reality
To be the true worshipers whom God the Father is seeking, we must be born of God the Spirit (John 1:12-13; 3:6) and experience Christ as the spiritual reality of all the offerings in the Holy Scriptures (Heb. 10:5-10). The Bible also instructs us how to worship God in 1 Peter 2:5:
“…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
The worship today must be in spirit and reality.
The Place of Worship – the Church Today as the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy Temple
In the age of the New Covenant, God’s choice of worship is in the church, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22-23). We are not only His children, but also the living stones to be built up into a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5). The church is also the holy temple of the Lord and His dwelling place in the Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22). The place of worship to God cannot be earthly and common, made by man’s hands. God is the architect and builder (Heb. 11:10). Thus the place of worship must be chosen by God (Deut. 12:5).
The Offerings – Christ as the Spiritual Sacrifices
God also instructs us, as the holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5). Through His work on the cross, Christ is the fulfillment (Heb. 10:5-10) and the reality of all the offerings written in Leviticus chapters 1-7:
- Burnt offering – you take Christ as the One completely obedient and absolute to the Father (John 6:38), who enables you to obey God.
- Meal offering – Christ as the bread of life for you to eat (John 6:48-51), causing you to be transformed and strengthened to live His fine and perfect humanity.
- Peace offering – to fully reconcile you to God and have full peace with Him (Eph. 2:14-18)
- Sin offering – to release you from the dominion of sin (Rom. 6:9-11)
- Trespass offering – to forgive you of your offenses (1 John 1:9)
When we experience Christ as the spiritual offerings in our daily life, our lives will be changed into His likeness. These real experiences constitute the spiritual sacrifices which we offer to God our Father. What He wants in the worship is for us to offer Christ, as the spiritual sacrifices to Him. (For details concerning Christ as the reality of all the offerings, click HERE.)
The Feasts – the Lord’s Table
The appointed time of worship to bring the spiritual offerings to the Father is at the Lord’s Table, which replaces the feasts in the Old Testament. The Bible shows us that Christ is the reality of the seven feasts outlined in Leviticus 23:
- Feast of Passover – Christ as the Lamb of God has saved us from God’s eternal judgment (John 1:29) and has also delivered us from the present evil age (Gal. 1:4).
- Feast of Unleavened Bread – for us to eat Christ as the real bread from heaven to transform our living with His fine perfect humanity and for us to purge all the leaven (1 Cor. 5:6-8).
- Feast of Firstfruits – Christ resurrected to destroy the power of death (Heb. 2:14-15) in us and give us His resurrection life (1 Cor. 15:20-22, 45) to overcome death
- Feast of Weeks – Christ ascended to be Head over the church and the Holy Spirit poured out, for the building up of the church (Acts. 1:8)
He accomplished the first four feasts at His first coming, which we enjoy at the Lord’s Table meeting (1 Cor. 5:7-8) until He returns (Matt. 26:26-30; 1 Cor. 11:24-26). The last three feasts are related to His second coming:
- Feast of Trumpets – we sound the trumpet to gather and warn His people (Num. 10:1-10)
- Day of Atonement – we afflict our souls, to deny our soul life to follow Him (Matt. 16:24)
- Feast of Tabernacles – we are reminded that we are sojourners and pilgrims in this world and we should not love the world that is passing away (1 Pet. 2:11)
If we keep and enjoy the feasts listed above at the Lord’s Table, this will also prepare us for His second coming. It is God’s appointed time to have the festal gathering (Heb. 12:22-23) to worship Him.
Today, God the Father is still seeking such people to worship Him. The question we all need to ask is: am I a true worshiper that the Father is seeking? If you would like to know more and/or desire to give God the true worship, we invite you to join us at the Lord’s Table meeting held every Sunday morning (Acts 20:7). May God’s people keep and enjoy the feasts and offer spiritual sacrifices to God our Father.