Dynamics of Worship in Spirit and Truth
The Father is seeking it. Believers around the world are doing it. Congregations are unified by it. The forces of hell flee from it because the presence and power of Jesus flow in it. What is it? Authentic worship—“True Worship,”—“worship in spirit and truth.”(John 4:24)
Worship in spirit and truth involves our spirit and the Spirit of God; our personal truth and the Truth of God.
- First, we worship from our spirits as the Holy Spirit leads, and then
- we worship in total sincerity according to the Bible.
Here are some details:
Spirit: the spirit of man
- Requires total involvement of the whole person, body, soul, spirit.
- It is not frivolous.
- Music is the principle art of worship and must engage body, soul and spirit.
- Emotions are commanded but neither music nor emotions constitute worship; they express it.
Truth: the truth of man
- Requires total sincerity. The only motives are love for God and a desire to give God the glory due His name.
- We must not worship from mixed motives: “Prepare for the sermon”, or “Make this church grow.”
Spirit: the Spirit of God
- The Holy Spirit leads worship, guiding the leaders as they plan and in the service.
- Both preplanning and spontaneity are led by the Holy Spirit.
- He also empowers worship; His ministry is to exalt Jesus.
Truth: the Truth of God
- The Bible is our worship guide, not tradition or fads.
- We discover and worship the God revealed in the Bible, not the God of our imagination or culture.
- We worship Him in ways that please Him, not us.
This is authentic worship. This kind of worship
- gets God’s attention,
- changes people’s lives and
- wins cities, countries and continents to the Kingdom of God.
Authentic worship moves with the most powerful force in creation—God’s love.
For this kind of worship we must cast aside our cultural conditioning,
- trade in our traditional trappings,
- fold away our feeble fads, and
- humble our hearts before God.
Authentic worship engages the generations.
“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4)
It is time to rejoice in the songs of all the generations.
- Young people should show respect for the songs of their forebears for they give testimony to the move of God in history.
- The older folk should likewise respect and even rejoice in the new songs of their children and grandchildren; these songs give us a future.
Young people are celebrating the timeless truths of the faith in their own musical languages; this is a cause for great rejoicing.
When one generation controls the musical language of worship and shuts down the songs of the other generations, authentic worship won’t happen. God intends that worship be inter-generational. It takes great wisdom and skill to craft the music of all the generations into a cohesive sacrifice of public worship. But it can and must be done if our worship is to be authentic; inclusive of the whole congregation. “Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.” (Psalm. 149:1)
Authentic worship pleases the Father.
Each time we gather, the Father is seeking for True Worshipers. Authentic worship is what He is after. It is more important to please the Father than to satisfy the musical tastes of the congregation. But, this only works when pleasing the Father is everybody’s goal. If the people have songs they must hear in order to worship, then the worship is focused on the songs, on pleasing people, not God. The songs need to be about the worship and not the other way around. Some congregations are like people Jesus described, “… children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’” (Luke 7:32)
Their worship leaders are stuck. Some people want a dancing song and others want a mourning song.
- If the worship is about the music, the generations and ethnic groups will never come together.
- But, if the music is about worship, the important thing in everyone’s mind is to minister to the Lord. It doesn’t matter whether the song is old or new. The people are determined to minister to the Lord—and they do!
The wise worship leader facilitates the worship of all the people by crafting together the songs of the generations, releasing the heart-song of each group. He isn’t playing to these groups, he is enlisting them in the worship of God.
Authentic worship is Pentecostal.
Not Pentecostal in culture or denomination, but Pentecostal in the biblical sense—led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Authentic worship carries with it the distinctive marks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit: It is
- centered on Jesus,
- beneficial to the church, and is
- decent and orderly.
All believers may worship in authentic ways as they open their hearts to the supernatural elements of worship to flow as God intends. The passages of Scripture explaining the manifestations of the Spirit are given in the context of public worship.
Authentic worship is biblical.
Authentic worship honors the Word. I believe “worship and Word” are synonyms for “spirit and truth.” An authentic worship service will always have both. Seminars, prayer meetings, classes and meetings are not worship services. A worship service is balanced with ministry from the people to God (worship) and from God to the people. (Word)
Authentic worship is revival.
Some people believe that authentic worship will be a sign of revival. Others believe that authentic worship will be a cause of revival. Both groups are right. But there is more. Authentic worship is revival, a revival of a personal relationship with God.
During authentic worship
- the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment to come;
- the proud are humbled and the downtrodden exalted; and
- the gospel is preached to the poor.
When Jesus moves, doing the works that only He can do—saving, healing, baptizing in the Spirit, calling into the ministry, admonishing errant believers, opening blinded eyes, setting prisoners free, and setting at liberty those who are bruised—is this not authentic worship?
Is it not also revival?
© 2016 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved