Does everybody have enough time to read it all? Okay. I’ll read two verses and then we will start. John 4. Is the volume okay in the back? John 4, verses 23 and 24. 23 “For the hour is coming and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. For the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Okay, let’s pray.
Father, we want to meet You and we ask that You give us more understanding of how we may properly worship You with reverence, with a right attitude, a right goal, a right heart, a right identity. I pray, Lord, that You would meet us in this time. Speak Lord. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Does somebody have a sharing from what God spoke to you in John 4? Any key verse, any idea that you’d like to share? If not.
Well, first I want to thank everyone for praying for us. Thank you for Brother Abraham and Brother Matthew for preaching. I was blessed listening to the sermon slash testimonies. Please pray for the Parks as they travel to London. They’ll be there for the next, today and next Sunday as well and then we’ll see them afterward.
Our trip was definitely from the Lord because we, humanly speaking, we shouldn’t have even been there but God somehow made a way for us to go there. And if you know me, this trip is not the kind of trip that I would want to go on. I’m very introverted. I need a lot of space. I don’t like cramped quarters. I certainly do not like being in a bus for hours and hours each day. It’s pretty much the last kind of a trip other than spending time with family. Didn’t have much energy, didn’t have much alone time. But the fact that I had a good attitude, a good spirit, I was joking most days.
So I thank the Lord. He was with me and I thank Him for that. The first Sunday I went to Heavenly Hope Church. We pray for them every Thursday prayer meeting. Got to fellowship with that church again. And I assumed that I was safe in Korea, not preaching because it’s a Korean speaking service and I barely speak Korean but Pastor Jangwon with a very smiling face asked me in front of me on Sunday, can you preach the following Sunday? If he had emailed me maybe I could say no or I’m on vacation or I don’t have time. But when he’s smiling and asking me to my face how can I say no?
And so I went, I couldn’t fully enjoy the trip because I knew I had to prepare. And I didn’t have my normal routine. So I asked the Lord for help. And He helped me in two ways. One is through a tour guide. She was a short lady, very knowledgeable and there’s always a danger that she will kind of move forward and somebody will be left behind. But her secret was this pole and on top of the pole was this yellow hand and hand in Korean is son.
So whenever I felt nervous I just have to look out into the crowd and I see the yellow son. And so there she is and then the rest of us can follow her. And the word for hand in Korean is son, it sounds like a word in English which is the son. And so that was part one of the message the Lord gave to me is whenever I’m not with Jesus and I’m lost I feel nervous. But when I see the Son I’m finally I feel at peace and all I have to do is follow. It’s very simple. So that was part one of the message.
The other part is He gave me a dream which does not happen often but I thank the Lord He gave me a dream and in the dream I shared from 1st Timothy chapter 2 about God’s heart and that was one of my prayer requests going into this Korea trip. Father can You show me Your heart? And He continued to do that throughout the trip and also through the dream.
And in the dream 1st Timothy 2 God’s heart is for every person every man woman and child on earth to be saved. That is God’s heart. (1 Timothy 2) And I prayed that prayer at some type of a service in my dream and I knew God wanted me to preach about God’s heart, salvation for the world, word of salvation, how can we reach the world? It begins with me. And so, I mainly shared my testimony of how I’m being saved and how that salvation extends beyond me to my wife, my family, the church, my neighbors, my city, my country and eventually to the ends of the earth.
And then coming back from this trip I was jet lagged, so again I didn’t have my normal routine and I was struggling so even now I’m struggling but I asked the Lord for help and I trust He will help me in this time. The key verse that I was meditating on the second half of this week and part of Korea was John 4 about what does it mean to worship the Father in spirit and in truth because it says “the Father is looking for such people” (John 4).
And we can certainly worship the wrong thing in the wrong way. We can also worship the right thing but do it in the wrong way. And then we can worship the right thing in the right way. How do we worship? We worship the Father. He is the object of our worship and also we worship the Son by the Spirit, in the Spirit and in truth and that is the right way, in the Spirit and in truth. God is Spirit and so just the fact that we show up on Sunday and sing a few songs and listen to a message we might think we’re connecting but in reality you don’t need a Sunday service. And the Samaritan woman and the Jews they were all about human tradition that we worship on this mountain. For the Samaritans it’s Mount Gerizim. That’s where they think Abraham sacrificed Isaac and it was a very significant mountain for them. And the other people, the Jews said it’s not that mountain. It was a different mountain and it’s located in Jerusalem.
And so there is a debate and a conflict here about the location. It’s almost like in our modern days it’s like which church do you go to? I go to this church, my church is better than yours and it’s all about location, your pastor, your preacher and that’s how we are so divided in the body of Christ. But Jesus settles the debate. It’s not about Mount Gerizim, the Mount at Jerusalem, it’s not about church, it’s not about who you listen to.
It is people in the spirit, by the Spirit, in truth, worshiping the Father wherever you are having that kind of unbroken connection to God who is Spirit and we can fellowship with Him, we can worship Him in spirit and in truth wherever you are whenever you want. At first I want to ask what are you worshiping? Are you worshiping the right thing? Are you worshiping the right person? For the Samaritan woman it was love. She wanted love. She had five husbands. By the time she reached her sixth she realized there’s no point to even go through a ceremony. I’m just living with this guy, who knows if it’s going to work out.
All the five previous marriages didn’t work out and so I tried to find love there and satisfaction and I couldn’t find it and isn’t that many people’s testimonies? They thought I need this, I need love, I need a girlfriend, I need a boyfriend, I need community, I need money, I need this job, I need this career and they do it and because we were never supposed to worship these things, after a while you become dissatisfied and what happens when you become dissatisfied you just kind of numb yourself and lower your expectations and people are going through life with this type of numbed, just this deep dissatisfaction and yet I’m still going to go through the motions and like this woman she’s just going to keep worshiping although her heart is not in it, she’s going to keep going to the mount at garrison and go through the motions when her heart is torn and her heart is in this kind of dissatisfied state, this numbed state, like what’s the point of life.
And I see that kind of hopelessness descending upon this young generation, like what’s the point if we can go through, have all these hopes and dreams in a moment, there could be a COVID outbreak and everything is shut down and you can’t even go to school and you’re paying full tuition for just these Zoom lectures which is a total waste of money, like if that can happen to me and now I can’t even show up to my job and I want a fellowship with coworkers, I’m a single person, I want to be in that kind of exciting environment and now they’re being told you can’t even show up and just work from behind a computer screen and that’s your life now and because this young generation is growing up like that, it’s different than my generation.
We grew up in the 70s, 80s, 90s, America is probably the glory days of America and probably in a world situation it was much better but from 2000, 2001 onward it’s been a slow decline and then certainly in the last few years it’s been a major decline in our world condition and I wonder if that’s your heart today, what’s the point? I’ve been chasing something, it’s not satisfying but I don’t have any other option, I’m just going to lower my expectation, I’m just going to numb myself through Netflix, I’m just going to numb myself and just barely get through life, there’s nothing to hope for, nothing is fun, nothing is interesting, I’m just going to chug along like this woman, like what’s the point of going through a ceremony?
I wonder if that’s you today. That can apply to a Christian and a non-Christian, of course it applies to a non-Christian, you’re worshiping the wrong thing but it can apply to a Christian as well because we may worship the right thing but in the wrong way, we may worship God in the flesh and think I just need to check off boxes and just read my Bible, it’s so boring, I show up at church, nothing’s that exciting, I go home, I do something I think is more exciting but at the end of the day when I put my head to the pillow I think well what a waste of a day, it wasn’t that interesting after all and so even as a Christian we know the right answer, we know we’re supposed to worship God the Father, we know we’re supposed to worship Jesus the Son, we know we need the Spirit’s help but we’re doing it in the wrong way and after a while it loses meaning, our heart is not in it, we give lip service, it’s because we’re approaching God the wrong way.
How do we worship God and approach Him in the right way? How do we worship God and the right way with the right identity, with the right attitude and with the right goal? The right identity, the Father is looking for worshipers and so right away we know what our identity is, it’s children of God, we are a child of God, we throw away all the titles that we receive in this world, all the titles the church gives us, we throw all of those away and we’re just a son or a daughter approaching our Heavenly Father and that is the most freeing thing when you can worship the Father as a child. When you don’t know your identity you’re trying so hard to merit love in this world and so my time is over and I’m trying to merit love from my pastors and my spiritual leaders and I got sucked into that type of identity and then even as a pastor I got stuck with my identity as a pastor and so how do I approach God?
I approach Him with all of these burdens like I’m trying to save the world Lord, I’m trying to work for you, I’m your employee now just help me and tell me what I need to do and I did that for a couple years and I hit a wall and I was sharing with a pastor and he said, well you sound like you’re a pastor who’s been in ministry for about 20 years and because of my past and then two years into the ministry and how difficult those first two years were, you add all that up, no wonder I hit a brick wall and there were conflicts I just could not handle and I said to the Lord, this is too much, I should just, I don’t even know if I should be a pastor and Jackie, I was shared with me one day, it’s like I can’t even go to church, it’s too difficult to go to church, I don’t want to face these people and through another pastoral couple I met, the Lord spoke very clearly, He said you need to prioritize your life, why are you trying to sacrifice your wife and your children and everything at the altar of church ministry and why are you doing all this and it was so clear what I needed to do and so I told the Lord, I told Jackie, okay if this is how it is, we need to step down and I was right about to make that announcement to step down and then God intervened, at the last minute He turned everything around, all the conflicts got resolved, we had a clean and a fresh start
Hill Community was birthed November 2012 and that was a reset and I remember around that season just asking the Lord, is this what being a pastor is, just starting Monday I’m just laboring for the sermon, laboring for the Bible study, laboring to meet people spending 40 hour plus doing a full manuscript and meeting people and feeling so tired, it almost felt like I was a professor and I’m writing a research paper and I’m doing all my due diligence and study and reading commentaries and trying to be very biblically sound and accurate and at the end of the week, Saturday night, Sunday morning, so exhausted, and so after two years I said Lord is this all there is?
And some of you were in this meeting, we met a spiritually gifted woman, a deaconess at a church and she had a gift, so she sensed I was a pastor, she said do I have permission to be a pastor? And she sensed I was a pastor, she said do I have permission to speak to you? She’s very respectful, so she sensed this, she asked for permission and she said why do you come to God as a pastor and not a child? And I didn’t understand what that meant, it was so foreign to me because pastors, I mean the way I’ve seen pastors is they are all unhappy, they are all burdened, they all seem to lack joy, they all seem to be suffering, they all seem to be annoyed by their stubborn sheep and so they come to God with all of these burdens and they are praying for people and so I saw this modeled for me and when she said you come to God as a pastor and I said of course I am a pastor, what else does God want from me? He called me into this and so I dismissed what she said. And then sometime shortly after, I was in some of you know we met Pastor Brian, I also got to meet Pastor Brian this trip and he said the same exact words. I can be stubborn at times but if you tell me twice I will finally hear okay Lord You’re speaking now, You’re speaking to me. And so how can I change my approach to You? It begins with identity.
From that point forward I struggled to disrobe myself from this identity. I had put it on for so long, this minister’s identity, this bi-vocational minister who serves, who ministers, who sets up chairs and tables, who works hard, who is sleepless, who is tired, who is always giving. I put on that identity for so long and then now I became a full time version of that and so it’s what I did but now I am doing it 24-7.
And it took a while to be reacquainted with my Heavenly Father. When I first became saved it was so clear, the first thing that Jesus did is He introduced me to the Father because He is the way to the Father. And so if you know Jesus and you see Jesus you see the Father and He shows you the Father and the Father comes to us and manifests His love to us and we have this privilege to be called children of God. And that is what happens when one person is saved.
That’s the first thing that I was so blown away by when I got saved in November 1993. That the Father’s love for me is unconditional and I can come to Him as I am and I can just be embraced like Luke 15, the lost son who comes home. And I enjoyed that kind of a fellowship for the first few years and then official church ministry began in my senior year, and as I graduated and took on more and more responsibilities, I began to feel more like an employee than a child of God.
And I lost touch with Jesus, and consequently, I lost touch with the Father. He is no longer my Father, I am no longer His son, I am an employee, He is my employer. I started to view my relationship with Him as laborious and struggled to see His love for me. My perspective on the nature of Our Father and child relationship had become skewed and I started to fear Him, thinking that if I don’t perform well enough then He will punish me.
Sadly, this notion of fearing God was mainly due to the spiritual fathers and leaders and pastors that I had encountered, which led me to confuse their character with my Heavenly Father’s. It took a long time of counseling, praying, and struggling to recover my identity as a child of God.
Therefore, if we want to learn how to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, we need to first reclaim our identity as children of God. Regardless of the titles that the world or even the church gives us. For when we come before God, we are all the same. We’re all sinners who have been saved and given this privilege through Christ to be co-heirs with Him and called children of God.
And how do we express these sentiments towards Him? Through worship. Worship is not just singing hymns, its a personal spiritual attitude, a humble submission before Him. Literally being prostrate before Him, on your knees. It’s a sacred spiritual connection where we get to hear from Him.
He can speak to you at any time and in any place. But if you want a dedicated spiritual connection with Him, you must learn to worship. This requires humbling yourself before Him, opening His Word and seeking His guidance through prayer. The goal is to connect with Him, to have an intimate encounter. It’s about staying in His presence and seeking His wisdom until you hear from Him. You do it until you meet Him. You do it until that connection is established. We worship Jesus and the Father because the two are one. You worship, you can’t say you honor Jesus or you worship Jesus and you don’t worship the Father. You can’t say I worship the Father or I worship or I honor the Father and you disregard the Son. The two are one. And so we worship Jesus, we worship the Father by the Spirit.
If you read John 3, when it talks about being born from above, actually it’s not born again. That’s some translation and I used to teach it this way, but on careful examination of the text, we’re born from above. And so when we’re going to heaven, we’re actually returning to our home because that’s where we were born. That’s where our inheritance lies. It’s not being born again. That’s not a good translation. We’re born from above.
And it speaks of the Spirit. That’s the wind. It blows. You don’t know where it comes from or where it’s going, but you see the effects that our spirit is revived. Our spirit comes to life. And so when we worship, we worship Jesus and the Father, we worship by the Spirit. We must have the Spirit of God. We must have the Spirit of God reviving and birthing our spirit. It happened at conversion.
But as we know from Genesis 45, verse 27, it is possible for our spirit to go back asleep. Because Jacob, when he had heard of Joseph being killed by wild animals, which was a deception, the brothers out of jealousy had sold him into slavery. But as far as Jacob understood, his eldest, his youngest son, his favorite son, his favorite son was dead. And in that moment or somewhere from that point until Genesis 45, Jacob’s spirit died.
And for the believer, our spirit that was once made alive by the Holy Spirit can become asleep. And so you may show up at church, you may read your Bible, but if your spirit is asleep or is dead, then there is no connection. And so if that is you, then ask for God to revive your spirit. Because you cannot worship the Father who is spirit unless your spirit is revived.
And when Jacob heard the news that Joseph is alive, it says in Genesis 45, verse 27, the Spirit of Jacob was revived. It says also in Ephesians 5, verse 14, “Awake you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” This can apply to the Christian, this can apply to the non-Christian. If you’re a non-Christian, your spirit is totally dead. And you meet Jesus and that Spirit comes to life. It can also apply, as we see in Jacob’s case, to a believer whose spirit falls asleep. So if that’s you, ask for God to revive your spirit in Jesus’ name. We worship the Spirit, we worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Not only with a revived spirit, but also in truth.
This is the truth of reality, this is the truth of biblical ideas, this is the truth of Jesus who is the truth, this is the truth that is revealed. That’s not just learned academically, intellectually, but something that is, you don’t see it, and the next moment you see it. It’s like the light came on. It’s like you’re in darkness and the light of Jesus shown. You come alive, your eyes see it. That’s how this is the truth that it’s speaking of. It’s also speaking of being straightforward and not deceptive.
You see how the Samaritan woman talked with Jesus, how there was deception? When Jesus is engaging her, Jesus points out her adultery. And the Samaritan woman changes subject. Do you see it? Like she says, “I see you’re a prophet,” and then she changes the subject and talks about where we should worship. “We worship on this mountain, you Jews worship on that mountain.” (John 4:19-20) She’s changing the subject.
And I wonder when Jesus comes to us and gives us, wants us to come clean, wants us to be truthful, we dodge Him. Instead of really revealing what’s in our heart, because the Father wants to connect with the real us, not a projection of us. Not hiding behind theological questions of where should we worship Jesus. Really revealing the depth of our heart and saying this is what’s going on in me. I’m stuck in adultery. I’m stuck chasing things. I have idolatries and addictions, and I want to come clean, Lord.
Jesus is trying to bring this woman to honesty. And that’s the other meaning of truth, is when you’re straightforward. And eventually as you fellowship with God the Father and Jesus the Son, what we see in the Bible as the Truth, God’s commandments, how we should live, the kind of fruit we should bear.
Eventually there’s an integrity of character that we are so changed that we can now fellowship with the Father, not as a wayward son, not as a prodigal son. The moment they arrive, they still smell of pigs. They are still dirty. But over time you fellowship in the Father’s house with Jesus the Son by the Spirit of God. You become more and more like Jesus. And so what you profess with your lips and your life starts to match. And there’s integrity in the kind of person you’re becoming. And that is the kind of worshiper the Father wants. You can only get this way if you regularly get on your knees and you abide in Jesus. And through Jesus you worship the Father by this Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ. We do this with a revived spirit of our own and in truth.
Okay, let’s pray.
Father, we repent for worshiping other things, other people, even many in the Church. We’re guilty of worshiping men, leaders, people’s gifts. We align ourselves with certain pastors and denominations and tribes. We lift up, as people in the Bible did, Moses instead of the person who Moses points to, Jesus Christ.
Father, we don’t want to medicate ourselves with entertainment, with alcohol, with things in this world, food. We don’t want to numb away the pain. We want to be honest with where we are. We bring our true selves before You. We ask that You revive our spirits. Holy Spirit, we ask that the wind would blow again in this place, in our hearts, as You did at the beginning, that You would revive our spirits, each of us.
We revive our spirits in Jesus’ name. We say, wake up in Jesus’ name. Wake up in Jesus’ name. We tell our spirits to wake up. And we take spiritual authority over our soul, our mind, will, emotions, our soul that is downcast. We command our soul to lift up our head, to no longer be downcast, to fix our eyes on the founder and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ.
Father, You are Spirit, and with our revived spirit, we want to worship You and worship the Son, by the Spirit, with our own revived spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) We see how this story ended in John 4. This woman had a genuine encounter with You. She described You, Lord Jesus, as a man who knew everything I had ever done and still loved her. Father still loved her.
She was so accepted in love. She didn’t have to chase after other things anymore. She met the love of her life. One encounter can lead to this kind of transformation. So, Lord, we ask that You would encounter us each day. That is the goal of this prayer, of every prayer. We want the encounter. We seek Your face, Father. We want to abide in the Son. We want to be truthful. And with this one encounter, she testified to all the Samaritans in her village. This is how evangelism is supposed to work. One encounter and we are changed and we speak and we testify. We evangelize and these people heard her testimony.
They wanted to meet Jesus for themselves and they met Jesus and they too were saved. This is how it’s supposed to work. Salvation begins with one person who is genuinely saved. It happens to us each day. It must happen each day. And then we testify about what Jesus did not 20, 30 years ago, but today. What He did today, we testify about how we are saved today. That is what keeps our lives fresh in the Lord. That keeps our joy in the Lord strong and fresh.
Lord, we pray that You meet us today so we can testify to all of Culver City that Jesus is alive. And may this salvation spread from us, from our families, to our household, our neighbors, Culver City, Southern California, all of California, all of America, to the ends of the earth.
I pray that You meet us as we partake in Your Lord’s Supper. Thank You Lord for dying on a cross for our sins. Allowing Your Body to be broken, allowing Your flesh to be torn so that we can have direct access anytime, anywhere to the Father. The throne room of God is open. As children we can boldly approach the throne of grace.
We do this now in the name of Jesus because of the blood that You shed for us. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.