"But coming is the hour and now is, When the true worshippers will be worshipping the Father in spirit and truth, For the Father also is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who are worshipping Him must be worshipping in spirit and truth."
These words, recorded in John 4:23-24, were spoken by Jesus to an unnamed Samaritan woman. Within a few minutes, the woman knew she was talking to the Messiah.
God is not seeking flatterers. He takes no pleasure in the blood of animal sacrifices, nor in empty rituals. But to worship God in spirit and truth, it is necessary to know Christ.
Jesus asked a gathering of Pharisees, as recorded in Matthew 22:41-46:
"What are you supposing concerning the Christ? Whose Son is He?" "The son of David," they replied.
So Jesus said to them,
"How, then, is David, in spirit, calling Him Lord, saying, 'Said the Lord to my Lord, "Sit at My right, Till I shall be placing Thine enemies" underneath "Thy feet"'? If , then, David is calling Him Lord, how is He his Son?"
No-one could say a word in reply, and from that day on, no-one dared to ask Him any more questions. So these teachers of the law did not know the Messiah, despite the fact that He was prophesied in all the Hebrew Scriptures.
But then, even Adam and Eve had not understood. Genesis 3:15 records what God said to the serpent:
"And I shall set enmity between you and the WOMAN, and between your seed and HER seed; He shall hurt you in your head, and you shall hurt Him in the heel."
The Messiah would be the seed of the WOMAN and not the man. Eve was not to know that the virgin Mary was to be the mother of the Messiah, thousands of years later.
At first, Adam and Eve thought that their first-born son, Cain, was to be their saviour. Cain brought an offering to the LORD. Notice it was to the LORD, not to a foreign god, but it was not accepted. So it is possible to worship the one true God, but it can be just an empty ritual.
The Pharisees, despite all their learning, could not answer whose Son the Christ is! Perhaps more importantly, they did not understand that the God of their Scriptures was not the invisible Deity. No-one has ever seen or heard or touched God the Father at any time.
What some humans have seen is God's Image, the image of the invisible God (see Colossians 1:15), the first-born over all creation. By definition, an image is not the original.
What humanity has heard is His Word, His Logos or Expression as explained in John 1:1-4:
"In the beginning was the word, and the word was toward God, and God was the word. This was in the beginning toward God. All came into being through it, and apart from it, not even one thing came into being which has come into being."
John 1:18 adds,
"The only-begotten GOD, who is in the bosom of the Father, He enfolds Him."
The Messiah enfolds God or reveals Him.
These words from Ephesians 1:3 are familiar to us:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ... "
Christ has a God! By definition, the Deity cannot have a God over Him.
There will come a time when Christ will hand over the kingdom to God the Father. This is when Christ has made everything subject under His feet. But this "everything", as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 does not include God the Father.
The Son Himself shall also be subject to the Father, that God may be All in all. By definition, the Deity cannot be subject to anyone else.
Christ is the Mediator between God and man. By definition, a mediator is separate from both parties. 1 Timothy 2:5 explains this clearly:
"For there is ONE God, and ONE Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus ... "
Just as a human being has a spirit which is that one person, so God and His Spirit are one. We can prove this by comparing two Scriptures.
The first, John 1:14 reads:
"And the Word became flesh and tabernacles among us, and we gaze at His glory, a glory as of an only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
The second, Matthew 1:18 reads:
"Now Jesus Christ's birth was thus: At the espousal of His mother, Mary, to Joseph, ere their coming together, she was found pregnant by holy spirit. "
Christ did not have TWO fathers: 'God the Father' and 'God the Holy Spirit'.
Luke 1:35 records what the messenger said to Mary:
"Holy spirit shall be coming on you, and the power of the Most High shall be overshadowing you; wherefore also the holy One Who is being generated shall be called the Son of God."
1 Corinthians 8:5-7 makes clear the relationship between God and Christ:
"For even if so be that there are those being termed gods, whether in heaven or on earth, even as there are many gods and many lords, nevertheless FOR US there is ONE God, the Father, OUT OF Whom all is, and we FOR Him, and ONE Lord, Jesus Christ, THROUGH Whom all is, and we THROUGH Him. But not in all is there this knowledge."
When 'doubting' Thomas said to Jesus, "My Lord and my God", Christ did not rebuke him.
In what way can Christ, the Word and the Image of God, Himself be called God? God the Father created all things through Christ as explained in Colossians 1:15-16:
"[The Son of His love ...] Who is the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature, for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him."
Christ was in the FORM of God as revealed in Philippians 2:5-11:
"For let this disposition be in you, which is in Christ Jesus also, being inherently in the FORM of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God, nevertheless empties Himself, taking the FORM of a slave, coming to be in the likeness of humanity, and, being found in fashion as a human, He humbles Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
"Wherefore, also, God highly exalts Him, and graces Him with the name that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus, every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father."
Each one of us has to answer the question Jesus put to His disciples near Caesarea Philippi, Matthew 16:13-16:
"Who are men saying the Son of Mankind is?" Now they say, "These, indeed, John the baptist, yet others Elijah, yet others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He is saying to them, "Now you, who are YOU saying that I am?" Now, answering, Simon Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
All those who answer as Peter did are happy, because only the Father reveals it.
A Pharisee asked Christ what the foremost precept was. Christ's answer is in Mark 12: 29-30:
"Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall be loving the Lord you God Out of your whole soul, And out of your whole comprehension, And out of your whole strength."
Even the Pharisee responded that this is excessively more than all the burnt offering and sacrifices.
Not only are we to love God with all our HEART, we are also to love God with all our MIND. If our worship is to be in spirit and in truth, we must have a true concept of what God IS, and what He has done for us through Christ.
Then, and only then, can we love the Lord our God with all our heart and mind. We are to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ as it says in 2 Peter 3:18.
God has provided the means to do just that. Ephesians 4:11 reveals that God had sent specially endowed apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers to bring maturity to God's people, including the realization of the Son of God.
I close by reading Paul's prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21 which could well be ours:
" ... that He may be giving you, in accord with the riches of His glory, to be made staunch with power, through His spirit, in the man within, Christ to dwell in your hearts through faith, having been rooted and grounded in love, should be strong to grasp, together with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ as well which transcends knowledge - that you may be completed for the entire complement of God.
"Now to Him who is able to do superexcessively above all that we are requesting or apprehending, according to the power that is operating in us, to Him be glory in the ecclesia and in Christ Jesus for all the generations of the eon of the eons! Amen!
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