THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS
by Tony Alamo
“The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the FATHER in SPIRIT and in TRUTH: for the FATHER seeketh such to worship HIM. GOD is a SPIRIT: and they that worship HIM must worship HIM in SPIRIT and in TRUTH” (John 4:23-24).
These words of JESUS to the woman of Samaria are HIS first recorded teaching on the subject of prayer. They give us some wonderful first glimpses into the world of prayer. The FATHER seeks worshippers. Our worship satisfies HIS loving heart, and is a joy to HIM. HE seeks true worshippers, but finds many who are not the way HE would like them. True worship is worship which is in SPIRIT and TRUTH. The SON has come to open the way for this worship in SPIRIT and TRUTH, and to teach it to us.
One of our first lessons in the school of prayer must be to understand what it is to pray in SPIRIT and in TRUTH, and to learn how we can attain it. We attain it by knowing that we are a member of the body of CHRIST;1 therefore, we must approach GOD as CHRIST. We are the sons of GOD, heirs and joint-heirs together with HIM (Romans 8:16-17). “Know ye not that ye are the temple of GOD,” “and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19). Because CHRIST, with the FATHER by the SPIRIT, lives in you, you are one in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. GOD will only hear HIS SON.2 Therefore, HE hears you when you are in HIS SON. This is worshipping GOD in SPIRIT and TRUTH. GOD is the SPIRIT and JESUS is the TRUTH.3
Our LORD spoke of a three-fold worship to the woman of Samaria. First, there is the ignorant worship of the Samaritans: “Ye worship ye know not what.” Second is the intelligent worship of the Jew, having the true knowledge of GOD: “We know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). The new, SPIRITUAL worship, which HE HIMSELF came to introduce, is third: “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the FATHER in SPIRIT and in TRUTH” (John 4:23).
The words “in SPIRIT and in TRUTH” mean earnestly, from the heart, and in sincerity. The Samaritans had the five books of Moses and some knowledge of GOD. The Jews had the true, full revelation of GOD in that portion of HIS WORD that had been given. There were Godly men among them who called on GOD with their whole hearts, but not “in SPIRIT and in TRUTH,” in the full meaning of the words. JESUS said, “The hour is coming, and now is.” Only in and through HIM will the worship of GOD be in SPIRIT and TRUTH. GOD only listens to you when you are in HIS SON.
Among Christians, one still finds three classes of worshippers. Some, in their ignorance, hardly know what they’re asking for. They pray earnestly, but they receive little. There are others having more knowledge who try to pray with all of their minds and hearts. They often pray most earnestly, yet they do not attain the full blessedness of worship in SPIRIT and TRUTH. It is into the third class we must ask our LORD JESUS to take us. HE must teach us how to worship in SPIRIT and TRUTH. This alone is Spiritual worship. This makes us the kind of worshippers the FATHER seeks. In prayer, everything will depend on our understanding and practicing worship in SPIRIT and TRUTH.
“GOD is a SPIRIT: and they that worship HIM must worship HIM in SPIRIT and in TRUTH” (John 4:24). The first thought suggested here by the MASTER is that there must be harmony between GOD and HIS worshippers. This is according to a principle which prevails throughout the universe: the correspondence between an object and the organ to which it reveals or yields itself. The eye is receptive to light, the ear to sound. The man who truly wants to worship GOD—to find, know, possess, and enjoy GOD—must be in harmony with HIM and have the capacity for receiving HIM, which means he must be in HIM. Because GOD is SPIRIT, we must worship in SPIRIT.
What does this mean? The woman had asked our LORD whether Samaria or Jerusalem was the true place of worship. HE answers that henceforth worship is no longer to be limited to a certain place: “Woman, believe ME, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the FATHER” (John 4:21). GOD is SPIRIT (and we must be in HIS SPIRIT), not bound by space or time.4 In HIS infinite perfection, HE is the same always and everywhere.5 Our worship must not be confined by place or form, but be SPIRITUAL, as GOD HIMSELF is SPIRITUAL.6
This is a lesson of deep importance. How much our Christianity suffers from being confined to certain times and places! A man who seeks to pray earnestly only in the church or in the prayer closet spends the greater part of his time in a spirit entirely at variance with that in which he prayed. His worship was the work of a fixed place or hour, not of his whole being.7 GOD is a SPIRIT. What HE is, HE is always, and in TRUTH. Our worship must be the same: it must be the SPIRIT of our life. “GOD is a SPIRIT: and they that worship HIM must worship HIM in SPIRIT and in TRUTH” (John 4:24).
The second thought that comes to us is that this worship in the SPIRIT must come from GOD HIMSELF. Because GOD is SPIRIT, HE alone has SPIRIT to give. HE sent HIS SON to fit us for such SPIRITUAL worship by giving us the HOLY SPIRIT, the COMFORTER, HIMSELF in us.8 It is of HIS own work that JESUS speaks when HE says twice, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the FATHER in SPIRIT and in TRUTH [approaching HIM as JESUS because we are HIS body, HIS temple]” (John 4:23). The FATHER listens to HIS SON, only you must believe that you are a member of JESUS the SON of GOD if you want to be heard and answered.
JESUS came to baptize us with the HOLY SPIRIT, which could not stream forth until HE was glorified (John 1:33; 7:37-38; 16:7). When JESUS had made an end of sin, HE entered into the HOLIEST of all by the SPIRIT with HIS blood.9 There, on our behalf, HE became the HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 2:33), and sent HIMSELF down into us who seek the HOLY SPIRIT as the SPIRIT of the FATHER. It was when CHRIST had redeemed us, and we had received the position of children, that the FATHER sent the SPIRIT of HIS SON into our hearts to cry, “ABBA, FATHER.”10 The worship in SPIRIT is the worship of the FATHER in the SPIRIT of CHRIST, the SPIRIT of SONSHIP.
This is the reason why JESUS uses the name of FATHER here. We never find one of the Old Testament saints personally appropriating the name of child or calling GOD his FATHER. The worship of the FATHER is only possible for those to whom the SPIRIT of the SON has been given.11 The worship in SPIRIT is only possible for those to whom the SON has revealed the FATHER, those who have received the SPIRIT of SONSHIP. It is only CHRIST who opens the way and teaches the worship in SPIRIT and gives the ability to worship the FATHER in SPIRIT and TRUTH.12
Worship in SPIRIT and in TRUTH: in TRUTH does not only mean in sincerity. Nor does it only signify accordance with the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD. The expression is one of deep and Divine meaning. JESUS is “the only begotten of the FATHER, full of grace and TRUTH” (John 1:14). “The law was given by Moses, but grace and TRUTH came by JESUS CHRIST” (John 1:17). JESUS said, “I AM the way, THE TRUTH, and the life” (John 14:6). The Old Testament was all shadow and promise. JESUS brought and gives the reality, the substance, of things hoped for.13 In HIM the blessings and powers of the eternal life are our actual possession and experience.14
JESUS is full of grace (Divine power) and TRUTH.15 The HOLY SPIRIT is the SPIRIT of TRUTH, through whom the grace that is in JESUS is ours, a positive communication of the Divine LIFE. Therefore, worshipping in SPIRIT is worshipping in CHRIST who is THE TRUTH. This actual living fellowship with GOD is a real correspondence and harmony between the FATHER, who is a SPIRIT, and the child in the SPIRIT, the COMFORTER, CHRIST, praying in the SPIRIT.16
The woman of Samaria could not immediately understand what JESUS said to her. Pentecost was needed to reveal its full meaning.17 We are inadequately prepared to grasp such teaching at our first entrance into the school of prayer. We will understand it better later on. Let us begin by taking the lesson as HE gives it. We were carnal, and cannot bring GOD the worship HE seeks.18
JESUS has given us the SPIRIT. Let our attitude in prayer be what CHRIST’S WORDS have taught us. Let there be the deep confession of our inability to worship HIM if we are in the flesh, not in the SPIRIT, to bring GOD the worship that is pleasing to HIM, the childlike teachableness that waits for HIM to instruct us, and the simple faith that yields itself to the breathing of the SPIRIT. Above all, let us hold on tightly to the HOLY SPIRIT, this blessed reality: the secret of prayer in SPIRIT and TRUTH is in the knowledge of the FATHERHOOD of GOD and the sonship of us in CHRIST, the COMFORTER, the revelation of HIS infinite FATHERLINESS living and breathing in our hearts, and the FAITH in HIS infinite love for us as HIS children. This is the new and living way CHRIST opened up for us. To have CHRIST the SON and the SPIRIT of the SON dwelling within us and revealing the FATHER makes us true, SPIRITUAL worshippers.
LORD, teach us to pray.
Blessed LORD! I adore the love with which YOU taught the woman who had refused YOU a cup of water what the worship of GOD must be (John 4:6-26). I rejoice in the assurance that YOU will instruct any disciple who comes to YOU, with a heart that longs to pray in SPIRIT and TRUTH, with the same love. O my HOLY MASTER! Teach me this blessed secret!
Teach me that worship in SPIRIT and TRUTH is not anything from man, but comes only from YOU. It is not only a thing of times and of seasons, but is the outflowing of a LIFE in YOU. Teach me to get closer to GOD in prayer with the attitude that I am ignorant and have nothing in myself to offer HIM, with the exception of CHRIST HIS SON. But, at the same time, remind me of the provision that YOU, my SAVIOR, make for the SPIRIT’S breathing in my childlike stammerings.19
I bless YOU because in YOU I am a son, and I have a son’s liberty of access to the FATHER. In YOU I have the SPIRIT of SONSHIP and of worship in TRUTH.
Teach me above all, BLESSED SON of the FATHER, the revelation of the FATHER that gives confidence in prayer. Let the infinite FATHERLINESS of GOD’S heart be my joy and strength for a life of prayer and of worship. Amen.
It is important for us to always pray, and to pray without ceasing.20 You might begin believing all sorts of foolish things, like, “Should we prevail in court? Or not?” You may begin thinking GOD’S will is what you think. But it is not what you think (Isaiah 55:8). HIS will is HIS will, not yours. Here is HIS will: “Upon this rock [which is CHRIST] I will build MY church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
The Apostle James says, “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering [doubting nothing]. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the LORD” (James 1:6-7). Therefore, LORD, I ask for salvation in the name of JESUS.
My LORD and my GOD, have mercy upon my soul, a sinner. 1 I believe that JESUS CHRIST is the SON of the living GOD. 2 I believe that HE died on the cross and shed HIS precious blood for the forgiveness of all my former sins. 3 I believe that GOD raised JESUS from the dead by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT 4 and that HE sits on the right hand of GOD at this moment, hearing my confession of sin and this prayer. 5 I open up the door of my heart, and I invite YOU into my heart, LORD JESUS. 6 Wash all of my filthy sins away in the precious blood that YOU shed in my place on the cross at Calvary. 7 YOU will not turn me away, LORD JESUS; YOU will forgive my sins and save my soul. I know because YOUR WORD, the Bible, says so. 8 YOUR WORD says that YOU will turn no one away, and that includes me. 9 Therefore, I know that YOU have heard me, and I know that YOU have answered me, and I know that I am saved. 10 And I thank YOU, LORD JESUS, for saving my soul, and I will show my thankfulness by doing as YOU command and sin no more.11
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If you want the world saved, as JESUS commands, then don’t rob GOD of HIS tithes and offerings. GOD said, “Will a man rob GOD? Yet ye have robbed ME. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed THEE? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed ME, even this whole nation [and this whole world]. Bring ye all the tithes [a ‘tithe’ is 10% of your gross income] into the storehouse, that there may be meat [Spiritual food] in MINE house [souls saved], and prove ME now herewith, saith the LORD of HOSTS, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of HOSTS. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of HOSTS” (Malachi 3:8-12).
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The True Worshippers footnotes:
6. 1 Chron. 16:11, Psa. 34:1, 145:18, Isa. 55:8-9, John 15:7, Rom. 1:9, 8:1, 16, 26-28, 12:12, 1 Cor. 6:17, 14:15, Eph. 6:11-18, Phlp. 3:3, 1 Thes. 5:17, 1 Tim. 2:8, Heb. 10:19-23, 1 John 3:22, Jude 20-21 return
1. Psa. 51:5, Rom. 3:10-12, 23 return
2. Matt. 26:63-64, 27:54, Luke 1:30-33, John 9:35-37, Rom. 1:3-4 return
3. Acts 4:12, 20:28, Rom. 3:25, I John 1:7, Rev. 5:9 return
4. Psa. 16:9-10, Matt. 28:5-7, Mark 16:9, 12, 14, John 2:19, 21, 10:17-18, 11:25, Acts 2:24, 3:15, Rom. 8:11, I Cor. 15:3-7 return
5. Luke 22:69, Acts 2:25-36, Heb. 10:12-13 return
6. I Cor. 3:16, Rev. 3:20 return
7. Eph. 2:13-22, Heb. 9:22, 13:12, 20-21, I John 1:7, Rev. 1:5, 7:14 return
8. Matt. 26:28, Acts 2:21, 4:12, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14 return
9. Matt. 21:22, John 6:35, 37-40, Rom. 10:13 return
10. Heb. 11:6 return
11. John 5:14, 8:11, Rom. 6:4, I Cor. 15:10, Rev. 7:14, 22:14 return
12. Matt. 28:18-20, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, 19:3-5, Rom. 6:3-5, Col. 2:10-12 return
13. Deut. 4:29, 13:4, 26:16, Josh. 1:8, 22:5, 2 Tim. 2:15, 3:14-17, James 1:22-25, Rev. 3:18 return