Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth
Part Two of Two
By Fred Pruitt
The Heart of the Matter
So Jesus and His band of disciples were passing close to a Samaritan village named Sychar. Since the town well was a distance from the village, Jesus decides to rest by the well while the others go into town to see if they can buy something to eat. While He was waiting, a village woman came to draw water from the well. That begins the famous conversation which starts with Jesus asking her for some water, leading to His claim that He provided Heavenly Water, which if she drank, would cause her to never thirst again, but instead would be in her a well of water springing up into Everlasting Life.
(That passage, that conversation, epitomizes my entrance into my Life in Jesus Christ. A ”well of water springing up into everlasting life,” ‘saved’ me in the beginning, when scales fell from my eyes and I no longer saw through the eyes of death. My false vision had been replaced by the vision of Life, and I knew I had come to the right Fountain from which to drink Heavenly Water. And in those beginning days I slaked my thirst in the Eternal Fountain a thousand-fold over when I realized the New Life that had begun rising up in me. I could not get enough Life upon Life upon Life. …. Then that passage about never thirsting again, ‘saved’ me again, after the seven initial years in Christ had turned sour at my own perceived failure and condemnation. I had forgotten about the Eternal Water inside me, and wondering what had gone wrong. This second time the pump was primed by Norman Grubb when he said, “You don’t need MAN to teach you, you have the Teacher in you!” The Water came back full-force when that statement hit its target in me. Seven years before I knew the water existed and I drank from it, but only dimly knew where it was coming from. The second time, I knew it was coming up from within me and it had nothing to do with ‘my’ instigation of it. God instigates Himself inside us and is eternally flowing. I knew it was permanent and unending and came from God by His command, and not by my heathenish practices to try to ‘get God to come down and bless me.’ That was 38+ years ago, in the autumn of 1980. It has not changed since, except to increase.)
Back to Jesus and the woman at the well. Then the conversation goes to how many husbands she has had. Jesus’ Word to her that she’s had five husbands penetrates her, and she says, “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet.” That’s the crux of the conversation, which leads to Him eventually revealing Himself as the promised Messiah.
Realizing He was a prophet made her think He would have knowledge of the dispute between the Samaritans and the Jews over the right mountain on which to worship God. Which is what prompted Jesus to say what He did about “worship in Spirit and in Truth.”
Jesus’ answer to her is the key to understanding every bit of error by deception the human race has embraced throughout its long and sordid history. In Romans One Paul puts his finger on the same issue, worded differently.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools … Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever” (Rom 1:21-23, 25)
It started with Adam and Eve, when they chose the creation – the outer world – Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – over the Creator. It continued with Cain, who thought his “salvation” depended on his ability to produce sustenance out of the earth, rather than trust in the mercy and grace of the invisible God, in the spirit of his brother Abel’s sacrifice. Even Abel was just as separated in his mind as we all have been since Adam, but the Eternal Spirit rose up in him even in his still-separated mind through the grace of God, instilling faith toward God in Abel, even without Abel’s full understanding and knowledge. The fruit it bore in understanding caused him to perform a sacrifice that recognized the gulf that could only be bridged by a death, symbolized by the shedding of blood, pointing from the very beginning through animal sacrifices, to the coming Lamb of God in the fullness of time, Who had been already “slain” in the foundations of the earth. (Rev 13:8).
And so it has always been. Ishmael, born to witness to the Jerusalem of the Law, the Covenant of Bondage, of self-effort, of the appearance world, a mocker of the son of Promise. He is a perpetual warrior, with great zeal for God as he knows and understands Him, but he builds his own house.
(Yet Ishmael is still a son of Abraham, and Isaac and Ishmael yet shall bury their father together in the Cave of Machpelah in the restoration. Ishmael has more to do and his return will be that which is any prodigal’s joy, the chest crushing hugs from a Father whose eyes are rivers and whose joy is so full and overwhelming … he can never let go of his embrace. … “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre.” [Gen 25:8,9.])
Then Isaac, who is the laughter of God, inheritor of the Blessing and Seed of Abraham, whose descendants are to be more numerous than the stars of heaven and the number of grains of sand in the seas. Not sons of the flesh but children of the Spirit, because the line coming from Abraham is the line with Promise, and the line through which all the peoples on the earth are blessed through the Son of Adam, Son of Noah, Son of Shem, Son of Abraham, Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then there was Esau, the hunter, man’s man, lover of strange women, a man of the earth and good at being a man of the earth. He fits the saying, “for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8). He thinks so little of his inheritance coming to him as the firstborn, his birthright, that he spurns it, and sells it to his brother Jacob for a bowl of stew when he came in famished from being out all day. His inheritance included goods and blessings from his grandfather Abraham, serious things, but he scoffed at it and took a bowl of lentils for his belly’s sake.
His brother Jacob got Esau’s first-born blessing by stealth, when by his mother’s instructions he disguised himself as Esau and fooled his father Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing. People judge Jacob and Rebekah for that, but it was all accomplished by the Spirit Who is the main causer in all of these stories. Esau was not to have either the blessing or the right of the firstborn. He was a man of the earth. God had chosen Jacob, the man of the Spirit. (Even though Jacob was unaware of that at the time.)
(This might be “proof” to some that we are to “help” God’s purposes come into view, by manipulating circumstances or people so that conditions are right for Christ’s return, or to help bring about the fulfillment of some other prophecies. That is not our job. We don’t try to make sure a man with a donkey is waiting for us to ask the owner to use it for the Lord. Jesus just said “Go there and you’ll see a man …,” and when they did what Jesus said, the man was there, just as Jesus had said. Jesus well knew all the prophecies concerning Him, and I’m sure he readily saw them one by one being fulfilled as He steadily made His way to Golgotha, but He did nothing whatsoever to “make” them happen by trying to manipulate the circumstances. Those today who believe by causing chaos in our world they are hastening the return of Christ, in my heart of hearts I believe are greatly mistaken. All they are doing is causing more chaos. There is no admonition from the Spirit that says, “Let us do evil, that good may come.” There is no admonition upon the Church other than the admonition Christ left us with. Regarding our work in the world, “preaching the Gospel to every creature,” has always been and remains our primary work. Even the “equipping of the saints,” etc., the list from Eph 4:12, has to do with this one thing, Jesus Christ crucified, dead, buried, resurrected and ascended, and the effect of His Passion in our lives.
(Regarding our place in the world, in “world society,” Jesus told us more than once about the Lord who left his servant 10 pounds to “do business with until I come back.” [Luke 19:8 NASB]. What did Jesus leave us with to “do business with this” until He comes back? That’s easy – the Holy Spirit! He is described three times in the New Testament as the “earnest,” or the “down payment,” or the “guarantee” of the total fulfillment of all His promises toward us, some now, but others withheld until we are absent from this body and fully present with the Lord. It is the fulfilled Promise NOW of the fulness of His Presence and Life in my body which is always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the Life also of Jesus would be manifested in my body! But it is also a Life where we realize, “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” [Rom 8:18]
(My life since knowing and living in the Spirit then has always been twofold, because of the twofold quality of our inheritance. The twofold quality is that in this Life the Spirit forms Christ in us in our human identity, and we have and are the fullness of the Spirit in our Lives purposed for the outflow of the Love of God. But we still live in the land of temptation and as such, like Christ’s Whose Life is now ours through the Spirit, we are always tempted in all points as He was. However, being now equipped with HIS righteousness, we learn what it is to not sin, even as He, instead of “continually sinning” as we have been previously taught. This is the other quality. Instead of being continually sin-conscious or “fear of sin” conscious, the Spirit leads us into Knowing “Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” [Phil 3:10].
(Why, for what purpose? Hasn’t Jesus already done it all? This is the outwalking of Christ’s bearing all the sufferings in the world! He was the first “Seed” to fall into the ground and die, bringing forth more fruit. Two thousand years later, now we are that fruit. Fruit is food for others, and seeds for more fruit. Now we are privileged to be those who fall into the ground and die, because that’s what makes the new plants grow and come to fruition, even as they came to fruition in us. [See John 12:24,25]
(It can almost sound morbid but it is instead joy unspeakable and full of glory, to give one more passage:
(“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” [2 Cor 4:16-18])
So to finish what I mentioned above, no one knows when Christ will come back. I know some say He has come back in various ways, especially through the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh. However, the Day the scripture has promised, when every eye shall see Him, He will irradiate everything from the west to the east like lightning in a thunderstorm. When Christ comes, there will be no more debate. Every eye shall see Him. (Rev 1:7). No one knows the day nor the hour, only the Father in Heaven.
Jacob was a man of the Spirit, but even he didn’t begin to know it until he had to flee Esau’s wrath, and spent the first night on the run in the wilderness, falling asleep with a rock as his pillow. He had the dream of a ladder from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it. Jacob looked up and at the top he saw the Lord standing there. Then the Lord spoke to him, giving Jacob the same promise He gave his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac, “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Gen 28:14,15).
This was Jacob’s moment. He woke from the dream and uttered: “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel.” (Gen 28:16-19). (Bethel – House of God)
That’s Jacob’s testimony, yet “the world” has continued on and on and on. The world and all that is in it, the appearance world, is a work of the flesh, is founded on flesh, is nothing but flesh. It is the marketplace, the meeting rooms, the daily news, the “You’re Satan,” – “No, YOU’RE Satan!” – wherever people are, all over the world, there it is. Everywhere, it’s wall to wall world – “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, which, John goes on to say, “is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16).
And we go yes, there it is, there’s that nasty “world” always rearing its ugly head.
However, if we are in Him, then we are not in him who is in the world, and we see the world differently through Spirit-eyes, rather than flesh-eyes. All the flesh-eyes see are the problems that keep growing and growing and growing, with no solutions in sight.
It’s the dog-eat-dog daily grind in the flesh world through flesh eyes. Flesh cannot see through the veil to the Truth. The Truth that God is All in all.
When we see clearly that God is All in all, we realize we have no need to “fret” over what the people of the world do. We have the freedom to declare them acceptable to the Lord, because He has already reconciled them to Himself through Christ, and only asks that they return to the Father’s House only to be greeted with tears of joy and hugs of unbounded affection.
Jesus declared the same for Jerusalem, but they did not know the day of their visitation. (See Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:34,35)
By all these contrasts, I hope it is clear what “worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth,” means. It has nothing to do with temples or buildings or which mountains are holy and which are not. When we worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth, all mountains are holy. God is in every building, not just in special ones set aside for Him.
To worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth simply means that we are walking in the reality of Who we really are, Christ by the Spirit having been made one with us in our spirits, i.e., our essential personhood. In our innermost sanctuary, the flesh god was kicked out, the one who deceived us and all the nations of the earth with non-stop falsehoods planted in our minds every hour and every day of our existence. He brought only condemnation to us and ill will to those over against us, since we (all of us) sat in judgment of our human brethren, all of whom, regardless of current condition, are God’s offspring (Acts 17:28). When we did that, and I’m sure we ALL have, we in essence “judged God.” Ah, but – NO MORE!!!
When the Spirit of the Lord entered us and removed the foul stench of self-for-itself from us, He replaced it with Himself, the Lover-God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We inherit through them their ability and sight to see through all things to the perfect workings of God in everything that is.
One more thing. I like a more expansive view of the word, “worship,” than the usual. I suppose most of us see worship as a particular activity, usually done in a congregation as a means to praise and give honor to God. And of course, the how-to’s of worship differ widely from fellowship to fellowship. Some raise their hands and shout. Some sing rousing songs. Others meditate and say very little.
No matter. Wherever two or three are gathered in His name, He promises to be in the middle. All it really is, is simply giving credit where credit is due, and acknowledging that fact. It is giving homage to someone higher, someone of distinction. To me that is all day long every day. That’s what Paul means when he says, “For me to live is Christ.” (Phil 1:21). It’s nothing but Christ! We LIVE in the Spirit always! It is now our territory, our country, our abode. And we take it with us wherever we go.
“Bless he Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless HIS Holy Name!” (Ps 103:1)