Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled Revival – Living water (5). Her main text was taken from the Books of John and Revelation.
“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water… Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (Jn 4:7-10; 21-26)
WOMAN- WELL- WATER- WORSHIP
We continue to study the destiny changing encounter between our Lord and the Samaritan woman at the well. Study the words of Jesus. He is the One waiting at the well to meet this woman. He is the One who initiates the discussion. His first words are these: “Give Me a drink”. She is surprised at His request. Then Jesus says: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water…” The woman is ignorant of who is talking to her and what Jesus can provide. Follow His lead… He is stretching her imagination. Her dreams of life are so small. Her understanding is purely natural. But our Lord is challenging her to think spiritual, to dream big, from ‘bucket human effort drawing water’ to ‘fountain of eternally flowing Living Water’. He is the Greatest Fisherman. She is a fish coming into His net. Eventually the discussion ends in the revelation of the Lord, her salvation and true worship. This is the true pattern of evangelism.
The woman has many needs. She is seeking for truth and desires to worship God. But she is ignorant of the true God. Face to face with Christ, she does not recognize Him. This is the situation with all unbelievers. Even if Jesus will come down from heaven again, they will still not recognize Him, they will still reject and kill Him. Sinners hate truth because it exposes them to the light of God and challenges them to repent! And they do not like that! They prefer to live in darkness, in ignorance, and suffer the consequences than to repent and surrender to Christ! Our Lord did not come to earth as a Man to condemn men. There was no need for that because thru Adam’s fall, all men are born sinners, therefore they are all condemned before God. Our Lord came to earth as a Savior. He came as Man to die for sinners, that they may live. Those who believe in Christ and in His Blood shed for them are forgiven of their sins. The unbelievers continue to remain condemned before God. This is the Gospel: “The Just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17). We are saved by Grace and thru Faith (Eph 2:8). Faith in Christ is always connected with the Grace of God, with the Light of God and Eternal Life. Unbelief in Christ is sin, spiritual darkness, pride, and eternal death. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (Jn 3:18-21).
The Samaritan woman is a sinner. She is also religious. She is seeking for truth, for life. Our Lord directs the conversation to the point of revelation. Please notice how He gradually increases truth in her heart. Initially she sees him as a man, then a needy man, a stranger, and a Jew. Then she sees him as a Prophet. Lastly, she sees Him as Christ, her Savior, and her Lord! He tells her about the true worship and then, He reveals Himself to her. “I who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26). This is the exact moment when she believes that Christ is the Messiah. This is the moment when King Grace moves in her spirit, and she became saved. This is when she became born again. This is the moment when she became a true worshipper. This is when she ‘abandoned her bucket and the well’ (Jn 4:28) and she drank the Living Water! We sense the holiness of that moment. There is a wonderful joyful anointing on this encounter. We feel it too as we read the story. Glory to God! Heaven rejoices when a sinner is saved. Our Lord said this: “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7). We join the hosts of heaven and cry: “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev 5:12). In our Christian life and ministry, we need to come to this holy moment. When truth is revealed as Love who died for us, that we may live!
WORSHIP GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH
Worshipping God is the deepest and greatest spiritual activity of man before God. We are saved to worship God. Any man who says is a Christian but cannot worship God in spirit and in truth, is not saved. “I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” (A.W. Tozer). True worship is the eternal, heavenly, conscious, sacrificial expression of the love of man towards God. It is an equal mixture of Love for God and the Fear of God. It is total surrender before God, in perfect adoration and awe. True worship is not the same as prayer. Worship is more than a humble attitude towards God. During worship the believer does not make any request before God. He does not even give thanks for what God has done for him. He simply bows down and loves God because of who God is as a Person! Worship is always ‘vertical’, God centered. We worship God the Father and God the Son, the Lamb of God who died that we might live! The deepest cry of the worshipper is ‘Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev 5:12)
The word ‘worship’ comes from an old English word spelled ‘worth-ship’. There is an intimate connection between worship and the worth of God. You see in heaven how the elders worship God declaring that He is Worthy to be worship (Rev 4:10, 11; 5:8-14). The more you see the worth, the greatness of God, the deeper shall be your worship. The meaning of the word ‘worthy’ is this: somebody deserving to be noticed, deserving respect, admiration, or support. To deserve it means to have earned something or be given something because of your actions or excellent moral qualities. Worth means great value, excellent character that deserves recognition. Men desire to honor a worthy person. God alone is worthy of all our love. Because we are born sinners, and enemies to God, we do not deserve salvation, respect, or any good gift. All these are ours just because of God’s Grace. We worship King Grace who alone is worthy as a Person to receive all worship! “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created… Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev 4:11; 5:12).
Worship is God’s command. In Hebrew and in Greek, the word ‘worship’ means to kneel, to bow down or prostrate before God, or another deity. This position of the body reflects the spirit inside the body. There is a humbling, a submission, an acknowledging to the supreme God. All singing and all praying is not always worship. Singing praises should lead to worship. The preaching of the Word should lead to worship. If not, these religious activities are in vain. The word ‘worship’ appears about 200 times in the Bible. Worship is a manifestation of deep love and admiration towards God. It is a point of total surrender and humility before God. In worship, the Fear of God and the Love of God are combined in a perfect mixture. Worship is the atmosphere of heaven. God seats on the throne and all other beings worship Him. Worship is more than a beautiful song. It is a spiritual deep work in the soul of man. As God’s will is done in heaven, so it must be done on earth. We need to understand how God wants us to worship Him.
Biblical worship gives a visible expression to the relationship between God and His child. Worship is different than prayer. The worshipper does not make petitions, does not even give thanks for what God has done. During worship the believer gives himself to God, sacrificially and unconditionally. This is the unique holy pattern of true worship. God is seeking for true worshippers. God is looking for people who love and trust Him enough not to make so many demands. Like a millionaire who wants to marry a girl who loves him for himself and not for his money, God is looking for people who love Him because of who He is. There are few believers who truly worship God like this.
THE THRONE ROOM IN HEAVEN
“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones, I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:1-11)
As believers we know there is a heaven. We also know that our permanent home is in heaven. But we are not given many details about heaven. This is probably because human words are not enough to describe heaven, which is another much higher spiritual realm. In the Book of Revelation chapters 4 and 5, there is a glimpse of what Apostle John saw in heaven. Clearly, in heaven there is true worship. God is seated on the throne and all other beings worship Him. Christ, the Lamb upon the throne is also worshipped. Chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation are among the most important chapters in the Bible. We should study the way worship goes on in heaven so that we can do it on earth.
John sees ‘a door standing open in heaven’. He is called from above. A loud voice like a trumpet tells him: “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne” It is the Resurrected Christ, who calls John, with the same voice ‘like a trumpet’ (Rev 1:10). He tells John that He will show him ‘things which MUST take place’. The Lord does not tell him that some things will or possibly take place. The things ‘must’ take place. You see the total authority of our Lord over the future. God not only knows the future, but He designs the future. “From the beginning I revealed the end. From long ago I told you things that had not yet happened, saying, “My plan will stand, and I’ll do everything I intended to do” (Is 46:10; GWT). The Book of Revelation was written by Apostle John when he was abandoned on the Island of Patmos to die. But the Lord shows him things of the future and tells him to write letters to the seven churches. That means John will not die on that barren island. Indeed, John was taken back to Ephesus where he continued to be the bishop of that church until he died an old man. The Book of Revelation has given much encouragement to all believers who suffer persecution or pass thru trials in this life. This is because Jesus is the Beginning and the End of all things! Jesus says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Rev 22:13). Amen!
As soon as John heard the voice of Christ, ‘immediately he was in the Spirit’. Apostle John was already in the Spirit but now, he goes deeper into the Spirit’ realm. His body is still on the island of Patmos, but his spirit rises and sees heaven and the worship there. The first thing he sees is a throne. The word Throne appears 46 times the Book of Revelation. The throne represents the total authority, power, and the justice of God. “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all” (Ps 103:19). This is not the great white throne where God will judge all unbelievers (Rev 20:11-15). This throne is God’s presence in the middle of the Temple, the center of worship. God is sitting on His throne amid the praises of His people. He sits on the throne as a King and Judge! “But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed” (Ps 22:3-5). John sees ‘One’ who sat on the throne. He is Jehovah God. It is interesting that all who saw God on His throne could not describe Him in human words. It is the same with the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel (Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1). God cannot be seen by human eyes. God, “alone has immortality, is dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (1 Tim 6:16). Around the throne there is flashing light and loud worship!
John sees a rainbow around the throne. This is a symbol of God as the Gracious, Merciful and Faithful Covenant and Promise Keeper. God promised Noah that He will not destroy humanity with water again. The rainbow shall be the sign of His Promise. “And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” (Gen 9:12-17). In heaven, that rainbow is a pledge that God is gracious, and He will save His people from trials and death. The rainbow is the signature and seal of King Grace who is forever faithful!
‘Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones, I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads’. The 24 elders who sat on 24 thrones represent the Body of Christ. These are the 12 patriarchs from the Old Testament and the 12 apostles in the New Testament (Rev 21:12-14). See how close the Body of Christ is to the throne of God! They see God face to face, all the time. They are dressed in white robes, which are the imputed righteousness of Christ. They have crowns of gold which they received from Christ, as a glorious reward, for finishing the race with honor and faithfulness. Apostle Paul had faith that he will finish the race with courage and faithfulness. He said: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim 4:6-8). Our Lord said: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life… Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Rev 2:10; 3:11). During the worship, the elders cast their crown before God who sits on the throne. Christ gave them the crowns but in the presence of God, as they worship, they humble themselves. If worshipping God does not humble you, that is not true worship!
Worship is ‘noisy’ in heaven because it is powerful. “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices”. Anyone who hates ‘loud music’ in the church, should think again. The lightnings and the thunderings that proceed from the throne are a sign of Omnipotence and God’s Word. The first people who hear it are the members of the Body of Christ. They respond with ‘voices’ in worship. “The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” These are cherubs who worship God always, day and night. They shout saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created!” The meaning of the word ‘worthy’ is this: somebody deserving to be noticed, deserving respect, admiration, or support. To deserve it means to have earned something or be given something because of your actions or excellent moral qualities. Worth means great value, excellent character that deserves recognition. God is worthy to be worshipped because He is the Creator of all. Creation must bow down and worship its Creator and Sustainer of life. He is also worthy to be worshipped because He is Omnipotent and Holy! Amen!
TRUE TREASURE IS TRUE WORSHIP
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:19-21)
True worship is the only thing that engages and satisfies both the mind and the heart. Idolatry can never do that! The Bible speaks much about wealth, money, and possessions and what should be our attitude to these things. The greatest competitor to the worship of God is Mammon. This is a good test to apply to us the believers: If you store your treasures on earth, you do not worship God in spirit and in truth. If you store your treasures in heaven, you are a true worshipper of God. There is no middle ground. Search your heart. Where is your heart? In heaven or on earth! God blesses us richly with spiritual and material blessings. These are all gifts of Grace. The danger is always to love the gifts more than the Giver. Greed is an enemy to worshipping God. Money itself is not evil. But the love of money is sin! The love of money also called Mammon is a person. It is the devil who hates the true worship of God. What should be our attitude towards money and material wealth?
These are some Biblical principles: God is good and generous. God blesses us with riches, spiritual and physical. “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deut 8:18). But we are not the owner of this wealth. We are stewards under God. We need to give account to God for the way we make and spend ‘our’ money. We also remember that we live in ‘the world’. The world is not just the physical environment where we live in. The world is a system, a way of thinking. The world is made by all the unbelievers whose ruler is the devil. The worldly people live like God does not exist. Even if they are religious and attend churches, to the worldly people, God is not the center of their lives. They are the center of their lives! Worldly people are all selfish and live for themselves. They do not worship God. But we the believers, live for God, for Jesus! We are worshippers of God! The Word of God rules our lives. The believer is often tempted to backslide and live like the worldly people. Our Lord commands us to consider our attitude to material wealth while we live in this world. If your treasure and your heart are on earth, you shall be full of doubts and anxiety. If your treasure and your heart are in heaven, you shall be full of peace and glorious joy! The difference is clear!
One of the special marks of the believers in the early church was joy. That joy, in spite of trials, was what attracted others to Christ. “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Ac 13:52). The unbelievers saw how the Christians were thrown to the lions and they died rejoicing that they will soon see Jesus. This pure joy is peculiar to the believers, and it is supremely attractive. It is the best way to do evangelism. It springs from a heart whose treasure is in heaven!
In the scripture above there are two commands: one is negative, and the other is positive. We need to obey both! Each command has an explanation so that we understand why we should obey it. The first command is this: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Mt 6:19). The right translation is this: Do not treasure your treasures on earth! The word treasure means something of great worth or value (such as money, jewels, gold, or silver) that is hidden or kept in a safe place. Treasure is your crown, your credit, the thing that makes you proud and you boast about. In other words, different people have different treasures. For some, it is the amount of cash they have in the bank. To others, it is education, intelligence, gifts, social status, and position is society. Marriage and good family can become a treasure. All these things are good. The danger is to see them as an end of themselves, to forget that these are only temporary. Like the woman at the well, who was coming to draw water daily, the problem with these good things is that they do not satisfy. The pleasure you derive from them is temporary. Like with drugs or alcohol, you need more and more to find happiness in them. God gave them to us to enjoy, but not to find satisfaction in them. With time, they lose their attraction and keep us anxious to find something else. The pleasure of this world, even the gifts God has given to us, do not last and do not satisfy the soul. This is the greatest ‘weakness’ of any natural gift. For example, as beautiful as marriage is, it only lasts ‘until death do us part’. We should know the truth and protect our souls from self-deception! We should enjoy them ‘loosely’ knowing that we are pilgrims in this world. Immediately you forget that this world is not our destination and destiny, and you fall in love with it, you will live an anxious life, filled with doubts and depression.
What is the solution then? It is to obey the positive command of Jesus! “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Mt 6:20). We are commanded to increase our treasures in heaven. How do we do that? First, we remember that heaven is our eternal home. Salvation is free because Jesus paid for it with His Blood. But we are told that in heaven there are different levels of rewards. Some have crowns and some do not. Some people seat on thrones and others stand on their feet. Some are close to the throne and other are far away. They all worship God but there are levels of rewards. The level of reward is not decided in heaven. It is a reflection of our lives on earth. In both the Old and the New Testament, we see that God rewards our works! “Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work” (Ps 62:12). “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Mt 16:27).
How do we treasure our treasures in heaven? We are commanded to use money and our resources of time and energy to invest in the Kingdom of God. For example, helping the needy, doing good to others, especially to the believers, these deeds are noticed and rewarded by God. He will pay into our ‘heavenly account’. That account is waiting for you to arrive in heaven. Because of your personal heavenly account, heaven will not be a strange place to you anymore. It is home! As your account increases in heaven, so your faith and confidence on earth increases. Your anointing for ministry increases too. On earth banks may close and you may lose your money. But your heavenly account is eternally secure. None can steal from it. It humbles you to know that your life on earth was not in vain. That you have used your temporary ‘treasures’ to gain eternal ones. “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Lk 16:9-12)
Your heart is intimately connected with your treasure. The worldly man’s heart is on earth. Thieves can break it. He is always anxious that he may lose his money. He has not prepared himself for death. He clings to his treasure ignoring the danger of losing it. But the true worshipper of God has found his real treasure. He enjoys his life on earth, and he uses his resources to invest in eternal things. He is a wise man! He has found his joy and satisfaction in God. He can never lose that. This is the secret of his wisdom, power, peace, anointing, and joy! By doing good to God’s people, even to the least of them, your account in heaven is increasing. These are the true riches! “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Mt 25:34-36). These is the story and the testimony of all true worshippers!
Material wealth is to be used as a tool to help the needy. This is an investment in the worship of God. It will keep us humble and faithful. The earthly riches are ‘uncertain’. They can disappear easily. But the true foundation, the true treasure in heaven is eternal. “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim 6:17-19)
That is what our Lord was telling the woman at the well. He said: “Give Me to drink!” Like the Samaritan woman, obey His humble command! Draw water from the earthly well and give it to Jesus, or to His people who are thirsty. This action will be rewarded by the Lord! This is a seed that will become a harvest of worship. One of the true marks of a true worshipper is this deep clean soul cleansing all satisfying Joy! It is the sign that he is thirsty no more. Have you experienced this Joy of the Lord? The Living water supplies the treasure in heaven. It never runs dry! It never disappoints! What a mystery! What a holy challenge! Do you understand these things? Do you desire this Living Water? Do you want to worship God in spirit and in truth? Is Jesus Christ your true eternal love and treasure? Then you are blessed indeed! Worship the Lord!