Continuing his summer sermon series Christ the Controversialist (Jesus Confronts His Critics), last Sunday (8/17) morning Liam Goligher addressed the topic of worship in "Worship: Form or Substance?" by expositing John 4:19-26.

We come to the subject of worship probably disagreeing amongst ourselves about the way in which we should define worship. In the evangelical world today there are various definitions available. There is a school of thought that began in Australia which says that worship in not a corporate event. According to this school of thought worship is something you do everywhere, everyday, in everything; your entire life is worship and corporate gatherings are not a major part of what worship is.

For others, worship is a very pragmatic approach to what we do whenever we're together as Christian people. You can make it up as you go along. Church is reinvented every Sunday. Worship is up for grabs.

Another definition—probably the most common—is praise or singing or music. Then there's a view of worship that equates it with the practices of the Old Testament, churches that are in disagreement with the fact that we've moved from the Old Testament way of worship (altars, bloodless sacrifices etc.).

Then for many many people corporate worship is really just an extension of their own personal devotional life. It's just "Jesus and Me" and they want to pray for their needs and concerns and it's very individualistic.

Would it surprise you  to learn that from a biblical perspective every one of those definitions is wrong?

In this passage today Jesus engages with the Samaritan woman about the subject of worship. He teaches her (and us) that there is a

  • Proper hour of worship
  • Proper way of worship
  • Proper object of worship
  • Proper effect of worship

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