John 4:24
God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
Christian WorshipT. Starr King.John 4:24
Christian Worship a NecessityRendall.John 4:24
God is a SpiritJohn 4:24
God is a SpiritR. Watson.John 4:24
God Like the WindAbp. Trench.John 4:24
God's Spirituality a NecessityS. Charnock.John 4:24
Of God and His Natural PerfectionsJohn 4:24
Spiritual ReligionDean Stanley.John 4:24
Spiritual Worship EssentialS. Charnock.John 4:24
The Fallacy of Holy PlacesD. Young John 4:24
The Nature and Worship of GodR. Watson.John 4:24
The Nature and Worship of GodJohn 4:24
The Nature of Acceptable WorshipJabez Burns, D. D.John 4:24
The Simplicity of Christ's Sublime DisclosuresJ. C. Jones, D. D.John 4:24
The Spirituality of GodJ. T. Duryea, D. D.John 4:24
The Spirituality of GodS. Summers.John 4:24
The Worship God DesiresCiceroJohn 4:24
True Worship is SpontaneousR. A. Bertram.John 4:24
What is Spiritual WorshipS. Charnock.John 4:24
Chance in the Divine EconomyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:1-42
Characteristics of Christ Displayed in This ConversationBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ Abolishing PrejudicesLange.John 4:1-42
Christ and the SamaritansH. Burton, M. A.John 4:1-42
Christ and the WomanT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaCaleb Morris.John 4:1-42
Christ At Jacob's WellCarl Keogh, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ Driven AwayJeremiah Dyke.John 4:1-42
Christ in His Human Weakness and Divine ExaltationLange.John 4:1-42
Christ's Gentleness with the FallenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ's RequestBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Commendable EnthusiasmDr. Guthrie.John 4:1-42
Connection Between the Conversations with the Woman of Samaria and with NicodemusBp. Westcott.John 4:1-42
He Left JudaeaW. H. Dixon., Canon Westcott.John 4:1-42
In the Path of ChristJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Influence After DeathH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Its HistoryBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Well a TypeL. R. Bosanquet.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Welt an Emblem of the SanctuaryR. H. Lovell.John 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the Well of SycharJames G. Vose.John 4:1-42
Jesus Found At the WellJohn 4:1-42
Jesus Sitting on the WellC. H. SpurgeonJohn 4:1-42
No Sympathy Without SufferingBoswell.John 4:1-42
Our Attitude Towards SamariaW. Hawkins.John 4:1-42
Providence Shown in ConversionsJ. Flavel.John 4:1-42
Sat Thus on the WellF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
Soul-Winning TactBible Society ReportJohn 4:1-42
Subsidiary PointsH. J. Van Dyke, D. D.John 4:1-42
Suffering Begets SympathyJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Tact and Kindness Will Win SoulsJohn 4:1-42
The Appropriateness of the Place for the PurposeJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The ConferenceJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Drawer of WaterJ. R. Macduff; D. D.John 4:1-42
The First Visit to SamariaG. D. Boardman, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Interior of the WellLieut. S. Anderson, R. E.John 4:1-42
The Jewish Treatment of WomenS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
The Journey to SamariaA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The LocalityF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:1-42
The Lost One Met and SavedJ. Gill.John 4:1-42
The Model TeacherC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Needs BeJ. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Occasion of the JourneyW. Arnot, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Ordinances NecessaryDean Goulburn.John 4:1-42
The Parcel of Ground that Jacob Gave to His Son JosephA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Pedagogy or Rudimentary Teaching of JesusC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Real Significance of the Woman's Coming to ChristJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Realness of the SceneDean Stanley.John 4:1-42
The Retreat of JesusJohn 4:1-42
The Revolution Christ Effected in the Treatment of WomenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Rite of BaptismT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Self-Abnegation of ChristC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Sixth HourBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
The Thirsting SaviourA. Warrack, M. A.John 4:1-42
The Three BaptismsF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Weary PilgrimJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaW. Jay.John 4:1-42
Topography of Jacob's Well and NeighbourhoodC. Geikie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Unquenchable EnthusiasmD. L. Moody.John 4:1-42
Utilizing Disagreeable NecessitiesA. F. Muir, M. A.John 4:1-42
Value of a Well in the EastH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Weariness and WorkW. Poole Balfern.John 4:1-42
Why Christ Did not Personally BaptizeJohn 4:1-42
Why Religious Ordinances are Sometimes UnprofitableD. Guthrie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christian WorshipR. Brodie, M. A.John 4:20-29
Christianity Non-CentralizedDr. Whichcote., J. Boyd.John 4:20-29
How to Worship GodDean Close.John 4:20-29
Human Curiosity and Divine MysteryW. M. H. Aitken, M. A.John 4:20-29
Mount GerizimF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:20-29
Not Where, But How is the Main ThingClerical LibraryJohn 4:20-29
Spiritual WorshipF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 4:20-29
The Advent of Christ in Relation to the HeathenCanon Vernon Hutton.John 4:20-29
The Breadth of Spiritual ReligionPhillips Brooks, D. D.John 4:20-29
The Church of the FutureH. W. Beecher.John 4:20-29
The Old Worship and the NewR. W. Dale, LL. D.John 4:20-29
The True Worship of GodT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:20-29
The Vanity of Religious ControversyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:20-29
This MountainArchbishop Trench.John 4:20-29
Traditional ReligionJ. Lightfoot, D. D.John 4:20-29
Veneration for Places of Ancient WorshipR. W. Dale, D. D.John 4:20-29
A True WorshipperJohn 4:23-24
Appropriate WorshipDean Young.John 4:23-24
God Seeks WorshippersJ. Trapp.John 4:23-24
Living Worshippers the Only True WorshippersLittle's, Historical Lights.John 4:23-24
SeekethBp. Ryle.John 4:23-24
Spiritual WorshipT. Barrass.John 4:23-24
Spiritual WorshipF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 4:23-24
Spiritual WorshipDr. Whichcote.John 4:23-24
Spiritual WorshipMenanderJohn 4:23-24
The Axe At the RootC. H. Spurgeon., Caryl.John 4:23-24
The Spirituality and Simplicity of Christian WorshipCanon H. Stowell, M. A.John 4:23-24
The Spirituality of WorshipH. Melvill, B. D.John 4:23-24
The Spirituality of WorshipP. Schaff, D. D.John 4:23-24
True Worship Binds Together All Human SoulsStewart.John 4:23-24
Where to PrayJohn 4:23-24
WorshipT. Jones, D. D.John 4:23-24
WorshipW. E. Channing, D. D.John 4:23-24
Worship and WorshippersJ.R. Thomson John 4:23, 24

I. THE FALLACY EMPHATICALLY STATED. Up to this point in the conversation the woman has not the slightest idea that religious matters are in question; but immediately on concluding that Jesus is a Prophet, she proceeds to show that she can talk about religion as well as other people. Jesus seeks to fasten her up in a corner where she may be dealt with according to her individual sin and individual need, and so she tries to escape away into a general discussion on an old point of difference that was altogether beside the question that should have had most interest for her. The fallacy of holy places is emphatically illustrated in the experience Jesus had of them. We see that he had experience of two places reckoned specially holy, Gerizim and Jerusalem. Truly the holiness of Gerizim had done little for this Samaritan woman; and the holiness of Jerusalem did little for those priests and Law expounders who, in their fanaticism, put Jesus to death. Here is the paradox of a woman apparently unconcerned about her own misdoing, but very much concerned about the rightful localization of Deity.

II.. IT IS A FALLACY WHICH PREVAILS WIDELY AND DEEPLY STILL. Jerusalem and. Gerizim are still reckoned holy places, and to them, in the name of Jesus, how many more have been added! Special places, special forms, special symbols, special words, have been slowly exalted unto an honour and an influence they were never meant to obtain. Many who on no account would bow before an image, yet act as if Deity had a special dwelling and special surroundings. We do not make a sufficient distinction between what is necessary to us and what is acceptable to God. Holy buildings, holy forms, may have in them much value; but the value is for us, and not for God. If one can think of God esteeming some spots of earth holler than others, surely they are those where most has been done for the renewal and sanctification of men. We may learn a lesson from the obscurity into which the ark of the covenant fell. How it vanishes away with the departure of Jehovah's people into the Babylonian captivity!

III. A FALLACY WHICH IS ONLY TO BE REMOVED BY A CONTINUAL REMEMBRANCE OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOD AND MEN. God is pure Spirit. A thousand things which in themselves serve and gratify human beings because of their correspondence with human nature cannot serve and gratify God. The whole position is placed before us in the question, "Can I eat the flesh of bulls, and drink the blood of goats?" Incense from Sheba, and sweet cane from a far country, became abominable to Jehovah because the people who offered them did not hearken to his words, and rejected his Law (Jeremiah 6:20). We who have bodies must to some extent be served even as the beasts are served; but if we got nothing more we should soon be miserable. The higher and peculiar part of our nature has also to be amply served. That which is invisible in us is the most important thing; and that which we value most from others comes from what is invisible in them. How much more, then, when we are dealing with that Being who has in him no mixture of the bodily! We do give human berets something when we give to their bodies; but unless we give God the spiritual we give him nothing at all.-Y.

God is a Spirit, and they that worship Hill must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
There are two ways of knowing and describing God — Affirmatively, which ascribes to Him whatever is excellent; Negatively, which separates from Him whatever is imperfect. The first is like a painting, which adds one colour to another to make a lovely picture; the other like a carving, which cuts away what is superfluous. The latter is the easier. When we say that God is infinite, immense, immutable, they are negatives. Spirit, too, is a negation — not a body. We transfer the term to God because spirit is the highest excellence in our nature. It is signified in the Divine Name (Exodus 3:14), and expressly declared in text and Hebrews 12:9.

I. THE DOCTRINE. God is a pure spiritual being. Other-wise —

1. He could not be the Creator. Every artificer has his model first in his mind.

2. He could not be One. If He had a body He would be capable of division. Where there is the greatest unity there is the greatest simplicity (Deuteronomy 6:4).

3. He could not be invisible (1 Timothy 1:17; John 5:37). Sometimes a representation is made to the inward sense (1 Kings 20:19; Isaiah 6:1), but not of the Essence. Sometimes men are said to see Him face to face (Genesis 32:30; Deuteronomy 34:10), but only in the sense of fuller manifestation.

4. He could not be infinite (2 Chronicles 2:6). The very heavens have their limits.

5. He could not be independent. What is compounded of parts depends on those parts, and is after them; as the parts of a watch are in time before it. But God is not so (Isaiah 44:6).

6. He would not be immutable (Malachi 3:6).

7. He could not be omnipresent (Deuteronomy 4:39; Jeremiah 23:24), since a body can not be in two places at the same time.

8. He could not be the most perfect Being. The most perfect is the most spiritual and simple, as gold among metals is most free from alloy (1 John 1:5).

II. THE OBJECTION. How can God be a spirit when bodily members are ascribed to Him?

1. This is in condescension to our weakness. We arc not able to conceive a spirit but by some physical attribute.

2. These signify the acts of God as they bear some likeness to ours. His wisdom is called His eye; His efficiency, His hand and arm; by His face, we understand the manifestation of His favour; by His mouth, the revelation of His will; by His heart, the sincerity of His affections, etc.

3. Truly those members which are the instruments of the highest actions are thus employed.

4. These may be figuratively understood with respect to the Incarnation.

5. We must conceive of them, therefore, not according to the letter but the intent. When Christ calls Himself a Vine, Bread, Light, who understands Him literally?

III. THE USE. If God be a pure spiritual Being, then —

1. Man is not the image of God according to his external form, but in the spiritual faculties (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). It is unreasonable to form any image of Him. This was forbidden by , undreamt of by the Romans for 170 years, and deemed wicked by the Germans. God has absolutely prohibited it (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:8-9; Isaiah 11:18).(1) We cannot fashion His image. Can we that of our own souls?(2) To do so would be unworthy of God (Jeremiah 10:8, 14; Romans 1:23-25: Exodus 32:31).(3) Yet is natural to man.

2. Our conceptions must be directed towards God as a pure, perfect spirit, than which nothing can be conceived more perfect, pure, and spiritual. Conceive of Him as excellent without any imperfection; a spirit without parts; great without quantity; perfect without quality; everywhere without place; powerful without members; understanding without ignorance; and when you have risen to the highest, consider Him as infinitely beyond.

3. No corporeal thing can defile Him, no more than the quagmire can tame the sunbeam.

4. He is active and communicative. The more anything approaches the nature of spirit, the more diffusive it is — air, e.g. As a spirit God is —(1) Possessed with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3);(2) Indefatigable in acting. If we be like God, the more spiritual we are, the more active we shall be.

5. He is immortal (1 Timothy 1:17).

6. We see how to communicate with Him; by our spirits. We can only know and embrace a spirit with our spirits (Psalm 11:17; Ephesians 4:23).

7. He only can be the true satisfaction of our spirits.

8. We must take most care of that wherein we are most like God.

9. We must take heed of those sins which are spiritual (2 Corinthians 7:1).

(S. Charnock, B. D.)

I. GOD IS INVISIBLE. We can only see what has form. It is no imperfection in our vision that it cannot see what it was never made to see. A spirit can only be known by its operations through a material body. God manifests Himself not to sense, but to experience.

II. GOD CANNOT ASSUME A MATERIAL FORM, for it would confine Him, whereas He is everywhere. Whoever imagined the form of God. The most rapt prophet has only seen light unapproachable as His symbol.


1. The pillar of cloud.

2. The burning bush.

3. The elements, as at Sinai.

4. A more definite form in Isaiah 6.

5. In the fiery furnace as a man.

6. As the angel of the covenant.


(J. T. Duryea, D. D.)

I. THERE IS BUT ONE GOD. We are led to this —

1. By the light of nature. There can be but one infinite and supreme; it is a contradiction to suppose otherwise. The wiser of the heathen philosophers had their one supreme god.

2. By revelation (Deuteronomy 32:39; Isaiah 43:10; Mark 12:29).


1. He is incorporeal and invisible (Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 6:16; John 5:37).

2. He lives and acts (John 5:26; Psalm 36:9).

3. He has understanding and will (Psalm 104:24; Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 28:29; Daniel 4:35).

III. THIS GOD IS AN INFINITELY PERFECT SPIRIT, and is distinguished in a transcendent manner from other spirits.

1. An infinite Spirit (Isaiah 40:15-17).

2. A self-sufficient and independent Spirit (Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 44:24; Job 22:2, 3; Revelation 4:11).

3. An eternal Spirit (Psalm 90:2; Psalm 9:7; Psalm 102:27).

4. An unchangeable Spirit (James 1:17).

(1)In His being and perfection.

(2)In His glory.

(3)In His blessedness.

(4)In His decrees (Job 23:13; Psalm 32:11; Isaiah 46:10, 11).

(5)In His promises (Isaiah 54:10; Malachi 2:6).

5. An omnipresent Spirit (Jeremiah 23:24; Acts 17:27, 28; Psalm 139:7-10).

6. An all-knowing Spirit (Psalm 147:5; Hebrews 4:13; Job 34:21, 22). On this ground He challenges the heathen (Isaiah 41:22, 23). All this He knows of Himself without any external medium (Isaiah 40:14; Psalm 94:10).

7. An Almighty Spirit (Psalm 33:6; Ephesians 3:20).Application —

1. How absurd and abominable are all images of God (Jeremiah 10:8, 14; Romans 1:23-25).

2. What awful sentiments should we entertain of Him.

3. What a dreadful enemy and what a comfortable friend He must be.

4. How thankfully should we embrace a gospel revelation which makes Him accessible.

(J. Guyse, D. D.)

I. GOD IS A SPIRIT. All the substances with which we are acquainted are resolvable into material and spiritual. Between them there is this essential difference, that no matter, however refined, can be so organized as to be capable of originating a single feeling. Where, therefore, there is a judgment, will, afflictions, there is the subsistence which we call spirit. Of this kind is the spirit of man. But human and angelic spirits are finite; God is infinite. Because God is an infinite Spirit —

1. He is present in every place, and therefore His worshippers may in every place find Him. "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit?"

2. From this property arises the perfection of His knowledge, His omniscience. How. ever matter may be extended, it would possess no consciousness of any object with which it might come in contact. But when we conceive of spiritual presence we conceive of consciousness and knowledge too. Wherever we are present we know. Apply this to God. He is present to mark the risings of desire. Let this admonish the sinner. But it is at the same time most encouraging to the real worshipper, who is conscious of his own sincerity, to know that God searcheth the heart.

3. Hence arises the consideration of His ceaseless activity. We feel conscious of something of this in ourselves. We find no weariness in the operations even of a finite spirit; the power of the soul is now far too mighty for the feebleness of the body. But "My Father worketh hitherto," etc. Every faithful worshipper is absolutely sure, not only of the notice of His eye, but of the unwearied operation of His hand.

4. We thence infer the unchangeableness of His nature. An infinite Spirit must, of necessity, be immutable. Even we, imperfect and changeable as we are, yet, in some degree, partake of this property. The body grows and increases in strength, and then it weakens and decays. Not so the spirit; that remains essentially the same. There are two kinds of change of which created spirits are capable, and which strongly mark their natural imperfection: they may change from good to bad; and from good to better. But God fills the whole orb of perfection at once.


1. He ought to be acknowledged; and publicly worshipped, because publicly acknowledged.

2. It is in acts of religious worship that we acquire just views of ourselves. If we do not regularly draw nigh to God, there will spring up within us a principle fatal to our peace and destructive of our salvation. The acts of solemn worship always prevent our thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.

3. We have no reason to expect the slightest blessing except through the medium of His worship. God will be inquired of by us.

4. The exalted pleasure which the soul receives from religious worship. "How amiable are Thy tabernacles," etc.

5. It is one direct means of preparing us for heaven. A great part of the happiness of heaven will consist in worship.


1. "In truth."(1) In opposition to the shadowy dispensation of the law.(2) In a true manner: that is, in the way which He has Himself appointed through the mediation of Christ.

2. "In spirit." It is possible to worship Him in truth, and not in spirit. Orthodoxy does not necessarily produce piety. What is implied in this. It is to worship Him —(1) As a known, and not as an unknown, God. The understanding is thus called in.(2) With a submissive will. Where the will is in rebellion, God cannot be worshipped.(3) With the affections.


(b)Faith or trust.


(R. Watson.)

When Felix, the youthful martyr of Abitina, having confessed himself a Christian, was asked whether he had attended meetings, he replied, with an explosion of scorn, "As if a Christian could live without the Lord's ordinance."


A little girl went out to pray in the fresh snow. When she came in she said, "Mamma, I couldn't help praying when I was out at play." "What did you pray, my dear?" "I prayed the snow.prayer, mamma, that I once learned at the Sunday School: ' Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.'" "What a beautiful prayer! And here is a sweet promise to go with it: 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.'" And what can wash them white, clean from every stain of sin? The Bible answers, "They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

(R. A. Bertram.)

God is a Spirit, as man is a spirit. There is no difference as to what may be termed the popular characters of spirit, between the spirit of man, and God, considered as a Spirit; for God made man in His own image. But there is one great and radical difference. Human and angelic spirits are finite; God, whom we worship, is infinite.

(R. Watson.)

We cannot be truly said to worship God if we want sincerity; a statue upon a tomb, with eyes and hands lifted up, offers as good and as true a service — nay, it is better, it represents all that it can be framed to, but for us to worship without our spirits is a presenting God with a picture, an echo, voice, and nothing else, a complement; a mere lie, "a compassing Him about with lies."

(S. Charnock.)

Our worship is spiritual when the door of the heart is shut against all intruders, as our Saviour commands in closet-duties. It was not His meaning to command the shutting of the closet door, and leaving the heart door open for every thought that would be apt to haunt us.

(S. Charnock.)

If God were an infinite body, He could not fill heaven and earth, but with the exclusion of all creatures. Two bodies cannot be in the same space; they may be near one another, but not in any of the same points together. A body bounded He hath not, for that would destroy His immensity; He could not then fill heaven and earth, because a body cannot be at one and the same time in two different spaces; but God doth not fill heaven at one time, and the earth at another, but both at the same time. Besides, a limited body cannot be said to fill the whole earth, but one particular space in the earth at a time. A body may fill the earth with its virtue, as the sun, but not with its substance. Nothing can be everywhere with a corporeal weight and mass; but God, being infinite, is not tied to any part of the world, but penetrates all, and equally act, by His infinite power in all.

(S. Charnock.)

The knowledge of God is the foundation of all true religion.

I. GOD IS A SPIRIT. In proportion as we are able to subject objects to the process of analysis and combination, we ascertain their true properties. Hence, the material world is more known than the immaterial.

1. We learn, that the spiritual mode of existence attributed to the Deity is essentially different from any sensible or material mode. When our Lord, therefore, said, that God was a Spirit, He asserted there was an infinite difference in all the essential properties of His nature from matter in any of its possible modifications.

2. The vast superiority of a spiritual over a material or compound nature. Mind is universally esteemed more valuable than matter in its most beautiful forms. But the superiority of spirit is not only apparent over matter, but over a nature compounded of matter and spirit. Once more; this compound nature is inferior to the spiritual, inasmuch as it is necessarily liable to change: it has an inherent tendency to dissolution. Again, spirituality of essence appears to be the condition of infinite perfection. It is that alone in which infinite perfection can inhere. We have already seen that mind is the test of power, wisdom, intelligene; and that none of the moral perfections of Jehovah can be predicated of simple matter. Justice, goodness, love, and compassion, are principles that belong exclusively to spirit. But we cannot infer, from the possession of these moral excellences, that God is simply spirit; for these qualities may attach to a complex nature, as they sometimes do in man. It is the infinity of His perfections that indicates the exclusive character of His essence.

II. DRAW SOME PRACTICAL DEDUCTIONS. The first is suggested by the context. "They that worship Him." The construction of the sentence denotes the necessary connection that subsists between acceptable worship, and the nature of the object worshipped. If God is a Spirit, then we must worship Him with our spirits.

2. The spirituality of the Divine essence is the foundation of an intimate union between God and His intelligent creation, and should encourage our approach to Him. It forms a union of nature which could not subsist were He mere matter, and which cannot be with regard to substances that are exclusively material.

3. The spirituality of the Divine nature constitutes God an inexhaustible source of blessedness. We are conversant in the present world with material objects; they are the occasion of a great portion of our pleasures. But we are all conscious that they are an unsatisfying portion. To conclude: What a character of condescension and mercy does our subject give to the gospel of Jesus Christ: that economy of grace which makes God known in the Person of His Son.

(S. Summers.)


1. All places are alike acceptable with God.

2. Public worship should be conducted according to the Word of God.

3. Public worship is the duty and privilege of all believers.

4. Public worship requires due preparation. and right feelings in entering upon it.

5. Public worship should be constant and regular.

6. Public worship should be followed by reflection and prayer.

II. THE NATURE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE DIRECTIONS CONTAINED IN THE TEXT. "God is a Spirit," etc. That is, He is not a corporeal being, therefore not confined to any locality, etc.

1. God is a Spirit, therefore He requires the worship Of the mind.

2. God is an invisible Spirit, and therefore He must be worshipped in the spirit of faith.

3. God is a great and glorious Spirit, and therefore we must worship Him in the spirit of reverence and fear.

4. God is a holy Spirit, therefore we must worship Him with contrition and prayer.

5. God is a merciful and gracious Spirit, and therefore we should worship Him in the spirit of confidence and hope.

6. God is a Spirit of infinite benevolence and love, and therefore we should worship Him in the spirit of affection and delight.

7. God is an omniscient Spirit, and therefore we must worship Him in sincerity and truth.Application:

1. Remember your constant unworthiness and need.

2. Christ's preciousness and merit.

3. And the Spirit's willingness to aid you, if you seek His influences.

(Jabez Burns, D. D.)

The spirit of adoration is as old as the records of humanity. Adam heard the voice of God in the garden. Abel offered sacrifice to an unseen power; and the guilty Cain bowed with his gift, though it was not accepted. From the border line of light, where authentic history fails us, we feel our way back towards the birth of man by the ruins of temples and the fragments of solemn tradition. Of early races and nations that have perished, we know, in many instances, nothing more than this — they worshipped. The disposition to worship belongs to the structure of the human soul. Religious ideas are changed by the progress and diffusion of knowledge. Forms and theories of worship are shattered and left behind by the enlargement and march of the intellect. Is it probable that worship itself will be outgrown? Sometimes we hear of fears that it may be so — that the advance of science will yet eradicate the tendency to prayer and homage. The answer is this: "Is it likely that the progress of science will degrade human nature and extinguish one of the deepest elements of human nobleness? "With the gain of knowledge we instinctively associate the advance of our race. Think, for a moment, of this globe filled with inhabitants, and no spire or dome of praise on it, no pulse or throb of adoration in all its millions! Think of this globe simply in its physical aspect, "a crust of fossils and a core of fire," spinning in the bleak immensity, and bearing myriads on myriads of intelligent creatures yearly around the sun, without wonder, without awe, without any cry from brain or heart into the surrounding mystery ! Suppose that the minds of these multitudes shall be cultured far beyond the average of even the most favoured classes now, would you account it an advance of human nature, if all this knowledge was gained at the cost of the sense of a vast, incomprehensible power, within whose sweep the world and all its interests is bound? Worship will cease when wonder dies in the heart of man, and when the sense of the infinite is expunged from his soul. Is the progress of knowledge likely to produce either of these results? How can all the light we can collect and concentrate from finite facts release us from the conception of the infinite, or help us to enclose it within the tiny measure of our thought? And when has science so explained anything as to banish wonder from the mind that appreciates the explanation? Ah! against what folly are we arguing thus? Our knowledge in this universe to dry up the springs of awe, and deliver us from the weakness of adoration? Let the man come forward who is ready to say, under the starry arch of night, "I know so much of nature that I blow as a bubble from me the thought of God, and count it childish to entertain the thought of a Sovereign Mind!" Did Newton feel like saying that? Would Herschel say that in his observatory? If they had said it, should we think of them as greater men than now? It will not be the progress of knowledge, but the decay of the noble elements in human nature, that will ever banish worship from the world. Indeed the glory of knowledge is in fellowship with the devout sentiment. There are three purposes for which we may study truth — to obtain power over nature, to cultivate and enlarge our minds, and to discern and acknowledge a revelation from a boundless and invisible thought. I say nothing in disparagement of the first two. They are essential to civilization. The last is not inconsistent with devotion to the others. But if men stop with the first two, do they not miss the highest relations of truth? It is to refresh men with this noblest relation of truth and knowledge that churches are built. Worship is the exercise which the Church is to sustain. And all the aspects of truth which will bend the mind of man in humility, and exalt it in adoration, are legitimately within the range of the pulpit, and are, indeed, a portion of its trust. I have said that the glory, of knowledge lies in the acceptance of truth as a manifestation of an Infinite mind. And this is a conception that cannot be outgrown. It is ultimate. We can grow in the acknowledgment of it, in the power and blessedness which acquaintance with it brings; but the wisest man that will ever live will never go beyond it. Civilization depends on the continuance of faith in the personality and holiness of God. It is only through that faith that the consciences of men will be illumined, the will of man curbed, the devotion and sacrifice of heroes in the cause of truth inspired and confirmed. But there is still a higher conception connected with the personality and purity of God — the word "Father." God is one, God is holy, God is the Father — the Infinite is love; then the attraction is complete in the heavens for all the faculties of man, and for all human faculties in every race, in every age, and in all stages of progress and attainment. We owe this final revelation to Jesus Christ. The sense of mystery, the sense of beauty, the will, the conscience, the affections — all are drawn upward to that name with which, through Him, the Infinite has clothed Himself. Adoration of the Father is the distinctively Christian worship.

(T. Starr King.)


1. Being a Spirit, He is a living substance; for though all living things be not spirits, every spirit is a living thing. The soul and angels are spirits, therefore live, but not in themselves (Acts 17:28). God lives in and of Himself (John 5:26; Psalm 36:9).

2. He is incorporeal, or without body (Luke 24:39). The Anthropomorphites and Audiarii of old, and so some new heretics, have asserted that God has a body, contrary to Romans 1:23; Isaiah 40:18. Objection: God is said to have

(1)a head (Daniel 7:9);

(2)a face (Psalm 27:8; Psalm 34:6);

(3)eyes (Psalm 34:15);

(4)hands (Psalm 38:2; Acts 4:28);

(5)a mouth (Matthew 4:4);

(6)ears (Psalm 31:2);

(7)arms (Exodus 6:6; Isaiah 53:1);

(8)fingers (Exodus 31:18);

(9)Bowels (Isaiah 63:15).Answer: (1) God speaks after the manner of men and to our capacity. We see by the eye: by that, therefore, God signifies to us His omniscience, etc.

3. He cannot be felt, because no body. Objection, Acts 17:27. Answer: We cannot feel God Himself, but by His creatures (Romans 1:19, 20).

4. He is invisible and cannot be seen (Job 9:11; 1 John 4:12). No man can see Him (Exodus 33:20; 1 Timothy 6:16). Reason: God has no body, shape, nor colour, and we cannot see our souls. Objection: God appeared to Abraham (Genesis 18:1), and to Israel (Deuteronomy 5:24), and others. Answer: Only by special manifestations of His glory. Objection: We shall see God (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12). Answer: With our soul, not with our bodily eyes.

II. THE WORSHIP HE DESIRES. Not as if no external rites were to be used. Christ Himself lifted up His eyes (John 17:1); knelt (Luke 22:41); fell on His face (Matthew 26:39); and instituted the sacrament (see also Ephesians 3:14; Acts 21:5). We are to worship in spirit and in truth.

1. Not with the types and shadows of the Old Testament, but according to the truth of them as exhibited in the New (John 1:17; John 17:17).

2. Not under any bodily shape, because He is a Spirit. The Samaritans worshipped Him under the representation of a dove on Mount Gerizim; hence their worship was called" strange worship" by the Jews. This was not to worship in truth (Romans 1:23-25). But we are to worship God only am a Spirit, and so truly, not entertaining our gross conceits, or making any picture of Him (Deuteronomy 4:14-16).

3. Not only with external, but with internal worship.

(1)By performing all our devotions with our minds (1 Corinthians 14:15).

(2)By preferring Him in our judgments before all else (Psalm 73:25).

(3)By submitting our wills to His (Luke 22:42).

4. By putting our trust and confidence in Him (Psalm 37:3-6).

5. By devoting ourselves wholly to His service and obedient to His commands (1 Samuel 15:22).Application:

1. This is the only worship acceptable to Him (Isaiah 1:11-12).

2. This is agreeable to His nature; He is a spirit and knows the heart (Ezekiel 33:31).

(Bp. Beveridge.)

Our religion is true, deep, high, and broad in proportion as it grasps the fact that God is a Spirit, and as it recognizes that that which gives life and force to natural and historical religion is spirituality.

I. This aspect of the Divine nature CLEARS AWAY MANY PERPLEXITIES AND DIFFICULTIES WHICH GATHER ROUND THE DOCTRINE OF GOD. The same is true regarding man considered as a spirit.

1. The forms of expression borrowed from nature which describe God — rock, fortress, shield, etc. — will mislead us if taken literally.

2. The same is true with regard to the anthropomorphic expressions of the ancient covenant — hands, feet, husband, king, father.

3. And yet again with reference to the metaphysical words of a later time — procession, generation, substance, person. Each of these taken literally leads us away from the spiritual, essential nature of God. But —

4. There are three supreme. Biblical definitions which are all of a spiritual character: God is "Spirit," "Light," "Love." Let us hold fast to these; they express the moral nature of God and the very essence of the Christian faith.


1. Not by compulsion.

2. Not by the external decrees of authority.

3. Not by reproaches and curses.

4. Not by mere miracles and signs of outward power, which, although secondary means of persuasion, are not the main instruments.

5. But by the internal evidence of the spirit of Christianity, which was the earliest method.


1. It is not the letter of any creed or ordinance, or even of the Bible, but the meaning and inner spirit which vivifies and explains everything. "The letter killeth, the Spirit giveth life."

2. The signs and ordinances of religion derive all their force from the directness with which they address our reason, conscience, and affections. The outward form may vary, but if the inward meaning is the same the essential grace is there.

3. God can be worshipped on heath or mountain side or upper room as well as in the most splendid cathedral; but also in the cathedral as well as on the heath, etc. And that is the more spiritual aspect of religion which recognizes the possibility of both; which comprehends the highest manifestations of the human spirit in architecture, music, painting, poetry, and yet steadily subordinates them to the moral purposes of truth, justice, and purity.

4. It is not the sublime and the grand, but the mean, ugly, and barbarous which binds itself to idolatrous usages; not the vast aisles of a venerable abbey, hut the narrow cell; not the awe-inspiring figures wrought by Raphael or Michael Angelo, but the hideous block picture. Luther said, "Do not listen to those who open their mouths and call out 'Spirit, Spirit, Spirit!' and then break down all the bridges by which the Spirit can enter." No! Make the best of all the gifts of God. They are all bridges, but only bridges.

(Dean Stanley.)

taught the maxim to his disciples and scrupulously observed it himself, "Never wear the types of the gods upon your rings." That is to say, do not publish your highest and most sacred truths to the ignorant and uninitiated. Jesus Christ acts here, however, on a totally different principle; in the fulness of His heart He makes to this poor sinful woman some of His sublimest revelations.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

This disclosure doubtless is of infinite depth; but that exquisite saying of s that Scripture has depths for an elephant to swim in and shallows in which a lamb can wade, is capable of being pushed a little further. Oftentimes the same Scripture is at once a depth for one and a shallow for another, and thus it is here. We shall do little honour to our Lord's skill in teaching, His adaptation of His words to the needs of His hearers, if, in seeking high things, we failed to find in these words some simple truth, such as that poor ignorant woman was capable of grasping, and such as at that moment she needed. "God is a Spirit"; we must not miss, assuredly she did not miss, the significant image on which this word reposes; like the wind therefore, to which He is likened, breathing and blowing where He will, penetrating everywhere, owning no circumscriptions, tied to no place, neither to Mount Zion nor to Mount Gerizim; but rather filling all space with His presence (Psalm 139:7; 1 Kings 8:27; Isaiah 66:1), in His essence and, as involved in this very title, free. On this it follows that "they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

(Abp. Trench.)

The best, the purest, the holiest and most pious worship of .the gods is to worship them with a heart and tongue always pure, upright, and untainted.


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