Place of Worship

Place of true worship

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John 4 Bible Study
7-19 Samaritan Woman

20-30 Place of Worship

31-42 God's Work
43-54 A Prophet Has No Honor
JOHN 4:20-26  20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 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. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

After calling Jesus a prophet, why does she all of a sudden bring up a theological issue in John 4:20?
She may have been trying to divert the discussion away from her exposed sins of adultery (see Samaritan Woman). At least now she is also speaking about the spiritual realm.

According to Jesus, what is the proper place to worship God?
According to Jesus, "true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth," (John 4:23) not in some designated place.

But doesn't the Bible also say that Christians should go to church?
The word "church" is found 120 times in the New Testament and always refers to a gathering of Christians, not a place to go; the Greek word translated "church" is ekklesia, which literally means an assembly or gathering of people. That a church is not a place is especially clear in 1 Corinthians 14:23, which starts, "if the whole church comes together in one place..."

What about the temple in Jerusalem?
The temple was the place for Jews to sacrifice animals, which ended with Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

Then what does this mean for the billions of dollars spent to build church buildings?
They contradict Jesus' teachings and are often driven by the ambitions and/or pride of men. God cares about neither the location nor the physical beauty of buildings.

What does He care about?
That we “worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23).

The “spirit” is God the Holy Spirit, but where do we find “truth”?
In the Bible. In John 14:6, Jesus declared that He is the truth, and John 1:1 & 1:14  declare that Jesus is the Word.

What does this mean for "churches" today?
They should ascribe “success” to themselves based neither on the size of the church building, which is unbiblical, nor the number of worshippers, for only God knows how many of them are truly His, nor the amount of money, for all of it belongs to God, but based on the degree to which they preach and remain faithful to His Word.

What does Jesus mean by salvation being "of the Jews" in John 4:22?
The word translated "of" more precisely means, "from" or "out of". So Jesus is telling her that the Savior will arise  from the Jewish people.

Does she understand?
Her reference to the Messiah in John 4:25 indicates that she does, to which Jesus reveals in the next verse, "I who speak to you am He.”

JOHN 4:27-30  27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

Why did disciples marvel that Jesus "talked with a woman" (John 4:27)?
Jewish piety warned men not to talk much with women, both because of temptation and because of what others might think.

What do you think was her demeanor when she uttered her words in John 4:29?
Most likely, excited.

How do we know?
She left behind her waterpot, and this is another evidence of the Bible lacking dramatic embellishments.

What three identities did the woman sequentially ascribe to Jesus?
"Jew" in John 4:9.
"Prophet" in John 4:19.
"Christ" in John 4:29.

And what is the first thing she did thereafter?
Tell others about Jesus.

Was she formally 'trained' for the task?

So what did she do?
She told them as much as she knew - doubts and all - and then invited them to "Come, see" (John 4:29) for themselves.

Does God ask Christians to do anything more than she did?
No, and neither does He ask for anything less.

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