Mark Dever: Worship in Spirit and Truth

What does it mean to worship the Father in spirit and truth? How do you understand that instruction from our Lord? In this message, Dr. Mark Dever gives us perspective on this important issue as he teaches us what it is to “Worship in Spirit and Truth.”


Notes on this Sermon:

I. God cares about how he is worshiped

  • God cares about what we do
  • John 4:23
  • Malachi
  • Romans 12
  • Adam and Eve

II. Worship is fundamentally about God

  • focused on Him
  • God must reveal himself or there is no certain knowledge about him
  • God’s nature determines how we should worship him (in Spirit)

III. Worship involves our whole lives

  • it involves more then music
  • we were created to worship him with our whole life
  • we are there to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever
  • worship is never associated with Music in the NT
  • Romans 12:1-2
  • renewing our minds + being a living our sacrifice -> The heart of worship
  • when a man is living in unrepentant sin, he then sings amazing grace with tears flowing down his face, he is not worshiping God – for worshiping God involves our whole live

IV. Worship is fundamentally hearing and responding to God’s word

  • throughout the ON and NT, worship is never experience and inarticulate
  • it is hearing considering and responding
  • worship is not just a portion of a service, it is obviously the whole thing
  • God and His word is at the center of our worship
  • we have a relationship with God not through our experience, but through what he has revealed about himself and us
  • apart from truth there is no relationship with God

V. Worship involves our will and emotions

  • understanding is first, then decisions based on our understanding emotions in the end then follow
  • “Love that stoops down is grace, love that rises up is worship” – Donald Grey Barnhouse 
  • worship could be described as: Service, obedience, honoring His name
  • worship includes the mind’s understanding and the heart’s trusting there is a healthy emotional response that follows
  • living our lives to bring glory to His name

VI. Public worship should be distinguished from private worship

  • there are things that are appropriate in a private setting that are not appropriate in public (illustration: sleeping, eating ..)
  • Public worship: prayer, singing, preaching the word, reading the word, baptism, the Lord’s supper

VII. Public worship is the business of the Church assembled

  • Christians must assemble
  • no regular attendance is a grave offence
  • Church discipline is an act of worship (showing obedience to God)

VIII. Public worship should edify the congregation

  • 1. Corinthians 12-13
  • “will this congregation be strengthened or edified by this?”
  • Hebrews 10:25

IX. Public worship is not based on a certain musical style

  • to base our understanding of, to base corporate worship, on a certain style of music, is at least immature and at worst destructive of the church and dishonoring to God
  • God is delightfully wonderful and we learn to delight in Him, the object of our worship
  • the God we sing about should amuse us more then the music, that distracts us, music is just a tool we use
  • we should think about what brings glory to God, not what we prefer

X. Passivity is always inappropriate in worship

  • worship is not something you merely watch, it is something you do
  • a spontaneous prayer is not always sincere, same as a written prayer cam be spoken in truth
  • we act as if casualness is the highest intimacy with God

XI. Corporate worship is worth preparing for

  • Exodus 19

XII. True Christian worship services will attract non-Christians

  • not suggesting seeker-sensitive services or lives
  • 1. Peter 2
  • this does not mean that the praising time of God is now calibrated to unbelievers
  • there should be a sense of realism in our service
  • “why do miserable Christians sing?”
  • Psalms have dropped out the evangelical worship service
  • to admit that sadness … is a part of our lives in this culture, is to admit that we fail, because everything is about self-fulfilling  pleasure
  • the psalms show the deepest feelings (good and bad) in union with worship
  • honesty about our struggles and joys

XIII. Corporate worship is your future (If you are truly a Christian)

  • worship on earth is a preparation of worship in heaven
  • Revelation 21:16 – The City of God
  • 1. Kings 6
  • what the high priest did in the OT when he came once a year to the holy of holies, Christian believers will do in eternity with God

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