(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)

JOHN 4:23-24 – WHO’S RIGHT?

LIFE OF CHRIST #12 0f 61

Worship is a big issue today.  Many churches have gone to what is called contemporary worship. This almost always involves a praise or worship band or team.  When a transition is made from traditional hymns to contemporary music, there is usually dissension in a church.  Some churches have gone to two services, one with traditional music the other with contemporary music. 

Most people are not neutral about their position on worship.  They like to worship a certain way, and think that their way is right.  In our own family, we have those who prefer the contemporary worship and others that prefer traditional worship hymns and anthems, a more classic sound. 

So, who’s right?

  • Is the traditionalist right who wants to worship with classic hymns, anthems, and written prayers?
  • Is the traditional Evangelical Christian right, who worships with traditional hymns of worship and experience, such as “Holy, Holy, Holy”, and the “The Old Rugged Cross”?
  • Is the contemporary Christian right, who likes to worship with a praise band, often with a fairly rocky sound?
  • Or is someone else right, whose worship I have not mentioned? 

It may surprise you to find out that I have an answer for you this morning based on the next event in our chronological study on the Life of Christ. 

Our Lord left Jerusalem to return to Galilee, his home base of operations.  To get there he passed through Samaria.

Most Jews would have gone around.  Samaria was the home of half-breed Jews who had a half-breed Jewish religion.  For the most part, Jews and Samaritans hated each other. 

You are probably familiar with this story. 

And when you have heard preaching on this story, the point of the sermon was usually something about leading people to Christ or salvation. Those types of sermons are very fitting and should be preached. I have preached them myself. 

A question by the Woman at the Well, however, can also lead to a discussion of what true worship really is.  That is what I would like to share with you this morning as we answer the question concerning worship, “So, who’s right?” 

We need to summarize the story before we discuss worship. 

Vs. 5-6, 8 – Jesus arrives near a city called Sychar.  Jesus, having a human body, was tired and sat at the well. The disciples went into town to buy food. 

Vs. 7 – Jesus asked the woman for a drink of water. 

Vs. 9 – The woman was surprised. Jewish men did not talk to Samaritan women.  She was wondering why Jesus would do this. 

Vs. 10 – Jesus basically tells the woman that if she knew who Jesus was, she would ask for water and He would have given her “living water”.  The “living water” would refer to the Holy Spirit who indwells every person who trusts Christ as Savior. 

Vss. 11-12 – The woman wondered how Jesus could draw water from a deep well without a pot or bucket, or something to contain the water. She wanted to know if he were greater than Jacob who drank there.

Vss. 13-14 – Jesus tells the woman that they which drink of the well water will thirst again.  The water Jesus gives is special. 

One never thirsts again spiritually, but has the well of everlasting life. 

Vs. 15 – The woman is interested, but still doesn’t get it. She wants the water so she won’t get thirsty or have to come to the well and draw water anymore. 

Vs. 16 – Jesus has her interest, now He is going to start to reveal Himself to her. “Go. Get your husband and come back, and I will tell you all about it.” 

Vss. 17-18 – The woman probably bows her head in shame and admits that she has no husband. Jesus agrees and tells her that she has had five husbands.  And she’s living with someone right now who is not her husband! 

Vs. 19 – The woman gets on the right track.  She perceives him to be a prophet. 

Vss. 25-26 – The woman mentions that the Messiah is coming, and that he will tell all things.  She was wondering, could Jesus be the Messiah. Jesus answered in the affirmative. He was the Messiah! 

Vss. 28-29 – The woman believed and went to tell others.

                      The woman’s faith was a real faith. 

When the woman perceived Jesus to be a prophet in verse 19, she had a question.  Many feel that she was trying to divert Jesus from dealing with her soul, that she was changing the subject. But this isn’t necessarily so. 

She very well could have been wondering about this issue all her life, and now had someone to ask for an answer.

Vs. 20 – The woman asked the same question that people are asking today. “When it comes to worship, who’s right?”

The Samaritans worshipped on Mount Gerizim, and the Jews worshipped in Jerusalem.  Who was correct? 

Vs. 21 – Jesus begins his answer by saying that in a short time, the place of worship would not be on Mount Gerizim or in Jerusalem.  That was because Jesus would die for the sins of the whole world, and no further sacrifice would be necessary to atone for sin. 

Vs. 22 – Jesus makes it clear to her that the Samaritan religion is confused, not right.  Salvation is from the Jews, because Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, who would die for the sins of the world. 

Vss. 23-24 – Now Jesus tells us who is right when it comes to worship.

True worshippers are wanted by God.

A true worshipper does not necessarily use a specific type of worship, hymn, chorus or service.  A true worshipper worships God in spirit and in truth because God is Spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. 

The question we need to ask ourselves, then, is not, “Is my style of worship right?”, but “Am I a true worshipper?” 

If you are a true worshipper, I believe there is latitude in the way you can worship. I believe God accepts variety. 

Let’s look at two facts about a true worshipper this morning. 


John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

Notice that when we worship God in spirit, spirit is spelled with a small “s”.  The Holy Spirit is not being referred to here, although we will see in a few minutes that the Holy Spirit is important in our worship.    

Jesus is referring to the human spirit here.  The place and style of worship is not as important as worshipping God sincerely inside of us.  If we truly worship God with our inner spirits our whole lives will be affected. 

So how do I go about worshipping in Spirit? 


If I am going to truly worship God, I must love Him.

It is impossible to truly worship God unless you truly love Him. 

Why should I love God?

I should love God because He is my creator.

I should love God because He is God.

I should love God because He loves me and has given me everlasting life. Isaiah 53:3-6,

1 John 4:10, 19, 1 Peter 1:8


Here’s where we Christians run into trouble.

We love God in our Spirits, but we tend to love other things and people more so.

If I am going to truly worship God in my Spirit, I must be loyal in my Spirit to my God. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 

In the early church, there was a great church in Ephesus. It seemed to do everything right.  It seemed to be the kind of church that you would love to be a member of. Revelation 2:2-3 

But Jesus goes on to say that this great church had a problem. And this problem was in the spirit of the individual member. 

Revelation 2:4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 

We often fail to worship in our spirits because we love someone or something more than we love the Lord Jesus!  We can’t worship because another God has replaced Jesus in our spirits.      


We are human and need help in our spirits if we are going to worship properly. It is when we are so loyal to God that we are completely yielded to Him that our spirits will be controlled by the Holy Spirit.  The results will be that we will truly worship in our spirits. Ephesians 5:18-20  

In your spirit, lean on the Holy Spirit, and you will worship in spirit. 



There are at least three ways that a true worshipper will worship God in Truth. 


There are many ways people take to get to God.

All of them are wrong but one.

Jesus very clearly states in John 14:6 …I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 

Jesus is the truth.

If you have Jesus as your Savior you have truth.

If you do not have Jesus as your Savior you do not have truth.

You will only worship God in truth if you have come to God’s way through faith in Jesus Christ.   


If you are a true believer in the Lord Jesus, God has sanctified you, or set you apart for Him. 

1 Corinthians 6:11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

Because God has set us apart for Him, that is sanctified us, we are to walk in the truth of sanctification.  We are to live holy, Godly lives, as a result of the truth of sanctification taking root in our spirits. 

1 Peter 1:15-16But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; [16] Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 


God’s Word, the Bible is our authority.

If I am going to worship God in truth, I will do so by learning, loving, leaning on, and listening to the Word of God.  

I can not worship God in truth and be disobedient to His Word. 

Psalm 119:11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 

Jeremiah 15:16Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts. 

So, who’s right when it come to worship?

I believe that everyone is right who truly follows the principles for worship laid down in John 4:23-24.

The style of worship is not as important as the condition of a person’s heart.    

Are you a true worshipper?