Q&A SESSION WITH PASTOR CHRIS OYAKHILOME.
OYAKHILOME: Hello! Welcome to today’s program! I will endeavor to answer your questions and I believe that this will be a good blessing to you.
QUESTION —Fidelis (USA): How do Christians worship in spirit and in truth?
ANSWER : Well, first, it was Jesus who said that. He said, “God is a Spirit: and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”[John 4: 24] “For the father seeketh such to worship him” [John 4: 23] In fact, Jesus made it clear to us that it was the father’s desire; he said, “the father seeketh such to worship him,” [John 4: 23] because God is a spirit. So, if you are going to worship God, you are going to have to worship him in spirit and in truth. That’s exactly what Jesus said. Now, to worship God in spirit, you must have the Holy Spirit, because only the Holy Spirit can enable you to worship God in Spirit. Now, before Jesus made that statement people had been worshiping God in several different ways for many, many years. The men and women of the Old Testament did worship God. God actually gave them the forms of worship; he let them know how to do it, including singing. The Levites had singers—special singers. The priests ordered the worship. In spite of all that, Jesus said, this was not God’s desire. He said, “The time is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers…” [John 4:23] He distinguished between the true worshipers and other worshipers. So, they had worshiped but now, he was revealing God’s reality. So, when he says “the true worshipers”, it was not to mean that the others were in falsehood but that he was talking about reality – those who would worship God as God actually desired. It’s like talking about the Old Testament and the laws. The bible says, “The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” [John 1:17] which means that Jesus actually brought to us what God’s heart really was. The laws of the Old Testament—the laws of Moses – were righteous laws but they couldn’t produce salvation, and so, Jesus brought salvation; Jesus brought reality. Jesus brought the Father’s heart; Jesus came to reveal to us what God really was like, and so, he said the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. So, you must have the Holy Spirit first.
You know, in worshiping God, you are not just going to be thinking, you have got to say something. In the Old Testament, they said something. There are different ways, there are different things you do to worship God. Yes, the Bible says you come with an offering to worship him but you don’t just drop the offering; you’ve got to say something. It’s actually what you say that gives credibility to what you give to God. What you say gives credibility to what you give to God – what you say about and upon what you give to God – because when you bring an offering to God, you don’t just drop it somewhere, you’ve got to say something to God and those words are very important. Whether you are singing them or you are just speaking them, they are very important to God. In the Old Testament, he taught them what to say when they brought their offerings to God. There were different kinds of offerings and then the tithes, and he said when you bring this to the place that your Lord your God shall choose, ye shall say thus and thus. So, what you say is very important when you bring an offering to God in worship.
But then, in worshiping God beyond what you give to Him, beyond your offering, what do you say? What do you do? These are those things that help us understand the spirituality of worship. So, I am going to read something to you from the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 14, beginning in verse 13: “Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.” [1 Corinthians 14:13] Now, already you know where we are going. It’s got to do with spiritual communication: speaking in an unknown tongue [to pray that he may interpret], which means they are not the same kind of language. And why do you pray that you may interpret? It means that he is not talking about your native dialect – your mother tongue – because it says that you pray. It says the one who prays or speaks in an unknown tongue should pray to God that he will be able to interpret. Now, you don’t have to pray to interpret in your mother tongue. So, he is not talking about your mother tongue. He is saying something here that’s very important. So, we go on – verse 14: “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.”[1 Corinthians 14: 14] If I pray in an unknown tongue, which is the spiritual tongue he’s talking about, it says it’s my spirit that’s praying but my understanding is unfruitful, which means I don’t understand what I am saying. So, this is not your native dialect; this is not your mother tongue; this is not your lingua franca. So, he’s saying, “If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful [I don’t understand what I am saying] What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: [now, I want you to notice the definite article in ‘the understanding’. It says, ‘the understanding’. I will pray with my spirit or with the spirit; now I will pray with the understanding also. Then it says] I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” [1 Corinthians 14: 14-15]. So, it means that I can pray to God with my spirit, and I can sing to God with my spirit. Now, it says when I pray in an unknown tongue, it’s my spirit that’s praying even though I don’t understand it.
Let me read another [little] verse to you here; same book, same chapter from verse 2 chapter 14; it says, “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. [1 Corinthians 14:2]” It says “no man understandeth him.” When you speak in tongues, nobody understands you and here it says you don’t even understand yourself. That’s why it says, “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful” [1 Corinthians 14: 14]. I don’t understand; no one else understands. So, it says in that thirteenth verse that: “Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret” [I Corinthians 14: 13]. Now, what this tells us is that we can sing to God, we can pray to God from our spirits and you can only do that when the spirit of God has come into you. The spirit of God gives you that spiritual language. According to the Bible, when they received, [when the disciples received the Holy Spirit] they were enabled to speak in other tongues. They were given that spiritual language through the Holy Spirit. So, when you receive the Holy Spirit, you will also have this spiritual language. No one can teach you; it’s the Spirit that puts it [he makes that deposit] within your spirit and you have the ability to speak in other tongues or to sing in other tongues, and that’s the way you worship God in spirit. That means through your spirit and by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a way it is written in the Amplified version and you’d like it; it says, “my spirit through the Holy Spirit within me.” So, that’s very important.
Now, in truth because it says, “worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” What do you mean worshiping God in truth? Now remember, in St. Johns gospel chapter 17 and verse 17, when Jesus was praying, he said these words in his prayer, in the seventeenth verse, he says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” [John 17:17]. He was praying to the Father to sanctify his disciples – those who believed in him. He says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” So, that lets us understand what Jesus meant by truth. God’s word is truth. So, when it says to worship in spirit and in truth, it means worshiping God through your spirit and by the power of the Holy Spirit according to his word. You have to worship according to his word, understanding the word, through the word, using the word – functioning through the word. Now, there is more for us to say there. I’d like you to go to Psalm 47: 7; it says, “For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.” Sing ye praises with understanding. Notice he didn’t say ‘with the understanding’ but ‘with understanding’. Now, when we read in 1 Corinthians 14 and verse 14 into verse 15, he did say ‘understanding’ with the definite article; he said ‘the understanding’. If I pray in an unknown tongue my spirit prayeth but my understanding is unfruitful. It says, “What do I do then?” He says, “I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with ‘the understanding’ also – ‘the understanding’, meaning the mind. But now, the Psalmist here is not talking about the mind or the power of the mind but the function. So, he says here, “For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding”, that means knowing what you are doing. Sing praises with understanding; you got to know what you are doing. Have your mind clear about what’s going on. This is the function. See, in other words, when we sing praises to God, it should be with the knowledge of God’s word. It should be, understanding what God wants, how God wants it, and what his recommendation is. So, don’t just praise without understanding how it’s supposed to be done. This is what the Psalmist is saying: sing ye praises with understanding, knowing what you are doing according to God’s word. That’s what Jesus said, that the worshipers [the true worshipers] will worship in spirit and in truth. In truth, meaning in reality, understanding God’s word, following God’s word in truth. So, that is the answer to your question.