Weekly Devotional | True Worshipers Receive
This devotional is based on Bob Kauflin's sermon, True Worshipers Receive, given on March 6th, 2016.
Day 1: The Heart of True Worship—John 4:1-15
- “From start to finish, the Bible’s story is a story of grace; a story of God’s initiative to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves by offering us unmerited mercy and undeserved love. Worship in the Bible is never a bridge that we build out to him but simply a responsive journey we make to cross the bridge he has built out to us. He speaks his word and gives his presence; we his worshiping people simply respond to what he has done.” John Risbridger
- “Contrary to what we normally think, worship doesn’t begin with us, but with God. We never originate worship. We’ve been invited to participate in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Spirit. We are united with Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection have enabled us to worship God with boldness and joy. Therefore our worship is the result of what God does, not what we do.” Bob Kauflin
Questions to Consider:
- How would you describe your most basic duty as a Christian? Does it reflect an attitude primarily of receiving from God or producing for him?
- Does it frustrate you that God is more interested in you receiving him rather than providing for him? Does it sting your pride or kindle gratitude?
- Where do your ideas about pleasing God come from? Do they reflect our culture’s values or the Bible’s?
- Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. Take time to meditate on, and praise God for, his grace! It is because of our weaknesses that we more clearly behold the greatness of God and value Jesus’ sacrifice.
- Ask that God would give you a peace and joy in your weaknesses and dependence.
Day 2: Receiving Relationship—John 4:7-19
- “After her encounter with Jesus, the woman didn’t run to tell everyone what she had done. ‘Look how impressive I am! Look what I figured out! Look how hard I looked for God! See how much I love God!’ She said, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ Her focus was on the grace, mercy, and initiative of God. And that’s what marks a true worshiper.” Bob Kauflin
Questions to Consider:
- Think back on your own salvation experience. What made you an unlikely candidate for becoming a true worshiper of God? What did he do to overcome them and bring you to saving faith?
- How does your personal testimony reveal God’s good character?
- Do you know a non-Christian whose life or circumstances reflect your own before you were saved? How could you use your testimony to help them receive God’s truth, salvation, and grace? How could you use your testimony to help a discouraged Christian enjoy more of God’s grace?
- Read Ephesians 2:1-9. Take some time to thoughtfully reflect on the miracle of your own salvation. Think deeply about how God revealed himself to you by overcoming all the obstacles that separated you from salvation. Last, take time to thank God specifically for the initiatives he took, as recorded in this passage, to make our beloved Savior yours.
Day 3: Receiving the Truth—John 4:20-23
- “God must speak to us before we have any liberty to speak to him. He must disclose to us who he is before we can offer him what we are in acceptable worship. The worship of God is always a response to the Word of God. Scripture wonderfully directs and enriches our worship.” John Stott
- “We can’t worship God apart from his Word. It defines, directs, and inspires our worship. Scripture provides doctrinal fuel for our emotional fire.” Bob Kauflin
Questions to Consider:
- How does God’s Word enhance our affections for God during our Sunday worship? What about Jesus and his gospel could you more deeply meditate on before Sunday to more passionately worship him?
- Do you ever feel that good doctrine and personal experiences with God are at odds with one another? What are the potential consequences for ignoring either the written Word (Scripture) or the living Word (Jesus) in our worship?
- What about God are you most eager to study? How would a greater knowledge in that area enable you to glorify him more on Sunday?
- Read John 15:9-11. Take time to meditate on the gift of God’s commandments. Without his written and living Word, we would not understand salvation or know what pleases God. Now, because of that Word, we are truly able to walk in obedience and fullness of joy! Thank God for his Word!
Day 4: Receiving the Ministry of the Spirit—John 4:24
- “To worship the Father in spirit means not only that there is an internal reality to our worship, but that we need the Spirit of God to worship God.” Bob Kauflin
- “We can’t sit across from Jesus at a well and have him explain who God is to us. But we have something better – his written Word, illuminated to us by his Holy Spirit.” Bob Kauflin
Questions to Consider:
- None of us would have become Christians apart from the saving work of the Holy Spirit. But His work didn’t stop with our salvation, it began there!
- Read John 16:12-15. How does the Spirit of God help us to worship the Son of God?
- Read Romans 8:12-17. Take a few minutes to thank God for the gift of His Spirit! By the Spirit’s work we were justified, and by the Spirit’s work we are sanctified to become like our beloved Jesus!
- Read Ephesians 1:15-21. Ask that God would give you an eagerness to lean more wholly into the immeasurable power of His Spirit so that you may grow even closer to Jesus through obedience.
Day 5: Receiving Satisfaction—John 4:25-30
- “Christians will sometimes talk about running hard after God, pursuing God, even chasing God. The intention is good, but can be misleading if we forget that we first and foremost have been pursued by God. He’s not hiding. We are. He’s not failing to give. We’re failing to receive.” Bob Kauflin
- “This is what the spiritual disciplines are for (meditating on Scripture, sitting under preaching, fellowship, singing, prayer, obedience), not to gain points with God, but to be satisfied in him. They put us in the place to know and be satisfied in God as he has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ.” Bob Kauflin
Questions to Consider:
- Is there any conflict between worshiping God to glorify him and coming to him to be completely satisfied in him?
- What feelings arise in your heart when you hear the phrase “spiritual disciplines”? Do you feel joy? guilt? gratitude? pride? drudgery? Remember that the spiritual disciplines are the core activities by which we meet our wildly generous God who is eager to give himself to us! He desires to refresh and encourage us with himself through those activities! They are not demands of drudgery intended to exhaust or bore us.
- Does the idea of worshiping God for eternity seem boring to you?
- Read John 15:9-11. Thank God that He gives us commandments to increase our joy, not to stifle it! Ask Him for a heart that more deeply appreciates the spiritual disciplines. Ask Him specifically for a greater hunger to celebrate his Son through them.
- Read 1 John 3:1-3. Ask God to increase this hope in you. There is nothing more purifying for a Christian than to build one’s hopes on the future joy of seeing and enjoying Jesus forever! Praise God for our Lord Jesus!
Questions for Group Discussion:
- True worshipers are fundamentally those who receive from God. Does that encourage you or trouble you? What are barriers to consistently posturing yourself as receiver?
- “Scripture provides doctrinal fuel for our emotional fire.” What does this mean? What is the relationship between emotions and doctrine? More broadly, what is the relationship between emotions anything we believe, whether true or false?
- Doctrine drives worship. How has your worship been strengthened through greater understanding of particular truths/doctrines from God’s Word? Are there any doctrines or attributes of God that you are currently struggling to understand or submit to? Is that hindering your enjoyment of God or worship of him on Sundays? Discuss this with the group to help each other come to a more worshipful attitude about even the “hard” doctrines.
- Jesus told the woman at the well that true worshipers worship in spirit and in truth. What does he mean by this?
- What are some helpful ways you have learned to, in your personal devotional time with God, worship him both in spirit and truth, neglecting neither one for the other.
- Why is it that spiritual disciplines can sometimes be a drudgery or a bore to us? What do you do when this happens? How can a practice of revisiting the gospel and preaching it to our souls revitalize our practice of the spiritual disciplines? Don’t hesitate to share both successes and failures with the group.
- “When we separate the word of God from the worship of God, we end up with something that is no longer true worship. We end up worshipping our worship. We become passionate about our passion.” How can this type of misguided worship display itself corporately in church gatherings? How does it display itself in your own life at times?