There’s a story in the Bible about a king named Naaman. He was a mighty king, but he was a leper. As the story goes,
“… Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” (2Kings 5:10)
After somewhat of an inner conflict within himself, Naaman eventually obeyed the word of the Lord through Elisha and came up out of the river Jordan with his flesh totally renewed!
Now, things being as they were, King Naaman wanted to bless Elisha with presents and monetary gifts because he was so thankful to be healed of his leprosy. But Elisha would have none of it!
“But he (Elisha) said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he (Naaman) urged him to take it; but he refused.” (2Kings 5:16)
But a problem arose when Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, said within himself:
“Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman.” (2Kings 5:20-21)
When Gehazi caught up with Naaman, the king gave him two bags of silver and two changes of clothing. Then Gehazi returned back to his house with the gifts of silver and clothes.
But then something very interesting happened … which every American Christian should take earnest heed of today!
“… (Gahazi) went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.” (2Kings 5:25)
Then Elisha said to him,
“Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?” (2Kings 5:26)
In these last days, the Lord’s heart might also be “following after” every Christian in America and asking the same questions:
“Is this a time to be buying houses, new cars and all manner of material goods. Is this a time to be taking vacations to Disneyland and cruises to Israel? Is this a time to be trying to accumulate wealth and storing up silver and gold against the time to come? Is this a time to be glued to television sets watching all manner of evil, suggestive and hypnotic programs?”
Christians need to fear God, which is the beginning of wisdom, lest:
“The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto you … And you (go) out from his presence a leper as white as snow.” (2Kings 5:27)
That is what happened to Gehazi! And it seems to be happening to many Christians today as their besetting sins seem to “cleave” to them like “leprosy”.
Why? Because they’re worshipping (“following after”) the world and the things that are in this world … instead of worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth!
Jesus told the woman at the well (John 4:5-29):
“Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;” (John 4:13-14)
“But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39)
Now, after Jesus ministered to this woman through a word of knowledge, the woman was astonished and said to him:
“Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” (John 4:19-20)
But Jesus responded to her and said:
“Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” (John 4:21)
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (John 4:23)
Did you catch that? We’re not to worship God in some mountain, building, city, nation or state! We’re not to worship God through some TV program, church event, hyped-up revival or man-made religious fable! We’re to worship God in spirit and in truth!
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
One might well ask, “How then do I worship the Father in spirit and in truth?”
The answer is simple, yet life-altering:
One worships the Father in truth when he “rightly divides” the Word of God as found in the Holy Scriptures and then allows that Word to have dominion in his life. In other words, when a Christian hears the Word of God and becomes obedient to that Word in any given circumstance, then, at that moment, the Christian is worshipping the Father in truth! His obedience to the Word of God becomes worship! As it is written,
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Matthew 7:24)
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)
That “rock” is Jesus Christ, the living Word of God!
One worships the Father in spirit when he allows the Holy Ghost to well up within his heart (as living water) and guide him in all the affairs of this life. But this requires time in life-quickening prayer and intercession. As it is written,
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22)
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, …” (Romans 8:23)
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)
“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:27)
That Spirit which “maketh intercession” does so through the Holy Ghost which abides within us! As we yield ourselves in prayer, the Spirit actually intercedes through us in behalf of the Body of Christ worldwide! What a dynamic, life-giving fountain of living water!
Knowing this should encourage every Christian to …
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
So, in conclusion, the Word of God exhorts us:
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith (worshipping the Father in truth), praying in the Holy Ghost (worshipping the Father in spirit),” (Jude 1:20)
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1:21)
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