John 4:24, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
This morning, there are many that claim that the Bible is out-of-date. They say that the things contained therein were acceptable for the time that they were written, but now, society has evolved to a state that makes the principles obsolete. This mindset is almost impossible to deal with (short of the grace of God). But, consider the tense of this verse. God IS a Spirit. The language dictates that this statement holds true forever. Nothing changes, and it is absolutely decreed. Therefore, these principles are not out-of-date. God is a Spirit then, and He is a Spirit now. He is a Spirit tomorrow, and He remains so throughout all eternity.
Now that we have laid the groundwork for the constancy of this text, let us proceed to the remainder. Worship of the Spirit must be in spirit and in truth. Notice that this is a MUST. This is not up for consideration or possibility. This statement is cemented with an iron pen in the rock forever. To worship God in spirit declares that one must be born again to do so. Without the new birth, man only possesses his fallen, corrupt, natural spirit. This spirit is given to evil continually, and it has no remorse or contrition for its actions. Therefore, one cannot get unregenerates into the house of God for proper worship to turn them into regenerate children. They must be regenerate in the first place, or they cannot worship properly.
However, proper worship does not require just this condition. Truth must be in accord with the order of worship. Without the truth, we only have a zeal of God that is not corroborated with knowledge. Indeed, most of the religious world today are very zealous creatures, but they have no inkling of what manner it is in which they are supposed to worship their Redeemer. So, if we must have spirit and truth, what is the consequence of neglecting one or the other?
As mentioned above, all spirit and no truth leads into illogical worship. It is illogical to contemplate an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God needing people to worship Him and get folks to heaven at the same time. He gets His children to heaven without the help of man one iota. This mindset has not the knowledge of the truth. It is illogical to conjure how that God would be worshipped with the inventions of man's hands (piano, organ, gyms, and recreational facilities). He needs not to be worshipped with man's hands, but He gives us the spirit of praise to be utilized with our heart and voice.
Now, what is the downside of truth without spirit? Can a man have the outward display of the spirit absent and still be regenerate? Certainly! Many times, we fall into the coldness that comes from not mortifying the deeds of the flesh. We may still know the truth, and worship in His house with singing, preaching, and praying. But, if we are just going through the motions, this worship is just as dead as the worship without truth. We can become Pharisaical about having the truth, and if we lack charity, we are nothing more than sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. May we ever worship Him as we ought with both essentials present every time that the church doors are open and throughout our daily walks of life.