Head vs. Heart (Wk 2 – Worship Matters)
Jason White






Worship involves both our head and our heart. Most of us lean towards head worship or heart worship, but the Holy Spirit will lead us to worship God with our minds and our emotions. How does this apply to you today?

John 4:24 – God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.





Sermon Audio Transcript
So I remember the first time when I was a teenager that I actually got to go to a different churches youth group on a Wednesday night and experience how, how they did worship on a Wednesday night. And it was really different than how I had been used to my church doing things. I grew up in a pretty traditional church that focused on really being reverent before God and, and even though that was dialed down a bit, when it came to our youth activities, it still kind of had that same type of feel to it. But one night, a friend of mine invited me to his church and the moment I walked in, I mean, there was this loud, contemporary Christian music that was blaring through the speakers. And when we started worship, it stayed loud. And there was a lot of energy in the room. And I looked around and people were emotional, and they were energetic, and their expression of worship, they were, they were passionate in the way that they were singing and expressing themselves in this time of worship. And it was awesome. I really resonated with that. I remember getting emotional myself and really feeling the Lord's presence, not just knowing he was near and knowing he was with us, but I could feel his presence as I began to enter into worship with them that night. And it really was an eye opening experience to me, honestly, I left there that night thinking man, this is what worship is all about. Worship is about expressing our emotional, heartfelt, passionate love for Jesus Christ. But then I remember also having another experience the following summer, that was completely different from that I got to go to a Christian summer camp with my friends. And while the worship singing was similar to what I had talked about with the church, youth Wednesday night experience that I had, and there's a lot of emotional, passionate, energetic singing during worship, when the camp pastor came up to preach, he turned our attention to a certain passage, he encouraged us to open up our own Bibles and to keep them open the entire time that he was preaching and he would read a certain part of the text. And then he would explained the text and he would really take us much deeper into the text, he would help us understand the things that were going on at the time. And and what this was saying to the original audience, there was some talk about the original language and what certain words meant and really unpacking what we were seeing there. And then, after all of that, after figuring out what the truth was there, what it was originally saying, The Spirit was saying to that audience, what still applied to us today. And I remember listening to him and the Spirit speaking to me through these things. And it was awesome. I loved going deep into God's word and learning truth. And I remember leaving there thinking, Oh, my gosh, well, this is what worship is all about really diving deep into God's word, knowing truth and, and using our minds. in worship, I felt full, I felt like I had been spiritually fed. So as you can see, I had two really different experiences. And I left both of them thinking, that is what worship is all about. On the one hand, I left that youth group thinking that worship is all about my heartfelt love and and passionate expression of emotion towards God. And on the other hand, I left that camp thinking worship is all about my mind, and discovering and knowing His truths. So what is it? Is worship more about our hearts? Or is it more about our heads is worship more about our minds or our emotions? Because the thing is, I think if we're being really honest, a lot of us really do lean towards one of those sides when it comes to our perspective of what it looks like to truly worship God. Some of us go into worshiping with our hearts and emotions so much that we look over at someone not singing at the same time and we wonder how could they not see how could they not be singing in this particular moment and we see someone with their head stuck so far down in the Bible just all of the time and so studious in their approach to it we're thinking man they need to get their head out of the Bible every now and then quit trying to gain more knowledge in actually show God that theylove him. But then there are those of us who have their head intheir Bibles who are looking over at someone being so passionate and emotional in their worship. And we're thinking, I wonder if they have any idea who they are worshiping in this moment, or if they're just caught up in some emotional, mindless experience. And it's not just about us as individuals, when we talk about these things, either. This can apply to entire churches, we have some churches who just fall in love with deep expository preaching Bible study, studying theology in the deep things of God. And in that becomes mostly what they then focus on. And it's good. And there's a lot of knowledge, and there's a lot of understanding of truth, perhaps. But sometimes in these churches, it can seem like there's no life, people can come across cold and sometimes even almost unaffected by the teaching and all the knowledge that they have in their head. There's a lot of head knowledge, but it just doesn't seem to impact their love for God and their love for others, in any real particular way. But then, there are other churches who focus so much on emotions and seem really warm and friendly, and they sing songs with passionate emotions. But there's very little depth that seems pretty shallow scriptures can often be taken out of context. And it seems like maybe spontaneity in these kinds of churches is what everything is about. And so, again, which approach is better? Should we worship more with our heads? Or should we worship more with our heart? Should we focus on emotional expressions of worship and love? Should we focus on thinking, understanding and the pursuit of deep truths? Well, let's dive into Scripture and see if we can find out the answers to these questions. The first place I want us to look this morning is John chapter four, where we see Jesus making an important statement about worship. He's talking to the Samaritan woman at the well you'll remember this if you've read through the Gospels and and Jesus eventually moves the conversation towards worship. And she begins to question some things like the right place to worship, where's the right geographical location to worship and honor God and asking some questions about those things. And, and we see that Jesus says, this important statement here, and John 423, but the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit, and truth. For the Father is seeking such people to worship him. And then goes on in verse 24. It says, God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit, and truth. So there's a few things here we could talk about a lot of things actually, in what Jesus says in just those two verses. But the first thing that I want us to notice and really highlight is this right here, he says God is Spirit. Now, Jesus isn't saying that God is one of many spirits. He's saying, God is Spirit. This is his essential nature, God's essential nature is spirit, we must not think of God as material or bound in any way to places or things. And so this is the first thing we really need to realize is that God is Spirit. But then notice that because this is true, because God is Spirit. Then he says, Those who worship him notice this word, must worship in spirit. And truth. Notice, again, that this is not just a suggestion. This is not just preferential right. This is essential. If you are going to worship truly worship God. It has to be in spirit and in truth. And so what does that mean? Well, it kind of takes us back to talking about what I'm about to draw up here. And we've talked about a number of times, but I want you to see how this applies again to us in worship. Specifically when we talk about this. So again, Scripture tells us that we are made up of a spirit. So, and a body, right? We are spiritual beings at the very core of who we are, in the book of Genesis in the creation account, we are told that we are made in what in God's image? Well, what does it mean to be made in God's image? Well, we could talk probably about a number of things, but again, at the very heart, at the very core of it, I think this is what it means to be made in God's image is that we are spirit beings, spiritual beings, right? We were meant to be in Union as a spiritual being, with the holy spirit with God himself. This is what sets us apart from the rest of God's creation, other creations and animals we can see have a soul, they have emotions, and of course, they have a mind and they think, and they, you know, have a will and maybe make choices about certain things. That's only two L's, but I'm not going to erase that right now. All right, and but this right here is what separates us from them. We're spirit beings who can be in a spiritual union with the God of the universe here. And of course, we know that even though this was meant to be true, that because of sin in the world, that that affects us all the way throughout our being right. And because of that can no longer have God, the Holy Spirit dwelling with us at the core, he's perfect, He's holy in this sin leaves us in a place where we are spiritually dead. Right. So because of the sin, and because we've been affected at the very core of our being, now when it comes to this idea of worship, if we're thinking okay, I, there might be a God, there is a God, I need to worship and glorify and honor him. The only thing that we're left with is the outer two layers. The only thing that we're left with is okay, I guess I can try worshiping God with my emotions, I guess I can try worshipping him with my mind, I guess I can try worshiping him with my will or my body in some way. But as you can see, all of these things are external. It's religious activity in and of themselves. Right in and of themselves. It's external. It's religious activity. So Jesus says, You must worship in spirit and truth. And he came to make a way for us to be able to do that Jesus came, He is described in Scripture, he describes himself as the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE, Jesus came to reveal the truth about who God is and to create a way for us to enter back into the Union that we were meant to to bring us the abundant life, because we are missing the life that we were meant to have. We are spiritually dead here, of course, the way that Jesus accomplished that is through the cross, He took all of your sins and my sins and all the sins of the world upon himself at the cross, and He paid the penalty for all of them. He was buried or he died for those he was buried. He was raised from the dead, He ascended back to heaven. And then he sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. When Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit in John chapter 14, he even describes him as the spirit of Guess what? Truth. Remember, Jesus says, We must worship in spirit and in truth and so now, when you and I put our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation based on his finished work on the cross, we say yes to Him.We are completely forgiven. And then Jesus, the Holy Spirit scuze me can come back unite to our spirit. So now we enter back into that we still deal with indwelling sin and our emotions and in our mind and our will and our bodies, but at the very core of our being in this union, who we are identities changed, we've been born again. This is in John chapter four that we were talking about worship in spirit and truth. One chapter earlier, John chapter three, he talks about being born again with Nicodemus John chapter one, he talks about being born of God when we put our faith and trust in Him when we receive Him into our lives for salvation. And so now when this happens, the now we can finally do what Jesus said, in John chapter four, worship in spirit and truth, to worship God, it must be of a spiritual kind. If it is not of a spiritual kind, it's not worship, it's religious, it's external, it's something else in and of itself. Now that we have that though, here's the way that plays out, the Spirit then begins to guide our worship. How does he do that? Well, through our mind, he influences our mind and opens us up to the truth about who God really is, and how that plays out and worship. And then he guides our emotions, in our hearts, we resonate with who God is, and what it is that he's done. And it causes us to feel something based on the things that he's done and who he is. And then he causes us to make certain choices in worship in the way that we worship him, This then will influence our bodies, and he'll begin to use our voices or maybe our emotions or mine, he's going to lead us to raise our hands in worship, or to kneel with our bodies. And so you can see this is all being influenced and driven, though, from the very core of our being, where we're back in this spiritual union with Jesus, and it's affecting both head and heart. Now, when we go back to scriptures, and we look at places we see that worship is of a spiritual kind and ahead, knowledge as well, what we just showed you in the diagram, right, I can take you to a number of places, but one of them is Romans 12 says, I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. It's of a spiritual kind. We make ourselves our bodies available for this spiritual act of worship to be led through us in expressed in some way. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, the mind will be at play here, God will use our minds to worship him. Another place that we see this is in what Paul writes to the Philippian church, he's praying for them right in the very beginning and saying, This is what I'm praying for you guys as a congregation, that you're what love your emotion of love, your sacrificial love expressed towards other people, that it may abound that it may grow more and more how Paul in knowledge and in depth of insight, why so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory, you can see that Paul expects the Lord to be engaging our minds with knowledge and depth of insight and our ability to be able to discern what's best in our lives and what are the best ways to express worship towards him. But then watch this. Paul writes this in Philippians, chapter one, the very next chapter, he says this, we see both aspects come out of what we're talking about today. If there's any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the spirit of course all those things are true, you could really say this word even in the original Greek is more like since since all of these things are true in your life, then do what fulfill my joy by thinking the same way having the same love sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal, Paul? All is completely expecting the spirit to be at work in their minds and in their hearts in gauging their emotions at the same time. Finally, just one other place. Since then you have been raised with Christ set your heart on things above where Christ is seated there I have set your mind on earthly, not on earthly things, but on things above. Again, Paul is completely expecting the Lord to be at work in our heads, and our hearts when it comes to worship. And then if we begin to steer the conversation, once we see these truths found in scripture of what that kind of looks like in practical application, we can still go to God's word and take a look at the Psalms and begin to see both aspects coming out because the book of Psalms really shows us so much about the worship and expressions of worship, right? And so let's look at a few things there. Psalm 100, verses one through five shout for joy to the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness come before him with joyful songs, these this language of emotions and engaging in that way, but watch this. No, engage him with your mind know intellectually with understanding that the Lord is God. Then he explained to he is here's what you need to know he it is He who made us and we are his we are His people, the sheep of His pasture, Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, give thanks to Him, praise his name, for the Lord is good and His love endures forever. He goes back into another explanation of God back and forth between emotions and feeling and also engaging the mind. Let's look at another one hard to get away from her emotions not being involved in one of the ways that he leads us how lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty listen to this, my soul yearns and that is how heart felt language something deep is happening within me is I'm thinking about praising it yearns it, it got it Ed fates. Talk about a motion for the courts of the Lord, my my heart cries out. Hard to get away to think Oh, worship is all about our minds. It is all about understanding. You just need to know truth. It's both whenever it comes out. Last one, Psalm 111. Praise the Lord, I will extol again extol the Lord with all my heart and the Council of the upright and assembly. Great are the works of the Lord. They are what pondered me mind thinking, all by all who delight in him, it's not one or the other. It's a both. And so when we begin to see these things in Scripture, we then finally asked the question, okay, we saw kind of practical expressions in the Psalms. But what does that look like? For me personally, like we've saw this truth in here today.But what about what about me, Lord, what are you saying to me through each one of these things here. And again, as we talked about, some of us lean a little bit more towards one way or the other when we think about worshiping with our head or our heart. And so if some of you are leaning more over to the head side of worship, then maybe the Lord is saying to you this morning to allow some room for the Holy Spirit to to stoke your emotion, and passion for him when it comes to worship. Maybe you need to ask the question, Lord, it Jesus. Is there something you want me to feel today? As I worship, Jesus? Is there something that you want me to do? Do you want me to sing, clap, shout raise my hand as an outward expression of any emotions that you stir up in me as I worship. And let's be careful if this is you about saying, well, Jason, I'm just not that kind of person. Let's be careful about that. I understand that there are different personalities that we are God makes us differently in some of us. Is are more emotional than others, some of us are more expression it in our emotions than there are there's no denying that kind of thing. But how about we let God who created us to knows us best actually decide how he wants to use us in worship, rather than just saying, Sorry, no, I'm not that kind of person. I'm not open to you directing me in that way, God, I know better than you who I really am and what you want me to do. So let's be careful about the way that we approach him and saying those things. If you lean more towards the head side of things, that's okay. That's God given personality. And maybe he really do drive into truth more and help unpack it. And those are oftentimes more of our teachers and people who can explain a lot of those things. But don't be closed off to just go. That's only who I am. You have emotions, and you have feelings. And he may want to lead you into that. For those of you who lean more to the heart side of worship, than be open to how the Lord wants to reveal truth to you, to engage with your mind to be able to ground your emotions in his truth, right? Pay attention to the lyrics that we sing, ask the questions. How does this help me understand God better? What truth is this declaring about God as I am singing in this moment, as we dive into his word each and every Sunday, go there with engage your mind and be thinking about this being open to God showing you more and more about who he is who you are in Christ, and then again, how that plays out in your life as well. So it's my hope and prayer that will make our hearts and our heads available to him, as he leads us to continue in worship this morning, because again, we've left some time for us to be able to worship together the rest of this surface, I'm going to close this out in prayer in just a moment Jerry is going to come back up and lead us in a time of worship. And I hope that we'll all be just making this statement Jesus, how do you want to use my head? And how do you want to use my heart as I engage you in worship this morning, and whatever it is that he lays on your heart, step into that with him and allow him to use you in those ways to glorify and honor and worship him this morning must pray