In John 4:24 we now come to a third instance of the word "must". The entire verse reads,
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.As in John 3:7 and 3:30, it is the same Greek word meaning, "It is necessary."
There are many opinions today regarding the proper means and modes of worshiping God. The greater context of this passage, however, teaches us one thing clearly: Our worship must be in the manner which God has ordained. No man can dictate what our worship must be, apart from what God Himself has demanded. We must always remember: Worship is not about us; worship is about God.
Furthermore, God has given us guidelines for proper worship. This verse provides two of them: Worship must be "in spirit." The word "spirit" occurs twice in the verse, and is the same Greek word both times. The first instance clearly makes reference to God's existence as the third member of the Trinity. Then, we are told that true worship takes place "in spirit," almost certainly a reference to that same Holy Spirit. Only Christians can truly worship God, for only Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. Furthermore, true worship must conform to the character of God the Holy Spirit. And this is related to....
Worship must be "in truth." The Greek word for "truth" is used over a hundred times in the N.T. and has a consistent meaning very much like the English word. In combination with the facts that worship must be "in Spirit," and that true worshipers must be Christians, we are told here that our worship must be in keeping with God's true character and God's true Word. Any worship-so-called which does not conform to God's character, or does not accurately reflect His Word, is not worship in God's eyes.
Since it is necessary for us to worship in spirit and in truth, let us examine ourselves, to see that we are!