Staged Worship must give way to Worship in the Spirit
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
I cannot tell you the exact meaning of spirit in John 4:24; because I have never seen the spirit world spoken of in this passage; however, I can tell you what it is not. It is not tangible flesh and bone or physical in nature because Christ made this very clear.
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
In the Old Testament, there was a true physical human worship system, patterned after the spirit worship system of Heaven.
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
God provided the pattern of a physical worship center and its worship instruments to Israel by revelation. The leadership of Israel built the worship center and made its instruments from the heavenly patterns provided by God’s revelation. They worshipped God in the physical worship center with these physical instruments. This was the Old Covenant which taught us everything about worshipping God properly.
God’s will was the cessation of the physical human worship system of the Old Covenant in order to substitute the New Covenant spiritual worship of Christ. God sealed His wil,l humanly, by the dissolution of Israel as a nation; and by the seizure of the worship site of Israel by the most extreme enemy, Islam. These things sealed that only spirit worship would be possible, until His will was otherwise.
John 4:21 (KJV 1900)
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant physical worship or sacrifice system by offering himself as the ultimate offering for sin.
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Why was this elaborate physical worship system revealed, recorded, and performed. The patterns and practices in heaven were brought to earth in order to teach men of the spiritual worship system of heaven. The physical system revealed the concept of God’s high priest who offered sacrifices for the sins of the people insuring that the future offering of Christ could be understood and followed. The physical system, with a physical high priest, was removed from the earth and replaced with the ultimate spiritual high priest of all mankind, Jesus Christ.
This is the spirit worship which Jesus refers to in John 4:24.
The New Covenant in Christ’s blood can only be offered in heaven, spiritually. Because worship has been relegated to the spirit world of heaven, we must follow this pattern. As Christ gave us his body physically and offered it in Heaven spiritually, we also must be an earthly living sacrifice and offer this to him spiritually. This is true spiritual worship.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
1 Peter 2:5 (KJV 1900)
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Worshiping in the spirit is not physical, personal gratification of music, artful, intelligent preaching, or staged worship, but it is the offering of our bodies spiritually to God as Christ Jesus did. This is the greatest worship of our Savior.