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.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
It is argued that these verses speak specifically to receiving the Holy Ghost. I believe this a a partial truth. I believe it is speaking to that but not exclusively, and here is why.
The LAW that was given in Exodus and Leviticus went largely into the priestly functions. Levi being the tribe the Lord drafted into His service in place of the firstborn of every family.
The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance.Deut.18:1
Since the tribe of Levi were exempt from war and inheritance... Joseph became two tribes for the inheritance. His sons, Ephriam and Mannaseh were each a tribe counted in the ineritance. Samuel was from the tribe of Ephriam. Ephriam replaced Levi in the inheritance! Can anyone say-foreshadowing?
Under that law, the Levites would perform all the priestly functions.
The priesthood wasn't immediately destroyed..but became powerless. There were times when it seemed to be restored to power and glory, especially under Solomon, but the word was already established.
God is sovereign. He will do what He wants to do. The key to this reasoning is found in 1 Samuel 2 vs 30.
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Get that point...His express will was already given...yet He already planned to supersede it. We stand on His expressed word and use it as, not only our map to heaven, but also as a weapon...our sword...to attack those who don't see what we see in it. But God has a sovereign will that allows Him to honor them that honor Him, even if we don't think they are honoring Him correctly!
We are to walk in the light...as we receive light, we must walk in it. It is never acceptable to think "I'm done. I don't need to add anything to my walk, or experience." As we come to fuller revelation we must walk in that fuller revelation. That doesn't mean we must continually expect everyone else to walk in OUR fuller revelation.
... but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
Many think they will be OK because they have followed THE PLAN of Acts 2:38, but have hatred in their hearts, gossip, cheat on their taxes, or spouses!!! lie, steal, and do all manner of evil...BUT they followed the plan and condemn those who actually love God and His word, and live above reproach but didn't understand the totality of Acts 2:38.
I would rather take my chances loving God and trusting His word as I understood it, living above reproach than to follow a formula and then live as less than a Christian.
Even better...I would rather understand the truth of Acts 2:38 AND live like a Christian! Those that follow Acts 2:38 and do not live as Christians are not really following Acts 2:38! The first step to Acts 2:38 is "REPENT". Death to self will so Jesus' will can rule our lives. Repentance is an ongoing daily activity. Just because you did it once, doesn't mean you still walk according to His will... and if you are NOT walking according to His will.. well, read the last thing in bold print.
Those who honor Jesus as Lord are my brothers, those who don't, need to repent. Those who know truth need to teach truth. Those who think they have the corner on truth need to expand their minds. God will honor them that honor Him, and they will inherit with all the brethren who inherit. None are limited by OUR understanding. Only WE are limited by our understanding. If our understanding is greater than others...more is expected of us...not more judgmentalism, but more love and compassion, and exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit.
Let's love God, and His word, and those who honor Him! Maybe we need to study rebuking a little... maybe next time.