Does John 4:24 teach that Jesus is not God?
The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" teaches that Jesus is not God. Often, they cite John 4:24 in order to demonstrate that Jesus is not God. Is that what this verse teaches?
John 4:24 (ESV) - 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
When we examine the verse, we see that it does not teach that Jesus is not God.
Jesus was speaking of the Father.
It is clear from the context that Jesus was not speaking of the being of God, but the person of the Father.
John 4:23 (ESV) - 23 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.
The INC generally does not allow for the Trinitarian distinctions that are necessary to understand such a passage. The word "God" does not necessarily refer to the being of God. Rather, depending on the context it can refer to an individual person of the Trinity. In this case, the word "God" obviously refers to the Father. In this case, we cannot hold the Son, a distinct person of the Trinity to the same description.
Jesus is spirit.
However, even if this were speaking of the being of God, applying also to the Son, we would be assured that it is fine because Jesus is spirit as well. In his divine being, he is spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:45 (ESV) - 45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
The INC claims that Jesus denied that he is spirit, but this is not true.
The point of John 4:24 is that we should worship God in more than a physical way.
Why did Jesus say what he said? He said it because the woman he was speaking to, being a Samaritan, did not have a good understanding of the God her people worshiped.
John 4:22 (ESV) - 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Going back even farther, we see that he said it because the woman asked a question about the physical practice of worship (the location of worship) and he wanted to communicate that those who worship God should not be concerned with the physical act, but with the spirit behind the worship.
John 4:19-21 (ESV) - 19 The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." 21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
When the INC uses this verse to say that Jesus is not God, they deny what it says about worship of him. If they really wish to assert that Jesus is not spirit, that would mean that we should not worship Jesus in spirit and in truth.
John 4:24 does not teach that Jesus is not God. It teaches that our worship of God should extend beyond the physical. Additionally, Jesus, in his divine being, is spirit though he is also a man. INC members would do well to repent of their unbelief and submit their thinking to what the Bible teaches and find a church that teaches rightly.