“It is the pleasing of God that is at the heart of worship.” – R.C. Sproul

taste-of-heaven-sproulIn our Sunday discussion groups this year at my home church (Faith PRC) we are beginning a study of R.C. Sproul’s book on worship. It was originally published under the title A Taste of Heaven: Worship in the Light of Eternity (Reformation Trust, 2006 – the copy I have), but has been newly published under the title How Then Shall We Worship? (David C. Cook, 2013). The main contents have not changed, except that a study guide has been added to the back and a new cover has been given to it.

Last night we discussed the Introduction and Chapter 1 (“The Form of Worship”), where Sproul lays down the “first principles” of biblical worship. But in his “Preface” he sets the stage with these words:

In the first chapter of Romans, the apostle Paul ,makes clear that the universal sin, the most foundational sin among human beings, is to worship and serve the creature rather than the ever-blessed Creator. Through the indictment of Romans 1, we learn that all human beings repress the manifest self-disclosure of God and refuse to honor Him as God, and ‘neither were they grateful.’ These twin acts of treason against the divine glory, refusing to honor Him as God and refusing to give Him the gratitude that is due Him for all of the blessings we receive from His hand, are so powerful that once a person is converted, these penchants are not instantly or automatically erased.

To be sure, the Spirit of God quickens within the souls of the redeemed a new desire for worship. But that desire is not something that can be left to the natural course of experience. It must be cultivated. It must be learned in accordance with the directives of sacred Scripture. The worship to which we are called in our renewed state is far too important to be left to personal preferences, to whims, or to marketing strategies. It is the pleasing of God that is at the heart of worship [emphasis mine]. Therefore, our worship must be informed at every point by the Word of God as we seek God’s own instructions for worship that is pleasing to Him. [pp.10-11]

There will be plenty of good things for us to talk about as we work our way through it. No doubt I will share other parts of it with you here.