Reformation Trust Publishing
In A Taste of Heaven, Dr. R.C. Sproul looks at the instructions for worship God gave to His people in the Old Testament in order to extract principles to guide New Testament worshipers. Always remaining mindful that Old Testament worship practices cannot be transferred wholesale into the New Testament context because the symbolism of so many elements of that worship was fulfilled in Christ, Dr. Sproul nevertheless identifies numerous facets of ancient liturgies that have not been scripturally abrogated. He shows that God designed worship to give His ancient people a taste of heaven.
Dr. Sproul begins by examining the form of worship, showing that no worship is truly “informal.” This was certainly the case with Old Testament worship, which had a very distinct form, for it was designed by God. That being the case, we should not ignore the Old Testament as a resource in the search for worship that is pleasing to God.
Zeroing in on the elements of Old Testament worship, Dr. Sproul shows that the three key components were prayer, praise, and sacrifices. Of these three, the most important was sacrifices, for even prayer and praise were forms of sacrifice. He shows that the key element in the presentation of a sacrifice in Old Testament times was the faith of the worshiper, and that the same is true even today. He then makes clear that New Testament believers are to be “living sacrifices” and that our sanctuaries are to be “houses of prayer,” just as the Old Testament sanctuaries were.
Dr. Sproul next looks at symbolism in Old Testament worship. That portion of the book sets the stage for his consideration of the primary symbols in New Testament worship—the sacraments. Dr. Sproul spends three chapters on the various modern views of baptism, including the controversial issue of infant baptism, before considering the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
In the final portion of the book, Dr. Sproul shows that Old Testament worship involved the whole person, the mind as well as the senses. He then considers how the ancient liturgies appealed to all five of the human senses and how modern worship can do the same. The message here is that these worship elements, properly used, can provide a powerful sense of God’s presence for those who gather to worship.
You can read the first chapter of A Taste of Heaven in this pdf.