The Worship Quote of the Week for (01/29/2008):

Heart-Rending Worship
Over and over again, the Scriptures point us to the fact that God is concerned with the heart of the worshiper. In fact, even though we are called to honor him with outward expressions, he warns that an outward expression of worship without a heart attitude of worship does not please the Lord at all. The prophet Joel said it this way:

"Donít tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead."
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish. (Joel 2:13, NLT)

Notice Davidís confession: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (Psalm 51:17). Once in rebuking the Pharisees, Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" (Matthew 15:8).

So, todayís WORSHIP QUOTE is a marvelous devotional on "the broken heart" from the great nineteenth-century English preacher, Charles Spurgeon. Hereís my favorite part: "Offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven." Ouch! Read on.


HEART-RENDING WORSHIP
"Rend your heart, and not your garments." Joel 2:13

Garment rending and other outward signs of religious emotion are easily manifested and are FREQUENTLY HYPOCRITICAL; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations--for such things are pleasing to the flesh--but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.

Heart-rending is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.

The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviorís voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.

--Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), from MORNING AND EVENING, selection for "December 18." Wilmington, Delaware: Cross Publishing, no publication date. Excerpts from MORNING AND EVENING are available on the web at various places. You can even get them e-mailed to you each day. Try www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/morneve.d1218am.html .


Have a great week!


Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky
www.wqotw.org
www.sbts.edu/icw

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