I’m preaching through the 10 Commandments over the summer. If you want to listen, go to http://www.gccyorkville.com.
This past Lord’s day we were in Exodus 20:8 which says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (abbreviated). I gave this outline for the sermon on the 4th commandment with some comments along the way. May the Lord bless you real good.
Let’s look at Relevant Passages on the Subject:
- Exodus 35:1-3
“Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.”
- Numbers 15:32-36
“While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. . . And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses.”
- Exodus 16:4-7, 11-36
The important thing to observe about this passage is that God wanted his people to trust him to preserve their 6th day gathering of food through the 7th day. It won’t go bad overnight. You’ll be able to get up on the Sabbath and have plenty of food from the 6th day preparation and gathering.
- Deut. 5:12-15
“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.”
At the end of the wilderness journey Moses reminds the people about the Law. But here he adds their salvation from bondage as the reason to keep the Sabbath. Clearly, resting for worship is God’s way to remind us about our salvation.
- Matthew 12:1-14
- Mark 2:23-3:6
“And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath. . .”
These texts in both Matthew and Mark reveal that you can profane, work on the Sabbath and still be innocent. Why? Because the intent of the Sabbath is to love not only God but your neighbor – it is lawful to do good and love your neighbor. Jesus outranks both the temple and religious ritual of Sabbath keeping. Also, since Jesus says that the Sabbath was made for man, then to “live for the weekend” is to reverse what God intended. Man was not made for resting on the weekend, as if rest is a god to be worshiped. But our culture has done this: it has made the weekend a god to be observed.
Does this mean that regular gathering to worship is nullified? No.
- Luke 24:1, Acts 20:7-12, 1 Cor. 11:33; 14:23, 26; 16:1-2
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.”
“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread . . .
“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.”
These verses show that the regular meeting for worship, which often was everyday in the first century, was none-the-less transferred from Saturday Sabbath to Sunday because of the Resurrection of Christ.
- Romans 14:5-6
“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord.”
- Col. 2:16-17
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”
- Hebrews 3:7-11, 18-19; 4:3-11; 10:25
Then I raised these questions:
“How regular should I be attending worship on the first day of the week?”
“What about extra-curricular activities on Sunday?”
“How much corporate worship can I skip and it not harm my faith or my family?” That is a minimalist question that sounds like this: “How much food and water and air can I skip and it not harm my body? Or, “How much bleach can I drink and get away with it?”
An application of the texts above resulted in this application:
If Sunday feels like any other day, that’s ok, if:
a. You regard all other 6 days as days of worship
b. You regard your work-life, whether “at work” or at home as unto the Lord.
c. You believe that God is just as concerned about what you do on Friday night as what you do on Sunday morning.
It should not feel like any other day, if . . .
You feel just as devoted to corporate worship as anything else that you could skip and it wouldn’t matter – like the annual potato-parade down main street. You should feel, at least in some sense, a real loss if corporate worship is treated with casual and careless indifference.
If Sunday feels like a special day, that’s ok, if:
a. You believe that the regular habit of meeting together is a spiritual discipline that is as necessary for your walk with the Lord as is the regular habit of eating and drinking is for the body. You would not neglect the body, why would you neglect the soul?
b. You believe that corporate worship is a gift from God and a means of grace for growing in Christ.
It’s not ok to feel that Sunday is a special day, if . .
a. You believe that God is more concerned about what you do on Sunday than what you do on Friday night.
b. You believe that going to church on Sunday makes you spiritual.
c. You believe that your observance is meriting favor with God
d. You believe that if you do not, God will have you stoned to death.
Question: So how regular should I make Sunday Worship for me and my family? How much should I make Sunday Worship a priority over all other activities?
Answer: As much as you want your heart and the hearts of your family to be reminded that:
1. Jesus Christ is my Savior and no other. All the promises we have in Christ calls us to trust him. Jesus is delicious and reliable one day, and the next he’s either not there for you or he’s spoiled and moldy. Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. You can trust this Bread from heaven 24/7.
2. The impossible hard work of Perfection is fulfilled in Christ.
3. The Church is Your Real Eternal Family.
4. Perseverance to the End is the only way that you will Enter the Final Sabbath Rest.
5. Some things are more important than others – and this is one of them.
6. The regular habit of restful worship is a two-fold gift: one, it reminds me that I need to rest so that I may work better; second, it reminds me that love of others is higher than love of ritual.
7. That Christ was Raised from the Dead for our Eternal Rest – Hallelujah!