Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Holiness of the Sabbath: Holiness, Part 7

You are here

Holiness of the Sabbath

Holiness, Part 7

Downloads
MP3 Audio (8.9 MB)

Downloads

Holiness of the Sabbath: Holiness, Part 7

MP3 Audio (8.9 MB)
×

The weekly Sabbath is part of our worship of God and a large part of our life as Christians. It is a day that is much more than an hour of worship like so many churches of the world today practice. Our church believes in the seventh-day Sabbath. We often can forget what this day is all about. In this sermon, we will cover the holiness of the Sabbath. This is Part 7 of the sermon series on holiness.

Transcript

[Gary Petty] The weekly Sabbath is part of our worship of God. It’s very much a part of our lives as Christians. And it’s a whole lot more than just coming to church for an hour, which is what a lot of people experience in their Sunday-keeping – they go to church for an hour and Sunday is, basically, a day different than other days, in some ways – many people do work – but it’s a day of having fun and doing their pleasures, and, basically, the worship part of the day comes down to about an hour of services.

There’s a church up in New Braunfels where you don’t even have to dress up, because outside they have where you can park under these awnings, and turn your radio dial to a certain place, and you can listen to the sermon just by sitting there in your car – which means, if you have a golf game, you can come dressed for golf. Although there is a – someone was telling me recently about – a golf course where you can in the morning, and I think it’s between 9 and 10, you can go to a service right there – show up in your golf clothes, have your service – a little 20 minute sermon, sing a few songs – they say the “Amen,” and you run out the door, because your tee-time is right after church services.

Now we have a little different approach to what services are about, because it’s about this day. We observe the Sabbath because it’s one of the Ten Commandments. That’s one of the reasons. We believed that Jesus Christ observed the seventh-day Sabbath. We believe that you can go through the New Testament and prove that the early New Testament church kept the seventh-day Sabbath. But we have to be careful about this day in that many of us have observed it for a long time. We’ve done it for so long that, sometimes, we can forget what this day, actually, is all about. There’s a message in this day. Actually, God reveals something about Himself in this day.

This is part of a series that I’ve been going through on Holiness. The first of these numerous sermons we’ve gone through – how people are made holy by God – we’ve gone through and shown how we must hallow God’s name in the way that we act, in who we are. We have shown what it means not to use God’s name in vain. We’ve gone through and shown how marriage is holy and why Christian marriage is an important teaching in the scripture. We went and showed how our children are holy – that’s what the scripture says – and what does that mean, and the responsibility parents have in teaching holiness to their children. Holiness is something only God can, actually, impart. It’s only something God can give. Only He can make something, or someone, holy.

Well, today we’re going to talk about the Holy Sabbath. And remember, everything that God declares holy, he then reveals something about Himself in it, because holiness comes from Him. This day is supposed to teach us about God. How do we keep this day holy?

I’ve heard many sermons over the years on the holiness of the Sabbath. It usually goes like this: “Today I’m going to give you seven ways to keep this day holy.” Or, one time, I knew of a minister who gave a series of sermons over a hundred things you should not do on the Sabbath. Now, there is a place for those sermons – I’m not saying, “That’s bad” – but we have to be careful that we simply don’t make the Sabbath a list of do’s and don’ts, and, in doing so, we miss the purpose of it, which is exactly what the Pharisees did. So, yes, we need to have our list of do’s and don’ts, but we need to be very careful, and we need to understand the principles of the Sabbath. And today, we’re going to talk about the principles of the Sabbath.

Remember, all law is based on principle. So, if we’re going to ask, “What is it I should do to keep this day holy?” or “What is it I shouldn’t do to keep this day holy? we can either create a thousand do’s and don’ts, or we learn the principles, and we can, each of us then, learn to apply the principles every Sabbath to what we’re doing. And it’s very easy for people to forget the holiness of this day. So this is very much a part of this series on holiness, because this is a holy time. We’ve talked about holy people, holy institutions, holy places, but now we’re into holy time. What does that mean?

Let’s start with the Ten Commandments themselves and this commandment – the Fourth Commandment. Let’s go back to Exodus 20 and there are two things I want to bring out here. Exodus, chapter 20 – when we usually read through this, there are a couple of points that we bring out and I want you zero in on, maybe, something you haven’t zeroed in on. And then we’re going to go to Deuteronomy 5 and see that the commandment is actually worded differently in Deuteronomy 5, but it tells us something else about this day. Verse 8:

Exodus 20:8 Exodus 20:8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
American King James Version×
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it, you shall do no work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger, who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD may the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. He blessed it and made it holy. So God does create holy time.

So people get into, really, what becomes ridiculous arguments. “Well, how do you count the Sabbath in parts of the Arctic where there’s no sunlight for six months?” “How do you count the Sabbath when sundown is a little different time here than in Las Cruces?” I grew up in Appalachia. And sundown was 7:32, if you were driving. And then you went into a valley, and it was 7:35. Then you went behind another hill, and it was 7:32. It changed about every thousand yards! Okay? And those kinds of arguments become meaningless when you understand the purpose of the Sabbath, what God is revealing in His Sabbath, and then you begin to understand how we are to keep this time holy.

Two things I want to zero in. First of all, the Sabbath is a day to show love towards your neighbor, including your closest neighbors – your children, your male and female servants, even your animals. The specific commandment here is that wherever you have responsibility, you are to help those people also experience this day. It’s a shame so many children grow up thinking the Sabbath is so restrictive and such a negative thing. I grew up not thinking that, but that’s because of what I was taught as a child. But the idea that this is a day where your children receive a blessing…and people who work for you should receive a blessing on this day, because it is a day of rest. That’s the first point I want to bring out, because we’re going to keep coming back to this idea that the Sabbath is a day…people who actually keep the Sabbath give a blessing to others through the way that they keep it. If we really understand the Sabbath, we actually give a blessing to others because we keep it and observe it correctly.

And a second point I want to make is in verse 11, where the Sabbath commemorates God as Creator. Right? In six days He created all things and on the seventh day, He created this day. Now, He created his day. This day is a creation of God and He declared it holy.

I know I told this story at the Doctrines Class this week, but I think I’ll pass it on. I think I may have told it before. But Mike Snyder, who has his own public relations agency and does work for the church…. Years and years, in the Worldwide Church of God, we were invited to send a speaker to a theological conference. And nobody wanted to go, so instead of sending a minister, they sent poor Mike – PR guy. And I remember the first time Mike told me this story because he said, “I walked in the room and here’s a round table” – I think it was a round table, but a table there – “and sitting around it” – and he started mentioning these people – he said, “Do you know who D A Carson is?” I said, “Oh yeah.” He’s a top Protestant theologian. He’s written a…his most famous book is Why You Don’t Have To Keep the Seventh-Day Sabbath.” He said, “Yeah, he was sitting next to me.” He said, “And I’m sitting there thinking all these guys have DD, DD, DDs, you know – Doctor of Divinity, plus after their names. These are the top guys on the entire west coast.” And he’s sitting there. And finally, one of them looked at him and asked him some question – I don’t remember the exact question, but it was sort of like, “Why does the Worldwide Church of God put so much emphasis on the Sabbath?” And he said, “Wow! How do I answer that really short so I don’t get torn apart in this room?” And he said, “I thought for a second and I prayed about it,” and he said, “Well, in the book of Colossians, it says that God created all things through Jesus Christ.” “Well, yeah, that’s right.” “And when we look at Genesis, we see that the Creator, who is the One that we know as Jesus Christ, created all things in six days. And on the seventh day, He created the Sabbath. And then Jesus shows up and says, ‘I am the Lord of the Sabbath.’” So he said, “I keep the Sabbath because Jesus Christ is Creator and Lord of the Sabbath.” He said one of them looked at him, and said, “You almost persuadeth me.” He said after that he was accepted as part of the group. He didn’t know Greek. He didn’t know Hebrew. I mean these are smart men. I’ve read some of the books by some of the guys in that room. I mean, these guys are very intelligent men. And here is Mike, accepted as one of the group, because that argument they could not tear apart. And they didn’t even try.

We’re here to keep this Sabbath day and one of the reasons is, we commemorate the Creator. We’re going to bring that back in a minute, too. So we commemorate the Creator and we give a blessing to others. We rest. And this is about physical rest, it’s about spiritual rest, it’s about emotional rest

I tell you, my Sabbaths usually…you know, I go to bed at midnight Friday night and I work 15 hours on Sabbath. And I envy you sometimes, because I remember what a Sabbath is like. So, keeping the Sabbath is a huge blessing – keeping it and sharing it with others is a blessing, according what we read here in Exodus.

Now let’s go to Deuteronomy – Deuteronomy 5, verse 12 – once again, the fourth of the Ten Commandments.
Deuteronomy 5:12 Deuteronomy 5:12Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
American King James Version×
Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. So, keep it holy. This is a holiness issue. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it, you shall do no work, nor your daughter – and it’s the same instructions as in Exodus. But notice verse 15. There’s something added to it.

V-15 – And 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 by an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Now the Sabbath existed before they left Egypt. I know that because I’ve read Genesis. Right? But we also know that because in Exodus 16, God punishes them for not obeying in keeping the Sabbath. But the Ten Commandments hadn’t been given yet. They had to know the Sabbath. The Sabbath had to exist before the Ten Commandments or why would He be punishing them? So it existed before the Ten Commandments and they weren’t keeping it. He told them to stay in their tents. Now I’ve had people ask me, “Should we not stay in our houses on the Sabbath?” My answer is, “Well, if you’re going to apply Exodus 16 to yourself, that means you’re not keeping the Sabbath. So, if you’re breaking the Sabbath that severely, yes, you should stay at your house. Now, if you’re not breaking the Sabbath, then you don’t need to be punished.” See, Exodus 16 is a punishment – stay in your houses. Later, He told them to come out of their houses – or tents. But notice here in verse 15: when they do this – when a person observes the Sabbath properly, it becomes a blessing to others – they give that blessing to others – but also, this isn’t tied in with the creation, like Exodus 20 is. This is tied in with God as Redeemer. “I’m the One who brought you out. I’m the One who saved you. I’m the One who brought you out of Egypt and gave you the Promised Land.” And so it’s tied in directly with God as Savior and Redeemer.

So, isn’t that interesting? The first set of the Ten Commandments ties in the Fourth Commandment with God as Creator. The second time it’s mentioned, it ties in God as Redeemer and Savior. These are important points. In both cases we’re told not to work on the Sabbath – not do our regular work – because there is some work that has to be done on the Sabbath. We’ll talk about that. And we’re told to see God as Creator and Redeemer.

We know that God, then, created a special covenant with Israel concerning the Sabbath in Exodus 31. But really, the instructions on how to keep the Sabbath are actually very small. What’s amazing is how few real instructions there are about Sabbath-keeping in the Bible! They were told not to build a fire. There’s a reason for that. We’ll discuss that in a minute – what does that mean in the modern context? But there’s not a lot told. You don’t work. And, in Leviticus, they were told to have a holy convocation. They had to assemble together in a holy convocation.

In Isaiah 58, though, we have a set of principles that tells us how the Sabbath should be observed. So let’s go to Isaiah 58. Then we’re going to look at some New Testament scriptures. So we’re looking at the principles of holiness. When people, sometimes, call me and say, “Should I do this or should I not do this on the Sabbath?” a lot of time they go away a little bit frustrated, because I don’t say yes or no. Sometimes I do – you know, “My boss wants me to work Friday night. Is that okay?” Well, what do you think? What does the commandment say? It says I shouldn’t. Okay. Do what the commandment says. Sometimes, when people come to me with a question, I give them the principles, and say, “Apply the principles.” Now, it would be easier…I’m a firstborn. I like a Talmud. I would like 1,000 things you cannot do on the Sabbath and 1,000 things you should do on the Sabbath. Then my life would be perfect. And then I’d just try to enforce that on everybody else. And that’s what firstborns do. But we have to learn principles and live by the principles. And the principles, in some ways, are general and, in some ways, are very strict. So we have to be able to determine…we have to go through and say, “Which principles here apply very strictly and which ones apply in a more general sense?” Look what it says in Isaiah 58, verse 13.

Isaiah 58:13 Isaiah 58:13If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words:
American King James Version×
If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath – in other words, you’re tramping on God’s Sabbath. Instead of upholding it as a holy law of God and as holy time in which He reveals Himself, you’re tramping on it. He says, “Get your foot off of it. Stop stepping on it and uphold it up for what it is” – from doing your pleasure on My holy day. So, if we’re going to look at principles, the first thing we should ask, “Am I doing this just for fun or am I doing this because it’s a holy thing to do?” If we just see the Sabbath as a day for fun, what makes that different than any other day? So then, when people say, “I think today what I’m going to do is go to Six Flags on the Sabbath,” then we go to the scripture and say, “Is this your pleasure?”

“Okay, that means that the Sabbath has to be without fun – dreary, painful, terrible day.” No, because we’re going to see that’s not what it says. But it starts with “Take your foot off the Sabbath. Stop tramping on the Sabbath by doing these things.” …from doing your pleasure on My holy day – now notice the rest of the sentence – and call the Sabbath a delight. You say, “Well, wait a minute. I can’t have fun, but I’m supposed to call it a delight? I’m supposed to call it good? I’m supposed to say I’m happy?” Yes, but only if you understand holiness. If you don’t have a right relationship with God, the Sabbath will be a burden, and you will hate it, and you will do whatever you want, and it will be restrictive to you. The Sabbath command must be obeyed from the heart. It must be “because I love God.” We start with “I fear God” in life. And we are supposed to have a proper fear of God. But there reaches a point where God says, “I don’t want you to just obey Me because you’re afraid of Me. I want you to obey Me because you love Me. And this is a holy time that I have called you into.” He hasn’t called all of humanity into this day yet. He’s going to. It is a privilege from the Almighty God to be called to the holiness of this day. Now think about that. It is a privilege from the Almighty God to be called to the holiness of this day. It has to do with your relationship/my relationship with Him. If you don’t have a relationship with God, this cannot be a delight. It’s restrictive. So, you either will break it every chance you get and pretend you’re keeping it, or, in order to try and force yourself to keep it, you’ll simply make up more and more rules so that you’re forced to keep it. Is it a delight? Is it because you love God and this day?

…call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD, honorable – because it’s good, it’s honorable, it’s special – and shall honor Him – that’s really important, because, as we go through this, we’re going to see the questions we have to ask ourselves. Do you want to know, “Should I do this on the Sabbath or shouldn’t I do this on the Sabbath?” The first thing you ask yourself, “Is this my pleasure?” and the second thing you have to ask yourself, “Is this honoring God?” “Okay, I’m going on down to Corpus, go fishing and water skiing and drink beer all day.” “Well, that’s a way to honor God….” That is not honoring God. Is it wrong to go fishing? No. But you understand. There are questions we have to ask. Is it wrong to go fishing and water skiing and drinking beer all day long on the Sabbath? Well, if we ask these questions – you really ask these questions – you have to come to a certain conclusion. …and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways. We have to be driven to do God’s ways. We have to believe, ultimately, keeping the Sabbath is an act of faith. “I believe God’s way works and I believe this day is a blessing.”

Now the truth is, I’ve seen thousands and thousands of people become Sabbath keepers and then give it up, because they never saw it as a blessing. They only saw it as a curse. They never saw it as a blessing.

The rest of the verse says: …nor finding your own pleasure, nor even speaking your own words. Mr. Dove and I – he’s not here today – I’m picking him up, because he’s going up to give the sermonette in Austin after services – but he and I have a little agreement. When one of us starts talking about too much football on the Sabbath, the other one changes the subject. And, of course, when he’s talking about the Dallas Cowboys and how bad they are, he’s always happy when I change the subject. But that’s another thing. He’s not here to cut me off today. But we do. We have a little agreement. When one of us starts talking about football, and it goes more than about twenty seconds, the other one changes the subject. Why do we do that? Because it’s okay to talk for a little bit about, maybe, some game or something – for a short period of time, but that shouldn’t be our focus. So we agree to keep the other one from getting out of focus. And that’s what we do. And, if you know Mr. Dove and I, you know that we have to do that quite often with each other. “Even our own words.”

There are a lot of people that played the Sabbath over the years and when you don’t keep the Sabbath holy, you eventually give up holiness in other areas of your life. If we don’t keep the Sabbath holy, we begin to give up other…. It’s like I said about the family: If your marriage isn’t based in holiness, or your childrearing isn’t based in holiness, or your conduct – “Hallowed by Thy name” – isn’t based in holiness, if your view isn’t about the holiness of God and only He can make things holy – this is what? the sixth sermon in this series – if in any of these areas we get to far out of God’s holiness, we begin to deteriorate in all other areas. That’s why it’s so important. Verse 14 says:

V-14 – Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD – then you will find happiness in God! “No, I will find happiness in making extra money on the Sabbath.” “No, you don’t understand. I will find happiness by going to the movies on the Sabbath.” “I’ll find happiness by playing ball on the Sabbath” – if I’m a teenager. “I’ll find happiness if I do this.” No, you won’t! Then you will delight yourself in the LORD, and will cause you ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

So we begin to see that God gives us, here in the Old Testament – and this is a very quick overview of some Old Testament scriptures…. But let’s look at what He’s told us. The Sabbath is observed as a commemoration of God as Creator. Remember that. We come here every week to commemorate God as Creator. That’s what Exodus 20 says. The Sabbath is a day to free our children and our employees from the burden of everyday work. The Sabbath is observed as a commemoration of God as Liberator and Redeemer. That’s mentioned in Deuteronomy 5. The Sabbath is observed in holiness to worship the One who makes you holy. We just read that in Isaiah 58. The Sabbath is a time to refrain from our own work, desires and activities in order to honor God. That was carried out in all three of the scriptures that we read

Now, those statement alone have an enormous…any question you have about the Sabbath – you just took those statements – “In what I’m doing, does this honor God as Creator? Is what I’m doing relieving others of their burdens – my children, my employees? Am I worshipping God as Liberator and Redeemer? Am I observing this in holiness in honor of the One who makes holy? And, am I refraining from my work, my desires and my activities? Well, just asking those questions helps define conduct on the Sabbath.

Now, let’s look at a few places where Jesus taught about the Sabbath. Luke 4. Most people don’t think of Luke 4 in terms of the Sabbath, but I want you to zero in on something Jesus says here in connection with the passage in Deuteronomy 5, where the Fourth Commandment is given, because this is where Jesus launches His ministry. This is where He launches His public ministry. Let’s start in verse 16.

Luke 4:16 Luke 4:16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
American King James Version×
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read – public reading from members of the congregation was quite common in the synagogue – and He was handed a book of the prophet Isaiah. When He opened the book, He found the place where it is written, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recover the sight to the blind, and set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him, and He began to say to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Now, He launches His ministry on the Sabbath, which makes perfect sense. He’s the Lord of the Sabbath, the Creator of the Sabbath. He launches His public ministry on the Sabbath and what’s the first thing He start with? “I’m here to tell you the good news of redemption and liberation.” Deuteronomy 5 – “Remember, it is God who brought you out of Egypt.” He stands up and says, “I am here to bring you out of the captivity you are in.” The captivity is sin. And so we find Jesus Christ taking the Sabbath commandment and expanding it out into the gospel to the world. “Remember this day, for I brought you out of sin.” See, we can apply the same thing today. Remember this day, because it was God who called you to keep it. It was God who called you to observe it. It was God who brought you out of the meaningless beliefs you had before. It was God who opened your mind. There’s a sentence tacked on to Deuteronomy 5: Keep this day, because remember, God is your Liberator, as your Savior. And Jesus Christ gets up and says on the Sabbath, “I’m here to do that. It’s a lot grander scale than the Israelites coming out of Egypt. This is the world coming out of sin.” You say, “Well, that has to do with the Days of Unleavened Bread.” Yes, it does. It also has to do with the Sabbath. He’s Creator and Liberator. And this is how He starts His teachings, which leads us to some questions – this section alone.

If I’m going to keep the Sabbath, do I understand the gospel and holy relationship that God has offered to me? Because the gospel was first proclaimed publicly by Jesus Christ in His first what? Sabbath sermon. He had read from the scripture before, but He gets up and talks here. When He’s done talking, in chapter 4, the people want to kill Him. He has such a revolutionary explanation of scripture, the Jews want to kill Him! It reminds us all the time that, as we go through the New Testament, that although we learn from Jewish customs, Judaism is not a religion of the New Testament. If it was, it would not have killed the Messiah. Modern Judaism is not the religion – it denies Jesus Christ – and it is not the religion of the New Testament.

A second question for this passage: Am I responding by becoming holy in thoughts and actions? This day is a day to bring us back into remembrance: I have been by a holy God to become a holy person, and this is a holy time in which I am in relationship with Him, and He has called us to heal us. A question you can ask yourself is, “Do I observe the Sabbath as a love response to God’s holiness? Do I wished to be healed?” because this is a healing day. Jesus healed a lot of people on the Sabbath – deliberately – and almost every time brought serious persecution against Himself – confrontation – because He was working on the Sabbath.

Mark, chapter 3 – let’s look at this instance – Mark, chapter 3:

Mark 3:1 Mark 3:1And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
American King James Version×
And He entered the synagogue again – this is verse 1 – and a man was there who had a withered hand. And they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so they might accuse Him. There is work that is to be done on the Sabbath. What is that work? And He said to the man that had the withered hand, “Step forward.” And He said to him, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil – to save life or to kill?” Now the question He asked is, “According to the law….” Now you have to say, “Well, where would I find the law where I could save or kill on the Sabbath?” Because you, actually, cannot find that in the Torah. It’s not mentioned. But you will find a Jewish oral law and, in the Talmud, this is argued over and over and over again. The Pharisees were the extreme liberals, because they said you could pull an animal out of the ditch on the Sabbath. The Essenes said, “Oh, you break the Sabbath. You don’t believe in God’s Sabbath. You should leave an animal to die in the ditch. You can only pull a man out of the ditch on the Sabbath.” So the Essene actually saw the Pharisees as Sabbath breakers. You have to understand. In 1st century Judaism, they all accused each other of constantly being Sabbath breakers – so much so that Jesus Christ is accused over and over and over again of being what? A Sabbath breaker, because they didn’t understand the principles of what God was doing with this holy day. And when He had looked around them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. And then you read verse 6 – from that point on, the Pharisees and the Herodians decided they have to kill this man. He’s a Sabbath breaker. They wanted to discredit Him.

Now notice that Jesus never argues – this is very important. If you go through all the places in the New Testament, where Jesus healed people and was accused of breaking the Sabbath, He never once says, “You don’t have to keep the Sabbath.” He never once argues against the Sabbath. He only argues how it is supposed to be kept. That’s important! He never says, “Don’t keep the Sabbath.” He argues over and over again that you are to do good on the Sabbath and God is going to do good on the Sabbath. The purpose of the Sabbath isn’t to do nothing. It is to do good! – and so the healing on the Sabbath that He is accused of so many times. Because everything He did was about glorifying God. Sometime, go through all the places in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, where Jesus healed somebody on the Sabbath, and you’ll see over and over and over again, He’s arguing, “It’s the Sabbath! We should glorify God!”

So, ask yourself this question when you’re faced with, “Should I do this or not do this?” or “What am I going to do on the Sabbath?” Does this activity help me glorify God? Does it help me glorify God? Does this activity help my family glorify God? Now here’s one that’s really important: Is this activity an example that may help others glorify God? Does this help others glorify God? If you ask those questions prayerfully, it’s going to guide the way you observe the Sabbath.

John 5 – this is an important one. This is actually been used by some – not too many – but it’s been used by some to try to say, “This proves Jesus did away with the Sabbath.” But what this proves is, the people making the commentary don’t know the purpose of the Sabbath. It doesn’t prove what they say it does. John 5:16 John 5:16And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
American King James Version×
– once again, this is another situation where He had healed somebody. Verse 16 says:

John 5:16 John 5:16And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
American King James Version×
For this reason, the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. If you read the first part of this chapter, He had healed somebody on the Sabbath. And Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because not only had He broken the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. See, He’s a Sabbath breaker. Why? “I am working on the Sabbath.”

What is the work that Jesus does on the Sabbath? We’re going to talk about that here towards the end of the Sabbath. There is work that He’s doing every day on the Sabbath. There’s work that He is doing right now in this room on the Sabbath. That work is what the Sabbath is about. That work produces rest in you and me. The only way you’re going to get the world out of your head for the 24 hours of the Sabbath is, God is going to help you do it. He’s working to give you and me rest. Most of the time, we’re resisting the rest. We’re like little kids you put in bed, and say, “Take a nap,” and they scream and holler and cry. We are breaking the Sabbath all the time, because we’re screaming and hollering and crying, saying, “I don’t want to keep the Sabbath. I don’t want rest. Don’t give me rest! There are things to do!” That’s what we’re doing. God’s working to give us rest. So Jesus says, “I work on the Sabbath. I healed this man.”
Creator and Redeemer. Remember what I said? Creator and Redeemer. That’s what He’s doing with us today.

It’s interesting back in Numbers 28. Every day in the tabernacle, they did sacrifices. Not only did they do the normal sacrifices on the Sabbath, they had extra sacrifices. For the Levites, the Sabbath was a hard, long work day. As they performed these sacrifices – and what did the sacrifice represent? – the redemption of God – God buying back – right? – as a substitute for us. Every Sabbath they not only did the morning and evening sacrifices, they had extra sacrifices they had to do. Why? To illustrate this redemptive work that God is doing. Who is He redeeming through? Christ. What does Christ say? “I’m working, folks. I work every Sabbath to bring you into rest with My Father” – to bring us into rest with God.
What’s interesting in Genesis…Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day. What was their first experience after naming the animals, and working, and tasting food for the first time – just exploring life for that first time period on that first day. The next 24 hours was rest with God – absolute rest – no worry, no stress, no problems, no work – just rest. But it wasn’t just sleeping. They rested with God. And then the Sabbath ended. You wonder how long it was between then and Satan got to them. That was their first experience. That is what God is working to recreate – that rest that is going to last forever.

John 7 – just one more of Jesus’ teachings here. Then there are a few other scriptures that I want to bring out. John 7, verse 20. Jesus had been teaching and the people got upset. And it says:

John 7:20 John 7:20The people answered and said, You have a devil: who goes about to kill you?
American King James Version×
And the people answered and said, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” – because He said there were those there who were seeking to kill Him. And some of the Pharisees were. Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work” – and He had done this work on the Sabbath – “and you marvel. Moses, therefore, gave you circumcision” – then He says, “(not that it was from Moses, but from the fathers) – you know, “Moses gave circumcision…nah, actually, Abraham instituted circumcision…God instituted circumcision through Abraham…Moses just wrote it down.” Because remember, what did God tell Abraham? You’ve got to be circumcised. What do you have to do with your children? They’ve got to be circumcised. Circumcision wasn’t new when Moses came along. So He makes that point. “…and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do no judge according to the appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. Now this is very important.

Why did they allow babies to be circumcised on the Sabbath? Well, they were commanded to be circumcised on the eighth day. If you happened to be born, and eight days later, it was the Sabbath, why would they do that? Why would they do that work? You could not be part of the covenant of God unless you were circumcised. Your entire family was no longer part of the covenant of God if you were not circumcised. It was the outward sign of the covenant. It was the sign that you had been redeemed. It was the sign that your forefathers had been brought out of Egypt by that mighty hand of God. It was the sign that God had given you the Ten Commandments. It was the sign that you were a holy people. So it was expected to circumcise on the Sabbath. And Jesus didn’t condemn them for that. He said, “Sure, you’re supposed to circumcise on the Sabbath! But I’m doing this work over here. You do that work on the Sabbath and say, ‘It’s okay,’ and you’re take a piece off of a person, and here I am adding to a person. So, how is that wrong?” – which reminds us of something very important.

When He says, in verse 24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment,” you and I can’t make up lots of extra rules about Sabbath-keeping. And that’s why I’m talking about the holiness of the Sabbath, and I’m not giving you a hundred things you can do on the Sabbath and a hundred things you can’t do on the Sabbath. Why? You and I have to work through these issues sometimes by applying the principles to where we are. But I warn all of us, this is about holiness. When we break the Sabbath, it damages your relationship/my relationship with God. If we break the commandment overtly – you know, “I’m going to do my job on the Sabbath,” “I’m going to just go have fun on the Sabbath,” “I’ve decided to do whatever I want on the Sabbath,” you will be punished by God, and you will receive a curse – just like breaking any of the other commandments. It is a binding commandment. The problem is, how do we apply to every situation? We either learn the principles or we better start writing it down. You know, somebody may come to you and say, “What can I do on the Sabbath?” and you say, “Well, here’s our Sabbath book,” and it’s this big, “and this will tell you everything you should and shouldn’t do on the Sabbath.” So, His argument is, “Look,   circumcision on the Sabbath is good and right, but you’re making up something here. There’s nothing in the Bible that says that God can’t heal on the Sabbath.” They say, “Well, that’s right. God can, but You can’t, because you’re a man.” And Jesus would argue back, “But where do you think I’m getting the power from? Do you think I’m just…what? You think I do this from My power?” So we can’t make up rules past a certain point, which is very interesting, because, in the book of Colossians – that section there – that seems to say that we don’t have to keep the holy days anymore. When you actually realize what it says in Greek, he’s saying, “You put too many restrictions on the holy days." So he was dealing with that with the Colossians.

Now, here’s some simple ways to make your Sabbath experience more holy. One is, do what it says in Leviticus 23, verse 3, where it says to go to a holy convocation. Coming to Sabbath services to learn and to fellowship is a commanded part of this day.

By the way, there is an enormous amount of work that a lot of people do to make this day possible. People were here early to turn on the air conditioner and set up the sound system, to have Sabbath school, to make sure there is coffee in the coffee room that we all just take for granted. We just go get it. Somebody had to make that long before we show up. There’s a lot of work that goes into this – just like the Levites had a lot of work to do. The four men who gave special music today – there was a lot of work that went into that. You can’t have a holy convocation without work. Now, Jesus even argues in a couple places, you’ll find in the New Testament, “Well, that work wasn’t breaking the Sabbath. They were supposed to do that work on the Sabbath.” They were doing the work of God. So there is certain work that is to be done on the Sabbath, but it’s so that we can do this holy convocation.

Look at Hebrews 10. We know this scripture, but think of this in terms of holiness and what he actually says here. Hebrew 10:24:

Hebrews 10:24 Hebrews 10:24And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works:
American King James Version×
Let us consider one another – this is all one sentence, so I started here. I want to read verse 25, but the sentence starts in verse 24. Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works – in other words, you and I must relate to each other. We must have a relationship as Christians. And the best way to build those foundational relationships is inside your own congregation, and then, hopefully, with other Christians, also. But it starts in your own congregation. And we’re to stir up each other. You can’t stir up somebody you don’t know. I think next week, what I’d like to do is, everybody that sits on this side of the room, just mix it up, okay, so you end up talking to the same people after services as we normally do. I challenge you to do it next week. Just mix it all up. But I don’t want everybody here moving over here, because you’ll just do the same thing. I mean, you know, over here go over here, because you’ll just do the same thing. You’ve got to mix it up. You’ve got to know each other. You’ve got to talk to different people. Verse 25:

V-25 - …not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the day approaching. Exhorting is a fascinating word, because it means to encourage someone towards the future. Exhortation has to do with the future. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together – a holy convocation is commanded. And it is holy, which I want you to think about that.

It’s so easy to get up Sabbath morning…. I remember when we had little kids. When my kids were little, I think about the Sabbaths they went through. You know, at 7:30 we put them in car – and they were still asleep in their pajamas. They woke up about an hour down the road, where we would try to put clothes on them…well, first of all, we’d give them their little thing of yogurt and their juice pack and a piece of fruit or something. And then we would change their clothes. We’d get to church, and they’d spend two hours in church, an hour to an hour-and-a-half afterwards, as I would try to do all the anointings and counseling, and then we’d jump in the car and drive two hours more, while my wife would say, “Don’t spill, don’t spill,” as they would try to eat their peanut butter and jelly sandwich and their – I can’t remember what they ate – their carrots and celery sticks, and we drove, and then we’d do two hours of services there, and then we’d stay for two hours after services. And at 7:30 at night, it’s had been twelve hours and that was their Sabbath – you know, driving home at 7:30 at night. That’s work! As a little kid, the Sabbath, sometimes, is a strange experience, to say the least.

Assemble yourselves together, because it is a holy convocation. You’ve been invited to a holy convocation. The reason I bring up that story is, sometimes, for Kim and I, it would be easy for us to forget it was a holy convocation, as we’re dragging these little kids, crying, half-awake, strapping them in the car – “Huh, another church meeting to go to….” It almost felt that way at times. We can’t let that happen. This is a holy convocation and we have to strive to keep ourselves…because, I tell you, Satan doesn’t want us to come, so he wants to keep us from coming. He wants you to feel tired. He wants you to remember that someone, last week, said something that really got on your nerves. He wants you to remember that the sermon last week really didn’t mean much to you. “I didn’t get much out of that, so why even go this week?”  He wants you to remember you had a bad week and you’d rather just go hide out someplace. Right? He wants you to think that way. You’ve been invited by Almighty God.

How do we approach even coming to this day? Do we show up 30 seconds before? Or are we here, talking to people, prepared, in our seats to sing that opening song to God? Think about that. You’re invited by God to be here, but are we here prepared to be here? To sing? Prepared to listen? Prepared to be inspired? Sometimes, it’s like, “Inspire me.” Yeah, that’s how you look sometimes – when I walk in – “Inspire me.” I understand. But we have to come prepared. We use this example, but it’s so apropos. What if the United Nations contacted you and said, “All the heads of state of the world are going to be in San Antonio, and we’ve invited you to come to the meeting?” So, you don’t take a bath that day. You just show up in worn out clothes. And you show up ten minutes late. Nobody would do that. “Now here’s the President. Here’s the Prime Minister is this country. Here’s the King of this country. And they’re all going to be here, and you’re going to get to have a meeting with them.” “Oh yeah, big deal.” No, you wouldn’t. Well, let me tell you something. Someone a little greater than all the heads of state of the world has invited you to be here. How do you come to this? With what mindset? We stumble in, half-awake, not too excited, because we’ve forgotten, this is holiness. And mostly, we’ve forgotten Who invited us. We forgot Who invited us.

So, we get into the concept – okay, it’s a holy convocation. We also have the idea of the preparation day. A preparation is mentioned in the New Testament. It’s not a command in the Old Testament, but the principle is there. When God gave them manna, He gave them extra manna on the sixth day to prepare for the seventh. Preparation day has lost so much meaning in our society, and I’m just going to tell you why – because both men and women have careers and everybody’s so busy, they’re working right up till the sun goes down. We have to change that. Now, you have to figure out how to do it in your life, but we have to start preparing for the Sabbath. We have to prepare physically and we have to prepare spiritually. And we have to prepare emotionally and mentally.

I know I remember getting caught up in that. I remember one time my boss coming in – I was working in a radio station – and we were producing something. I was at my desk and he walked in, and he looked at me, and he said, “Hey! It’s almost sundown.” “What?!” I’d lost track of a whole hour, because it was in the winter when the sun goes down at five after five, or whatever. And I thought it was four o’clock. I jumped up and said, “I gotta go!” And he said, “Well, I thought did. Go, man, go,” because the Sabbath was about to start.

We get so wrapped up. So you jump in the car and you rush home. You’re not really prepared for the Sabbath. We’re going to have to change the way we think, so that we are mentally and spiritually preparing for the Sabbath. And the Sabbath is the whole twenty-four hour period. Now I’ve had people ask me, “Is it okay for me to drive? You know, I work on Saturday night. So I’m just driving. I’m going to drive an hour to work on the Sabbath, but I’m not working. I’m just driving there.” That’s working! I know, sometimes you get caught in traffic coming home from work. You can’t help it.

There was about four years ago…I was flying back from the home office – had plenty of time on Friday – and they canceled one of my flights. Now, I had a choice of either staying in the airport in – I don’t know where I was – Atlanta or waiting for the next flight, which meant I had to fly on the Sabbath, which I don’t like doing, but I had no choice.

But the bottom line is, we need to prepare for the Sabbath. And one of the things I know my mother did and my wife has always done is, when sundown comes, we know that special Sabbath meal is going to be there. Now sometimes, in the summertime, it’s before the Sabbath, but around Sabbath time, that meal is there. And it’s a special meal. And it’s a special family meal. And it prepares us for the Sabbath. I knowing growing up, that was the only time we had meat, usually – was on Friday night. We also got ice cream on Friday night. It was a huge treat! That was a big treat – we got ice cream on Friday night. We have to go into the Sabbath, changing where we’ve been for six days into where God wants us to be on this day.

A third way of keeping it holy: it is not a day of just going out and buying and selling and doing our business. You think about what Nehemiah said in Nehemiah 13. In Jerusalem, at Nehemiah’s time, it had become the market day – you know, like we have a Farmer’s Market. Everybody came in – all the merchants, all the farmers – brought their things in on Saturday, and set up their booths, and it was a huge market day on the Sabbath. And he said, “You know, we can’t keep the Sabbath that way. We have to stop it.” And nobody would listen. So finally, he shut the gates. And they all showed up anyway. And they camped outside the gate. So finally, Nehemiah went out and said, “Listen, you show up next Sabbath and I’m going to lay hands on you” – and he didn’t mean he was going to ordain them. How flippant is it of us to so easily say, “Well, you know, every Saturday morning, on the way to church, I stop and get my gas.” And my question is, “Why didn’t you get your gas on the preparation day?” Now, if you have an emergency, that’s different. Okay? We’ve all had emergencies. You know, you spill the milk and you have a baby that needs milk, so you go buy milk on the Sabbath. Those are emergencies – the ox in the ditch principle – which we’re not even going there today. So, there are ways that the Bible says to deal with certain issues. But our custom is just to what? Do our grocery shopping on the Sabbath? Go read Nehemiah 13.

The last point I want to make in this – and then I just want to bring out a couple quick grand ideas about the Sabbath – is, you and I have to be very, very careful how we judge each other on how we keep the Sabbath, sometimes, in a modern context. We have to be really careful how we judge each other in a modern context. In other words, we’re dealing with issues all the time that there is no direct biblical scripture to deal with. “Mr. Petty, do you know so-and-so let’s their children watch television on the Sabbath?” Well, I know the Bible says, “Don’t seek your own pleasures on the Sabbath,” but also you can honor God on the Sabbath. And there may be some ways in which people decide, “I can my child watch this program and honor God on the Sabbath.” There are other people that wouldn’t even touch the television on the Sabbath. We can’t judge each other on that. I mean, I can go to the scripture where Moses went to Aaron and said, “You know, Aaron, you’re watching too much television on the Sabbath,” but I won’t turn there. (Chuckles)

We have all kinds of modern issues the Jews deal with and they don’t know how to deal with. I mean, you have the Jews that won’t turn on their electricity on the Sabbath. “Well, it’s starting a fire.” So they won’t turn on the stove on the Sabbath. They won’t start a car on the Sabbath. Now, if you believe you should never start a fire on the Sabbath, you cannot drive a car, because every time that piston fires, guess what happens. It starts a fire. So, if you believe, “I can’t ever start a fire on the Sabbath – ever,” then you cannot drive a car. It’s not possible. You say, “Well, how do we get around that?” Well, we have a New Testament issue that never happened before. They never had cars and they never had to travel. We’ll talk about that in a minute. How far did they travel in the Old Testament to go to a holy convocation? We’re not Israel. We’re the church. We’re not people living in a community like Jewish communities. We are the church. God calls people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, all nationalities and brings them together and we’re not a community. He builds a community. This is why, even in the modern world, you will find most Jews – not all – living in communities. There’s a reason. Because they have to walk to the synagogue – can’t drive their car. God didn’t call us all out of one community, did He? It’s a modern problem that nobody ever faced until, oh, about, really, probably less than a hundred years ago – that you had enough people with cars that this was even an issue – never faced it before. We can’t judge each other on that.

Like I said, the electricity issue: I’ve known people in the church that won’t turn on their stoves. We can’t judge each other on that. But there is a certain issue…here’s the reality of modern issues. If you turn on an electric light, you’ve technically started a fire. Not only that, that little meter is running outside, and there are people working to produce that electricity and you’re going to pay for it. You think you’re not going to pay for it? Don’t pay an electric bill and see what happens. They’re going to charge you for the electricity you use on the Sabbath. They’re going to charge you for the water…every time you flush that toilet or take a drink of water, somebody is working and somebody is getting paid to do it. And guess where the money comes from? From your water bill. No one ever faced those problems before. You can’t find the apostle Paul saying, “So, let me instruct you on how to deal with your water bill.” It’s not there. I bring that up because we can’t judge each other on how we deal with some of those things.

Someone decides they’re going to keep their business open on the Sabbath. Unity is not the issue. Disobeying God is the issue. Whether you’re going to light your stove – your gas stove – on the Sabbath or not is a unity issue. We agree to let each other make that decision. Do you see what I mean? We have to. Certain things are not unity issues. They are strict law of God issues. Others are unity issues in which we agree to love our brother. If I knew that you wouldn’t turn your stove on one the Sabbath, and you came over to my house on the Sabbath, I probably wouldn’t turn the stove on, because I wouldn’t want to offend you. I do turn my stove on on the Sabbath. It’s an electric stove, and I’m getting charged for electricity, and I don’t consider it a fire. But I would not judge anybody else on that, because I understand the dilemma.

The Sabbath day’s journey you see mentioned in the book of Acts. Do you know what the Sabbath day’s journey was? That is a Talmudic issue. That is not a biblical issue, and yet, it’s used in the Bible because they lived by it. “How far can we walk on the Sabbath?” That question came up. “Well, I don’t know. How far can we walk on the Sabbath?” Well, let’s take the tabernacle in the wilderness. And you take the Israelites who were camped around it. If you go to the farthest extent of the camp, and you walk into the tabernacle for the holy convocation – right? – that would be how far you could walk on the Sabbath. It’s a thousand yards – maybe a little more – depending on which cubit you used. Okay? So you could walk a thousand yards or two thousand cubits on the Sabbath. That’s all the farther you could walk. The idea of getting in a wagon or getting in a car was inconceivable. Every one of us had to go a lot farther than a Sabbath day’s journey to get to Sabbath services today. It’s a holy convocation. We’re not living in tents surrounding the tabernacle. We believe God says it’s okay to do that. So we get in our cars and we drive. We come here and we go a whole lot farther than a Sabbath day’s journey.

By the way, I was talking to Mr. Isaac about this. I’ve read about people who do this. I’ve never known someone. He said he knew a Jewish man that, when he grew up…. The way they get around that is, your place of residence is where you start from, because it’s where you eat. So they would go out on Friday, go a thousand yards and put some bread. They’d leave their house, walk to the bread, sit down and eat the bread, and that now became their place of residence, and they could walk another thousand yards. So you could double the Sabbath day’s journey by putting bread someplace.

So, we have these modern problems. And you can’t always judge how somebody else deals with a modern problem. An issue that we’ve dealt with over the years over and over and over again…. In the United Church of God, you will find different ministers who think differently about this, you’ll find different Council members who think differently about this, you’ll find different people who think differently about this, but we maintain unity. And that is, how do we apply Matthew 12 to the modern world? In Matthew 12, the disciples are walking – they’re traveling on the Sabbath – and they’re picking food and eating it, which goes against – I mean, that’s doing to work – to eat on the Sabbath. And the Pharisees approached Jesus, and He says, “It’s okay.” In fact, they are guiltless. He defends them and says they are guiltless in working to feed themselves on the Sabbath. So then, how much work can be done to feed yourself on the Sabbath? And, if you’re traveling – you know, if you travel 200 miles to church, which I remember there were times when people did travel 200 miles – well, we have some people here in Del Rio. They travel 300 miles to church. Is it wrong for them, in traveling, to stop and buy some food to eat? And some people say, “Yes,” and some people say, “No.”

I know a congregation I went to where most of the people don’t eat out on the Sabbath. They don’t think it’s proper and they rent a hall. And every Sabbath they have food. Everybody just brings food. They stay after services for hours. I know of another congregation about the same size in another place where – and in both cases, by the way, almost nobody lives in the town where services are. The average person lives 50 to 70 miles away. That just happens to be the central town. And, in this place, they all have to leave their rental hall right after services. So, in mass, they go to a cafeteria, take over the corner of the cafeteria, and they stay there for 3 to 4 hours and fellowship – because they don’t see each other the rest of the week. That’s it. That’s their only fellowship time and they can’t stay in their hall. And we have to decide which of those things is right and which is wrong in the modern world that we live in.

Our approach has been that we let those situations be decided by the minister and the people in the situation. It’s not that we’re trying to be liberal with the law of God. We’re trying to apply its principle. Fellowship is a command on the Sabbath. Holy convocation is a command on the Sabbath. And we all have to travel to do that. And I don’t have answers to all the questions, because I can’t go to a scripture to find the exact answers. I can only give the principle. And then we have to realize we either agree to separate on all these issues – we agree on 90% of issues – on those 10% we agree to let that be a matter of conscience with that person. And we have to do that. If we understand the whole reason for the Sabbath, it makes sense.

Two quick last points here – something I’d really like to give a whole sermon on sometime. Remember I said, in Deuteronomy 5, it talks about God being Redeemer. We have ignored the power of this ever since…I’ve never remembered this being really brought out the way it should be. When was Jesus resurrected? On the Sabbath! Why? Because He is Redeemer. Every week, when we get together, this is a day of commemoration of the work of Jesus Christ – every single time we come together. That’s what this is about. He was resurrected on this day. We hate Easter so much, we forgot the other side of it! He was resurrected – because if He wasn’t, we are of all men most miserable. And when was it? The Sabbath. I’m not saying we should have some big celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. I’m saying we should be mindful of it – that this is all about redemption. This is all about God buying us back. It’s about Him bringing us out of our Egypt. That’s what Deuteronomy 5 says.
And then we also know that the Sabbath is going to be reinstated in the millennium. The whole world will keep the Sabbath. The things that we have issues over will be won’t be issues anymore. Do you know why? Everybody will have a church in their community. There will be no businesses open. You won’t have to worry about all these things. Farmers won’t have to worry about, “Do I milk my cows on the Sabbath?” All these questions. Everything will be solved then, because the whole world will keep the Sabbath. But we’re not there yet. And we’re supposed to try to figure these things out with God’s help and live in them now. And we have to remember the holiness of this day.

And I think, if you really think about this, you’re going to find a certain more seriousness about Sabbath-keeping. We’re all going to get a little more serious about Sabbath-keeping – but for the right reason – not because the more strict I am, the better Christian I am; and you’re not as strict as I am, so you’re not as good a Christian as I am. When we do that, we’ve already blown the whole idea of holiness out of the day. We do it because it’s between us and God and because we understand that we’re not perfect. We’re all just struggling to do this in an imperfect world, and so we’re understanding of each other, and we don’t accuse each other on issues of conscience. We support each other on issues of conscience.

The apostle Paul said, “If it offends my brothers, I’ll never eat meat the rest of my life.” Whoo! That’s tough for us meat-eaters. Okay? That’s what Paul said. So we have to be aware and we have to be sensitive to each other.

So now, let’s review the principles here real quickly. The Sabbath is to be observed to commemorate God as Creator. The Sabbath is a time to free employees and children from the burdens of everyday work. The Sabbath is to be observed to commemorate God as Liberator and Redeemer. The Sabbath is to be observed in holiness to worship the One who makes you holy. The Sabbath is a time to refrain from our own desires and activities in order to honor God. Jesus is the anointed One through whom God carries out His acts of healing, liberation and redemption. And the Sabbath commemorates God’s work through Christ, including His resurrection. Jesus repeatedly healed people on the Sabbath and taught that the Sabbath was a time to celebrate God’s work in the lives of human beings. He never once taught that the Sabbath was no longer to be observed by His followers. Jesus was resurrected on a Sabbath evening. The Sabbath is a weekly celebration of the resurrection and His present work in the lives of His followers. When Jesus sets up His kingdom on the earth, all people will be converted to the worship of the true God, and one of the things they will be converted to do is, to observe the Sabbath. Present Sabbath observance commemorates future events. When you keep the Sabbath, you’re keeping a prophecy. This pictures Christ’s rule on earth. This pictures when the Sabbath is set up for all humanity. You’re keeping prophecy every time you come here – prophecy of future.

The Sabbath isn’t about a day to impress God with how good you are and how righteous you are. “Look how strict I am, Father. I thank you I am not as other men.” The Sabbath is truly a gift from God. It’s a wonderful gift from God. It is to teach us something. It is to teach us about physical rest, and emotional rest, and spiritual rest with Him. We get a little bit of what Adam and Eve had that first Sabbath – just a little bit – total communion with God. Total communion with God. We get a little bit of it.

Rest with God on this day. Rest with God on this day and He will guide you the other six.

You might also be interested in....