SABBATH

WORK ON THE SABBATH

“Our Lord’s reply…’Though my Father rested on the seventh day from His work of creation, He has never rested for a moment from His providential government of the world, and from His merciful work of supplying the daily wants of all His creatures….I do not break the fourth commandment when I heal the sick, anymore than my Father breaks it when He causes the sun to rise and the grass to grow on the Sabbath’” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. Three, p277, [John 5:16-23]).

“…the Sabbath was not meant to be a day of total idleness, and of entire cessation from all kinds and sorts of work. ‘The Sabbath was made for man,’ for his benefit, comfort, and advantage” J.C. Ryle (ref#13, Vol. Three, p280, [John 5:17]).

“This Sabbath is kept holy…when men…are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“Works of piety are to be performed on the Lord’s Day, yea, on this day especially, as being the proper works of the day. And such are not only those that consist in the internal operations of the soul, as heavenly meditations and spiritual affections; but such also as consist in the external actions of the body, as oral prayer, reading of the Scriptures, and preaching of the Word” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

“Not only works of piety, but works of necessity—and of great convenience—may also be done on the Lord’s Day. And [these] are such without which we cannot subsist or not well subsist. Therefore, we may quench a raging fire; prevent any great and notable damage that would happen either to our persons or estates…without being guilty of the violation of this day…And not only those works that are of absolute necessity, but those likewise that are of great convenience may lawfully be done on the Lord’s Day: such as kindling of fire, preparing of [food], and many other particulars too numerous to be mentioned” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

“Another sort of works that may and ought to be done on the Lord’s Day are the works of charity and mercy….God prefers mercy before sacrifice….Works of mercy, therefore, are to be done even to beasts themselves, whatsoever labor may be required to the doing of them. How much more, then, [should we do] works of charity to men like ourselves! [This] charity is to be shown either to their souls or their bodies, for both many times are extremely miserable” Ezekiel Hopkins (ref#184).

JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). We will not break the Sabbath law if we follow His example of acting responsibly and compassionately.

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VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

A CHEERLEADER FOR THE SABBATH

3/1/2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 3.22.17 PMAnother Sabbath came and went with nothing to report. All is quiet on the Sabbath front—not even a lone chipmunk running across the dry landscape. Seems I’ve just begun making my Sabbath holy and now everything is dried up. The path forward has evaporated.

I’m wandering. I identified it this morning. Taking my mind back through recent history, I see I’ve been moving away from my daily routine.

I could blame the start of drifting on no longer lighting a candle in the prayer closet. (My closet scent is no longer manufactured and I haven’t decided on a new fragrance.) I no longer get up ½ hour before the start of my day to spend it with the LORD. Since my daily “work” is with the LORD, I have rationalized closet time not a must-do.

But, my “work” has lately been too much replaced with other obligations making me a little nervous about my approaching blogging deadlines. I’m even allowing myself to entertain the stressful thought of not having anything to post about the Sabbath.

I keep saying to myself I’ve got to get back organized but just as the day ends and I’m too tired to do my exercises, I find I’m still not keeping up with my “work.”

But then there is GOD—the One Who surprises me and I react in irrepressible joy.  So He started with me today.

I had not met Him in the prayer closet but was, out of habit, reading Scripture while eating breakfast. (There is something to say about habits. For me, more often than not, Scripture over breakfast is the door He comes through to meet me.)

So there was Joshua, the Old Testament leader of Israel after the death of Moses. He knew he was GOD’s chosen:

“And the LORD commissioned Joshua…’Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you’” (Deut 31:23 ESV).

With the LORD’s words fresh in his ears, he led the people across the Jordon River and into their first battle victory over Jericho by specifically following the LORD’s commands. Then Joshua sent men to spy out the next town, Ai. He anticipated another battle victory as the spies came back with an optimistic estimate of the challenge.

Not. They were soundly defeated (Josh 7:4). Why? “…there was…the apparent negligence of Joshua…in failing to seek divine direction for the Ai campaign…” (ref#125, p404, [Josh 7:10-12]).

I thought, “how quickly he forgets.” But then I have forgotten GOD, too, by moving away from my daily routine.

Before I finished breakfast I received a text from my friend. Periodically she will text me saying she is praying for me. Today I text back a prayer request about my retreat from the LORD. So now I have made myself accountable therefore I am spurred to address my drifting. I smile as I understand the LORD’s orchestration of my situations.

***

Now it’s 4:30PM. I have just come from my prayer closet. Wondering why it is I ever resist the morning time with my FATHER. I have emerged totally psyched—totally refreshed—enough to get me through the rest of the week, I’m sure. I had no idea I was so spiritually cracked and dry until my DADDY recharged me. He has given me enough strength and faith and reason to get back on schedule. Boy, do I feel better—and I didn’t even know I felt bad!

And, moreover, I know that rejuvenation is one of the very important reasons GOD initiated the Sabbath. Indeed, because of His leading today I can again be a cheerleader for keeping the Sabbath.

“…The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NASB).

SABBATH

THE SABBATH – TO REVIVE THE SOUL

“The Sabbath is given as a gift to man (for…spiritual refreshment)” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1897 [Mark 2:27-28]). “’The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’ (Mar 2:27). It was made for the profit and for the comfort of our souls” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).

“…there must be a special day set apart; there must be a regularly recurring time for examining the state of our souls; there must be a day to test and prove us, whether we are prepared for an eternal heaven. Take away a man’s Sabbath, and his religion soon comes to nothing” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167). “It is but a few steps from ‘no Sabbath’ to ‘no God’—J. C. Ryle” (ref#185).

“…our Lord only asks that this day be spent in hearing his Word, in offering common prayers, in confessing our faith, and in observing the sacraments…And when we have spent Sunday in praising and glorifying the name of God and in meditating on his works, then, throughout the rest of the week, we should show that we have benefited from it” John Calvin (ref#168).

God’s objective in commanding this day of rest is for the development of our spiritual nature. Therefore, it is a day set apart from even our words and thoughts about our worldly employments and recreations [Westminster Confession of Faith] Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993). Can you imagine speaking only about spiritual things before and after the church service?

SABBATH

THE SABBATH, OUR JOY AND DELIGHT

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 11.00.53 AM“The LORD’s Day is supposed to be holy and honorable…need to protect the LORD’s Day from improper activities. Calls us to careful, thoughtful use of our time…not a day for idleness or simply doing as we please but neither is it to be a burden…because it is an exquisite delight…a day for reverential thoughtful use…coupled with genuine joy and the determining factor of our conduct…does this or that activity defile or honor the sanctity of the Day” Alistair Begg (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon# 2098, “The Gift of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

“What is the chief end of man? It is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” John Piper (ref#165, Series: The Sabbath, Sermon# 2098, “The Gift of the Sabbath” July 18, 1999).

Consider yourself, what are your feelings about observing the Sabbath? Does it make you happy that GOD commands your attention on His Day?

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16 ESV).

If you are willing to obey the command but not happy about it, you need to consider if you are only acting like a Christian instead of being a real Christian. If you suspect that might be a little true or a lot true, GOD provides a way for you to find joy in Him. In the Scripture below He gives the means. Repentance is always accepted.

“…If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me….” (Jeremiah 15:19 ESV).

And, if you think lightly of the Sabbath command, you will want to read Jeremiah 17:19-27.

SABBATH

A DAY OF SPIRITUAL IMPROVEMENT

…“The Sabbath must be a day of spiritual improvement—improvement which comes in public worship, in families having time around the LORD JESUS, His Word, and His purposes” Alistair Begg (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

Spiritual improvement comes from religious reading. It is possible to read through the Bible in a year by reading approximately 18 chapters each Sunday. Improvement also comes from secret prayer and holy meditation (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly, then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;…” (Isa 58:13-14 ESV).

SABBATH

APPLYING THE LORD’S DAY

…GOD set the day apart as the day of rest (Deuteronomy 5:14). But it is not simply a day of idleness or choosing some recreation. And, even though it doesn’t demand we spend the entire day in the presence of GOD only, we cannot satisfy the command by just attending church and doing what we want afterward.

With further investigation we find the day is not only for public and private exercises of worship but also permitted is duties of necessity and mercy [Westminster Confession of Faith] (ref# 164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NASB). Contrary to the Mosaic Law, work can be done. JESUS teaches we will not break the command if we find it necessary to engage in:

  1. DUTIES OF NECESSITY (Matthew 12:3-4): Not only do I have to eat, etc., but in my case, I have responsibilities to the Worship team. So, if it’s imperative to do some essential labor, it’s okay.
  1. DUTIES OF MERCY (Matthew 12:11): JESUS instructs us not to neglect helping someone in immediate need. “…it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12 NASB).

JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). We will not break the Sabbath law if we follow His example of behaving responsibly and compassionately.

SABBATH

SABBATH

“The believer…keeps the law of God, not believing by keeping it we gain acceptance or approval with God, but rather we keep God’s law as a declaration of our grateful response to His love” Alistair Begg (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1692, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part One, Oct 31, 1993).

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8 NASB).

We must have an internal conviction about keeping this commandment. And the convincing reason is the joy we gain in the LORD’s fellowship (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1692, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part One, Oct 31, 1993).

Remember an experience with someone where the interaction with him or her eclipsed all thought of your personal work or leisure. Recall the fellowship, love and joy of the occasion.

This is why GOD established the Sabbath—to give us a holiday to be together with Him. Enjoy this holiday.

SABBATH

 

A DAY OF SPIRITUAL IMPROVEMENT

…“The Sabbath must be a day of spiritual improvement—improvement which comes in public worship, in families having time around the LORD JESUS, His Word, and His purposes” Alistair Begg (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

Spiritual improvement comes from religious reading. It is possible to read through the Bible in a year by reading approximately 18 chapters each Sunday. Improvement also comes from secret prayer and holy meditation (ref#164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly, then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;…” (Isa 58:13-14 ESV).

 

 

SABBATH

APPLYING THE LORD’S DAY

…GOD set the day apart as the day of rest (Deuteronomy 5:14). But it is not simply a day of idleness or choosing some recreation. And, even though it doesn’t demand we spend the entire day in the presence of GOD only, we cannot satisfy the command by just attending church and doing what we want afterward.

With further investigation we find the day is not only for public and private exercises of worship but also permitted is duties of necessity and mercy [Westminster Confession of Faith] (ref# 164, Series: Pathway to Freedom, Sermon#: 1693, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part Two, October 31, 1993).

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NASB). Contrary to the Mosaic Law, work can be done. JESUS teaches we will not break the command if we find it necessary to engage in:

  1. DUTIES OF NECESSITY (Matthew 12:3-4): Not only do I have to eat, etc., but in my case, I have responsibilities to the Worship team. So, if it’s imperative to do some essential labor, it’s okay.
  1. DUTIES OF MERCY (Matthew 12:11): JESUS instructs us not to neglect helping someone in immediate need. “…it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12 NASB).

JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). We will not break the Sabbath law if we follow His example of behaving responsibly and compassionately.