“Man imitates the pattern of God’s work and rest in the sabbath cycle of days (Ex. 20:8-11) and years (Leviticus 25). The sabbath points forward to the rest that Christ achieved with his resurrection and ascension (Heb. 10:12-13), and which will be fully manifested in the consummation (Rev. 22:4-5)” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2635, “History of Salvation in the Old Testament: Preparing the Way for Christ” [Gen. 2:3]).
“So instead of wasting time on that endless quest for life, you have been invited to enter God’s rest for the rest of your life. Rest in your identity as his child. Rest in his eternal love. Rest in his powerful grace. Rest in his constant presence and faithful provision. Rest in his patience and forgiveness. Rest” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Dec. 8th).
“…the Sabbath is a way of remembering and expressing the truth that God is our creator and deliverer and sanctifier….our work neither creates, nor saves, nor sanctifies….All things are from him and through him and to him. Lest we ever forget this and begin to take our strength and thought and work too seriously, we should keep one day in seven to cease from our labors and focus on God as the source of all blessing” John Piper (ref#169).
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land…” (Isa 58:13-14 NIV).
“Is it going too far to say, that if our nation repented of its sin in this matter and returned to the old path of Sabbath observance, we would again become the leading nation of the world? In the light of this promise of Isaiah, I believe that great blessing would follow, blessing far beyond our expectations. But though the nation does not return, let us as individuals, and as a church, put this promise to the test and we shall find the Lord faithful” C.E. Hunter (ref#171).
THE BLESSINGS OF THE 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#165, Series: Pathway of Freedom, Sermon#: 1692, “Holy Day or Holiday?” Part One, Oct 3, 1993).
“Since the law is spiritual, there is no escaping the fact that the holy Sabbath is a spiritual institution….the Sabbath…was to be devoted exclusively to things that are spiritual” Allen Walker (ref#204)
On Sunday what joy it is to say to myself, “No thinking of weekday obligations, I’m free to pursue the things that make me happy spiritually.”
“Cease striving and know that I am God…” (Ps 46:10 NASB). It is a labor of love to plan and accomplish all weekday obligations so I can have Sunday free.
“There is nothing the Christian desires so much as this delighting of himself in the Lord. There is one sure way to the experience of it—keep holy the Lord’s day. God delights to reveal Himself to those who obey and honor Him” C.E. Hunter (ref#171).
Daily devotions are uplifting but close afterward comes the demands of the day. Sunday, though affords an extended time for prayer, for spiritual study, for visits to family and friends—things that are difficult to do on weekdays. How very freeing it is to stop all thoughts about the week ahead and think of the spiritually “now.”
“Isaiah 58:13-14…’call the Sabbath a delight…Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.’ The Sabbath was always to be a refreshing time when men were in a special sense to delight themselves in the Lord” C.E. Hunter (ref#171).
“When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday” (Ps 42:4 KJV).
FINDING GOD’S PRESENCE
“It is man’s sinful nature which makes the Sabbath and its proper observance so hateful to him. The Sabbath calls upon us to discipline our lives” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).
GOD sometimes helps us get into His presence but we have to look for Him. Bishop J. C. Ryle suggests, “Arrange your time on Sunday so that you may have leisure for quiet, sober meditation on eternal things. Avoid the company that would lead you to talk only of this world” (ref#167).
It helps immensely to remind ourselves of how truly in desperate need of GOD’s help we are. All during each day we can pray without ceasing, knowing He is there to help us fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, but Sunday affords opportunity to evaluate our last week’s activities.
There are weekly activities that cause barriers between our FATHER and us. It is our first Sabbath duty to crash through these obstacles.
“…there are certain things that will stand between us and the fellowship that in turn leads to joy. First of all, there is sin—unrighteousness….If we recognize and confess sin, then there is the blood that cleanses, and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:7,9). The second hindrance that John talks about in 1 John 2:3 is lack of love for the brethren….You lose contact with the brethren, and you lose contact with God…The third hindrance is a love of the world,…You cannot mix light and darkness. The last thing that interrupts fellowship with God, he tells us at the end of 1 John 2, is false teaching about the person of Jesus Christ. Obviously if the only way to God is through Christ, if I am in any way wrong about my teaching or doctrine concerning Him, then automatically I sever the communion, and again I lose my joy” Marytn Lloyd-Jones, (ref#189, Sept 18th).
“We have all been guilty of this form of Sabbath desecration—‘speaking our own words.’ Not only may we break the Sabbath with our feet (‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath),’ and with our hands (‘doing thy pleasure on My holy day…doing thine own ways’) but also with our tongues (‘speaking thine own words).’…How easily we are drawn to talk about our everyday affairs on the Lord’s day” C. E. Hunter (ref#171)!
This post is a collection of activities that I might choose to help serve my brothers and sisters in CHRIST with my talk:
- Have in my pocket a spiritual quote or Scripture verse that I might give away if the conversation lends itself to the subject.
- Share a past week GOD-sighting or prayer request
- Share an answered prayer
- Exchange prayer requests
- Meditate on one Scripture thought then report how GOD magnified it in my life during the week.
- Confess my sins to others
- Memorize Scripture that is helpful for Christians in tribulation and for Christians with non-believing family and friends
- Have in mind at least one spiritual story each Sunday
However, with all these suggestions, FATHER, I will do my Christian friends no favor unless I display power in my living that can only be obtained by the actions of the SPIRIT. Help me do and say only what is the overflow or result of my relationship with You.
THE SABBATH – A WAY OF WITNESS AND BLESSING
“The purifying, uplifting effect of the Christian Sabbath is indispensable if the Christian witness is to be maintained” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).
“By a strict observance of the Sabbath, the face of religion is kept up in the world. If it were not for the Sabbath, there would be but little public and visible appearance of serving, worshipping, and reverencing the supreme and invisible Being” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).
GOD is honored by our keeping the Sabbath (Isa 58:13). Therefore we should, above all things glorify our GOD and King in this way.
Since GOD has ordained we keep His Sabbath it makes sense that He pays particular attention to those who obey Him:
“He stands ready then especially to hear prayers, to accept of religious services, to meet His people, to manifest Himself to them, to give His Holy Spirit and blessing to those who diligently and conscientiously sanctify it” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).
IS THE SEVENTH DAY SATURDAY, SUNDAY, OR ANY DAY?
“…Genesis 2 contains nothing whatever that enables us to determine which day of our week this primal “seventh day” was….All we do know—and it is all that is necessary for us to know—is that the seventh day was the day that followed six days of manual work…” Arthur W. Pink (ref#177).
“…the holy rest day should be one out of every seven….The command is simply work six, rest one. Every seventh day should be a Sabbath” John Piper (ref#169). So to keep the Sabbath means that one day a week we do not do our normal work. Since some people have jobs that include working on Sunday, they are free to choose another day, however every effort should be made to make their Sabbath the day their local Christian fellowship meets to gain the benefit of corporate worship.
“The Lord Jesus kept the Sabbath day. The change from the seventh to the first day of the week rather confirms than abolishes this divine institution. Call it the Lord’s day in preference to the Sabbath, if you so desire. The term “Lord’s day” rather enforces than diminishes our obligation to its proper observance” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).
“…the apostles were divinely inspired to make that change, and at the same time wisely directed to make no public decree about it. The decree would only have raised a ferment in the Jewish mind and caused needless offence; the change was one that it was better to effect gradually, and not to force on the consciences of weak brethren. The change did not interfere with the spirit of the Fourth Commandment in the smallest degree: the Lord’s Day, on the first day of the week, was just as much a day of rest after six days’ labor, as the seventh-day Sabbath had been” J. C. Ryle (ref#178).
The Old Testament saints looked forward to CHRIST, while we look back to CHRIST. GOD rested after completing creation. (It is the Jewish Sabbath.) CHRIST rested after completing redemption. (It is the Christian LORD’s Day.) And CHRIST’s return (second coming) is heaven—our final rest (ref#169)!
REASONS THE SABBATH IS DESECRATED
“The Christian attitude is, ‘The Lord’s will is my pleasure’” C. E. Hunter (ref#171). But, there are many ways to keep us from joy. “…the devil is in real earnest to accomplish the damnation of souls. To this end he must not let people think quietly on one day of the week” C. E. Hunter (ref#171).
We all agree we have too much on our plate weekdays. Does our “to do” list spill over into Sundays? Do we make some effort to not work on our weekday work on Sunday? And, if so, have we come to fill the day with things that we like to do that recharge us—gardening, golf, reading secular books, attending concerts, theaters, sports games, etc.? “These ways of spending Sunday are none of them of a holy tendency, or calculated to help us heavenward” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167).
“The measure of your love for God is the measure of the joy you get in focusing on him on the day of rest” John Piper (ref#169). “…contend earnestly for the whole day against all enemies, both without and within. It is worth a struggle” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167).