SABBATH

SATURDAY PREP

NOTE: The below quotes seem out of touch with our modern world. Yet, the words of warning GOD Himself speaks concerning the Sabbath, causes me to pause. Since 9/11 falls on a Sunday this year, Eugene H. Peterson’s contemporary language of the Bible quote is something to be taken very seriously. It appears at the end of this days blog.

“Never leave work for Sunday that can be done on Saturday. The day does not belong to us, and should not be encroached upon with secular things which, by foresight and method, can be done on another day” George Rose (ref#174). “Let every thing then be so arranged in your household, beforehand, that there may be no interruption to religious duties, and to attendance on the means of grace” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

“Strictly speaking, Saturday evening is not part of the Lord’s Day, but there are good reasons to use it for preparation….We are about to have special dealings with God on Sunday. Reverence requires special preparation for this…God does not love our rushing into His presence without the right attitude….It is not enough to show reverence with our bodies; we must gain a reverent frame of mind” John Owen (ref#176).

“Dwell on God’s majesty, holiness, and greatness. Remember Him as the Author of our sabbatical rest. Remember His work that brings about our celebration of His ordinances, especially redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. Ponder the importance, the reasons, and the purposes of the Lord’s Day to follow. Reflect on its holy privileges, advantages, and duties” John Owen (ref#176).

“Prayer is the main way we express dependence upon God in Christ. Prayer is necessary for bringing our hearts to a sense of our own spiritual poverty and our desperate need of God’s grace. A season of prayer prior to the Lord’s Day is an indispensable means for the greatest blessing” John Owen (ref#176).

“Workdays can desensitize us to the things of God….We ought to rid our minds of secular, earthly business as much as we can each Saturday evening….Faithfulness on Saturday promotes blessing on Sunday” John Owen (ref#176).

“These are intended as helpful directions, not strict rules….If we are truly unable to do these things on a particular Saturday evening, we should not think we have sinned, but only that we have lost a good opportunity” John Owen (ref#176).

“‘This is God’s Message. Be careful, if you care about your lives, not to desecrate the Sabbath by turning it into just another workday…Don’t use the Sabbath to do business as usual. Keep the Sabbath day holy…” (Jer 17:21-23 MSG)

“‘But if you won’t listen to me, won’t keep the Sabbath holy, won’t quit using the Sabbath for doing your own work, busily going in and out of the city gates on your self-important business, then I’ll burn the gates down. In fact, I’ll burn the whole city down, palaces and all, with a fire nobody will be able to put out!’” (Jer 17:27 MSG)

SABBATH

A SONG FOR THE SABBATH DAY

“The proper work of the Sabbath is praising God” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Ps 92:1-6]). GOD has blessed the Sabbath and we keep it holy by blessing Him (ref#18, [Ex 31:1-11]).

Our GOD shows forth His lovingkindness and faithfulness. “Being convinced of his glorious attributes and perfections, we must show them forth, as those that are greatly affected with them ourselves…” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Ps 92:1-6]).

“We cannot comprehend the greatness of God’s works, and therefore must reverently and awfully wonder at them, and even stand amazed at the magnificence of them….From a joyful remembrance of what God has done for us we may raise a joyful prospect of what he will do, and triumph in the assurance of it…” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Ps 92:1-6]).

 

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,

to sing praises to the Most High.

It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,

your faithfulness in the evening,

 

You thrill me, Lord,

with all you have done for me!

I sing for joy

because of what you have done” (Ps 92:1,2,4 NLT).

SABBATH

A DAY OF REJOICING

“’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)

“[And call the Sabbath a delight] This appropriately expresses the feelings of all who have any just views of the Sabbath….They esteem it a privilege, not a task, to be permitted once a week to disburden their minds of the cares, and toils, and anxieties of life. It is a ‘delight’ to them to recall the memory of the institution of the Sabbath, when God rested from his labors; to recall the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, to the memory of which the Christian Sabbath is consecrated; to be permitted to devote a whole day to prayer and praise, to the public and private worship of God, to services that expand the intellect and purify the heart” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Isa 58:13]).

“…now that we are His, the first day of the week…has become a feast! We look with eager delight for Sundays to come round one after another—Charles Spurgeon (ref#182).

“It is a day of rejoicing: God made it to be a joyful day to the Church…They that receive…the Sabbath aright, call it a delight and honorable (Isa 58:13-14). It is a pleasant and a joyful day to them; it is an image of the future heavenly rest of the Church…” Jonathan Edwards (ref#186).

SABBATH

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).

SABBATH

THE INTENT OF THE SABBATH

“…actual intent of the Sabbath – to bring rest and well-being…” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1844, [Matt 12:8]).

GOD rested after creation:

“God entered into Himself again after He had created the world out of Himself, that all created things might enter into Him…and was designed by the strict prohibition of all work to force them to enter into themselves and occupy their minds with God and His word” Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (ref#68, [Isa 58:13-14]).

“God’s purpose for the earth is that it should become his dwelling place; it is not simply made to house his creatures….The concept of the earth as a divine sanctuary…runs throughout the whole Bible, coming to a climax in the future reality that the apostle John sees in his vision of the ‘new heaven and a new earth’…” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, [Gen 2:1-3]).

JESUS rested after redemption:

“Just as He rested after performing the ultimate sacrifice, He sat down and rested—ceased from His labor of atonement because there was nothing more to be done, ever….Jesus was sent so that we might rest in God and in what He has provided” (ref#172).

I rest in their accomplishments—my faith in them produces my rest. I rest by doing nothing but believing what they have done. The Triune GOD has done all the work. My Sabbath rest and consequent strength for the coming week is realized by a day-long dwelling in the Kingdom of GOD, going around His altar reviewing and proclaiming His mercies.

Seems the result of Sabbath rest is experiencing my faith strengthened—noticing more and more being ruled by GOD. Confirming the dependence on Him thrills my heart—realizing this is what I was created for and finding rest in it.

“In Thy Presence silence best becomes us, but love inflames our hearts and constrains us to speak” A. W. Tozer (ref#117, p6).

SABBATH

THE SABBATH DEFINED

“…the Sabbath was God’s first act after the earth had been made fit for human habitation,…This day, from the beginning, was a holy day…for the purpose of teaching man that whilst he might lawfully spend six days in worldly employments, he must rest on the seventh day” Archibald Alexander (ref#175).

“The Sabbath is a sign. It points to a truth that we are never to forget. The truth is that God (and not we ourselves) has sanctified us. He has chosen us and set us apart and worked to make us distinct among the peoples of the earth” John Piper (ref#169).

“…the Sabbath is a gift of love to meet man’s need, not an oppressive burden to make him miserable or proud….It should not be governed rigidly by narrow definitions of what is work and what is not. It is a day to focus on the Lord. And now Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath…so it is a day to focus on Jesus. And it is impossible that a day focused on Jesus should be a burden to the believing heart…” John Piper (ref#169).

“As the great object of all religious instruction and worship is to please God and secure His blessing, so let great care be taken that whatever is done be sincere, humble, and fervent” William S. Plumer (ref#183).

SABBATH

THE TWO DIVISIONS OF THE BIBLE

“We shall do well to remember that the Old Testament is just as much inspired as the New, and that the religion of both Testaments is…one and the same. The Old Testament is the Gospel in the bud; the New Testament is the Gospel in full flower…The Old Testament saints saw many things through a glass darkly: but they looked to the same Christ by faith and were led by the same Spirit as ourselves. Let us, therefore, never listen to those who sneer at Old Testament arguments. Much infidelity begins with an ignorant contempt of the Old Testament” Bishop J. C. Ryle (ref#167).

“There is no duty imposed upon the Israelite in the Ten Commandments that is not equally incumbent upon all men everywhere” Benjamin B. Warfield (ref#180).

“Here is this great book; we divide it up, and we call it the Old Testament and the New Testament…But…if we were to be strictly accurate we would not describe it in that way. The real division of the Bible is this: first, everything you get from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 3:14; then everything from Genesis 3:15 to the very end of the Bible. What you have up to Genesis 3:14 is the account of the creation and of God’s original covenant of works with man and of how that failed because man broke it. Beginning with Genesis 3:15 you get the announcement of the Gospel, the covenant of grace, the way of salvation, and that is the whole theme of the Bible until you come to the last verse of the book of Revelation” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189).

Here is the dividing verse. It is cryptic but the meaning is there. GOD is talking to the snake:

“And I will put enmity

Between you and the woman,

And between your seed and her seed;

He shall bruise you on the head,

And you shall bruise him on the heel” (Gen 3:15 NASB).

 

 

VALLEYS TO MOUNTAINTOPS

SABBATHING-UP

12/20/2015

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 10.08.24 AMI have been stressing about how to think on the LORD all the hours of the Sabbath. My mind has been setting about cranking out options so I will have enough to do and not get bored. Boy, doesn’t that sound like legalistic, old nature thinking!

But, “JESUS is LORD of the Sabbath.” He takes me right out of my logic and does something new—something I don’t have the ability to think of on my own—I’ll label it Sabbathing-up.

I have experienced today a Sabbathing-up (that’s like praying-up). I’m familiar with reaching a point in public or private prayer where I know I am finished. I have nothing more that needs to be said to GOD. It’s like I’m so overwhelmed with our communication that I’m too full to handle more revelation from Him. Our fellowship is over because it is enough to last until next time.

I was worried about the long Sabbath hours just like one who is about to retire is fearful that they will be bored in retirement. I do not know one retiree whose life isn’t even fuller than before retirement. Sabbath living is the same. I will retire from the workweek and watch the LORD fill my Sabbath with purposeful activities that will give me great joy.

Why do I think He commanded the Sabbath? He knew in His presence is fullness of joy.

 

 

SABBATH

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)!