Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
How many days a week do you set aside exclusively for the worship of God? Whether you believe that the Sabbath should still be celebrated on Saturday or you acknowledge the Sabbath on Sunday, one thing is clear; very few believers honor the Lord’s request to keep it holy.
Regardless of the day, there are two extremes that commonly lead the Christian away from a true worship of the Sabbath. We would be wise to follow Jesus’ instructions to the Pharisees as He provides valuable instruction against two different extremes.
The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).
Many times Christians allow themselves to become so set in the idea of church and other activities relating to the Lord’s Day that they become obligations rather than celebrations. While the Bible does speak of the need to gather frequently with other believers (Heb. 10:25, Acts 2:42), it is important that we never allow our worship to become a routine. Growing up there were, and still are, several times when I forgot the reason I was attending church. Like the Pharisees, “I put the horse before the wagon” and therefore missed the whole purpose of God’s commandment. Make sure that you have not fallen into this category, allowing the act of going to church override the joy of celebrating God once you get there.
So that the Son of Man is Lord, even of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28).
Secondly, remember who the Lord of the Sabbath is. I imagine that this is the more difficult truth to swallow and will hit most of us harder than the previous point. Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath. It’s that simple. Neither football, your work, shopping, nor anything else is Lord of the Sabbath. This, once again, is on account of God’s purpose for the Sabbath; it was set aside as a day of rest and celebration. In the Old Testament the Israelites were instructed to celebrate their freedom from slavery on the Sabbath (Deut. 5:15). In the same manner, we are to celebrate the freedom we now possess, no longer being enslaved to sin. God did not intend our Sabbath worship to be something we could check off of a to-do list after spending an hour at church once a week. It’s a mindset that very few of us have been successful in firmly grasping. Of course, until we are able to accept God’s First Commandment, following His Fourth will remain a difficult truth to follow. When one’s God is football or shopping why should he or she honor Jesus Christ as the Lord of the Sabbath?
Two things remain true. God has set aside a day to worship Him and this commandment is still in affect today. Whether you attend church with every opportunity given or never attend at all, it is still possible that you are not within the will of God. I challenge you to spend some time in prayer and reflection. Ask the Lord to allow you to see the Sabbath as He intends you to. The Psalmist sums it up well…