Sermons

Summary: As Christian we ought to have it clear in our minds that we are no longer under the law with all of its Sabbath regulations. If we were, we are all storing up the wrath of God for the day of judgment.

I had the unique opportunity to talk deeply about biblical matters with a

wealthy orthodox Jew. Among other things we talked about the Sabbath. He

was a very conscientious Jew who knew his Bible quite well, and so I asked

him how he reconciled operating a business on Saturday when the Old

Testament forbids work on the Sabbath. He responded by saying that he does

not come to his business on that day, but has Gentiles operate it. But I told

him I thought the law required for you to give rest to all your servants as well.

He said that it was so but that they have their Sabbath on Sunday, and so it all

works out just fine. Christianity and Judaism seem to make a good team in

the business world.

He did feel some misgivings about the whole thing, however, since the law

forbids making a profit on the Sabbath also, and this he was doing. He

admitted it was wrong, but justified it by pointing out how Christians are in

the same fix. Economic factors compel them to work on Sunday, and even if

they have the day off, if they have investments or stock in companies that

operate on Sunday, they too are making a profit on their Sabbath. He

concluded with a statement that the whole subject of the Sabbath is full of

technicalities. How true he was, for the history of the Sabbath has been a

history of the burden of technically. Few concepts have been as abused as the

concept of the Sabbath. Time does not allow us to study how Jesus despised

the abuse of the Sabbath, and of how He refused to be bound by man's

burdensome additions to what God gave as a blessing.

As Christian we ought to have it clear in our minds that we are no longer

under the law with all of its Sabbath regulations. If we were, we are all

storing up the wrath of God for the day of judgment, for we are constantly

violating the Old Testament law in ways that brought the death penalty for

those under the law. If you think you are under the law, every time you turn

on your oven or go out for a dinner on Sunday you sentence yourself to death.

He who lives by the law is fallen from grace says Paul, and must keep the

whole law or perish. Certainly no Christian has any desire to go back and

live under the law after living under grace.

There are many Christians, however, who think of Sunday as just the

Sabbath moved ahead one day. This has come about because the Puritans in

the 16th century began to call Sunday the Sabbath. Before this the church

never thought of Sunday as the Sabbath. Right from biblical days it was

referred to as the Lord's Day, and it had no connection with the Sabbath. The

Sabbath was instituted in Judaism to commemorate the deliverance of Israel

from Egypt, but Sunday is a commemoration of the resurrection of Christ.

Sunday use to be called little Easter because it commemorated on a weekly

basis what Easter does on an annual basis.

The first day of the week came to have more significance in Christianity

than the 7th. Old Israel had its distinct day, and New Israel had its distinct

day as well. With a new covenant, a new deliverance and a new life came a

new day. In Christ all things became new, and this extended even to the

unique day of rest and worship. It was on the first day that God began His

creation, and it was on the first day that Christ rose from the grave conquering

death and became the first fruits of a new creation that would be

spiritual and eternal. As the Spirit of God hovered over the waters of the old

creation when God said, "Let there be light," on the first day, so the Holy

Spirit hovered over the church at Pentecost on the first day of the week, and

again God said, "Let there be light," and the Holy Spirit filled the church, and

the light of truth of was seen by many, and the church was empowered to go

forth as the light of the world.

These events on the first day of the week make it the day of eternal

significance to the church. Christopher Wordsworth has put it into poetry:

On thee, at the creation

The light first had its birth.

On thee, for our salvation,

Christ rose from depths of earth.

On thee, our Lord victorious,

The Spirit sent from heaven,

And thus on thee most glorious

A triple light was given.

It was a day of light and joy on this first day of the week, and what could

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