Summary: Sermon on the fourth commandment.

AM Sermon preached at Central Christian Church February 4, 2007

4th commandment “A Healthy Diet---Work, Rest & Worship”


So have you heard all the hoopla concerning church sponsored Super Bowl parties? Well churches all across that nation have cancelled their Super Bowl parties which were scheduled for today because they were afraid of being in violation of a copyright law. I got wind of the sudden cancellations yesterday and did some quick research to find out what was going on and whether or not we needed to cancel the party we’d planned for this afternoon. What I found out is this---an NFL representative stumbled onto the Fall Creek Baptist Church’s website where the Indianapolis church was promoting a Super Bowl party. The church was charging admission, not to watch the game but to cover the cost of refreshments. The NFL representative said, “Whoa, now! Hold on! You can’t do that! You’re breaking the law!” You see, there’s this law that dates back to the 1960’s which was created to limit the sizes of crowds that gather in public places to watch games---the reason for the law is simple---the Neilsen ratings only measure who’s watching the game at home. Apparently the NFL’s worried that if too many crowds gather in public places, the Neilsen ratings will go down and as a result they lose advertising dollars---which if you were wondering this year involves a mere 2.6 million dollars for 30 seconds of airtime. In a nutshell here’s the NFL’s position on churches having “Super Bowl” parties---churches are not to use the copyrighted phrase “Super Bowl” in their advertising, they cannot charge people any kind of fee at an activity where they promote watching the “Super Bowl” and they cannot project the game on a screen where the diagonal measurement is larger than 55 inches, which is supposedly the largest projection size you’ll find in a typical American home. Note that this law applies to churches…. Sports bars are exempt. They can project the game on whatever size screen they want and I believe they can also charge whatever admission amount they want to charge.

Now, some of you may be wondering how will all this effect our church’s plans for this evening? Well, after learning the laws regarding the NFL’s copyrights surrounding the Super Bowl---we’ve determined the following. The fellowship activity we planned for this evening will go on---but it’s important that you understand--- [SLIDE] we are no longer promoting or hosting a “Super Bowl” party---we’re promoting and hosting a “Power to Win” party at which we’ll be able to watch the “big game…” Legally we can call it that---so in spite of the NFL’s hissy fit over church parties, we’ll be gathering this evening and if while you’re here you want to watch the “big game” you can… [BLANK SLIDE] And I know you know what I mean. We won’t be charging anyone any type of admission fee—and we never intended too anyway--- but we are asking people to bring snacks, sodas and games to share. And lastly we’ll be downsizing our projection plans to do our best to stay within the legal limits. We’ll be stretching out our tape measure to try and get the full 55 inches but no more than 55 inches of projection. Whatever the case, the Power to Win party is still on!

Now for the record---I didn’t just bring all that legal jargon about the NFL’s blowing the whistle on church sponsored “Super Bowl” parties just to fill you in on where we stood with tonight’s activity. I also brought that up at this time because in some ways it makes me think of the crazy ways people interpreted the fourth commandment, the one we’re ready to look at today.

Here’s the fourth commandment as it reads in the NIV: [SCRIPTURE SLIDES]

8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. [BLANK SLIDE]

So here’s the 4th commandment God gave to the Israelites----remember the Sabbath, keep it holy and don’t work on it. [SLIDE] Most of us aren’t used to calling the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath. We call it Saturday. But Jews, both ancient and modern, call it the Sabbath. [SLIDE] The word “Sabbath” literally means to “rest” or “pause” or “cease.” God said, remember the Sabbath, remember that seventh day of the week, and make it holy. [SLIDE] The idea of making something holy---involves setting something aside as special. For example, in my home growing up we had to sets of dishes. We had the everyday dishes we used which was a conglomeration of an incomplete set of ironstone dishes mom had got at the grocery store and some various plastic dishes that had found their home in the cabinet. We also had a set of china. Mom had a few of them on display on the shelves of the maple dining room china cabinet in the dining room. The rest were stashed away in the bottom sections of that cabinet. We only used the china on special occasions---like when we had company over for dinner or for holiday dining. The rest of the time we used our everyday dishes. That china which was set aside helps us to understand the idea of holiness---and what it meant for the Israelites to set the Sabbath aside as a holy day. God said, I want you to remember the Sabbath, I want you to set it aside, I want you to mark it off on your calendar each week as a special day, a different kind of day, a day on which you don’t do any work. [BLANK SLIDE]

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