Summary: Jesus presentation of Himself as the Lord of the Sabbath and its application for today.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 11
He is Lord of all!
Luke 6: 1-11
“Sometime ago I heard about a pastor who was taking a Boy Scout troop on a tour of the church, explaining the meaning of the windows and some of the symbols. One of the scouts asked about a plaque displayed prominently in the foyer (narthex) that listed a long roster of names. On being told that those were members of the church who had died in the services (of the church) he asked what seemed the next logical question. “Which service, the 9:30 or 11? We may laugh, but we have to admit that for the average small boy and maybe a good many grownups as well, the Sunday morning services, through not exactly fatal can seem pretty dull.”
[Bruce Larsen. The Communicator’s Commentary : Luke. (Waco. Word Pub., 1983) p. 114]
George Barna, the statistician, in one of his polls has determined that “among people who regularly attend Christian churches; 32% have never experienced God’s presence, 48% have not experienced His presence in the past year, which means of the millions who regularly attend church worship events relatively few worship.” [George Barna. Inward, Outward, & Upward: Ministry That Transforms Life’s. George Barna Seminar 1999.]
The church of today seems to be torn in what some have called “the worship wars.” The church is being torn apart in a tug-of-war over the “style” of worship, some holding to the “traditional” others wanting to move to a more “contemporary” style. In the process churches have even split. This must truly sadden the heart of God.
“Worship is a means of feeding the soul, there are different ways of doing that, just as there are different ways of feeding the body. We may be fed at an old-fashioned Victorian dinner party with twenty-seven forks and knives and spoons and many courses. In that situation, we have to be aware of proper etiquette, the protocol of serving and clearly correctly. That’s eating of one sort. On the other hand, you may be starving in a Third World country, without food for days, when an airlift drops down rations. Nobody cares about a proper fork or spoon. You tear open the package and you eat. In both cases you are eating, but in the first you eat as a part of an elaborate pageant and in the other you eat for survival. We sometimes forget that the process of worship is a means of survival, and we can get caught up in the form. We criticize the procedures:
I don’t think it’s being done right. It was done much better several years ago. . . . The music is not ‘conductive.’ If we are desperately hungry for the food only God gives, we come simply to eat.”[Bruce Larsen. The Communicator’s Commentary: Luke. (Waco: Word Books, 1983). pp. 115-116.]
In the text today we see a great confrontation between Jesus with his radical views of worship and the Pharisees and Scribes. The sixth chapter of Luke gives us tremendous insight into our Lord’s thoughts about the Sabbath. I think that Jesus is saying some very important things in these verses about worship.
Before we look at the text, I need to clarify a few things. First, it is not my purpose to be drawn into a debate about seventh day vs. first day worship. The Jews of course worshipped on the seventh day, the Sabbath, our Saturday, literally from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. Some groups like the Seventh-Day Adventists and the Seventh-Day Baptists, believe that Christians should still worship on Saturday. But since the vast majority observe Sunday as the day of worship, that will be our focus.
Secondly, although I disagree with the Seventh-Day Adventists who insist that Christians should observe a strict Sabbath on Saturday is at least consistent. Those who claim that we should observe a strict Sabbath observance on Sunday are really contradicting themselves. We should not confuse the issue by calling Sunday “the Sabbath,” for that is to confuse the first day of the week (Sunday) with the seventh day of the week (Saturday). The Sabbath is a reminder of the completion of “creation,” while the Lord’s Day commemorates our Lord’s finished work on the cross. “The Sabbath speaks of rest after work and relates to the law, while the Lord’s Day speaks of rest before work and relates to grace. The Lord’s day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as well as the coming of the Holy Spirit and the ‘birthday’ of the church.” [Warren Wiersbe. Be Compassionate. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1988) pp. 59-60.] The early church met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:1-2). But Paul made it clear that the observance of certain days had nothing to do with being saved (Gal. 4:1-11).