Summary: A mandate that truly benefits the Church
The Sabbath is first mentioned in Genesis 2:1-3.
God rested from His work. Was God tired? I don’t believe that He was tired. He made a conscious decision to cease His labor. So why did He institute this?
The Law, OT, and the Sabbath
Exodus 20:8-11 The big ten.
Vs 8 – “Sabbath” means intermission.
Vs 11 – “blessed” means to bless God as an act of adoration and to bless man as a benefit.
Exodus 31:12-14 It’s a sign between God and us. God is serious about the Sabbath. “You will be put to death if you defile the Sabbath.”
Isaiah 56:1-8 God honors those who keep His Sabbaths. Even eunuchs will have an everlasting name in God’s house when they wholeheartedly love Him. An outward expression of that love is keeping the Sabbath.
Isaiah 58:13-14 “…call the Sabbath a delight (luxury, HB oneg)…then you will delight (to be soft, luxurious)”
How Jesus and the new covenant relate to the Sabbath. Clarification at last!
Mat 12:1-14 - The Lord of the Sabbath.
Mark 2:23-28 – The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Luke 13:10-17 – The ruler of the synagogue declares that people should come to get healed during the week, not on the Sabbath.
Jesus clarifies the intent of the Sabbath.
Sabbath was made for us. We are not to be slaves to it (as the Pharisees were). Devotion to an ideal without desire and only driven by mandate is dead. The Sabbath was never meant to enslave us or to become a burden (remember Exodus 20:11?).
Consider Genesis 2 again. He used the seven day to enjoy what He had made. He took time to fellowship and have communion with His creation. That was the example that was being set. Take time to commune with the Creator. God’s whole intent was to have us, of our own volition, set aside a day to commune and fellowship with Him. We do not need the Sabbath to rest due to weariness. God wants us to make the choice to cease from our labors, just as He did, to spend time with the Creator.
The Sabbath should be as personal as spending time with your spouse. (Analogies from marriage) The Sabbath should never become a legalistic ritual; but rather, a time that should be entered into out of the love and devotion that we have in our hearts.
So, what do we do about the Sabbath? Should we keep it? Should it be Sunday or Saturday? All day or spread out over several days? Each of us must come to God in prayer and ask Him what we need to do. Col 2:13-16 – “Let no one judge you concerning… …Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come.” God will make it clear. Do not let other people make you deny the conviction that God has placed in your heart.
Jesus is supposed to be the Lord of everything in your life. We will have differing views and practices when it comes to the Sabbath; however, we all have the same Lord and He wants desperately to have an intimate relationship with you. The Sabbath should be an outward sign of a desire that is driven from within. Baptism is the same way.
Possible arguments against: Romans 14:1-9 – This passage is all about acceptance and unity, not about whether certain traditions are correct or not. Can you love a brother that thinks Saturday is the Sabbath?
The new covenant brought into focus the desire of God for relationship with His creation. However, He has always wanted an intimate relationship with His creation. If the God of the universe can stop His most important work of creation to spend time with His creation, don’t you think we could stop our work for one day to further our relationship with Him?