Summary: An Exposition of the Fourth Commandment With Emphasis on its Current Application


I. The Fourth Commandment is based on God’s grace

A. (Psalm 84:11; Prov. 3:34; Acts 14:26; Rom. 5:15; I Cor. 3:10; Gal. 2:21; Eph. 3:7)

B. It was for the benefit of people (Mark 2:27)

II. The Sabbath Principle was Built into Creation

A. (Gen. 2:1-3; Exod. 20:11)

III. The Relevance of the Sabbath

The Sabbath is no longer binding in the way it was in the Old Testament.

A. It was a special sign between God and Israel (Exod. 31:16-17)

B. It was a memorial of deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 5:15)

C. After Pentecost, the New Testament never admonishes its keeping

D. The list of requirements for Gentile Christians never mentions Sabbath keeping (Acts 15:28-29)

E. Breaking the Sabbath is never included in the lists of sins in the Epistles (I Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21)

F. Of the nine post-Pentecost references to the seventh-day Sabbath, eight refer to a strictly Jewish gathering, not a Christian one. Paul attended these gatherings for the purpose of evangelising (Acts 13:14, 27, 42, 44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). The ninth reference declares the Christian’s liberty from the Sabbath (Col. 2:13-14; N.B. Gal. 4:9-10)

G. It was a type of heaven (Heb. 3:14-4:11)

IV. The Place of Sunday

A. All four gospels record the resurrection on the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19)

B. Scripture suggests that the early church met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2)

C. John calls the first day of the week “the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10)

D. The bible gives freedom regarding a day of worship (Ro. 14:5-8; Gal. 4:9-10; Col. 2:16)

V. The Significance of the Commandment

A. The ceremonial seventh-day aspect of the Sabbath is no longer binding on believers, but the moral principle of devoting time to God still continues. N.B. it is not keeping the O.T. Sabbath but recognition of the principle that time should be devoted to God on a regular, i.e. weekly, basis. There should always be a regular weekly break, whether on Sunday or on some other day of the week. We should maintain the balance in life between rest and work and between work and worship.

B. Guidelines for the observation of Sunday

1. It should be a time of REST (Exod. 20:9, 10) – Relax and be physically renewed. The word Sabbath means ‘to cease, to desist, to put an end to, to rest.”

2. It should be a time of WORSHIP (Heb. 10:25) – Study the scriptures, fellowship, pray, sing, give, encourage one another, be spiritually renewed. N.B. Jesus worshipped on his day of rest (Luke 4:16)

3. It should be a time of MEDITATION (Rev. 1:10; Phil. 4:8)

4. It should be a time of SERVICE – do good (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-41; John 5:1-16)

C. The command emphasizes the value and importance of work (Exod. 20:9; Deut. 5:13; PROV. 18:9; Eph. 4:28; Col. 3:23-24; I Thess. 4:11-12; II Thess. 3:10-12)

D. The command thus forbids laziness (N.B. Prov. 10:4; 12:24,27; 19:15; 24:30-34)

E. It avoids the idolatry of work



A. Summary & Conclusion

The value of the pause:

q It is good for us physically and mentally as it gives us the opportunity to relax the pace at which our body is working

q It enables us to assess what we are doing

q It makes a statement about who we are and who runs our lives. It deliberately dethrones work from being central to our existence.

q It reminds us of our limitations – that we are not indispensable in the great scheme of things

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