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Summary: Is the fourth commandment of the decalogue still God’s revealed will for Christians today or is it the only one of God’s ten commandments that can be "erased"? No matter your denominational affiliation, this sermon is sure to have you flipping the pages

***Note to the reader: Although this sermon is in no way exhaustive in it’s scripture reference, it does I believe touch on some very thought provoking subject matter.

Whether you are a minister of the Word or a serious bible student, I encourage you to study this message without the aid of “denominational glasses” that tend to blind us to clear biblical truths that could prove to be very advantageous in our Christian journey. I will carefully consider any questions or comments that you may have about this subject and will gladly provide an abundance of further scriptural support for this sermon and it’s implications. You may email me at dwightdavis@embarqmail.com.

“Strange Fire and the Sabbath Day”

Today, whenever we Christians here the word “Sabbath,” we always seem to think of our Jewish friends because oddly enough, this word seems no longer to be relevant to the Christian population. But today, I ask that you would put aside any pre-conceived ideas and join me on a biblically sound study of the “forgotten commandment.”

The time at which the Sabbath was first instituted is in itself a key to understanding both it’s significance and it’s perpetual nature. We are all familiar I’m sure with the creation story as recorded in Genesis chapters one and two. There we find that the Sabbath had it’s origin immediately after God had finished the work of creating that He had done. It is important for us to realize that the Sabbath was instituted while everything was still “very good” -- that is to say before this world and humanity was defiled by the crimson stain of sin. Let me just ask that you remember this point because we will certainly elaborate on that aspect a little later in our message.

But for now I want us to consider exactly what it meant when God blessed the seventh day and made it “holy.” To do that, we need to dig a little bit beneath the surface of translation... The Hebrew word for “sanctify” or to “make holy” is (kaw-dash) which essentially means to set apart for sacred use. To “cut it off” if you will from its contemporaries which would in this case be, of course, the other six days of the week.

Needless to say that God could have chosen to bless this particular day at any time but it is very interesting that he chose to set it apart as holy right from the beginning-- again, before the introduction of sin and the fall of mankind. Now what we have to figure out is why He set the seventh day apart as holy--why He cut it off from the rest of the week. Let’s look at what the bible says in Genesis 2:1-3

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Here we read that God “rested” from all His work. But again, when we look at the original language, we find that the Hebrew word from which “rest” is translated is “shabath” which could actually be translated to mean “to cease or to have completed” rather than “to rest.” And, in this application, that makes sense because obviously the Almighty God of the Universe was not physically “tired” and in need of rest. So why did He bless the seventh day if it wasn’t to commemorate this day upon which He rested? The emphasis here should not be on the fact the God “rested from” or “ceased” His creative work but rather the emphasis should be on the fact that it was He Who did the creating-- the Sabbath was actually set aside as a memorial to Yahweh--a “seal of His Creatorship.” As a great artist always signs his masterpieces, so God also signed His masterpiece, and He signed it with a perpetual signature in the form of a very special day He calls the Sabbath.

And that “seal of Creatorship” that signature of God upon His creation not only applies to the earth, sky and sea but it also and especially applies to you and me. In Exodus 31:12,13 the scriptures tell us; “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, You must observe My Sabbaths. This will be a sign between Me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.’”

So here we see that the Sabbath is also a link between us and God. And by our treating this specific day as holy, we are acknowledging God as our Creator and Sustainor of life. On this day we, like God during creation week, also “cease” from our labor but being human we, unlike God, do in fact need to literally “rest and be refreshed.” This is a concept that the Lord began trying to drive home to His people from the beginning.

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Talk about it...

Austin Navis

commented on Apr 2, 2007

I thank GOD for having preachers like you who reveal the bible truths. It is my wish that you continue to shed light on many other sensitive issues.

Hassan Marshall

commented on Mar 4, 2008

I am so glad there are other Sabbath keepers in the world standing up for the Seventh Day Sabbath. This is what the world needs to hear...the Sabbath is definitley a "DELIGHT" to me.

Hassan Marshall

commented on Mar 4, 2008

I pray there will be more sermons on this subject on here.

Phil Laws

commented on Sep 22, 2009

Great sermon - thanks for your thoughts - keep the faith brother!

Manie De Bruin

commented on Nov 22, 2013

Thank you for this wonderful message. "...and if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. "

Dominic Ortega

commented on Jan 8, 2019

few mistakes you may want to correct. It is a mistake to call Sunday worship a tradition of man. Many Christians make the mistake of comparing the OT Sabbath to Sunday Worship. They are not connected at all. Sunday Worship is not a replacement of the 4th commandment. Nor is it a law. Biblically Sunday worship is connected with two OT Feast. Sunday Worship is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ which Paul connected with the feast of first fruits in 1 Cor. 15. And it is a celebration of the birth of the NT Church on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Both the feast of Pentecost and the feast of first fruits were celebrated each year on a Sunday (Lev. 23). So Sunday worship is connected to the OT through the feast not a command. Sunday worship does not have any connection to the Sabbath and is a act of worship with roots in the OT. Romans 14 is perfectly clear on the issue of the Sabbath Law for the NT believer. Paul said it was a matter of personal conviction and not an issue of keeping OT commandment. Clearly in Romans 14 Paul does not make it a moral issue. The 4rh commandment was to not work, and spend time with your family. Nothing in Exodus 20 says anything about having your church service on Saturday. Talking with the Sabbath keepers in my area. They seem to redefine the Biblical Sabbath. And have made up there own rules for keeping the OT Sabbath and say they are keeping the Sabbath. For example the OT Sabbath forbid the lighting of fire. But Seventh Day Advents use electricity and drive their cars which kindles a fire. any feedback is welcome.

Dwight Davis

commented on Jan 13, 2019

First of all, I appreciate all the comments listed here. I’m always glad to know that my fellow Christians are open to objectively reading and studying the Word of God! I agree with you, brother Ortega, that “many Christians make the mistake of comparing the OT Sabbath to Sunday worship”—not only Sabbatarians but Sunday worshippers as well. In fact, the largest and most prominent of Sunday worshipping churches (Roman Catholic) claims to have the authority to actually transfer the sanctity of the Biblical Sabbath to Sunday for the same reason you indicated, in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Notice this excerpt from the Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine Q. Which is the Sabbath day? A. Saturday is the Sabbath day. Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea, (AD 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday…. Q. Why did the Catholic Church substitute Sunday for Saturday? A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday, because Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday, and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles on a Sunday. Q. By what authority did the Church substitute Sunday for Saturday? A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her! —Rev. Peter Geiermann, C.SS.R., (1946), p. 50. No disrespect to any faithful believers that currently worship on Sunday. As far as I am concerned, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m of the opinion that God has His people in nearly all denominations—Catholicism included. Before I became a Sabbatarian, I was of the Baptist faith. But when I was in my early twenties and my wife and I had our first child, I really began to study the Scriptures seeking a personal relationship with God, founded firmly on the Rock Who is Christ as revealed in Bible. So the bible—not my current church, not my family’s or friend’s beliefs, not popular opinion nor tradition, was to be my guide. As every sincere Christian should do when he or she is convicted of Biblical truth—especially when it is directly concerning a point of God’s Ten Commandment Law, we need to follow Peter’s mindset and determine to “obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) This is what I did. Not only with the Sabbath but with every one of the Biblical fundamental beliefs I hold dear today. I’m not sure what your point is about Sunday being connected to the Old Testament feast of First Fruits or the fact that Pentecost was on Sunday and I’ll spare readers of these posts the details why, to me, this is irrelevant to the subject of this study. The undisputable fact is that ALL of the feasts as well as the sacrifices offered at the tabernacle, and later, the temple were connected with and pointed to the coming of Christ. And the fact that Pentecost was on Sunday and the Priests presented the wave sheaf on a Sunday, while true, certainly doesn’t warrant the abolition of the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment. There simply is no commandment in all of Scripture that tells God’s people, Jew or Christian, to “forget” the only commandment that God tells us to “remember.” The truth is that when God sanctified the seventh day, set it aside as holy and clearly instructed us to keep it holy, no man or institution has the authority to “desanctify” it. I have no issue with worshipping on Sunday, I believe it is good to worship any and every day. But I also believe that we should keep the very special and holy day for which God did in fact set aside for holy use. You said that Paul’s statement in Romans 14 somehow was proof that the Sabbath commandment is no longer applicable to Christians today and is now merely a matter of personal conviction and not a moral issue. I will have to respectfully disagree with this interpretation. I can see how one may come to that conclusion if he doesn’t take into account the fact that many of his readers were still keeping certain ceremonial days as well as feasts that were fulfilled at the cross. Paul was no doubt saying that these days—not the seventh-day Sabbath, were no longer an issue under the New Covenant. I believe I address this in the study above, but the temple services along with the priesthood, sacrifices and feasts were merely “shadows” of the coming Lamb of God and our High Priest, Jesus. This entire system was set in place BECAUSE OF SIN. Notice that the Sabbath was instituted (blessed, made holy, set aside) by God BEFORE SIN and so is not a part of that system that met its fulfillment with the sacrifice of Christ. You mentioned that Exodus 20 doesn’t command us to gather for worship as part of the fourth commandment. This is true. Nevertheless, in Leviticus 2:3 God says, “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” “Convocation” means “to gather.” Furthermore, in Isaiah 66 we’re told that we will “come and bow down before the Lord” every Sabbath in the new earth! We also find many instances of Christians meeting “at church” on Sabbath after the resurrection of Christ—not to mention that Jesus Himself attended church on Sabbath. I certainly didn’t mean to make such a lengthy response, I do apologize for that. But I must address the comment about Adventists flipping on a light switch on Sabbath. I’ll have to say, that one made me smile—thanks for that. But in the event that you were serious, I’ll explain. In the setting this command (which was not in the Fourth Commandment itself) was given, kindling a fire was a very labor intensive task. You can imagine with all of those people in a constrained and often desolate area, firewood was scarce. And actually tending a fire require much attention. To compare flipping a switch with lighting and tending a fire is quite the stretch. The overriding principle of the commandment is to forsake our regular work and worldly pursuits and spend quality time with God and family. I’ll have to admit, that when I first was convicted of the Sabbath truth, I felt somewhat “restricted.” But the more I kept it by faith the more I realized what a blessing it is and how much closer it brought me to God, my family and my brothers and sisters in Christ. What Jesus said in Mark 2:27 is certainly true: “The Sabbath was made FOR man, not man for the Sabbath.” Praise God that He created this sanctuary in time that we might enjoy sacred, quality time with Him! I hope this was helpful. May God bless you as you continue to study His word!

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