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 email@example.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.