Summary: Faithful Christians must make a commitment to the Lord’s Day. I used this as a New Year’s sermon.
A. Let’s begin this morning with a few quotes for the New Year.
1. “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other,” Author Unknown. Certainly pessimistic, but often true.
2. “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man,” Benjamin Franklin
3. “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right,” Oprah Winfrey
4. “One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things,” John Burroughs. (Burroughs was an American naturalist and writer who died in 1921)
5. “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective”, G.K. Chesterton (A prolific English writer who died in 1935).
6. So, that’s my prayer for you and for me in the new year – that we might be better men and women; that we might have a new soul, a new heart, and new backbone.
B. As we begin this new year, I want to challenge us to make a renewed commitment to the priority of the Lord’s Day.
1. Please don’t misunderstand me, I know that we are to serve the Lord every day of the week.
2. God doesn’t want just Sunday Christians; he wants daily Christians.
3. And yet Sunday, the Lord’s Day, should have a special place on our weekly calendar.
C. There are sad and harmful trends taking place in our world today.
1. The Lord’s Day is truly under attack from secular culture, and that should come as no surprise to us, as our culture becomes less and less Christian.
2. But what is really shocking is that the attacks are working.
3. There is a growing indifference among Christians about the priority of the Lord’s Day.
4. Fewer Christians are being consistent in worship attendance.
5. Fewer Christians are committed to participating in Sunday School.
6. And then, even for those who do participate in Worship or Sunday School, you can forget about their participation in any other Christian activity on Sunday. Once the service has ended so has their participation and motivation.
D. So, Let’s spend a few minutes this morning considering the priority of the Lord’s Day, and how we might be more faithful in serving our Lord in the year 2007.
I. The Priority of the Lord’s Day
A. In Revelation 1:10, the Apostle John says, “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit.”
1. The identification of “the Lord’s Day” should not be confused with the phrase “the day of the Lord” which is found often in Scripture.
2. The day of the Lord is a technical expression pointing to a day of the Lord’s coming in judgment.
3. The “Lord’s Day” is the scriptural name for the day which is commonly called Sunday, or the first day of the week.
B. The respected church historian Philip Schaff, in volume one of his eight-volume series, History of the Christian Church, affirmed that the Lord’s Day is connected to “facts which lie at the foundation” of the church.
1. He wrote, “It was on that day that Christ rose from the dead; that he appeared to Mary, the disciples of Emmaus and the assembled apostles; that he poured out his Spirit and founded the church; and that he revealed to his beloved disciples the mysteries of the future” (pg. 478).
2. Schaff further declared, “the universal and uncontradicted Sunday observance in the second century can only be explained by the fact that it had its roots in apostolic practice.”
C. The Bible tells us that “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul preached to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)
1. We know that the Lord’s people were told to give on the first day of every week. (1 Cor. 16:2)
2. The writings of the early church fathers attests to the priority of the Lord’s day.
3. The Didache (written around A.D. 95) says, “But every Lord’s day…gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.”
4. In A.D. 110, Ignatius of Antioch wrote, “If therefore those who lived according to the old practices (i.e. Jews) have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death...Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner…let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s day as a festival, the resurrection day, the queen and chief of all days of the week.” (Epistle of Ignatius to Magnesians)