Summary: The Sunday gathering of Christians for worship and fellowship is so important. In this sermon, we are challenged to make the Lord's Day a high priority in obedience to God.
A. The story is told of two men who were fishing one Sunday morning and when the fish weren’t biting they began to feel guilty about skipping church.
1. One man said, “I guess I should have gone to church rather than gone fishing.”
2. The other man replied, “Well, I couldn’t have gone to church anyway, because my wife is home sick in bed.”
B. We might laugh at the inconsistency in that man’s thinking, and yet it is not that unusual.
1. We sometimes go through many rationalizations to either not do what we don’t want to do, or to do what we want to do.
2. And sometimes those rationalizations lead us to put other things ahead of our need to worship the Lord and fellowship with our brothers and sisters on the Lord’s Day.
3. So, as we begin the New Year in a few days, I want to challenge us to make a renewed commitment to the priority of the Lord’s Day.
C. But as we proceed with this emphasis, I want to be sure no one misunderstands me.
1. As important as the Lord’s Day is, 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. Nevertheless, if we are going to give our lives completely to Christ, 24/7, then we must also give Sunday, the Lord’s Day, a special place on our weekly calendar.
D. As you likely know, there are sad and harmful trends taking place in our world today.
1. The Lord’s Day is 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. But then, even for those who might participate in Worship or Sunday School, the chances of getting them to participate in any other Christian activity on Sunday beyond worship is low.
7. For many people, once the worship service has ended so has their participation and motivation in other spiritual things.
E. 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 2019.
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 also found 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 (also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is a brief anonymous early Christian treatise, dated by most modern scholars to the first century) 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)