Summary: The principle of Sabbath rest is still important for our physical, emotional, and spiritual health
Series: Big 10
“THE SABBATH PRINCIPLE”
We’re moving right along in our series of messages called Big 10 based on the 10 Commandments. Today we’re going to look at the fourth commandment. We’re going to study “The Sabbath Principles.”
Ex. 20:8-11 – Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Ironically, this is the longest commandment of any of the Ten Commandments, which may tell us about its importance. I think God knew that perhaps we would overlook this one and so he made it the longest so it would stand out.
The basic message of 4th commandment is that God is the Lord of time. He has authority to tell us how to use it and we must account to him for each moment.
What is the Sabbath? The Sabbath is a day set aside by God for his people. God originally established this day to be observed on the seventh day of the week. For thousands of years, Jewish people have celebrated the Sabbath on what we would call Saturday.
Based on the Creation account in Genesis, the Jewish day was originally from around 6:00 p.m. one day to 6:00 p.m. the next day; so Jewish people still celebrate the Sabbath from 6:00 p.m. Friday to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. It was a day for God’s people in the Old Testament.
But something happened. Today, many people consider the Sabbath to be the first day of the week – Sunday. Nine of the 10 Commandments are repeated in the New Testament. The only commandment not specifically referenced in the New Testament is this one – the one regarding the Sabbath. How did we get from Sabbath day to the Lord’s Day?
The celebration of deliverance from slavery in Egypt was the high point in the heritage of the Jews. As Christians, the high point of our heritage is the resurrection of Jesus – deliverance from slavery to sin through his death and resurrection.
Jesus came out of the grave on the first day of the week. The church was started on the Day of Pentecost which fell on the first day of the week. The name became known as the Lord’s Day. Rev. 1:10a – On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit.
Was this change authorized by God? Some claim no. Jews and Seventh-Day Adventists still practice the Saturday Sabbath. There is no direct New Testament command concerning this matter. However, it is evident from other aspects of biblical teaching as well as apostolic precedent that a change was made.
As you study the New Testament, you find that God’s people under covenant with him through his Son celebrated their day of worship on the first day of the week. Acts 20:7a – On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. 1 Cor. 16:2 – On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
In the early 2nd century AD, Ignatius of Antioch noted that “those who followed ancient customs [that is, the Jews] have come to see a new hope, no longer celebrating the Sabbath but observing the Lord’s Day, the day on which our life sprang up through Christ.”
From the New Testament, we learn that the Saturday Sabbath is no longer binding. Col. 2:16-17 – Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Christ said that he came to fulfill the law. The original Sabbath pointed to the day when Jesus would come and complete God’s instruction in this matter.
Does that mean that the principles of the Sabbath are no longer valid? No! We shouldn’t ignore what God has to say in this matter. His word is for our benefit and our enrichment.
But for some reason we tend to ignore the principles of the Sabbath. Why do we do that?
One reason we ignore this command is because we think that the Sabbath no longer applies to us. We’ve been taught that it’s an Old Testament law that has no relevance today. In fact, out of all the Ten Commandments, this is the one that is the most controversial within the church.