Summary: Which of the Ten Commandments no longer applies in our lives today and why? How about the Fourth? What we live is what we believe - so, let me ask you again: Which of the Ten Commandments no longer applies in our lives today and why?
What Do Christians Have To Do With The Sabbath?
Turn with me, if you would, to Exodus 20:1-17. While you are turning there, let me ask you a question:
Which of the Ten Commandments no longer applies in our lives today and why?
Does that seem like a simple question to answer? Let’s look at it. Look over the Commandments as they are listed in the text and tell me which of them has little or no application in our lives today.
We say that they all apply to us today, but do we really live as though they do? What about the Fourth Commandment? Do you think that it applies to us today – really?
Do we live as though it applies to us today? No – we do not.
Tell me why: why do we live as though the Fourth Commandment to, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” no longer applies in our day and age?
In this section of the Scriptures, we see two interactions between the religious leaders and Jesus taking place.
First, we see Jesus and the disciples walking through a barley field on the Sabbath and the disciples are eating some of the grain. The Scribes and Pharisees have a bit of a fit over this. As we discussed before, the Law said that there was to be no harvesting on the Sabbath (picking the heads of grain), no threshing (rubbing the head of grain between their hands), no winnowing (separating the grain from the husk), and no grinding (the grinding that took place when they chewed the grain in their mouths).
The second incident happens on another Sabbath when Jesus is in the synagogue and a man with a withered hand is also there. The interpretation of the Law by the Pharisees was that the only healing help that could be done on the Sabbath was the bare minimum to preserve a life, nothing more. When Jesus has the man stretch out his withered hand and it is healed right there in front of them, as Dr. Luke tells us, “But they themselves were filled with rage.” Odd reaction to an act of mercy, wouldn’t you say?
So where do turn to uncover the background on the Sabbath and how all of this ties together? We turn, of course, to the beginning – to Genesis 2:1-3:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
What we have is God establishing the day of rest as part of His creation ordinance. There is nothing else in all of the measurement of time that is divided into sevens.
The cycles of the moon and the months, the months of the year, the minutes of the hour, the hours in a day, the days in a year and so on all divide by threes and sixes. Only the measurement we know as the week is broken up into sevenths. And, it is universal throughout the world of man. God could have found a different way of designating a week – one that would have divided evenly into the months and the years. He chose not to do so.
Next, we move back to our text in Exodus 20:8-11, and we see that God moves the observance of the Sabbath from His creation ordinance into the realm of His moral law.
Look at the other nine commandments – are they not moral in their implication? We will return to this point in a little while. The Scribes and the Pharisees well understood the importance to God of the Sabbath – the question is: Why do we not?
When we see where this commandment fits (between God’s command to not take His name in vain, and His command to honor our parents), we see that there is a natural flow from our duty to God to our duty to the people in our lives.
Look at verse 11. God tells His chosen people the reason they are to observe the day of rest as a holy day: "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”
Hold your finger there for a moment and turn with me to Deuteronomy 5:12-15. read what it says there. Notice what God says is another reason that He expects this day to be observed as a special and holy day apart from the other days of the week; verse 15: “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.”