Monday, January 21, 2013

Should we Worship on the Sabbath (Saturday) or Sunday?

In the Old Testament and New Testament you will find the Jews worshiping God on a Saturday (The Sabbath). Yet today, most who call themselves “Christians” worship on Sunday. Which is correct?

What was the Sabbath? (Old Testament Passages Which Explain the Sabbath)
  • (Genesis 2:2-3) “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”.
    • God rested on the 7th day.
    • He blessed it and sanctified it.
    • At this time it is not called “the Sabbath”.
    • Note: At this moment, there is no instruction given to keep it.
  • (Exodus 16:22-29)
    • This is the 1st time the word “Sabbath” appears in the Bible.
    • It seems they had not kept it until then because God has to tell them “tomorrow is a Sabbath”.
    • There are specific commands regarding what they can and cannot do on a Sabbath.
  • (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:1-5, 12ff)
    • Remembering the Sabbath was made one of the 10 Commandments.
    • This was the first time a covenant regarding the Sabbath was made (Duet. 5:3).
    • Nehemiah confirms that the Sabbath law was given to the Israelites through Moses at Mt. Sinai (Neh. 9:13-14)
Who was the Sabbath For?
  • The law of Moses, including the 10 Commandments was a covenant between God and the Nation of Israel.
    • Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel” (Ex. 34:27)
  • The Sabbath was a reminder of Israel’s escape from Egyptian bondage.
    • “And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (Deut. 5:15)
Why do some religious groups worship on the Sabbath today?
  • There are many different religious groups today who feel they should keep the Sabbath in some way. 7th day groups.
  • Most of the time they will argue that all Christ did away with the ceremonial laws of the OT but not the moral laws ( ie. the 10 Commandments).
  • They will often state that there is no evidence for a Christian assembly on the first day of the week, and that it was later added.
  • They will cite examples of meeting in synagogues as proof for their position.
If keeping the Sabbath was part of the law, why don’t we keep it?
  • All of the laws of the Old Covenant were removed through Christ’s death.
    • (Hebrews 10:9) “Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
    • (Romans 7:1-7) - Released from “the Law”(vs. 6)
      • What Law were we released from? (vs.7) 
        • The same law that says “thou shalt not covet”. (We were released from the 10 Commandments. This includes the command about the Sabbath).
    • (Ephesians 2:14-16) -For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
  • God's people are no longer required to keep the commands of the Old Testament. Those commands were given to lead one to Christ. The Old Testament's purpose was fulfilled when Christ came. (Galatians 3:23-25). 
If the “Sabbath” observance has been done away, what day are we to assemble?
  • The Sabbath Day was significant to the Jews (Deut. 5:15)
  • The First Day of the Week is significant to Christians.
    • Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1, Mark 16:1-2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1)
    • The church began at Pentecost which was always on the first day of  the week (Lev. 23:15-16, Num. 28:26, Deut. 16:16).
It is clear that Sunday would be a special day to Christians, but did they assemble for worship on Sunday?
  • (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) - Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.
  • (Acts 20:7) -"And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight."
  • (Ignatius - AD 100) - “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”... “If therefore those who lived according to the old practices came to the new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath but living according to the Lord’s day”.
  • (Justin Martyr) - 150 AD - And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. 
Conclusion:
  • God at one time did make a special covenant with the Jews (and Jews only) to keep the Sabbath.
  • This why Jesus kept the Sabbath.
  • After Christ came and died, all mankind became accountable the New Covenant.
  • In the New Covenant, we have inspired writers teaching us (by word and deed) to assemble on Sunday.
  • We must assemble on Sunday to be pleasing to God (Hebrews 10:25)
By Cliff Sabroe