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THE SABBATH DAY:

Should We Keep It?

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   To keep the Sabbath, or to not keep the Sabbath?  This is the question before us tonight.

 

B.   There are many religious groups who refer to themselves as being “Christian” that keep the Sabbath.

1.    Seventh-Day Adventists

2.    Seventh-Day Baptists

3.    Seventh-Day Evangelical Church

4.    Church of God (7th Day)

5.    True Jesus Church

6.    United Church of God

 

C.   NOTE:  We do not observe the Sabbath Day in any shape or form.  We observe the Lord’s Day which is the first day of the week.

 

D.   In this lesson, we want to examine the Sabbath Day and show why we do not keep it.

 

I.             WHAT IS THE SABBATH DAY?

 

A.   The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week.

1.    Exodus 16:26

 

Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, there shall be none.

 

2.    Exodus 20:9-10a

 

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt not work.

 

B.   The word “sabbath” means “intermission.”

1.    When the day was instituted, it was patterned after God’s labor, then His rest during the Creation week.

2.    Exodus 20:11

 

For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day:  wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it.

 

C.   Two primary things were part of this day.

1.    Rest from labors

2.    Worship by the Jews.

 

II.           THE SABBATH IS NOT BINDING TODAY

 

A.   The Sabbath Day was a day authorized by God upon which the Jews were to rest and worship.

 

B.   The Old Law of Moses is no longer binding.

1.    Romans 7:4, 6

 

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God…But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held:  that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

 

2.    Ephesians 2:15

 

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.

 

3.    Colossians 2:14

 

Botting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.

 

4.    Hebrews 7:12

 

For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

 

III.         THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK IS AUTHORIZED FOR WORSHIP

 

A.   The first century church came together for worship.

1.    In I Corinthians 11:18, Paul said:  “For first of all, when ye come together in the church…” (NOTE:  The word “church” means assembly here).

2.    The writer of Hebrews exhorted his readers not to forsake the assembling of themselves together (Heb. 10:25).

 

B.   When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he began first with the bread, then the fruit of the vine.  As He concluded the Supper, He made an interesting statement (Matt. 26:29).

 

But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

 

1.    We know that the first century church began to worship immediately following the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:42), but, again, the day is not mentioned.

2.    The first time the day is mentioned is in Acts 20:7.

 

And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and he continued his speech until midnight.

 

a.    The church partook of the Lord Supper upon the first day of the week.  The first day of the week was “that day” to which Jesus referred when He established the Lord’s Supper.

b.    In I Corinthians 16:1-2, we also see that an offering was taken on the first day of the week as well.

 

…upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him…

 

 

 

 

IV.         ARGUMENTS MADE FOR THE SABBATH DAY

 

A.   The Sabbath Day was instituted in the days of Patriarchy and was not confined to Judaism (Gen. 2:1-3, esp. v. 3).

 

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended all his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it:  because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

 

1.    Those who keep the Sabbath stress that God “blessed the seventh day” and He “sanctified it.”  Thus, they reason that God made it a day of worship for man.

2.    Answers:

a.    The statement is not issued as a command to be obeyed by man.

b.    There is not one mention of a person who practiced Sabbath-keeping during the days of Patriarchy.

 

B.   The Sabbath Day is a “forever” covenant.

1.    Some refer to it as perpetual; others say that it is everlasting.

2.    Exodus 31:16-17

 

Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath through out their generations, for a perpetual covenant.  It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever:  for in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.

 

3.    Answers:

a.    Let’s consider the word “forever.”

1)    It can mean “everlasting.”

2)    It can also means for a long period of time (Ex., the preacher’s sermon lasted forever).

3)    In this case, we really do not have to define the term.  All we need to understand is that the Mosaic covenant was a “conditional” covenant.

a)    Exodus 19:5

 

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:  for all the earth is mine.

 

1)    Notice two words:  “if”…”then”

2)    If Israel kept the covenant, the covenant would be binding.

b)    Israel did not keep the covenant (Heb. 8:7-8).

 

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.  For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Juda.

 

c)    God found fault with Israel.  They violated the covenant.  Thus, God was under no obligation to keep His part of the covenant.

d)    In fact, He annulled the covenant and brought in a new and better covenant, the New Testament of Jesus Christ.

b.    When we look at the words of Exodus 31:16-17, we find that they only apply to “the children of Israel.”

 

 

C.   The children of Israel today are Christians.

1.    Remember, the Sabbath Day applies only to “the children of Israel.”

2.    Christians are the children of Israel today.  Thus, the Sabbath Day applies to Christians.

3.    Answer:

a.    It is true that the church is the Israel of God today (Rom. 2:28-29; 9:6-8; Gal. 3:29; James 1:1).

 

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

 

b.    This New Israel is not under the Old Covenant, but is under the New Testament of Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:9).

 

Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.  He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

 

1)    The priesthood has changed (Heb. 7:12).

2)    Circumcision is no longer binding (Gal. 6:15).

3)    The Sabbath Day is no longer the day of worship (Acts 20:7).

 

D.   The apostles honored the Sabbath Day.

1.    There are several texts that are used to “prove” this position.

a.    In Antioch of Pisidia, Paul “went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down” (Acts 13:14).

b.    In Philippi, Paul and his companions, “went out of the city by the river side” on the sabbath, “where prayer was wont to be made” (Acts 16:13).

2.    Answer:

a.    Paul and his companions did go to the synagogue and to the river on the sabbath, but they did not engage in worship.  If they did, they would have violated the New Covenant because a Jewish priest would have conducted the service.  This old priesthood was no longer valid.

b.    Why did they go?

1)    They were commanded to preach the gospel to the Jews first (Rom. 1:16).

2)    They knew they would be received as Jews.

3)    They knew that they would have a crowd to which they could preach the gospel.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.   The Sabbath day is no longer a holy day for rest and worship.

 

B.   Today, the first day of the week is the day of worship.

1.    This is NOT the Christian Sabbath.

2.    It is the Lord’s Day (See Rev. 1:10).

3.    It is an appropriate day of worship seeing our Lord was resurrected on this day.

 

C.   Does it really matter?  Yes!  God seeks those worshipers who worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).