SUNDAY IS STILL A HOLY DAY!
Exodus 20:8-11 (NKJV)
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Ill. George Hatch raised a large family of seven boys and five girls in the sand-hills of northwestern Nebraska. One Sunday morning a neighbor rushed over to help the Hatches get the new-mown hay into the barn; clouds were rolling up in the West, and it was quite apparent that a rainstorm was imminent.
“Let’s get your hay up before the storm hits!” exclaimed the neighbor.
“Thank you for your kind offer,” said Mr. Hatch, “but this is Sunday, and I am going to take my family to church.”
“But you’ll lose your hay,” pleaded the neighbor.
Yet the Hatches went to church, and the rainstorm did spoil the hay.
“See, I told you that you would lose your hay,” said the neighbor.
“Yes, ” replied Mr. Hatch, “I lost my hay, but I saved my family.” It is doubtful that the neighbor fully understood.
George Hatch did save his family. Today, down into the third and fourth generations, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are workers in the kingdom of God.
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
I grew up with the notion that Sunday was the only day people had left to enjoy themselves. Therefore, it was OK to take Sunday and do all the things on that day that there hadn’t been time to do during the week. It was OK to forego church and do as one pleased, (mow the lawn, take a short trip, visit relatives, sleep late, wash the car, etc.)
However, when God saved me, He also changed my perception of Sunday. It became the Lord’s Day, a special day set apart for His glory and for His worship. Tonight, we are going to look into the 4th Commandment and preach for a while on Sunday Is Still A Holy Day.
Of the 10 Commandments given to mankind, only this one is not repeated in the New Testament. Therefore, many have concluded that since we are no longer under the restrictions of the Sabbath, we are also under no obligation to respect the Lord’s Day. This just isn’t so!
We are going to see that Sunday has replaced the Sabbath as the Lord’s Day. A day when God’s people are supposed to dedicated themselves and that day to Him and to His worship.
There are 3 aspects of this 4th Commandment that I feel are relevant to us today. Let’s notice these things as we think on the thought, Sunday Is Still A Holy Day!
I. SUNDAY IS A DAY OF REST
A. Man’s Labor Is Crucial – v. 9 – Contrary to popular belief, work is not a part of the curse! Before man sinned, he was given work to do, Gen. 2:15. (Ill. Sweat during labor is part of the curse – Gen. 3:19.) God’s intention is that man should work to earn his livelihood. This intention is clearly stated in 1 Thes. 3:10-12 and 1 Tim. 5:8. Man is called upon to get to work and to be busy! (Ill. “Thou shalt” – In the midst of all these “Thou shalt not’s” is a pretty significant “Thou shalt.” So, work is not a curse, it is a privilege! Work and the ability to work, are blessings from the hand of the Heavenly Father!
B. Man’s Lull Is Commanded – v. 10 – Just as man is expected to work, man is also expected to rest! Our bodies were never designed to work constantly, but we were made to have a season of rest. The purpose in God’s command is to allow man time to refresh his body for the 6 days of work that are ahead.
(Ill. T. Dewitt Talmadge – “Our bodies are seven day clocks and they need to be wound up, and if they are not wound up, they will run down into the grave.”)
God didn’t give this Commandment to interfere with our pleasure, but to insure our health!
(Ill. What is permitted on Sunday? Anything that refreshes and rests the body for the upcoming work week. What is forbidden? Anything that does not allow one to be rested and refreshed.)
C. Ill. Today, we are not under the bondage of the Law, but under the liberty of grace (GRACE)! However, God still expects us to maintain that one day from seven of Sabbath rest for His glory and your health.
II. SUNDAY IS A DAY OF REFLECTION
A. Reflection On God’s Pattern – v. 8, 11 – Ill. “Remember” The Israelites are challenged to “bring to mind” the pattern God Himself set forth for them regarding the rest of the Sabbath.
Ill. “Sabbath = Rest, cessation. When God finished His great work in Creation. He paused to rest and reflect upon all that He had done, Gen. 2:2. We know He didn’t need the rest, yet He knows we do! Therefore He Himself set the pattern that we are to follow.
B. Reflection On God’s Provisions – Sunday is a great day for us to step back from life and look at all the blessings we have enjoyed over the last 6 days. This practice will keep us current in our praise and in our thanksgiving – 1 Thes 5:18; Eph. 5:20.
C. Reflection On God’s Promises – As we contemplate the coming work week, we need to call to mind God’s promises for our lives. Remembering that regardless of where we go, He will be with us – Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5. That no matter what we face, He will constantly be meeting our needs – Phil. 4:19. That in every task, He will continually strengthen us for the job – Phil. 4:13. Sunday is an excellent day to begin preparing our spirit, heart and mind for the week ahead!
III. SUNDAY IS A DAY OF RENEWAL
A. Renewal Of Commitment – (v. 8, 11) God has declared this day to be a holy day. He expected man to keep this day holy. God hasn’t changed His mind! He still expects man to keep 1 out of 7 for His glory and honor! (Ill. Rom. 14:5-8)
(Ill. The Jews too keep this Commandment very seriously. Dr. Ken Trivette shares the following insights concerning the Jewish mindset – “The observance of the Sabbath was strictly observed and strictly enforced. Whereas, they took God’s command to rest on the Sabbath seriously, as the years passed they added their own rules and regulations about the Sabbath. There were approximately 1,521 things that were not permissible on the Sabbath. For example: you could not rescue a drowning person on the Sabbath. Untying knots that needed only one hand was permissible, but if two hands were required, it was forbidden. If a man’s ox fell into the ditch, he could pull it out, but if the man fell in, he had to stay there. One could take a sup of vinegar for food, but if he took a sup in order to help his aching toothache, he had broken the Sabbath. If a man was bitten by a flea on the Sabbath, he had to allow the flea to keep on biting. If he tried to stop the flea from biting or killed it, he was guilty of hunting on the Sabbath.”
Through the years, there have been those who observed the Sabbath (or Sunday) in a very strict manner. Some people would not sweep or dust the house, make the beds, or allow any food to be cooked on the Lord’s Day. Some of the restrictions that have been observed and enforced concerning the Lord’s Day, are somewhat humorous. In Scotland in the 17th century, one poor fellow was hailed into court for smiling on the Sabbath.)
(Ill. When the Mayflower (the ship) reached Plymouth Harbor in the New World/United States (US) it was Saturday afternoon. How eager the Early Pilgrims must have been to set foot on solid land after exile in Holland, thirteen weeks of tossing on a rough Atlantic, homesickness, seasickness, and weariness.
Despite their longing to go ashore and make a new home, they spent Saturday afternoon in preparation for Sunday, and then all day Sunday in worship.
On Monday morning, when they disembarked, they had been on Mayflower (the ship) for forty-two hours.)
(Ill. A sea captain returned to his home in Massachusetts after an absence of two years. His wife met him at the gate, and he kissed her. Yet it was not lawful to kiss one’s wife on the Sabbath. Therefore, this ‘wicked” captain was put into stocks for his lack of reverence of the holy day.)
(Ill. Jonathon Edwards – once resolved never to utter anything humorous on the Lord’s Day.”)
(Ill. Zachary Taylor – President-elect Zachary Taylor was scheduled according to the Constitution to take office on March 4, but he refused to be inaugurated because the day was a Sunday. Politicians pleaded in vain for the devoutly religious Taylor to change his mind.
The Constitution forbade President James K. Polk from staying on another day. There was no alternative but for the Senate to elect a president to serve from Sunday noon to Monday noon, the time rescheduled for Zachary Taylor to take office. The senators chose David Rice Atchison, the head of the Senate.
But the last week of the Polk administration was so hectic for Senator, Atchison that he retired late Saturday evening after instructing his landlady “not to awaken him for any reason.”
She followed his orders. Senator Atchison slept through Sunday and on into Monday, past the time his twenty-four-hour ended. The startling truth is that he slept through his entire term of office.)
(Ill. The history of the “Sundae” – Around 1875, the leaders of the town of Evanston, Illinois (US) passed a law forbidding the sale of ice cream sodas on Sunday. Some enterprising person devised a plan for selling ice cream covered with syrup instead of mixing it with soda water. This new dish became so popular that people began asking for a “Sunday.” When people objected to the dessert being named after the Lord’s Day, they changed the spelling to “Sundae” and that’s what it’s been called ever since. So, next time you eat one, remember that the delicious dessert you are eating resulted from some people who wanted to respect God’s day and others who were looking for a loophole.)
The Lord’s Day is a wonderful time for His people to renew their commitment to follow Him and to follow His commandments. Are you keeping His day holy?
(Ill. Voltaire – “I can never hope to destroy Christianity until I first destroy the Christian Sabbath.” )
(Ill. Gladstone – “Tell me what the young men of England are doing on Sunday, and I will tell you what the future of England will be.”)
Too many in our day are not interested in keeping the Lord’s Day holy, but only in getting in their recreation, bed rest, visiting, shopping, work, etc. finished.
(Ill. Our spiritual great-grandfathers called it the holy Sabbath; our grandfathers, the Sabbath; our fathers, Sunday; but today we call it the week-end.)
Folks, I love Sunday! Imagine a week without it!
(Ill. “A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the week.” – Henry Ward Beecher)
B. Renewal Of Conscience – All week, the world, the flesh and the devil battle against the spirit. Sunday affords us the privilege of coming apart and refreshing our lives through :
1. Worship – (Ill. Sunday became the primary meeting day of the early church. Acts 20:7 finds the early church gathering together for worship on Sunday. The practice began to commemorate the Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Some may try to criticize us for not worshiping on Saturday, but we are right in maintaining Sunday worship – Col. 2:15-16.)
(Ill. Man needs this time of refreshment and worship – Once when mules were used in great numbers in the coal mines, a visitor passing through the coal-mining area of Pennsylvania noticed that there were great numbers of these animals in pastures along the way, and asked the reason for this. “To keep them from going blind,” he was told. “If they are not brought up from underground at least one day in the week they will eventually lose their eyesight. So they are brought up each Sunday to keep them from going blind.)
(Ill. Man is commanded to observe this time or worship – Heb. 10:25!)
(Ill. Many seem to have “Morbus Sabbaticus” – The symptoms may vary, but there is never a loss of appetite. The illness lasts no more than 24 hours, and a physician is never called. While it always strikes on Sunday morning, its onset is never felt on Saturday night. The patient sleeps well and wakes the next day feeling in the best of condition. He’ll eat a hearty breakfast, but about church time an attack comes on which keeps him from attending the service. By 12:30 he is greatly relieved and is able to enjoy his dinner. In the afternoon he is so much better that he’ll take a walk or go for a long ride. Returning, he reads the Sunday newspaper and has a good supper. Just before the evening service, however, he is hit with another attack, and he thinks it best to stay home. Surprisingly, on Monday morning he is refreshed and ready to go to work, and none of the symptoms reoccur until the following Sunday.)
(Ill. Many only miss occasionally. However, do you break the other nine “Occasionally?” Do you murder “occasionally?” Do you steal “occasionally?”, etc. Ill. James 2:10!)
(Ill. Ox in the ditch syndrome – Jesus spoke about the ox in the ditch on the Sabbath. But if your ox gets in the ditch every Sabbath, you should either get rid of the ox or fill up the ditch. – Billy Graham)
2. Fellowship – Sunday is time for believers to come together as a family just as they have for the last 2,000 years.
a. Adoration – Of a risen Lord – 1 Cor. 11:20-25) (Ill. These verses are a glimpse at the heart of the early church!)
b. Celebration – Of a returning Lord – 1 Cor. 11:26
c. Examination – Of a rebellious heart – 1 Cor. 11:28
There is something special about getting together with the saints of God and attending worship. (Ill. King David knew this – Psa. 122:1) Anyone who doesn’t like the company of God children must not like the company of God Himself – Matt. 18:20!
Are you keeping His day as a day holy unto the Lord?
Does this poem reflect your heart?
The Lord’s Day
Whatever else I ponder
And wherever I may plod,
I must remember in my heart
This day belongs to God.
This day is meant to honor Him who understands my cares,
And who is not too occupied
To listen to my prayers.
And so I try to live my life
According to His way,
Because I know that Sunday
Is His very Special day.
These four and twenty hours
Are the least that I can give,
To say my thanks because
He has enabled me to live.
And that is why when Sunday comes,
I set the day apart
And offer God the gratitude
That fills my humble heart.
If not, then perhaps it is time for a renewal of your commitment to the Lord. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”
Sunday Is Still A Holy Day! Amen!