The 4th Commandment Exodus 20:8-11.
- A Command To Remember And Keep –
Because of our proneness to forget and let things slip spiritually the 4th commandment commands us to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it Holy…” of all the other commandments perhaps none has been forgotten and allowed to slip as much as the 4th commandment. Once The Lord’s Day in our own country was special, a day of quiet and rest marked with City and Town Centre shops and shopping centres closed, Professional sport wasn’t played, Leisure centres and Cinemas were closed and the only traffic on the roads on a Sunday morning, afternoon and evening were cars taking passengers to their places of worship, on the whole churches were full, afternoon Sunday schools were bursting at the seams with Children. But fast forward just around 30 years and Sunday – The Lords Day, for most part has just become another day, our roads and motorways are filled with Sunday shoppers, the Sabbath has become the main day for topflight sport to be played, with many glued to Sky Sports, Cinemas and Leisure Centres are better attended on the Lord’s Day than most churches, and the afternoon Sunday School has all but died out completely. However the World has not been the only one to throw out the 4th commandment increasingly more and more Christians no longer believe the 4th commandment is applicable to them, “We are no longer under law but under grace they say” “Jesus mentions every other of His ten commandments in His Sermon on the mount but makes no mention of keeping the Sabbath Holy, therefore we don’t need to observe the Sabbath anymore.” This abandonment of the 4th commandment by many Christians hasn’t helped other Christian’s who have lost their tribunals against their employers for forcing them to work on the Lord’s Day. The Telegraph Newspaper December 2012 “A new ruling by a High Court judge – the first on the issue in nearly a decade – says that Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs. The judgment – which upholds an earlier decision – means that individual Christians do not have any protection from being fired for not working on Sundays.” “Mr Justice Langstaff, who as president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal is the most senior judge in England and Wales in this type of case, upheld the lower tribunal’s ruling which said it was relevant that other Christians did not ask for Sundays off. The fact that some Christians were prepared to work on Sundays meant it was not protected, the court said.” All this has come about because we have forgotten the 4th commandment Hosea 4:6 “…seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God…” Jeremiah 18:15 “Because my people hath forgotten me, …they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;” and we have let observance of the 4th commandment slip. When Jesus Himself warned in Matthew 5:17-19 ESV “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” And 2 Thessalonians 2:15 commands us “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Hebrews 2:1 “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” For as Thomas Watson wrote “This commandment also was engraven in stone by God’s own finger, and it will be our comfort to have it engraven in our hearts… This word “remember” shows that we are apt to forget sabbath holiness; therefore we need a memorandum to put us in mind of sanctifying the day.” So…
- What’s In A Day? “Remember the Sabbath day,”
- Why A Sabbath?
1.You and I were not created to work 24/7, we need physical and spiritual rest and refreshment. Exodus 23:12 “Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.” Mark 6:31 “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while:” “come apart and rest a while or else you will come apart.”
- We are created for worship And This Is God’s Due On His Day Particularly – Isaiah 43:21“This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” Therefore on the Lord’s Day Psalm 29:2“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” For this is God’s Due on His Day For “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised…” Psalm 92:1-2 entitled – A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day… “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night…”
- It Promotes Holiness In Us – Ezekiel 20:12 “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.” Thomas Watson – “The business and busyness of week days makes us forgetful of God and our souls the Sabbath brings Him back to our remembrance.”
- Which Day Is The Sabbath Now?
Why do we no longer observe the seventh Day Jewish Sabbath? Why have we changed the Sabbath day to a Sunday? Have we scriptural warrant for this? For of course the Jewish Old Testament Sabbath was a Saturday, and Seventh Day Adventists for instance still teach that to be a true “Christian,” The Old Jewish Sabbath must be observed. However the Christian who believes in the observance of the Sabbath says The Lords Day is now Sunday, why? Because the substance of the 4th commandment does not lie in keeping the seventh day precisely, but keeping one day in seven this is what God has appointed. So why the first day of the week? 1. By Christ’s Own Appointment – Mark 2:28 “The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” He made this day Psalm 118 v 24 “This is the day which the LORD hath made;” Therefore it is the Lords day because of the Lord’s instituting it. And setting it apart to His special worship and service by His rising from the dead on the first day of the week. 2. The Apostles Kept The First Day Of The Week – 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 continued his speech until midnight.” 1 Corinthians 16:2 “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” 3. The reason why God instituted the old Sabbath was to be a memorial of the work of creation. But now the Christian Sabbath is instituted in memory of a greater work the work of redemption. The work of Creation was great but the work of redemption greater.
- The Sabbath Commandment Does Not Condone Laziness
“Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work:” The 4th commandment gives no warrant for laziness As much as we are commanded to observe the Lord’s Day we are also commanded “Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work:” Watson rightly calls idleness “The nurse of vice” The lazy person hides his talent in the ground, His or her time is not lived but lost. God calls the slothful servant wicked Matthew 25:26 “His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant…” Lazy, bone idol people, live in breach of the commandment “Six days shalt thou labour.” So that Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Therefore Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” And Colossians 3:23-24 whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
- The Observance Of The Sabbath –
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:”
- No Secular Work Is To Be Done On The Lord’s Day – “in it thou shalt not do any work” We must leave all worldly business and busyness behind on the Lord’s day. The Lord’s Day is a day of Holy Rest all secular work must be suspended. This is why Nehemiah rebukes the Nobles of Judah in Nehemiah 13:15&17 “In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?” And this is also why God forbids the gathering of manna on the Sabbath in Exodus 16:26, 27-28 “ Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.” “And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?” God will not have His day violated or defiled even in the smallest of matters.
- We Must Prepare for The Lord’s Day – Wise preparation for Sunday morning ought to begin on Saturday night by getting to bed at a sensible hour. Thomas Watson writes “ Such as sit up late at work on the night before are so buried in sleep that they will hardly be awake and up on a Sabbath morning.” Then on a Lord’s Day morning we are careful to dress our bodies but are we as careful to dress our souls by making time to read God’s Word, and prepare our hearts in prayer. You would be careful to prepare yourself properly were you to be coming to visit the Queen’s Palace how much more the House of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. By starting our Sabbath reading God’s word we prepare and sanctify our hearts for the Lord’s day John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Then prepare your heart to meet with the Lord on His Day in prayer Joshua 3:5 “Sanctify yourselves” praying Psalm 139:23-24“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
- We Must Join Together With The Body Of Christ On The Lord’s Day –
In this we have the Apostles and early churches example Act 20:7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,” And the Apostle Paul’s command in Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” For we are commanded to come and worship Psalm 96:8-9 “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness:”
- We Must Keep It Holy – Thomas Watson says God says “ Keep the Sabbath Holy; but men pollute it. This is to despise God to hang out the flag of defiance, to throw down the gauntlet and challenge God Himself.” The judgement of God is upon those who would break His Sabbath our land may have enshrined Sabbath breaking in to Law and let Sabbath breakers alone but God will not. God warns in Jeremiah 17:27 “But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day… even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” Could this be one of the reason’s God’s hand of blessing has been taken off our nation? Because we defy and desecrate the 4th commandment are we under judgement? And Not only do you and I have a responsibility to Keep Holy the Sabbath day we have a responsibility that all under our care keep it Holy also “thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:” Take the lead in Sabbath observance and seek to lead all those under your care in it also.
- Our Sabbath Example – The Lord God Himself…
“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:” Genesis 2:2 “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Not that Almighty God needed to rest, but God rested to set a pattern for us Psalm 103:14 “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” 1 Peter 2:21 “…leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
- The Blessing Of Sabbath Observance –
“wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” God not only appointed the Sabbath Day but He also blessed it. Therefore it is not only a day of honour to God, but a day of blessing to us. This day rightly observed brings a blessing upon our souls, our home, our nation and our future generations. For He has said 1 Samuel 2:30 “them that honour me I will honour…” Therefore Isaiah 56:2 Blessed is the man that doeth this …that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it…”