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    by Fred Price

Observing A Sabbath Exodus 20:8
Date Posted: July 27, 2018

Of real importance to any study of a Sabbath observance is the realization that the scripture cited above was a command, not a suggestion. And while Sabbath observances were – and are – a hotly debated subject, Jesus points out in Mark 2:27 that the Sabbath was made for man’s benefit, not so man could satisfy a religious obligation. The question being – how do we benefit from such an observance?

The Jews were to keep it holy, which meant in part to be set apart. But was there a specific purpose in observing a Sabbath? When we do so, we show a certain reverence for God by acknowledging a day set aside to commemorate Him. A day dedicated to religious use, similar to a memorial, and as such a reminder of the creative pattern of days filled with effort followed by a day of rest. (Exodus 20:8-11 & 31:15) The word Sabbath meaning rest, with the connotation of recharging, rejuvenating, reinvigorating – in order to do more.

But what does that have to do with us as Christians? The Jewish Sabbath was celebrated on Saturday, we meet on Sunday. And should that serve as our Sabbath or should we rather be free of any such identification?

For many years after Christ initiated the church, it was considered by many as nothing more than an argumentative offshoot of Judaism. It’s Sunday commemoration used, at least in part, to differentiate itself from the Jewish Sabbath. But there’s more to it than that, the significance of Sunday being rooted in Christ’s resurrection, which occurred, “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week,…Matthew 28:1 (See also Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1 & John 20:1) Our “Sabbath” Sunday meant to be a resurrection celebration.

But what does that entail? Jesus looked forward to a time when men would re-enact his last supper, which was grounded in a tribute to Israeli freedom from Egyptian slavery, with a twist. The bread and wine now symbolizing his body and blood; which frees us from slavery to sin. Personally instructing them (and us) to, “…do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 Paul later explaining to the Corinthian church the significance of this remembering. “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:24-26 We shouldn’t, however, just proclaim his death but celebrate his resurrection; as it’s a memorial – not a funeral. Using this time to remember what he did and said, what he asks and expects.

Paul instructed Timothy in some of the particulars of ministry, telling him to, “Preach the Word…” and to be prepared to, “…correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2; traditionally done during Sunday Services, though not exclusively. In fact, Jesus’ last words directed all believers to, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19,20

And that can’t be done exclusively in church on Sunday. Our search for ultimate truth in Christ should be ongoing throughout the week; our witness consistent in word and deed at all times and places. But corporate, congregational meetings are valuable if not essential for encouragement, agreement on issues and goals through preaching and teaching and for pooling resources and manpower to more effectively accomplish those goals. The energy and excitement created through a shared worship experience going a long way in preparing us for the week ahead as well. Lone-wolf Christians, on the other hand, often accomplish little, having acquired only a limited understanding of their faith and tending to view others through their own personal perspective. WE NEED EACH OTHER! To help apply what we learn, to witness others successfully accomplishing what we are trying to do; even as we see others struggle with similar issues we find difficult. Independence often being grounded in arrogance and rebellion; expressed in questions like, ‘Who gave them the right to tell me what to do? They’re no smarter than I am.’ Leaving the ‘I can do it on my own Christian’, as well as the church, less effective and impactful.

Members of the early church are said to have, “…devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching…to…fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 Doing so, “On the first day of the week…” Acts 20:7 (See also 1 Corinthians 16:2) John describing Sunday as,”…the Lord’s Day…” Revelation 1:10

Check back next week for more on the importance of observing the Lord’s Day and what that can do for us as followers of the Way.

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Biography Information:

Fred Price - married (49 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.

Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker.  He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today.  Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.  

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