Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy

Nick Bibile

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  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 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:  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

God Takes the Fourth Commandment very Seriously.
Ex 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death:
Ex 31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
Ex 35:2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

We see the downfall of Israel after the reign of  Solomon as the kingdom was divided in to two, Judah and Israel. The two kingdoms fought with each other for about sixty years.  Shechem was the first capital of this kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 12:25), afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the capital (16:24), and continued to be so till the destruction of the kingdom by the Assyrians. (2 Kings 17:5-6) Then after a duration of two hundred and fifty-three years the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end. They were scattered throughout the East.

But the kingdom of Judah although there were evil kings, there were some good kings who reigned. Judah held its ground against Assyria for yet one hundred and twenty-three years. Jeremiah greatly assisted Josiah in his work of reformation (2 Kings 23:1-25). After the death of Josiah we see the downfall of Judah too in the book of Jeremiah, he was a weeping prophet calling Judah to repent. They have violated the Sabbaths, and false prophets were promising prosperity while Jeremiah preaching of the judgment that was coming. They ignored Jeremiah. But just like Jeremiah said, Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city (Jer. 37:4, 5), B.C. 589. Judah itself was carried off to Babylon. Then in the book of Lamentation we see Jeremiah the prophet mourns over the desolations brought on the city and the holy land by Babylonians. It is written more like a national funeral the capture and the destruction of Jerusalem. "The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity." (La 1:18)  "The Lord was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.  And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest." (Lam 2:5-6) The Israelites were taken as captives to Babylon for 70 yrs as they violated the Sabbath day commandments. We are living in the days of Jeremiah as there is a great falling away of the church, people are looking for churches where they want to be comfortable like the days of Jeremiah, there is no true repentance preached, and as a result the churches are packed with worldly people who have violated the sabbath day.

Why only Sabbath Day we need to focus on God? What about the rest of the days?
It is true, as we note, that we ought to be focusing on God, and that we ought to strive for the heavenly life, leaving behind all our worldly concerns. But we are living in a sinful world, God knows that we are surrounded by the things of our earthly nature, that we are struggling daily with all kinds of problems and temptations in this earth, and we are weak in the flesh as we are aware that we cannot live a perfect life of holiness as long as we live on this earth. We work daily and at work we concentrate on the duties of our work and we cannot focus on the Lord, and we are unable to fulfill our duties to the Lord all the time. God seeing our lack of discipline and weaknesses as releases us from a heavy strictness by saying that he is satisfied with our giving him one day. He has given us six days, in these six days we do not live like the devil, we strive our to be the lights to the world, where ever we are but we cannot fully give to the Lord as we are occupied with work, family, household things, education and other activities in life.  God knowing that given us a one whole day to serve and worship him.

The first thing in remembering the Sabbath Day is to attend Church every Sunday. By attending church every Sunday you are separating from the worldly activities and concentrating in worshipping the Lord. It is a time for brothers and sisters in Christ to join together and to be one in spirit.

We need to have one church where we should attend, not church hopping. You need to have home church, that you will know the pastor personally, can call your brothers and sisters for prayer, for edification. A Place that you will grow spiritually, a place that you can get involved in serving the Lord, a place where you can approach the pastor and dine with him, a place where you can call a family.

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article XXVIII
"We believe, since this holy congregation is an assembly of those who are saved, and outside of it there is no salvation, that no person of whatsoever state or condition he may be, ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself; but that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with it; maintaining the unity of the Church; submitting themselves to the doctrine and discipline thereof; bowing their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ; and as mutual members of the same body, serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents God has given them. And that this may be the more effectually observed, it is the duty of all believers, according to the Word of God, to separate themselves from all those who do not belong to the Church, and to join themselves to this congregation, whosesoever God has established it, even though the magistrates and edicts of princes were against it, yea, though they should suffer death or any other corporal punishment. Therefore all those who separate themselves from the same or do not join themselves to it act contrary to the ordinance of God."
The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 38
Q103:  What does God require in the fourth Commandment?
 A103:  In the first place, God wills that the ministry of the Gospel and schools be maintained, [1] and that I, especially on the day of rest, diligently attend church [2] to learn the Word of God, [3] to use the holy sacraments, [4] to call publicly upon the Lord, [5] and to give Christian alms. [6] In the second place, that all the days of my life I rest from my evil works, allow the Lord to work in me by His Spirit, and thus begin in this life the everlasting sabbath. [7]

Ps 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee.

Heb 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.

Failing to acknowledge the Lord's Day.

Working on the Sabbath Day.
There are many who take Sunday as just like another day and violate the fourth commandment. They have failed to acknowledge the Sabbath day. There are many who will work on the Sabbath day. If your profession is in a Restaurant, grocery store, shopping mall, security work, hospital, airport or any kind of business, there is a problem of attending the Lord's day, you can attend only if that day is off. Many will compromise and say God understands that I cannot attend church as I am working on Sunday. Can you violate the fourth commandment on the account of money and your job?  Before I was a Christian my line of work was in the hotel industry, I worked Sundays when I was a non Christian and also when I was an Arminian, but praise the Lord that God gave me the ability to change my line of work so I do not have to work on a Sunday.  I will never forget when Tony was out of work for a while, then later he found a job and his boss said, that he will have to work on Sunday. Tony refused in obedience to the Lord.  He needs the money to take care of his mom but he trusted in the Lord, as he is the one who is in control of the universe. God gave Tony the job and he delight on serving the Lord on Sundays.

We are to keep the Lord's Day holy; means separate from worldly activities but unto the Lord. But there are so many who will have pleasure on the Lord's Day. It is a day of joy to the world. A day of delight.

Doing business on the Sabbath Day
The Sabbath day is used as a market day.  The business people, storeowners, fruit sellers, people who sell anything on this day are violating the fourth Commandment.

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. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 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? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? Yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath (Nehemiah 13:15-18)

Worldly Pleasure on the Sabbath Day.
Isa 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure,

The phrase, "turn your foot," is a way of saying, "change your habit" or "change your direction." In this case, God means, "If because of the sabbath, you change your habit of doing your own pleasure on My holy day...",

How many wait for the week-end, as there is no difference between Saturday and Sunday, Sunday is reserved to just relax and watch the sports, basket ball, foot ball, tennis and other sports events. Go to amusement parks, on the Lord's Day, yes, enjoying in Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and Magic Mountain.  Going to the movies, on Sundays rent movies and watch with the family and not keeping the Lord's Day holy with the family. Enjoy going shopping in malls, playing indoor games like cards, and other kinds of games, this is not being honorable to the Lord but bringing dishonor to the Lord.  Yes, this is finding time for your own pleasure. Delighting in the lusts of the flesh. Finding true delight is in the word of God.    Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. The early Christians were excited on the Lord's Day and today I hear some say, what lousy weather we are having this Sunday.

There are some who are engaged in gossip and foolish talk enjoying their foods. I have seen in churches where the man and woman, kind of loose in their behavior in front of the other members of the church. Then there are others who spend the Sabbath day in idleness, in a lazy slothful manner sleeping major part of the morning. The "rest" that we are to seek on the Sabbath is not sleep or idleness. In the case of Sabbath keeping, to "rest" means that we temporarily cease our normal work then to give our attention to another matter, specifically, the worship of God and serve our God.  There are some who sleep in the church during the time of service as they have a big breakfast and come to church sit on the chair and then the enemy comes and put them to sleep, and there are some who are seated in the church but will not look to the preacher during the sermon as they are studying on their own the Bible, these are the arrogant people who think they know better than the preacher. Then there are some who will be looking at the Pastor, listening but their minds are not present, the minds are somewhere else. But only if you are having pleasure in your flesh, watching football game, basket ball game or a movie your mind is totally focused and glued to the TV set. But God said, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." (Ex 20:8)  We need to prepare our hearts for the day of Sabbath. We can be at present on the Sabbath Day but if our minds and our hearts are not there, then what good is it. "Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting." (Isa 1:13) There are some who will find any kind of excuse for not to come to church. Because other things comes first for them. They will say, I have schoolwork, doing the household work, laundry; do not feel good, but the rest of the days even if they do not feel good, they go to work for the money. The devil will do anything for you not to hear the word of God, as the Bible says; "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph 6:12)
J.C. Ryle said, " How many make the Lord's Day a day for giving dinner parties -- a day for looking over their accounts and making up their books -- a day for going unnecessary journeys and quietly transacting worldly business -- a day for reading newspapers or novels -- a day for talking politics and idle gossip -- a day, in short, for anything rather than the things of God."
Matthew Henry said, "On sabbath days we must not follow our callings, or our pleasures. In all we say and do, we must put a difference between this day and other days. Even in Old Testament times the sabbath was called the Lord's day, and is fitly called so still; and for a further reason, it is the Lord Christ's day, Re 1:10. If we thus remember the sabbath day to keep it holy, we shall have the comfort and profit of it, and have reason to say, it is good to draw near to God."
Observing the Sabbath Day.

The first thing we see is the word  "remember," which is the Hebrew term zakar . This word is used approximately two hundred times in the Old Testament and is translated as "bring to mind, be mindful, consider" So God wants us not to forget but to keep in mind how important it is to observe the fourth commandment. We main object is to focus on the Lord, to keep the day holy. This is a day to glorify God. It is not a day of burden but rather a day of delight and to rejoice in him. We cannot serve God properly unless we put to death our carnalities and dedicate ourselves fully to God so as to be separate from the world.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20) Our sins were washed away from the blood of our savior.  God purchased us in order to put to death our thoughts and passions, so that God might live in us by the power of his Holy Spirit.

Religious Duties.
The Pastors work is done on the Sabbath Day. It is the day that he will preach and teach his congregation. He had prepared his sermons with much labor and prayers and this is a special day that he can feed the word of God, to the flock for their growth. The sermon you heard let it be converted to prayer and meditate on the day of Sabbath. Search the scriptures on your own, read good religious books, what you learn on your own will not be forgotten as more time you put into the word of God, the more you will retain. It is a day that we can go out witnessing. Passing out tracks, preaching the gospel, planting the seed, encouraging one another, advise another, correct another and pray for another. If you happen to go home early, observe the Sabbath day at home. "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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou." (De 5:14) It is given for the family. It is a day of family worship.

Works of Mercy
Mt 12:10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
 Mt 12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
 Mt 12:12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

The Sabbath was made for man, and it was made to glorify God and worship him and also to be a light to the world, on the Sabbath day we can show the world of our Christianity, it is to do good by clothing the poor and to feeding the hungry, to visiting who are in prison and to praying for the sick. The great healing day now is the sabbath.

Then there are absolute necessities, like if a fire breaks out, or some one falls into a well or an emergency or you are very sick then it is understandable that you cannot attend the Lord's day.
Heb 4:9-11 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The same gospel substance was preached under both Testaments. There have been in all ages many unprofitable hearers; as there are no fruits in their life we see it is really due to unbelief of the word of God. There is no life change by hearing the word. It is a partial hearing and wavering in faith. We seen this happened to the Israelites in the wilderness as they failed in their obedience to the Lord and they did not enter the land of rest except Joshua and Caleb. God in his creation finished his work, and then rested from it, so he will cause those who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy their rest. It is evident, that there is a more spiritual and excellent sabbath remaining for the people of God, than that of the seventh day, or that into which Joshua led the Jews. This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness. At the end of our faith, end of our weary rough journey on this earth, there is a heavenly rest that remains for the people of God where we can rest in glory. This is not an earthly rest but a heavenly rest. But those who do not believe shall never enter into this spiritual rest, either of grace here or glory hereafter. God has always declared man's rest to be in him, and his love to be the only real happiness of the soul; and faith in his promises, through his Son, to be the only way of entering that rest. Yes, there is an eternal rest for us from this journey on earth as for now we are pilgrims taking the narrow road with many temptations and hardships around us, but let us focus our mind on heavenly things as that's where we are heading.
Re 21:1-4 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away