Speaking the Truth in Love
Is the Sabbath Binding Today?
Intro. A. Of the ten commandments given in Ex. 20:1-17 and Deut. 5:1-21, there is one that is not re-instated in the New Testament. 1. There is no command in the New Testament which binds the Sabbath on Christians. B. There are a number of religious bodies around the world that insist that the Sabbath as the day of Worship. 1. In this lesson, we will examine some of the arguments made by those who keep the Sabbath. 2. In our next lesson, we will seek to ascertain from the New Testament which day is binding on Christians. I. SOME CLAIM THAT THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK WAS INSTITUTED BY THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND NOT THE NEW TESTAMENT OF CHRIST. A. "The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the Law enacted by Constantine, approximately 321 A.D." B. "It was in behalf of the Sunday that the Papacy first asserted its arrogant claims; and its first resort to the power of the state was to compel the observance of Sunday as the Lord's Day." C. "When the Sabbath was changed by papal power, the seal was taken from the Law." 1. All the above references can be found in The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White. D. It is thus asserted that the transformation from the Sabbath (Saturday) to the first day of the week (Sunday) was due to the Roman Catholic Papacy and not according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 1. This is a position the Catholic Church readily accepts because it boasts its claim of authority. 2. In the Catholic book, The Faith of Our Fathers, by James Cardinal Gibbons, on pages 72-73, Mr. Gibbons says, "Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice." a. He gives the example of the Lord's day as one of those examples. He continued, "But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify." b. The N.T. Scriptures enforce "the first day of the week" as the day of worship. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2 (1) This should settle the matter once and for all. II. THEY CLAIM THAT GOD'S SANCTIFICATION OF THE SEVENTH DAY MAKES IT BINDING FOR ALL MEN. A. Those who observe the Sabbath claim that God's sanctification of the seventh day in Gen. 2:1-3 is a command for all men of all ages to observe the Sabbath. 1. The problem with this key passage is that there is no command to observe the Sabbath. 2. The command regarding the Sabbath is first found in Exodus 16:23-30 and given regarding the manna. a. It should be noted that this occurrence was given as a test to see if they would walk in the commandments of the Lord. Ex. 16:4 3. Note that the conditions of the Sabbath law were not binding as of yet, because some went out to gather on the seventh day and were not punished. Ex. 16:27-28 4. Later, after the Sabbath law was given, a man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath was stoned to death. Num. 15:32-36 III. IT IS ARGUED FROM THE PASSAGE FOUND IN EXODUS 5:5 THAT THE ISRAELITES WHERE OBSERVING THE SABBATH BEFORE THE EXODUS. A. Once again, this is only an assumption. The word Sabbath is not found in this verse. 1. Neh. 9:13-14 - Why would God need to make known to them something they already knew and practiced? 2. Clearly, they did not know anything about Sabbath keeping until the Law was given on Mount Sinai. IV. IT IS ARGUED FROM EXODUS 20:8 THAT THE WORD "REMEMBER" SHOWS THEY ALREADY KNEW ABOUT IT; THEREFORE, IT'S BINDING ON ALL MEN TODAY. A. The command to "remember the Sabbath day" means from that day forward they were to remember it. 1. God commanded the children of Israel to "remember" the Passover feast even though this was the first time they had heard of it. Ex. 13:3 2. From that day forward, they were to remember it. B. The obvious fact that is overlooked here is the ones to whom the Sabbath command is directed. 1. Exodus 20:2; Deut. 5:2-3 - Clearly, it is directed to the Israelites. 2. The Old Testament covenant was made with Israel. Exodus 34:27; Mal. 4:4 3. The New covenant is different from the one made with Israel. Heb. 8:6-9 C. It is true that God made a comparison to His resting after creation. Ex. 20:10-11 1. However, the parallel account in Deuteronomy adds some very important information. Deut. 5:12-15 a. Please notice: "...Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day." Deut. 5:15 b. They were once slaves in Egypt without a day of rest. c. They were delivered by the mighty hand of God, and the Sabbath was given to remind them of this deliverance. D. Also, the Sabbath was given as a "sign" between God and Israel throughout their generations. Ex. 31:12-17; Ezek. 20:12 E. Some of those who observe the Sabbath want to make an argument on the words "perpetual" and "forever." 1. However, this is not the same expression "forever and ever" that is found in other passages, but it means "age lasting, or until an indefinite period of time." 2. The words "perpetual" and "for ever" are from the same word in the original. 3. Jehovah Witnesses use this same word, as found in Eccl. 1:4, to try to prove that the earth is to abide forever. 4. Notice how the word "for ever" is used in the following: a. Ex. 12:14 - "Keep it (Passover) a feast by an ordinance for ever" b. Ex. 29:9 - "Priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute" c. Lev. 24:9 - "Offerings...made by fire by a perpetual statute" d. Num. 18:19 - "It is a covenant of salt for ever" e. 2 Kings 21:7 - "In this house...will put my name for ever" f. 2 Chron. 2:4 - "He hath commanded his covenant for ever" g. 2 Chron. 33:4 - "In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever" h. Jonah 2:6 - "Earth with her bars was about me for ever" V. WHEN SHOWN THAT THE LAW OF MOSES IS NO LONGER BINDING, THOSE WHO KEEP THE SABBATH ARGUE: "THE 'CEREMONIAL LAW' WAS TAKEN AWAY BUT NOT THE 'MORAL LAW.'" A. Thus, according to them, the ceremonial law, which included such things as animal sacrifice and the burning of incense, was done away; but, the moral law, which included the ten commandments, was not done away. B. First, they cannot prove that there was any such distinction in the law. 1. Secondly, keeping the Sabbath appears to be a ceremonial law rather than a moral law. 2. Thirdly, please consider the following chart. (See chart below) Concl. A. We have shown that those who keep the Sabbath make weak arguments in order to establish their practice. B. Remember, in all the instructions to Christians there is not a single command for a Christian to keep the Sabbath; instead, we are instructed to not keep it. Col. 2:16 C. While the same sort of restrictions concerning the Sabbath are not repeated, e.g., no cooking, no work, etc., yet, there should be a certain reverence regarding the Lord's day. 1. Christians are forbidden to forsake the assembling of themselves together. Heb. 10:25. 2. We need to take care so that our work, rest, and recreation do not interfere with our worship on the Lord's Day. D. The Sabbath is gone forever, but there still remains a God to be praised and worshiped, and we need to make time in our busy schedules to faithfully worship Him on the Lord's day. Chart: They affirm: "The 'ceremonial law' was taken away but not the 'moral law.'" The ten commandments were called the covenant. Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13 God made His covenant with them when He brought them out of Egypt. 1 Kings 8:9 The covenant which was made when they came out of Egypt was taken away. Heb. 8:6-13 That which was written and engraved in stones is part of that which passed away. 2 Cor. 3:6-11 The ten commandments were written with the finger of God. Ex. 31:18; Deut. 9:10 The handwriting of ordinance was taken away. Col. 2:14 This, most definitely, includes the Sabbath as shown in Col. 2:16.
Intro. A. In our last study, we examined the arguments made by those who teach that the Sabbath is binding today. B. In this lesson we want to examine the New Testament to see what it teaches regarding the proper day of worship for Christians. C. John the apostle said that he was in the spirit "on the Lord's day." Rev. 1:10 1. What day is "the Lord's day" in the New Testament? Is it the Sabbath or is it the first day of the week? 2. Definitely, the first day of the week is the Lord's day and is the day of worship for Christians. I. THERE WERE MANY EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. A. As we know, Christ arose on the first day. 1. Notice how carefully the Holy Spirit shows us exactly which day on which the Lord arose. Matt. 28:1,6; Luke 23:56-24:1 B. Christ appeared to the Disciples on that first day when He arose, and on the following first day. 1. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9 2. On "that same day" He appeared to the two on the way to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-15 3. He appeared to the eleven on that same day; and then, one week later, He appeared to the twelve with Thomas present. John 20:26 4. Thus, these first two appearances to His disciples were on the first day. We do not know which day the third appearance by the Sea of Galilee was on. John 21:14 C. Pentecost came on the first day of the week. Lev. 23:15-16 1. Therefore, all the events that took place on that day were on the first day of the week. a. The Holy Spirit came in fulfillment of prophecy. b. The New Testament Law went into effect. c. The gospel, in its entirety, began to be preached. d. The church or kingdom had it beginning. II. THE SCRIPTURES PLAINLY SHOW WHEN THE DISCIPLES MET TO PARTAKE OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. Acts 20:7 A. This verse show us that the common practice of the early disciples was to meet on the first day of the week to partake of the Lord's Supper. 1. Even though Paul was "hurrying" on his journey (Acts 20:16), they stayed seven days (Acts 20:6-7) so that they could worship with the saints who met on the first day of the week. a. This week would have included a Sabbath, but there was no mention of it as a day of worship. B. The term "breaking of bread" can refer to both a common meal and to the Lord's Supper. The context determines which one is under consideration. 1. Here in Acts 20:7, we see that it is a worship service of the disciples of Christ. Thus, "breaking of bread" here refers to the Lord's Supper. a. See also 1 Cor. 10:16-17 where breaking of bread refers to the Lord's Supper. (1) It is also called "the Lord's table." 1 Cor. 10:21 2. Later in this same context of Acts 20:7, it mentions where only Paul (notice the "he") broke bread for the ordinary eating of food. a. Acts 2 also mentions, regarding "breaking of bread." both the Lord's supper and ordinary eating. Acts 2:42,46 C. As we know, Jesus commanded His disciples to eat the supper which He instituted. Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26 1. Consider 1 Cor. 11:20. Paul states the negative, but the positive was what they should have been doing as he goes on to show. a. Though 1 Cor. 11:20-34 does not mention the day, it shows they were partaking of the Lord's Supper on a regular basis. D. Some modern-speech translations use "Saturday night" in Acts 20:7 1. They are giving their own opinion as to what time they think it was, rather than what the Holy Spirit said. a. It is the duty of translators to give exactly what is said, and not a commentary on what they think it means. b. These people insist that Luke was using Jewish time (from sundown to sundown) and it could have been Saturday night here. (1) They are admitting that even in Jewish time, it could have been the next day; that is, the next day when the night was over. (2) However, their translation does not allow for this. 2. Luke, a Gentile, was writing to Theophilus, a Gentile, and speaks regarding a church in a Gentile city. a. He would have no reason to be using Jewish time here. He would simply use the Roman time they were under which was from midnight to midnight, the same as ours. (1) Luke did not say, "Now on the early part of the Sabbath, when the disciples came together to break bread..." III. GIVING WAS TO BE DONE ON THE FIRST DAY. 1 Cor. 16:2 A. This, again, shows that in that early age the Christians worshiped on the first day. B. Again, Paul did not say, "On the Sabbath, let each one of you lay by him in store." Concl. A. The New Testament reveals that the first day of the week is the Lord's day, the day of worship for Christians.