Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, April 27, 2003, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
THE DISTINCTION OF GOD’S PEOPLE: THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: Exodus 20:8-11
Text: Exodus 20:8
Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Introduction: One of the greatest sources of contention between the Lord Jesus Christ and the religious leaders on earth during the time of His earthly ministry was the subject of the sabbath day. Our Lord was falsely accused of violating the sabbath.
Today the subject of the sabbath is still a topic of religious controversy. The main argument is put forth by the cult, the Seventh Day Adventists, who find fault with Christians who assemble on Sunday, the first day of the week, rather than Saturday. Recently I have seen some copies of a new give-away book and some billboards, as well, that proclaim the old foolish Seventh Day Adventist teaching that Sunday worship will actually be the mark of the beast during the Tribulation period.
What does the Bible say about the sabbath? Is Sunday the sabbath? If so, when did it change from Saturday to Sunday?
I. THE SORTS OF SABBATHS
Leviticus 19:3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
Actually, there is more than one sabbath. There are sabbaths of:
- Leviticus 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
- Leviticus 23:15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
- Leviticus 23:24-25 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
- Leviticus 25:3-4 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
E. Weeks of years
- Leviticus 25:8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times even years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
II. THE START OF THE SABBATH
Genesis 2:2-3 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. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
A. Mentioned in Genesis
- It was MENTIONED in Genesis, but it was not GIVEN to anyone in Genesis. Remember that Genesis was written by Moses 2500 years AFTER Adam was created!
B. Missing from creation until Moses
- There was no commandment for sabbath keeping given to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or anyone else before Moses
C. Made known through Moses on Mount Sinai
- Nehemiah 9:13-14 Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: 14 And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:
- There is no evidence that anyone from Adam to Moses kept the sabbath or even KNEW about it!
III. THE STATUTES OF THE SABBATH
Exodus 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.
A. Abstain from work – Exodus 20:10
B. Acknowledge the work of God in creation – Exodus 20:11
IV. THE SIGN OF THE SABBATH
Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
A. The people of the sign – Israel
- Exodus 31:16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
B. The purpose of the sign
- To remind Israel that she was set apart as a nation for the Lord – similar to the sign of circumcision, but even more directly for Israel than circumcision.
- See Exodus 31:13b; Ezekiel 20:12
V. THE SAINTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AND THE SABBATH
1 Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight)
A. The saints witnessed on the sabbath
B. The saints worshipped on the first day of the week
- Jesus rose the first day of the week – Mark 16:9
- The saints brought tithes and offerings on the first day of the week – 1 Corinthians 16:2
- They had preaching on the first day of the week – Acts 20:7
C. The scriptures warned about those who would judge the saints about the sabbath
- Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Are Christians commanded to keep the sabbath? No!
Should Christians work on Sunday?
- Avoid because of testimony – 1 Thessalonians 5:22
- Avoid if it hinders church attendance – Hebrews 10:25
- I even avoid travel on Sunday if it hinders church attendance – Hebrews 10:25