Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Lord's Day

This is the last post in a series on the Sabbath. As we have seen before the Sabbath day was for the people of Israel under the Mosaic covenant as a sign of that covenant. It pointed them back to the creation rest and redemption from slavery in Egypt. The Sabbath was a type and shadow that pointed them forward to the spiritual rest and liberty in Christ. We have seen from Colossians 2:16,17 that we are not required to keep the Sabbath. So in this post we will look at the Lord's day. Is there any connection between it and the Sabbath? Is the Sunday our new day of rest? I will answer these questions as best as I can from scripture. If you disagree that is fine, just make sure you back up your conviction with scripture, not tradition.

 The basis for worship on the first day of the week comes from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first day of the week is when Christ rose from the dead. Salvation was completed. Death was defeated. Our Savior is alive. Oh! There have been few days so filled with joy as that day. The apostles went from the deepest depths of despair to an incredulous joy. The resurrection is the pillar of Christianity. For if Jesus did not rise, then our faith is vain. His resurrection ushered in a new era. To celebrate a finished salvation, Christians started to meet on the first day of the week to worship.

The first reference to meeting on the first day of the week is found in Acts 20:7. "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day....." Here we read of believers gathering together on the first day of the week to take communion and to hear the preaching of God's word. The next time we read of the first day of the week is found in 1 Corinthians 16:1,2. "Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up,....." This verses teaches that it was Paul's frequent instruction to churches that each Sunday, they collect an offering for other needy believers. This also implies that every first day of the week believers were gathering together for worship. One part of that worship was giving financially. The last reference to the first day of the week or Sunday is found in Revelation 1:10. There we find that on the Lord's day, John saw a vision of Jesus Christ. The Lord's day is a reference to the first day of the week. It seems likely that John was worshiping on the first day of the week as was the pattern of the church, even while he was alone on the island of Patmos. These verses are the only references in the New Testament to believers gathering together to worship on the first day of the week. This pattern of worshiping on the first day of the week continues on through the early church and through out church history.

Now I think we can agree that the first day of the week is a day of worship, joy, and fellowship. But is it a day of rest? Did the Sabbath day become the Sunday? If it did, what proof do we have? Nothing I have found in the New Testament has made a link with the Sabbath and the Sunday in regard to resting. Now the Sabbath was a day when the Jews would worship in the synagogues. The synagogues were meeting places where the Jews came together to be taught God's word. These came into being during the exile. Now on this point of worship, there is a connection between the Sabbath and the Sunday. But as to the Sunday being a day of rest that replaces the Sabbath; nothing is said. If the Sunday was a replacement, then where is that clearly laid out? The Sabbath had clear rules on what couldn't be done and how to punish Sabbath breakers. Are those laws still in force or are they changed? The Sunday is not a day of rest like the Sabbath is, rather it is a day to rejoice in the rest we have in Christ together with God's people.

Do we have no day of rest? I believe that there is a principle in the Sabbath that should be applied to our lives. We need to rest physically. We can't continue working until we drop. Our bodies and minds need time to rest and relax. Jesus understood this and tried to give His disciples a time for rest. We would be wise to take time to rest; to take a day off from work. Sunday is one of the best days to do that. It a normal day off for most people and if we are to worship on Sunday, we need to take time away from our work to do that. Thus we don't have a day of rest or rules laid down for us to follow for resting, we have a principle we can apply to our lives. If you can, rest on Sunday. If you can't, find another time to rest on. Just let us remember the command to "not neglecting to meet  together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrew 10:25

Lastly, if you disagree with all that I have written concerning the Sabbath and Sunday, that is all right, provided you are fully convinced from God's word about your position. You have freedom in this matter and I will respect that freedom. But also allow me my freedom in this matter as well.
 Romans 14:5-6 says, "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord.."


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