13 Mar The 4th Commandment: Remember The Sabbath Day By Keeping It Holy
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Preacher Huijun - 12 March 2023
The 4th Commandment: Remember The Sabbath Day By Keeping It Holy
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<Exodus 20> 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Most controversial commandment of the Ten Words.
1) The 4th Commandment: A ‘moral’ law, or a ‘ceremonial’ law?
- Both moral and ceremonial aspects. [show this bullet pt together with the qn]
- Moral: The principle of resting one day per week to worship the Lord.
- Ceremonial: That it must be observed on the seventh day of the week.
2) Do we still need to observe the 4th commandment on the Sabbath?
- The Synod of Dort:
- “In the fourth Commandment of the divine law, part is ceremonial, part is moral. The rest of the seventh day after creation was ceremonial and its rigid observation peculiarly prescribed to the Jewish people. Moral in fact, because the fixed and enduring day of the worship of God is appointed, for as much rest as is necessary for the worship of God and holy meditation of him. With the Sabbath of the Jews having been abrogated, the Lord’s Day is solemnly sanctified by Christians. From the time of the Apostles this day was always observed in the ancient catholic Church. This same day is thus consecrated for divine worship, so that in it one might rest from all servile works (with these excepted, which are works of charity and pressing necessity) and from those recreations which impede the worship of God.”
- Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book II, Ch. 8:
- The number seven denoting perfection in Scripture, this (Fourth)commandment may, in that respect, denote the perpetuity of the Sabbath, and its completion at the last day.
- Taking a simpler view of the commandment, the number is of no consequence, provided we maintain the doctrine of a perpetual rest from all our works, and, at the same time, avoid a superstitious observance of days. The ceremonial part of the commandment abolished by the advent of Christ.
- “Therefore do not let anyone judge youby what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” <Col 2:16-17>
- “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.” <Ro 14:5-6a>
- Thus, the ceremonial part of the 4th Commandment was fulfilled in Christ, but the moral part of this Commandment still applies.
The moral principle of resting one day a week.
- “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy… Six days you shall…do all your work…but he restedon the seventh day”
1) Work and rest.
- God has established a work-rest principle since creation.
- “The Sabbath was made for man” <Mk 2:27>: Man needs rest.
- In <Amos 8:5>, God said He will not spare His people, for they were saying, “When will the New Moonbe over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”
- Can we be “working too much”?
- Ligon Duncan: The Sabbath was “designed to save us from ourselves”.
- Jesus invites anyone who is weary and burdened to go to Him to find rest <Mt 11:28>.
- If cannot use one day for the Lord, is it because have been misusing the other 6 days?
2) “Holy rest”: Remember Him, and be holy.
- Not the “indulge our flesh” kind of rest.
- Westminster Confession of faith:
- 21: This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employments and recreations;but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.
- To focus on putting our desires down for a day is useful training to help us die to the self.
- Neglect of the 4th commandment is often a sign of spiritual decline.
3) The 4th commandment also involves loving our neighbour.
- Isn’t giving one day of rest to one’s servants or working animals an act of love?
4) Ceasing human work can be a test of our faith in God.
- Can you trust God enough to stop to rest?
Which day to rest?
- With the Sabbath of the Jews having been abrogated, the Lord’s Day is solemnly sanctified by Christians. From the time of the Apostles this day was always observed in the ancient catholic Church. This same day is thus consecrated for divine worship, so that in it one might rest from all servile works (with these excepted, which are works of charity and pressing necessity) and from those recreations which impede the worship of God.” – The Synod of Dort
- “Sabbath of the Jews” is different from “the Lord’s Day”.
- Bible does not prescribe the worship of God on the first day of the week, but merely describes the early church practice of doing so.
- Yet, the apostles’ example of worshipping God on the first day of the week was noteworthy.
- Reformers also saw setting Sunday aside for worship as a good practice, due to human weakness.
- But why Sunday (first day of week)?
- <Heb 4> 8 For if Joshua had given them rest,God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
- A “better” and eternal rest found only in the finished work of Christ.
- Thus, the day to rest and worship God should center on the work of Christ.
- Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week <Mt 28:1; Mk 16:2; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1>.
- <Deut 5:15> Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
- Sabbath is linked to God’s rest after creation <Ex 20>, and God’s redemption <Deut 5>.
- OT sabbath celebrates God finishing His creation work, but the NT Lord’s Day celebrates the finished work of Christ which makes His believers a new creation.
- Christ offers us the “substance” much better than the “shadow”.
- The Lord’s Day is what the Sabbath pointed forward to—the better salvation rest that has now come in Christ.