Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One Day A Week!

Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”

When God created the world, He did it in six days and took one day off to rest. Why would an all-powerful, tireless, ever-working God need a day of rest? As a matter of fact, He didn’t. God wasn’t resting because He was tired, He was setting an example for the day old humans that He created. He was showing mankind how their time should be organized. Six days on - one day off - this was the manner of life God intended for His most precious creation.

Our years are governed by the earth’s revolution around the sun. Our months are governed by the cycles of the moon. Our days are governed by the rotation of the earth. But the seven-day week has no external contributing factors. It doesn’t fit evenly into our months or years. Simply put, there is absolutely no explanation for it outside of the Bible!

As a comical side-note, the French Revolutionary government tried to change the number of days in the week from seven to ten. This attempted change started in 1793 and only lasted for ten years. It was a hilarious attempt by radical atheists to remove any religious trace in society. It was a disaster! It seems that humanity has the seven-day week ingrained in our nature!

But the Sabbath was not simply intended to be a day off. God had much more in mind for this one day a week; this is obvious from His statement, “...the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” When you read through the law (the first five books of the Bible), you will see that it is always described as “holy.” Clearly God meant for it to be more than a day off. In fact, this was God’s standing appointment to gather His people together and meet with them.

Listen to what Leviticus 19:30 says, “Keep my Sabbath days of rest, and show reverence toward my sanctuary. I am the Lord.” Apparently, God wanted His people to be connected with His sanctuary - His place of meeting - on the Sabbath day. But this principle is stated even more clearly in Leviticus 23:3, “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live.” God’s plan was to meet with His people when they gathered together once a week.

Let’s be clear, God wants visit us at any time and in any place. There’s no limit to His relationship with you! So don’t think I’m limiting God to one day a week. But there is a set time when He wants His kids to gather together in His name. And from what we see in scripture, He wants this once a week.

You may say, “That’s in the Old Testament, we’re not bound to that anymore!” Well, that’s true - we aren’t bound to the Old Testament law. But would you agree with me that we need to follow Jesus’ own example? What did He do when He walked on this earth? Luke 4:16 shows us, “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” Did you see that? Jesus’ custom was to attend the synagogue (church) once a week!

So Jesus followed the Jewish custom of gathering in the synagogue on the last day of the week, the sabbath. But Jesus was soon to set up another custom for His church to follow. Mark 16:9 shows us the beginning of this custom, “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.” Later on, in the same day, Jesus appeared to His disciples as they were gathered together.

This began the church tradition of meeting on the first day of the week - Sunday, for us. Acts 20:7 shows us that the church continued in this habit long after Jesus went back to Heaven. “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread...” We know that the early church met together often, even daily - but they made a point to set aside the first day of a week as special.

This is the heart of the fourth command - to have a standing appointment with God and with His people. Of course we’re under grace now - but shouldn’t that motivate us to do more than what we’re commanded?

Why would any believer -saved by God’s grace, washed in Jesus’ own blood, redeemed from their old life - want to meet with God and His people less than they’re commanded? Listen to what Paul says in Hebrews 10:25 “...not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

God wants to meet with us. Not just with you and not just with me; He wants to meet with us! One thing that every believer needs to recognize is this: you aren’t the church, I’m not the church - We become the church when we meet together!

I don’t know about you, but personally, there is no where else I’d rather be than to be assembled with God’s people, seeking God’s face!

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