Exodus 20: 8 -10
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  “Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The sons of Israel stayed in Egypt for about 400 years, and at a later stage they became slaves there doing difficult and dangerous jobs.
When they cried out to God, He remembered His promise that He made with their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God called Moses to bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt.
But the Pharaoh didn’t want to send the Israelites away, and the Ten Plagues came upon the land of Egypt.
But there was no plague in Goshen, where the Israelites were living.
Exodus 8:22 says, “But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land.”
God set apart and protected the land where the sons of Israel were living.
How thankful they must have been for being selected and set apart as God’s people?
Also, how moved they must have been for God’s mighty power! Even today, God sets apart and protects His children in spiritual Goshen.
Just as He kept the sons of Israel from the Ten Plagues in Egypt, He guards His children from all kinds of troubles of the world.
But there is a condition. God’s children must stay within Goshen.
To stay in Goshen spiritually means to stay in the word of God. God tells us to keep the Sabbath holy.
From this session, I will explain to you the ways to keep the Sabbath holy.
I hope you will keep the Sabbath holy in obedience to the word, so that you will be distinguished as God’s children, be guarded, and receive abundant blessings.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be set apart from this world that belongs to the devil and receive the protection and blessings of God so that you will be filled with thanks.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to keep the Sabbath holy, how do we have to keep it?
First, we must not do any worldly work.
The Sabbath is the day for us to come to the church, attend worship service, have fellowship with the believers, and enjoy spiritual rest.
Today’s passage Exodus 20:8-10 says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.”
Here, work refers to the work of this wolrd that has no relation with God. It refers to all personal things that we do for our benefit, such as doing laborious work to earn money.
Of course, we have to do our job faithfully for 6 days, and God says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.”
The head of the household has to take care of his family, and the housewife has to look after the house work. Students have to study hard.
But on the Lord’s Day, we have to rest as heavenly citizens and God’s children, rather than involving ourselves in worldly activities.
But today’s passage says that not only ‘you’ but also ‘your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you’ must not work.
The spiritual meaning of this is that you have to rest, and not only you but you have to put to rest everything that is under your control.
Namely, on the Sabbath, you should rest from all works so that your mind will not be busy thinking of the worldly things, and you will be able to dwell in God only.
But is there anybody who thinks, “I have to earn money and how can just take the whole day off? It will cause so much loss!”?
But it is not so.
God protects our fields of business and workplaces when we keep the Sabbath holy according to His word.
Even though we work only for 6 days, He gives us as much as we can earn for 7 days, or even more than that. We can see that God let the sons of Israel experience this very clearly.
During the Exodus, they were in the wilderness, and it wasn’t easy for them to get food.
When the people complained, God gave them manna everyday for 6 days, except on the Sabbath.
God didn’t give them manna on the Sabbath to let them keep the Sabbath. Instead, He let them gather two days worth of manna on the previous day.
Actually, if they left any manna until the next day, it would breed worms and become foul. But surprisingly, when they gathered manna on the day before the Sabbath, it would neither breed worms nor become foul until the Sabbath.
Nevertheless, some people did not obey but went out to gather manna on the Sabbath, too. Of course, they couldn’t get anything.
God let them understand that He was the one who could give them their daily bread.
Furthermore, He let them realize that He could give them what they could eat for 7 days even though they gathered food only for six days except on the Sabbath.
This principle is the same today. God gives us what we need in abundance if we keep the Sabbath according to the word of God.
But if we violate the Sabbath by working, not being able to rely on God, then we cannot receive the protection and blessings of God.
So, our income will decrease and we will also have losses because of unexpected diseases, accidents, and disasters.
Even though we work on the Sabbath, the result is that we don’t really get any more income, just like those sons of Israel who went out to gather manna on the Sabbath day.
Many church members give their testimonies of receiving protection and blessings by keeping the Sabbath. For example, there were some testimonies as follows from those who were running shops.
When they began to close the shop on Sundays with faith and attend church, they could earn in six days as much as they used to earn for 7 days before.
They were giving these testimonies with happiness saying their income was increasing since they began to keep the Sabbath.
Also, some people said they worked on the Lord’s Day and earned some money, but because of some unexpected things they lost exactly the amount they earned that day.
If you are not protected by God and lose what you have just earned, your work was meaningless.
Furthermore, you cannot receive the blessings of God, so it is a great loss. I hope you will keep the Sabbath holy and not miss any of the God-given blessings.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, nowadays, the faith of most of you members has grown up and you keep the Lord’s Day holy.
On Sundays you don’t work in the world and you come to the church, attend worship services, and do your God-given duties.
But sometimes, even though you have faith, and even though you want to keep the Lord’s Day holy, you may have to work on Sundays due to inevitable reasons.
Let me explain to you about these exceptional cases. This world is quite different from the world of the Old Testament. During the Old Testament times, all the people of Israel kept the Sabbath.
Because everyone kept the Sabbath, it wasn’t difficult for them to keep the Sabbath.
But the situation is very different today. We live with worldly people who do not believe in God.
Neither are we living in a Christian country where every citizen has to keep the Sabbath by law of the country.
Also, in old days, most people were farmers, fishers, or raising cattle, but there are so many different kinds of jobs today.
And thus, the form of keeping the Sabbath may be different from before.
Of course, the word of God itself, which commands us to not do keep the Sabbath holy, does not change at all.
Of course, even in these days we have to keep the Sabbath holy according ot the word of God.
But what God considers more important is the innermost heart of men.
The formalities of keeping the Lord’s Day are important, but the more important thing is the kind of heart with which we keep it.
If we understand the meaning of God’s commanding us to keep the Sabbath holy and follow His will, God will accept our heart.
Even if we may have to work because of various circumstances, God will not say we have violated the Sabbath if we have the heart to keep it holy.
Also, He applies different standards for people in different measures of faith.
For example, new believers who have weak faith do not have the faith to control their circumstances yet.
So, they cannot keep the Sabbath completely and properly. If we force them to keep the Sabbath at this stage, they may lose their strength and even leave the church.
This is not the will of God who considers one soul more precious than the whole world.
We have to guide them to do their best within the measures of their faith until their faith grows up enough. Also, even for those who have good faith, there are some situations in which they cannot help but work.
Let me explain how they can keep the Sabbath in these cases.
First case is those who work for the life and security of the public. They are soldiers, police officers, or medical doctors.
Suppose soldiers and police officers do not work but just spend the whole Sunday in the church because they have to keep the Sabbath. Then, what will happen?
The national security will be in danger and the social order will be destroyed. Furthermore, they are bound by the country, and they have many restrictions for them to keep the Lord’s Day completely.
It’s the same with medical doctors and nurses and other medical personnel.
If they close the hospital on Sundays, how can the patients in the hospitals be treated?
It would be a big problem if there is an emergency patient. Thus, even if they work on Sundays, God does not say they sinned.
But these people must attend Sunday service. Whether before the work or after the work, they must attend a worship service, and if possible, it’s the best to keep the Lord’s Day completely.
For example, some church members in the above fields work on other holidays, changing the shifts with other workers, to keep the Lord’s Day completely.
Second, those who work in the distribution and restaurant industries have to work on Sundays, too. In our church, we have Light and Salt Mission for these businesses.
As the world is changing, most shops open on Sundays, too.
Thus, more and more people have to work on Sundays. The Light and Salt Mission and Restaurant Mission members work in the department stores or in restaurants on Sundays. So, they gather after work and attend worship service.
If we ask those people to keep the Sabbath completely from the beginning, we cannot evangelize them.
It’s same as telling them to stop earning their living. So, at first, they are allowed to attend the Sunday service at night after their work is over.
First, we guide them to grow their faith through the word preached.
Then, when their faith grows up, some of them voluntarily move to another kind of job where they can keep the Lord’s Day completely.
But the members of Light and Salt mission have the faith to keep the Lord’s Day completely. But many of them choose to say in the Light and Salt mission to save more souls in those industries.
Like the name of the group suggests, they want to remain in those businesses to become the light and salt of the world and save those people who are working in the same field.
God does not say they are violating the truth.
Here are some other cases. Sometimes, even the owners, not just employees, of some shops have to open their shops on Sundays.
It’s because they have to follow the rules of the department stores in which they are located or the company to which they belong.
Then, what can they do in these cases? They can hire unbelievers to open the shop on Sundays.
Unbelievers, even when they do not work on Sundays, will anyway spend their personal time in the world on, not attending church.
It it not really a violation of the will of God to hire these unbelievers and let them work.
Some of these shop owners give to God the whole income they get on Sundays. It’s because they are not opening the shop on Sundays for desire for money.
But if you are caught up with the matters of the shop and cannot worship in spirit and truth, you have to pray about it, to bring down some sort of God’s work on you.
If you pray with true faith, the almighty God can change your circumstances.
Third, not only shop owners, but just company employees sometimes have to work on Sundays.
They have to go on a business trip having a Sunday in the middle, or they have to go on some training. If they do not follow the policy of the company, it won’t really be edifying.
Then, they can come back after their work and attend the service at a later time, or they can attend the service on the Internet or through satellite TV.
Fourth, there are also important national exams taking place on Sundays. You cannot get a certain qualification without passing the exam, and this way you cannot achieve your goal.
This happens because this country is not a Christian country.
In these cases, it is OK for you to take the exam and attend the service at your best, unless you have the desire to violate the Sabbath.
Other than these, there are so many other situations and circumstances. God considers so many different situations of different people because He wants everyone to receive salvation.
He is enlarging the boundary as much as possible within His justice, so that the most numbers of people can come into that boundary of salvation.
Therefore, the most important thing in all these situations is the heart of each person.
You may have to work on Sundays due to inevitable reasons, but you should have the heart to offer the day in a godly manner, being careful about each word and each action of yours.
Also, you should have the desire and longing to keep the Sabbath holy and completely. If you really long for it, your heart will be in the sanctuary, even though your body may be at some place else.
If you cannot attend the worship service for some reason, you will feel very sorry about it.
You will also wait for the sermon cassette tape to be made quickly, not wanting to miss any of ther messages.
I believe that none of you will misunderstand the word violate the Sabbath, following your own desires and thinking you can keep the Sabbath in a way you want.
You may give excuses that you really wanted to keep the Sabbath, but if it is not acknowledged by God, it means you have violated the Sabbath.
I hope you will keep in mind once again that violating the Sabbath will jeopardize the status of salvation and not let this kind of thing happen.
Then, what is the reason that God is giving us more room in keeping the Lord’s Day holy today?
It doesn’t mean we can just adapt to the situation in which we cannot keep the Lord’s Day.
It is the love of God who waits for us and endures with us until our faith grows up to be more perfect.
I hope you will understand this will of God and keep the Lord’s Day holy.
I will continue to explain the ways to keep the Sabbath in the next session, too.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to rest is to relax and be at comfort.
God commanded us to keep the Sabbath holy staying in the sanctuary, not doing worldly work, is to give us true rest.
How many burdens do the people carry in the world just for a week? They have so many worries and burdens of making money, their children, and their health, and so on.
Jesus said to these people, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
If we fill ourselves with the word of God the spiritual bread, give praises and prayers, have fellowship with believers, and do the voluntary works, our spirit will be filled with new strength and the Holy Spirit.
We will also be filled with the hope of heaven and enjoy freedom in the truth to the extent that we recover the image of God in us through the Lord’s Days.
To keep the Sabbath completely is to rest at comfort in the Lord, understanding the great love of God who gives us only good things.
Those who understand who sweet this rest is will wait for the Lord’s Day while they are in the world for six days.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy with this kind of longing heart and enjoy the true rest.