Exodus 20: 8 -11
“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. “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the third session in the sermon series ‘To Keep the Sabbath Holy’. Continuing from the last session, I will explain to you about how to keep the Sabbath holy.
I said that we must not do worldly work, but attend church services and worship God to keep the Sabbath holy.
It’s because Sabbath is the day to give glory to God and to take part in spiritual rest.
But as the world is changing, some people have worries and concerns because they must work on Sundays, too.
If we really want to keep the Lord’s Day in any situation, the God of love considers our heart and tries to open the way for us to keep the Sabbath.
If we try our best to worship God in our given circumstances and measure of faith, then God doesn’t say we violated the Sabbath.
But what God really wants is that we become grown up in faith to be able to control and rule over the given circumstances.
For example, in the case of Daniel and his three friends, they were exiles in another country, but they still kept the statutes of God.
They kept the commandments of God even about food.
Because they truly believed and loved God, those circumstances didn’t matter to them.
But today, the world has changed so much and people have different situations and different levels of faith. So, God of love acknowledges some exceptional cases.
Here, we have to remember one thing. This kind of justice can be applied only when we have the desire to never violate the Sabbath.
If we misunderstand this message and violate the Sabbath, it will rather be a curse.
The general Naaman was a Gentile, an Aramite, but he was healed of his leprosy because the attitude of his heart was acknowledged by God.
After he was healed by the power of God, before he went back to his country, he asked Elisha the following.
2 Kings 5:17-18 says, “If not, please let your servant at least be given two mules’ load of earth; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the LORD. In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.”
Naaman determined to serve the LORD God alone as he was healed of the leprosy.
His longing heart was so earnest that he took even the soil of Israel to use it when worshipping God.
But since he was a trusted man of the king of Aram, he had to go into the house of Rimmon, namely, a house of a gentile god.
At this time, the king would bow leaning on Naaman, and thus he had to bow together. He had a concern over this matter.
He wanted to be blameless before God even in a situation where it was not easy to keep God’s commandments. So, he asked for the mercy of God.
God healed Naaman because He knew that Naaman would serve Him with this kind of heart.
I hope you will also offer up this kind of beautiful aroma of heart no matter what kind of situation you are put into.
Then, God will open the way for you to keep the Lord’s Day holy according to your situations and faith; He will also lead you to keep it completely. Finally, He will let you reach the full measure of faith.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be guided to the complete blessing and love by the guidance of God.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to keep the Sabbath holy, secondly, we have to sanctify our body and heart.
The Lord’s Day is the day when we come before the LORD God and the Lord our bridegroom. God and the Lord Jesus are holy. And the Sabbath is set apart and sanctified.
Therefore, we can enjoy the blessings given on the Sabbath when we keep the Sabbath with sanctified body and heart.
Most of you church members already learned this and you come to church with sanctified body and heart.
The day before the Lord’s Day, on Saturday, you clean the house, wash the clothes, or take a bath or get a haircut to prepare for the Sabbath.
You will also prepare the clean clothes that you will wear on Sunday. If you clean your environment and your appearance, your mind will also be refreshed.
The Jews designate the day before the Sabbath as the ‘Day of Preparation’. Even when they are travelling to a distant place, they come back home on the day of preparation and keep the Sabbath.
We need to take after their attitude and heart in putting the Sabbath in the center of their lives.
If we look forward to the Sabbath, we will prepare for it. We will also prepare the offerings we will give to God.
Brothers and sisters, it is important to sanctify our environment and body, but more important thing is to sanctify the heart.
To do this, on the Sabbath we should not take part in worldly entertainment. I believe those of you who keep the Sabbath holy with faith do not enjoy watching TV programs on the Sabbath.
Or, you will not have a meeting to enjoy worldly entertainment such as to go see a sports game or a movie, or to go on a picnic.
The Lord’s Day is the day to break the bread of life, praise and pray to God, share the conversation with the believers, and enjoy the spiritual rest.
To keep our heart holy, it is important for us to control what we see and hear.
Therefore, it is most appropriate to spend the Lord’s Day in the sanctuary of God.
It is also best to make other environment as spiritual as possible.
Also, we should not to go to places where we can have contact with worldly entertainment, even though we don’t really enjoy it.
Some new believers with weak faith may think, “What fun is it to spend the whole day in the church on a day off without taking any sort of entertainment?”
But suppose we take worldly pleasures, then, can we have joy and rest?
We may have pleasure for the moment, and we may think we are taking a rest.
But, this is only momentary pleasure that disappears soon. It cannot solve the worries or problems of our lives.
You may become involved in worldly pleasure even to the extent that it destroys your own life.
But the joy of resting in the Lord is the true joy given by God.
Isaiah 58:13 says, “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word,”
If we keep the Lord’s Day holy, God gives us the joy that the world cannot give.
When we listen to the word of God on the Sabbath, and praise and pray to God, He solves the problems of our spirits.
He blesses our lives.
Our body and mind can enjoy true joy and rest only when God takes over the responsibility for our life, health, children, and work.
When we keep the Sabbath holy, we will have joy with increased hope of resurrection and hope for the heavenly kingdom.
I hope the new comers or new believers will also experience this joy.
In order to keep the Sabbath holy with a sanctified heart, we also have to keep our heart not to do anything evil.
“Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.”
Even though we may be attending worship service and other holy meetings, if we have quarrels or get angry it causes God sorrow.
Also, if you spend the Sabbath with a broken heart due to worries about the things of the world, then, God cannot accept your worship pleasingly.
Thus, we have to be joyful and thankful while we do the things that we should do on Sabbath.
Even though we are in difficult situations, we have to rejoice and give thanks with faith. How thankful and joyful we are just by the fact that we are saved!
Then, God can make the impossible possible and change the situations, too. Of course, a true Christian who is full of the Spirit should be full of joy and thanks every day.
I hope all of you will keep your body and mind sanctified in keeping the Sabbath and enjoy the joy and happiness of the heavenly kingdom.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the third point to keep the Sabbath holy is to offer the whole day completely.
Namely, we have to attend both Sunday morning and Sunday evening service. Some people just attend morning service and do their work or go out to get something to eat.
They don’t really have to open their shop, but they still open to earn more money, or they go to enjoy themselves.
This is just keeping the half of the Lord’s Day. We cannot say it is complete.
Even today, the Jews keep the Sabbath very strictly. Usually, they stay at home.
Even though they may be away from home during the week, they come back home on Friday to keep the Sabbath.
They keep the whole Sabbath from the sunset of Friday until the sunset of Saturday.
Then, since we know the true meaning of the Lord’s Day, how do you think we should keep it?
If we just attend morning service or just evening service and then work or enjoy ourselves, we are not keeping the whole day holy.
There may be someone who wonders if you can just do your work after the evening service is over.
Even if you attend both services, we cannot say you are offering the whole day to God unless you spend the rest of the day with a godly heart.
If you think about the work you are going to do or the entertainment you planned for after the service, then you may even doze off in the service.
Therefore, to keep the Lord’s Day completely holy, you have to attend both morning and evening service, and you have to worship in spirit and truth.
If you daydream or fall asleep during the worship service, it means you didn’t really worship God. We cannot really say you kept the Sabbath holy.
Suppose you fell asleep while somebody was talking to you. Would it not be considered terribly impolite? And, if you do this before the LORD God, it is very impolite.
It is such a pity if you do not worship in spirit and truth, for if you do otherwise you could have just stayed home taking a rest.
Once you are in the church obeying the word of God, you should receive all the blessings that are given on the Lord’s Day worshipping God whole-heartedly.
Then, here, let us think about proper attitudes in worshipping God.
First, to worship in spirit and truth, you shouldn’t be late. You should come at least 10 to 20 minutes before the service to prepare yourself with prayer.
Once the service starts, you have to attend all the proceedings attentively until it is over by the benediction or the Lord’s Prayer. You should not leave your seat in the middle of a service.
Of course, this is with the exception of having to do the voluntary work for the worship service.
Also, you should concentrate on the message without daydreaming or dozing off.
You should pray during the prayer time, and when you praise God, you have to give your heart in the lyrics of the praise.
You shouldn’t come before God empty-handed. You should prepare the offerings in advance and give it to God joyfully.
If you have neat appearance, you can offer to God a more beautiful aroma of worship.
For example, it is the etiquette before God to take off your hat during the service, with the exception of some people who for medical reasons have to put on something on their head.
Also, God will be more pleased if you wear clothes that are more like the kingdom of heaven and that please God more.
One thing you have to remember is that you have to think of the sanctuary of God very valuable. Leviticus 26:2 says, ‘You shall keep My sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the LORD.’
The sanctuary is a very holy place. In the Bible, we can see that the sons of Israel called the tabernacle, which is like the sanctuary today, the house of the LORD.
The sanctuary is the holy house of God. It is where He dwells.
Therefore, while you are in the sanctuary, you have to be careful about the slightest action or word. You shouldn’t do anything that is ungodly including talking about worldly things.
The parents should also teach their children so that they will not do play as outside the church or run uncontrolled about the sancturary.
Also, you should always keep the sanctuary clean. You church members here love the sanctuary and care for it very much. Many of you are cautious so that not even a hair or dirt should fall within the sanctuary.
Also, I believe you are no longer eating anything in the sanctuary. Of course, you may try to stop babies from crying by giving them something to eat.
But in other sanctuaries there shouldn’t be any eating, especially during the worship service. It is not right to drink or eat anything while worshipping God.
Please have food or beverages in the dining area to keep the sanctuary clean.
You should also care of the things and equipment that are in the sanctuary. Everything in the sanctuary is God’s. They are holy.
I hope you will care for the sanctuary more than you care for your own house.
Soon, we will go into Canaan Sanctuary. I urge you to set a good example so that anyone who sees the sanctuary will feel God and the kingdom of heaven from it.
Brothers and sisters, the master of our lives is our Lord, for He is the one who redeemed us from death and gave us eternal life.
Our life belongs to the Lord, and obviously our time, health, and money all belong to the Lord. Just like you determine to give whole tithe, why don’t you determine to give all your time, health, money, and everything to the Lord at least on the Lord’s Day?
Then, it is not difficult to keep the Sabbath holy.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have such a determination and offer to God the Lord’s Day completely and receive complete blessings.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Sunday morning service, we have a time to look back on the past week and repent of our wrongdoings.
Sometimes, you may not keep your heart and do something untruthful in the world while you are living in the world for six days.
Nevertheless, if you confess your sins before God and repent of it, He will cleanse you with the blood of the Lord.
He will reaffirm that you have nothing do with the devil the ruler of this world and set you apart as citizens of heaven and God’s children.
He protects you in the bosom of the Lord from the disturbing works of the enemy devil.
Also, the Sunday morning service is over with the benediction. By keeping the Sabbath holy and receiving this benediction, you can live in protection and blessing of God during that week.
Likewise, the Sabbath is the day when we are refreshed in spirit and prepare the new week. If the word of God in us is somehow diminishing, we can keep it in mind once again and dwell in it.
Praising God and praying to Him, we can recharge ourselves with the spiritual power to overcome the world. If we keep the Sabbath this way every week, we will gradually recover the image of God in us.
Isaiah 56:2 says, “How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it; who keeps from profaning the sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will sanctify your body and mind to keep the Lord’s Day completely holy by offering the whole day completely and become truly blessed children of God.