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.”
This is the fourth session in “Keep the Sabbath Holy”. Have you heard the term ‘Monday Syndrome’? They say an increasing number of people are suffering from Monday Syndrome.
It’s an uncomfortable mental state after the weekend that students or company employees experience on Mondays.
They have nervousness tension and stress even on Sunday just thinking about the school or work the next day, Monday.
In serious cases people have headaches, indigestion, or lethargy that makes Monday a difficult day.
Since today there is a 5-day workweek, they have a longer weekend and they have time for more recreational activities than before, so they find it hard to recover their bio-rhythm.
But we children of God should have a very energetic Monday.
It’s because we are filled with new strength when we have true rest at the church on Sunday. If our spirit is renewed, our mind and body are also renewed. We don’t just enjoy ourselves, but we attend Sunday services and do God’s work all day and it strengthens us.
Also, if we keep the Sabbath holy we will have the faith to confidently ask God for His protection and prosperity.
We don’t have to worry about family, workplace, or business like the worldly people.
We can have bright and optimistic attitudes in everything because we know the true meaning and value of life.
On the outside, we may be doing the same daily routine just like unbelievers. But in fact, we do everything for God’s glory, whether we eat or drink or whatever we do.
God gives us the hope of Heaven and the power of the Holy Spirit, and we can do even difficult work with happiness. The secret of winning the victory for the week is to keep the Sabbath holy.
If you’ve felt Mondays to be a burden, I hope you will have refreshed Mondays by keeping the Sabbath holy.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will enjoy true peace and happiness on this earth until you enjoy true rest in New Jerusalem.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the fourth aspect in keeping the Sabbath holy is that we should not buy or sell anything.
The Sabbath is the holy day. We must not conduct business buying or selling on Sunday with greed for money, nor should we buy food and drinks for our convenience.
When the sons of Israel were in the wilderness after the Exodus, God just told them not to work because there weren’t any business transactions anyway. But ‘working’ also includes buying and selling things. How many transactions are derived from this?
But after the society and commerce of Israel developed, there was an incident in which commerce on the Sabbath was prohibited.
In Nehemiah chapter 13, we can see Nehemiah, the governor of Judah prohibited business transactions on the Sabbath.
At that time the kingdom of Judah was under the control of Persia. Jerusalem was desolated after the wars.
Many were taken as captives and those who remained were living in disorder and confusion.
Nehemiah was a minister for Persian king at the time. He asked the king and was allowed to return to his country. He became the governor of Judah, and rebuilt the city wall and the gate with the people.
He knew that their country had been destroyed and the people’s lives were impoverished because they did not keep God’s commandments. Nehemiah and the people repented even the sins of their ancestors and the feasts and statutes were re-established.
Nehemiah put special emphasis on keeping the Sabbath holy and prohibited any commercial activity.
He saw a Jew working and Gentiles selling things in Jerusalem on the Sabbath and he reprimanded the Jews.
Nehemiah 13:17 says, “What is this evil thing you are doing, by profaning the sabbath day?” It means that it is in violation of the Sabbath and evil to work and to conduct business on the Sabbath.
In verse 18 it says, “Did not your fathers do the same, so that our God brought on us and on this city all this trouble? Yet you are adding to the wrath on Israel by profaning the sabbath.”
The history of Israel had blessings or curses according to whether or not they obeyed God.
They had prosperity when they kept the commandments of God.
But when they distanced themselves from the commandments, they suffered from foreign invasion, famine, or diseases.
We have to learn from their history. When you face problems in family, diseases, or other calamities, you cannot just solve them by looking at physical reasons.
You have to consider the spiritual aspects, namely your relationship with God in order to solve the fundamental problem.
If you did not live by the word of God, you have to repent thoroughly and live by the word. That way disasters will leave and you will receive blessings.
Proverbs 1:33 says, “But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.” Brothers and sisters, the Jews regretted departing from God only after their nation was destroyed.
When Ezra read the Law of God in front of the people, they repented with tears. Then they tried to keep the Law and to live by the word of God.
Nehemiah closed the city gate before the Sabbath, so that those who wanted to sell things couldn’t come or go.
The Levites sanctified their bodies and stood guard at the gates.
They even drove away the merchants who were sleeping outside the city wall who wanted to sell their things right after the Sabbath.
Just as Nehemiah and the people strictly kept their city, we have to strictly keep our hearts today.
We have to stay away from things that can cause us to violate the Sabbath and actually keep it holy. After making people keep the Sabbath holy, Nehemiah boldly made a confession before God.
Nehemiah 13:22, latter part says, “For this also remember me, O my God, and have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.”
1 John 3:21-22 says, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”
Because Nehemiah kept the Sabbath holy, he could boldly ask for the blessings of God.
Therefore, I hope you will also show the evidence of your love for God by keeping the Sabbath holy.
Then, you can boldly ask for God’s blessings. Especially, to keep the Sabbath holy I urge you to buy what you will need on the Sabbath in advance.
But when you counsel or visit a new believer, you should be prudent.
If you say to a new believer who does not know or realize the word of God that they will face disastrous consequences if they open their shop or buy or selling things on the Lord’s Day, they will stumble.
How pitiful it is if they leave the church even before they meet God because the word has become a burden to them? This is like feeding a new born baby with solid food that causes problems.
If a person who has only a little faith opens the shop or buys something after the Sunday service, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will receive punishment immediately. God shows concern in guiding each one according their faith.
God lets them gain experience and understanding so they can keep the Sabbath joyfully because they want to. Still, the leaders should teach them the will of God.
You should let them know the meaning of the Sabbath and the blessings that will come when they keep it.
If you give testimonies to plant faith in them and pray for them, eventually they will be able to keep it by their will.
But if somebody who knows the will of God and who has faith still buys and sells things on the Sabbath following his desires and convenience, then trials may come upon him.
God cannot protect him even if God wants to, because it’s not right according to God’s justice.
But there are also some special cases where these things are allowed. For example, if the church cannot provide the meal for the choir members in the church, they can buy food outside.
This is not buying something for a personal benefit of an individual.
They are doing the work of the Lord, who is the Lord of the Sabbath, and thus, He doesn’t it is a sin.
But of course, it is better to provide them with the food in the church.
But again, the most important thing is to keep the Sabbath with a true heart.
In Luke chapter 6, Jesus teaches about the Sabbath.
Jesus was passing through some grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating the grain. Then some of the Pharisees said, “Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
According to the rules of that time, both picking the heads of grain and rubbing them in their hands were considered working.
And Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him, how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the consecrated bread which is not lawful for any to eat except the priests alone, and gave it to his companions?” And He said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
This way, it is to keep the Sabbath holy with a true heart, to understand the will of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath and to follow it.
For example, the church may do something for the convenience of the members.
Such things are the bookstore, the church store, and vending machines.
What is the reason we have these exceptions?
We have them with a good purpose, to help the members keep the Sabbath holy.
In the bookstore, we sell Bibles, praise songs, and sermons tapes, which are necessary for Christian life and which give spiritual life.
They are not buying things for lust or selling things for a profit.
The church store or the vending machines are there so children or new believers won’t go outside to buy something.
Sometimes some parents do not prepare snacks for their kids in advance.
What if their children begin to cry asking for some snacks?
Do we have to let them leave and violate the Sabbath going out to the world?
Also, when some newcomers come to church, they may feel it is very hard to attend church if they cannot even drink a cup of coffee after lunch.
We have such facilities in the church to prevent these problems.
The profit from these facilities is also spent for charitable and missionary works, all for the salvation of souls.
Of course, it is the best to prepare what you need in advance so you won’t have any business transactions on the Sabbath.
God will pleasingly accept our heart when you try to keep the Sabbath holy in any situation.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, you may have other questions concerning trying to keep the Sabbath holy.
For example, your family members, relatives, or colleagues are getting married or having a birthday party on Sunday.
What do you have to do in this case?
Those who are partying on Sunday are probably unbelievers.
Also, most worldly parties involve drinking alcohol and enjoying themselves.
So, you who have faith wouldn’t really want to join such a gathering on Sunday.
You wouldn’t want to go to any worldly party on Sunday, under any circumstances.
If you have been showing your faith this way for a long time, people around you know you and they won’t have a misunderstanding even if you don’t join them on Sundays.
For example, when some Christians don’t drink at all in a meeting or something, they may face some form of opposition or persecution.
But if you are well-recognized as a faithful Christian you will pass such a situation easily.
Even if there are some people who misunderstand you, God will drive away the persecution and resolve the misunderstandings.
It’s the same with going to a worldly party. There won’t be misunderstandings if you explain the reason, congratulate them and show your heart in advance.
But new believers may feel this is something difficult to do.
For example, when an unbelieving close relative is getting married on a Sunday, they are worried about having to face negative reactions.
In this case, it is not a sin within their measure of faith to attend the wedding itself.
But they should not miss the worship service. They have to attend the service before they go.
Also, they should not go to the reception party after the ceremony. It is not right to join the worldly party and participate in it after the wedding.
Of course, new believers still have weak faith, and God will not condemn them even if they go to a wedding ceremony, but I urge you to try not to join such an occasion.
Even if you just attend the wedding itself, if you keep on going to such places again and again, your mind may become accustomed to violating the Sabbath.
I urge even the new believers to rely on God whenever you face such a situation.
I hope you will grow up in faith quickly so you won’t have anything that can hinder you from completely keeping the Lord’s Day holy.
But even those who have faith may have to attend some worldly parties for the sake of other souls.
For example, a new believer is getting married on Sunday, and he has invited the pastor and leaders.
If they don’t go, this soul may stumble, too.
In this case, they don’t want to violate the Lord’s Day, and because they are going there to save the soul which is more precious than the whole world, it is not in violation of the Sabbath.
Of course, it is better to leave that soul to God through prayer and keep the Lord’s Day holy more completely. But if you have to go for that particular soul, and if you can lead him to God by doing that, it is OK to go.
In Matthew 12:12 Jesus said, “How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
The will of the Lord who is the Lord of the Sabbath is to save life.
Therefore, I hope you will choose the way to gain life in any kind of situation.
Furthermore, I urge you in the name of the Lord to walk the way to save many other souls.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord fulfilled the Law with love. Namely, He set us free from the curse of the Law that says we are put to death if we violate the Law.
But now we have come to enjoy freedom in the truth. But for us to enjoy true freedom, we have to cast off all desires to violate the commandments.
1 Peter 2:16 says, “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.”
We can enjoy true freedom in truth only when we have the attitude of heart to follow the will of God alone in any kind of situation.
As long as we have desire to sin, we always have to be careful about committing sins. And if we do sin, we will face tests and trials caused by the sin.
It’s the same when we keep the Sabbath. God enlarged the boundary of keeping the Sabbath.
But if we have desire to violate it we can even fall into death and not enjoy true freedom.
Therefore, I hope you will keep the Lord’s Day holy with all your heart and with your true love for God.
In order to keep the Sabbath holy, first of all, we must not do any worldly work but worship in the church.
Second, we have to keep it with sanctified heart and body.
Third, we have to give the whole day to God.
Fourth, we must not buy or sell things on the Sabbath.
By keeping the Sabbath holy, I hope you will enjoy true rest on earth and also go into the kingdom of heaven to enjoy eternal rest.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will go into New Jerusalem, the most comfortable and happiest place in heaven.