[Exodus 20: 8- 11] [Isaiah 58: 13-14]
[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.”
[Isaiah 58: 13-14]
“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,  Then you will take delight in the Lord, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the 5th session on the Ten Commandments, and I will continue to explain to you about the fourth commandment.
In the last session, I explained why the Sabbath that had originally been Saturday was changed to Sunday since the resurrection of Jesus.
It’s because it’s the Sunday on which the Lord, who is the Lord of the Sabbath, broke the authority of death and resurrected to give us true rest and the hope of eternal rest. Thus, those children of God who remember the Sabbath and keep it holy have received the promise to resurrect completely at the time of Jesus’ Second Coming and to go into eternal heavenly kingdom.
Also, I told you that those who keep the Sabbath holy and give proper tithes will be protected by God not to face any accident or disaster during their lives on earth, too.
It’s because to keep the Sabbath holy and to give proper tithes is to acknowledge the sovereignty of God both in spiritual and material sense.
The most basic thing to do for us to be protected and blessed as God’s children is to keep the Sabbath holy in recognition of God’s sovereignty.
Today, let’s deal with details on how to keep the Sabbath.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, ‘Sabbath’ literally means a time of rest. But true Sabbath in God’s sight is not just resting having no work to do.
This has nothing to do with God, and if you seek physical rest of this world, you will rather fall into the way of death.
Today’s passage Isaiah 58:13-14 says that we should turn our foot from doing our own pleasure, desist from our own ways, from seeking our own pleasure and from speaking our own words on the Sabbath day. It basically means we should not take worldly pleasure but keep it holy.
It’s because the true rest of God is not physical but spiritual rest.
To have spiritual rest is to remember that the Sabbath day is supposed to be given to God and spend the day in a holy manner before God. It is to have nothing to do with worldly things and come to the sanctuary, the body of the Lord, break the bread of the word, and praise God and pray to Him. This way, we can have spiritual rest by communicating with the Lord.
Also, it is to share God’s grace and increase our faith by having fellowship with brothers in faith.
When we have spiritual rest this way, God will increase your faith and let your soul prosper.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in order to keep the Sabbath holy, what do we have to do specifically?
First of all, we should long for the blessings of the Sabbath and prepare the vessel to receive blessings. The Sabbath day is set apart as holy and is a happy day to receive blessings from God.
In the latter half Today’s passage of Exodus 20:11 says, “the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy,” and Isaiah 58:13 tells us to “call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, And honor it.” If we truly consider this day a holy and delightful day, we will prepare for it in advance.
In Israel, they still follow the law of the Old Testament and keep Saturday as the Sabbath. They prepare for the Sabbath day from the day before it.
They cook the food they will eat on the Sabbath day in advance, and even when they go on a business trip to some other place, they go back home hurriedly on Friday evening to keep the Sabbath.
Likewise, you should prepare your attitude to be ready in advance before you enter the Sabbath.
As you live your life during the week, you should be awake and live in truth with prayers so that you won’t have anything improper when you go before God on the Lord’s Day.
Therefore, in fact, to keep the Sabbath properly is actually to live by the word of God for the whole week.
But if there is anything wrong before God, you should repent of it before the Sabbath day so that you can receive the Lord’s Day with a clean heart.
When you come to worship God, you should be bold before God and you should come with joy and fluttering heart like a bride waiting for the groom.
If you have this kind of attitude you will bathe, and if necessary, you will also get a haircut so that you will look neat. You will also clean your house.
You will prepare clean and neat clothes that you will wear on the Sabbath Day.
You won’t indulge yourself in worldly things until late night on Saturday and cause some troubles on the Lord’s Day. You should pay attention to each aspect and prepare yourself to have the most delightful day by preparing the vessel with a longing heart to receive God’s grace.
For your information, when you fast, it is better that you avoid fasting on Sunday. Of course, if you fast for a long time, you will have to fast on Sunday, and I am not saying fasting on Sunday is wrong.
But if possible, it is better to avoid fasting on Sunday so that you can attend the service joyfully and have blissful fellowship with other believers.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in order to keep the Sabbath holy, the second thing we have to do is to give all of the Lord’s Day to God.
Some people attend just morning service and take a rest or do personal things in the afternoon, but this is not keeping the Sabbath holy. If you truly revere God and keep the Sabbath, you cannot do anything personal while an official worship service is going on.
Skipping the service and doing other things can be done only when your heart is taken by the worldly lust or because you are following fleshly interests.
In this case, even though you attend the morning service, it is very likely that your heart is taken by idle thoughts about worldly things, rather than your heart longing for God completely.
You may think, “I will go and rest right after the service is over,” “I am going on a picnic in the afternoon. I wonder if there will be traffic jam” “How fun it would be to meet my friends and have fun with them!” “I will go quickly and open up my shop right after the service.” If you have such thoughts you cannot concentrate on the message and you may even fall asleep.
For you to keep the Sabbath day holy, not only your body has to come to the sanctuary but also your heart has to be facing God.
When you worship in spirit and in truth and concentrate your heart only on God for the whole day, God will accept the aroma of your heart and delight in you. To keep the Sabbath holy like this, not only the service hours but also how you spend the rest of the day is also important.
Therefore, you shouldn’t think you have completed your duty because you attended the service. You have fellowship with fellow believers after the service and render your service for the kingdom of God in different areas. You may take a short rest at home after that, but this hour is not a time to take worldly pleasure.
You can meditate on the message you heard, and when you talk to each other, you should have conversations of grace within the truth.
It’s better not to watch TV at all, but if you do, you shouldn’t watch programs that agitate worldly lust or seeking worldly pleasure but pleasant and gracious programs.
When you try to keep everything holy before God in detail, God will accept your heart joyfully, give you joy and fullness of Spirit, and let you enjoy true rest.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in order to keep the Sabbath holy, the third thing is that you must not do any worldly work on the Sabbath day.
Nehemiah said in Nehemiah 13:15, “In those days I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sacks of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of loads, and they brought them into Jerusalem on the sabbath day. So I admonished them on the day they sold food.”
Also, Nehemiah said to those Jews who were buying things from the Gentiles in Nehemiah 13:17-18, “Then I reprimanded the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing you are doing, by profaning the sabbath day?  “Did not your fathers do the same, so that our God brought on us and on this city all this trouble?”
He was telling the Israelites that because they violated the commandment of God by working and buying and selling things on the Sabbath, they were not protected by God and were inflicted with misfortune.
So, Nehemiah strictly prohibited them from working or having commercial transactions with the Gentiles on the Sabbath, and he even drove away those merchants who were sleeping outside the city wall on the Sabbath.
They were waiting to come into the city and do their merchandizing after the Sabbath was over, but to remove even the slightest possibility of violating the Sabbath, he drove these people away, too.
Now, if we do not work on the Sabbath or buy or sell things to keep it holy, will we suffer loss or damage? Of course not!
The almighty God gives back blessings to those who keep His commandment. In Exodus chapter 16, when the people of Israel were in the wilderness, God gave them manna from heaven for their food.
The people gathered manna every morning, and this manna, after one day, became wormy and foul, so they could gather only as much as they could eat in one day.
But amazingly, on the day before the Sabbath, they could gather twice the usual amount, and it didn’t go bad even after one day. So, on the Sabbath day they were able to eat it. Also, on the Sabbath day, even though they went out to gather it, no manna was found.
It’s the same for you today. Even though you do not work on Sundays, it doesn’t mean you will lose as much as you would have made for that day, and it doesn’t mean you will have greater profit for one more day’s work either.
If you work for 6 days and keep the Sabbath, the almighty God will give you the income equivalent to 7 day’s income, and He can even give you more than that.
On the contrary, let’s say you work for 7 days, and your initial income increased. But if you are not protected by God, you have unexpected loss by accidents or diseases, and you will have to spend more than your income.
Then, after all, it doesn’t benefit you at all even though you work more.
It’s not only just non-beneficial but because you violated the Sabbath and ignored the sovereignty of God, you will also be farther from salvation.
That’s why God stated keeping the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments, and in Numbers chapter 15, there was a person who got caught working on the Sabbath, and God commanded the people to stone him.
God meant to remind people of the importance of the Sabbath day by strict punishment so that they wouldn’t fall into the way of death.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I told you that to keep the Sabbath holy, you must not conduct worldly business, do manual work, or buy or sell things.
But sometimes, some labor or buying things is allowed even on the Sabbath day.
It is when it is absolutely necessary to fulfill the Lord’s work or in case of a good work giving life to people.
Matthew 12:5-8 says, “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?  “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.  “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.  “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
When the priest catches an animal or gives offering by burning grains, it is not considered a labor work violating the Sabbath. In the same way, the works that are done in the Lord, who is the Lord of the Sabbath are not considered as violating the Sabbath.
For example, the church should provide the meals for choir members or Sunday school teachers since they work for the whole day at church. But if this is not possible for the church, they may buy meals outside.
Of course, if you can provide the meals for them at the church, it is better.
That is why our church provides free lunch to all members on Sunday.
Also, the church bookstore and the snack bar in the church are open on Sundays, too, for the convenience of the church members, and this is not violating the Sabbath either.
The things that they sell in the church bookstore are not worldly things but Bibles, Hymnal books, sermon cassette tapes or praise albums that give life in the Lord. It’s open for those who have time only on Sundays to buy those things.
Also, the profit does not go to any individual. It is spent for missionary works, charitable works, or other forms of good work in the Lord.
Also, the food items of the vending machines or at the snack bar are being sold to help you keep the Sabbath properly. For example, when your little children begin to cry with a loud voice, sometimes you may have to buy some snacks for them so that you can concentrate on the service itself.
Some new-believers go outside to have some coffee or other drinks. Of course, if you have greater faith, you will prepare the necessary things the day before the Sabbath, and even if you didn’t prepare anything, you can control yourself for one day.
But if you have weak faith, they may feel that these things are difficult.
That is why we run the snack bar or vending machines so that these people can concentrate on the service with more comfort.
Also, the profit from these does not go to an individual, either. They are also used for good purpose in the Lord. Next, there are some places where you have to work on Sundays, too. It is in the military, police, and hospitals. Since hostile enemy forces could even invade on the Lord’s Day, and crimes must be prevented on Lord’s Day some people must work.
In case of emergency patients, somebody has to treat them, and we also need people to take care of patients in hospitals.
When those who are working in these fields must work on Sunday shift, it is also a kind of good work that gives life, and God does not say they violated the Sabbath.
But if they truly believe in God, they will at least try to attend the service and wherever they are, they will remember the Sabbath day in heart and their heart will face towards God. If they can be excused by their boss or change their shift with other days and keep the whole Sabbath, it is even better.
But if you violate the Sabbath for personal reasons like when you face a great loss if you do not sign on the contract on Sunday or when you lose your regular customers if you close your shop on Sundays, then you cannot be said to have faith.
Of course, we cannot force new-believers who have weak faith to unconditionally close their shops. If we do that, they may even forsake their little faith. So until their faith grows up and they can keep the Sabbath by themselves, we have to just be patient and wait for them to gain the necessary faith and keep the Sabbath.
But as a worker and leader, you should be able to teach them the truth as to why it is spiritually and materially a blessing to keep the Sabbath.
Also, in case of our Light and Salt Mission, they work in restaurants or the distribution industry, so they cannot keep the whole Sabbath. For them we have a Sunday service at night.
Many of the members of this mission group have faith to change their jobs so that they can keep the whole Sabbath, but they stay in the Light and Salt mission and dedicate themselves for the evangelization in the restaurant and distribution industries.
Also, as church workers, what should you do if there are some church members who have a wedding ceremony on Sunday? Should you decide not to attend because it is not right to attend a party where worldly people eat and drink on Sunday?
If believers get married on Sunday, it means they do not have much faith.
But, if people from church do not attend their wedding, they may have some misunderstanding about it and become offended. So, it is OK for a church worker to attend the worship service and then attend their wedding to congratulate them.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:11-12, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?  “How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” As said, it is not that you attend a worldly party because you don’t have faith, but you are showing them mercy so that one soul who is more precious than the whole world will not stumble.
But it is not right to stay there after the wedding and enjoy yourself socializing with the worldly people on the Sabbath. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in addition to these, there may be so many other questions about keeping the Sabbath holy, but to get the answer in each case, you can go into spirit and understand the heart of God.
Above all else, God said, “‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice.”
God first looks at your heart to see why you did a certain act rather than what you did.
If you truly revere God from your heart, you will never want to violate the Sabbath with some kind of excuse as your escape.
If you act without any evil but with reverence for God in your deep heart and with love for souls, you will not be bound by the traditions of the elders like the scribes and Pharisees, but you will have true rest in God without violating the law.
You will be able to discern the will of God in each matter by the work of the Holy Spirit and enjoy the freedom in the truth.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Nehemiah 13:22 says, “And I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come as gatekeepers to sanctify the sabbath day. For this also remember me, O my God, and have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.”
Nehemiah could boldly pray like this because he kept the Sabbath holy and taught the people to do the same, thus fulfilling his responsibility.
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.”
I hope you can keep the Sabbath holy like this and furthermore keep all the commandment of God properly so that you will be able to boldly ask anything before God.
I pray in the name of the Lord that God will remember your names for your deeds, always pour down grace on you, and lead you to the best of the heavenly dwelling places.