THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-10-04
LESSON TITLE: "FROM HEAVEN OR MEN: REMEMBERING THE SABBATH DAY"
Good morning! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God. We are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our Creator. Won't you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to the Lord, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let's begin our offering to God with a prayer!
Our first song of the morning reminds us of just how Holy our God is. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Holy, Holy, Holy."
(SONG # 1)
At times we probably all wonder "what is it all for," or "what is life all about!" Well, if it weren't for God, the answer would be pretty depressing and sad, but because of our Lord, we have great hope in this life and a life to come. In fact, if I were to ask today, "how many of us want to go to heaven," no doubt we all have this as an important goal in each of our lives. Oh, what great hope we have in the promise of "laying hold on eternal life."
But the question we might need to consider is, "what does it take to receive such a promise?" I think Paul summed it up well in his words to Timothy which are found in 1 Timothy 6:11-12, there we read, "But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." What a power packed statement Paul gives here to Timothy as he strives to encourage him to do what it takes to have eternal life. Let's notice some of the things Paul encourages him with. First, he tells Timothy to flee evil things. Next he instructs him to pursue those things which are good and godly. And finally Paul says, suit up and do the work, "fight the good fight!"
Brethren and friends, I feel these are three areas of the utmost importance if we as well desire to "lay hold on eternal life!" The question is, "will we measure up?" Will we turn away from evil, turn toward Godliness, and do the work that is before us? May I challenge you this day to accept the charge given by our Lord and to do whatever it takes to be found faithful in the end. And why, because as the old song says, "Heaven will surely be worth it all!"
As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our study on doctrine, in our series entitled, "From Heaven Or Men." Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with, "Remembering the Sabbath Day". So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "How Sweet How Heavenly."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing this morning as we now can go to God's Word and look at more about what it has to say in relationship to our following His examples and His commands.
Today, we want to look at another very important lesson in relationship to the Sabbath Day. There are many in our day and time that certainly still observe the Sabbath Day and then there are others who worship on the first day of the week and so it's important that we might look to what God's Word has to say because certainly from the beginning of time man has always been required to worship God.
We see that from the beginning of time even the sons of Adam and Eve, they came before God. They offered sacrifices. We're not told exactly the day that they did this. But then we find at other times in history throughout the Old Testament, the same thing was very much prevalent. We find that Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and that Moses and others all offered sacrifices to God. So worship was certainly a requirement that God had set before the people and something that they should do in order that they be found pleasing in His sight. It really wasn't until the law was given at Mt. Sinai that we began to see really a great emphasis on the Sabbath Day as far as a day of worship.
Before that however, we do see back in the book of Genesis, in Genesis chapter 1 and it talks about the creation and the first six days and then as it moves into chapter 2, we see there that after God had made everything that in verse 2 we see it says in chapter 2 that "on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done and He rested on the seventh day," and it says there, "He rested from all that He had created." Then verse 3 says, "Then God blessed the seventh day..." Because what? Because He sanctified it as a rest day, a day that He rested and thus, He desired His people as well to rest.
Isn't it interesting that even in this day and time, until maybe the more modern years here that we begin to see, that Saturday and Sundays always seem to be the days that there weren't a lot of businesses open. It seems everything is 24 hours now. But isn't it interesting that Saturdays and Sundays have always been days off with a lot of the jobs that we have and then when we work on Saturdays and Sundays, it might be overtime that we're able to get involved in there. But long back when you take a look at history you're going to find that that generally wasn't the case. Everything seemed to shut down. Even when I was a boy, I can remember there weren't a lot of places like the stores we have today, 24 hours, 7 days a week.
But if you'll notice here, even from the beginning God said there needed to be rest. Man who was created needed times for rest, needed times to be maybe rejuvenated in the things that he would do in his life.
We move over then to Exodus in chapter 16 and we see our first glimpse really in relationship to when the manna was coming down from heaven that this reference is made again to the Sabbath, not in a new way, but in a way that they would have already been observing a rest day on that last day of the week. In fact, if you'll notice there with me the Sabbath Day is mentioned in verse 23 of chapter 16. The Bible saying, "And then he said to them, this is what the Lord has said, Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest and because it is a Sabbath rest, it is a holy Sabbath to the Lord..." and because of that, he goes on to say, "Do not take up or expect to take up the manna on that day or the quail, but rather prepare the day before. Take enough for the two days the day before." But as we move on from there, we see even at the giving of the law, just several chapters over there again as we might look again in Exodus chapter 20, we find actually as one of the 10 commandments that is the 4th commandment found in chapter 8 of chapter 20. It says, "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy." Why? Well it goes on in verse 9 to say, "Because 6 days you work and you labor and you need a time for rest. You and your sons and your children and your animals and your servants..." He says, "All things need a rest, even the earth and the heavens. All things need a rest." And He says in verse 11, "Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day and desired that it should be holy." There's no question here the significance again that we find in that Sabbath Day and even throughout all of the Old Testament times that the Sabbath was observed not only as a rest day but as a spiritual day, a holy day, and then even furthermore when Jesus was born and He lived under the Old Law as well as was commanded here, He being under the law of Moses, He as well observed this day we refer to as the Sabbath Day. It was the day of worship, the day of rest, the day of rejuvenation, but not just the day, but we begin to see the years that the 7th year was a year of rest again for a field in order that it might not be used and allowed to rest.
So on and on and on, this Sabbath concept is emphasized, but where do we find it? We find it in a great law, a wonderful law, but yet an old law, a law that we are no longer under, a law that was given to Moses and the generations of that day in a law that we will begin now to look at a bit closer to see that actually God has now replaced.
I hope you'll write these verses down because we don't have time to read all of the wonderful text that we could at this time, but Jeremiah 31 is a good verse to look over, rather a good chapter. Then the verses specifically are verses about 31 through 33. Right around in there we find that there are some really interesting facts about the house of God and how that in those days and other days, God is going to make a covenant with the house of Judah unlike the covenant that He made with their fathers at the mountain. What's he talking about? He's saying that someday there was going to be a new covenant, a different covenant. That shouldn't be strange to us because as we will see the Bible confirms that and the prophecy is fulfilled in the New Testament.
But furthermore, as we look in places like Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 2 verses 2-4, it talks further about not only a new covenant that would be made, but a new kingdom that would be set up on better things, that would begin in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and the power would come and that this kingdom would be now for all men, not just a select few, the people of God, maybe the Jews, but for all men, all nations would flow to this new kingdom of God. Now we know that under the old law, it was not set up for all nations, for all men, for all peoples. "But this law," Isaiah says, "will be different. It will be unique and it will be for all peoples of all places."
Then we move over into the New Testament and we begin to see the fulfillment of these things, the things that even Jesus spoke about that "I will build my church, the kingdom is coming, some of you won't taste of death until it comes," Mark 9:1, and on and on and on we could go. But finally there as we look into the Hebrew letter, we find a beautiful passage, really several passages, but a beautiful there in it's beginning where it says, "God," there in verse 1 of chapter 1, "who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the Fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His son." Why the son? He goes on to say? "Whom He has appointed heir of all things through whom He also made all the worlds, who is the brightness and the expressed image of His glory and person, who is the one who upholds the word of His power and is the one able to purge us from our sins and finally the one as well who is now at the right hand of the majesty on high."
What is the Hebrew writer talking about? Well, read the book of Hebrews and you're going to see that he is talking about something that now in Christ Jesus was better. Why? Because Jesus was a better author. He was a better administrator. He was a better foundation. He was a better builder. He was a better name because through His name all men could be saved. He was a better one bringing a new religion. He was one bringing a better covenant, a better law, a better mediator, a better way to live, a better king as He was presented, a better sacrifice, better promise, on and on and on we could go in the Hebrew letter and throughout other books like Galatians and Ephesians as well as Corinthians and Romans. All of these books confirmed the fact that there was a new and better covenant based on something better. What was it? Jesus Christ. His blood. What was the basis does the Hebrews writer say in Hebrews chapter 8 of the old covenant? Blood. But what blood? The blood of bulls and goats. Let me ask you a question. What would be greater: the blood of bulls and goats or the blood of Jesus Christ Himself, God, God in the flesh, deity? Certainly Jesus then paying a greater price has sealed a better covenant and that is the lesson that we must understand as we then read the Word of God and submit ourselves to the things that God has required. No doubt in Hebrews chapter 8, the final verse, as it tells us this we now understand because it says, "In that He says a new covenant, He has made the first obsolete, and now what is obsolete is growing old and ready to vanish away." Because of a new covenant, the old one had to be done away with. You see, we can't serve two masters. We can't serve two different covenants based on different bloods and based on different authors, Moses and Jesus. We must serve that which is greater and that is that sealed with the blood of Jesus Himself.
No doubt that's why in Colossians 2:14 it talks about the handwriting of ordinances and how they were nailed to the cross with Jesus because His blood sealed a new and better covenant. And why? We read there in Galatians chapter 3 beginning in verse 24 that the old law was a tutor. It was a schoolmaster to bring us up to that which was perfect, the faith in Jesus Christ and the knowledge of Him, the one who seals the better and the greater covenant with better promises and better things all the way around than that of it's predecessor, the Old Testament.
Now finally in our lesson, I would like to look together at the concept of scripture in relationship to what was done in the New Testament. Certainly once again, we find that the times of Jesus before the shedding of blood, the old covenant was in place, but yet at that time we see that they were already preparing for another, a new one, a better one, a day that they speak about when things would be greater, when a church, a kingdom would be established, when there would be a helper, a spirit that would come and guide them in all things. Well even in Mark 16, as well as some of the other gospels, we find there the day when Christ finally made the sacrifice.
If I were to ask you as a Christian, what is the greatest event in the life of a child of God? That would be the acknowledgment of who God is, His death, His burial and His resurrection. But of the three, what is the greatest? Certainly He had to die. Certainly He had to be buried. The resurrection is the greatest because it is there that He overcame death. It is there that He answers the cry in Genesis 3:15 where it says that "Someday He would crush the head of the serpent." In a sense destroy the power of the serpent by overcoming the fact that the serpent had misguided man to put Jesus in the grave and now He has risen from the grave the text tells us. He has arisen. That's what it's talking about in Mark 16, verses 1-2. When did He rise from the grave? The verses there tell us on the first day of the week. "They had just had the Sabbath Day and now when they went to the tomb, Mary and some others, on the first day of the week that they found the tomb empty." Well you might say, "Well, then certainly He must have risen on the Sabbath rather than the first day."
Well, let's look at what the text there says again in Mark 16 down in verse 9. Look in verse 9 as it says, "Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to," it says, "Mary Magdalene." When He arose... When? The first day of the week. Brethren, why is it? What is the essentuality of the first day of the week and opposed to now the day of rest? Because the first day of the week is no longer just another work day. The first day of the week is a day designated for worship. It is a day that has been set aside, not at the end of the week after we've gotten everything over with, that we just rest, but the very first day of the week where we begin where we should begin with God, that we start it off right with prayer and singing and supplication and growing and studying and worshipping and praising and lauding our God together so that He might know we love Him and that we are here to do His bidding and to follow His Word and no doubt that is why we find by example in the New Testament that the day they worshipped was the day of resurrection, the first day of the week, the day of Pentecost, the first day of the week, the day as it seemed to be true by the apostles as they there in Acts 2:42, "continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrines." What was it that the church was meeting? Well they were meeting together, we find on the first day of the week.
I'd like for you to look with me at Acts chapter 20. In Acts chapter 20 and verse 7, we find there that Paul had actually traveled to Troaz in Acts 20, but then in verse 7 it says, "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread." It tells us that Paul had literally waited 7 days. He must've arrived as we well know on a Monday and he waited 7 days for the 7th day that on the first day of the week, he would be able to do what? Worship with the Christians at Troaz, to worship with them as it says and break bread, and he even preached the precious Word of God.
If you'll turn over with me also to the book of Corinthians once again in 1 Corinthians 16 we have another good example of when the saints were assembling. Verse 1 begins, "Now concerning the collection of the saints, I have given the order to the churches of Galatia so you also must do on the first day of the week, let each one of you lay something aside and store up as he has prospered that there be no collections when I come." He said there, on the first day of the week. On the first day of the week, do these things. Why? Because you're already going to be assembling.
Notice again Acts 20 and verse 7, "When they came together on the first day of the week." Not something that they weren't familiar with or that they didn't do. They were already assembling on the first day of the week.
But I'd like you as well to finally go with me this morning to Colossians again chapter 2 because it is there again that we have clarified for us that we are no longer bound by the old, but we are under a new law of Jesus. As we notice there in verse 14, it says, "Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us," Colossians 2:14, "which was contrary to us. It was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross. The old law nailed to the cross. Having disarmed," verse 15, "principalities, powers, He made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them in it." In the fact that He rose from the grave, He triumphed over what had been done to Him, being put in the grave. But notice verse 16, "Therefore in the fact that Jesus has triumphed and we are under a new law, let on one judge you in food or drink regarding festivals, new moons or the Sabbath." Why? Verse 17. "These are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is Christ." Even the Sabbath was a shadow of things to come in Christ Jesus and that is why we are blessed to rejoice and worship our God on the first day of the week as we rejoice in the resurrection of Christ and as we come before the throne and as we are able to even partake of the Lord's Supper as we are told that they did in the New Testament church. Why? To remember the great sacrifice, the shedding of blood that led to the ultimate resurrection.
Can we follow God's Will? Will we choose to do it His way? Why not worship when God has commanded under the new law? Are you a follower of Christ or not? Choose today to do His bidding.
(SONG # 3 - "Let The Beauty Of Jesus!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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As Christians under the New Covenant, may we obey all of the commands which God gave us through His Word. One of which we have through divine example, to assemble before God, as the first church assembled on the first day of every week!