Remember the Sabbath Day,
To Keep It Holy
Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11
“Remember the Sabbath” is something we constantly hear throughout our lives of faith, but nobody ever remembers it all year round. It slips our minds. But God clearly told us to remember.
Exodus 20:11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; for that reason the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Genesis 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
People take Sunday (the Lord’s day) lightly and consider it their day off. It cannot be this way. God called the Lord’s day “My day.” Sunday is His day. On that day, creation must go to the church appointed by God to praise the cross, giving thanksgiving for God’s redemptive grace. We must be thankful, confessing, “We would die if it were not for God’s providence that upholds all creation with the authority and power of the word.” God so loved us that He put His own Son to death for us. But instead of attending church with unceasing gratitude, people get offended when they’re invited to church. “I’ve heard all this nonsense before,” they say. They receive this invitation of blessing as a curse (Jer 6:10).
Manna rained down from heaven for the Israelites who came out into the wilderness. They were instructed to gather twice as much on the sixth day, since there would be none to gather on the seventh day. Also, any excess manna that they gathered out of their greed and kept overnight would spoil and breed worms, but the double portion of manna gathered on the sixth day did not rot. Don’t parents remember their children’s birthdays, and the children their parents’? God does not have a birthday because His years have no end, but He has the sabbath. Creating us becomes worthwhile for God when all the saints remember the Lord and keep the Lord’s day with thanksgiving for their creation.
The Sabbath is a command to “hold fast” and “cling” to the Lord your God every day (Josh 22:5; 23:8; Deut 11:22).
The Bible tells us no less than three times that we are to cling to God in our everyday life. We mustn’t be averse to drawing near to God fearing “What command will He give next.” A life that “clings” is one that is closely attached; that is the sabbath. Love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him (Deut 11:22). “Hold fast” means to cleave and follow, and it signifies becoming one with the ways of God, that is, His word; thus, it is a life that is united with God with all one’s heart and soul (2 Chr 34:31; 2 Kgs 23:3). We must be deeply rooted in Jesus our Lord (Col 2:19) to be able to keep the Lord’s day. No one has failed by keeping the Lord’s day. Even if countless numbers of people die, the individual, family, and nation that keep the Lord’s day will live.
According to today’s main scriptures, God blessed and sanctified the seventh day. He rested on that day. A sanctified life that is in line with the seventh day is an essential act of faith and duty of the saint.
Isaiah 58:13-14 “If, because of the Sabbath, you restrain your foot From doing as you wish on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a pleasure, and 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.”
Let it not be said, “How bothersome the Lord’s day is! Must we go to church again?” The Sabbath is a joyous day above all other days. It is the Lord’s day, a holy and honorable day. No matter how sleepy we are or enticed by the world we may be, we must come to church on the Lord’s day wide awake and fully alert. Never forget this. The Lord’s day is akin to God’s birthday. Shouldn’t man, the lord of God’s creation, remember that day? Those who remember will be trained in the works of Jacob. How monumental is this! This is the blessing of thousands upon thousands and tens of thousands upon tens of thousands. We sang hymn #57 today, which was written by Christopher Worsworth in 1862.
“O day of rest and gladness, O day of joy and light, O balm of care and sadness, most beautiful, most bright; on Thee the high and lowly, through ages joined in tune, sing “Holy, holy, holy” to the great God Triune.
Today on weary nations the heav’nly manna falls; to holy convocations the silver trumpet calls, where gospel light is glowing with pure and radiant beams, and living water flowing with soul refreshing streams.
New graces ever gaining from this our day of rest, we reach the rest remaining to spirits of the blest. “To Holy Ghost be praises, to Father, and to Son!” The church her voice upraises to Thee, blest Three in One.”
This hymn is based on the great Sunday faith. The Sabbath is the day of remembrance of God’s redemptive historical work of saving the Israelites who were slaves in the land of Egypt (Deut 5:12). We also lived as slaves before meeting Jesus. We worshipped personal idols while disregarding God who created the universe. We make claims of “making it” and succeeding by working hard without food or rest. In reality, however, we have only lived by God’s grace. This is why Sunday is God’s great sign of His covenant that is given to the chosen (Ezek 20:12, Exod 31:13). He is telling us, “If you observe the Sabbath, I will cleanse you and make you a man of God, not a servant. I will have you enter eternal rest.”
Ezekiel 20:12 Also I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, so that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.
Sunday is the Lord’s day.
Just like children who will travel far in order to celebrate their father’s birthday, we too must do this. Exodus 20:8 tells us, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” “Remember” in Hebrew is “zakar”, which means “to pierce with a kind of awl; deeply moved; and deeply carved”. This means that the Word is deeply drilled into our hearts so that we don’t forget it. The “holy water” of Sunday must deeply penetrate our hearts and take hold, so that we don’t float away like driftwood. I pray that we will believe in this word, that God will bless us from generation to generation as long as we keep and remember the Sabbath, Sunday, until the day He calls us home.
The Sabbath is the day of peace, comfort and rest. God commanded to not do any work on this day, and He said that those who violate the Sabbath were to be put to death (Exod 31:14-15). There must be a deep, hidden meaning when God, in His endless love, mercy, and compassion, speaks in this way. He said that those who work on the Sabbath will lose their lives. The “Great Sabbath” is the day when God, who is bigger than all of creation, has rested. It is the day of our great God. Are we to then disregard this day to concentrate on our own work? It is foolish to go out to make money while thinking, “I’ll just go to church next time.” He commanded us to not even cut a tree, or light a fire in the house, on the Sabbath. Isn’t this how they all died (Exod 35:3, Num 15:31-37)? God has said that if we carry our loads and enter the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, He will set fire to Jerusalem’s palaces (Jer 17:27). How fearsome is He!
When God created the heavens and the earth for six days, it is recorded as, “There was evening and there was morning” (Gen 1:5). But there is no record of this on the seventh day. As sons and daughters of God, aren’t you curious as to why? The Sabbath day is not just a “day” in the midst of creation. This is a day that never ends; it continues forever. It is a Sabbath that lasts forever after the seventh day. Saints must live with the faith that it is always Sunday. We must not live worldly lives for six day and only keep the seventh day. When the Lord returns and takes us to heaven, will we still have each day of the week, from Monday to Saturday? Absolutely not! There is only the Sabbath in the heavenly world. “Rest” does not mean God has stopped working or is sleeping from exhaustion. God does not become weary or sleep (Isa 40:28; Psa 121:4). God’s “rest” is being pleased and joyful from seeing the result of His ministry of creation. It is the same as parents being happy to see their children (Psa 103:5; Exod 19:4). Therefore, we must come to church on Sunday to hear, “My sons and daughters, you did well to come! I am pleased” (Gen 1:31). After creating all things in the universe, of course He would say, “Today is a happy day, a good day, a day of rest.” We, too, must be joyful with God. Please do not forget this.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord has made; Let’s rejoice and be glad in it.
You may not know, but please believe that, by coming out to church today, God will give you everything your heart desires in the spiritual world. Today is a day of God giving blessings, a blessed day (Gen 2:3; Exod 20:11). God blessed all things in the universe and made them kneel before man. We must come to church on Sunday and kneel before God, pray to Him, and offer up praises and worship to Him. This is surrendering ourselves to God. This is bowing face down and serving the Lord. This is humbling ourselves before God. And then He will give us everything even when we don’t ask for it. Sunday is the best day. It’s a very precious day. It is the day when the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God rests above our heads (1 Pet 4:14). When the Spirit of glory dwells, there is no irritation or darkness in life, and you will receive blessings just as you believe, from the efforts of your own hands. The path you walk will be blessed. Therefore, you will not age. How wonderful is this? The Bible records that we must consecrate ourselves and be holy, for it is a holy Sabbath (Lev 11:44). This is such an astonishing Word. Sunday is not a day for me, but for God (Exod 31:13). When we hear, “Let’s have a fun outing somewhere,” then we must respond with, “No, today is God’s day.” This day is the “great Sabbath”, so if we enter church on this day, the doors will all enlarge. A small person will become a great person. This is the “great Sabbath” when God the Father rested; do you think the Father will allow His children to be left as beggars, tiny and small, when He is so great? It is the father and mother’s wish for their children to live comfortably and without worries. Please believe in the great vastness of God (Psa 95:3; Tit 2:13; John 10:29). Who would refuse an invitation to eat at the White House? Then how much more should we receive the Lord, the creator of the universe and controller of life and death, who calls us to converse with and bless us? (Ps 96:4; 135:3).
The seventh day is “a sabbath of complete rest” (Exod 35:2).
It is a day when the believers are distinguished from the unbelievers. In the same way a seller separates the ripened apples from the rotten, the seventh day when the blessed are set apart from the unblessed. Circumcision, the Passover, and the Sabbath were marks of the elect during the Old Testament times, just as the cross, baptism, and Communion were during the New Testament times.
No matter how well we believe, the created can not become the Creator. As His creation, when we believe and obey the word of God that created us, then we will be bound to live with Him forever. Those who go against His word are the devil, Satan. Remembering God’s day of rest after completing His creation of the heavens and the earth, is to have a new understanding between the Creator and His creation. The Lord’s day reminds us of God’s creation and all its wonder, as well as God’s truth, goodness, and beauty. We praise, worship, and give thanksgiving for His sovereignty that rules over all creation even now (Ps 103:19; 145:13) and for His grace that upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb 1:3). We human beings must always long for God and live, serving and clinging onto Him, like children tightly holding onto their parents’ hands.
When I see our Pyungkang families not observing the Lord’s day and committing all kinds of sins, my heart burns with unbearable pain and frustration, Jeremiah describes (Jer 20:9). The church was born on the Lord’s day, when the Holy Spirit came upon the gathering of 120 apostles like a violent rushing wind (Acts 2:1-4). If we do not remember and keep the Sabbath, then we will suffer captivity just like the Babylonian exile. Imagine the wretched state your families would be in if they were enslaved by enemy forces, the defeated becoming slaves of the victor (Jer 6:10-12). Horrors were prophesied: their wives would be turned over to others and starving parents would eat their own children (Jer 6:12; 2 Chr 36:14-15). These prophecies became reality. Why? Because they did not keep the sabbatical year, the year of Jubilee, and also the Lord’s day, that God commanded them to keep. God sent countless prophets to urge them again and again to repent, but they instead mocked, despised, and scoffed at the messengers of God (Jer 35:15-16). The Israelites failed to keep the sabbatical year 70 times, so God exacted repayment from them in the form of 70 years of Babylonian exile. They were to till the ground for six years then allow the land a sabbath rest as well as have their slaves return to their homes in the seventh year, but they failed to do so.
Beloved saints, we must not mistake the Lord’s day as ours.
Naked we came, and naked we will return. Do not be greedy for the uncertainty of riches (1 Tim 6:7, 17). How many years do you expect to live in this world? How many meals will you eat? Will you be able to spend all that you’ve earned? If you are thankful for your daily bread, praise God, realize His will, and glorify Him through prayers, then you will find yourself in the best place in His kingdom. Even if you keep all the Lord’s days in one year, it is no more than 52 weeks. Will we rob God of His days? He even sought to have the number of Sabbath days counted (Lev 23:15).
The Sabbath in the Old Testament was changed to the Lord’s day in the New Testament because the Lord shattered the powers of death and resurrected on the Lord’s day (Matt 28; Mark 16; John 20). The Sabbath is a statute that brings life (Ezek 20:12-13). Whoever observes this statute will live a blessed life. The Lord’s day is the sign that distinguishes between unbelievers and believers (Ezek 20:12), so we must not partake in our leisurely activities/hobbies or meet our friends on the Lord’s day. We must go to church and give worship; this is the first duty of man (Ecc 12:13). The more intimate we are with the Lord’s day, the healthier we will be, the more meaningful our lives will feel, and the more prosperous our households will be. The Lord is most pleased with a life that is set apart by remembering the Lord’s day. We must look after each other. Let us encourage one another in love and good deeds and gather by saying, “Dear, tomorrow is the Lord’s day,” and “Friends, tomorrow is the Lord’s day!” We are exhorted with tears to not forsake assembling together as some are in the habit of doing (Heb 10:25).
Pyungkang is alive and awake. Our church abounds in the word of redemptive history. I believe that our church will triumph in the end. Our church is a church that has the Lord’s day; we do not forget the Lord’s day nor rob it. Also, our church will not compromise the Lord’s day with the world. If our pastors are crazed by pool, golf or tennis, then the church is robbed of its Lord’s days. Pastors must always pray. Great blessings await those who seek out the lost souls, take them to church on the Lord’s day, and bring them to repentance (Exod 20:6).
I pray that many households will come to church, the body of the Lord, in remembrance of the Lord’s day, and partake of the daily bread of God and the living waters of eternal life, so that they will be made glad and rejoice. I bless you in the name of the Lord that all aspects of our lives will be solely victorious until we enter His kingdom. The Lord’s day is the eternal sign of the day He entered into an eternal covenant with us. Believe that your names are recorded in the book of life when you wholly keep the Lord’s day holy, and be thankful that all our Pyungkang saints will enter into the eternal Sabbath rest. I pray upon you in the name of the Lord that all will resolve and vow before God, “From this day forth, I will go to church and keep the Lord’s day.”
February 2, 2014
Rev. Abraham Park, main sermon on the Lord’s Day
*This post can also be read in 'Champyungan'. (http://champyungan.com/en/)