A Special Time for Worship

Worship is an important part of my life. I want to live for God every day of the week, and I invite Him to be with me in everything I do. But the week is filled with making a living and doing life’s chores. The everyday world tends to keep me very busy, and to distract me from the most important things.
That’s why the seventh-day Sabbath rest that the Bible invites us to observe is so important to me. Let me explain why it means so much to me.

An Expression of Love

The beauty of the Sabbath is easiest to explain by sharing the meaning Jesus gave it. He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). He explained that the first four are really about our love to God and the last six are about our love to our neighbor (Matthew 23:37-40). So it is because of my love for Jesus that I observe the seventh-day Sabbath just as the commandment directs.
Interestingly, the fourth commandment is the only one of the ten that includes an explanation as to why we’re reminded to keep it holy: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, …and rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 20:8-11). In a very special way, keeping the Sabbath then is a memorial of Creation and a “sign” that I accept Him as Creator (Exodus 31:17). Every time I “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” I honor Him as the One who holds my life in His hands.
Just as anniversaries are memorials that celebrate our love for those closest to us, so honoring the seventh-day Sabbath not only allows me special time to express my love to my Creator, but it becomes a weekly opportunity to come closer to Him, and to love Him more.

A Time With God

That means when Jesus was explaining the meaning of the Sabbath He was looking all the way back to Creation, to the very beginning of our world. After God created the wonders of nature, the animal kingdom, and the first human beings, the Bible records that He set aside the seventh day as a holy time of rest from the accomplishments of the week. In Scripture this day is called Sabbath. Throughout history it has corresponded in the weekly cycle to Saturday.
Scripture even explains that He had Adam and Eve in mind (Genesis 2:1-3). As Jesus explained, the “Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). It was an intentional, meaningful gift for man’s benefit. In fact, Scripture records God’s three deliberate acts that make the seventh day uniquely different from the other six. He rested, blessed and sanctified the day (Genesis 2:2, 3).
That means He gave this last act of creation unusual meaning and purpose. First, He provided time to rest from the accomplishments of the week, and to reflect on Him. Second, He packed a sacred, spiritual blessing into the seventh day that He didn’t put into the other six. Lastly, He drew a boundary around this 24-hour period and designated it as holy time to nurture a closer relationship with Him.
A careful reading of Scripture uncovers some amazing facts about the Sabbath. Long before Abraham, Moses, and the Jewish nation, generations enjoyed its blessings. Jesus honored the Sabbath by keeping it every week (Luke 4:16). The disciples kept it (Acts 18:4, 11; 16:13). And it will be kept in God’s new creation (Isaiah 66:22, 23). The Bible carefully presents an unbroken cycle of Sabbath observance that began at Creation and extends to the earth made new and the eternity beyond.
So why do most Christians worship on Sunday? The most realistic answer is—it’s a tradition. The Bible has no record that God changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first. Even passages that mention the first day of the week-and there are some-don’t’ refer to any new blessing or a change of holy time. In fact, the New Testament was written centuries before Sunday worship became an accepted practice in Christianity. But Scripture does predict that attempts would come from within Christianity that would declare Sunday as the holy day and that would revise the commandment He had put in place to protect it.
This change came in long after the disciples died, though. Some second century Christians began to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Sundays even while they observed the seventh-day Sabbath too. Others, in order to escape persecution, adapted the common pagan worship of the sun to honor the resurrection of Christ. By the third and fourth centuries, history records that Sunday was generally observed rather than the seventh day Sabbath. As the church at Rome grew in political power and developed into the Roman Catholic Church, it officially sanctioned Sunday as the Christian holy day instead of the seventh-day Sabbath. Today, the Church points to this fact of history as evidence that it has the authority to establish traditions that replace the commandments of Scripture.

An Opportunity to Trust

The greatest blessing of the Sabbath, though, is the opportunity it gives to trust God! He has promised that anything He asks is for our best good. To those who honor His requests, He promises to pour out a blessing.
The Sabbath is God’s invitation to give Him one-seventh of my week. In that time together, He promises to bless me with a closer relationship with Him. “If you… call the Sabbath a delight… then shall you delight yourself in the Lord” (Isaiah 58:13, 14). This Sabbath blessing is available to me every week.
The blessing He brings restores me physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. It de-stresses me from the burdens of life. I enjoy precious time with family and friends that keeps our God-given relationships alive. Worshipping with fellow believers energizes me. I gain insight and inspiration from the extra time I have to study the Bible and share it with others. I am blessed to have time to serve, encourage, and share what God has done for me.
The Sabbath gives me an opportunity to pause from all my earthly projects. If I really trust God’s request, it leaves me no room to be distracted by a pressing project at work, for running errands, or for scheduling what I don’t have time for the rest of the week. This protects the Sabbath rest from simply becoming a personal day off or a good-sounding plan to follow when it seems convenient to me. I happily fulfill God’s request because I know He will help me carry my everyday responsibilities. I can stop and focus on Him this one day, and leave everything else to the other six.
I find Jesus’ words to be true. He made the Sabbath for us (Mark 2:27). That is, the Sabbath is not something that God made for His benefit! It is something wonderful He has given to us, for our good.
I am privileged to accept such a gift and do everything I can to protect it. I look forward to each Sabbath day, because I love spending time with my Creator and Savior. I believe God’s word that asks me to remember the Sabbath, and I am willing to trust that God’s requests are for my blessing.
You can also enjoy this wonderful experience. If you’d like to know how, or you want more information, just contact us and we can help you.

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.