6 - BECAUSE IT WORSHIPS GOD ON THE RIGHT DAY
There is much disagreement in the world today as to which day Christians are to assemble to worship God. Some hold to the old Jewish Sabbath, while others contend that it should be upon the first day of the week. The only way to settle this matter is to go to the Bible and let it supply the answers.
WHEN WAS THE SABBATH FIRST GIVEN? A proper understanding of this will help us to determine which is applicable today. In Exodus 16:23 it reads, "And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning." In Neh. 9:13-14, "Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant." From the above, it is evident that God gave the sabbath to these people when He gave Moses the Law. The contention that the sabbath is from the beginning is false and cannot be proven. But let us notice also:
TO WHOM WAS THE SABBATH GIVEN? Again we go to the Bible, this time in Deut. 5:2-3, "The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day." God did not make this covenant with their fathers, but with them and them alone. Notice also Exodus 31:16-17, "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout all their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." These passages definitely prove that the sabbath was given by God to the children of Israel or the Jewish people. The Gentiles never observed it. There is no record that Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob ever kept the sabbath, they all lived before the giving of the law. Next, let us notice that the:
NATURE OF THE INSTITUTION NECESSARILY LIMITS IT TO THE JEWS AND THEIR LAND.
A. NO WORK WAS TO BE DONE, Exodus 20:10.
B. THEY WERE TO ABIDE IN THEIR PLACES, Exodus 16:29.
C. THEY COULD NOT KINDLE A FIRE, Exodus 35:3.
D. THE PENALTY FOR VIOLATION WAS DEATH, Exodus 31:14-15.
From the above scriptures, the following observation can be made. Since God nowhere has restrained other people from working on the sabbath, it logically follows that the institution applied to the Jews only. The same is true with the statute to abide in their houses. Moreover, the climate of their land was such that they could go without building a fire. But this would not be true in colder climates.
THE LAW OF THE SABBATH DONE AWAY IN CHRIST. In Co!. 2:14 it reads, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to "I, And took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross..." The law, then, was nailed to the cross. It passed away and was superseded by another law, the law of Christ. What about this new law? Is the law of the sabbath included in it? Are we still obligated to keep the sabbath as some claim we are? Well, let us go to verse 16 and see, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days." According to this, no man has the right to bind sabbath keeping on me or you. Because the law passed away to which the sabbath belonged, the sabbath did also. It is no longer in existence as a holyday. If the sabbath is no longer binding, then what day is? In order to answer that question, we must go to the New Testament and find out. In doing so, let us notice the following facts:
1. THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST WAS ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, Luke 24:1-3.
2. CHRIST MET WITH HIS DISCIPLES ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, John 20:19.
3. THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME TO REMAIN ON EARTH ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, Acts 2:1-4. This all happened on the day of Pentecost. And Pentecost always fell on the first day of the week. For proof of this please turn and read Lev. 23: 15-16. Since the sabbath was the seventh day, then Pentecost came on the first day of the week.
4. THE CHURCH OF CHRIST WAS ESTABLISHED UPON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK. Since Pentecost fell on the first day of the week, it then logically follows that the Church was established on the same day. Notice verse 47 of Acts 2, "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. "
Next, we need to locate the day upon which New Testament Christians are commanded to assemble. First of all we go to Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." In this passage we have the command to assemble, but the day is not specified. Let us now see if we can locate the day. In Acts 20:7, "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech unto midnight." Thus the Holy Spirit specifies the day upon which the early disciples met to observe the Lord's Supper. As added proof that they customarily met on this day, let us notice I Cor. 16:1-2, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." In Rev. 1:10 we read the following, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet..."
Adding up all the information that we have gleaned from the New Testament, we can safely conclude that upon the first day of the week, or Lord's day, the disciples assembled to break bread. It was on this day that they worshiped the Lord in spirit and truth. Not upon the sabbath. Since the sabbath was given to the Jews only, as a part of the law of Moses, and since that Law has been done away in Christ, it follows that we are no longer bound by it. My friend, if you are not Jewish, you never did have a right to keep the sabbath. But even if you are a Jew, you have no right to observe it today, because the Old Law is no longer in force & binding.