They Could Have, But Didn’t
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Warm Christian greetings to you and your family. Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry’s monthly sermon on CD. I pray that you are gaining much by listening to our monthly CDs and that you will find them useful in helping others to see the truth of God’s word in these last days. For a long time I have wanted to do a series of sermons on the Sabbath. And since I have had a number of requests recently to explain the importance and the significance as well as the reasons why God instructs us to keep His seventh-day Sabbath holy, I felt that the time has come to get started with it.
I don’t claim to have all the answers to the questions and arguments that are presented today, but I know that the Bible has them. Whenever we have a question that bothers us concerning the principles of Christian faith, we can turn to scripture for the answer. But most people follow what their pastor says, or what they were taught as children. They have never investigated for themselves what it is that the Bible actually teaches on this subject.
So much of future events revolve around the principles of worship, that it is vital that we understand God’s will and His instructions to His last generation disciples. So what I would like to do today and over time with perhaps several other sermons, is lay a foundation so that you will understand why prophecy says what it says and why developments will develop in a certain way as we near the close of probation. May God bless you as you listen to this month’s message.
Before I begin, let me remind you that the end of December is the cut-off date for the renewals to our monthly subscriptions for the little CD preachers that come to you each month. It is a close of probation of sorts. If you want to continue receiving these monthly updates, and you haven’t returned your subscription card, please do so today so that you won’t miss a single issue. In the month of January, we are going to update our list of over 21,000 world-wide addresses and discontinue the subscriptions of those who have not returned their yellow renewal cards. You may receive January’s CD, but you won’t receive the one for February if you have not renewed your subscription. If you were a new subscriber in 2009, you don’t have to renew. Your subscription will be continued. Also, if you made a gift in 2009, we assume that you want to renew.
And let me add that we here at Keep the Faith Ministry really appreciate the support that many of you send each month. It helps us get out the monthly CDs to so many around the world who cannot support this work. Some have been so faithful to send a monthly gift, and we really thank the Lord for all He has done for Keep the Faith Ministry in its work of reaching out to souls that want to understand prophecy. It is literally a faith ministry, and so far God has keep His end of the bargain. Please pray that we will continually preach the truth. Your prayers mean very much to us. Thank you so much.
The Bible has always been at the center of the controversy between Christ and Satan, and therefore, it has always been at the center of the struggle over truth and error in this world between those that believe God’s word and those that want to avoid its claims.
In every age and in every era there have been those who have tried to argue against the principles found in the Bible. Meanwhile, God has always had His witnesses that would uphold the word of God as the only infallible, authoritative voice in Christian faith and practice. Many have tried to place tradition on equal authoritative footing with scripture. But this mistake leads men away from the Bible’s holy utterances. Now in the last days, the Bible is again at the center of the struggle. Will a man or woman believe and do what God has said so that His word is a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path, or will they follow the teachings and traditions of men and of churches that are not founded in God’s sacred scriptures and end up in error and darkness? This question has always been one of the most important for Christian people to decide. Is it ok to disobey God for convenience sake, or because we have always done it a certain way? Or do we need to obey God’s word and live according to His law of liberty?
Perhaps there is a more refined argument at the center of the struggle between God’s people and those who profess to follow Jesus and yet disobey Him, is the Law. There is a hatred kindled against God’s law by those who want to be saved in their sins. But sin is slavery, while the keeping of God’s law is liberty. Speaking of the ten commandment law, as the “royal law” the apostle James says, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” That’s James 2:8, 12. The Ten Commandments actually free us from the slavery of sin. And victory over sin, by the grace of God, is the best experience you will ever have. Those who love Jesus, love His character. And those who love His character, love His law. They delight to do His law. And His Holy Spirit gives them power to live it day by day. I don’t know about you, but I want to be free from slavery.
The Ten Commandments are the centerpiece of God’s character. Therefore, it is the very target of Satan. If we want to have the character of Christ we must then have His law in our hearts. To have His law in our hearts means that we keep that law as He gave it to us. To have the most pure unselfishness is in reality to have Jesus character infused into our hearts so that we do what He did. We live the way He lived.
Satan’s goal is to prevent man from keeping God’s law and persuade him that it is better or more advantageous to sin. And what fine cooperation Satan has had from Christian people. He doesn’t care if you are a Christian, so long as you don’t keep God’s law. It seems that everywhere you turn today Christian people are refusing to keep God’s law. They continually find excuses not to obey. “I was born that way,” is one of them. Another is that “we’ll be sinning till Jesus comes, so we don’t really need to try to keep the law.” And still another goes like this, “God understands our sinful nature and He forgives us of our sins, past, present and future. He kept the law for us. So we don’t need to.”
What a shame. God offers us such high living by keeping His law of liberty. And He offers us the power to do it, for He would never ask us to do something that He cannot give us the power to do. Why then do we prefer to wallow in the cesspool of sin, all the while attending church each week and singing praises to God as if we are happy to be living in sin? While many preachers will tell you that we need to keep the law of God, they do not teach that we must keep them as written in the Ten Commandments. Instead they teach that it is ok to break them in various ways. For instance, they teach that it is ok to play football, when to do so means that you must break the law of God. Many sports games involve elements of deception for instance, which is forbidden in the Ten Commandments which say “thou shalt not bear false witness.” Stealing is taught in baseball when the runner “steals the base.” Perhaps you can think of things in cricket, soccer or other sports that break God’s law.
Many pastors teach that it is okay to bow down to images and pray to saints because they say that the image is really to remind them of the saint. But the Ten Commandments forbid this… “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them. Why then do so many, including the pope of Rome, serve the Virgin Mary? You see my friends, the whole world is caught up in disobedience to the law of God. Many take God’s name in vain when they curse or swear, or use common slang. Many commit adultery in their hearts by lusting after one another. Many have covetousness in their hearts through envy or jealousy.
And most people would agree that all these things are forbidden in scripture and that they should not do these things. But they do them anyway, thinking that God will overlook these sins, or forgive them, even though they don’t repent.
But there is one commandment that actually draws more opposition than all others. And that is the fourth commandment to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Many preachers teach that Sunday is the day of rest for the Christian now instead of the seventh-day of the week because that is the day on which Christ was raised from the dead. They call it the “Christian Sabbath.” But do they have any scripture to which they can point to show that the fourth commandment has been changed?
There has been a problem every time the subject of the seventh day Sabbath comes up. It is usually because people have been taught certain things that are not true. Often people think that Sunday sacredness was ordained by Christ or His apostles in spite of the fact that they are unable to provide one verse of scripture to genuinely support their idea. Even Pope John Paul II tried to convince his readers of this falsehood when he said in his apostolic letter Dies Domini, that “the Lord’s Day — as Sunday was called from Apostolic times — has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church…” Even though he uses a lot of scripture verses in Dies Domini to support Sunday sacredness, he does not provide even one that supports the thesis that the apostles knew Sunday to be the Lord’s Day or kept it sacredly. The scriptures he uses are misapplied and are therefore deceptive.
John Paul’s statement is actually untrue and very misleading. The apostles did not think of Sunday as the Lord’s day. Jesus identified the Lord’s Day in Mark 2:28 when He said that “the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” And John the Revelator says that he was “in the spirit on the Lord’s Day,” meaning that he received a vision from God’s Holy Spirit on the Sabbath not Sunday. Most people have been confused about this because they have been taught that the Lord’s Day was Sunday since their childhood. They think that John had his vision on Sunday. Nowhere in Holy Scripture is the idea presented that the Lord’s Day is anything other than the seventh-day of the week. Yet John Paul and now Benedict treat it as if it were just a matter of fact that Sunday has from the time of the apostles been considered to be the Lord’s day, when in reality it is not fact at all, but fiction.
Why would such important people want to misrepresent the facts? Friends, this is one of the great mysteries of iniquity. There are motivations that are not obvious to all. They are hidden. They have to do with power and with money and especially with the desire to justify disobedience to God’s holy law.
Today, let us examine what scripture tells us about the apostles and what they did concerning the Sabbath commandment. James says that breaking even one of the Ten Commandments is the same as breaking them all because the law of God is a whole unit. Listen to what he says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” That’s James 2:10. You cannot keep any of them if you break even one. So James is really saying that the whole law is still binding after the resurrection of Christ.
I hope to share with you some very interesting facts about the apostles. Turn with me in your Bibles, if you can, to 1 John 3:4. Here the beloved apostle tells us that “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” So obviously the apostle John believed that breaking the Ten Commandment law was sin. But John wasn’t the only one. In Romans 7:12 Paul says that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” This tells us that since the apostles believed that the law was still valid after the resurrection of Christ, they must have kept it. Though the verses don’t say that, it is obvious from their practice, as you will see that they did not keep Sunday sacred.
When the Bible speaks of the Sabbath, it is not talking about some vague concept. It is speaking specifically about the seventh day of the week on which God rested at creation and the day that His true people always kept sacred and rested from labor and anything else that was secular. The Sabbath goes all the way back, long before there was a Jew to the time when God created earth and humanity. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:2-3 that “God rested on the seventh day from all His work… and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” It was God’s purpose to commune with man so He set aside a day when man would be able to cease all his other labors and interests, and focus on God alone.
The Sabbath was given to man even before there was any sin that polluted this earth. Then at Sinai God said in Exodus 20:8 to “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” It is not something to forget. Not only is it enshrined in the ten commandment law, but God especially told us to remember it.
Then God said, “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God…” There is perhaps no clearer statement than this; that the Sabbath is on the seventh-day. It is not on the first day, or the third day or any other day, and that we are to rest from our work on it so that we can commune with God. Then in verse 11 He says: “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
He says it a second time underscoring its importance. It is clearly the seventh day that God hallowed, isn’t it? And it goes all the way back to creation in which God gave the seventh day Sabbath for all mankind, not just the Jews.
There is another very interesting fact that we should note. In Mathew 24, Jesus was telling his disciples about the tribulation or the time of trouble, and what they should do and what they should not do. Concerning this intense period Jesus counseled his disciples that they should pray for something. Now if Jesus told you to pray about something, wouldn’t you consider it to be important? Of course you would. So we need to pay attention to what Jesus said and follow it, don’t we? We are also His disciples. And lest you think that He was referring only to the time of the destruction of the temple, let me remind you that these words of Jesus our Lord were in answer to two questions of the disciples who had asked Him when would the temple be destroyed and what would be the sign of His second coming? Jesus answered both of these questions with this one sermon. If you look at verse 20, Jesus’ words were as follows: “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.”
So in other words, Jesus was saying that there would come a time when His disciples then and in the last generation would have to flee from their homes and businesses and seek refuge in hiding. In preparation for this, Jesus’ disciples were to pray to the Father that before the time of trouble comes, before the great tribulation comes upon His church, they were to pray that their flight would not be in the winter or on the Sabbath day. This is so that it will be easier for them, and so that they won’t have to flee on God’s holy day. If they had to flee on the Sabbath, the commotion, excitement and travel that they would experience would be inappropriate for the Sabbath. They would have much on their minds and would not be able to keep the Sabbath as it should be kept.
Likewise at the end of time, Christ warns us to pray in advance that we are spared our flight during the winter or on the Sabbath day. This is His direct counsel. Don’t you think we should follow it? If the Sabbath commandment was no longer in force after the resurrection as advocates of Sunday tell us, then why would Jesus tell His disciples to pray that their flight not be on the Sabbath? What this verse actually tells us is that Jesus, the One who could see the future and who would have known that there was going to be a change from the Sabbath to Sunday if in fact there was to be a change, told His disciples to pray that their flight would not be on the Sabbath day. In other words, Jesus did not even hint that approximately 40 years after His resurrection, when Jerusalem was destroyed, that there was going to be a change in the Sabbath. Nor did He suggest that there would be any change in the sacredness of the Sabbath nearly 2000 years after His resurrection, for he was telling us to pray a similar prayer. He could have said that we are to pray that our flight not be on Sunday, or on the new Sabbath, or on the Christian Sabbath, but He didn’t. He could have said that we should pray that our flight not be on the new holy day, whatever day that would be, but He didn’t. This tells us that Jesus Himself did not anticipate a change in God’s holy law given at creation and upon Mount Sinai.
How then can John Paul II or Benedict XVI or anyone else say that Jesus changed the Sabbath? They can’t, at least not based on the verses we have read so far. This verse essentially says the opposite, and confirms quite clearly in fact that Jesus expected that His disciples, both then and now, would be keeping the Sabbath.
Now let us turn to the book of Acts. First let me point out that the book of Acts was written approximately 30 years after the resurrection of Christ. By that time, there should have been a very clear understanding among the disciples including the author Dr. Luke, that the Sabbath had been changed to Sunday. And it would have been an important time to reinforce this change in the new church so that there would be no confusion as to what day is now sacred for them to keep.
Let us examine what Luke actually says in His compelling account of the work of the disciples of Jesus. We’ll start with Chapter 13. Notice verse 14. “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down.” Eventually they gave a discourse and argued how Jesus fulfilled prophecy.
Now many people argue that they went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day so they could dispute with the Jews concerning Christ, not because it was sacred anymore. However, it is important to understand that this discourse happened around 14 years after the Resurrection, and this account was written 30 years after the resurrection. This would have been an ideal opportunity to teach us about the change in the Sabbath. Luke could have used the term “the Jewish Sabbath,” or the “old Sabbath,” and clearly indicated that it was not to be kept as the Sabbath any longer. But he didn’t. He just said that they went into the synagogue on “the Sabbath.” This is important because there is no evidence that Luke understood that the Sabbath had been changed from the Sabbath of the commandment. He simply used the term that had for many centuries referred to the Sabbath of the Lord.
Then in verse 27 we read part of Paul’s discourse; “For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.”
Again Paul, of all people, should have made it clear that the Sabbath had changed. After all, he was a powerful orator, and he argued his principles very effectively. He could have easily used words that implied at least that the Christians need not keep that old covenant Sabbath. He could have said that the voices of the prophets which are read “on every one of their Sabbaths,” suggesting that the Sabbath commandment was a Jewish thing, and that Christians don’t have to keep it, but he didn’t. Paul acts as if there has never been a change. If in fact there had been a change in the Sabbath, Paul would have been deceptive not to make that clear. And Paul would not stoop to that, for Paul himself, as we have already seen believed that the ten commandment law was still binding. And let me point out that Paul uses the sacred name of the Sabbath. He does not say that they went into the synagogue on the seventh day of the week, or Saturday, or any other secular word. He doesn’t even say that he went into the synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath. He uses the term Sabbath, which is the word God gave it when he sanctified the seventh day.
Now let us turn to verse 42 and 44. “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath… And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”
They must have had to find another place than the synagogue, because it would have been too small for almost the whole city. Besides, non-Jews were not permitted to go into the synagogue. But notice again that Luke does not inform us that the disciples said anything about a change in the Sabbath. This would have been a marvelous opportunity to tell these Gentiles that they should meet on Sunday because that is the new day of worship. But they didn’t. This would have been an ideal time for them to clarify this. After all, the meeting was mostly Gentiles, who wanted to know about Christ and what the Christian faith was all about. If the change in the Sabbath was so important, why did Paul neglect to tell them this at this important time? Why was there no discussion about the transition from Sabbath to Sunday? You won’t find that in any of the writings of the apostles. Not one word is spoken about the change anywhere in scripture.
Friends, this is because there had been no change in the Sabbath commandment, just like there had not been any change in the commandment that says, “Thou shalt not kill,” or “Thou shalt not steal,” or any of the others.
Now we turn to Acts 15. Beginning with verse 5 we read “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, that it was needful to circumcise them (or the Gentiles) and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up…” and after he gave a bit of history, he said “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”
And the result of the meeting is found in verse 19 and onward. Listen. “Wherefore my sentence is,” said James, “that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”
In these verses we see that the Jewish converts were charging that the apostles were neglecting circumcision, but not the Sabbath. If the Christians would have been keeping Sunday, these Jewish converts would have certainly accused them of neglecting and even breaking the Sabbath. In fact, in every case where the apostles were accused of anything, and they were often accused by the Jews, they were never accused of advocating a different day of worship. Their inveterate enemies would have been very quick to jump on that accusation.
Now we turn to Acts 16, and we’ll read from verse 12. “And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made: and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.”
Note again that the apostles, more than 14 years after the resurrection still keep the Sabbath by attending a service by the river where “prayer was wont to be made.” There they fellowshipped with those that came there for the prayer season and to worship. And notice also that Luke again says absolutely nothing about a change in the day of worship? Again, Paul uses the sacred term for the seventh day of the week, not a secular term. Moreover Dr. Luke who was writing 30 years after the resurrection of Christ could have told us that they did this because these people were not yet informed concerning the sacredness of Sunday and that is why they met on the Sabbath, and that it was a mistake which they later corrected. But he didn’t.
Then in chapter 17, Paul and Silas came to Thessalonica and Luke says, “and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” And in verse four we read that “some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.”
So let us understand what is being said here and what is implied. Again, there are many Gentiles involved. If these were going to be instructed in the new faith, why didn’t Paul and Silas tell them about the change of the Sabbath? Instead, Luke informs us that they kept the Sabbath, using it as an opportunity to explain about Christ to the Jews and also to the Gentiles. Never once, however, do we read that they advised any of them of the significant change in the Sabbath to Sunday. And remember this is more than 14 years after the resurrection of Christ. And Luke still uses the sacred name of the Sabbath. Never once in all of the Acts, does the apostle use a secular name for the Sabbath. This tells us very clearly that Paul, Silas and Luke all knew what day was the Sabbath, and knew that it was still holy and that the Sabbath commandment was still binding. The silence of these witnesses of Christ concerning the change of the Sabbath is thundering!
Now, we come to a rather controversial verse in Acts 20. We’ll read beginning with verse seven. When Paul, Luke and the other disciples with them came to Troas, they stayed there seven days. “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 until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together…”
And when Eutychus fell out of the window, Paul ministered to him, and then came back up again to the upper chamber. Verse 11 says, “When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.”
I wonder why this story is written for us to study. Most people think that this meeting was on Sunday, and many suggest that this meeting was a worship service and therefore it must have been recognized that the Sabbath had been changed. But there are some very important points about this verse that tell us otherwise.
First, note that Luke uses the secular term for Sunday by saying “the first day of the week.” He could have informed us very clearly that this was the new Sabbath of the Christian church, by saying that it was the “Christian Sabbath”, or the “new Sabbath,” but he didn’t. He gives Sunday no special regard. And this is 30 years after the resurrection when he wrote this. This would have been a vital issue of great magnitude. After all, it would be changing one part of God’s holy law. It could not have been accidentally overlooked. It is just too important of a change to ignore or neglect to instruct the believers in it. Moreover, it would have certainly generated a good deal of apostolic discussion because of most certain opposition.
Second, let us be reminded about when the Bible begins the literal day. The day begins at sunset, not at midnight. Secular calendars begin at midnight. But the Bible day begins at sunset. The Jews knew this and the disciples of Jesus knew this. And those that follow the scripture know this.
If, therefore, the meeting was on the first day and there were many lights in the chamber, when was this meeting? It could not have been on Sunday night because this would have been Monday according to their normal reckoning. This meeting had to be on Saturday night after the Sabbath. Paul preached till midnight after the close of the Sabbath and communed with them until Sunday morning and then he departed. If Paul had any respect for Sunday as the new day of rest he would not have traveled until Monday morning.
This is a very strong witness for the Sabbath being kept by the apostles. Just because the disciples broke bread on this night does not make Sunday a sacred day. Acts 2:46 tells us that “they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” In other words, the breaking of bread does not imply that they were having a communion service, though that would not be wrong to do on any day of the week. It tells us that the disciples broke bread every day. And that doesn’t make every day sacred like the Sabbath.
Furthermore, this is the only instance in the New Testament of a religious meeting on the first day of the week. If this would have become the practice of the apostles, there would certainly have been more records of this happening. And since the Sabbath commandment was so important to the Jews, the apostles would have taken pains to tell the many thousands of converts that the day had been changed either on their own authority or on the authority of Christ himself. But they didn’t. They didn’t say one single word about it.
No stress can be laid upon the phrase “when the disciples came together.” The Bible doesn’t say that these kinds of meetings were held each 1st day. Paul was getting ready to depart! They would not see him again probably, and they took the opportunity to fellowship with Paul and hear him preach. That is all. Nothing more can be drawn from this story.
Many advocates of Sunday sacredness say that Sunday worship is sacred because they commemorate the resurrection on that day and site this text as justification for it. But the breaking of bread, however, was to commemorate the crucifixion by the Lord’s supper not the resurrection. The symbolic link is broken with this argument. Breaking bread, if it indicates a day to respect or worship, would then logically be used to commemorate the crucifixion on Fridays. Using this verse to suggest that it supports Sunday worship is poor logic at best. There is no indication that Luke even acknowledges that Sunday is now the sacred day.
Now let us look at another verse in scripture that is quite controversial and often misrepresented by advocates of Sunday sacredness. It is found in Chapter 16 of first Corinthians.
Paul writes “now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches in Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
Many have taken it upon themselves to suggest that Paul is authorizing Sunday sacredness and Sunday worship because these believers were taking up a public collection on the first day of the week, and therefore the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. So let us examine this verse and see what the apostle actually says and what he does not say.
First, this is not a public collection on the first day of the week. The verse actually says that each person is to put his offering in storage for when Paul comes to Corinth, so that there is no need to make public appeals for funds. Paul is advocating systematic giving to the Lord’s work. He wants to avoid emotional appeals and emotional giving at the last minute. He is obviously saying that it is better to give systematically, and that it is to be done at the beginning of the week before the funds are spent. Let us say that a person gets paid on Friday. He then must get ready for the Sabbath and would not have time to sort himself out concerning his offerings for Paul’s missionary work. But he is recommending that as soon as the new week begins, believers should put aside their gifts to God’s cause, so that it would not be forgotten and be spent on other things. That way there would be plenty of funds in the treasury when they were needed. This is a very good principle to follow today.
This statement does not say anything about public worship at all. It does not say anything about the day of worship or the day that is holy to the Lord. This cannot be used to prove that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. It is the flimsiest excuse of all perhaps. Since when does instruction to set aside an offering for God’s cause constitute a change in God’s holy law so that the Sabbath is now to be kept on Sunday?
Let us say for a minute that this is about a public collection, though it really isn’t. But even if it was, how would a worship service on Sunday be proof of Sunday sacredness. There is no doubt that when Paul was in Thessalonica, and he preached until midnight on the first day of the week, they were having a worship service. But Paul’s own actions show us that he did not view Sunday as sacred. He set out on his travels on Sunday morning. He did not regard Sunday as sacred at all.
Friends, the history of the apostles tells us that they understood that God’s law was not done away with at the cross. They also understood that the Sabbath was still God’s holy sacred day of rest, and that there was no change in the divine command. They understood that they were doing the will of Jesus when they kept His Sabbath, for it was Jesus that said He was the Lord of the Sabbath. If He is your Lord, then keeping the Sabbath would be an important commitment.
John Paul or any other religious leader can tell you whatever they want, but they cannot change God. They cannot change His law. And they cannot change his Sabbath. If they try to tell you that the Sabbath is no longer on the seventh day, ask them to show you a single scripture that authorizes a change. It cannot be done.
I don’t know about you, but I am glad that there is no evidence in scripture that God’s law was ever changed. This gives me confidence in God that He is consistent in all generations, from creation right down to the new earth. For he says, in Malachi 3:6 “I am the Lord, I change not.” This tells us that from eternity past to eternity future, God will always be the same. My friends, if you are not keeping God’s sacred Sabbath day, please follow Jesus who is our example in all things. He kept the Sabbath and indicated that His followers would keep the Sabbath right up until the second coming. If you have been going to church on the seventh-day of the week, but you are not keeping the Sabbath the way God has instructed us, then take the initiative to protect God’s sacred time from secular thoughts, activities and discussion that does not lead you and others to a sacred experience with Jesus on His holy day.
In future sermons, I plan to expand on this theme concerning the objections that are raised against the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath. I want you to have useful help in addressing these questions in your own life as well as to help you share with others. I also plan, at some point, to discuss the reasons why God has given us the seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest.