Introduction: The Lord’s Day? The Sabbath? Does God call on us to
rest one day of the week? If He does, does it matter which one?
Speaking of “one,” should we being keeping all days “holy?” Maybe all
our time is now holy because we now live in the “Sabbath rest” era of
history? What, exactly, does God require of us? Is this issue a
“pillar” of Christian faith? We will spend this week and the next
two looking at this interesting issue of the Sabbath. Let’s jump in
to see what God has to say!

  1. Creation

    1. Let’s read Genesis 1:1. Of all the things that God wrote
      about in the Bible, why did He start out with this
      message? (It defines our relationship to God. It teaches
      us who He is (our Creator) and who we are (His Creation).

      1. Last week we spoke of “righteousness by attitude.”
        What changes in your attitude if you know that God
        created you?

      2. Imagine getting hit in the head and forgetting your
        parents and your childhood. Then imagine that your
        parents found you and told you who they were and told
        you about your childhood. What impact would that have
        on your thinking? (You would feel like you knew your
        “place” in the world again.)

    1. Is believing God is our Creator a “pillar of faith” for
      Christians? Does it properly set our “place” in the
      world? (Not only did God start out with the message that
      He is our Creator, but Creation affects our relationship
      with Him in the most fundamental way. Creation says God
      has the power, and He exercised His power, to make us as
      we were in Eden. Evolution says there is no God, or, if
      there is, He does not have (or did not exercise) His
      power. God merely found us! We were already made by

      1. Consider the difference in your attitude in these two
        1. Your parents were able, by manipulating your
          genetic code, to select every one of your

        2. Your “parents” found you toddling along by the
          side of the road and decided to take you home
          with them because they had a large farm and
          needed all the workers they could get?

          1. How would your attitude be different?

  1. Creation Memorial

    1. Read Genesis 2:1-3. Why does the Bible say that God made
      the seventh day holy? Because He was a tired God? (No!
      The rest is keyed to His Creation! Sabbath is God’s
      memorial to His creation of the “heavens and the earth” —
      including the creation of us!)

      1. We have all sorts of memorials in the Bible and
        elsewhere. Normally, they are “things” that we look
        at to remind us of something in the past. Do you know
        of any “time” memorial like the Sabbath? (Birthdays,
        Anniversaries, Holidays.)

      2. How important is it that others remember your
        birthday on the exact day that you were born? How
        about being off by a week? A month? Six months? What
        about forgetting it altogether?

      3. Assume that you are married for the second time. Your
        spouse has a hard time remembering things – but he
        (she) remembers perfectly the birthday of his (her)
        first spouse. Since it is a real pain to try to
        remember your actual birthday, would it be OK with
        you to celebrate your birthday on the actual birthday
        of your spouse’s first husband (wife)? Would that
        please you? To make life easier for him (her), what
        if he (she) just started calling you by the name of
        his (her) first spouse?

      4. If God commands us to keep a specific period of time
        as a memorial to His work as Creator, does He care if
        we change it?

        1. Do you think it makes a difference if God’s
          position as Creator is already heavily under

        2. Why do you think God’s authority as Creator is
          under attack? (Consider two pictures. In the one
          we were created perfect, sinned, got worse and
          are saved now only by God. In the second, we
          started from nothing, and steadily got better,
          and are now secure in the knowledge that we are
          the best mankind has ever been. Is it any wonder
          that believing in Creation is inconsistent with
          man’s arrogance and pride?)

    2. Read Exodus 20:8-11. What reason does God give for
      keeping the seventh day holy? (Creation! God says again
      that it is a memorial to His Creation.)

      1. I have a friend who says that God resting on Sabbath
        after Creation cannot be that important because there
        is no reference to it between the Creation week and
        the giving of the Ten Commandments. Is that true?

        1. Look at Exodus 20:8 again. When God says
          “remember,” is He saying, “let me remind you of
          something you already know?” Or, is He saying,
          “remember to do this in the future?” (There are
          two clues to this. First, God gives a past event
          as the reason for remembering. Second, read
          Exodus 16:23-27. God gave Manna to the people
          for them to eat before they were given the Ten
          Commandments. Even in the giving of food God did
          not have them collecting it on the seventh day
          because the holiness of the Sabbath.)

    3. Read Exodus 31:13&17. In verse 17 God repeats that the
      Sabbath is keyed to creation. However, in verse 13 He
      introduces a new concept as the basis for Sabbath-keeping.
      What is it? (Salvation! God tells us that the Sabbath is
      a memorial not only to the fact that He created us, but
      that He recreates us.)

  2. Sabbath Significance?

    1. Exodus 31:13 says “Say to the Israelites… observe my
      Sabbaths.” Is this a command only to the Jews? All of the
      texts that we have looked at so far are found in the Old

      1. If you said, “yes,” does that mean that the entire 10
        Commandments were meant only for the Jews?

    2. Read Isaiah 56:1-2, 6-7. When Isaiah speaks of the
      Sabbath, does he limit it to Jews? (No. Verse 6
      specifically refers to “foreigners” and worshiping (v.7)
      in a “house of prayer for all nations.)

    3. Are there any texts in the New Testament that refer to
      Sabbath-keeping by Jesus and His disciples? (Read Mark
      2:27-28; Mark 1:21; Mark 6:2; Luke 4:31; Acts 16:13; Acts
      17:2. There is not a single text anywhere in the Bible
      that refers to anything other than worship on the seventh
      day. Jesus and the disciples all worshiped on Sabbath.)

    4. We have discussed the origin of Sabbath worship, we have
      discussed its significance (in terms of Creation and
      redemption), we have shown that Jesus and His disciples
      worshiped on Sabbath. Does it really matter what day we
      worship? Will any day do?

      1. Read Micah 6:8. When God says, “Listen up, I am going
        to tell you what I require of you,” I am going to
        listen. What does God say He requires? (Among other
        things, He calls for us to “humbly walk” with Him.)

        1. If God tells us to keep a specific day holy, and
          we decide that we will just pick another day
          because it is more convenient or more popular,
          are we “humbly” walking with God? Or is this
          just the same sort of arrogance that causes
          people to reject God’s Creation account?

          1. If you are going to worship on one day,
            why not choose the day God specified? What
            reason is there for ignoring God’s

      2. What about keeping all days holy? Can we say that it
        doesn’t matter because we keep all days holy? (If you
        think you are keeping all days holy, you don’t
        understand what it means to keep a day holy. Exodus
        20:9-10 makes a distinction between the Sabbath and
        the other six days. God calls on us to get our labor
        done on the other days. Therefore, it would be
        impossible to keep all days “holy.”)

  3. Sabbath Fulfilled or Abrogated?

    1. Years ago I was driving a brand-new black Firebird car at
      high speed along a road that passed through a very rough
      area. The Firebird had just been redesigned and this was a
      loaded and very “hot” car. It was Saturday, I was alone in
      the car, and I was headed to church. In the distance I
      saw a hitch-hiker and immediately made up my mind I was
      not picking him up because he was in this rough area, he
      looked dangerous, and I was driving a valuable machine. As
      I passed in a blur, I noticed he was carrying a Bible.
      Jamming on the brakes, I backed up and asked him what he
      was doing with a Bible. He said he was headed to church.
      (The same church I was going to — but I did not tell
      him.) He got in and I started to harass him about going to
      church on Saturday and challenge him about his knowledge
      of the Bible. I pointed him to Colossians 2:16-17. Let’s
      read this text.

      1. Does this text say that Sabbath worship has been
        fulfilled by Jesus?

      2. Does this text teach that no one is to be judged by
        their day of worship? (None of the commentaries that
        I consulted (on this text) said that it refers to the
        weekly Sabbath. Instead, several very prominent
        commentators (Adam Clarke (“There is no intimation
        here that the Sabbath was done away, or that its
        moral use was superceded by the introduction of
        Christianity”); Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (“The
        weekly Sabbath is permanent, having been instituted
        in Paradise long before the Mosaic law.”); and,
        Barnes Notes(“[T]here is not the slightest reason to
        believe that [Paul] meant to teach that one of the
        ten commandments had ceased to be binding on
        mankind.”). Instead, all three suggest that Greek
        word for “Sabbath” here is plural, thus referring to
        the “Sabbaths” that were part of the Jewish festivals
        which pointed to the Messiah coming. Matthew Henry
        also says Paul is referring to the “ceremonial law”
        (as opposed to the 10 Commandments). Note the lack of
        bias here: none of these commentators advocate
        seventh-day Sabbaths. Indeed, J,F&B advocates a
        “first-day Sabbath.” Therefore, this text does not
        say that Sabbath worship has been abrogated or
        fulfilled by Jesus.)

    2. Read Hebrews 4:9-10. There are some recent writers who
      suggest, based on this chapter of Hebrews, that “this side
      of the cross” “Sabbath rest” refers to our salvation and
      no longer refers to a specific day. If this is true, what
      impact would it have on Sabbath-keeping? (It is common in
      the Bible for a principle to have more than one
      application. Assuming that we have now entered the
      “Sabbath rest” era of Christianity, does not allow us to
      ignore God’s command when it comes to choosing which day
      we will worship each week. If anything, the weekly
      Sabbath is a reminder of our salvation and our “Sabbath
      rest” era!)

    3. Friend, this lesson may challenge some of your long-held
      beliefs. It may create certain practical problems in your
      life. God calls us to humbly walk with Him. Will you put
      aside your prejudices and preconceived ideas and agree to
      walk with Him as He has expressed His will in His

  4. Next Week: The Sabbath – The Sign of Our Relationship With God.
    (We will continue to look at the subject of the Sabbath and
    Jesus’ comments on how it should be kept in the next two weeks.)