OLD AND WORN-OUT EXCUSES FOR IGNORING GOD'S SABBATH
Short answers to frequently heard excuses from the pulpit.
1. There is no way of knowing which day is the actual seventh day God spoke of because it’s been lost in history and the many calendar changes. ¨ The days of the month have been changed several times but the weekly, seven-day cycle has been the same since even before Christ. Check an encyclopedia.
2. The Sabbath was made for the Jews, not for Gentiles. Even the Rabbis will tell you that. ¨ Are we to follow the Rabbis or Christ? “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal 3:28-29, Also Acts 15:9, and Isa 56:2-3.
3. Many of the Patriarchs observed Sunday, shouldn’t we follow their lead? ¨ There were also many who kept God’s Sabbath. Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ,” they both kept the Sabbath. Shouldn’t we do the same?
4. The law, with the Sabbath, was done away at the cross when Jesus said, “It is finished.” ¨ Christ came to die as God’s Passover Lamb, not to change His law (Matt 5). His statement verified the fact that His work on earth was accomplished, but there are many prophecies yet to be fulfilled.
5. The New Testament Church never observed the Sabbath, why should we? ¨ The Bible gives many instances of New Testament Christians upholding the law and observing God’s Sabbath and annual holy Days. Some examples are: Acts 13:42; 15:21; 17:2; 21:20 (converted Jews zealous for the law); 22:12; 24:14; 25:8; 28:17; I Cor. 5:6-8; 11:23-28; 16:8.
6. Paul never observed the Sabbath except to go where the Jews were, so he could convert them. ¨ Paul was not deceptive; he emphatically states that he never did anything to offend the Jews or the temple (Acts 25:8). Also, that he worshiped and believed all things as written in the law and the prophets (Acts 24:14). Paul was a law keeper.
7. The Lord’s Day is Sunday because Christ was resurrected on Sunday. ¨ God’s word tells us that Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5). Sunday is never referred to as God’s Sabbath. Regardless of what it is called Sunday is not the day God blessed and made Holy. Also see Ex. 20:10 and Isa 58:13.
8. John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (Rev 1:10) therefore; we keep Sunday in honor of His day. t There is nothing in the Bible that connects Sunday to the Lord’s Day. John was given a preview of the coming “Day of the Lord” and described what he saw as best as he could in the language of his day.
9. The church started keeping Sunday to honor Christ’s Sunday resurrection. ¨ A person or a church can honor God on any day they choose, but only God can make a day Holy. He does so by putting His presence in the day that He chose and He invited us to spend it with him. What‘s so bad about that?
10. Even those who claim to keep the Saturday Sabbath do not keep it correctly, so whom are they fooling? ¨ By that reasoning we shouldn’t try to do anything that God wants us to do. Shouldn’t we do what we can? Jesus chastised the Jewish leaders for making the Sabbath a burden instead of the joy He intended it to be.
11. Christ fulfilled all the Holy days (weekly and annual) at the cross, therefore, there are no holy days now. ¨ Fulfill does not mean do away but to fill full. The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable (Isa. 42:21). Study Matthew 5.
12. Christ is my Sabbath; therefore, I am continually resting in Christ so I don’t need to observe any particular day. ¨ We most certainly rest in the salvation Christ earned for us, but does that release us from obedience?
13. Every day is my Sabbath because I have accepted Christ as my Sabbath. ¨ Every day quickly becomes no day. Christ created the Sabbath on the seventh day of creation, set it apart for a Holy purpose and gave it to man (Mk 2:27).
14. If you keep the Jewish Sabbath you are denying Christ and therefore still under the law and have jeopardized your salvation. ¨ How can one deny Him by obeying Him? Titus tells us we deny Him by being disobedient (Titus 1:16).
15. Keeping the Jewish Sabbath is legalism and trying to earn salvation by works. ¨ Salvation comes by faith, not by works, but real faith produces works. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Is your faith dead?
16. There are many places in the New Testament where the church is found keeping the first day as their Sabbath. ¨ This is simply not true. Of the eight places where the first day is mentioned, not one of them is a Sabbath observance. Nowhere in the Bible is the first day commanded or kept as God’s Sabbath.
17. Colossians 2:14 plainly states that the law was nailed to the cross; therefore, we are not required to keep the Sabbath. ¨ What was nailed to the cross was that which was against us, a certificate of debt, which is our sins, not God’s law. God’s law is not a certificate of debt, but our sins are recorded on a certificate of debt and, in effect, nailed to His cross.
18. Colossians 2:16 states that we should not judge anyone for keeping a Sabbath, therefore we can keep any day we choose as our Sabbath. ¨ As your Sabbath, perhaps, but not God’s. God is the judge; will He sanctify your Sabbath over His?
19. Christ didn’t keep the Sabbath so why should we? ¨ The Jews accused Christ of breaking the Sabbath, but He was simply demonstrating how they had turned it into a burden instead of a blessing. Christ kept the Sabbath!
20. The Sabbath was never reaffirmed in the New Testament which proves the Sabbath command is no longer binding on the church. ¨ It is not necessary for God to reiterate a directive for it to remain in force. Consider what happened to the man of God in I Kings 13, when he acted on the advice of a prophet of God over God’s command. Absence of a restatement is not a nullification of the statement.
21. Romans 3:28 and Galatians 2:16 emphasize that justification is by faith apart from the works of the law, why then should a Christian feel obligated to keep the Sabbath? ¨ It is not the law that saves; it’s the faith of Christ. Isolating a verse from its subject can cause much confusion, be sure to read Romans. 3:31, “law not void” and Galatians 2:17, “if we are found to be yet sinners.”
22. Christ knew that in today’s modern world it would be impossible to keep the Sabbath, so He released us from that burden. ¨ Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Ask God for help to obey His commands and your help will come quickly. With a correct understanding of His Sabbath, and God’s help, you can keep His Sabbath as well as any of His commandants.
23. God taught the principle of keeping one day in seven, therefore keeping any day in seven fulfills the principle. ¨ The principle God taught was to work first, then rest. Did He say “one day in seven” or “the seventh day”? Would you change God’s word? Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar (Prov. 30:6). God’s Sabbath is not a principle; it’s a law!
24. Gentiles were exempted from Sabbath observance at the same time that they were exempted from circumcision. ¨ Paul says, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God [is] (1Cor 7:19). Circumcision was (and still is) a token of the covenant between God and Israel (Gen 17:10-11). To become an Israelite, one had to be circumcised. One does not have to become an Israelite to be a Christian. The Sabbath identifies God (Ex 31:13). There is no annulment of the Sabbath command in the Bible.
25. The Sabbath was given to Israel as a test of obedience and to set them apart from the world, not for the church. ¨ Jesus, the creator of the Sabbath said, “the Sabbath was made for man” not just Israel (Mark 2:27). However, the world will set you apart if you start honoring God’s Sabbath.
26. According to Deuteronomy 5:14-15, the Sabbath was given to Israel as a memorial of their deliverance out of Egypt, therefore it’s not for Christians. ¨ God was simply reminding them to deal justly with their servants, strangers, the fatherless and widows (Lev. 11:45; 19:33-34; Deut. 24:17-18). God says the Sabbath is a memorial of creation (Gen 2:1-3, Ex. 20:11).
27. Romans 6:14-15 says we are not under the law but under grace, why would we put ourselves back under that yoke of bondage by keeping the Sabbath? ¨ Being under the law means being guilty and under the condemnation of the law (Rom 3:19) being free from the condemnation of the law does not give us carte blanche to disobey the law. “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the (condemnation of the) law but under grace? God forbid.” God’s Sabbath is a blessing not a yoke of bondage. Try it, you will see.
28. The Catholic Church transferred the sanctity of the Sabbath day to Sunday and the whole world followed suit, thus proving the authority of the Catholic Church. ¨ Since when does man have the authority over God’s Church to change God’s law? Read Colossians 1:17-18, “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Also in Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not.” Read again Psalms 111:8, “They (His commandments) stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.”
WOULD YOU USE ONE OF THOSE EXCUSES WHEN YOU STAND BEFORE GOD?
Satan, a master at deception, deceived one third of God’s angels and turned them into demons of darkness; why should we be surprised when the Bible tells us that Satan has deceived the whole world. But, of course, we’re Christians, that’s talking about other people, certainly not us, right? Are we of the world? Who do we obey?
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Rom 6:16)?
“Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)?
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works. Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).
Therefore, we see that good works alone won’t suffice, but neither will no works, for we read in James 2:20, “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
Jude warns us, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). But we’re Christians, we don’t deny God and especially not Jesus Christ, do we?
How, then, does one deny Christ? Titus tells us, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). Profession alone won’t suffice.
There seems to be no end of ways to twist God’s word to try to convince the world that they should not observe God’s Sabbath. What is so bad about God’s gift to man that throughout history it has evoked such hatred against those who honor it. It simply boils down to, whom do you want to believe, God or man?
God gives us a clear description of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-33. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Who broke the covenant? What was changed, the law or where it was placed?
Was God speaking of the nation of Israel only? Remember, we are of the promise and therefore spiritual Israel (Gal 3:7, 27-29; 4:28; 6:16).
This prophecy is repeated in Heb. 10:16. “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.”
It’s all a matter of the heart, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt 12:34).
“The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for-ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness” (Ps 111:7-8).
Since his commandments last forever.
Since God does not change.
Since He is the head of His church.
Since God only made one day of the week Holy.
Since His Sabbath will be kept in His Kingdom (Isa 66:23).
Since there is no place in His Bible that says that He changed the Sabbath, and man certainly has no authority to add, take away, or change God’s word: We must conclude that the Sabbath is just as binding today as it ever was.
Jesus summed it up simply and succinctly, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev 22:14).
Sermon given 8/6/05 by Del Leger, Pastor, Christian Church Of God, Grand Junction Co. (970) 249-6857, email@example.com.