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Holy Day or Holiday?

Exodus 20:8-11


Why are you here today?  I mean on a Sunday?  Why not on a Saturday like in the OT?


1st commandment = Worship the right [only] God.

2nd commandment = Worship God in the right way.

3rd commandment = Worship God sincerely.

4th commandment = Worship God regularly.


This 4th commandment is the longest and also by far the most misunderstood.  Let’s clarify a few things:


The Period of Time

In the OT economy the Sabbath was Saturday.  It actually began at sundown on Fri. evening and concluded 24 hours later.  It was the 7th day of the week.  The Jews didn’t worship on the 1st day of the week as we do in NT times...on Sunday.  Some today still worship on Saturday and say we are desecrating the Sabbath, and that we couldn’t possibly be saved.  They go so far as to say that going to church on Sunday is the mark of the beast!  This is no fringe group, they are a major denomination.


So, what saith the Scripture?  Exodus 31:12-17 helps clarify this, ending this way about the Sabbath...

Exodus 31:17
It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

But we are in the church age, and God deals with us differently.  The nation of Israel has been temporarily set aside after they rejected Jesus as the Messiah.  [Rom. 9-11]  Jesus illustrated it this way in one of His last miracles...the only sad one He ever performed...He cursed the fig tree saying, from now on my kingdom will be given to those who bear the fruits thereof, or believe.  And the gospel went to us Gentiles.  One day Israel will nationally repent, but in the meanwhile they have been set aside, and so has their 7th day Sabbath. 


So, what right did the church have to change it to the 1st day?  None whatsoever...but God DOES have the right, and I can prove that He did just that.


  • Jesus was raised from the dead on a Sunday
  • He met with His disciples 5 times after His resurrection, and always on a Sunday
  • He imparted the Holy Spirit to them on a Sunday
  • The Great Commission was given to the church on a Sunday
  • Jesus ascended on a Sunday
  • Pentecost was a Sunday
  • The early church met for worship every Sunday [Acts 20:6-7]
  • Collections were taken for the work of the Lord each Sunday [I Cor. 16:2]
  • The Bible was completed on a Sunday [Rev. 1:10]


It is clear to see that a transition took place between the OT and the NT.


In the OT the 7th day Sabbath commemorated the finished work of creation.  God made everything that is in 6 days, and then He rested.  Then He created woman and no one has rested since!


In the NT the 1st day Sabbath commemorates the finished work of Calvary...redemption!


The OT Sabbath commemorated natural life, the NT Sabbath commemorates supernatural life!  The one was life from Adam, ours is life in Christ.  The one was God’s hand at work, the other was God’s heart at work.  The one was the display of God’s power, the other God’s grace.  One was for Israel, the other for the church.


I say today to OT Sabbath keepers:  You are living on the wrong side of Calvary!

Colossians 2:16-17
16 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: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

The OT Sabbath was just a shadow of Christ to come...but now that we have the real thing, we no longer need the shadow.


The Period


The Principles.

v. 9-10a   Two principles here:  Work and Worship*



What a dirty, 4 letter word!  We’ve got a generation of lazy people.  Our welfare needs reform because every time it allows payment to able bodied, lazy people who refuse to work, it takes away from the truly disabled who TRULY need it.  It’s one thing if you cannot work...I’m talking about those who WILL not work.  The Bible says if you won’t work, you shouldn’t eat.

“I had a horse...trained him not to eat...quick as I got him trained he up and died on me!”

        Some people live to work, some work to live, and many today will die trying to find a way to live without working, and our nation is encouraging it.


Some simple statements for Congress on our welfare program of today:

  • You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating workers out of freedom.
  • You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
  • The government cannot give to anybody that which it does not take away from somebody [Robin Hood syndrome]
  • What one man receives without working for another must work for without receiving.


We’ve killed the morale and initiative of our work force, and we could learn a lot from the work ethic of many migrants today who come here to work.


Modern Day Parable of the Little Red Hen:


One day as the Little Red Hen was scratching in a field, she found a grain of wheat.

"This wheat should be planted," she said. "Who will plant this grain of wheat?"

“Not I,” said the Cow

"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Goose.
"Not I," said the Pig.


"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

Soon the wheat grew to be tall and yellow.

"The wheat is ripe," said the Little Red Hen. "Who will cut the wheat?" asked the little red hen.


"Not in my job description," mooed the cow.

"I'd lose my seniority," honked the goose.

"I’d lose my unemployment," quacked the duck.

"I’d lose my social security," grunted the pig.


"Then I will,” said the little red hen, and she did.

Then it came time to bake the bread.

“Who will help me bake the bread,” she asked


"That would be overtime for me," mooed the cow.

"I'd lose my welfare benefits," honked the goose.

"Dropping out I never learned how," quacked the duck.

"If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination," grunted the pig.


"Then I will,” said the little red hen, and she did. She baked five bread loaves and held them up for her neighbors to see.

They all wanted some. In fact, they demanded their rightful share. But the little red hen said, "No, I and my chicks can eat the five loaves ourselves."

"Excess profits!," squealed the pig.

"Capitalistic leech!," honked the goose.

"Equal rights!," demanded the cow.

And the duck quacked in too!


And the animals painted "unfair" picket signs and marched round and round the little red hen, shouting their slogans, and their obscenities.

When the government agent came he said to the little red hen, "You must not be greedy."

"But I earned the bread," said the little red hen.

"Exactly," said the agent. "That is the wonderful free enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants, but under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must contribute their product to the idle."


Well, the barnyard calmed down, and the animals lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, "I am grateful, I am grateful."

But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked any more bread.


There’s more truth than humor in that.  It’s very un-American what is going on today, as many won’t work and want the others to feed them, and many who work sense it’s futile to work if somebody else is going to get the reward for their labor.


Jesus was raised as a hard worker, and there’s no better testimony a believer can have than being a hard worker.  It helps if you find your calling and love what you do, as we do.  We certainly wouldn’t put in 80 hours a week if it weren’t our very heartbeat. 

It’s a good testimony if you work hard.  But when you cut corners, call in sick, lie on your time card, etc., or others see you being idle or lazy, it’s a terrible testimony.

Romans 12:11
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Principle of work...


Principle of worship

v. 8  “Remember”

We are a forgetful people.  I have a photographic memory but sometimes usually forget to put film in the camera!


Joke—3 elderly women were talking.  One said, I have such a bad memory, I open the fridge and can’t remember if I’m putting something in or taking something out.  The 2nd said, I have the same problem.  I have one leg in the bathtub and one out, and I can’t remember if I’m getting in or getting out!  The 3rd said, well, thank the Lord, so far I have no problem with my memory...knock on wood...hey, can somebody see who’s at the door!


It’s one thing to forget where your keys are, but entirely another to forget the goodness and the grace of God.  It’s the first step toward backsliding.


When someone who claims to be a Christian doesn’t have the gumption or basic spirituality to come to church and worship one day a week, consistently, the problem is quite simple:  they have forgotten the goodness of God!


Chinese parable:  A beggar walked down the street and asked a man for a coin so he could get something to eat.  The man reached into his pocket and pulled out 7 coins.  He gave the beggar 6 of them, then put the 7th coin back into his own pocket.  Well, no matter, for the beggar was also a pickpocket and stole the 7th and last coin.

        Reminds me of some Christians:  God has given them 6 days to conduct all their business, and they receive that from God, and then say, “I will steal a 7th day also.”  And they turn the Lord’s day into “Lake Day”.  They take the holy day and make it their own personal holiday.  Some try to dignify their actions by calling it a ‘family day’.  But Sunday is about the Lord first, and the best day a family can spend is in God’s house!


“But it’s my only day off!”  No, the 4th commandment says, it’s not your day, it’s God’s day all day!  “But I can do big business that day!” Then why are the industry leaders in business Chic-Fil A and Hobby Lobby? You need to do business with God, and give Him your business.  I know some have to work some Sundays...I’m talking about those who choose to!


Grandpa called it “The Lord’s Day.”  Daddy called it “Sunday.”  We call it simply, “the weekend,” and it’s getting weaker and weaker!


It’s not a holiday, it’s a holy day.  It’s not a travel day, it’s the Lord’s Day!  “But I have to work!”  Again, there’s work and worship.  Which will go by the wayside? 


Some here are convinced that I pray for rain when they go to a ballgame on a Sunday.  Not so!  And I don’t judge you.  This is between you and God!  I like vacations, and I want you to have one...but not a vacation FROM God!  We have missed 6 Sundays ourselves…but that’s in 4 years!  You know what some Christians call missing 6 Sundays?  Summer!

[Just get the principle:  Don’t borrow from God, don’t toss Him the leftovers, set it aside every week as a priority, and celebrate it all day long at that.  You can’t outgive God anyway!]


We need to have a ‘no excuse Sunday’, and we’d take care of all excuses.  We could pass out pillows for those who say it’s my only day to sleep in.  And helmets for those who say the roof would cave in.  Blankets for those too cold and fans for those too hot.  Hearing aids or cotton balls, whichever you need.  Scorecards for those who want to list the hypocrites.  We could decorate the platform w/ trees and plants for those who worship God in nature.  One half of the auditorium would be done in poinsettias and the other half in Easter lilies for those who’ve never seen it any other way!

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.

The closer we get to the end the more we need each other! 


The period, the principles [work and worship]


The Prophecy.

Sabbath means rest, and in Mt. 11 Jesus said, Come unto me, and I will give you rest.  Salvation rests in Christ.  It’s not by trying, but by trusting.  It’s not of works, it all rests in His hands as we trust Him.  We rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

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