Exodus 20:8. Here we have the fourth commandment. "Remember the sabbath day, to keeep it holy." Now I will have to confess that I am absolutely unable to produce anything that answers to that commandment in Christianity. It is not to be found. Remember, that word "sabbath," which means "rest," is first used in Exodus 16:23 in connection with the children of Israel gathering the manna. It was not to be gathered on the sabbath, the seventh day. This day was distinctly declared to be a day of rest. But when we enter the Christian dispensation or administration, if you prefer, we find no directions for the observance of any such day. There is only one mention of the Sabbath in any of the New Testament epistles; that is in Col. 2:16. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath." But now notice the qualifying statement in the next verse, "Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Evidently the only reason for mentioning the Sabbath here is to show that it forms no part of the Christian revelation. On the contrary, it was but a shadow of what was to follow. As far as our day of rest is concerned, we learn from Hebrews 4 that, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." (vs. 9). We cannot say that the Sabbath has been changed to Sunday. The Sabbath was always the seventh day of the week; Sunday is the first day of the week, so it could not possibly be the Sabbath. So we await our day of rest when the Lord shall take us to His Father's house, that we may rest in His love. The rest is at the end of the journey.
Some may ask the question, "What about the Lord's Day, the first day of the week; is that not our day of rest?" To this we must answer, "No." Then what place does it hold in our lives? Does the expression itself not answer the question, "the Lord's Day?" The day belongs to the Lord. It is to be used for Him. It is on that day that we come together to break bread. The term Lord's Day is found only once, I.e., in Rev. 1:10. The word in Greek here might be translated dominical. So we might translate this verse in Rev. 1, "I was in the Spirit on the dominical day." Now if we go back to the 11th chapter of First Corinthians, we shall find this same Greek word used in connection with the Lord's supper. Or, it might be called the dominical supper. Now is it not significant that the only use of this Greek word dominical in the New Testament is in connection with the super and the day? So the Lord's supper is observed on the Lord's Day.
The Lord's Day is definately distinguished from other days by several significant scriptures. Our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead on the first day of the week; He appeared to His disciples on that day; He appeared to them again the 2nd Lord's Day after His resurrection. We note that the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost which was also the first day of the week; the disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread; the apostle told the Corinthians to lay by on the first day of the week their contribution for the collection for the poor saints. All these Scriptures go to show us that in Christianity the first day of the week completely displaces the Jewish Sabbath. How inconsistent it would be for the church of God to celebrate as their day, that during which their Lord and Saviour lay under the power of death and the grave. But how glorious to come together on the first day of the week, the day of His victory over the tomb. How sweet and precious to give to Him this first day of the week, His day.
I desire to say something to you young people here today. It grieves me as I go about to find so many of our young folks using the Lord's Day for their ordinary tasks of life. You tell me that you would not think of getting out and cutting the lawn on the Lord's Day, nor, perhaps would you consider doing your washing on the Lord's Day. But now, let us come nearer home. You say you are in school. Well and good; that is a proper and legitimate part of your life. I hope you do well in your school work. But listen; is your school work of such importance that it can rightfully displace your giving the Lord's Day to Him whom it belongs? Perhaps you answer, "If I do not study on the Lord's Day, I wil not get an "A" grade. Perhaps not, but even so, which is of more importance to you, an "A" or the Lord's approval? Let us seek, by the grace of God, to give the Lord His day.
Perhaps some young person is saying, "Well, how then am I to spend my Lord's Day?" I hapen to know how some of our dear young brothers and sisters make use of their spare time on the Lord's Day. They find various ways of giving out the gospel. Maybe it is the visiting of institutions for the passing out of tracts and speaking to souls individually about the Lord. Perhaps it is street preaching. With others it is visiting the sick and the shut-ins. Some take a part of the Lord's Day to write helpful letters to Christian friends, or perhaps to unsaved relatives and friends. Others take a part of the day to mail out literature to those whom they think might be helped in their souls by some tract or pamphlet. No, there is no Sabbath, no day of rest in Christianity, but there is a day we may be free to serve the Lord. May the Lord give us a tender conscience that it may be truly His day.