Of Instruction Concerning Regular Sunday Worship
Jesus said: "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the son of man is Lord also of the sabbath," (Mark 2:27, 28).
As we saw in "Jesus' Instruction Concerning the Eternal Sabbath" (23), Jesus taught by these words that He is the Lord of the true sabbath of rest which would come by His work, death, and resurrection, and which His people would enter by faith. We saw that "sabbath" means rest, and that it is written, "For we who have believed do enter into rest," (Hebrews 4:3) The believer has God's rest now in principle in Christ and in fact lives now in God's eternal sabbath of rest because the law of the sabbath has been fulfilled in Christ.
Jesus also claims authority over that rest and over the sabbath as a day of worship. He is Lord. He declares God's purpose in the Sabbath day, that it "was made for man." (Mark 2:27) When God gave His people the commandment, "Remember the sabbath day to keep in holy," (Exodus 20:8) and appointed to them a day of regular worship, He was giving His people His blessing: a day of holy consecration in communion with their God. Through that day, set forth in the law, they were led by faith to Christ and to the promise of His finished work. Since that finished work has now come in Christ, for the Christian, every day is the beginning of the eternal sabbath of rest in the service of God in Christ. The Old Testament form of the seventh day sabbath has ceased. To keep it is a denial of the finished work of the cross and of true sabbath rest in Christ.
Does this mean that the principle of regular public worship of God taught in the law has ceased? Are there now nine commandments rather than ten? The answer is no. When Christ fulfilled the law, He did not abolish its moral principles nor its boundaries. Jesus set an example of obedience by being found in the synagogue in worship according to the Old Testament sabbath before His death. After His resurrection Jesus set a pattern for the New Testament church of communion with His disciples on the first day of the week by His resurrection, His post-resurrection appearances, and by His pouring out of His Spirit on the Lord's Day. (Acts 2; Revelation 1:10) By being in communion with God in Christ in regular Sunday worship, Christ gives His people to live the whole week out of faith in the blessings of the eternal sabbath.
Therefore the Word of God says concerning "...holding fast the profession of our faith...," that it is to be done by "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some," (Hebrews 10:23, 25). Willfully neglecting regular public worship, the assembling of the church as instituted by Christ under the preaching of His Word is sin. It is the way of those who walk in unbelief. It is evidence that one's claim to be a Christian is false. Not to want to be in church is not to want to be with Christ! For the same reason, the moral principle that we are not to do our own pleasure on the day of worship (Isaiah 58:13) still abides.
The first day of the week, Sunday, as a day of worship according to the pattern established by Christ, is binding upon the New Testament church, as the testimony, practice, and witness of the apostles in obedience to Christ show us. We read of the church in Troas, "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them" (Acts 20:7) The first day of the week was the regular day of worship in Troas. Likewise of Christian giving, an act of public worship, we read, "Upon the first day of the week, let everyone of you lay by him in store." (I Corinthians 16:2) The church did not decide the day of worship. The Lord of the sabbath did. Do you profess Christ, the Lord of the sabbath? Does your walk in regular public worship on Sunday in obedience to Christ show it?
By Rev. Thomas Miersma, Missionary Pastor
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