#922. Is Sunday significant for Christians? (18/10/23)
This week, as we continue in our series, Luke - Exploring who Jesus is, we are considering what the Sabbath means for Christians and today we are asking, is Sunday significant for Christians?
‘One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”’ (Luke 6:1-2)
Lesson: Meeting on ‘The Lord’s Day’ is a good thing but it’s not a law thing!
You can listen to this devotional at:
Yesterday, we considered the idea that resting in Christ, rather than resting on a day, constitutes the Christian Sabbath. That being said, how should we treat Sunday, and do Christians have a specific day to devote to the Lord for rest and worship? For many Christians (as we discussed yesterday in the Westminster Confession of Faith), Sunday has been regarded as the Christian Sabbath. It is the day when one refrains from work to rest and worship. Until recently, shop opening times in this nation reflected our Christian heritage and the notion that Sunday was a day of rest and worship. What does the Bible teach about Sunday?
The Lord’s Day
The Bible calls Sunday 'The Lord's Day' in Revelation 1:10:
'On the Lord's Day, I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet...' (Revelation 1:10).
It is referred to as 'The Lord's Day,' I believe, because it is the day on which Christ rose from the dead, rather than because it was specifically set apart for the Lord. Nevertheless, we have evidence that meeting on 'The Lord's Day'—Sunday—was a common practice for the early church. For example, we read:
'On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people...' (Acts 20:7; see also 1 Corinthians 16:2).
My conclusion on this is that it’s wise and helpful to meet on a Sunday but it’s not commanded - it’s a good thing and not a law thing! I know of people in Muslim nations, for example, who would meet on a Friday because it works better with the rhythms of that culture and I’m sure that we can see the wisdom in that.
Meeting on ‘The Lord’s Day’ is a good thing but it’s not a law thing! It's held up as a common and wise approach, but meeting on a Sunday is not a command. Regardless of the view we take, it's vital that, firstly, we hold our view with a clear conscience and attend a church where we can respect the leaders' teaching on this matter.
Secondly, it's crucial that we don't make keeping Sunday special a salvation issue. One is not saved by observing a Sabbath law. We are saved through 'resting in Christ.'
Thirdly, the Spirit dwelling in us should make us more devoted to meeting with our church than be driven by a law on the issue. Sunday, 'The Lord's Day,' is a tradition well worth developing and protecting.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
2. Icebreaker How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Study and pray together
This week we continued in our Luke series looking at Luke 6:1-11.
Please read Luke 6:1-11.
At the end of chapter 5, Jesus gave a parable about 'new cloth', 'new wine' and 'new wineskins'. This parable was given to teach that we are in a new era - a New Covenant. In this era - after the death and resurrection of Jesus - we have to learn to handle the Old Testament and The Sabbath in a new way.
In essence, for Christians, rather than keeping a day holy, we understand that the Sabbath was pointing our our rest in Christ. The author to the Hebrews writes:
‘Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it…Now we who have believed enter that rest…There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.’ (Hebrews 4:1,3, 9-10)
Discussion and prayer
What were the religious leaders so upset about?
What do these two Sabbath day accounts teach us about what it was permissible to do on the Sabbath?
What was meant by Jesus' words: “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."?
How are Christians to rest in Christ (See Hebrews 4:1)?
How are we to 'do good' and 'save life' (See v.9)?
How would a true keeping of the Sabbath help to glorify Jesus in our community?
Do you have any encouraging stories of how you've been serving, investing and inviting?
Let's pray for ourselves and our community together. Let's pray for the particular people that God is putting on your heart. Lets pray for the Holy Spirit to empower and direct us in how to Serve, invest and invite.