Rest is now found in a Person not in a Day.
As mentioned last week, we are going to examine the relationship between the believer in Christ and the necessity of keeping the Sabbath. We concluded that there was three conclusions that are most often reached when thinking about this topic.
As a review, they are, as follows:
- the Christian must keep the seventh day Sabbath.
- the Christian must keep the Sabbath (as described in the Law), but that the Sabbath is now the first day rather than the seventh.
- the Christian is not obligated to keep the Sabbath in any way, shape or form.
We covered numbers 1 and 2 in last week’s blog. And just for full disclosure, I am in agreement with conclusion number 3. Furthermore, I think that any reasonable person examining the full preponderance of Biblical testimony on this subject would conclude the same thing. Finally, just to keep you all in suspense, I believe that the Bible speaks clearly about the Lord’s Day and how we should view that and that will be my topic when I return in 2013 (specifically January 8, 2013).
As mentioned last week, we are going to examine the relationship between the believer in Christ and the necessity of keeping the Sabbath. Believe it or not, this issue comes up quite frequently and it recently came up in a recent conversation I was having with a young man.
This young man was born and raised in the Caribbean and he has been taught many things that simply aren’t true and seemingly contradictory. He is trying to discover truth, but on his own terms.
One of the tidbits of teaching that this young man is holding onto is the necessity of keeping the Sabbath as a Christian. He lives in fear of breaking the Sabbath. Does this young man have it right? The answer lies (of course) in the Word of God.
But before we delve into the Bible, let’s think of the most likely conclusions one could reach pertaining to the necessity of the Christian keeping the Sabbath.
- First: obviously, is that one could conclude that the Christian must keep the seventh day Sabbath.
- Second: one could conclude that the Christian must keep the Sabbath (as described in the Law), but that the Sabbath is now the first day rather than the seventh.
- Third: one could conclude that the Christian is not obligated to keep the Sabbath in any way, shape or form.
Clearly there are other conclusions that one could reach, but these three seem to be the most likely.
How would one conclude that we are still supposed to keep the Sabbath? Easily! The Law makes it very clear. The fourth commandment reads “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” It goes on to say that there is to be NO work done on the Sabbath day, either by oneself or by his servants or his beasts. It is supposed to be a day of complete REST.
This is the 38th video in a series of teaching videos on the book of Titus. You can find the first video here.
How do you handle people who are divisive among God’s people? People who are clever and argue well but at the end of the day it’s their view they are promoting and not what scripture teaches. In fact they are actually upsetting people, building a following and dividing the church. People like this have been around for a long time and the verses we are looking at this week teach who they are and how to handle them.
Jump to the next post in this series…
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. – Colossians 2:16-17 ESV
As I was writing last week’s post on secular vs. sacred, I was also considering the idea of “keeping the Sabbath.” In the location where I was preaching, there was a heavy influence on people’s thinking from those who profess to know Christ but require that you “keep the Sabbath” and specifically keep Saturday as a Sabbath. I am not sure how such things develop such a following, especially when the Word of God seems to me to be so clear on such issues.
Before Paul warned the saints in Colossae what to ignore, he described our new life in Christ. He wrote that we should walk (continue in our relationship with Him) in the same way we received Him – by faith – not by works, deeds, etc. He also reminds us that we were buried with Christ in baptism and we are risen with Him as well. Elsewhere we are told that we now “walk in newness of life.”
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” With this declaration of truth, much has changed.
I was having a conversation recently with a younger brother, via Skype. He was in Texas and I was in Man O War Cay, Bahamas. Our conversation was partly centered on the “frustration” associated with all the “stuff” we have to do in our lives. For him it was studying, etc. and for me it was work, etc. After the conversation, I continued reading A. W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God.
It really is as easy as 1-2-3. One glory should be evident, two coverings are needed, and three heads are mentioned. Along with the three heads mentioned, there are three glories associated with each head.
As the northeastern US is recovering from Hurricane Sandy (or Superstorm Sandy), I can’t help but think about the reality of the “one another” verses. Over the last few months, we’ve looked at a number of verses from the New Testament where the Christian is instructed to behave in a certain way towards other Christians.
I have suggested since the beginning, that these “one another” verses are, in fact, New Testament principles. And, as New Testament principles, they should govern how we relate to one another and react to certain circumstances.
So, with that being said – how did we, as believers, do in response to Sandy? Sadly, I am not sure how to respond to it because, to my shame, I really haven’t been able to participate in a significant way in helping others. It’s been frustrating, but it’s also been enlightening.Just a little bit of background. My wife and I live north of Allentown. Our house suffered very minor damage during the storm (just to the exterior of the home) and we never (yes, never) lost power. Before we could phone some folks from the chapel, my family moved in. By the end of Tuesday, we had 12 people and three dogs living in our home. (We did have a young man from our assembly who moved in on Sunday). Needless to say, we were “occupied” with that. But, doesn’t an extreme situation require extreme measures? Yes!
There were numerous folks from the meeting in Allentown, PA and a multitude of dear brothers and sisters in NJ and NY who needed basic things – heat, power, food, gas, etc. What could have or should have we done and why didn’t we do it? It’s easy to blame something outside of ourselves – the assembly, the situation, etc. But, part of looking at these “one another” verses is to emphasize that we have an obligation as individual Christians to behave in a certain way.So, what could have or should have we done? My wife and I spoke about this recently and came up with a few things that we should have done. (Just for further clarification – we are currently on a trip to Man O Way, Bahamas where we have the privilege of teaching the Word of God for three weeks to the saints there so we can’t do much about it now). So, from that stand point, perhaps we are more in tune and better mentally prepared the next time this happens.
But the question of “why” didn’t we do more is an interesting one. I think it goes to the heart of what has happened to many of us – certainly to me. We have become complacent as it pertains to our obligations to each other – we don’t think about it, because we expect that the government will help out when someone needs help or the “assembly” will do it.When will we realize that the assembly is a body of individual believers and if we keep saying things like “the assembly should have done this or that” what we really are saying is that “the believers other than me should have done something about it.”
What I have learned is that I am not a very good “brother’s keeper”. Hopefully Sandy has taught us all what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ and what it means to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) in a biblical and tangible sense.
Until next week, fulfill YOUR ministry!
In other words, we are supposed to live according to these verses, not just memorize them. And, if we hear a truth and abide by it, live accordingly, then we are following New Testament principles.
In today’s post, let’s look at Ephesians 5:19-21, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in fear of Christ.” Here we see that we are supposed to be “subject to one another.” I can almost imagine the chills that this gives some people!
First, let’s be perfectly clear. Submission or subjection of one person to another is NOT about superiority and inferiority. It is not about qualifications. Submission and subjection is about order and, ultimately about God’s glory.Read More
Two weeks ago, we began to look at the New Testament principle of bearing (or forbearing) and forgiving one another. Our text is found in Colossians 3:12-13 “Put on, therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
In our post two weeks ago, we mostly focused on the idea of bearing with one another. This week, I’d like to begin the process of thinking about what forgiving one another looks like. I recently had the privilege of speaking on this topic at a local assembly. As I was preparing for the series of messages, God kept impressing upon me the simple truth that forgiveness is all about relationships. Sin and offense breaks or impedes relationships.
Fixing Broken Relationships
Forgiveness (and forbearance) is the solution to broken relationships. Forgiveness should lead to restoration. So often, we look at forgiveness as trying to RIGHT A WRONG! And it is not! Forgiveness is blotting out a wrong, wiping away the handwriting of judgement against us, declaring the debt paid! It is NOT righting a wrong. If we are trying to right a wrong, we are going to squelch forgiveness.
Let’s look at one of my favorite examples and a very well known Bible passage. In Luke 15, we have a father and two sons. We aren’t told a lot about this family, but we are told that the younger son wanted his share of his father’s wealth NOW before his father died. This was clearly an insult to the father. Basically the son said, “I’d rather have riches and go my own way and fulfill my own lusts than be part of your family.”
Even though the father did not have to abide by his son’s request, he did give his son his share of the family wealth. This would have been not only a private shameful event in the life of the father, but also a public embarrassment. But the father allowed the son to go his own way. (God does that with us, too, doesn’t He?) As we know, the son left home and quickly spent everything he had and then ran into trouble. There was a famine and the son “began to be in need.” So he became a servant to one of the locals and his job involved feeding the pigs. He still remained in need. He finally got to the end of himself he decided to go back home, apologize and ask his father to hire him as a servant. (Even this is an act of flesh that is worthy of being considered at some point in the future.)
A Father’s Love
As the son began the journey home, the father had already been waiting for him. The Bible records that while the son was still a long way off, the father was standing there and saw him and felt compassion for the son and embraced him. The father had already forgiven the son before the son had a chance to apologize. The father’s goal was to restore a relationship by forgiving his son. The father’s goal was NOT to make things right. He didn’t ask where the money was, he didn’t ask what the son had been doing, he forgave him. He wiped away the sin, he blotted out the wrong-doings and he wrote off the debt.
The son’s apology was flawed, full of flesh and man’s reason, but the father’s forgiveness was not based on the quality of the son’s apology. The father’s forgiveness was based on the love the father had for the son. Think on that for a week….
Until next week, fulfill your ministry.
Never is a church mentioned as having only one elder. The one instance where an individual “loved to have the pre-eminence,” the man concerned was under apostolic censure — he didn’t even receive the apostle John himself (3 John 1:9)!
Hamilton, G. Fred. (1985). Why? New Testament Principles Today? New Jersey: Christian Missions in Many Lands, Inc. p. 10.