The Lord’s Day

July 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | Leave a comment
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Among the many sins for which God was allowing the destruction of Jerusalem was the failure of His people to keep the Sabbath.

But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

Jeremiah 17:27

One of the chief differences between God’s people and the pagans was that God’s people did not do “business” one day out of every week. On the Sabbath day they were not supposed to try to make money or earn a profit. One day out of every seven was set aside as a day of rest to remind them that they were different, and that, despite their labor on the other six days, they really depended upon God for all the blessings of life. Their failure to keep the Sabbath revealed that they did not believe God, did not obey God, and, therefore, did not arrange their lives as if He were real.

For New Testament Christians, observing the Lord’s Day (Sunday, the first day of the week) is the proper way to observe this principle. Sunday worship for Christians is not an optional thing, and don’t fool yourself into thinking that you really believe Him if you don’t arrange your weekly schedule to reflect that He is your Owner and your Lord.

Law Keepers or Lawbreakers?

April 2, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Luke | 4 Comments
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And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.

Luke 6:1

The act of plucking wheat and separating the chaff from the kernels of grain was viewed by some of the Pharisees as harvesting and preparing food, which they claimed violated the fourth Word of the Decalogue, prohibiting working on the Sabbath day.

And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?

Luke 6:2

Assuming that the Pharisees were actually concerned about seeing a violation of God’s law (usually not a valid assumption where Jesus and His disciples were concerned), were they right to take this view?

When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure*; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

Deuteronomy 23:24-25

It appears that even a strict interpretation the Old Testament law as it applied to the case at hand would have made it permissible for Jesus’s disciples to do what they were doing, as long as they didn’t use a farming implement or a container.

And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;

Luke 6:3

“Have ye not read so much as this” indicated that Jesus was pointing out that His disciples had at least one case-law precedent on their side.

How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?

Luke 6:4

We can read about this in more detail in I Samuel 21:1-6.

And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Luke 6:5

It’s as if Jesus was sayin, “And, besides, the Sabbath is all about Me, anyway, if you really want to get technical. It’s Mine and I’ll do what I want.”

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.

Luke 6:6-7

The more organized Jesus and His followers became, the more systematic and scheming the Pharisees became about shutting Him down.

But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?

Luke 6:8-9

The Sabbath was set aside by God as at time of “rest” – meaning rest in reference to God’s cessation of the work of ex nihilo creation – but also as a means of separating the Jewish people from the pagans among whom they lived, and as a way to demonstrate the right kind of difference between the ways of the world and the ways of God’s Kingdom. The Sabbath was made “for man” in that sense, rather than man being made for the Sabbath.

And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

Luke 6:10

What was the reaction of the religious leaders to this miraculous act of kindness, generosity, and healing? “Good job on the healing?” Sadly, no, not even close.

And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

Luke 6:11

The Greek word translated as “madness” is anoia. They were so frustrated and confused about Jesus’s teaching, compassion, and power that they became enraged. And not only were they overcome with “madness;” they were FILLED with madness! Behaving crazily was bad enough, getting angry was even worse, but they were crazy and full of rage at the same time! Sure, the Pharisees were supposed to be experts in the Mosaic law, but who was more in violation of God’s law here? Jesus’s disciples, who “might” be seen to have technically violated a tradition attached to the Law? Or the Pharisees themselves who were filled with rage because God miraculously healed a man with a useless hand?

*My wife and I shared a good laugh over Deuteronomy 23:24, because this was similar to the advice given to us by my grandmother-in-law when we first got married. She told us that, if times were tough in the early years of our marriage, we could always take a little shopping trip to the local grocery store and pluck a few “free” grapes from the produce section as we walked by! Thankfully, by God’s grace, even during our leanest financial periods, we’ve always been able to pay for our grapes.

A Fourth Word about God: His Rest

December 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Exodus | 8 Comments
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The first Word of the Decalogue prohibits the attitude of idolatry.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:3

The second Word of the Decalogue prohibits the “practice” of idolatry.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

Exodus 20:4-5

Is this fair, that the descendants of idolators get punished for the crimes of their ancestors? What the Lord was describing was not the imputation of guilt. Rather, it was the (accurate) prediction of the outworking of sin through generations of sinners.

The next verse expresses God’s heart of love in the matter.

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Exodus 20:6

The first three Words of the Decalogue are negative commands (thou shalt not). The fourth is the first positive command (thou shalt).

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Exodus 20:8

This helps us to see it as more than just a command to stop working. In fact, it is followed by a specific command to work – on the other six days of the week.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

Exodus 20:9-10

In other words, the Sabbath was a day set aside specifically for serving God, and not for the normal activity of serving God along with serving self.

Work could not be shifted off onto children, servants, or even animals. This was something the people were used to (or should have been) from their dealings with the manna (no gathering on the Sabbath, but gathering enough on the second-to-last day of the week to last two days). Why was the 4th Commandment such an important law?

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 20:11

The Hebrew word for “days” is yom, the same word used in the creation account, lending more evidence to show that creation took place in six literal 24-hour days. Then on the seventh day, God rested. Why did He rest? Not because He was tired, but because He was finished. And in order to show that everything that was made needs to stop – at least once a week for a whole day – in acknowledgment of Him. Everything needs to “glorify” Him for our existence. The Lord Himself had already blessed this special day. He had hallowed it – made it holy or separate – and decreed that it was dedicated to Him. It was not intended as a day for making money or a day dedicated to having worldly fun (unless it is fun that glorifies Him). It does benefit us physically to rest one day per week, but that is not the primary function of the Sabbath day. It was also a picture of our spiritual rest, which is Christ Himself, and so it is often said to have been fulfilled, making the Fourth Commandment the only word of the Decalogue no longer applicable in the New Testament, although this has been greatly debated and much disputed. Also, in the New Testament, we do observe the first day of the week as “the Lord’s Day,” and some if not all of the same principles apply.

The Third on the Third

January 3, 2012 at 11:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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To commemorate the third anniversary of this blog I am going to post a link to what has inexplicably become by far the most viewed post on this site. It is called “Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments To Children,” and I say “inexplicable” because it is probably personally my least favorite post. It was the result of me being asked to be sort of a last-minute substitute teacher for a children’s class at church. I came up with the lesson very quickly and I included it on the site just because it was next in a list of lessons I had saved. I don’t find it to be especially insightful, nor likely to be very helpful, but who knows? Maybe it’s been of use to someone. From what I can gather, it gets viewed mostly through search engine results for “teaching the 3rd Commandment” or “children’s lesson on 3rd Commandment.” In any event, you can view it here.

Thanks be to the Lord for letting me continue to blog for three years.

Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments to Children

July 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching, Exodus | 15 Comments
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Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Exodus 20:7

The Bible has many negative things to say about vanity, and Commandment No. 3 is a good starting point for teaching children what it means. “Vanity” refers to things which might mean something to people here on earth now, but will not mean anything one day in Heaven. When we take God’s name “in vain,” we make it seem like God is not important to us. That’s one reason why we don’t want to say things like “Oh God” or “Oh my God” in a casual way. Even terms like “gosh” can be a form of taking God’s name in vain. A good rule for children to remember is to only say God’s name when you are actually talking about God.

Here are some names for God in the Bible that most children can easily understand, or may know already:
1. GOD
2. JESUS
3. HOLY SPIRIT
4. HOLY GHOST
5. LORD
6. FATHER
7. ALMIGHTY
8. REDEEMER
9. SAVIOR
10. MESSIAH
11. CHRIST

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Exodus 20:8

Here, under the 4th Commandment, it is important to teach children the reason why God rested. He did not “rest” because He was tired. He rested to show that He was finished with the initial work of creation, and to set an example for us. He also rested in order to set apart a special day – and some things – as special to Him. God wants us to show that we care more about Him than making money.


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