Should a Christian Observe the Sabbath?

Category: Questions & Answers

Should a Christian observe the Sabbath? I should have expected this one would come up too. Ah, I thought about this one. Is this going to get me in trouble?

Here’s two of them. Stu says, “Saturday Sabbath? Sunday Sabbath? Or no Sabbath? What is it and why?” And he’s more really asking the question because he wants to be informed. I think Daniel Graham, he comes along with a question – I’m not so sure he really wants an answer to this. I think maybe he wants to set his position forth. “Why do most Christians and churches go against Exodus 20 in the 10 Commandments by not keeping the Sabbath of the Lord as He has commanded us?” Again, you know what? As I was preparing, I just said, Lord, I just want to be biblical. I don’t know everything from Your Word perfectly. I just want to say what Your Word says and I don’t want to go beyond it. You know what I can say? I can say this, my Bible says this, and I think yours does too. Colossians 2:16, “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 Sabbaths.” It says, “let no one pass judgment on you in questions of… Sabbaths.” “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Now what I want to emphasize is this: You cannot argue – nobody can argue this. The Apostle Paul was the apostle to who? The Gentiles. In all of his letters to the Gentiles, does he ever once tell them that they need to observe a Sabbath? Never. And you know what? These Gentiles didn’t have the Old Testament. These Gentiles – they were up in the air. Didn’t they have to have a council there at Jerusalem? Just to get together and say what is it we should even be telling these Gentiles who don’t know anything? Who don’t have the Old Testament? You know one thing? They didn’t go tell them: Keep the Sabbath. Paul didn’t go out to all the Gentile churches and say keep the Sabbath. In fact, the one clear thing that he says to the Gentiles churches is what? Don’t let anybody pass judgment on you concerning the Sabbath. Now, I know, some Greek theologians are going to come along here and say, “but it’s plural. And when it talks about the weekly Sabbath, it’s singular.” Come on. You can go to the Old Testament and clearly find where the weekly Sabbath is spoken about in the plural. Repeatedly. That just doesn’t line up. Listen to this. Exodus 31:13, “You’re to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all, you shall keep My Sabbaths.'” Plural. “…For this is the sign between Me and you throughout your generations that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath because it is holy for you.” Now, he uses it right here in consecutive verses – Sabbath’s plural, Sabbath singular, but he’s not even mincing words. He says, “Six days shall work be done. The seventh day is a Sabbath to solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath Day shall be put to death.” And he starts out by saying it in the plural. And he’s clearly talking about that weekly Sabbath. Listen, folks, this terminology that Paul uses in Colossians 2 is so common to the Old Testament. What do I mean? Festival – there were three main festivals were there not? New moons. See, the three festivals were yearly. Then you have the new moons. They were monthly. Then you had the Sabbath’s. They were weekly. You have that order in the Old Testament, repeatedly handed to us. Just listen to this. . “Whenever burnt offerings are offered to the Lord on Sabbaths (plural), new moons, and feast days according to the number required regularly before the Lord.” That’s the same terminology. Paul is drawing straight from the Old Testament usage where these festivals – what was the first major festival? Passover. Anybody remember the second one? Pentecost. Third one? I think it was the Feast of Tabernacles. The Day of Atonement was shortly after there. Have all those passed away? Do we still observe Passover? Pentecost? Do we observe them? No, they passed away. Why? They were shadows. Do we still observe the new moons? No. Do we still observe the Sabbaths? They’re a shadow of things to come. Listen, this plural usage, it’s used in the Old Testament. And it’s used weekly, monthly, yearly. And we’re not doing injustice to the Scriptures to say that this is speaking of the weekly Sabbath. People come along and they want to undo this thing, but the fact is, that’s what’s said. Okay, you know something else? It just amazes me! There is not a single word in all the Bible that says that the Sabbath changed days. You can listen to the theologians. You can listen to the reformed guys. You can read all the books written on it. There is not a single verse in all the Bible that says the Sabbath moved from Saturday to Sunday. It’s not there. They can go one with all their theses. They can go on with all of their arguments and all of their deductions and building principles upon principles. The fact is there is not a single verse in all the Bible that says that the Sabbath moved from the last day to the first day. It’s not there, folks. In fact, the New Testament teaching is don’t let any man hold you to it. What does Romans 14 say? If you want to observe a day, do it unto the Lord. So here’s the thing, don’t let those of us who take Colossians 2:16 and feel liberty, don’t let us condemn the ones who are rigid Sabbatarians. Don’t condemn them. If they want to keep it, let them keep it, and let them keep it unto the Lord. They’re going to stand or fall before Him. Don’t you be their judge. And likewise, if you have stringent convictions about the Sabbath, don’t you dare condemn and jump all over and be the judge of those who don’t have strong convictions. If you’re going to have strong convictions, have them unto the Lord. If you’re going to not observe the day, don’t observe it unto the Lord. But I will say this, although the Scriptures definitely – the Christian Sabbath – there’s no Christian Sabbath that I can see. There’s nothing specified in the Scripture. There’s nothing about the Jewish Sabbath being pressed upon the Gentile churches. It’s not there. They’re told to let nobody judge you. But what is there? Well, I can tell you this, in the first chapter of Revelation, the Apostle John mentions the Lord’s Day. Now nowhere does it say it’s the Christian Sabbath. And it only is mentioned once in all the Bible. The Lord’s Day. But you know what’s very interesting? John is writing to the seven churches at Asia Minor. And he doesn’t have to explain Lord’s Day, which probably means that all the Christians he was writing to, they readily understood. They knew what day the Lord’s Day was. What day? Well, I’ll tell you this, when you go into the New Testament, you find one day that’s identified. Only one. What day? The first day of the week. And sometimes it says “eight days later,” which by their counting is the next first day. They included the first day and then the next days all the way to the next first day, and that was 8 days. So anytime you read “the first day” and then again “the eighth day,” it’s the next first day. Those are the only days that are called out by number in all the New Testament. No other day. You don’t find anything about the second day or the third day. At least, not in reference to the week that’s being emphasized. But you find the first day. And you know what happened on the first day? You know what the New Testament teaches us happened on the first day? What’s the big thing? Jesus Christ rose on the first day. Can you imagine? (incomplete thought) You know what else is interesting? You guys search this out. You want to have an interesting study? The only days that we have numbers that He appeared to His people after His resurrection – the first day of the week. Count it out. We know when the Feast of Pentecost was. It was so long after the Passover. We know when He went to the cross in relationship to the Passover. The Spirit of God was given to the church on the first day. They broke bread on the first day. They came together to hear Paul preach on the first day. Right there in 1 Corinthians, it says bring your offerings and give them on the first day. You know what? The church met on the first day. They met other days as well, but the predominant day that the early church observed was the first day. We never see it called a Sabbath, but we do, I believe, have good reason to believe that that is the Lord’s Day. I think everything about the practice of the early church would tell us it’s so. You know what Scripture says? Do not forsake the assembling together of yourselves. And unquestionably, they met on the first day. And we shouldn’t forsake that assembly. And what did they do? They worshiped. They praised. They prayed. They read Scripture. They broke bread. Those are things that we can definitely say has happened. Now, I know I’m going to receive flack for that. People are going to say, “you’re denying the 10 commandments.” We’ve got to teach the Scriptures, folks. We’ve got to teach the Scriptures; not the traditions, but the Scriptures.