The Commandments: Honor Me with your time

Well, this is a very well timed post, at least for me it is…even though it’s been over a month since I posted :/. Thank you for your patience, my time in with my family in Texas was wonderful!

Right now, everything seems to be converging on me, between preparations for Vacation Bible School, Confirmation Celebration this weekend which includes the Luncheon on Saturday, Teacher Appreciation Week is going on right now (I’m a room mom, so I’m having to break out my crafty side…or lack thereof, thank goodness for Pinterest), I’m on the Call Committee for our church as we search for a new pastor, I just spent three hours…yes three hours writing a test for my 7th-8th class…which many will breeze through in 30min, plus a handful of other responsibilities begging for my attention.

Therefore, here I am, on my day off, trying to get things done. I can feel my stress level adding at least a dozen grey hairs on my head and my heart keeps fluttering in my chest. (Ok, I should probably get the fluttering checked out O_0, or at least cut back on my coffee consumption.)

What happened to my peace? How did I end up like this if I am faithful in worship every week?

The reason is this…there is more about the Sabbath than what we do in worship on Sunday, or whatever day you go to worship.

Link to Renee’s “Praying for My Husband from Head to Toe.”

This lesson’s Memory Verse is from John 4:24

VOWs Time to read verses 8-11! The Sabbath!

Before diving headlong into this lesson’s verses, let’s visit the Hebrew.

Sabbath is the noun form of the verb shabath which literally means to cease, desist, rest. You would think the word Sabbath would mean worship…but it doesn’t!! Believe, me I am as shocked as you are!

So if the word means to rest, then how does worship tie into this commandment? Let’s find out!

We’ll see where the Sabbath came from, why we worship on days other than Saturday, corporate versus private worship, and what it means to worship. Is there a check list that makes something worship”?

1.  During the Old Testament times, when was the Sabbath to be observed and what were people to do?

  • Genesis 2:2-3,
  • Exodus 20:8-11,
  • Exodus 35:2,
  • Leviticus 23:3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For six days people worked and on the seventh, we are invited to take our rest, but not just any rest {though a nap sounds wonderful right about now}.

2.  What kind of rest does God invite His people to enjoy?

  • Matthew 11:28,
  • Hebrews 4:9-10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God gives us yet another gift with this command, the gift of resting not only our bodies, but especially our spirit.

If the Old Testament held Saturday as the Sabbath, why then do we as Christians hold worship on any other day, particularly Sundays? Are we breaking this command by worshiping on the “wrong” day? (No, I’m not looking to start a fight about the right and wrong days to worship, simply discussing why we do what we do these days.)

Paul shares in Romans 14:5-6 that regardless of what day you set aside as your Sabbath, do so for the Lord. Likewise, Colossians 2:16-17 also reminds us that the Sabbath as given in the Old Testament was a foreshadowing of Christ.

In the Old Testament, God’s Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out onto His people as it would be on that first Pentecost after Christ was raised from the grave. Because of this, the people worshiped and offered God sacrifice in Jerusalem. If you remember from week one, this was a source of great contention between the Jews and Samaritans when the Samaritans decided to build their own temple. This was also true between Northern and Southern Kingdom when Israel split in two; the northern kings did not want to send their people or their money to the Temple in Jerusalem which was controlled by the Southern Kingdom, so they built their own.

3.  What did Christ have to say about how we should worship according to John 4:19-24?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  What is one reason we choose to worship on a Sunday rather than Saturday?

  • Matthew 28:1,
  • Mark 16:9-14,
  • Luke 24:1-2, 31,
  • John 20:19, 24-26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus was not only resurrected on Sunday, but appeared to his disciples several times afterward…on a Sunday.

5.  There is another reason according to Acts 20:7 we choose to worship on Sunday’s rather than Saturdays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above verses don’t say the people of God ONLY worship on the first day of the week (Sunday), but we get the idea that there was a shift in understanding what it means to “remember the Sabbath.”

Going back to Colossians 2:16 and I Corinthians 10:31, we are reminded to give God the glory regardless of the day we choose to worship.

Ultimately, Christ reminds us that the Sabbath was created for us (Mark 2:27). This time of rest can be observed on any day.

We are supposed to rest in God on the Sabbath, but does that really mean we have to go to church? Can’t I worship God at home by myself?

Short answer…um…yeah, yeah we do and yes, yes you can.

6.  How do the following verses reinforce the fact God calls us to corporately worship together.

  • Leviticus 23:3,
  • 1 Timothy 4:13,
  • Hebrews 10:24-25

Ok, so the Bible says we should be in worship together…but what if I can’t? What if I’m homebound, have to work, or actually work in a church?

Homebound? I pray the church community you are plugged in with has people who visit you and offer Communion and a time of confession and worship. If you are not plugged into a church, then call up a few friends and worship together! After all, Matthew 18:20 J!

Working? I get it. As much as we would love to live in a time when we could decide not to work on our day of worship, there are times when it simply is impossible. I have many friends who are first responders or work in a hospital. It’s not possible to have every first responder or doctors take the same day off. That would certainly lead to disaster! If you are unable to worship on a given day, worship on another, or as above, gather some friends or coworkers and worship together.

If you don’t already know, I work for a church and Sundays are not my day off…obviously. I am blessed however, in that I am already at church and though I am technically “working,” I have an opportunity to be filled with His Word, participate in Communion, and pray with and for my brothers and sisters.

We are the Body of Christ and when we are disconnected from one another, the entire body suffers. This does not depend on whether or not your congregation notices your absence.

However…if no one has noticed your absence…you may have to ask yourself how connected to the body were you? I have friends I see every week. We chat, catch up, pray, and worship together. If they are absent I typically know why and if not, I find out.

If you want to be a part of a welcoming church, then be a model and welcome those around you. Make new friends.

You matter to God and to His Church. Worship is a gift from Him!

There’s a story I’ve heard many times and to be honest I have no idea where it came from or if it is even true, but it beautifully illustrates the importance of staying connected with the Body of Christ:

The story is told of a man named John who had once been faithful to attend his church regularly, but had grown lackadaisical recently. The Pastor knew that he hadn’t seen the gentleman in a while, so he went for a visit.

John greeted the Pastor and welcomed him in, directing him to the chair beside the fireplace. He asked the Pastor what brought him to visit, but the Pastor didn’t say a word… .he simply grabbed the fireplace tongs, picked up a hot coal from the fire, and set it away from the fire, out on the hearth. Both men then watched the coal.

While the fire roared on, the coal which had been red hot began to lose it’s heat. It gradually lost it’s red color, and then cooled off so that it became cool to the touch. The Pastor picked up the coal, and handed it to John for a moment… neither man said a word.

Then the Pastor reached out and took the coal back from John, and returned it to the roaring fire… and in just a few short moments, the coal once again glowed red hot, as the pile of flaming coals caused it to heat up again.

The Pastor then got to his feet, put his hat on, and shook John’s hand. At that point, John looked at the Pastor with tears in his eyes, and told him “Thank you for coming, Pastor, and I’ll be back in church this coming Sunday!”

Christ Himself worshiped regularly! In Luke 4:16, “on the Sabbath day {Christ} went into the synagogue, as was His custom.” Christ sets the example for His Disciples for worship. This of course is not the only instance of Christ in worship, but it does illustrate Jesus’ desire to regularly worship and study the Scriptures…which I have always found interesting…because He’s the Word…reading the Word. (Does that make it an echo?)

Anywho…

What then is there to say about private worship? Can’t I worship God on my own?

Yes of course and you are encouraged to do so…in addition to staying connected with the Church. (Notice the BIG “C.” Big “C” is more than a local church, but refers to the entire Church around the world.)

Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3:23 shares how our entire lives are an act of worship to God. We give God praise when all we do is for His glory.

Again, at its core, worship is when we, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5

Though there are no laws for what must be included in worship, we can draw examples from Scripture and understand what would certainly provide the rest God is referring to in Exodus.

7.  What are some elements we include in worship based on the Scriptures below? Some verses may contain more than one element.

  • Matthew 26:30,
  • Matthew 28:19-20,
  • Acts 2:38,
  • Acts 2:42-47,
  • Acts 20:7,
  • James 5:16

Christ also, by example, showed us what else we can do to worship God. If you examine what He does on the Sabbath, you will see over and over how He heals people. Now we may not be able to perform miracles as He did, but we can certainly give to those in need, pray for one another, and give of our time in service to one another as well.

Let’s wrap this up with a very brief look at the Letter and Spirit of the Law.

Letter – Sabbath rest is a command and a gift. We are to rest in God’s Word corporately on a regular basis. When we are with God, let us give Him our entire focus and attention. I am guilty of allowing my mind to wonder during worship or even letting the praise team entertain me rather than join in with all my heart.

Spirit – We are also called to rest in Him on our own with every opportunity we have, on any day, regardless of the task at hand. Whether we are at work or in the grocery store, God wants to be a part of every moment of our day. What a sweet blessing to have God with us!


I hope to promptly post next week, but with the way my week is shaping up, I may require more grace so that I am not rushing through these commands for the sake of getting a post up quickly. I would rather take the time needed and hopefully, offer a clear well-researched lesson.

Resources:

  1. Self-Study Bible for cross-references.
  2. Blue Letter Bible for Greek and Hebrew.
  3. Luther’s Small Catechism.
  4. Quick Verse software for more Greek and Hebrew and some Commentaries.
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