The Christian Sabbath ~ A Sheep’s View

I approach this subject as I do all others concerning the kingdom of God. I am as a sheep led by that great shepherd of the sheep, the Lord Jesus Christ; and also a servant of the one who has saved me from the slaughter. No longer one who leads and teaches, now I see only Him and His teaching; if perhaps documenting for a legacy what I have seen and continue to see of His kingdom here on earth ~ a prelude of that which is promised for eternity.

We refer to the Christian Sabbath as the Lord’s Day, since, through Christ’s death for our deliverance from sin, and His resurrection as the sure hope of a new life and eternity with Him, He established a new day of rest in Himself. He is our Sabbath; He is our eternal rest. He is Lord of the Sabbath; and He established His own day when He rose in victory over sin and death and ascended to the throne with all power in heaven and earth. (Matthew 28:18)

The Lord’s Day and Worship
The Christian Sabbath ~ the Lord’s Day ~ was established for a different worship than the seventh day. The seventh was established under the law, for a day and a worship that was limited until the law of grace was brought to us in Christ. We no longer worship in the letter of the law in fear of the Lord’s wrath, bringing sacrifices of dead animals for atonement, but from the law written on our hearts and minds.

How we worship on this day depends on how we view the Lord’s Day. As sheep, recipients of the life of Christ and delivered from the slaughter of the former sabbath we bring our praises and thanksgiving to Him. We see worship on this day as an integral part of private and family worship on other days; a bringing together what we have experienced during the week of His presence and His power of salvation.

The Bridge to Eternal Rest
To know Him, His love for me in His suffering and sacrifice is to love Him. To love Him is to love His day. To understand this day and to see it from His perspective we have to know Him personally, as Lord and Savior; to follow Him through the week to what we know as the eighth day and the first day. The end of the week flows into the Lord’s Day, ending in a perpetual praise and worship; beginning a new week in obedience of faith to Him and His word; and preparing for the next Lord’s Day.

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It is His day as He has become our bridge to the eternal sabbath.  “The word Sabbath seems to have derived from the verb sabat, meaning to stop, to cease, or to keep. Its theological meaning is rooted in God’s rest following the six days of creation
(Genesis 2:2-3).”  (The Bible Dictionary) The fourth commandment means more to the Christian than it did to the Israelites because we see it as the forerunner of the Christian sabbath. It was used to remember God’s work in creation and His salvation for the Israelites. They were required to offer bloody sacrifices through the priests offerings for atonement for their sins. Those sacrifices were abolished when Jesus, the Lamb of God was sacrificed once and for all time, for all His people in every generation from every nation.

This is the new day, through His sacrifice, that we remember and keep holy unto Him. God, the Father rested from His work of creation. Jesus Christ, the Son has rested from His work of redemption; and now sits in victory as our merciful and faithful High Priest interceding for us at the right hand of the Father until we are there at rest with them. We rest in Him and His work now, as the Holy Spirit continues to lead us in a continual worship in preparation for that eternal rest and worship.

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,
came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
 And, behold, there was a great earthquake:
for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women,
Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Matthew 28:1-6

 Dear Father, open our eyes to see the living Christ. Let us by your Spirit know you, in obedience of faith worship you in spirit and truth today, and throughout this week know your presence and power. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

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Riverbeds

Trinity-River

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
coming down from the Father above;
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray,
in fathomless billows of love.”

 This is the chorus of a hymn that I sang as a child.  Recently I began singing it again, and couldn’t get it out of mind for a long while.

The thought of the hymn led me to John 7:37-39.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

W.D. Cornell knew what Jesus meant by these words, and must have composed this hymn Wonderful Peace (sheet music) with this text in mind.

The world and God’s people are in need of such peace as Jesus gives.  It is a peace that comes from the Father through Jesus Christ, in the power of His Spirit and His Word.  It is a peace that passes understanding, that keeps the heart and mind in Christ Jesus. It is the peace of God.  (Philippians 4:7)  He is the God of peace. (Hebrews 13:20) He is the very God of peace, Who sanctifies us. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Peace is from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:2) Christ is our peace. (Ephesians 2:14)  Peace is a fruit of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22)  And the work of righteousness shall be peace. (Isaiah 32:18) Great peace have they which love His law. (Psalm 118:165)  Peace is to the brethren, with love and faith. (Ephesians 6:23)

When I read of such peace in His Word there is the same sense in me that was in the writer of this hymn.  When I come to Christ in obedience to His word, in prayer, praising Him, trusting Him, loving Him, asking for this river of living water, He is gracious to give, as He has promised.

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” (1:7)

The fullness of God is waiting to be poured out into waiting and willing hearts.  I pray for this greater love and peace that washes over us conforming us to the image of Christ, His Son.  His fullness is not ours alone, but to make us riverbeds over and through which He reaches His people. He, by His Spirit and the washing of the water by the word, provides a channel through which His grace and love can flow unhindered.

“Jesus calls us o’er the tumult of the world’s wild, restless sea.
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth, saying, “Christian, follow me.”

I pray that He would make us channels for His Spirit, and fill us to overflowing with praise, prayer, and the proclamation of the love of Christ, that others may know His peace—for His glory and our joy.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God,
because he laid down his life for us;
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
1 John 3:16

(From Waiting is Not a Game ~ Articles of Faith 2007)
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The Glory of the Lord’s Day

0001yPI am writing about the Lord’s Day to document for my own memory what the Lord has shown me about today, which I have learned to call the Lord’s Day. This day has different meanings for different people. Its meaning for me makes it a precious day for it is my Lord’s Day.

For many years I have been convicted of what God not only says, but what He implies in His own word, about this day. With the conviction has come more revelation, more understanding, more commitment, more discipline and more joy. In His word I see a continual pattern of God’s will, His working, and His way established for His kingdom here on earth. As His children and joint-heirs of His kingdom with Christ, His Son, we not only have the privilege of the written law, but we have the law by His Spirit written on our hearts and in our minds. He not only reveals through His written word what He wants us to know about Him and His kingdom, but also by His Spirit works it in our hearts and lives. Remember that what I write is all from “a sheep’s view.”  I want to share more on the subject as the Lord leads.

The Pattern of Rest
The pattern from the beginning of time with His creation is continued through the work of redemption until we are brought to our final destination on what will be an eternal Lord’s Day. The first was a resting from the Father’s labor; the second, the Son resting from His labor; and the third, a resting for His entire kingdom, as the Holy Spirit works in us, preparing us for that eternal rest in glory.

There is much that I could include in this document, but a lot of it would be what Jesus’ apostles, the early church fathers, the Puritans, the Reformers, and theologians have said. Documented in the London Confession, and others published before them are the statements of faith concerning the Sabbath. It is part of studying these, especially in the memorization of the Shorter Catechism with Scriptural proofs, that my convictions have been confirmed. Continuing to review these in prayer I seek to know and obey God’s word and glorify Him in this present day.

I share today a scheduled Bible reading from Luke 23:52-56 for September 20.

“This man (Joseph of Arimathaea) went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”

Jesus had finished His work of redemption and His body was laid to rest until the day of His resurrection. It was the day of preparation for the Sabbath. Why was Jesus’ death scheduled for this day? I have not searched this question, nor do I write here of its significance, except that it was God, the Father’s plan; and He established the Lord’s Day in covenant with His Son as the Christian Sabbath, the day in which we would weekly celebrate the risen Lord and Savior.

Those who stayed around after Jesus’ crucifixion was Joseph, one of the counselors, who had not consented to Jesus’ death, and the women who had followed Him from Galilee. The apostles, in fear, had scattered. Joseph asked to take care of Jesus’ body, and the women returned home, and prepared spices and ointments for His burial. But these would never be used; because when they returned, after the Sabbath, the law of a seventh-day had been displaced by a new law of life in Christ’s resurrection. They rested the sabbath day according to the commandment, while Christ was establishing a new covenant for God’s people. He was resting while they were resting, but in a different rest for a different purpose.

Living in Projection of the Eternal Sabbath
Preparation for the Lord’s Day and the practice of it today is in the fulfillment of God’s promises for an eternal sabbath. When we live, projecting from one Lord’s Day to another, we are practicing and preparing for Christ’s glorious return and eternity with Him. We go through each day of the week, in private worship, and making preparation under this projection, look forward to spending the day in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, as He has appointed in His word.

God had appointed Joseph to ask for and prepare Jesus’ body for burial. We are commanded by Him to observe the day in His honor and in celebration of our new life in Him. We are to worship God through Him and the Holy Spirit in spirit and truth each Lord’s Day. We take part in the body of Christ, the church, in communion with His risen body, through the Lord’s Supper each Lord’s Day, remembering His death until He comes again.

Would I have waited to see what or who would have been there for Jesus after His death? How do we now remember His death and resurrection? This is no longer a question for me; but in response to His sacrifice for me, mine is a sincere desire and commitment to spend the Lord’s Day with Him, without any division of time for other things.

Next Lord’s Day, Lord willing, I will share some of the special parts of God’s word in reference to this day, and the Sabbath.

How do you prepare for the Lord’s Day?

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Time and Space

imagesNot everyone can relate to old age, but we all understand the limitations of this life. Now looking back from the other side of seventy-five I see things differently than before. This side is becoming brighter; God is becoming more real; and life is more than I ever thought it could be. What difference does time make? ~ None unless you know that God is in it.

Time is not what we make it. It all began with God, the Father, as creator. It all belongs to Him. Each lifespan is time that He gives individually for His purpose and plan. In a short time His work in me will be completed. He will move me up to His glory. Another will fill the space that I filled here on earth.  Now, He is still teaching me who He is and showing me what He is doing, in my own life and the lives of others.

The Spaces We Fill
Time is spent in the spaces we fill. If we are where God wants us to be we receive the blessings of His promises while we are here. Being basically sequestered now in the home with Jerry is proving to be the space and the blessing that the Lord planned for us in our marriage.  My years of time spent away from the home looking for fulfillment were years that the Lord could not bless as He might have. The world beacons us. Satan deceives us within our culture to keep us in the dark, from the knowledge and blessing of fellowship and communion with our God. We as wives are tempted and drawn to what we see out there; and miss what He has for us in the home as the help-mate for our husbands.

Years ago I could only see the madness and the sadness of this world. Now I am experiencing the Lord’s gladness in the middle of it all. Jerry and I are no longer able to travel long distances. We venture out to shop one or two days a week; but the highlight of our week is the Lord’s Day, for church and a day of public and private worship that is different from the other days. More and more this is becoming our prelude and practice for that eternal worship that the Lord has promised. During the week we are in His word and in prayer, interceding and in touch by email and phone to those in need of the Lord’s presence, power, mercy and grace. This time with Him is glorious as we wait for His call to “come up higher.”

(The following is an excerpt from A Month to Live ~ A Father’s Last Words)

“At 5:30, Daddy was looking at the large clock on the wall facing his bed. At 6:00 he looked again.

I asked him why he was looking at the clock.

He said, “To see how much time is left.”

He did not look at the clock again.

How can I forget those words? Never before has time meant to me what it does now. Daddy realized in the last days of his life how important time is. His prompting will be a legacy to me; and an ever-present part of my living. I believe, as Daddy learned, that God gives everyone the right amount of time for each life.   The person who waits until he is dying to learn how to live is wasting precious God-given life. Resisting the power of God’s Spirit to make us what He wants us to be is only a prelude to dying.

It is in the last stages that we would give up everything to go back and do it all differently.

Andrew Murray, in “Waiting on God,” writes, “The one object for which God gives life to man is that in them He might prove and show forth His wisdom, power, and goodness.” This little book came to me too late to share with Daddy. He would have benefited from it if he could have read it before having several strokes. (Maybe he did understand when he needed to. He tried reading it, but gave no indication that he could share what he had read.)”

0002tb “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.”  
Acts 17:24-26

Slaves ~ Proof of Purchase

Slave-shackles-Does-the-Bible-condone-slavery-e1339625637490People who refuse to hear the good news of Christianity, because they don’t see any difference in others who claim to be Christians, are being influenced by them and following in their footsteps. Both are  deceived; both are slaves to their own sin;  both are obeying their own desires and are at enmity with God. These are continuing to purchase death for themselves and leading others in the same path.

As we’re almost half through hearing the preaching of Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 6) let us recap the main things.

  1. His purpose for writing the letter ~ to bring obedience of faith through the gospel
  2. The power of the gospel ~ doing its own work in the believer
  3. Righteousness revealed ~ in the gospel and in the believer

We have learned how powerful the gospel is over the power of sin ~ greater than the power in man to sin is the power of God to deliver man from the dominion of sin.

0001c4Paul compares the Christian life to that of a slave. We were slaves to sin; slaves of the flesh to our own desires until Christ redeemed us. He bought us with the price of His own blood. So now we are slaves to righteousness. We agree with this purchase when we repent and turn from sin to Christ and follow Him. Proof of His purchase is a new life ~ eternal life ~ that begins here; sanctifying us; setting us apart from the world; and preparing us for His glory.

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The true Christian is not making excuses so as to continue sinning ~ working for the common wage of death. True faith is new life in the Christian, empowered by the word of God, earned for us by Christ as a gift of His righteousness, and working in us the desire to please Him and serve Him.
Those who claim the blood of Christ have the witness in themselves and in the reality of a life of righteousness. We no longer love the things of the world; but we love the things of God. We present ourselves as slaves of righteousness to God; and to the world as proof of His purchase. We bear the fruit of righteousness in our lives as proof of what He has planted in us.  We shall see in chapter seven the continued battle against sin.

 “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God,
ye have your fruit unto holiness,
and the end everlasting life.”
Romans 6:22

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this unspeakable gift, and the unsearchable riches of Christ, to whom we belong, and in whom we are promised to be joint-heirs of your kingdom.  Work in us His righteousness according to the power of your grace.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

The Best Part of Old Age

The best part of being old is that no one expects very much from us anymore.  So when others see something good in us they know that the Lord did it; and He receives the glory.

  “They shall still bring forth fruit  in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.”  Psam 92:14

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works; which he  beforehand ordained, that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10

“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”  Psalm 138:8