Reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day

How often does history repeat itself? It sometimes takes centuries and new generations to forget the past. We observe the world and the culture and think that we are experiencing something new, when actually we are only replaying the scenarios our forefathers knew.

The Christian community is looking at the world through the same lens and blaming our culture for the current ills. We want to point a finger at everyone outside our personal environment.

If we look to the Word of God, we find much to explain why we are in such straits as we are.

In a country that began as “a nation under God,” at first living as those who belonged to God, we wonder how things took a different turn.  As His people, we find that we are not much different from our ancestors that liked what other nations had. In their covetousness, they wanted a king to rule over them.

He gave them what they wanted and so they served and yielded the fruit of their own doing. Without Him, they became like other nations and suffered the consequences of living without His direction, presence, and power.

Even when they worshipped Him, they made their own laws, going their own way in idolatry.

Years after Israel’s exile and deliverance from Egypt, they rebelled against His precepts. We see in Daniel 9:1-19 the ramifications of their disobedience.

In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:” Daniel 9:2-5

Prophecy of Jeremiah

“Between the second and the third wave (of their captivity), Jeremiah prophesied that the total time would be 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10). On the one hand this emphasized how serious the sin of Israel was. They would not be saved after a few years, as they expected. On the other hand, it showed God’s grace. For He promised to not forget them, but to save them in the end. And He did. The Persians took over the Babylonian Empire, and released the Jews. As Jeremiah had prophesied, 70 years after the first captivity, the first returnees arrived in Israel. The hard punishment that the Lord gave them for forsaking him, resulted in their repentance.” Biblword

Scripture demonstrates that the Babylonian exile lasted for 70 years and that exile allowed the land to rest for the 70 Sabbath years that the Israelites had failed to observe. (See this link.)

God’s Word for His People

God did not expect the whole world to live by the commandments of His kingdom. He issued His Word to a chosen people for their obedience and dependence upon Him to lead and care for them.

We cannot expect the world to abide by God’s Word but we, as His people, are called to a life separate from the world. When we continue to live as if we are not His people observing the same lifestyle as the world, we are the ones who are in jeopardy. We are the people under His judgment.

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17

What can we do to change the climate of our nation and the world? We cannot change the world. It will continue in rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ until He comes again in victory over all nations.

As His people, we must pray for ourselves to know His rule in our own hearts and lives.

We must fast and pray for His Church in the world; for knowledge of Him, repentance and faith among His people. We must rise up in obedience to Him and His Word ~ to reclaim His kingdom on earth in us.

We can by His power, start by reclaiming and observing the day He gave us for separation from the world, as a prelude and practice for the eternal rest, honoring Him above all else.

We must begin somewhere to make the presence of His kingdom known.

Pray and Prove

We are already in captivity to our own thoughts and desires ~ in exile to the world’s depravity and culture. We must pray and prove that we belong to Him. We must witness of a different state and a different lifestyle as we continue through this wilderness. We must seek His kingdom and His righteousness through the knowledge of His Word and His commandments. We must live by the filling and leading of His Holy Spirit.

Sunday as we know it, is the Lord’s Day, given by the Father to His Son upon completion of His mission to save His people from this world of sin. The Lord’s Day is His Day to gather His people to Himself, to celebrate His victory over sin for us.

For all that He sacrificed for us ~ for His propitiation for our sins ~ we need to show our love and sacrifice for Him. Even if you are the only one who sees the need, be a witness to others of His will for the Lord’s Day. Plan during the week to make the Lord’s Day His day that He shares with you.

How do you spend Sundays?

How would you change how you spend the Lord’s Day so as to honor and glorify Him?

It will change your whole life and make you a testimony of His grace.

Dear Father in heaven, my heart is heavy, burdened for your name’s sake, when I see your people use the Day you planned for your Son’s honor for themselves. Send your Holy Spirit for conviction; by your goodness, bring us to repentance, renewed faith,  devotion, and commitment to our Lord who gave Himself to save us from this present evil age. In His precious name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

What was the Babylonian captivity/exile?

The Fullness of God in One Body

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is.

Hebrews 10:25

What happens when we neglect corporate worship?

A part of the body of Christ is missing.  Imagine that one of your fingers separated itself from your body or could decide on its own that it would not respond to you?  Usually, more than one member neglects to attend worship on the Lord’s Day.  So, imagine a finger, a foot, and one of your organs missing.  You are hindered from a full capacity of life. Jerry’s left leg was amputated twelve years ago.  He still enjoys life, but he will tell you that it is not a full life.

So, too, the body of Christ comes short of what it needs to operate at its fullness.  True — worship is planned and carried on for those who are there, but let’s imagine what worship looks like when the whole body is present and actively participating in the worship to which He calls us.

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you (everybody) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1: 15-23

The church—each member—has its calling, as an heir of the riches of His glory.  It is our inheritance, as His saints. What Christ has secured in heaven is for all His body.  His fullness fills all members with all that we need to rule with Him in His kingdom. Christ as the authority and head over all things has given dominion and power to the members of His body.

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21 expresses the same truth.

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto
him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He is speaking of all believers, all members, of the body of Christ.  In this prayer, Paul is praying that our heavenly Father will give His Spirit–according to the riches of his glory to do the work in the hearts—in the inner man —–for what purpose? That they may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which is beyond (human) knowledge.

Can one member receive all?  Can one heart conceive of the love of Christ? No! It was never meant to be. It is beyond any one of us to know—to comprehend—such a love.  Christ, who is the fullness of the body, sends His Holy Spirit to fill each heart with its portion—its small measure. (Ephesians 4:16)  For who could hold such knowledge, such love as is ours in Christ.  It is His working to give each the portion of our inheritance allotted and to bring that measure together with the others.

When we neglect to meet with the other saints we not only fail to bring what we have received, but we miss the knowledge that we would have received from the other members. Some part of the love of Christ is withheld from the body, and we go lacking that which we could have received.

And so the members of the body of Christ go through the following days, weeks and years, wondering why life is not what it should be.  We are hungry and thirsty for something good, not understanding that all the fullness of life is in Christ; that our hunger and thirst will never be met outside the whole body of Christ, and we are withholding something that someone else needs. As members of one body, let us exhort one another for the faithful attendance to His worship and His Word.

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love
one toward another, and toward all men,
even as we do toward you:
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable
in holiness before God, even our Father,
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
with all his saints.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Father, we need the gift of your Holy Spirit to fill and stir each of our hearts with a measure of Christ’s love. Move us to bring that portion to our worship today so that we may all know the fullness and glory of your presence. In Jesus’ name, I pray and thank you. Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

What Do We Make of the Lord’s Day?


God made the heavens and the earth. In six days God had made all that man needed, including the man; and pronounced that it was “very good.” He needed to do nothing more — only to stand back and glory in what He had made. He blessed it, and sanctified it, setting the pattern for a six-day workweek, and a day of rest. God planned it all, made it all, and then left the man to have dominion over it—to make of it what he would. The man failed to make it good by his disobedience to God’s instructions and so, needing something more, God gave His commands in print, for all generations to read.

Now, what do we make of His Law—not the ceremonial law?  That was abolished when Christ said, “It is finished.” It was all nailed to the cross.

We still have the Ten Commandments, all the law that pertains to His kingdom; the way of life that He ordained for His people. We could just as well put aside the sixth commandment, (“Thou shalt not kill”) as to leave off the fourth, for all ten came in the same package. Written together they are each one part of the same covenant, a covenant describing the intents of God’s heart and mind for His own children in His kingdom. Who would disagree that there can be a detriment to the honor of human life when we fail to honor God in the other commandments. Study the history of the Israelites. (They spent seventy years in exile; seventy years corresponding with how long they had profaned the Sabbath.) One thing led to another, even to murder when what seemed to be the lesser of the commandments were disobeyed.

There is more instruction in the Old Testament concerning the fourth commandment than the other ten.

We might say, Father, I understand that you don’t want me to kill anybody; that’s a basic understanding for most of humanity. But, things have changed, and we don’t really see the need for some of the other commandments. It’s hard, these days, to keep a whole day separate and holy. There are so many other things I need to do on the day that I am free from work and other responsibilities.

What we do with the Lord’s Day is a matter of the heart. How do we perceive the finished work of Christ and his new creation for His glory? Where is your heart on the Lord’s Day? I welcome your comments on what the Lord’s Day means to you, and how you and your family prepare for, and observe it.

 “Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy.”
Exodus 20:8

What do you make of this day?  Is it holy unto the Lord—for His glory? Therein is our joy!

Dear Father, We do not deserve anything but you have revealed such grace through the finished work of Christ for us that we desire to be with you on this day. Bring your people to know and observe this day you created for us — for your glory and our joy. In Jesus name. Amen.
Fran
(If you do not agree on a Lord’s Day Christian Sabbath, this post is not written for you — only for those who share the work of Christ on our behalf for our new creation. I say this because we have had comments attacking our faith in the finished work of Christ and the new Sabbath.)
Images: Google

 

What a Difference a Day Makes

What a difference a different day makes!

 

Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest. Leviticus 23:3

Can you imagine a week with only six days?

Without the extra day, creation would have already been exhausted.  Without the Sabbath, we would never have the rest that our Father knew we needed.

From the beginning, by His own example, He established the pattern for His creation, specifically for His people.

It is a sign between me and
the children of Israel for ever;
for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth,
and on the seventh day he rested,
and was refreshed.
Exodus 31:17

On the seventh day, Jesus rested after He accomplished His work for our salvation. Our Lord’s Day of Resurrection established Jesus as the Lord of the Sabbath for a new creation for Himself.

Our Refreshment
From my own experience, especially as I have gotten older, this day of rest is necessary, otherwise I would have to stop sometime during the week from exhaustion.  Beginning the day in worship with God’s people, and the afternoon resting, reading, and praying, gives me the refreshment I need for the week ahead.  Monday begins with a greater anticipation, assurance, and wisdom for the work that the Father has planned for me to do. I have heard of  many others who share the same experience, even those who are younger.

There are times when “the works of necessity and mercy” (Shorter Catechism Q 60) require an exception. In these times the Lord provides the strength that is needed for the week ahead, or the needed rest during the week.

Dear Father, we thank you for this Lord’s Day, for the glory of your presence in our worship, for the preaching of your word, prayers, the Lord’s Supper, the fellowship of your people; for families that rest together, and regroup for the week ahead.  Let us not miss what you have planned for us in your kingdom work this next week.  Let every day this week be a progression toward the next Lord’s Day, and each Lord’s Day a projection toward that glorious gathering with you in eternity.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Jesus’ Donkey

Have you ever seen a donkey standing out in a field? I am not familiar with donkeys but whenever I see one, it seems to be waiting for something or someone to direct it.

God could just as easily have called us his donkeys instead of his sheep. But there are only a few special donkeys; many special sheep.

There are two donkeys mentioned in the Bible. It seems they were created to be “beasts of burden.” In the Old Testament Balaam had a donkey that could talk; he warned him and saved his life (Numbers 22:22-35).

Balaam’s donkey was probably older, beaten down under the burden of his master.

Jesus’ colt was waiting for his master when the disciples found it and took it to Jesus.

As the gentle master He rode the colt through the gates of Jerusalem.

There may be much that we could learn from the scenario of the Triumphal Entry that we now call Palm Sunday, but one in particular comes to mind this morning.

There are times when we may feel like nothing but a donkey (you many call it whatever you please) but that is not how God created us. The oppressor would have us believe that we have to carry the burdens of the world; that we have no worth except as the scum of the earth. We, as His children, were born in His image, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and directed by His Word and His Holy Spirit to bear His image and the fruit of the Spirit of Christ.

Would we have been honored to be Jesus’ colt? Yes, but that honor was predestined for one only. That colt carried Jesus into the fiercest battle that anyone can wage ~ the battle against Satan and our sin. He won the victory a few days after, and since then calls us to Him to fulfill His purpose in each of us. The memory of the first verse held in my mind since childhood is in Matthew 11:28-30. He has not redeemed us to ride us, but to free us from our bondage and to share our lives here while preparing us for His glory. In meekness He is able to fulfill His will in each of us as we tell others of Him and His victory in us.Dear Father, Thank you that each Lord’s Day, you call us to come in worship to Christ, your Son, who has won our hearts to serve Him and to be a part of the battle against the oppressor in our own lives and the lives of others. We praise you that our calling is not to tread through this life alone, but in unity with Christ, our master, and His other sheep. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

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