“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8)

Why is keeping the Lord’s Day holy glorious?

* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is an opportunity to please and glorify God in obedience to His commandments.

* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is a privilege and blessing of the Covenant of Grace.

* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it can remind us that the Lord Jesus created it, kept it, and fulfilled it, and gave it to believers as a way of imitating Him.

* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is an opportunity for growth and maturity in Christ.

* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it can be a time well spent that helps us not to live overly busy and distracted lives.

* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is a way of joyfully, peacefully, and graciously witnessing publicly to whom it is you belong, and to whom it is you ultimately submit!

* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is part of our confessional heritage as particularly Reformed Christians.

 

  1. Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy is glorious because it is an opportunity for growth and maturity in Christ.

The Lord’s Day gives us as God’s people the honored privilege of worshipping and serving God in a special way! The Lord’s Day provides an opportunity (out of our busy schedules!) to respond as believers to invitations and calls to worship from the ordained servants (pastors/elders) in our local church and other faithful, Bible-believing places of worship, to come and worship God, to come and pray, to come and fellowship, to come and partake in the preaching of the Word and the Sacraments. We are called, or invited to enjoy and delight in these important means of grace that the Risen-Ascended Christ promises to use for the growth and maturity of His people (Acts 2:41-47; Eph. 4:7-16).

By keeping the Lord’s Day a separate and special “holy day” or better (perhaps for emphasis to appeal better to American Christians) a “holi-day” we can be more confident of growth and maturity in Jesus.[1] God gives us the day off so that we can attend to growth and maturity in Christ without distraction. What a gracious and loving God! God knows our hearts, and our temptations to unbelief and to harden our hearts (Heb. 3:12-13; 2 Cor. 3:14). Our God knows our selfish tendencies to disregard what He teaches us to do, only to find out later in a hard way that we have played the fools. So, let us be wise in our listening, learning and following our God as His disciples (Ecc. 5:1-7; 1 Cor. 10:1-13).

One of the wonderful privileges on the Lord’s Day is an opportunity through preaching and teaching of the Word by God’s ordained servants to grow up into Christ, and to no longer be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine…” but, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…” (Eph. 4:11-16). As we learn God’s Word together especially on the Lord’s Day, so we desire to grow up in Christ as Christians, even in better understanding this particular truth. Or, to put it another way, keeping the Lord’s Day can help us to be faithful to God in the obeying of the rest of the commandments in Christ. If we are not using the Lord’s Day primarily for the preaching, reading, meditation, memorization and study of God’s Word, I would be surprised if we are doing this well on any other day.

Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it can be a time to further put off self and sin (mortification), and put on Christ (vivification). Another benefit of keeping the Lord’s Day holy is that you have a time set apart, an entire day, to drink deeply of God’s truth and to put on Christ (vivification) by faith, coming to more fully understand who you are in Jesus (Eph. 4:17-32). Also, very importantly, it is a day to commit yourself to mortifying or killing the sin and selfish sinful impulses that so easily hinder you day in and day out.[2] The Lord’s Day is a day that has been given to you as a gift to work out your salvation with fear and trembling and to by the power of the Spirit and through faith to cleanse ourselves in Christ, and to bring holiness to completion in the fear of the Lord. The Apostle Paul writes to Christians who are God’s new holy temple in Christ, His very dwelling place by the Spirit:

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1).

If we are not recognizing and mortifying our selfishness and sinfulness on the Lord’s Day, are we really doing it on any other day? If we’re not using the day that God has given to us and set apart for us, then is it possible that we are not really using the other days to do this important and God-glorifying work? Perhaps a first work in mortifying is to kill our sinful tendency to disregard God’s commandments? Perhaps a first work of mortification is repentance for taking lightly the commandments of God, yet gratefully knowing God is faithful and just in Jesus to forgive you when you repent and confess your sins? (1 John 1:8-2:2).

The Lord’s Day has been given for us to take time to learn God’s Word, to grow up in our faith, to pray to seek after Christ as persons, as a people, as families, as a congregation. Do we disregard this privilege as if it were nothing?! If we are using the Lord’s Day for other purposes (even normally good purposes on any other days), it is highly unlikely we are truly growing in God’s word and thus in our faith. Additionally, what we’re doing on the Lord’s Day might teach us what is truly important for us. Perhaps this is one way of getting at idols that refuse to abandon us so that we can enjoy full liberty and joy in Christ? Perhaps this might reveal idols that continue to demand that we serve them rather than Christ? It is something to ponder (if we have time).

Suggested Questions to Ponder and Ask Yourself to Help You to Keep the Lord’s Day Holy:

Is this activity on the Lord’s Day going to glorify God above all things? / Is this activity a work of necessity or mercy that I lovingly desire to do to love God and neighbor? / Is this activity going to hinder me (or others) from publicly worshipping God and attending to any calls to worship that God calls me to through his ordained servants? / Is this activity loving and the best use of my time for myself, my family, my guests, my neighbors, and those who look to me for leadership? / Is this activity going to be consistent with God’s Word, and particularly His clear teaching on how he desires the Lord’s Day to be remembered? / Is this activity work that I normally engage it on other days, and can it wait? / Is this activity a distraction from my taking time to grow up in God’s Word? / Is this activity something that will not be conducive to remembering what I learned in the morning worship sermon and meditating upon it and hiding in my heart so that I won’t sin against God? / Is this activity properly living a godly example before a broken and lost world?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I want to keep the Lord’s Day holy, please help me. Grant me your wisdom and discernment. Amen

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

 

(Link to full study: From Your Pastor.Why Keeping the Lords Day is Glorious.March 2016)

 

 

[1] One of my favorite things as a Daddy is to announce with joy on Saturday evenings to my girls: “Girls, tomorrow is the Lord’s Day! We have such a glorious holiday and opportunity to rejoice and worship the living God tomorrow!” Then, when the Lord’s Day comes, it is so exciting to see the joy and enthusiasm on their faces (even when they are a bit sleepy!) as they understand to some degree that they get the privilege of keeping the Lord’s Day! This is a true delight and highlight of my week. May God grant us grace to always enjoy this with our families.

[2] Our forefather in the faith John Owen wrote in his classic book The Mortification of Sin: “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you” (Banner of Truth Trust: Puritan Paperbacks, 2004).

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