For “Scripture Sunday”: Early because of the storm.
A Labor Day Look at God's Sabbath
"In It You Shall Do No Work"
“Labor Day was instituted to honor those who work. At the very beginning of creation God set apart a special day to honor His rest. Learn why the Sabbath command can be a blessing in your life.
You can reap the benefits of God's Sabbath every week!
According to the United States Department of Labor , Labor Day was created to honor the contributions that workers have made to the social and economic well-being of America. President Grover Cleveland first made it a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day is the first Monday in September, falling on Sept. 5 this year. As an American college student myself, it makes a nice transition from working full-time to going back to classes for the year, giving summer one last hurrah.
God’s “work week” is a marvelous schedule that works. He pushes us to work hard at our jobs and various other responsibilities throughout the week, and then gives us the seventh day off to both relax and focus on Him.
Here’s an odd question: Have you ever stopped to consider God’s perspective on labor, or, as we might say today, “work”? It’s interesting to think and read about. God actually expects us to work for most of the week. In Exodus 20:9 we read God’s command that for “six [out of seven] days you shall labor and do all your work.” He also encourages us to work with passion and diligence: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Work is important and allows us to do many honorable things in life, such as provide for our families, grant help to those in need, and leave an inheritance for our children.
Are we then to work and slave away at all times? Certainly not! God understands that we aren’t tireless robots who can run all seven days of the week. He tells us—commands us even—to take the seventh day off!
Let’s return to Exodus 20 to get the rest of God’s important directive: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God . In it you shall do no work” (Exodus 20:9-10; emphasis added). God wants us to take the seventh day off so bad that He makes it the fourth requirement in the most well-known section of His law: the Ten Commandments!
But there’s still more to the story besides not working! What are we supposed to do with these 24 hours of seemingly free time? The core of God’s Fourth Commandment is this: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy .” (Exodus20:8; emphasis added).
One important way that we keep this day holy is by resting instead of working, as we already mentioned. Another significant way we honor the Sabbath is by attending church services, which are a holy convocation appointed by God Himself (Leviticus 23:3). Going to church allows us to converse with and encourage others who believe as we do and to worship and learn more about God and His truth. Please click here to find the congregation closest to you.
God’s “work week” is a marvelous schedule that works. He pushes us to work hard at our jobs and various other responsibilities throughout the week, and then gives us the seventh day off to both relax and focus on Him. This “recharge day” doesn’t come around just once a year; you can reap the benefits of God’s Sabbath every week! As you prepare for fall and for the upcoming holiday weekend, remember to always put God first and keep His Sabbaths holy. Have a blessed and restful Sabbath and Labor Day weekend.
For a more in-depth look at God’s instruction to keep the Sabbath, how to keep it, and its plethora of benefits, please reflect on the following writings:
Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest — our extensive booklet investigating the seventh-day Sabbath as it is mentioned throughout the Bible, from beginning to end.
“The Fourth Commandment: Key to a Relationship With Our Creator” — a look at the Sabbath as a command from God, demonstrating its deep importance to you individually.
“The Benefits of the Sabbath” — this article examines just a handful of the many benefits that you can experience right now by keeping God’s Sabbath.”
The Reformation: A Return to the Bible?
“The Protestant reformers claimed they were restoring Christianity back to its biblical roots. But were there things they forgot to reform?
A copy of Martin Luther's translation of the Bible into the German language.
October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s reputed action of nailing his “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg (where he was a professor of theology at Wittenberg University). This document criticized certain practices and doctrines of the Catholic Church and is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Luther claimed that the Roman church under the popes had moved away from the truth of the Bible.
To Luther’s credit, his 95 Theses highlighted many legitimate issues with the Catholic Church of his time. However, if the pope had heeded Luther’s critiques, would that have returned Catholicism to the Christianity of the Bible?
The truth is, Martin Luther and the Reformation he began continued to embrace many prominent nonbiblical doctrines that the church they were protesting had adopted hundreds of years earlier.
One of the most prominent unbiblical doctrines Protestants maintained was regarding Sunday as the Christian day of worship. To learn why the biblical Sabbath isn’t Sunday, read “Was the Sabbath Changed to Sunday?”
Since the Reformation, Catholics have criticized Protestants for the double standard of rejecting Catholic tradition by claiming they relied on “Sola Scriptura” (Latin for “Scripture alone”) while maintaining many doctrines based entirely on tradition, particularly the observance of Sunday.
Notice these quotes from Catholics:
- “The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her Divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. … But the Protestant says: How can I receive the teachings of an apostate Church? How, we ask, have you managed to receive her teaching all your life, in direct opposition to your recognized teacher, the Bible, on the Sabbath question?” (The Christian Sabbath, fifth ed., published by The Catholic Mirror of Baltimore, 1893, pp. 29-30, emphasis in original).
- “Q. Is the observance of Sunday, as the day of rest, a matter clearly laid down in Scripture?
“A. It certainly is not; and yet all Protestants consider the observance of this particular day as essentially necessary to salvation. To say, we observe the Sunday, because Christ rose from the dead on that day, is to say we act without warrant of Scripture; and we might as well [incorrectly] say, that we should rest on Thursday because Christ ascended to heaven on that day” (Stephen Keenan, Controversial Catechism, 1846, p. 136, emphasis added).
- “If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church” (letter from Albert Smith, chancellor of the Baltimore Archdiocese, Feb. 10, 1920).
Secular history and the Roman Church agree on this point: It was the Catholic Church that changed the Christian day of worship from the seventh day to Sunday—not the Bible.
Restoring the true Sabbath
Both Protestants and Catholics ignore the seventh-day Sabbath, instead observing the unbiblical Sunday. Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers criticized some Catholic abuses and doctrines, while maintaining many others. Catholics and Protestants alike would benefit from going to the Bible and reading what it reveals about the Sabbath, instead of relying on their own unbiblical teachings.
To learn about the seventh-day Sabbath and why it should be kept today, read “What Day Is the Sabbath?
The problem with Sunday, Sola scriptura.
“Martin Luther and his contemporaries claimed this Latin phrase, meaning “Scripture alone,” was the basis for their efforts to reform Catholicism and reject the authority of the pope and Catholic tradition.
Unfortunately, a major problem arose: they couldn’t fully agree on what and how to reform. Some wanted to move fast with sweeping reforms; others wanted to move slowly. Some wanted limited crosses and icons; others believed all icons were wrong. Some believed in infant baptism; others, only adult baptism. Some believed the Eucharistic bread was Christ’s body; others believed it represented Christ’s body. The disagreements went on and on, which is why there are thousands of Protestant denominations today.
But, despite these divisions, there is one belief the reformers almost unanimously agreed on. In this, they did not break with the Roman Church: They upheld Sunday as the day of worship.
But maintaining Sunday created a huge problem Protestants still live with to this day. Simply put, it fundamentally broke with the concept of sola scriptura. The Bible shows that Jesus, the apostles and the early Church all observed the seventh-day Sabbath (Luke 4:16, 31; Acts 17:2-3; 18:4). So, if one was to rely solely on Scripture to decide doctrine, one would worship on the seventh day. (You can learn more about the biblical case for the seventh-day Sabbath in our video series “The Sabbath: A Gift From God.”)
To find the origin of Sunday worship, one has to consult extrabiblical history, which shows Sunday was gradually adopted (by some) beginning in the mid-second century. The first written evidence of Sunday worship is from a document written by Justin Martyr around A.D. 150. One of the primary motivations for the change to Sunday was a desire to not appear “Jewish.” In fact, early in its history, the Roman Church even imposed a weekly Saturday fast to show “contempt for the Jews” who observed the Sabbath as a feast (Kenneth Strand, ed., The Sabbath in Scripture and History, 1982, pp. 137-138).
In A.D. 321 Constantine the Great officially established Sunday as the day of rest throughout the Roman Empire. Constantine had been a devout sun worshipper most of his life, which might help explain why he enshrined dies solis (the day of the sun) as the official day of worship.
Secular history and the Roman Church agree on this point: It was the Catholic Church that changed the Christian day of worship from the seventh day to Sunday—not the Bible. To see more evidence of this, read “When and How Did the Change in Worship From Saturday to Sunday Occur?”
Even though I just posted last Wednesday, more has developed since then. On Wednesday evening about 7.00 pm a young (45) lady rang my door bell asking if she could have a drink of water and use my phone. I took her some water and an old cordless phone outside, and then her story came out. She had just arrived by plane from Florida, and was hoping to see her daughter in TX on her 16th. birthday. A relative of her ex-husband said that he would bring her to Willis as he was going to visit a neighbor of mine. They had words and she was stranded. Later, Gary from our church, and I met the young man, and he said that she had tried to tell him what to do in his own truck, which didn’t go down too well.
Her FL phone wouldn’t work here for some reason, and her tablet wouldn’t work here because I don’t have WiFi. She camped on my porch with all her stuff, charged up her tablet in my outlet and was getting eaten by skeeters, even though I had furnished her with some skeeter spray. So she begged to come in. Reluctantly, I let her in. (What is a follower of Jesus (Yeshua) to do? See Matthew 25:35.)
She spent all that evening and the next day trying to get in touch with people by Messenger on Facebook on my computer as her phone numbers were all in her non-working phone. She had a nasty, name-calling argument with her mother on the phone, and didn’t honor her at all. (Honor your mother and father: Deuteronomy 5:16 and Mark 7:10 ) I fed her several times, and she stayed another night on my couch. Someone was supposed to send money to her by MoneyGram to Willis, which they never did. Eventually, her mother agreed to come from Lake Palestine, TX to come to get her. It took her elderly mother, who works full-time, two hours to drive here, and then there is the two hour drive back. I was so sorry for her mother being talked to like that. This gal was a very disruptive, argumentative gal and was upset because I just have Windows 7 and don’t have a smart phone, WiFi, cola or cigarettes! (My needs are simple) My neighbor let her have some cigarettes, and she drank juice and coffee. She said that she had stepped back into 1920! She said she was a Christian, but was upset when I had the Les Feldick “Through The Bible” Bible study on TV. Wow! Talk about being ungrateful and griping because free things aren’t the way she liked them. It taught me a lesson, that no good deed goes unpunished.
I know I shouldn’t have let her in. I was nervous, anxious and on tenterhooks all the time she was here. Three neighbors came by, so they were looking out for me. I thank the Lord that she didn’t harm me. I should have offered to dial the number through a closed door and told her to get water from the outside faucet.
The kittens are getting two meds twice a day and another once a day. Have you ever tried to give a cat a foul-tasting liquid? Be armed with a big towel and wrap the four sharp corners up really tight. Then poke the needleless syringe at the back of their throat, and plunge the plunger. I have to do this for one more week, poor little things, but they are so forgiving like most animals, and still want me to play with them.
I am writing this early in case the power goes out, as the storm is here. It has been raining gully-whompers. Not much wind, but the roads below here are flooded.
The churches around here have cancelled Sabbath services so that folks won’t try to go through deep water to get there. There are lots of Church of God sermons to be seen online.
So far we have water, power, internet, TV and phone, and I have lots of drinking water put up and many two-gallon plastic jugs full of water for washing, etc. A one gallon bucket of water poured quickly from a height will flush a toilet. My only worry is my freezer and deep freeze if the power should go out, but I have big dry ice packs in them, so they should hold a while. My van is still in the shop, he thinks it is three bad injectors, but wants to look at it closer. I hope it will be safe there.
So that is how things are going on this drowned out Sabbath Day!