Can Believers Worship On Sunday?

14 04 2013

Can a Christian worship on Sunday? The followers of the Seventh Day Adventist religion claim that you cannot. They claim that worshipping on Sunday is the mark of the beast and that true Christians keep the seventh day Sabbath. They point out that God rested on the seventh day which predates the Law of Moses (Genesis 2:2-3). They point out that the 10 Commandments require it (Exodus 20: 8-11). They point out that Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). They point out that Paul went to the synagogue on the Sabbath as well (Acts 17:2). Surely they would say this proves the case for Sabbath worship. I want to examine these arguments and the arguments for Sunday worship briefly.

Did God rest on the seventh day? Yes, but did He need to? No, He never gets tired or weary “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28). Why did He rest then? He did it to give us an example to follow. He knew we needed rest. Jesus states this in Mark 2:27, “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” The Adventist religion only wants to go to church Saturdays but they have no rules against travelling, shopping, or working on that day which the Jews did have because that was the purpose of it.

Do the 10 Commandments require it? Yes they do but of the commandments the only one not repeated in the New Testament is the one concerning the Sabbath. The 1st is in Matthew 22:37, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” The 2nd is in 1 Corinthians 10:7, “Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” We see several in Matthew 15:18-19, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, (6th commandment) adulteries, (7thcommandment) fornications, thefts, (8th commandment) false witness, (9th commandment) blasphemies (3rd commandment). We see the 5th in Matthew 19:19, “Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Finally we see the 10th in Romans 7:7, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” The commandment concerning the Sabbath is absent.

Did Jesus attend synagogue on the Sabbath? Yes He did. He was a Jew and came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Does this mean we must do it as well? A good way to look at this is to ask do you attend the Jewish feasts? Jesus did as we see in John 8:22-23, “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.” Here Jesus is celebrating Hanukkah. To say Jesus did it so we must is to commit yourself to many things the Adventists don’t do.

Did Paul attend synagogue on the Sabbath? Yes he did but as we see in the verse above he attended to witness to the Jews not as a practice. In fact it was Paul we will see in a few minutes preaching on the first day of the week, and commanding no one to judge someone concerning a Sabbath day.

Are there any arguments for Sunday worship in Scripture? The answer is yes and there are several. In Revelation 1:10 John said, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.” The term Lord’s Day means a special day set aside to worship the Lord. Notice he did not say Sabbath day. In Acts 20:7 it says, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Here they are gathered on Sunday for what appears to be a church meeting. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 it says, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” The directions to the church seem to be to set money aside on the first day of the week which would lead us to believe they met on that day.

The Jewish Sabbath looked back to the creation. Sunday or the first day of the week is the day Christ rose from the dead and finished the new creation. To meet on this day would serve a similar purpose to why the Jews gathered on that day.

We also must keep in mind that the Adventists take a lot of pride in their meeting day even bragging that they are “Sabbath keepers” and that those who don’t meet on Saturday have taken the mark of the beast. What did Paul say about this kind of thinking? In Romans 14:5 Paul says what day we worship on is a matter of conscience, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” He repeats the same point in Colossians 2:16-17, “ Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Paul even warned the Galatian Christians not to fall back into the bondage of the law including the Sabbath, “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” Galatians 4:9-10.

To feel or teach one must keep the Sabbath misses the whole point of what Christ came to do. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” In John 5:39 Jesus said the law pointed to Him, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” In Galatians 3:24 Paul said the purpose of the law was not to make us righteous but to bring us to Christ, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

In summary what the Adventist religion is missing is that the law was given to show us our sin, and in the keeping of the law man could see that his sins were never atoned for and he must keep up his efforts to be in right standing with God. In Christ however we have atonement for our sins and He is our Sabbath rest. We can rest knowing we are in right standing with God based on the merits of His Son Jesus Christ. Listen to Hebrews 4:4, “For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.” Now look a little further in verse 10, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” When we enter into Christ, which is to say the work of His redemption on the cross we are resting as God did. In other words Christ is our rest or our Sabbath.

Written By: Rick Garland


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