DayOne incorporating the Lord's Day Observance Society
"The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath"
Mark 2 v 27
When God created the world and everything in it, He also formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him.This was the pinnacle of His creative work. Almighty God gave him everything he needed, includinga special day to rest from his labours and to worship his Creator. Six days were for work, but the seventh was the Sabbath of the Lord his God. This principle was later embodied within the Ten Commandments, God’s moral law, which was given to all people and for all time.
Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets placed a special emphasis upon the keeping of this day as holy unto the Lord. In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ recognised this day by regularly attending the synagogue. He never undermined it, and neither did he remove its true meaning. It was a day for rest and worship. However, following His resurrection, the day was changed; it became the first day of the week as a weekly reminder
of His risen presence. The seventh day spoke of God’s work in creation; now the first day speaks of His love in
redemption. This special day has been a great blessing to every Christian believer throughout the centuries. It is a day
which Christians value, and one they have come to love and respect.
When, by His grace, God calls us to Himself, and we experience the blessing of being His children, we discover
a love for Him which we never thought possible. When we come to love someone, our desire is to please that person
in our thoughts, words and actions. If this is so in human relationships, how much more should it be evident in
our relationship with Almighty God. John 14:14 says, ‘If you love me keep My commandments.’ We love the day because it is God’s. He made it (Genesis 2:3; Psalm 118:24) and He gave it to us (Exodus 16:29; 20:8-11). Even unbelievers can be thankful for a day different from the others. However, when we have a personal relationship with the God who gave it, it becomes a delight to us.
As we look back over history, man has formed many gods to worship. However, the Bible reveals to us the only true
God who demands our allegiance and adoration (Exodus 20:3,4). Man is a creature made for worship and our Creator, the true and living God, is alone worthy of our affection. The Lord’s Day, being free from the everyday pressures of
life, gives opportunities for private and corporate worship. It is a day which turns us from temporal demands that
constantly occupy our attention, and enables us to concentrate on eternal things. It is a day to prepare us for heaven.
In the United Kingdom, Christians are privileged to have the liberty to worship God openly and undisturbed. This
is not afforded to all believers. Freedom to worship is a great blessing and the Lord’s Day enables us to enjoy this
great privilege to the full.
The pace and pressure of life has greatly increased during the past forty years. It is so easy for people to be sucked
into the commercial and materialistic ‘rat race’ which has come to dominate our society. In these days of rush
and tension when demands are so great upon us, our bodies and minds need a weekly break for refreshment and
recuperation. People cannot continue at the current pace without eventually reaping the consequences. The body can collapse; the mind can become exhausted. Many an illness is made worse by the neglect of a regular pattern of rest.
Almighty God created us and therefore knows our capabilities. In the Bible, we have before us directions as to the way life can be lived to its fullest potential. Even Christians would do well to spend more time studying their Maker’s instructions. God set us a pattern to follow which included a day of rest for body and mind. William Wilberforce, who laboured tirelessly for the abolition of slavery, said, ‘I attribute my own power of endurance to a regular observance of the Lord’s Day.’ We should use this gift wisely and well and, at the sametime, ensure that others within society have the same opportunity for rest, reflection and refreshment.
As with the third consideration, this is applicable to all people. Nations are built upon the basis of family units. If families break down, thereby becoming divided and dysfunctional, the consequences inevitably affect the nation.
The way society is constructed today leaves little opportunity for family unity. Within many families, both parents work. Evenings are taken up with many external, secular pursuits. There is very little opportunity for families to spend
valuable time together. When the opportunity comes, television and the Internet often dominate so that there is little time
for conversation and discussion. Although individuals live in the same house, the ‘home’ is broken, and this situation often leads to broken marriages and unsociable children. What a different country we would have—hat a change
there would be in our homes—f people became aware that Sunday provided a unique opportunity for families
to be together and enjoy each other’s company. Sunday should be the family-day and, in today’s society, it is
needed more than ever. We neglect it at our peril!
This strengthening of family life is also vital for Christians. Each week day, family prayers can bring unity, binding the members together. Yet the Lord’s Day is even more precious, giving greater opportunity for worshipping together in the House of God, and sharing each other’s company around the meal table, discussing important topics, which are a vital part of family life. The family unit must be maintained for the benefit of its members, and for strengthening our national life.
It is vitally important for the Christian to have a daily ‘quiet time’, both for prayer and the reading of God’s Word. This will enable him or her to come closer to the Lord and also grow in the faith. If we neglect this opportunity, our faith can become stagnant and soon we shall fall into a backslidden condition. For many people, a ‘quiet time’ is limited because of daily responsibilities, pressure of work, and other duties which demand considerable time and attention.
However, the Lord’s Day provides invaluable opportunities to be alone with God so that we can recharge our spiritual batteries. All Christians are stewards of their time. One seventh of our week belongs to God in a very special way. It is worth contemplating the fact that if we live on this earth to the age of seventy years, Sundays will have amounted to ten years of our life. We are stewards of these precious years to use them as God intended. This day also presents an
opportunity to teach our children, and any young people in our care, the truths which will have an impact upon them, long after they have left the security of their parents’ protection. Early teaching will affect them for both time and eternity. You cannot reclaim those years when they have gone.
In every place and situation, Christians should be looking for opportunities to serve the Saviour. The seed of God’s Word must continually be sown, although we acknowledge that it is only Almighty God who can give the increase.
However, our duty to employers and our other responsibilities mean that many forms of Christian service are limited. For many believers, the Lord’s Day presents wonderful opportunities for serving the Saviour. The Lord’s Day enables us to spend time in hospital ministry, visiting the sick and house-bound, and contacting missionaries overseas. We constantly need to be reminded of our stewardship of time and to use the hours we have been given wisely.
Have you heard of the ‘Monday morning feeling’? This malaise is plain to see on the faces of many who travel to work by bus or train. The cause is often simply the way the Lord’s Day was spent. Many will have used its valuable hours for pursuits which do not bring rest and refreshment. Christians should not have a ‘Monday morning feeling’ since they try to spend Sunday as God directed in His Word. Judge Matthew Hale, who lived in the seventeenth century, once wrote these following words:
‘A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content and health for the toil of the morrow;
A Sabbath profaned, whatever be gained, is a certainforerunner of sorrow.’
We should be forever grateful for the gift of a day different from all others and one which proves such a blessing to
individuals, families and nations. May it not only be loved and respected, but be one of our country’s great Christian and national heritage.
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