Sundays are for Sabbath Rest
[Editor’s Note: Some P&P Contributors hold to the 1689 Confession, some are Calvinistic dispensationalists that do not, and one rowdy contributor isn’t even a Calvinist – the horror. We may not all agree on the sabbatarian nature of the Lord’s Day, but we would all like you to enjoy this day of rest and worship in Jesus Christ]
Do you notice the editor’s note above? For this Sundays are for Sabbath Rest post – a weekly affair here at Pulpit & Pen, we’re going to draw your attention to someone who probably wouldn’t prefer the term Sabbath in reference to this day. Even New Testament Sabbath might be rejected. In fact, Dr. MacArthur writes…
Remember what I told you last time about the sabbath day? It is gone, right? It is gone. So whatever we’re talking about on Sunday, we’re not talking about the sabbath. The sabbath was the seventh day of the week. It was instituted under the Mosaic law between the fall of man and Moses. There were no sabbath laws. There was no sabbath observance. That came in the Mosaic law. Centuries went by, none of the patriarchs had any kind of sabbath laws.
Well, Dr. MacArthur is a dispensationalist. I am covenantal, and so I humbly disagree. Like other 1689 Baptists, I believe the Sabbath is the same in substance, and only different in its administration. Yet, Dr. John MacArthur explains why this day is the Lord’s Day (a term we can agree on).
Have you thought about it? Why Sunday? Can’t we just change the day we gather for corporate worship to Tuesday? It’s the principle, right? And why not Saturday, so long as we’re picking days? Dr. MacArthur writes…
Well, many churches had begun to whittle away at Sunday, this in the last 25 years or so. They have reduced Sunday to a one-hour non-intrusive experience you can have on your way to the beach in your bathing suit, if you want. They have minimized Sunday down to this one hour that you can get out of the way, and in order to accommodate people who don’t even want to dent Sunday with that, they accommodate that with a Saturday night service. You can go to the Saturday night service, and you don’t have to pay any attention to Sunday whatsoever. So you can have the whole day at the beach, and you can do the Saturday service at night when it’s dark and you can’t go outside and play, anyway. This is typical of the contemporary trend. And people seem to make very little difference between whether people gather on a Saturday or a Sunday. It doesn’t seem to be an issue. There are lots of folks who would like to leave Sunday completely free for games, recreation, and going to the mall, or wherever else they want to go, and throw in a Saturday night service that just takes a little while, seems to accommodate them readily. Well does it really matter? Is it important for us to do this on Sunday? Couldn’t we just as well do it any other day or every other day?
These are good questions Dr. MacArthur is posing. Thankfully, he answers…
Well, the Sunday of resurrection was a very special Sunday. The following Sunday was a very special Sunday. Pentecost was a very special Sunday. Certainly after pentecost, Sunday was very well established in the hearts of the people of God. Did they worship only on Sunday? No, no. They worshiped how often? Every day. Acts 2:46, “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, having favor with all the people.”
You know, they were experiencing that every single day, and that is what Sunday should be. It should be a day of coming together. It should be a day of devoting yourselves to the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer. It should be a day of taking meals together with gladness, sincerity of heart, praising God. It should be a happy, joyous day. It’s not a day of restraint. It’s not a day when we come under the fearful threat of the law. It’s a day when we celebrate our redemption. And so they met every day, but it didn’t take long before they landed on a special day. Turn to Acts 20, Acts 20. This is just a little bit more of the history.
Luke writes that – along with Paul – “We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, came to believers at Troas within five days; stayed there seven days.” Now look at this, verse 7, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread – ” Isn’t that interesting? No law has been given to establish this. But here we are well into the ministry of the apostle Paul. Years have passed since the resurrection of Jesus Christ and it’s not remarkable. It’s matter of fact, “When we were gathered together to break bread on the first day of the week.” That’s what they did. They’re still meeting.
After a thorough analysis of why Sunday truly is special unto the Lord, MacArthur writes/says this…
I don’t call Sunday Sunday. I call it the Lord’s Day. You hear me say that a lot. The Lord’s Day, the Lord’s Day. It was on the Lord’s Day that John received his vision, his first vision was of Jesus the Lord of the church, right? What does he say there? “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, the sound of a trumpet.” He turns around and sees Christ ministering in the candlesticks, Christ ministering in His church. This is the Lord of the church serving His church, and he got the vision of the Lord moving in His church on Sunday. The Lord is the one who initiated that vision and He initiated it on a Sunday, on the Lord’s Day. John had a lot of visions in the book of Revelation. None of them is identified with a day, none of them, this is the only one. This is the Lord’s Day because this is resurrection day, this is Holy Spirit day. It’s not the Lord’s morning. It’s not the Lord’s afternoon. It’s not the Lord’s evening. It’s not the Lord’s hour. It’s the Lord’s Day.
Sunday truly is the Lord’s Day. It belongs to Him. How are you observing His day? Is it how He prescribes to be worshipped on this day?
Blessings to you, reader of the Pulpit and Pen.
[Contributed by JD Hall]