The Third Commandment

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

Did you ever win a perfect attendance award? I went to a smaller school and at the end of the year the whole school would gather in the church, those who had never missed a day would be called up front and given a certificate for their perfect attendance. Everyone would clap and those select few would return to their seats beaming with pride. I wanted that experience! One year my parents planned to take a trip to Disney from my home in Michigan. They planned to take us out of school for a few days to make this trip happen. My biggest concern… would this trip ruin my chance of getting my perfect attendance award?

What if God gave out perfect attendance awards for his Sabbath day, for church? Could you make a case for winning one? Would you even care? Perhaps you march to the beat of your own drummer and organized church is not for you. Maybe you are of the mindset that you can get just as much if not more out of studying the Bible at home by yourself. When you do come to church do you invest your whole heart and mind in worship? Do you pay attention the whole time? Like me, does your mind wander to all the little things going on in your life other than what your God has to say to you that day (Hebrews 4:12-13)?

It is true, this special will of God for a Sabbath day is no longer in effect for us. Just take a look at Colossians 2 (Especially verses 13-14, 16-17). The reason that this commandment, like the rest, is no longer in effect for us is because Jesus fulfilled them all perfectly on our behalf. Without Jesus we would have to keep all these commandments perfectly for our whole lives in order to have a right relationship with God. Because of Jesus we have a right relationship with God right now and it has nothing to do with how good we have been at keeping God’s commands (Romans 3:28).

But is that really all there is to it? Have thousands of years worth of Christians been duped into going to church every week even though it is not required? Is there no benefit in gathering weekly around God’s word?

The message of the Bible gives a clear and beautiful answer. Let’s look at what it says:

Psalm 84:10 “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” The Psalms are an amazing place to turn for passages about our worship of God. Many of them were used for the Israelite’s public worship life. Once we have realized that this life is nothing more than a fleeting shadow or breath and that eternal paradise is our free gift from God, what better place to spend our days than in God’s house, praising him for what he has done.

Psalm 122:1 “I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” This Psalm of David was sung by the Israelites as they made their way up to Jerusalem so they could worship their God, hear of their forgiveness, and learn what their God of love had to teach.

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” We no longer are required to keep God’s commandments to earn heaven, but this is what our perfect God wants. He knows our needs and he wants us to continue to learn and grow in our faith. The Church for thousands of years has trained pastors and teachers to facilitate this learning. The Church has gathered every week since Jesus walked this earth to praise God and grow together this side of eternity.

Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We can and should make a habit of studying God’s word privately in our homes, but our private study should never take the place of public worship. This world is tough, sin has corrupted everything. Although we have the promise of an eternal heaven we have to slog through the mess of sin in this world before we get there. Meeting with like-minded Christians, being reminded of God’s love, encouraging each other in tough times; these are the things God would have Christians do to help each other until perfection is obtained.

Remembering the Sabbath day has nothing to do with winning a perfect attendance award. It has nothing to do with earning our salvation. It does serve to weekly remind us and teach us about our God’s love. It does serve to strengthen us as we walk through this sinful world to our heavenly home. Our loving God knows what is best for us, he gave his own life to save us, and he asks us to not give up meeting together. In the joy of my eternal life, bought and paid for, I will happily continue worshiping God in private and at church.

 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God that we do not despise preaching and his word, but regard it as holy and gladly hear and learn it.


About vicarhoff

I am thrilled and honored to be serving as vicar/intern at Christ the King Lutheran Church and School for a whole year!

Posted on September 16, 2011, in Church, Preschool and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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