Sunday Ticket and Christ’s Church

Does Sabbath rest include ceasing from various leisurely activities?  Our confessions do not prohibit modest leisure or recreation.  Modest leisure may be appropriate as long as it does not remove or hinder fellowship, worship, and avoids worldly commerce.  Christians should remain separate from worldly pursuits—remember the Lord sanctified the day.[1]  The more commerce done on the Lord’s Day, the more Christians have to work on Sunday.  The Sabbath consists in performing holy works.  In order to do or receive them, we must avoid things that hinder or omit worship.  In this hyper-stimulated culture, we face many obstacles to sanctifying the Sabbath.  Sunday is the second busiest shopping day in America—ask anyone in the restaurant business and he will tell you that Christians pack the house on Sunday.[2]  One cannot do his religious duty at the mall or in front of a big screen, much less, dare I say, at a NFL game.  Will the NFL game conflict with your religions duty, acts of necessity, and mercy?  That is for you to decide, but if the church officers have called two worship services on Sunday, I don’t know how you will get around your commitment to Christ and his Church if the Dallas Cowboys are playing next year in January?  Better to be more committed to Christ’s church than to America’s Team.

If you need a place to worship this Lord’s Day, our service begins at 10:30am and I have NFL rewind so you can watch the game with me on Monday.

[1] Think of the day like your tithe, all your money belongs to the Lord, but a certain amount is specially given to the church for the Lord.  Every day belongs to the Lord and you serve him daily, however, Sunday is a special day because the Lord set it apart for a special purpose.

[2]Most restaurants classify them as the most difficult patrons and poorest tippers.  The worst of the bunch slip tacky tracks with less than 15% in place of a good tip.  Non-Christians with tenure, therefore, often refuse to work on Sunday resulting in Christians to fill the gap, see Clark, Recovering, 324.


Yahweh’s Sabbath

Sunday in America has become a day of relaxation, dare I say a day devoted to the NFL.  The Sabbath is a day for relaxation, however, and more importantly, it is Yahweh’s Sabbath (Ex. 31:13; 20:10; Lev. 19:3, 30; Isa. 56:4).  It is a day of resting and holding sacred assembly (Lev. 23:3).  Because it is Yahweh’s Sabbath, it is a gift and blessing for man (Mark 2:27).  Sabbath is a joy for man where he finds his deepest delight in the Lord. It is a celebration not to be missed (Heb. 10:25).  It is a day to celebrate justification and eschatological hope, to participate in the glorious hope to come.  It is a day of learning about the new-creation (heaven) to get accustomed to its ways of life—it is a day to enjoy God.  Christians do so by going to church for it is also a day of enjoying others, which is why the commandment speaks of equal rest for family, slaves, animals, and foreigners.  Therefore, it is a day of praying together as a family, discussing the service in Christian fellowship, and reaching out to the world.

The Sabbath is a day of Christian liberty not a day of bondage.  God did not design it to constrain Christians but to maximize their liberty.  It is one day in seven to be free from the demands of this world.  It is a day to rest from ordinary duties without feeling bad about it.  Christians have six days a week to focus on work and are not obligated to attend church in those days.  God has commanded six days a week to live in the common kingdom and to interact with the broader world.  Yet, God sets apart one day from this common kingdom and its ordinary cultural activities.  In doing so, the Sabbath offers a wonderful testimony to this world.

Christians share life, play, work, trade, etc. with their neighbors six days a week.  On the Lord’s Day, however, they do something different.  They come together to listen to a half hour monologue about the past, only to eat a tiny meal of wine and bread afterwards.  They sing about the blood, pray together, call each other brother and sister.  They speak a foreign language of free grace and in so doing show that the ordinary (common) is not their highest end or love in this world.  In that place stand this non-ordinary day and its duties.  Most Christians get this backwards as they baptize everything in the common kingdom throughout the week making a Christian ghetto with their own music, festivals, magazines, movies, styles, clothing, bumper stickers, etc.  Then secularize the Lord’s Day as much as possible.  They attempt to rob the unbelievers’ common world six days a week only to secularize the sacred that he might feel welcome.  He may but does the Holy Spirit?

I invite you this Sunday to Missoula Reformed Fellowship to enjoy the bounty of the Lord’s Day, to be refreshed by the preaching of the gospel and Christian fellowship.  Our worship service begins at 10:30am followed by a potluck and catechism.  This Sunday we will hear from Galatians 2:17–21 in the Divine service followed by a class on the Covenant of Works.