Texts used to support Sunday worship
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   I responded to questions from someone in the Far East who read a newspaper article against keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. How important it is to know the whole truth about a Bible principle before turning others away from believing it! I'll quote from the letter.

   He said "no matter which day we worship GOD, GOD will accept it only if we are wholeheartedly worshipping him and no other creatures. He further added that, "we must all know that the Jewish customary law is to worship GOD and rest on a Saturday but this Law has been abolished or brought to its end by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ." He quoted Romans 10:4 to support his claim, and said whether it be a sabbath or any other day without fear of judgment (Rom 14:4-6 & Col 2:16-17).
   He said the text Act 15:28-29 supports also his claim on Sunday worship.
   For the sunday issue he quoted 1 Cor 16:2 and  Acts 20:7
   He strongly said that because Paul asked the Christians to meet with the brothers in Trios on the first day of the week, that means Christians should meet on Sunday and worship.
   Please reply and clarify these issue as I would really like to build a good foundation for my Christian faith.

Thank you and GOD BLESS

Txxx

Dear Txxx,
   Your questions are very important. As we begin to prayerfully consider these objections, we must remember that God has plainly said that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord (Ex. 20:8-11). It was the day of rest from the time of Creation. (Gen. 2:1-3). This was before any ceremonial laws had been given. It was not just for Adam and Eve, nor was it for only the Jews because Jesus said it was for man humanity (Mark 2:27, 28). Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) and so did the apostles. Many of the ceremonial laws pointed forward to the cross. They were no longer kept because the time for them ended, not because God suddenly changed His mind about their importance. (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 27:51). The Sabbath doesn't point forward to the cross. It points back to creation. The law of God does not change. (Ps. 119:89; Matt. 5:17; Malachi 3:6).
   Those who would like to believe differently or who do not understand, bring up often unclear texts from which they infer that God had a different plan. It's okay to look at these texts as long as we remember the plain, forceful, statements of God.

Jewish law
    As we just mentioned, the Sabbath was set aside as holy time during the week of Creation, long before there was a Jew (Gen. 2:1-3). Jesus said it was for humanity (Mark 2:27, 28).

Christ is the end of the law
   "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Rom. 10:4). Any time someone brings up a verse like this to imply something, we need to look at the context. This often clarifies the question. In this case Paul was expressing his concern for the Jewish people who, as a nation, had lost the honor of being God's special messengers to the world. Of course they had not lost anything as individuals.
   Look back at 9:31. In fact Paul wasn't saying that the law had been changed. Listen: "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law." (Rom. 9:31, 32). They missed the purpose of the law (did not attain it). They didn't achieve righteousness. That is, they were still wicked. Why? because they tried to be righteous by obedience to the law as if the law could save them. They didn't seek righteousness "by faith." Faith in what? In the one who could save them.
   Are we saved by keeping the Sabbath? No. We are saved only by faith that holds on to Christ confessing our sin and asking power to obey. The big problem with the Jewish people of Paul's day is that their leaders (and the people, too) wanted political freedom and intellectual recognition. They had had a history of idol worship and now law keeping was a big thing. They made up laws about the laws, while they missed seeing the Messiah who had come! Of course disobedience is by lack of faith and we are lost that way, too.
   Read the verses 1-3. They are clear. Now let's look at verse 4 again: "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." The Greek word for "end" here means "goal." The Greek word for "for" should be translated "as a means of." So we may read the verse to say: "Because Christ is the goal of the law as a means of righteousness for everyone who believes [who has faith]." What then? Christ becomes our righteousness. That's what the law is all about. It shows us Christ. It helps us understand the pattern of happiness He wants for us. This we attain only in His strength.
   Suppose for a moment that the text did mean that we don't need to obey the law. There are nine other commandments.

Let no man judge you  . . . of the sabbath days
   Col. 2:16, 17: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
   Those who want to see release from Sabbath observance here, include the weekly sabbath with the annual sabbaths of the sanctuary calendar. If you read Lev. 23 where the annual calendar is given, it begins with the weekly sabbath but explains it first and somewhat apart from the others. You may read this.
   Now look at our passage to see two things: "Let no man judge you. . . ." The verse doesn't say God would not judge. God, not man, set the day apart and made it holy on the seventh day of Creation. He it is who brings every action into judgment (Eccl. 12:14).
   Look at the phrase, "sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come." The weekly Sabbath is different in that it is not a shadow (or representation) of what was coming but what is in the past. It points back to creation (Gen. 2:1-3).
   Paul wrote to people who knew about the particular church situation he was addressing. Apparently a matter of fasting for certain things. We do not know the whole story and must be careful about using the particular counsel for establishing doctrine.

Decisions by the early church in Acts 15
   The issue was ceremonial rules, not the ten commandments. No one would argue that we are free to covet or lie or kill or steal. The particular issue was circumcision. None of the commandments written with the finger of God on Sinai are mentioned.

Set aside money on the first day of the week
   1 Cor. 16:2. Nothing is said about worship. It was a time, after the Sabbath, to collect money so Paul wouldn't have to wait for them.

Emperor Constatnine
Picture used by permission

Paul preached on the first day of the week
   Acts 20:7  "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." This would most likely have been Saturday night because the first day began at sunset at the end of the Sabbath. (Lev. 23:32). If they came for their meal during the daylight it would have been Sunday, but this seems unnatural for the text. If so, he would have preached on Monday and maybe Sunday, too. They came together to eat. Nothing is said about keeping a holy day. This incident proves nothing.
   You may wish to take your concordance and look up the word Sabbath in the book of Acts. The fact is, that Sunday was not yet an issue. The popularity of Sunday and the abandonment of the Sabbath (in order to please the pagan Sun worshippers) came gradually and didn't start till later. Constantine's Sunday law of 321 AD was the first and was not necessarily for worship. It is interesting that his law recognized the first day of the week as "the venerable day of the sun." He was apparently not thinking of as a Christian day at all. New Catholic Encyclopedia, xiii, p.800, article "Sunday and Holiday Observance.".
   Paul's preaching on the first day was unusual. Look up the word Sabbath in your concordance, and read the verses in the book of Acts.

May God be your strength and shield as you continue your walk with Christ.
 
 


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