Tuesday 29 October 2013

Delighting in the Christian Sabbath

Listen to Isaiah 58: 13-14

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

This teaching is so alien to many Christians and churches. The Westminster Confession in its 21st Chapter on worship establishes two main points.

1. That there is a Christian Sabbath, which is the Lord's Day, and that is to be observed until the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. That the whole of the Lord's Day is to be a delight, to Christians and the church.

However, is this taught and practiced by Christian's today, especially in the West? The Christian Sabbath is a gift from God and a doctrine of the church cannot be fully operational without the Christian sabbath being a guiding principle to the outworking of church life. R. Scott Clark has made the point that the abandonment of the Lord's Day evening service has promoted the so-called Lord's half day, which actually is not taught in Scripture.

Notice that in Isaiah 58:13 that the people of God are to firstly "call the sabbath a delight". Secondly, by practicing the Sabbath rightly then "you shall take delight in the Lord". This is far from an individualistic "me and my Jesus" mentality. The practice of the whole of the Lord's Day is in urgent need of being rightly taught, practiced and loved. This is central to delighting in the Lord and substitutes to this command cannot replace God's pattern for delighting in Him. Perhaps the starting point is to pray for ourselves, and to seek forgiveness from the Lord where there has been wilful disobedience and neglect of God's command at this point.

May we learn to take the "yoke of Christ" and delight in the Lord's Day each week.

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