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Labouring To Rest

Opener: In approximately AD 95, John the Revelator said, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day." Over 4,000 years earlier, God created the seventh day Sabbath as part of creation week. God’s seven day cycle still exists in the 21st century, and so does his Sabbath. Join us in this three part series titled The Lord’s Day with Pastor Doug Batchelor. Now, part two, Laboring to Rest.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: I would like to talk today about how to keep the Sabbath. Part one, Laboring to Rest. That sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it? But really, that’s what’s happening as we prepare for the Sabbath. We’re investing additional labor so that we might enjoy the rest of the Sabbath.

Anyone ever gone on a vacation? Not that I'm comparing the Sabbath with a vacation, but how many of you recognize that if you’re going to have a vacation, a good vacation, it requires a little extra work in preparation to enjoy the vacation. Would you admit that? It seems like sometimes you’ve got to recover from the vacation when you get home because it takes that extra energy.

I believe that in order for us to really enjoy the release and the peace that God has designed for this blessed day, we must labor to enter that rest. That involves some education, it involves some thinking. It’s one of those areas that is often misunderstood, but I’ll get to that a little more in a moment.

Back in 1924 at the Olympics, something historic transpired there in Paris. There was a Scottish missionary’s son, Eric Liddell, who was a very talented runner. He was scheduled to run a sprint in the Olympics. But he discovered that the time trials for his event were going to fall on a Sunday which was his Sabbath. Even though he had trained and prepared and his country had chosen him and invested in him, he said, “Not going to do it. Won’t happen.” He was under an immense amount of pressure. “Just this once, God will understand. Your country is counting on you. What’s more important?” There were politicians, teammates, some extended family members -- not his mother and father who supported what he was doing -- that put incredible pressure on Eric to capitulate his convictions and just go ahead and run the time trials just this once. He said, “No, I can't even do it this once.” He believed Sunday was the Sabbath and he said, “I'm not going to violate my conscience even if I die.

Well later, they wanted to use his talent for the country somehow. They found out that he could do the time trials for the 400 meter, and when he did the time trials, he didn’t show very well. As a matter of fact, they were wondering if he would be able to finish at all compared to the other talented runners. But he said, “The results are with God. I don’t question God. I'm going to do what he tells me to do and the results are in his hands.”

Just prior to running that 400 meter race, even though he did poorly in the time trials, someone handed him a slip of paper that had a scripture on it. It said very simply, “Those that honor me, I will honor.” When the gun went off and he ran that race, he not only won, he was five links ahead of every other runner, and he broke the world record.

Later, he lived out his convictions. He died in a prisoner of war camp in Japan at the end of World War II in 1945 because he had been serving as a missionary in China. The man believed in obeying God.

Let me tell you what has precipitated this message or I should say these series of messages on how to keep the Sabbath. I believe that it is the devil’s decided plan to erode our convictions through series of rationalizations and compromises so that when the big test of the last days comes and we must chose who we will worship at the point of death, so many of God’s people have been so prepared and trained to compromise, that we won’t know how to take a stand. It will be just as important that we are faithful in little things like keeping the Sabbath holy. That commandment is no less important to God than the one that says do not murder and do not commit adultery. But it’s difficult sometimes for us to wrap our minds around that.

I’ll talk about that in a moment, but think about the stories in the Bible of the great heroes. There are some Old Testament heroes like modern day Eric Liddell who -- of course you’ve got the story of Daniel, Daniel chapter six. A political law is made that everybody must pray to King Darius for 30 days or they will be executed. They must not worship anyone or pray to anyone but the king for 30 days, just a little while. Daniel had a custom of going to an upper room three times a day. He’d kneel on his knees in a physical posture of prayer, he would open his window so people could see him praying, and he would pray towards Jerusalem so people would know what God he worshiped. When the law was enacted, Daniel had to make a choice. He actually had made the choice a thousand times before when three times a day he went to his upper room and prayed in this pagan land.

We were talking about this week in our staff meeting, and Pastor Mike was saying that he and his friend were somewhere where they saw this Muslim who in the middle of a crowded public place at the time of prayer, he stopped, rolled out his prayer rug and began to pray towards Mecca. Though it looked a little bit absurd, you had to respect the person’s convictions. They did not care what anyone around them thought. They were more interested in what God thought.

Here, Daniel thought, “Even if I am torn limb from limb by lions, I would rather obey God than man even if it’s unpopular.” The thing you must also respect is, he did not make little compromises. How easy it would have been for Daniel to say, “Well look, I don’t want to offend the king. It might be a bad witness. I could look obnoxious, so I’m going to shut my windows.” It could have been easy for Daniel to say, “Well, I'm going to stand at my window and face Jerusalem but I'm not going to kneel because that looks too much like prayer.” Or Daniel could have quoted that scripture, except the scripture hadn’t been given yet, “When you pray, enter into your closet.” There would have been so many available rationalizations that he could have chosen to compromise, but he would not. Did God honor Daniel because he honored him? He delivered him and his enemies were destroyed.

Then in the same book, of course, you’ve got the three Hebrew worthies, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Another government law -- and this is now chapter 3 -- says if anyone fails to pray to the golden image that I have setup, they are going to the flaming furnace that you can still see shouldering in the distance. How easy it would have been for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to say, “When the music plays, let’s all tie our sandals. I’m not going to pray to the image but we don’t want to wreck the king’s party. We’ll just kneel down and tie our sandals.” Or drop a contact lens. See if you can find it. Find some excuse to look like or kneel down but really pray to Jehovah in your heart. I mean, after all, that’s all that matters. How many rationalizations they could have found to just cut the corners. But they said, “No. We will not even look like we’re failing to worship our God.” They stood up for God, and did God stand up for them?

Congregation: Yes.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Then of course, you go to the book of Esther and another similar story, where one of the enemies of God’s people was Haman the Agagite who was related to the Amalekites, avowed enemies of God’s people. First ones to attack the children of Israel when they left Egypt was Amalekites. A law was made by the king of Persia that says everybody was to bow and worship Haman. Mordecai said, “I can't do that, even if it means I lose my life.” He knew that his whole people would be targeted, but even though it might react, even though his devotion might react in suffering on the rest of his people, he said, “I'm not going to compromise.” There was a law made to exterminate all of God’s people because he would not compromise. He stood up. Did God deliver his people?

Congregation: Yes.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Now, here’s my point, friends, if you read in Revelation 13:15, it tells us there’s going to be a law enacted by the beast. It says that this beast power is granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. A law is made regarding worship, and if you do not worship the way you’re told, it’s the death penalty.

Now, follow me for a moment. Let’s review a little history. The Bible tells us he that is guilty of breaking one commandment is guilty of all. The devil doesn’t care whether your sin is adultery or murder, as long as he can get you to sin and separate you from God, it doesn’t matter what commandment it is. In God’s book, the Sabbath commandment is not any less important or valuable than the other nine. Some people think that it’s a personal preference commandment. No, it’s not. That is not an optional commandment It’s not a recommendation. It’s still a commanded. We’re not commanded if it’s convenient. We’re commanded to remember.

Could it be in the last days that -- Daniel Chapter 3, the commandment was the one about not worshiping images? Daniel Chapter 6, the commandment was not worshiping other gods. Same thing, of course, with the story of Haman. You’ll find different examples of different commandments that -- with David and Bathsheba, we know it was the seventh commandment. But he failed. Joseph passed it. Amen. Joseph passed it even before the 10 commandments were written. It was still a sin to commit adultery. Joseph said so. Before the 10 commandments were written, the Sabbath was still a commandment. Otherwise, why would God begin the commandment by saying “remember” if it had never existed before. Any of you remember things that never happened?


I’ve heard about some legal cases that have been brought against psychotherapists, psychologists who tell people the reason they’re having all of these problems in their life is because of repressed memories. They say, “Maybe you were abused as a child and you’ve been repressing that and you don’t know it.” It’s almost like they’ve encouraged them to conjure up memories of the parents or somebody that abused them that never really happened. They got them so mixed up, they thought they were remembering things that never even really happened.

Well, that usually is not the case. You remember things that have happened. When God says, “Remember the Sabbath day,” it’s understood it’s there before He asks you to remember it. All you have to do, of course, is to go to Genesis Chapter 2, and that’s where God made it holy and He blessed it.

Now, when you talk about a subject like this about how to keep the Sabbath, one reason I enter in on this with a little trepidation is because it is very easy to be misunderstood and appear legalistic. Because let’s face it, in the time of Jesus, there were two extremes that were being dealt with. In the time of Christ, there were two religious groups that were in supremacy, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Forgive me if I use some modern labels. They were the liberals and the conservatives.

The Sadducees didn’t even believe in angels or resurrection. That’s pretty liberal theology to think about, even believe. The Pharisees were so meticulous in their Sabbath keeping, they wanted to make sure you didn’t even walk too far on the Sabbath day, and I understood they’d have a ball of string that they would unravel and measure off the distance and make sure that you could walk the appropriate distance. They didn’t want you to carry a burden on the Sabbath day, and if you carried a handkerchief to blow your nose on the Sabbath day, it was a burden, and you’re working. What they did to get around that, if you had a cold, is that they sewed the handkerchief to your clothes, and you’d blow your nose in the hanky which when you think of it being your clothes doesn’t sound very good. But then at least, you weren’t carry a burden.

They had hundreds of man-made laws, and you’d often see Jesus battling with and trying to clarify the Sabbath truth. He would heal somebody on the Sabbath day, and they’d say, “Oh, you’re breaking the Sabbath.” But where in the Sabbath command does it say you can't heal anyone. In all the conflict that Jesus dealt with regarding the Sabbath truth, often it was healing people, never do you hear Jesus say you don’t need to keep the Sabbath anymore. It would have been so easy for Him to say that but He doesn’t say that. He tells them how to keep it, that it was made for man, that it was made for good, and He tries to clarify it. But never does Jesus say that it’s not important.

The problem in the time of Christ was more legalism. Back in the days, if you read your Bible in Jeremiah and Isaiah, the problem about the Sabbath then was the problem we face today. They weren’t keeping it any better than the pagans. They were being very sloppy about it. My concern as a pastor -- and I want to tell you right now, I am not just talking to you who might be here or watching. We’re talking to the Batchelor family. Karen and I are constantly trying to evaluate and educate ourselves about what is right and what is not right on the Sabbath. When you love God and you want to obey Him, it’s not legalism to seek to understand and obey better. Don’t let people accuse you of being legalistic because you’re asking good questions.

Because I will be dealing with some of the specifics of what is right to do on the Sabbath and what should not be done on the Sabbath, there will be people who misunderstand. This would be a good place for me to announce, this message is for those of you who already love the Lord. If you have not committed yourself to the Lord, it may seem legalistic to you. But if you love Jesus and if you are determined to obey and to follow him, then this is for you, that we might understand what God wants us to do.

Now, one reason I think this is especially important for God’s people in the time in which we’re living, we know that there’s going to be a law made that commands us to break one of God’s laws. I think there’s a very good probability that the Sabbath is going to be the issue because of what I read in prophecy. If we’re being indifferent and sloppy in how we keep the Sabbath now, if we’re fudging on doing things on Sabbath that should not be done on Sabbath now, when our lives are on the line and when our commitment to Christ is on the line, and when you can't buy or sell or there’s a death penalty, we’re making a series of little steps that’s going to make it very easy for us to give up.

We need to feel as strongly about keeping the Sabbath as we do about the commandment that says don’t commit adultery. Don’t lie, not a little lie, no lies. Not a little adultery, no adultery. Not a little Sabbath breaking. You’re going to seem fanatical but that will not be your problem. That will be the problem of the viewer. You must be consistent in your obedience. He that doesn’t stand for something, falls for anything. You’ve heard me say that before. So we’re commanded for one thing, to keep the Sabbath and to keep it holy.

When you look in Revelation Chapter 14, the three angels messages that God’s people take to the world before Jesus comes -- in Revelation 14, Jesus comes, there’s a vision of that. His angels declare, “Worship Him that made the heaven and the earth and the sea.” That’s a quote right out of the Sabbath commandment, “for in six days the Lord made the heaven, the earth, and the sea.” Then Revelation 14:12, it says, “Speaking of the saved, here’s the patience of the saints, here are those who keep the commandments of God. It is contrasting those who keep the commandments of God with those who worship the beast.

Did you catch that? It says that if any man worships the beast and his image and receives his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same will drink the wine of the wrath of God that is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation and the fire it sends up. The most fearsome curse in the Bible is in Revelation 14, and it’s identifying those who worship the beast. The next verse is saying, on the other hand we have those who keep the commandments of God. It doesn’t mean some of them, because everybody keeps some of them, right? It’s talking about people who keep them consistently.

Now, when you look at the 10 commandments, how many of the commandments specifically involve the word keep? Remember the Sabbath day to keep. It doesn’t say thou shall not keep adultery. Thou shall not keep murder. Now, there is one place in the commandment dealing with idolatry where it says showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments, but that’s a general phrase for all 10. The only commandment that specifically uses the word keep is the Sabbath commandment. It seems strange that it’s one of the only commandments the Christian world is saying is no longer an obligation. That sounds very inconsistent to me. I could never buy that. It was there in creation at the beginning. It’s going to be in the New Earth. God wants us to keep it now. We may find it’s a test in the last days.

Let’s go to the commandment. Let the Lord speak for himself. Indeed, this is one of the places where God did speak for himself. Exodus 20:8, and we’re going to read the commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it, you shall not do any work. You nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor the stranger who is within your gates. For in six days, the Lord made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and he rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. He takes us all the way back to Genesis. The idea that the Sabbath was not inaugurated until Mount Sinai is bad scholarship. It springs from ignorance.

Exodus 20 is where you hear him speaking it. He hasn’t even written it yet. Exodus 16, God rains the manna down from heaven, right? Six days a week, he rains the manna. There’s twice as much they gather on Friday because there will be no manna on the seventh day of the week. That’s Exodus 16. He has not spoken the Sabbath commandment yet. He has not written the Sabbath commandment yet, and he’s already treating it like it’s something they understood. When some of them went out on the Sabbath day looking for bread, God responds by saying, “How long will you, how often will you refuse to keep my commandments, my laws.” He’s calling the Sabbath a law before Mount Sinai.

It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Does man need to rest? Does man need a specific time for worship? Yes. The principle comes from the very beginning. Sometimes people like to say because there’s silence on something, it must not have existed. That is a very foolish logic to prove anything. You catch that? Because you don’t hear a lot said about something, to assume that it means it wasn’t there or it didn’t exist, you apply that same principle to the other truths or the other ideas in the Bible, and you’re going to get all kinds of strange beliefs. It's obvious that it was there. There’s no commandment that says you’re not supposed to commit adultery before Mount Sinai, but Joseph seemed to know that there was. Some of these things are very clearly implied.

This is the commandment. You’ll notice it’s the longest of the 10 commandments. It is the only commandment that begins with the word remember. It’s in the middle of God’s law. God takes more time with the Sabbath commandment explaining what that means in case they misunderstood. Here’s the point I don’t want you to miss. The 10 commandments are an abbreviation of the law of God. For instance, when it says, “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain,” does that commandment go into great detail to explain every way a person could take God’s name in vain? Or is that something for further study? You’ll find other examples of that in the Bible. It doesn’t, in the 10 commandments, go into all the examples of how you could swear or claim to be a Christian or be a hypocrite and all that’s involved in taking God’s name in vain. You study out the details of that.

In the commandment that says, “You shall not commit adultery,” I just quoted it, that’s pretty brief. I think you and I know there’s a lot more to it than that one statement. What does that involve? How about two people that aren’t married? Is it adultery then? You’ve got a lot of things where you invest and study in understanding how do you keep that commandment. It’s broader than the statement that you find etched in stone.

Same thing with the Sabbath commandment. God, in His word, gives us a lot more detail about what is involved in keeping it holy. It does not mean that you simply swing in a hammock all day long and don’t farm. There’s a lot more to it than that. But it does give more detail in saying you are to rest, your animals are to rest, servants are to rest, your family is to rest, and everybody within your gates. I’ll talk more about some of those specifics as we go on.

I’ll tell you what confuses people a little bit about the Sabbath. It’s because it deals with time. Wesley tells a story about somebody who was a new convert to Christianity and very devout. As the sun was going down before the Sabbath began, he was shining his shoes or cleaning his shoes. It took about 15 minutes to do each shoe. He got one shoe done and he looked at where the sun was. He knew he would not have the other shoe done before the sun went down and he decided to stop. Did he make the right decision? He went to church the next day, one shiny shoe and one dirty one. Fanatic. Is he? It’s either right or it’s wrong.

During World War II, there were Christians and Jews in concentration camps that were told they had to go dig potatoes on the Sabbath. The Nazis loved showing the Jews that they were hypocrites. I have Jewish relatives that were over there. They’d make them go out and dig potatoes or work on the Sabbath. Some of them were more devout and they would say, “I cannot do this. It’s God Sabbath.” And they were killed just like that. Others compromised.

In the days of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, when they stood up, do you think they were the only Jews in the crowd that day? I’m sure there were some who bowed down. I'm ashamed and afraid to say that I am sure that there will be some Sabbath keeping Christians that will go along with the world in the last days. That’s why this message is important. If you don’t know how to make a decision to say, “The sun is almost down, the Sabbath will have begun, and this shoe is not done yet, but I'm going to do it anyway because that will be fanaticism,” then you don’t understand the principle.

You see, time makes a difference. In our minds, we think, “How can it be good and holy and fine to shine this shoe and then a few more ticks of the clock and all of a sudden it’s a sin?” It sounds strange to us.

Let me use another illustration. A man might have a girl that he’s very interested in, and it’s inappropriate for him to gaze upon her without her clothes on, vice versa. But after they make some vows, suddenly what was a sin is now holy. Do little things like that make a difference? What at one moment was wrong, after the service, it is holy and it’s good. These words of God do make a difference.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego probably had some friends that were saying, “Get down. Are you crazy? Just this once. You’re a fanatic.” Yes, the world, the church probably thought they were fanatics, but God honored them. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. Timing makes a difference. Things change. When God says this is regular time for work, this is holy time. God commands us to keep it holy. What is holy? If we’re going to keep it holy, we need to know what that means.

Only a few things in the Bible are called holy. Marriage is called holy. Before a girl is married, she’s available. You can make your bid and try to court her. Do whatever you want to do. But until she says, “I do,” -- she may have made an engagement commitment, but it isn’t over till it’s over, right? You’ve all heard stories how at the last minute, the guy or the girl says, “I can't do this. I really love her,” or something else. Once they’re married, if they say that, it’s holy. A violation of that is profaning a marriage. It’s called adultery. It’s sacred.

There is money, a percentage of money that is called holy. The Bible says that tithe is holy unto the Lord. Now, it’s hard for us to understand, if I’ve got $10 in my wallet, that one of them is holy. They all say, “In God we trust.” It will just be a matter of time before they take that off, right? We’ve got to understand that whatever that -- it’s the first one I pull out and give the church is the first fruits but one of them is holy, and you've got to be intelligent about that. If I take the tithe that is set aside for God and I use it to make my VCR payment, that is profaning, it’s a sin. You’re taking something holy and you’re making it common, and that’s a sin.

When you treat a married woman like she’s not married, it’s a sin. It’s holy. There are some things that are holy and they should not be profane. God says the time of the Sabbath is holy, not because the church teaches it, not because it’s a creed but God said, “I have sanctified it. I have blessed it, and nothing any man in the world can do changes that.” You notice God doesn’t say remember the Sabbath day to make it holy. He doesn’t ask you to make it holy. You can't. God is the one who declares something holy. When he says keep it holy, He says, “I’ve already made it holy back in the beginning before sin. Now, I’m asking you to recognize what I have done and respect me.” It’s all about a love relationship with God.

Now, I'm going to begin with a few obvious points that I think are important to understand. What should we do on the Sabbath? Now, we’ll talk about things that should be done and things that should not be done. Some commandments are stated in the negative. The Sabbath is stated in the positive and the negative. It says you shall keep it holy, you shall not work. It gives both sides. So I’m approaching this message that way. First of all, I hope it’s obvious to everybody that it’s a day that we should go to church. How many of you believe that? It’s a day for us to have corporate worship.

When something’s in print, it’s fair game. Is that right? If you get bold enough to print something, then you can critique it.

There was an article in The Review in April this year that I thought was appalling. The title of the article is, "Some Keep the Sabbath by Going to Church." The implication is, all through the article it gets me, what's the point? The only point I could get out of it is you can keep the Sabbath by staying home just as well as you can keep it by going to church. I thought, "Why on earth would The Review print that?" There's much trouble as pastors already have in pressing on people that it's a holy day to come together and worship. Why in the world? This is the kind of stuff that makes me see that the devil is eroding very simple principles of truth.

In the article, in fairness, it says, it quotes the statement there in Exodus 16 when Moses told the people there'll be no manna on the seventh day and God tells them to stay in their place. See you are able to keep the Sabbath by staying at home. That's not what it means. He was telling them not to go out of the camp looking for manna. The sanctuary, they would gather together and worship before the Lord right there in the camp. Is the Sabbath a day to stay at home? No, no friends. I was so disappointed to hear that and I'm not going to take any more time critiquing that because I get a little hot doing it.

First of all, Isaiah 66, "It will come to pass that from one Sabbath to another in heaven shall all flesh come to worship before me" Now, is it just me or do you see in this passage that you are to come before the Lord and worship on the Sabbath. You just don't hang out in your tent. I can't believe it. You can read in Leviticus 23, "Six days shall work be done but the seventh day is a sabbath, a solemn rest, a holy convocation," you know what the word convocation means? What's a convention? It means an assembly, a coming together, a holy time to come together and worship before the Lord, the way we just read.

Even in that message, fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment has come and worship Him that made the Sabbath as a memorial of creation. It's a time when we are to come together and worship him that made collectively. This idea that some keep the Sabbath by staying at home and if that's what you think-- No offense. As we see the day approaching, we should not forsake the assembling together all the more as we see the day approaching. If God has set aside a day for rest, what better day to come together and worship him than the Sabbath day. It's the day when I think He especially walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It's a day for studying the word.

First of all, everybody here agrees a Christian is what? A follower of Christ. What was the pattern of Jesus? The Bible tells us in Luke 4:16, Oh did he come to church on the Sabbath? You can use it here too. He came to Nazareth where he had been brought up and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Do you think they were worshiping God there? Obviously. What did he do? He stood up to read, and what did he read? It says, he read from Isaiah, and what is Isaiah? It's the Bible. It's a day for special study of the scripture. You can also read the next 13:44, "And on the next Sabbath, almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God." The Sabbath is a day.

Now, let me back up. Am I saying we do not worship God every day? No, we do worship God every day. What makes the Sabbath unique is it a time for corporate worship. Should we read our Bibles and have personal devotions every day? Yes, but can we do it all day long? No. The Sabbath day is a special time to invest at the extra study of the Bible. Remember, they would gather extra manna on Friday so that they could have plenty on the Sabbath. It's a time when we want to be able to study the word together.

I would be shirking my duties as a pastor if I didn't at least remind you here that if you own a Bible, bring it to church. Now, what else are you going to do with it if you don't at least carry it as a prop to church once a week? It worries me when I see Christians who become so blase about the relationship with the Lord. They don't even bring their Bibles to Church. I've got one of this pomp pilots now. I guess it's the ipac version and they've got the Bible in many versions that you can get in these handheld computers. Some of you use those in your business. Put the Bible on it, bring that with you. But we need to study the word of God. Follow along. How do you know the pastor's not misquoting. We've got to know for ourselves what the Bible teaches.

It's a day for prayer. We pray every day. We worship God every day, we read his Bible every day. But extra prayer because it's holy. You can read in Acts 16:13, "And the on the Sabbath day, we went out of the city by a river where prayer was customarily made and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there." That, I think is another good point. If possible since it's a day that is a memorial of creation, find a place in nature where you and your family can have devotions there. That makes it even more special.

I don't know, was that last week, Karen, when we up to the Taylor's? Yes, Taylors have some property up in the hills. We went to visit them and we closed up the Sabbath sitting out there with the trees and having prayer and worship. It's a special day for prayer. Be in an attitude of prayer all day along. If ever a Christian should walk with God, walk with him on the Sabbath. Because think of it this way, you cannot be saved unless you love God. Do you agree with me so far? God is love. The purpose of the plan of salvation is to inspire us, restore in us this attitude of love for God. You cannot love somebody you do not know. You cannot know somebody you do not take time with.

The reason that the Sabbath is so important to God is because it is the quality time with God. Those of you who have children know that it's not enough just to say 'hello' and 'goodbye' through the days you're coming and going from work. You need to sit down and spend some time with them, you need to wrap them in your arms and talk to them individually. If you have a spouse, and you want to cultivate your marriage, it's not enough just to say, "I do," and then go on your separate ways. You need to spend quality time. We hear that word a lot, don't we? You need to spend quality time together.

Quite simply, the Sabbath is our quality time with God where we especially nourish the relationship unencumbered by the cares of life. Once we understand what that principle is, this is holy quality time with God, everything else begins to make sense. Anything that distracts us from God or takes away from that time, anything that can be done before that time begins should be done so that you have preserved, you've insulated that quality time to nurture the love relationship.

This ought to help you understand why the devil hates the Sabbath day. He does. We're back in your Bibles to the story of the Exodus. When Moses came to liberate the children of Israel from Egypt at God's command, before he met with the Pharaoh, he met with the leaders of Israel. We don't have all the details of that conversation, but he told them that God was going to deliver them. It was the God that their fathers had served and they had been compromising with the Egyptians. I understand part of that conversation, you can read this in the book Peter, Acts and Prophets, was reminding them to remember the Sabbath because in attempt to keep up with the work demands of the Pharaoh's building projects, they were now working seven days a week.

After visiting with Moses, they began to rest on the seventh day. Why do you think the Pharaoh said, "I know what's going on. You are making the people Sabbath," that's exactly what he said in the original language. Pharaoh said to Moses, "I know who you are, you are making them rest. You're making them Sabbath. I'm not going to let them keep Sabbath." He increased the workload and then punished them for not reaching the workload because they kept keeping the Sabbath. The whole issue was about that. The Exodus from slavery and entrance to the promised land revolved around the context of remembering the sacred time and resting and the devil not wanting them to rest.

It's going to happen again before we get to the heavenly promised land. We're going to have to learn how to rest in the Lord. That always strikes me as ironic that whenever I talk about keeping the Sabbath, people will say that I'm works oriented. Is it me or is it really the other way around? We're rest oriented. Those who do not want to keep the Sabbath are works oriented. We're saying this is labor to enter that rest, but the Bible commands us to do that. The Pharaoh wanted them to keep on working. He doubled their workload. You make bricks without any straw.

It's a day for prayer, it's a day for bringing our gifts to God. I believe that you've been giving gifts anytime but let's be practical. There's not always a time and a place to receive them, and God has specified that the time we come before him to worship is also a time to bring our gifts.

Let me give you a scripture. 1 Chronicle 16:29, “Give to the Lord the glory due His name, bring an offering and come before Him.” Is that plain? Oh worship the Lord in beauty of holiness.” Notice, glorify Him, bring an offering, worship Him, come before Him -- and this is the Sabbath, the time when we come before him.

Then we read in Isaiah 66, “All flesh will worship before Him and bring a gift.” When you come before a king, it’s not a good idea or polite to come empty handed. The very audience of a king is a privilege. Would you agree? To be brought into the presence of a king is a great honor. To come empty handed is an insult.

When the wise men saw Jesus -- what did they do when they came into the presence of this king? Where is He that is born king? They brought a gift, all of them, all seven of them. We don’t know how many there were, do we? But you thought there were three because we know there were three categories of gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They all brought gifts, we believe. So it’s a day for us to bring our offerings. Now, if you have nothing to bring, come anyway. One widow came and all she had was two cents, and Jesus praised her because she came at least she gave two cents. But come anyway. He wants you to come.

Now, this is an area that -- I don’t know if I’ll get it all in today, but Isaiah 58:13 -- matter of fact, turn in your Bibles to Isaiah chapter 58, and I want you to notice something that it says just before the verse we’re going to consider. It talks about a group of people who are repairing and building up. We could start with Verse 6, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen to lose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, that you break every yoke.” Notice undo burdens, break every yoke, don’t miss that. “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and that you bring into your house the poor who are cast out, when you see the naked that you cover him, and that you do not hide yourself from your own flesh.” We’re going to talk about doing good on the Sabbath, and what constitutes the ox in the ditch.

“Then your light will break forth like the morning, your healing will spring forth speedily, and your righteous will go before you. The glory of the Lord will be a rear guard. Then you’ll call and the Lord will answer. You’ll cry and He will say here I am. If you take away from you the yoke from your midst.” That was another implement of burden of work. “The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness. If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light will dawn in the darkness and your darkness will be like the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought and strengthen your bones. You’ll be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” Like that woman at the well, [unintelligible 00:43:03], living waters.

Notice verse 12, “Those that be from you shall build up the old waste places.” Jerusalem was broken down and they had to rebuild it. They took the old foundations and they built up new walls. “Those who be from you shall build up the old waste places. You’ll raise up the foundation of many generations.” They didn’t move the foundation, they raised up the old foundation. “You will be called the repairer of the breach, a restorer of streets to dwell in.”

Now, I’ll submit to you that for many years, the Sabbath truth is something that has been obscured, misrepresented. There was a breach in God’s law. You even today could go to many churches and preach on nine commandments and get an Amen. Preach on the Sabbath day, and you’ll be met with scorn. Why? There was a breach in the law, and God said in the last days, He would raise up a people that would be restoring the paths, the ancient paths, the ancient foundations.

Then you read the next verse, He tells you what it is, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,” -- your foot being you’re desecrating something, you’re stepping on something that is holy -- “turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day.” Keep in mind, in the Eastern culture -- any of you ever been to a church in Japan or even Hawaii, India, even if you go to a mosque, they take off their shoes before they go in. If you walk into one of these holy places with your shoes on -- what did God say to Moses? “Take your shoes off your feet. This is holy ground.” When he talks about turning away your foot, it means stomping with dirty shoes on something that is sacred. That’s the implication here. “Turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day.”

Now, this verse has been very misunderstood. It doesn’t mean you are not supposed to enjoy anything on the Sabbath. Are you allowed to eat on the Sabbath? If you take pleasure in your food, is that a sin? I believe that food should be made in a way that it is pleasant. This isn’t what he’s talking about. We’ll talk more about that too. “From doing your pleasure on my holy day.” You notice He doesn’t call it the Jews holy day. In the Sabbath commandment, it says the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, not the Jews. This is God that we’re offending. Not a nation, not a church, not a denomination or a people or a doctrine. He says it’s my day, “And call the Sabbath a delight.” Now, that helps balance it out. He says not your own thing but my day.

The only way you can call the Sabbath a delight is if you delight in the Lord. If you’re trying to keep the Sabbath holy by not doing your pleasure, it will never be a delight if you’re not delighting in God. “And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and will honor him.” What does this imply? When we are doing our own secular things on his holy day, are we honoring him or dishonoring him? “And will honor him, not finding your own pleasure or speaking your own words.” It says not doing your own ways or finding your own pleasure or speaking your own words, “Then you will delight yourself in the Lord.” I like this, “I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob your father.” You know what it means, high places of the earth? I will exalt you. If you honor me, I will honor you. Those that honor me, I will honor. One way we honor God is by respecting what He declares to be holy, by keeping sacred what He has sanctified. God has sanctified a day, and he’s asked us, if we love Him, to not allow the devil and his minions to bring in all these little worldly distractions. And he said, “Not doing your own thing.”

I’m not going to completely dissect this verse because we don’t have time, but I want you to consider something. He says not speaking your own words. Why does he say that? Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. True Sabbath keeping begins in the heart. It’s an attitude in the heart. It’s walking with God in the heart and thinking his thoughts and basking in him.

I’d like to read a quote to you. I’ve lost the reference but I’ve got the quote, “God requires not only,” -- I think this is Child Guidance -- “God requires not only that we refrain from physical work upon the Sabbath, but that the mind be disciplined to dwell upon sacred things. I want to pause there. It’s not a sin to try to educate yourself to think differently. It’s not fanaticism. It’s not legalism. Being a Christian is conquering that last frontier which is what you think about. If you can keep your mind state on holy things, this is what it meant when it says Enoch walked with God. Every Sabbath, we get a chance to practice walking with God for those 24 hours. We should discipline the mind to dwell on sacred things. The fourth commandment is virtually transgressed by [unintelligible 00:48:23] upon worldly things or engaging in light trifling conversation. Talking upon anything and everything which may come into the mind and speaking our own words. Every deviation from right brings us into bondage in condemnation.

Sometimes, you might need to talk to someone who doesn’t share your beliefs, and when they start talking about the new addition they’re going to put -- and I’ve fallen into this before -- their new addition on the house or the garage, and you forget it’s Sabbath and you automatically -- men are very task-oriented. We think about the things we’ve got to do, and you might have to say, “Change the conversation.” Or, “Let’s not talk about that right now.” If you have children, sometimes kids, their minds are so active and they start talking about their Lego Bionicles that can blow up this and that, and you say, “Let’s talk about something else now. It’s the Sabbath. Think about holy things. Think about God. Whatsoever things are good and noble and just and pure, think on these things.” If ever that verse could be applied, it could be applied to the Sabbath. Amen.

It’s a day for doing good. God doesn’t want us to have an idea where we dread the Sabbath. He wants it to be a blessing. Let’s face it. If we don’t have a love relationship with Jesus, then we’ll be watching the clock. When the Sabbath isn’t begun yet, we’ll be thinking, “Oh, I got this stuff I want to do. Is it Sabbath yet? Oh, I guess, I don’t have time to do it.” That’s not the attitude. If it is Sabbath, let’s face it, who of us have never heard some young person say, "Is it still Sabbath?"


How many of you heard that before? Come on. Doesn't that make you feel bad to have that kind of attitude? "And I've caught myself, yes pastor Doug, looking wistfully out the window and wondering if the Sabbath is over so I can get to my next project. And I'm ashamed, but it's true." You know what that means? A change in the heart. It's a change in the attitudes.

It's not the first time that appears, you can find examples of that attitude in the Book, Amos 8:5, the people were "Saying, when will the new moon be passed, that I might sell grain, and the Sabbath, that we might trade wheat?" Isn't it over yet so we can do our own thing? And God says, "That's the wrong attitude." We want it to be a delight. I think the more that we know the Lord, the better we love the Lord, the more delightful it becomes. It comes from walking with God.

Let me illustrate here. If a young man falls in love and is smitten by a young woman, to you single young people, and because of their schedules, they can only spend only one day a week together, he will do everything he can to arrange his schedule and get all of his business aside and all of the stuff that might distract his thinking so that he can give quality time to his beloved and she can do the same.

If while they're together and she's talking to him and he doesn't seem to be paying attention. As they're walking, holding hands and she said, "You seem like you're a thousand miles away." And he says, "Well, I'm really thinking about the projects I've got this week." Would that hurt her feelings? Or if they're sitting together over dinner, that she spent all this time preparing, and he keeps looking at the clock and saying, "Is our date over yet?"


"I’ve got to leave. Do you mind if I leave early?" What would that say about his relationship? These attitudes indicate what? We want the Lord to have our hearts. And when God has our hearts, we won't be asking those kind of questions. But I've got news for you, friends. Even if your attitudes aren't right, keep it correctly. Even if you're doing the right thing for the wrong reason, still do the right thing because He commands you and He's God. Sometimes in doing what you're being told to do, you then you'll understand the meaning. It'll come to you.

Still do the right thing and then say, "Lord, I may not have the right attitude. I might be thinking things I shouldn't be thinking. But I'm going to try and do the right thing and help me have the right attitude." Even if a man says, "I don't feel for my wife the same way I used to feel" you stay married, right?


Just because you may not feel like it, doesn't mean you stop obeying. I've had the privilege of meeting one of the only people who received the Congressional Medal of Honor. It's the highest medal that can be given in our country, was awarded to only one non-combatant. It was a Seventh Adventist Christian named Desmond T. Doss. When he enlisted during World War II, or was drafted, he wasn't a conscientious objector, he was a non-combatant. He said, "I will serve. I'll try to serve life, but I refuse to pick up a gun and to take life."

Going through Bootcamp and training, he would not work on the Sabbath. He told them right from the very beginning, and he didn't say, "I won't do it" he said, "I can't do it. Because as much as I respect my officers and superiors, God comes first."

And they would put a rifle in his hands and he would then hold it, and they would try to make him work. And he would say, "On the Sabbath, I can't. I'll work six days a week, 24 hours a day, but from sundown Friday to sundown on Saturday, I can't work. Now, if life is threatened, since I'm a medic, I will do that because that's what Jesus did. But the KP and the sweeping of the barracks and this other stuff" he said, "I can't do it". I'll tell you what, he was jeered, and tormented, and ridiculed, and mocked, and made fun of all through his military experience until they got on the front lines.

When they got on the front lines and they were under some of the worst fighting in World War II, and you know there was some bad fighting, in the Pacific. A bunch of men were trying to take this cliff, this escarpment from the Japanese and a hail of fire was coming off the machinegun, fire coming off the top. A lot of marines and soldiers were wounded. He heard them up there crying and he went up, one time after another, and he rescued these men who were wounded and brought 70 men. Every time he'd come back down with one, they'd say, "You better stop. You got lucky that time, don't push your luck."

He would hear another one crying "medic" and he'd go back up and no one else went. He brought them down and he never got hit. And they gave him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Hand grenade was thrown in a group where he was standing, he'd jump on the grenade. To this day, he's missing some toes. He's still alive, he gave me one of his signed books. There's a book I recommend, it's called The Unlikeliest Hero. But he said, "I'd rather die than disobey."

Those that honor me, I will honor. God is looking for some people who will stand up for him. That means you need to be faithful even in that which is the least. Don't be ashamed of saying, "I keep the Sabbath. I can't do that." This is God's Sabbath. God will honor you if you do. This is the first part of the message and we're going to talk more about this. But I would like to see a revival in my life in being more careful to keep that day holy because God is commanding us to do it.

Because a big test is coming in the near future, friends, and if we can't get it together regarding something as basic as keeping the Sabbath holy, how are we going to pass the big test? I want to be faithful, don't you?

I'll make a confession to you, I feel like I have sometimes been sloppy in keeping the Sabbath, and I know that it's a sin. I want to be faithful to keep it holy. It's not my day, it's His day because I love Him. Anyone else want to confess with me? And ask God to help us be faithful.

Father in heaven, Lord, we're coming before you beginning with repentance. Please forgive us for profaning something that you have declared to be holy. And your Word has creative power in it, when you say something is, it is. You've set this day as holy, Lord. We are living right now, we're dwelling in sacred time.

Help us in our deeds, in our thoughts, in our words to learn how to keep the Sabbath in a way that pleases and honors you because we love you. Lord, this subject requires some understanding, education, study, and I pray as we continue to explore this theme, that we will grow in grace and we will not only be hearers but doers of the Word. Bless us now in this way. In Jesus' name we ask. Amen.

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Coming up next, part 3, Holiday or Holy day, with Pastor Doug Batchelor.
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