Sabbath Truth - Sunrise over Mountains
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Holiday or Holyday

Narrator: 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 7th day Sabbath as part of creation week. God's 7-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. And now, part three, Holyday or Holiday?

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Today is really part two in the two-part series that I felt strongly impressed to do on the subject of how to keep the Sabbath. Last week, we talked about laboring to rest, and the sermon title this week is, Holiday or Holy Day. Let's face it, there's a lot of people in the world that their concept of the Sabbath on the first day of the week is, you put in your time at church and then you go to the football game or you go shopping or you just then treat it like a vacation. I'm watching an evolution among Sabbath keepers towards that same concept that I think is unhealthy and unbiblical. God will honor those that honor Him.

There's a story about a man who had a banana plantation in South America, a number of years ago, and he was a Sabbath keeper. I don't remember all the circumstances because I'm repeating the story by memory, but evidently, the fleet of ships, pack of banana boats, that come and pick up the bananas, because of an approaching storm, they all arrived in this port city to pick up the cargo of bananas on a Friday afternoon and it was unexpected and they all showed up at the same time, and they said, "We are leaving Saturday night because there's a storm approaching and we cannot afford to get caught." Well, all of the banana farmers, they wait until the last minute to cut the bananas to make sure they're transported fresh. This is back before some of it was done by air, and they all had to scramble Friday and Saturday to harvest their bananas. This one man quickly realized he would not be able to do that and keep the Sabbath.

When some of his neighbors noticed that he did not have his workers out in the field harvesting the bananas, they said, "Aren't you going to do it, all the ships are leaving. It'll be the last set of ships for the season because the shipping season for this crop is going to be over and you're going to lose your whole crop." He said, "I can't do it without breaking the Sabbath, and so I figured this is God's problem and I'm not going to do it." They labored with him, they said, "What about your family? God understands. He'll understand. Look at all the waste, and you could give some to the church." There was a scripture that he quoted, "As God has great a delight in sacrifices and offerings as an obeying the voice of the Lord, to obey is better than sacrifice." What if I gave an offering to the church, God would rather have me obey. They said, "You're insane."

They all went to work and they harvested their bananas and they brought them down to the ships, and the ships all took off. As they were disappearing across the horizon, he was in church with his family, and his bananas were still in the field. Well, the rest of the story is, unbeknown to them, one of the ships had engine trouble and it limped into harbor that Monday wanting to buy some bananas. It got the repairs done. All the other bananas were sold because they thought that all the ships had left, and they were now willing to pay nearly twice as much for anyone who had bananas so they would not go back empty. This man, because he honored God, God honored him and all of his friends watched as he then went down to the port and he sold his bananas for almost twice what he would have got if he had panicked. "Those that honor me, I will honor."

You will be tested, and I promised you that there is a big test coming to God's people about who we will obey. In the last days, it will be a battle between those who obey the beast and worship him, and those who have the seal of God and worship him. That's why even something that may seem as small as this, keeping the Sabbath day, could be an eternal issue, and these little nuances of how to obey that we're evaluating, do make a difference. If we don't study these things and educate ourselves in these areas, then pretty soon I can guarantee you, instead of the Sabbath day being a Holy Day, soon among Sabbath keepers it'll be treated like a common holiday, and I think you know there is a difference.

Now, what is the purpose of the Sabbath? We talked about that a little bit in our last study. Of course, it's a time for reading the word, for prayer -- I hope you bring your Bibles to church, for corporate worship. I was shocked when I've seen some of these articles and statements that implicate that just stay in your place on the Sabbath, it's okay to just hang around the house. There are numerous commands in the Bible, that it's a place and a time for us to come together to worship before Him, Isaiah 66. I even found a place in 2 Kings where it talks about Shunite woman and when her son died, and she told her husband, "I'm going to see Elijah." He said, "Why? It's not the Sabbath." That implies that they came before, they gathered together on the Sabbath day. Did you ever catch that?

There's a lot of evidence in the Bible that it was a day for worship. Fathers and mothers, and this is from the book, Child Guidance. Page 531. "Fathers and mothers should make it a rule that their children attend public worship on the Sabbath, and should enforce the rule by their own example." How many of you have heard of fathers that Sunday morning they send the kids to church, they stay home so they can watch the news and read the sports section in peace. Your children are going to do what you do, so we ought to do it by example.

Of course, the Sabbath is a time for physical rest, spiritual rest, mental rest. It should start and end with worship, and that doesn't mean that we're scrambling around and hour after the Sabbath has begun and say, "Well, I guess we should have a little prayer." And I'll confess, the reason I'm sharing this with you is not because I'm preaching down, but preaching up.

In the Batchelor home, we're still studying how to keep the Sabbath and that's why this is important. Sometimes we found that the Sabbath started and we say, "Well, let's have a prayer" and officially begin it instead of really worshiping and reading something with substance and singing together and it takes effort to give God the honor that is due in His name, and it should end that way. There ought to be decisive beginnings and endings to the event, and we should guard the edges of the Sabbath. If you wait until you think that the clock has finally ticked its last tick and now you've entered a Holy a time, why would you want to push it to the last minute?

If I'm getting on a plane, I hate being late. I found out what standby means, it means you stand by and watch the plane take off. I like to get there early. If I'm going to wait, I don't always want to wait at home, and when they're boarding the plane, I want to be the first one on. It happened to me again in this last week. I took a trip to Florida and back. Two people had my seat and I was not one of them. Same seat number, computer error and I watched everybody get on as I stood back. Whoever had gotten to that seat first would've been there, I know that sounds selfish of me but you don't want to be late, is my point, and that's the way it is with the Sabbath. When it's over, don't be watching the clock and say, "All right, blow the horn, it's over. Let's do our own thing. That's the wrong attitude, it's almost an in insult to God. Let it linger a little bit. Start early, and show them that you care.

Now, the Sabbath is not one of the 10 suggestions or the 10 recommendations, it is a commandment. Let's look at this again. It was in our scripture reading, butt the repetition won't hurt us, Exodus 20:8-11. I especially want you notice something that is all contained within this commandment. It's got the what, the where, the who, the how, the when, and the why in this one commandment. You know why God did all that for this one commandment? Because he knew that we would have questions, and so He gets more specific about this commandment than any other, its the longest, it's in the middle of Gold's law, He gave it a priority.

He begins with the word "remember," why do you think he did that? He knew we would be prone to forget, and that doesn't mean that start remembering Friday afternoon. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." It is holy, we're to keep it the way he's made it. Six days it's telling us what to do, six days usual labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, your God. In it, when? In the Sabbath, you shall not do any work. Who? You or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, nor your cattle nor the stranger who is within your gates. Where? Within your gates. For in six days, why? For in six days, the Lord made the Heaven and the Earth, and the sea and blessed them, and the Lord rested the Sabbath Day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day and hallowed it. He's covering all that in this one commandment so that we would understand. Now, in keeping with Just reading the commandment, I would like to remind you that this is not one of the least of the commandments. Jesus said whoever therefore do and teach the commandments, even the least of these commandments, will be called in the Kingdom of Heaven. You'll be surprised how many people, look at the Ten Commandments. If you go, well, if I was to pick the least, it would be the Sabbath. But I think they have chosen poorly.

You realize that the penalty for Sabbath breaking was death. The penalty for stealing was not death. The penalty for lying was not necessarily death. The penalty for adultery was death if the people were married. If they were unmarried, they was a penalty. You had to pay a dowry and you marry the girl or the guy. But the Sabbath, listen to this. Numbers 15:42, 'While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath Day, and those who found him gathering sticks, brought him to Moses and they were, "We know it's a commandment, here's your breaker, what's the penalty?" We've got this new laws, we know what the law is, now we don't know what the penalty is. They didn't know what to do. You read on, it says, 'The Lord said to Moses, "The man must surely be put to death." For carrying sticks? "All the congregation shall stone him to death. They need to participate in the execution." All the congregation brought him outside the camp, and they stoned him with stones and he died. I bet they were a little more careful next week.

How important is this to God? Is it as a gesture? Some people go to Romans where it says one man regards a day under a law, another man regards everyday alike. Everyone be persuaded in their on mind. They apply that statement dealing with Jewish holidays, a yearly Sabbath, to the Sabbath day. Oh no, it's talking about something different there.

Then you can read on. Let me give you just a couple more verses if I have time. Ezekiel 20:12:13, 'Moreover also I gave them my Sabbath to be a sign between me and them. That they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.' It's a sign of sanctification. Do we need that? Do we need sanctification? 'Yet the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes. They despised my judgments, which if a man does, he will live by them.' Meaning there is sanctifying influence in them. 'And they greatly defied my Sabbaths. Then I said I will pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness and consume them because they despised my judgments and did not walk in my statutes, but profaned my Sabbath.' That's pretty serious.

You can read also in Ezekiel 20:21, and 20:24. '[unintelligible 00:12:59] my Sabbaths, there will be a sign between me and you that you might know that I am the Lord, not withstanding the children of Israel rebelled against me. They do not walk in my statutes or not care for to observe my judgments, which if a man does, he lives by them.' This is similar. 'But they profaned my Sabbath then I said I will pour out my fury on them. I would fulfill my anger against them in the wilderness because they profane my Sabbaths.'

Does God care? Is it serious? I think sometimes we feel like everybody be led by your own conscience and if it feels good, it's okay. The bible doesn't teach that. God is specific about keeping the Sabbath Day, that it is a law, it's a commandment. Amen.

Now, there are a couple of extremes, and this is why I think pollutes our thinking a little bit. By the time Jesus came, the Sabbath was being taught by the Pharisees who were extremely legalistic. They even accused Jesus of Sabbath breaking in the bible. But no where in the bible do you see Jesus ever doing anything that violates the Sabbath commandment the way is given in the scripture. He brought their man made traditions. How often did you hear Jesus say you have a fine way of setting aside commandment of God that you might observe the traditions of man. That's why He goes on and He says, "In vain do they worship me." Sabbath and worship are connected. Teaching for doctrines, the commandments of man. They have man made commandments [unintelligible 00:14:25] was a doctrine and it was all vain.

You never see Jesus in a carpenter shop on the Sabbath Day. You never hear Him or teach His disciples it's okay to break the Sabbath Day. Indeed, He was in the synagogue every Sabbath Day. By His example, He was there worshiping, stood up, reading the scriptures out loud, and that's a good example for us.

A lot of the conflict that you see in the New Testament is Christ trying to clean and clear the Sabbath from a man made restrictions, and there are still Pharisees out there. Amen. They are trying to make it a burden instead of a blessing. It is supposed to be a blessing. But some people believe that those statements in Isiah where it says [unintelligible 00:15:08] means that we are supposed to make ourselves as miserable as possible in order to keep the Sabbath.

Let me read that to you. Isiah 58:13, 14. 'If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasures on the G's holy day.' See what it says? From your holiday, God says, "My holy day." We can't kick our own holiday, it's His holy day. From doing you own pleasure. Now, the word pleasure though doesn't mean anything you enjoy, it means your personal selfish pursuits. There are those some people who say, "As long as we're out in nature, we're going to go water skiing. We're going to go snow skiing on Sabbath." I believe that that's a corruption of what the intent is. While the Lord wants you to enjoy the Sabbath, but you're not allowed to be doing your own diversions. I believe that it's a time to dedicate to His service, and we'll get into that a little more.

He goes on to say, 'Honor Him, not doing your own ways or finding your own pleasures.' That word pleasure there means purposes, pursuits, ways. How many of you eat on the Sabbath? Show of hands. Be honest. How many of you enjoy it? Would any of you dare to say you find pleasure in it? So we're not supposed to eat on the Sabbath? Of course that's not what He's saying. As soon as you start to enjoy something, I must not be doing the right thing because I'm enjoying this. There are people who take that to mean it. It means your own pursuits., your own ways, your own purposes.

Now, in keeping with that, and I mean to be very delicate in the way I address this. I get a question much more than you would imagine on the subject of, how does that relate to husbands and wives with the marital intimacy on the Sabbath Day? There's a lot of confusion in this area. Let me get you to think about something. What day of the week did God made Adam and Eve? Friday. Sixth day. What was the last thing He says to them before you enter into the seventh day? Be fruitful and multiply. What would their honeymoon have been? Is there anything in the Bible -- Was there sin in the worldwhen God made Adam and Eve? There was no sin in the world. Is there anything in the scriptures in paradise that implicates that there was something impure or unholy about those [unintelligible 00:17:37]? No.

I would like to give you Hebrews 13:4, 'Marriage is honorable.' That word honorable can be translated pure, among all, and a bed un-defiled. Pure. This concept that well, The Sabbath is a holy day and so -- You can't support that biblically.

Paul does say that there may be times that family or husband and wife wants to choose to fast and pray and separate from one another for the purpose of fasting and praying. You know this is equating to not eating too. If it's okay to eat on the Sabbath -- Do I need to go much further with this or do you understand?

Now, what I'm sharing with you, I'm sharing with you by permission and not by commandment. If your conscience tells you otherwise or if you and your spouse have made a covenant, then hey, there's no sinning there. That's fine. But I just wanted to say, Biblically, I think we need to be balanced about this.

Another question I get, and you would be surprised how often is, how do you keep the Sabbath on a space shuttle? Or the international space station? Well, how do you keep the Sabbath in the North Pole during the whether when the sun doesn't come up for several months? I don't know. But I thought I should at least address it. I thought about it because I'd like to go. I'd love to go to the space station maybe before I get too old, if I'm 80. John Glenn made it when he was 80. I still have a chance, don't I? I thought before I go, what if you're up there and -- it goes around the earth. I figured you'd probably just say, "All right Lord, I'm going to keep the Sabbath the time and the way they're keeping it in Northern California, just measuring it that way." What do you do if you live in a country down in the middle of the earth, and you're keeping the Sabbath? You have to use some kind of artificial time mechanism and give Him that time based on where your home is. I don;'t know.

Same thing with the North Pole. First of all, I don't think the Lord intended you to live there. You know what's interesting, when people start presenting some of these middle strange challenges, "Well, how do you do it with the international dateline?" The usually Sunday keepers, they are trying to create a problem, and you know what my answer is? You do it the same way you keep Sunday in those locations. Sabbath is not my idea. It’s God’s idea. When you start to imply that it’s impossible to keep it in certain places, you’re really attacking Him. I don’t know some of these answers, but its God’s idea. I know how to keep it where I live, and that’s what counts, right? I'm not going to the North Pole, so it’s not a problem for me.

Now, here’s an area where we want to spend a little time. What to do with children? This is something that really needs attention because the fact remains that if you do it wrong, the Sabbath will be a burden for your children. If you do it right, it will be a delight and a blessing.

First of all, I think it’s a good idea to find as much as you can -- let’s face it. Kids have more energy. How many of you would like to have the energy of a three year old again? They’ve got, it seems like, unending energy, and when you put the seatbelt on in their pew Sabbath morning and they’re sitting still, and then you take them home and you say, “Now you get to sit for another six hours,” it’s no wonder that they watch the clock. It’s important to try and keep their active minds engaged and give them positive things to do. But I also want to make something clear. It’s my opinion that there’s a difference between the Sabbath being a delight, and the Sabbath being a blessing, and feeling guilty because you’re not making the Sabbath fun.

I don’t know that there’s a command anywhere that we are to make every Sabbath day for our children like a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm or Disneyland. It’s a holy day. That doesn’t mean you can't have fun. You might not do something that is fun. I have fun preaching. The idea of every moment we’re to be entertained is, I think, a plague of our generation, and if I’m not being entertained all the time and if everything isn’t always fun, then it’s not good. That’s true and that’s I think that’s a corruption in our thinking. We should try to make it a blessing. We should try to make it a delight. That may not be the same thing as -- I’ve seen parents hand their kids their Game Boy during church. You’re looking out there and you see this one head.


They’re shooting asteroids or whatever it is they’re doing out there because they’re afraid that they might not have fun, and they want them to enjoy church. Well, they’re not hearing the sermon. Are they going to have that when they’re 45 years old? At some point, we need to be teaching the children to be respectful and to sit and to listen, because you want them to transition from being children into adults. As they get older, theoretically, they’ll understand more and more of the sermon and be able to apply it.

There are things we can do, not just in church, during the day. We have great Sabbath school departments here that keep the young people engaged and learning. That’s what I like, they’re not only making it interesting, they’re learning, and that takes a lot of effort.

First of all, read spiritual books, nature walks, go visit some old folks. Nature is a good thing. You can't do it all year long. What about the North Pole? Do it there as often. Then you always have the question, if you go out to the river, to the creek, can they go swimming? Can they go in up to their ankles? How about up to their knees? I’ve heard all kinds of different parents weigh in on this in different places.

Just a few weeks ago, our family with another Sabbath keeping family went to a creek up in [unintelligible 00:23:41] on the Sabbath day. We took the kids down there and they wanted to know if they could get in. We said, “Well, you can take off your shoes.” It’s okay to wade around and collect rocks. They were looking at [unintelligible 00:23:51]. I think, it’s good to get out in God’s creation and to feel it with your toes a little bit. The next thing you know, Nathan was completely baptized, and he didn’t want to be. The creek was cold. They were bouncing on a log and someone pushed him in. We won’t say who. It wasn’t me.

Those things you've got to just give them guidelines so that they can enjoy being out there but let them know it is holy time because it’s let’s face it, it’s one thing if you’re down at the river with the kids on the Sabbath day and they are cooling off their toes or something. It’s something else if they’re doing cannonballs off the diving board. They’re really not thinking about God, are they?

You understand the differences. It might be okay to go for a Sabbath drive with the family, but you don’t want to get involved in the Indy 500, right? You say, “Well, I'm just driving. You drive on the Sabbath, I’m driving.” No. You see, there’s a difference there. You need to use intelligence about what is the purpose of it.

Somebody gave me a book Now, [unintelligible 00:24:55] has this but its 52 Things to do on the Sabbath, and a lot of these have to do with children. I won’t read them all, but they could, of course, be involved with a Pathfinders and adventure club. They might get out into nature and collect flowers, pinecones, rocks -- rock collections are interesting -- tracking animals, scavenger hunts in nature. Of course, some of these nature things you can do would be inside the house. Invite a stranger home for you. Draw pictures of nature. You can sing, do 20 questions on Bible characters. I’m not going to read them all. Visit shut-ins, adopt a grandparent. Just call the right someone who needs encouragement. Write a letter to a Bible character. There’s 52.

There are other books and things that are available that have ideas. It might take some energy, well spent energy, thinking about things that can be done to help them burn off some of their energy and the enthusiasm that they naturally have.

In nature, when dolphins give birth, baby dolphins -- of course, they’re mammals -- they actually have to learn how to swim. It doesn’t take them very long, but you watch them when they’re first born, and I’ve seen this before, they’re going upside down. They’re going down when they need to go up. Shortly after they’re born, they don’t even know how to breathe. They’re not sure where the air is. Just like human babies, they’ve got to breathe shortly after they’re born or they don’t survive.

The mother and father or other dolphins in the pod will get under that little one and push it up to the surface. It will take a breath and they’ll let it swim around. They know instinctively when it’s ready for another breath. On a regular basis, they begin for its first, I don’t know if its hours or days of life, they keep pushing it to the surface and telling it where to go for the air. Well, our children need to be trained how to breathe holy air. It’s not like that there’s a difference. We need to lift them up. They might resist it. They might go the wrong direction but they just need that gentle guidance so they will then find out where it is.

One of the most important parts of the Sabbath commandment is summed up in the word remember. As I said earlier, remembering does not mean you wait until the sun is cresting the horizon Friday afternoon and you say, “Well, it’s almost Sabbath. I need to get ready.” Because we live to worship God, and keep in mind, I believe we should worship God seven days a week. Amen. But let’s face it. The worship on Sabbath is obviously of a superior nature, context, content because God said so. He said He will meet with us and bless us in a special way. Because we live for the purpose of worshiping Him and glorifying Him, it is worthy of investing time in thinking ahead and remembering. We don't just start remembering the Sabbath on Friday, I think you start remembering it when the sun goes down, Saturday evening, and thinking about your next Sabbath, and plan our week.

The Sabbath is a wonderful calibration tool of the Lord in the life of those that worship Him, because life is made of time. If every week our weeks revolve around this blessed time with God, you never lose focus, and that’s intended. I think God planned it that way. So that the Sabbath is something that our whole life revolves around it. It helps us to keep the focus on what our purpose is, to worship Him, to serve Him, to glorify Him. It also helps us guard against becoming preoccupied with the cares of this life, lest that day overtake us as a thief. It’s worthy of some attention in planning.

A few things I’d like to read to you here in that thought. I’d like to recommend something. Do you have a pen, pencil, a good memory? A lot of what I'm sharing with you can also be found in that classic book, Child Guidance. It’s chapter 79 called the Sabbath the Day of Delight. I highly recommend it. There’s a lot of material there. But I will read a few choice quotes to you.

On Friday, let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. See that all the clothing is in its readiness, that all the cooking is done. Let the boots be blacked, your shoes be shined, so forth, and the baths taken. Hey, I want to stop right there. Every Friday, I pick this out. Yesterday, whether you like it or not, I just did it in advance and I had my shoes. I pick out my socks and my underwear, the tie. Sometimes, I’ll pick out two or three and I’ll ask Karen to tell me what to wear. I try and do it in advance, so I’m more relaxed. There’s already things the devil is going to do. Any of you ever noticed? The devil will try to ruin your Sabbath because he knows it's a day that is blessed. He will try to do things to get you so anxious and frustrated and things can go wrong. You get out of the car all smiley and happy to drive the church and you realize someone left the door open that night, the door light was on, the battery is dead. If you don't plan ahead, the devil will take advantage of that. But what about, it says here, the bath is taken. Do I go ask how many take a bath? I won't ask that. I take a bath -- Or showers, I don't take baths. I take showers everyday, sometimes two times a day, not because I'm [unintelligible 00:30:43], but sometimes I wake up, go to work, take a bath, I play racquetball, I stink, I take another one. I take a shower.

Back a hundred years ago, taking a shower or a bath was a very intensive laborious job. They used to have to hollow the water, and I've lived before, so I know it. Heat the water by firewood, pour it, get someone bathe, heat up some more water, pour it, it took hours, and it was very labor intensive to take a bath. Well, it wasn't some command that you had to be dirty. If I am going to bathe six days a week, I'm not going to one of the week I stink in the Sabbath Day. I've got an excuse. The Bible says that the priest washed in the river on the Sabbath. I've got a reason.

Let's face it friends, in our culture, it is step into the shower and turn that button. It's more [unintelligible 00:31:33] to drive to church than to do that. If any of you have been practicing the 1800s pattern of holy bathing Friday, you don't have to feel guilty, in my opinion, about taking a quick shower on Sabbath as well.

But the let the work be done, it says. Make it your will to do this. You can if you want. The Sabbath is not given to the repairing of garments and the cooking of food to pleasure seeking or any other worldly employment. Before the setting of the sunlight, all secular word be laid aside, and all secular papers but put out of site.

On my desk, I've got all kinds of things you're dealing it, and you've got bills and you get other official papers. I stack them and put them out of the way because you know what happens. You look at them, what happens in your mind. If you're not supposed to be doing your own thing and thinking your own thoughts or speaking your own words, it helps if you put that thing out of the way where you don't need to be distracted by it.

What about cooking on the Sabbath? Exodus 16:20:26. First of all, it's not a commandment that you'd cal food on the Sabbath. But whatever you could get in advance, it's a good idea. The Sabbath should not be dedicated to elaborate cooking and Heavy food preparation, and it's not the same thing as preparing heavy food. The Bible says, 'Bake what you'll bake today and boil what you'll boil. Lay it up for yourselves all that remains shall be kept into the morning. Now somethings, if you're going to make a salad, if you make a salad on Friday and put the dressing on it, you've got a limp soggy salad the next day. Have everything prepared and you feel it together then when you are about to eat it. You all understand some of the little nuances of different food.

The idea is, get as much of it done as you can in advance, cover it up and have it ready so you can relax. What you're trying to do is preserve time. Praise God, [unintelligible 00:33:29]. You don't care or make the food on Sabbath. He sets the oven on automatic, we come home, it goes ding and it's ready. It's all heated up. You don't have eat cold food and we live in the age of microwaves. You can all cook something pretty fast. But the principle is, get it done in advance.

Of course there are some people who might work in institutions where there is a cafeteria, and they need to feed people who are in a hospital or a Christian boarding school. Actually, those kind of things may need to be taken care of on that day, and be done with a cheerful spirit. I don't think you should schedule every Sabbath, if you are in some kind of a necessary function like that where you are on duty so that you are busy every Sabbath. [unintelligible 00:34:13] Jesus feet.

Buying and selling. Nehemiah 10:31. 'If the people of the land brought rears or any grains to sell on the Sabbath Day that we should not buy from them on the Sabbath Day.' Why do you think that is? I know of people who would argue, Well, God, we take up an offering, so we're handling money, so what's the difference if you go to a restaurant? I'd say a whole different thing. Giving an ordering to God is different from buying something and gauging people and shred and hiring somebody. The Bible tells us it's a day where we are to rest and we have to get servant's rest.

When we go somewhere and we are paying somebody to cook our food, because we havent made preparation I don't think that's a good thing for Christians. This is wired. I was just wondering if I was going to get any support on that. You're not supposed to buy [unintelligible 00:35:08]. You should prepare in advance. I don't believe you should be going out to eat on the Sabbath Day and mingling with the world in that way. Sometimes [unintelligible 00:35:16] environments in these public places of eating and they're playing worldly music, and worldly conversations, and I just don't know if that's God's plan for us to expose ourselves that way.

Nehemiah 13. I'm going to read this one to you from the Bible. Nehemiah 13:15. Another verse. 'In those days outside Judah, in Judah, some of the people trading wine presence on the Sabbath." This isn't the first generation that's had problems with this. Bringing in shivs and loading donkeys with wine, ribs, figs, and all kinds of burdens which the brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath Day. I warn them about the day on which they were selling provisions. Nehentiah who drove there also who brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath Day to the children of Israel. He left the pagans selling to the children of Israel. The non Sabbath keepers selling to the Sabbath keepers and Nehemiah is saying, we're not supposed to do that.

'Then I contended with the nobles of Judah and said to them, "What evil thing is this that you do by which you profane the Sabbath day. Now, is this Doug's opinion or there's a word of God saying when we are engaged in buying and selling like this on the Sabbath Day, we profane in it. I think that it's something that still matters and God does still care about. It's a day for doing good.

I don't want just to talk about some of these restrictions. Mathew 12:11-12. Jesus said to them, 'What man is there among you that has a sheep if he falls in the pit on the Sabbath Day will not lay a hold of it or even lift it out? Of how mush more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath Day.' Obviously there are people who work in hospitals and things, there are folks that are sick and they need care.

I was teasing Mrs. Batchelor when one of the little Batchelors was born, that she better not be laboring on Sabbath Day when she was pregnant, because we had a command for that. I don't know if she did pay attention. But obviously -

Mrs. Bathchelor: They were born on Wednesday and Thursday.

Pastor Doug Batchelor: Oh good. All right. Then you were paying attention. I forgot. But there is a few Sabbaths where she looked pretty close. And it tells us that of course we are to take care of these natural things. Even Jesus talked about on the eighth day, they would even circumcise a baby. Let's face it, in church, sometimes pastors stay pretty busy. That's why that scripture says the priests profane the Sabbath. That means that they do things that are technically not right and yet they are blamers. On the Sabbath Day, the priest would keep the alter fire burning. The holy wood. They would keep watering the [unintelligible 00:37:58] the water. If the people outside the sanctuary were doing it, they were stoned.

There were things that were done in the sanctuary for the service of the people that God recognized needed to be done. You've go to understand what is the context of what is being done. We have people around this church who we are very thankful for. They perform some acts of service that others might worship, that others might participate. But even there, we need to be careful that we don't get so busy serving week after week, and you and I know that there are people like Martha that are [unintelligible 00:33:28] every week. They may miss the sermon because they are preparing. Once or twice, you understand that, but you get so busy serving you don't hear the word, you can loose your relationship.

While I'm on this subject, of course, the Bible talks about the ox in the ditch. Jesus just referred it to sheep in the ditch. The passage talks about a donkey in a ditch. They don't fall on the ditch very often and it's amazing how many things were calling the ox in the ditch these days. [unintelligible 00:39:00] ox in a ditch., he's on Sabbath. I have seen literally people whose cars break down, I know that I can get them going again. I will stop and reconnect their corroborator or whatever is it I can do, try to keep them going down the road. Of course I don't bill them. That of course is an act of support and mercy.

A few weeks ago, I was with Steven, and the car broke down on our way from church right here, on [unintelligible 00:39:28] Avenue in the middle of the road. There is this, man or woman, I didn't remember

anymore, that got stuck in there and all the cars are honking and so I thought, "Wow, instead of the honking, why don't we help them." Steve and I got out, we helped push the car. Well, I wouldn't want to do that for a leaving. But on Sabbath, there is nothing wrong with that. Amen. How many of you agree with that? You were trying to hep somebody.

But a lot of things we call the ox in the ditch are not the ox and the ditch. I personally I'm concerned about, sometimes youth ministry says, "This Sabbath, we are going to rake people lawns for Jesus." No, anyone have a problem with that? Or they say, "WE're going to wash everyone's windshield on the parking lot because we're doing good and we're blessing people. Or we're going to pick up trash on the highway."

I think we are setting a bad precedence for the young people when we get into these ox in the ditch doing good ministries that teaching the kids it's okay to work on the Sabbath Day. I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind with His principle of the ox being in the ditch. Let me give you an example. Luke 23:55, 'Jesus dies' -- I'm going to read on to Luke 24:2. 'Christ is dead. The sun is going down, it's not Sabbath yet. They want to get His body prepared. They love Him. They've spent three years and a half listening to Him teach, they know what He wants. The women who came with Him from Galilee followed after. They observed the tomb and how His body was laid, and they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils, and they rested the Sabbath Day according to the commandment.

On the first day of the week, early in morning, after the Sabbath was passed, to get what another gospel tells us, they and the other women returned with the spices to finish embalming His body. Now, I think that the way most people are thinking today amongst Sabbath keepers, we would say, well, I realize the sun's going down but we're not quite embalming Jesus' body, and after all it is Jesus, so certainly it would be okay.

His disciples didn't think so. A lot of things we are calling an ox in a ditch, I don't think Jesus would call the ox in a ditch. If it's something that can wait, let it wait if it doesn't have to be done that day to save someone's life, or to take care of some emergency of suffering or something, then let it wait. Amen.

This was important to the disciples and yet they said hey, you could wait till Sunday. I think they were glad they did wait. They got to wait Mr. Resurrection because they are waiting. Amen.

There are people who are faced with practical challenges. In colleges, some work will require you for your profession to take a testing. When do they always do it? So many of them on Saturday.

A little while ago, a policeman stopped me to talk to me, [unintelligible 00:42:12], and I decided to brush up on my driving education. You know what they offer in most of the schools? Praise the Lord, they just started offering one online. I was able to do the whole thing online because it's really difficult. All the other times I had to go to traffic school, I'd had to find a way to go to little sessions, half one day and half another day. What do you do if in order for you to pass a test or something, they have a test and it might mean your greed. It might mean your job, promotion. What do you do?

Well, first of all, our office here has a letter, we have a few form letters, we run into this all the time. That we would write, praise God, in America, we have some freedom. Other countries, the choices are even more so difficult. We can write letter and they will maybe give you another specially test for you or their waive it or something like that. But don't say, well I'm going to break the Sabbath just this once because God understands. I think you start sacrificing your principles and little things like this, and it'll get easier and easier for you to sacrifice until someday someone is going to tell you to substitute God's Sabbath for their Sabbath and you've made so many little compromises in series that it'll seem like a small concession to give up your faith.

The devil chips away at our faith little by little. We need to take a stand. Amen. Are we supposed to break the Sabbath when it becomes inconvenient to keep it? Let's ask that question about other commandments. Well, I really don't want to lie, but if I lie this one time, it's going to save a lot of trouble, and I know there are some people who think it's a good argument for an occasional lie. I don't believe that God sees it that way. How many of you ladies would understand if your husband says, "I'm on a four week business trip and a little bit of adultery. Just this once."

A little bit of using God's name in vain, just an occasional, just this once, I need to deny Christ just now, worship another God. Does God care if we make compromises with the other commandments? Yes he does. That's why I think we sometimes think the Sabbath is a different kind of commandment and He doesn't care if it's inconvenient, we break it. The penalty was death back then.

It's very serious. I don't believe we're supposed to execute but, the penalty for sin is what? Death.

What I'm I supposed to wear on the Sabbath? Everyone listen now with your eyes closed so you don't look at anyone around you. I do think it's something we should address and how to keep the Sabbath. I believe when we come into the presence of God, we should be conscience that He's a holy God, and wear what our best is. Don't save your worst for God. Some people come o church, I know they go to work all week long and wear a suit, they wear respective clothing, they come to church looking like they are on a Hawaiian vacation.

If the best you have is your Hawaiian clothes, then let's praise the Lord when in Hawaii, it's okay. I've been there. I am serious. I go to church in South Pacific Islands, and everybody has short sleeves. listen, everybody has short sleeves. It's their respective clothing. You go to the Philippines, they wear the barong. Wear what the respectful clothing is. Because you're coming into God's presence, you want to, by your example show respect. Let me give you some scriptures.

Genesis 25:2,3, 'Jacob said to his household and to all that who are with him. Put all the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourself, change your clothes, let us arise and go to Bethel. Who knows what the word Bethel means? House of God. And I will make an alter there to God. They were to change their clothes as they went before the Lord. When the Lord was about to give the Ten Commandments, Moses commanded them to wash their clothes. One thing is we want to be clean. We should be neat. We should be respectful when we come before the Lord.

1 Timothy 2:9, 10, 'In like manner, that the women adorn themselves in modest appearance with propriety and moderation. Not with costly clothing. We should not be flamboyant, extravagant. Some people, let's face it, they come to church on Saturday because as far as you're concerned, it's the runway and a fashion show, and everybody wants to outdo everybody else. I'm not saying you are that way but we all know that there are folks who view it as their opportunity to grand stand a latest purchase. That shouldn't be the spirit. We should be coming wanting to reflect Christ.

The Bible says that the Sabbath is to be kept within our gates. Remember Jacob said to his family, there are somethings we are not responsible for. Your gates means your household. Back in bible times, they had ranches. You cannot be responsible for what people are doing as far as Sabbath keeping outside your gates. Even among the children of Israel, the people who were not Israelites and they may not have respected the Sabbath. We just read that in Nehemiah.

But within your gates, when your children, your grandchildren, they should be taught, even though they may not understand it or respect how you keep Sabbath, when they are away, when they are within your gates it should be kept. You might say well, I know they're not Sabbath people so they're going to be watching football at home while we go to church. No. Tell them to get a hotel room. You might think that's a little tough love but they need to respect because you've got to decide do I love God more than my children, and have them honor it within your gates.

What if you’re in business and you have business partners that are not Sabbath keepers and they’ve got the business open on Sabbath? Some of you are doing that right now and you didn’t even know it. You take your money to a bank, they invest in stocks, I can guarantee you, they are not all closed on Sabbath. You can’t control that. Here’s the way I understand it. If you are the controlling interest in what’s happening, you either need to get out of that or they should be keeping the Sabbath. For instance, if you are one of 50 people that owns a hotel, you can’t tell them to close it down on Sabbath, can you?

But within your gates means in your authority, within your control. You should be keeping that. If it’s outside of your control and authority, you are now responsible for whatever everybody else is doing. Then there will be people who will say well, you are making other work when you use electricity on the Sabbath. But then you are making the phone company work if you pick up your cellphone and stuff like that. I can’t control that, whether I use or not. You see what I’m saying? When I turn on the water, I’m glad it’s running. But I’m not going to work at the water company. Amen. It’s a day for rest, very simply.

Another quote from [unintelligible 00:48:55] Not the precious hours of the Sabbath be wasted in bed. While it is a day for rest, we don’t want to be gouging ourselves like lions that just killed the elephant and laying around. I think we should enjoy our food, but eat modest food. The food should be special. It should be a treat. It doesn’t mean you have to have 90 different items on the table. It should be a treat, it should be pleasant, but I don’t think we should eat so much that all we can think about is finding the nearest hemic and sleeping the rest of the day. It is a day for rest, but how many people do you know that miss church that say after all, it’s a day of rest, so I stay home and sleep. Get up, go to church, take a nap later. Amen. Don’t miss your time worshipping with God.

‘Let not the precious hours of the Sabbath be wasted in bed. On Sabbath morning, the family should be still early. If they rise late, there’s confusion and bustle in preparing for breakfast and Sabbath school. There is hurry. I hope you all come to Sabbath school. Joslin and impatience, thus unholy feelings come into the home. The Sabbath is thus desecrated and becomes a weariness and it’s coming as dreaded rather than loved.

God wants us to love it. He wants it to be a blessing, it's to be something that's to be a delight, something that we share, something we look forward to. But it takes energy to build that kind of experience. It takes planning, it takes thought. Is God worth it? Is he worth giving your time with someone you love? Is he worth it? Put it all

I know I've used this example before, but if a man and woman are courting, and they have limited time together because of their schedules and where they live, they try to plan that time. They invest energy in it being special. Especially the man who makes those dates special for his beloved, he's appreciated, isn't he? When he thinks ahead, how many of you women like that, when you're husband does something that shows he actually thought ahead? He planned on doing something special. That makes him very happy.

When I travel, Karen often writes a card or two in advance and she hides them in my luggage or my computer. She always tries to hide them where she figures I'll find because nothing bothers her more than when I get home and she says, "Did you read my card?" I'll say, "What card?" So you don't want to hide it too well. But it's always pleasant when I'm digging through my file for that trip and I pull out a card with a note or kiss or something on it. She usually has a love letter in there, or something. That shows me she thought about me. Now, I've got to learn to do that for her when she --

I summarized some points, concepts for Sabbath-keeping. One, the Sabbath is a day to cease our creating work. It's a day of ceasing as God ceased. And to appreciate what God has done in the world and is doing in us. In the scripture.

Two, the Sabbath is not a time for elaborate food preparation. It should be done the days before the Sabbath, it's not a time for heavy baking and cooking. The Sabbath is a time to lay our burdens down and to rest. Jeremiah 17. We should not any surveil work on the Sabbath, that means slavely work. This includes our entire family, our servants, our animals, and strangers who live among us, visitors within your gates. Sometimes it's hard when you've got family that are not believers of it with you. That's a challenge, you need courage and tact on how to do this.

The Sabbath is a holy convocation. We should meet and worship with others. A number of scriptures for that.

The Sabbath should be a day of a delighted and rejoicing, a day in which we would forsake our thoughts and words for God's thoughts. How many of you struggle sometimes on Sabbath not thinking about things that you shouldn't think about? It takes some energy and effort to do that but you can.

The Sabbath, number six, is a time of healing. It's a good time to visit, to minister to those who are suffering. It's not a time to do our trading, buying, and selling, engaging in those business transactions. The Sabbath is a time to do good. Visit the sick, we should to spiritual work on the Sabbath, serving others for Christ. That doesn't mean raking their lawns and washing their cars. The Sabbath is a time for prayer, Acts 16.

11, the Sabbath is a time to reason with each other about spiritual principles and for ministers to teach and to read the word of God. And Jesus read out loud, I think it's good for us to hear the word of God read.

Then 12, the Sabbath is a time for singing, amen? We'll do that in just a minute. Matter of fact Psalm 92, if you read the little introduction is called "A Sabbath Psalm" they sang on the Sabbath day. And you've got Ephesians, Colossians, and a number of others. If you want one of these, I think we may have enough for one per family that are on the information desk out there.

Now finally, the Sabbath is a time to be with Jesus. Luke 10:38-42, "It happened as they went and entered a certain village, that certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving." We sometimes on the Sabbath are so distracted with getting to church and putting in our time and doing it that we're not being with him. And the Lord wants us to be with him.

If we can convince other people what day the Sabbath is and we're not being with Jesus, we're not really keeping the Sabbath. It's in vain. We might have all the arguments. We might put in our time and sit still, but if we're not being with him and abiding in his presence, then we're not really keeping the Sabbath.

"Martha was distracted by much serving and she approached him, and said, Lord, do you not care my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me. And Jesus answered and said, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed: and Mary has chosen that good part that will not be taken away from her."

Sitting at Jesus' feet. Gazing into his face. Spending time with him. Hearing his voice. This is what the Sabbath is for, quality time with Jesus. He wants that with us and he was not going to let-- Even though Martha was preparing the dinner for Jesus. He said, "No, I'm not going to interrupt this. This is more important. We're having a relationship. We're getting to know each other." He wants to have that with you. This is what the Sabbath is for. It's a holy time because it's time with God. I want to keep it that way, don't you, friends?

Narrator: Millennium of Prophecy. Thousands have been blessed by this dynamic video presentation taped live in New York City. On tape number four in the series, Pastor Doug Batchelor presents Bricks without Straw, a Bible study on the Sabbath. If you're eager to learn more about the Sabbath, Bricks without Straw covers many questions and gives clear Bible answers. When you order Bricks without Straw, you also get a bonus presentation on the same tape. Each tape is packed with over two hours of exciting Bible study.

Order yours today for only $19.95. Order online at Free shipping in Canada, the US and its territories only. Call now, the number is 1 (800) 538-7275. Ask for offer number 289 when you call, or write to Amazing Facts, post office box 909, Roseville, California, 95678. That number again to call is 1 (800) 538-7275.

If you've enjoyed this three-part series and would like to order The Lord's Day video set, call 1 (800) 538-7275 or write to Amazing Facts, post office box 909, Roseville, California, 95678.
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