Doctrine of Religious Worship: Delighting in the Sabbath II
January 9, 2022 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Scripture: Isaiah 58:13–14, Psalm 122:1
Isaiah 58:13-14 / Psalm 122:1
As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is the congregation or meeting place of all the waters in the world, so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet.
Thomas Case, a member of the Westminster Assembly
Question. “How may we thus call the sabbath holy?” or, “When may we be said truly to make it holy?”
Answer. When we make God’s hallowing and sanctifying this day our motive and argument to sanctify it, by a holy observation of it. —When that which God hath called “holy” by his divine sanction, we dare not call it “common and profane” by prostituting of it to unsuitable actions, words, or thoughts. There is a real calling it “unholy,” as well as vocal. He or she that spends the day or any part of it in doing evil, or in doing nothing, or in doing nothing to the purpose, he proclaimeth to the world what he calleth the day, although he speak not a word. He speaks his heart by interpretation; and when all is done, our works are more credible interpreters of our hearts, than our words or profession. “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46] Then we believe it holy, when we keep it holy.
Last week we discussed delighting in the Sabbath.
- What we are to understand when we say the Sabbath is to be delectable
- We used the analogy of going to a fine restaurant and having a bite of something that causes you to sit back in your chair and simply enjoy
- We spoke about the importance of treating the Sabbath better than you would ordinary activities in your life
- About specially preparing for the Sabbath
- About not rushing around at the last minute
- About setting out nice things – you know, our “Sunday Best”
- About treating is a special, as gift and kindness from the Lord
Do you remember one of the parallels between fasting and the Sabbath?
- If we are not delighting in the Sabbath
- Then it is questionable as to whether we are delighting in the Lord.
- If we are not glorifying the Sabbath
- Then it is questionable as to whether we are glorifying the Lord.
We, the people of God, want to delight in the Sabbath
- So, we are going to continue talking about what it means to delight in the Sabbath and the ways in which the Sabbath is a delight
Then we will dive into verse 13 and more clearly see the positive and negative connections between delighting in the Sabbath is delighting in the Lord.
What is meant by delicacy?
Let us remind ourselves of what we mean with the term: delight
- We used the analogy of going to a fine restaurant
- where every bite seemed to cause the world to stop for a moment
- where you just paused and simply enjoyed that morsel as it melted in your mouth
Brothers and sisters, the Sabbath is so much more than that
- The Sabbath is a delight.
- The Lord has reserved it - one day out of seven
There are things that happen on the Sabbath that are different, and delightful, and only come about once a week.
If you were given an invitation to that restaurant
- would you say "No thanks, I've got some turnips out back I want to pick and eat"
Or, instead of going on your honeymoon or anniversary trip
- would you instead rather go to McDonalds for a Big Mac?
The Sabbath is something more special than anything else we can produce - anything.
- The Sabbath is a delight.
But sometimes, people come back and say
- "that seems like drudgery"
- "it takes up my entire day"
- "I don't have any me time"
- "I need to sleep"
These responses are really because they have not learned something…
They have not learned how
- To delight in the things that the Lord delights in
- To delight in the wonderful things that the Lord has set before us
- those things that are truly delightful.
How is the Sabbath a Delight/ Delectable?
1st: It is Delectable Because the Ordinances of God are Expanded
The Lord brings some different things that we do not do during the week.
There are some similar things
- Reading the Bible
- Are we reading the Bible during the week? Well, I hope so.
- Are we praying during the week? Of course.
- Are we singing praise in our homes? Probably.
There are some dissimilar things, also
There are some things that we do not (or should not do) during the week alone
- The Word Preached
- Are we hearing the Word encourage us as a community of believers during the week? No
- Corporate Prayer
- Are we joining together in corporate prayer during the week? No
- Observing the Sacraments
- Are we administering the sacraments during the week? I hope not.
- Corporate Praise
- Are we singing praise with the assembly during the week? No.
The Lord has reserved the Sabbath as a weekly delicacy.
- The Sabbath has more savor than ordinary days.
- While our worship everyday offers spiritual sustenance
- The Lord's Day is especially delectable and even more nourishing
- The Sabbath is indeed a special day and as a special day, it is a delight.
- Is there not a greater thankfulness?
- Is there not a greater anticipation?
- Is there not a greater savor, a greater delicacy?
Brothers and sisters - if there is not a greater savor, there ought to be.
We ought to consider the things of the Lord especially savory on the Sabbath day, because we are not drawn off by distractions.
2nd: It is Delectable Because the Lord Gives Sufficient Provision
We can set aside our worldly efforts and focus more fully on the things of God.
- The Lord has graciously given us 7 days of sustenance for 6 days of labor.
- Have you ever thought about that?
- Wild Animals
- They work every day to find, gather, and store food.
- But the Lord does not require that of us
- He provides in 6 days of labor when we need for 7
- Domesticated Animals
- The Lord is very clear about that as well.
- He commands not only that we cease from labor but all of our domesticated animals that we use for work would also receive rest on the Sabbath day.
- Those domesticated animals exist solely for the purpose of service to man, and they are to rest.
- Our servants also, in providing service to man, are to rest
- And by extension, this applies to all those in the service industry.
- They, too, are to be allowed to rest
- We are not to expect or require their service on the Sabbath
- Wild Animals
The Lord has provided so that, on the Sabbath, we do not have to worry about working or gathering food or having others serve us, we are free to serve Him.
3rd: It is Delectable Because the Glory of God is More Greatly Manifested
His glory is more greatly manifested through the greater ordinances that the Lord has set
- Imagine a king, perhaps like King Saul or King David.
- When they invited people to their table to eat and to partake of the things that were theirs
- There was difference in how it reflected their glory
- Whether their table was minimally set, or amply set, or abundantly
- The greater the setting of the table, the greater the glory that was reflected upon the King
The Lord does the similar thing.
- He sets a table for us every day with regard to our daily spiritual food with many beneficial ordinances
- That is found in our private Bible reading
- That is found in our private prayer time
- That is found in our private praise time
- Then on the Lord's Day
- the King calls together so many more people
- the King sets a larger table, and the ordinances are more plentiful.
The glory of the Lord is more manifest on the Sabbath day that on other days
He shows Himself more glorious through a greater extension of his delicacies.
4th: It is Delectable Because the Church is More Edified
There are more tools of the Lord on the Sabbath day
The church is more edified, more built up because of all the special ordinances on that day
- On the other days of the week, only some things
- On the Sabbath day … everything
- praise and all their public glory.
- The cessation of other labors and the focus upon God
The dedication of the day itself is part of its delectable character
- in that we can attend upon the spiritual meal without normal distractions.
- when we talk about it as a day that is free from other distractions
- Remember men that our ladies still have the same kinds of care that they are undertaking on this day as every other day of the week
- And we men, since we are free from our normal distractions of the week, there is a greater opportunity for us to relieve our wives
- so that they too, can partake of the Sabbath
- There is a holy resting, a holy ceasing of that labor.
- The Sabbath is the possession of the Great King.
- As such, it is of a far greater worth than anything else we might handle
5th: It is Delectable Because It Is a Hedge Against Apostasy
Attending upon the worship of the Sabbath day, is a hedge against apostasy.
- Anyone that tells you church attendance is not mandatory or that you can take it or leave it – and we hear that a lot today
- Run, do not walk to the nearest exit.
Most people stop their reading Hebrews 10 right after verse 25.
- But notice the word "For" in verse 26
- In other words, when we forsake the assembling of ourselves together
- we set the helm in that direction, turn the rudder, start the engines
- we head down the path
- except should the Lord intervene
- except should the Spirit help us to persevere
Forsaking the assembling of ourselves together is a dangerous precedent.
Now we need to understand there are times when we will be providentially hindered from attending church
- James 4:13-16
- 1 Thess-02#v18
- At times when you are sick or in the hospital
- At times there are emergencies (such as medical, fire, or police related)
- At times when are out of town - not travelling on the Sabbath Day, of course
- At times when circumstances are such that although you want to attend church, elements beyond your control prevent you
But to let…
- the lightest and easiest things keep us from coming to the worship of God
- tiredness or other activities that occurred the night before
to be excuses to not partake of the of the delicacies of the king….
- Has no place in Christian advancement, and only contributes to apostasy.
We start the engines of Apostasy at that point, make no mistake, this is what the Scriptures are teaching us...
- When we say we do not need to come to church.
- When we say that we can be spiritual without God's institution of the Sabbath day.
- When we say that we can keep Sabbath at home and do just fine.
- When we say that we do not need the preaching of the word in the assembly.
- When we say that we do not need the administration of the sacraments or worse, I can take these things to myself into my own hands.
Let us be clear.
I am not saying that as long as you come to church every Sunday, you will be safe from apostasy
- But let me ask you this…
- If apostasy is to be avoided, will you do better coming to church or not coming?
- You see, that is the question we should be asking
We must persevere to the end.
We must persevere in obedience.
But attending unto the “Holy of the Lord” and being reminded of the goodness of God and our duty before Him, helps us in this perseverance.
The day is not to be holy in the sense of our being devoted to idleness, as if idleness could be acceptable worship to God, but in the sense of separating ourselves from all other occupations so that we can meditate upon divine works. Because our minds are inconstant, we are apt to wander from God when exposed to various distractions. We need to be disentangled from all cares if we would seriously apply ourselves to the praises of God.
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