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Doctrine of Religious Worship - Sabbath Observance Conclusion

January 30, 2022 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: Isaiah 58:14


It is not enough that you observe this day as a rest, but you must keep a holy rest. Which that you may do, you must, on your awaking in the morning, make a difference between it and other days, not thinking on any worldly business more than will serve for a general providence, to preserve you from great hurt or loss. Both in your lying awake, and rising in the morning, make use of the former directions, showing you how to awake and rise with God.

Rise early, if it will consist with your health, and not hinder your fitness for spiritual exercises through drowsiness afterward, that you may show forth God’s loving-kindness in the morning. Double your devotions on the Lord’s Day, as the Jews did their morning and evening sacrifice on the sabbath day.

Prepare yourself for the public holy services by reading, by meditation, and by putting away all filthiness; that is, repenting of every sin, and casting away the superfluity of. naughtiness: that is, let no sin be allowed or suffered to reign in you.

Then pray for yourself, and for the minister, that God would give him a mouth to speak, and you a heart to hear, as you both ought to do. All this, before you shall assemble for public worship.

Being thus prepared, bring your family with you to the church. Join with the minister and congregation. Set yourself as in the special presence of God, following the example of good Cornelius, with all reverence attending and consenting; saying Amen with understanding, faith, and affection, to the prayers uttered by the minister; believing and obeying, whatsoever is by him commanded you from God.

Afterward, by meditation, and by conference; and if you have opportunity, by repetitions, call to mind, and wisely and firmly lay up in your heart what you have learned. The like care must be had before, at, and after, the evening exercise.


We won’t spend much time today on review – we’ve spent quite a bit already and should have a firm handle on the teachings in this chapter of Isaiah.

Last week:

  • We reminded ourselves of the major sections and division in chapter 58.
  • We looked at how Scripture condemns the practice of not delighting in the Lord in both the Old and the New Testament Scripture
  • We then entertained a few objections regarding the Sabbath

Today, we will conclude this portion of the study, looking at 

  • The practice of God's people with respect to the Sabbath.
  • Their understanding of worship in the morning and in the evening
  • When the Old Testament Church got together for worship and how the Lord distinguished Sabbath day worship from other days of worship.


  • We understand the command and expectation is to delight in the Lord and in His Sabbath
  • We must now search the Scriptures to see “how” that is to be done


(1) Regular Public Worship involved a morning and an evening observance

Exodus 29: 38-46

  • There are continual burnt offering every day at the tabernacle,
  • There are continual burnt offering at the temple after it is constructed
  • There were offerings in the temple during the New Testament
    • in Acts 3 → Peter and James and john went to the temple at the time of the evening sacrifice.
  • What is the importance of this?
    • The Lord required worship in a public setting in the morning and in the evening
      • at the tabernacle
      • at the temple

1 Chronicles 16:40, 2 Chronicles 2:4,2; 2 Chronicles 13:11, 31:3, Ezra 3:3

  • There are additional references for offerings, public worship in the morning and the evening
  • The Lord did not accept only one offering.
  • The Lord did not allow His people to be content with only one offering.

(2) Private Worship involved a morning and an evening observance

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

  • We are to worship Him when we rise up
  • We are to worship Him when we lie down
  • In other words, → at the beginning of our day, and at the end of our day
  • This is not something mentioned as metaphor
  • This is called out specifically for a purpose

this teaches us to offer up the god the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise every day, morning and evening in humble acknowledgement of our

dependence upon him and our obligations to him, our daily devotions must be

looked upon as the most needful of our daily works, and the most pleasant of our daily comforts. - Matthew Henry

  • Do you think Matthew Henry understood the Sabbath was to be a delight?
  • Whatever business we have, these things must never be omitted
    • morning prayer
    • evening prayer
  • Morning and evening not limited to public or limited to private but both prayer and worship to feed your soul



  • If the practice of every other day of the week was a morning and an evening worship, what would we expect for the Sabbath day?
    • Would we expect something less?
    • Would we expect something more? 

Would we expect the same?

  • Based on our study thus far, we should be readily with an answer Consider:

Numbers 28:1-8, 9-10

  • Verse 1 - 8 → recap of Exodus 29 and the offerings that were done at the tabernacle, and then later on at the temple, every single day, a morning offering, and evening
  • Verse 9 - 10 → The Sabbath day o There is a principle for worship that the Lord is laying down:
    • There were the daily sacrifices
    • Then were the Sabbath day sacrifices
  • The Sabbath Day sacrifices were additional
  • The Sabbath Day sacrifices were not instead of the daily sacrifices but in addition to them
  • The Sabbath Day sacrifices were not just duplicates of the daily sacrifices - they were doubled

o This principle does not diminish what we're doing on the Sabbath day. § It adds to it because of the gloriousness and the weightiness of it Response:

  • We understand what our daily duties are:

o a morning reading, and an afternoon or an evening reading  o time spent in private worship morning, and evening.

  • We are beginning to understand what our duties are on the Sabbath o Do we stop our private worship in exchange for the Sabbath? No.

Do we skip our Sabbath worship as long as we are doing our private worship? No. We do both.

  • We have seen what was done in the Old Testament.
    • They had the daily offerings.
    • They added to the daily offerings special Sabbath day offerings.
  • Therefore, we should expect the same principle today o a morning and an evening Sabbath worship o in keeping with our morning, and our evening, daily worship.
  • The principle of morning and evening does not diminish, or change.
    • Sabbath day, regular day, it is still morning, and evening.
    • But on God's holy day
    • the holiness of that day is set forth in the additional duties that come to God's people


Scripture Review

Ezekiel 8 → Ezekiel is shown some of the most egregious violations of the worship in Israel. 

Ezekiel 9 → there is a man that is sent into the city with an inkhorn.

  • A mark is placed on the forehead of the people that sigh and cry for the abominations of the worship.
  • Then the destroying angel comes behind the man that has had the inkhorn and kills anyone that does not have a mark on his forehead
  • Here we see the special regard given to those who have hearts toward

God's worship  o hearts toward the purity of God's worship o hearts toward seeing it performed in its proper seasons and ways  hearts toward seeing it performed by the Lord's commandments

Ezekiel 10 → the glory of the Lord lifts up off the sanctuary and departs and doesn’t return until chapter 43

Ezekiel 40 - 48 → Represents the New Testament temple  

  • the temple that is being built in our day
  • the temple that is made without hands.

Worshipping in the New Testament Temple

Ezekiel 46 is presenting to us what the worship of the Lord will be like in the days of the New Testament

  • It is written in the days of the Old Testament
  • It uses Old Testament imagery to teach us o that is why it talks about offerings of lambs, rams, bullocks, etc...
  • But in the days of the New Testament church moving forward
    • there is no tabernacle in the sense that there was in the Old
    • there is no temple in the sense that there was in the Old Testament 
  • The gates will be shut six days at a time.
  • But on the Sabbath day o the gate will be opened
  • How long will that gate be opened
  • from morning until the evening

o What will the offering be? 

  • Not two in the morning and an evening, but six.
  • Commentators are divided as to why six lambs, instead of four, or instead of two as we read earlier.

Normally it was two on the Sabbath morning and two on the Sabbath evening → a total of four

  • But here there are six
  • Perhaps the figure 6 might be to remind us of the inclusion of the regular daily offering
    • Since the gates are shut on all the other days o Perhaps the figure 6 might be to remind us that we are, in a sense, sanctifying, the rest of the week
  • Perhaps the figure 6 is to remind us that as we worship
    • as we come before the Lord
    • as we call the Sabbath a delight
    • that we are to remember the single sacrifice of Christ on the Lord’s Day
  • Granted, this Old Testament imagery is a bit difficult to fully understand.

But there is one thing that is clear → o In the days of that New Testament temple

  • there's not going to be an everyday kind of public worship
  • like there was in the Old Testament tabernacle
    • the gates will be shut on the regular days of the week
    • the gates will be thrown open only on the Sabbath day o As we prepare to meet the prince
    • the gates are not closed until the evening public worship does not end until the evening.
  • And why are the gates not closed until the evening?

o Perhaps because it is just as consistent as we've seen in Exodus 29 o Perhaps because it is just as consistent as we’ve seen in Numbers 28  o Perhaps it is because the worship by God’s people

  • has always involved a morning and an evening worship.

Reasoning from the history of worship

  • From the very beginning of our days as a people o all the way back to the days of Moses there was a morning and an evening worship every day of the week.
  • The morning and the evening worship was intensified and augmented on the Sabbath day.


  • Why would we expect then that in the days of the New Testament?
  • Why would we draw back and diminish our worship on the Sabbath? o especially when we have this testimony here in Ezekiel 46 o especially when the gates will be opened in the morning and not closed again, until the evening


  • I believe these passages are teaching us that our worship on the Sabbath day ought to include more than just one worship service o that there are two particular services, at least, that we owe unto the Lord on the Sabbath day.
  • I believe these are necessary implications from these passages.

Now, let us see how the New Testament carries this forward…


Scripture Review

Acts 20:1-12

  • Paul was in Troas for seven days.
    • Paul chose the first day of the week to preach
    • Paul chose the day the disciples normally came together o Paul chose the day to commemorate Christ's resurrection.
  • The seventh day Sabbath of the Old Testament, commemorated the creation, right?
    • God worked six days and then rested the seventh.
    • God blessed the Sabbath day and looked upon all things he had made o Remember, it was not only God, but Adam also on the Sabbath, looked upon the things that God had made
  • But the Sabbath is different in the days of the New Testament o The Sabbath is the first day of the week - not the last day of the week.
    • The first day of the week does not commemorate the first day the creation, but of the new creation
    • And so, we also, with our Redeemer, sit around and look around at what He has done

Here we have the first day of the week o the day that the disciples came together to break bread the day they came to have a church service

  • the day they celebrated the sacrament of the Lord's Supper o the day that Paul preached unto them
  • until the evening



  • Do you think that while Paul was there for seven days, that they did not meet in the morning but only met once in the evening?
  • Perhaps, the evening is specifically mentioned because there are several things that take place during that evening service that are remarkable o Like Paul preaching for a long time
    • Like Eutychus falling out of the window
  • I think it would be unreasonable to assume that it was the practice of the Apostle Paul to only preach in the evening and not in the morning.


Our perspectives begin to change as we start to understand this teaching and the Sabbath changing to the first day of the week on the resurrection of Christ.

John 20:1-2

  • And on that first day of the week… o when did the ladies find the tomb empty?
    • what time of day was it?
    • As early as it could be?
  • Why would we or the early church wait then to enjoy the Sabbath?

This does not make sense -> to hold a church service, a worship service unto the Lord, but with only one late in the evening.

  • the narrative tends, by implication, that there would be 2 services.
    • One in the earlier part of the day and one in the later part of the day Response:
  • Indeed, this clarity is not in the text.
    • It is an argument from silence, but the silence is deafening.
  • There is an example here, what I believe to be as o a morning service and then an evening service
  • The evening service is mentioned particularly because of the remarkable events o because of Paul preaching long until midnight because of Eutychus falling out of the window


So, what are we to do this understanding?

What are we to do having been presented with this teaching from God’s Word?

  • Certainly, we want to honor the Lord before we honor ourselves
  • We should spend some time reflecting and meditating on what God has revealed to us in Scripture


Option 1: We can keep our foot upon the Sabbath and continue to do our pleasure

  • By choosing to ignore these parts of Scripture so that there is no affect to our practices and desires

By choosing to reinterpret these parts of Scripture to fit our practices and desires

Option 2: We can reform our practices, seeking to bring them in-line with God’s Word

  • because we call the Sabbath a delight.
    1. because the things that the Lord teaches us are delightful things
    2. because the things that the Lord sets out for us this day are delightful
  • because it has always been the practice of God's people to worship daily.
    1. daily → morning and evening.
  • because the Sabbath is always augmented, not taken away or diminished from that regular morning and evening worship
  • because of the prophet Ezekiel describing the days of the New Testament
    1. we see the doors are closed during the six days of the week
    2. we see the doors, on the Sabbath, are thrown open from the morning until the evening for worship
  • because we see the example of the apostle holding an evening service in Troas 
    • On the first day of the week
    • On the Christian Sabbath
    • what john calls in Revelation 1:10 → "The Lord's Day"
  • because we want to honor, and glorify, and delight first in the Lord


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