Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
First - Gathering
Here we are the 3rd Sunday of 2023. This first month this series of talks are called “first.” We are talking about priorities; things we should put first in our lives.
Today I want to talk to you about giving God the first day of your week.
We live in an exhausting world. There are constant demands on us, expectations of us and endless responsibilities. Do you know that God cares so much about this exhaustion issue in your life that he took time to address it?
So what did God say? He first addressed this issue in the 10 Commandments. Maybe you’ve never looked at the 10 Commandments closely, but the first four commandments talk about our relationship vertically with God. The next six commandments talk about our relationships horizontally with other people.
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods beforeme. This is a command number 1.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth… This is command number 2.
And then we have number 3. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
And then we come to the fourth commandment.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
And there is God’s answer for the mind numbing busyness and exhaustion we face; remember the Sabbath day, set it apart, stop working, disconnect, walk away from other things, and rest. And on that Sabbath day connect with your creator. Connect with Jesus. Connect with your family. Connect with other believers. Do this one day a week.
The Sabbath day is the day that we get to walk away from everything else and say to those things, “you don’t run my life!”
Mark 2:27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
The Sabbath was made for man.
It was a gift from God for our benefit.
It was to be a day of worship.
Understand that the Sabbath for the Jewish people was always sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. But something happens in the New Testament era. The believers begin to meet on Sunday, the first day of the week. It was the day of the resurrection and was eventually called “the Lord’s day.” So, in a sense, Sunday became the Sabbath for the Christian.
My challenge to you today is to give God back the first day of the week. To start your week with God. To get back to the concept of the Sabbath.
But let’s go one step deeper into this.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Do not neglect meeting together. Do not neglect the gathering of Jesus followers. Do not neglect being together with the saints. Make the gathering a priority. Come to the gathering ready; ready to stir, ready to love and ready to do these things more more.
The gathering of God’s people has always been important. In the very early church in the book of Acts we see Jesus followers gathering together. Why? Because we are in this together. We are the community of the king. We are the light in the darkness. We are hope in despair. We are the move of God in this world.
Our gathering is a witness to the world. It’s a testimony that there is a group of people who are centering their lives around Jesus Christ. Maybe they drive by the church and see the parking lot full as they drive for the morning brunch at the buffet restaurant. Maybe they wonder what’s going on here. Our gathering as a witness.
I have never seen somebody withdraw from the gathering and get stronger.
Keep the Sabbath.
Keep it holy.
It’s a priority.
It is Free