Six Purposes of The Lord’s Day – Dr.Peter Masters.
Six Purposes of The Lord’s Day
Here are six purposes for which the Lord’s Day has been established for as long as time endures, all of which are derived both from the commandment of Sinai and the example of the Lord’s Day observance in the New Testament.
1. Firstly, this commandment provides a regular season for gratitude and worship, when God’s people pay their spiritual vows to their God and King, directing to Him their appreciation and adoration.
2. Secondly, this commandment calls believers to consider and study the Lord, reflecting upon, inquiring into and learning more about the faith once delivered. They are to be challenged by His Word, moved in heart, drawn closer to Him, amazed and thrilled by the Word, and built up in understanding and doctrine. It is above all others the day for spiritual growth.
3. Thirdly, through the Lord’s Day Christians establish their priorities and give a demonstration of their obedience. Just as the Jews of old had to organise their lives around this day so that their agricultural and business programmes bowed and yielded to the thing of God, so we ‘disrupt’ our normal activities and do likewise. In this we pledge our programmes to God, and declare that His will counts most in our lives. Our lives, and ‘secular’ pleasures are subordinated to the Lord on this precious day.
4. Fourthly, the Lord’s Day is a dramatic and significant day of testimony. When the Jews of old organised their lives around this day, a great impact was made upon their growing youngsters and also upon the nations round about. All would ask, ‘Who is this supreme Lord for Whom this day is yielded?’ Similarly today, where the Lord’s people are seen worshipping God, preaching the Gospel and leaving alone garden, car-washing, shopping and self pleasing on the Lord’s Day, a great witness is established before the watching world. This also is the day for evangelistic Sunday Schools and evangelistic adult services, so that, ideally, for 52 Sundays every year, there is one service to which we invite unconverted people. It is above all others the day of the Gospel. The converted student living in a hall of residence, who yields to temptation and spends most of Sunday as if it were a weekday, little realises what witness he forfeits. Unsaved people may not show it, but they are certainly affected by the attachment of believers to the Lord’s Day. For families also, this commitment to the Lord often helps prove the sincerity of believers to neighbours, relations and doubting children.
5. Fifthly, the Lord’s Day is especially significant as a declaration of total dependence upon God for grace and help. The Old Testament Jew may well have pleaded that he needed more time to harvest his crop or sow his seed. What a commercial setback the Sabbath represented, but in keeping it the people told the Lord that His blessing was more significant to them than self-reliance. Similarly, today, there are so many things Christian people could be engaged in to ensure the success of their affairs. They could (they may think) solve so many problems and accomplish so much more if only they could plunder time from this day. But the Lord’s Day is our statement to God that we depend upon His mercy, power and help. This day is an act of commitment which signals our trust to Heaven in more eloquent language than words.
6. Sixthly, we make another declaration to God through keeping the Lord’s Day, namely, our great desire for the eternal Sabbath, for the Sabbath is given partly as a fortaste and figure of heavenly glory. On the Lord’s Day we demonstrate to God that we really want the return of Christ and the ushering in of the eternal order. We grasp eagerly at the foretastes of Heaven that we are invited to enjoy week by week. To disdain the Lord’s Day is to show that we are not among those who look for and ‘love his appearing’. The nominal evangelical who worships once on Sunday and then goes back to the television is only revealing a preference for this world over the next.
The Lord’s Day is a kind test of our attitude on all these points. If the unbeliever will be judged by the spirit of the commandment, where will the believer stand? We hear nowadays of evangelical churches having only one service on the Lord’s Day, even claiming that there is no scriptural warrant for more, and insisting that the remainder of the day is for relaxation and personal pleasure. How we should value and appreciate the blessings which the Lord has designed for us in a day given to guard our souls, supply our needs, and lift us to Heaven. No wonder this is one of the two commandments out of ten which is expressed in a wholly positive way – ‘Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.’ It is its own ‘opposite positive virtue’.
The Lord’s Day clearly reflects the character and heart of God because it is a token of what He wills and plans for the His people eternally, a realm of worship, communion, and spiritual light.
Neglect of the Lord’s Day in a sense heads a family of offences- sins such as lack of commitment, unspiritual priorities, omission of devotions, and disobedience of practical duties for Christian living. The Lord’s Day leads the way in establishing the believer’s attitude to all these matters.
(This excerpt has been taken from “God’s Rules For Holiness” by Dr.Peter Masters. He has been Minister of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in central London since 1970.)