Hebrews 4:9 tells us that “there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” Every time we gather as the church for worship on the Lord’s Day, we should be reminded, examined, and prepared for the great day of judgment and consummation that yet awaits us as Christ will return (Matt. 25:31-46).
Having enjoyed yesterday another Sabbath, where my soul was rejuvenated and my heart made glad, I thought I would encourage you with ten concise reasons (five coming from the Old Testament and five from the New) as to why you should honor the Lord’s Day.
First and foremost, remembering the Sabbath is a command. From the first week of creation (Gen. 2:3-4), to the formalizing it in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:8-11), to the prophets urging the people to honor it (Jer. 17:27), the Sabbath Day is a command given to God’s people.
The Sabbath offers rest to you. The word Sabbath means “rest,” the fourth commandment calls people to rest from their labors on this day (Ex. 20:10), and it is a promise that God will give rest to his people (Ex. 35:2).
The Sabbath is a sign of spiritual realities. In Exodus 31:12, the Lord told Moses to instruct the people, “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.” The Sabbath is a sign of wonderful blessings the Lord desires to give to his people.
In particular, the Sabbath is a sign promising redemption. In the two places in the Bible where the Ten Commandments are listed (Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21), dual acts of God are given as reasons for observing the Sabbath. The first act is the creation of the world (Ex. 20:11) and the second is redemption from slavery (Deut. 5:15). The One who made the world, then watched mankind plunge itself into sin and slavery, promises via the Sabbath that he will redeem his people.
The Sabbath prophesied that Christ would bring this redemption. The prophet Isaiah, as he looks ahead to the age of Christ, equates the Sabbath Day with the Day of the Lord (or the Lord’s Day), and anticipates great blessing to those who observe it faithfully.
If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Is. 58:13-14)