Contend Earnestly: What do you do on the Lord's Day?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What do you do on the Lord's Day?


I thought Tony's question on what to do on the Lord's day was a great question. We have been going back and forth for the last couple of days on "Has the Sabbath Moved to the Lord's Day," but the real question was the question that Tony brought up, and also something that David is dealing with on his blog. We have dealt with the orthodoxy but we need to also deal with the orthopraxy. So the question is, "What are your 'do's and don'ts' of the Lord's Day. I think this is how we will really learn from each other. My Lord's Day usually consists of:


I attend an early morning prayer meeting with the elders in our church, I then teach Sunday School and then attend the "main" worship service. After church, my family (I am married with an almost 4 year old son and also an 8 month old son) goes home and we eat together and then everyone except myself takes a nap. During this time I either read or watch football. The family then gets up and we play together and then eat dinner together and might wrap the night up with a movie or something of the sort. Now, I would really like to change what I do on the Lord's Day as I am formally starting a Family Worship time in my house and also would like to spend more time, which we have been doing lately, away from the TV. As far as family worship, it has not been a "formal" time that my family has done. I grew up Southern Baptist and this is not taught, but has been something that I loved learning from my Reformed and Presbyterian friends. So there is my Lord's Day, how do you spend yours?

15 comments:

David McCrory said...

I would commend you to begin a time of family worship each day. But if starting on the Lord's Day is all you can do, start there. Your Family Worship will change as your household changes. With very small children I wouldn't try to do more than 15 minutes or so and gradually move it up from there.

As far as keeping the Sabbath, it seems you honor it much better than some. I'd get rid of the football. Professional sports have no place on the Lord's Day. Now a game in the yard with the kids (and even neighborhood kids) can be a great time of fun and even ministry.

There aren't real hard and fast rules as to the do's and don'ts of the Sabbath, but general principles that should guide our thoughts and actions. This makes every families observance unique and I enjoy visiting other homes to see exactly how their honor their Lord with their day.

Usually three types of work are allowed on the Christian Sabbath, from a Reformed perspective, works of ministry, works of mercy and works of necessity. Other than this make it a time of refreshing and enjoyment!

Seth McBee said...

David.
As far as the Family Worship everyday...that is what I am starting to do...What has been interesting is that I have been doing it every once in a while, but I believe if I do family worship as commended to me by Donald Whitney, then it would become a time every day that would be a special time with my family. Thanks for your encouragment.

Lane Keister said...

I think that if Isaiah 58:13 doesn't apply to the Lord's Day, then it has zero application to the believer at all. We have six days to do all our stuff. The Lord's Day is His Day. That's why we call it the *Lord's* Day. We don't want to give to the Lord the apple core of the eleven o'clock hour on Sunday morning. Rather, we want to give to Him the entire apple. We want to commune with God and His people. I am pretty strict with the Lord's Day. Even so, there is hospitality and fellowship with other believers. This is one the most neglected aspects of the Lord's Day, in my opinion. In an age where individualism swallows up everything else, fellowship is absolutely crucial to the survival of the church, and the proper observance of the Lord's Day. Visiting the sick and the nursing home residents is also a great way to spend part of the Lord's Day. Such people live for visitors.

You know, the best book on this has to be Joey Pipa's book _The Lord's Day_. He is PCA, and very strict. But it is amazing how many things it is possible to do, even on a strict view of the day.

Justin Evans said...

I would contend that Sunday is termed the Lord's day, and rightly so. But Monday through Saturday are no less His days either. Are we to be more disciplined, more sanctified, more holy on Sunday than the rest of the week? If football should not take any of our time on Sunday, why is it ok on Monday, when He is Lord of us over Monday's as well? The other days are not days to do our stuff. It is to do His work, in whatever we do, to the best of our ability (Col 3:23).

If there is a difference, then, what would it be? It is the gathering of God's people, which we are commanded not to forsake (Heb 10:25). This is the core reason why we raise up (at all) Sunday.

gracevet said...

I would have to agree with Justin.

There is no longer 'the Sabbath' under the new covenant, ie as recorded for Israel - that was part and parcel of the old covenant written on tablets of stone. (see Reisinger 6 views of sabbath - makes interesting/challenging reading: http://www.solagratia.org/Articles/Six_Views_of_the_Sabbath.aspx
and tablets of stone: http://www.soundofgrace.com/tablets/tos.html)

On the Lord's day (only mentioned once under the new covenant), we meet together as the called out ones - ie we meet as the church, where we sing, pray, hear the reading of God's word, participate in the fellowship meal, listen to or give teaching of the Word. (I'm still not sure whether this is worship - as all of life is worship, as 'whatever your hand finds to do - do it as unto the Lord'. I'm sure the work that God gave Adam to do was seen as Adam's worship - honoring to God, with glad adoration. And as we are new creations in Christ, and as we put Him on, I see the redeeming of all of life under His headship, but with the full realization that we still remain as 'here, but not yet'.)

What else do we do?
Rest. Maybe go for a walk, enjoy music or good quality TV(as any other day), catch a movie, play a game with the rest of the church, meditate on God's word, talk with family and friends, go for a swim in summer, listen to an internet sermon from outside our own church (http://www.sermonaudio.com/main.asp), cook meals..... etc ..... the only real difference between this day and any other is we would try to avoid normal everyday work, but only do those things which are needful.

theologian said...

gracevet said: There is no longer 'the Sabbath' under the new covenant, ie as recorded for Israel - that was part and parcel of the old covenant written on tablets of stone.

So what about the other commandments, are they no longer under the New Covenant? Is worshiping only the one true God no longer what we practice?

You seem to be lumping all of the OT under the same umbrella. I would distinguish between God's moral and ceremonial law. The ten commandments were not ceremonial, they were moral.

You must either deny that any of the ten commandments are still in effect or you must admit that the Sabbath is still in effect. Anything short of this would be hypocrisy.

In the NT some of these same ten commandments were still required, and even brought to a new and stricter level...

Mat 5:28 - But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Under the NT it is not only the act in itself, but the lustful intent is also considered sinful.

Seth McBee said...

Larry. (theologian)
If you follow this out of the stricter laws...lust and hatred...then the Sabbath rest to the born again Christian makes complete sense. It is not that now that you can't lust that we do away with laws against adultery, but if you listen to the "stricter" law of "don't lust" then you will never commit adultery. Just as, if you do what Hebrews 4 tells us to do, which is rest in Christ, then you will never need the Sabbath...they go hand in hand. It is not that the Sabbath is abolished it is that it is now "more strict" You can't just rest on one day of the week you must rest every day, all the time in Christ. Just as now we don't go to the tabernacle, we are the tabernacle.

gracevet said...

Dear Theologian
You are right - all the law has been fulfilled and now a new covenant exists in it's place. The distinction between moral and ceremonial that a system of theology has in place is there because it is read into the text.
Please read Reisinger on the Tablets of Stone: http://www.soundofgrace.com/tablets/tos.html

Quote: "We saw in chapter seven that the Ten Commandments, or Tablets of Stone, considered as the covenant that was kept in the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place, were finished when the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom (Mt 27:51). Those Tablets were instantly as obsolete as Aaron and the sacrifices.

The following facts summarize Paul's understanding of the purpose and function the Ten Commandments today:

1.A New Covenant was ratified in the blood of Christ at the cross. The Old Covenant written on the Tablets of Stone at Sinai have been "fulfilled" and done away. The claims of the Old Covenant have been met; it's curse has been endured and removed; and it's blessings have been secured by Christ and bestowed on His Church.

2.A new people or nation was "born in a day" at Pentecost. The true "holy nation" of "kings and priests" (the true Israel of God) came into being (Compare Ex 19:4,5 and I Pet 2:9-11).

3.A new approach to God was opened up the moment the veil was rent from top to bottom. It was the Tablets of Stone that blocked the way into the presence of God's presence, but now the terms of the covenant written on stone (Ten Commandments) have been fully met and we enter boldly into the Most Holy Place (Heb 10:1-23).

4.A new status, Sons of God, with new privileges was given to the "grown up" people of God.

5.A new Pedagogue took over in the conscience of the new covenant believer. The Tables of Stone were, in themselves, the old Pedagogue in the conscience of an Israelite. That old Pedagogue has been dismissed (Gal 3:24,25) and been replaced by the indwelling Holy Spirit."

Grace to you.

theologian said...

gracevet,
Mat 5:17 - Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Seth,
Heb 4:1 - Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

So if we can still fail to reach that rest, certainly it's not ours now.

Heb 4:3 - For we who have believed enter that rest...

And we will enter that rest. Notice that it doesn't say that we have entered it, only that we have believed. The faith is something that is ours now, not the rest.

Heb 4:9-10 - So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

There "remains" a Sabbath rest. Verse 11 goes on to tell us that we must strive to enter that rest. It is a rest from our works, we we certainly continue today. We are not solely about God's work, but have our own work as well, even in marriage (1 Cor 7:33).

So apparently i interpret this passage different than you do regarding the Sabbath.

Seth McBee said...

Larry, Lane, David, Joe.

I have really enjoyed our dialogue and this is the reason that I enjoy blogging. Thank you for your patience and the love of the word. May we all hold to five solas and in this case

Soli Deo Gloria

Tony said...

Sabbath Day or the Lord’s Day being three things:

1. A day of remembrance/observance
2. A day of rest
3. A day of worship.

The best model I have seen making a true effort of observance worked like this. The process began on Thursday night when the pastor would email the entire congregation a one page synopsis of the Sunday message. Receiving it on Thursday night gave the father or head of household time to prepare for a Sunday morning worship time. (As a side note this church believed in a nightly family worship time at the dinner table) Saturday or before meals were prepared for Sunday consumption so that mom didn’t have to work in the kitchen on Sunday. Any shopping, errands or honey do’s we are done on Saturday as well. The idea is that there is preparation that comes before the actual day of the Lord which is a great reminder of the Almighty each and every day.

The actual Day of the Lord began with sleeping in or resting. Instead of waking up earlier than any other day of the week and rushing off to church arguing because your late, The Lord’s day is restful. The church families would get up and eat breakfast together, which was prepared beforehand. Dad would lead the family morning worship time (provided by the pastor on Thursday night) starting the day of worship and reflection on the Lord. The morning was peaceful, quiet and preparatory for the corporate worship time to come. They would read the word, review the lesson, sing songs and pray. After the morning worship time everyone would go about the day reflecting on the lesson plan and looking forward to church service.

Activities for the Day were limited to peaceful, restful family time. Playing games, bike rides, family walks and even football could be enjoyed during the time from morning worship until the 4pm worship service. Some may think that recreational activities before church might be a distraction from a Lord’s Day but it actually worked the opposite. Some think about football all morning and then rush from church back home to watch football. The whole morning and then afternoon is mentally consumed with the thought of football. When football, bike rides, or any other “FAMILY” recreational activity is done it is part of the day of rest and family time. Dad blowing off the family to watch football is not the idea.

With corporate worship looming the thought of going to church is always on the mind which is a great reminder of the lesson plan that was reviewed in the morning and the answers that are going to come later in the day. Church began at 4pm (start time due to the fact that it was a small church that shared a building) and once church was over families usually joined each other for Sunday evening meals and even house fellowships where the message was once again discussed with the children and adults in small bible study/ fellowship settings.

While not participating in a Sabbath, each Sunday was a very special and unique day devoted to the Lord which included exclusions and inclusions that were only performed on the Lord’s Day.

gracevet said...

To theologian:
Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law. A good explanation is given by Fred Zaspel:
http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/hermenutics/new_c_law.htm

David McCrory said...

For those not familiar with Reformed thought, John Calvin invested a lot of energy developing the idea that the Law of God has three distinct uses. It is his "3rd Use" of the Law that has distinguished him from other positions.

Calvin suggests the Law should serve as a guide for the Christian life. Christ fulfills the Law and satisfies the justice of God on our behalf, thus removing us from under the burden of keeping the Law. Yet, God's Moral Law serves as a demonstration of what God finds pleasing and acceptable in His sight. So that out of love, not to earn favor, Calvin says we should strive to keep the Law.

It is in this regard Reformed folks look to keep the Fourth Commandment. Not out of OT ceremonnial aspect, which Christ would have fulfilled completely, rather our of a heart with a desire to please God by obeying that which He has given us to do. Jesus himself said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Obedience and faithfulness are two of the greastest expressions of true love.

theologian said...

Well put David. Our motivation for keeping the Law is different in the NT.

I think it's also important to bring up the idea that God's character is exhibited in His Law. In that sense we are also to keep because we are called to be holy for He is holy.

1 Pet 1:14-16
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

RJS said...

My rule of sabbath observance is simple:

"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." - Isaiah 58: 13, 14

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