In looking together at the first three commandments, we have learned some vitally important lessons about God.
First, he is the God of salvation. He saved his people, Israel, from their bondage in Egypt. He has sent Jesus Christ, his Son, to be our Saviour.
Second, he is working, within us, to make us more like our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he’s teaching to live in a way that brings glory to him.
In this fourth commandment – “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”,we learn that the way of blessing is the way of keeping close to God.
God loves you, and he wants you to love him. If you love someone, you will want to spend time with her / him. You will spend time, talking together, getting to know each other. It is precisely the same in our relationship with god. If you love God, you will seek to keep, open, clear and clean, the lines of communication between yourself and God.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” – Most of you have, at some time in your life, stood, in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day, to make a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ, and to pledge your allegiance to him. What has happened since that day? How many times has the Lord’s Day come around, and you have not been found in the Lord’s House? How do today’s churches compare to the church at Ephesus, the church to which the risen Christ said, “You have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4).
Let’s not kid ourselves. Let’s be honest before God. Jesus says to us, “Remember then from where you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). This is a word of challenge, calling for a real commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is followed by a word of warning. If we will not rise to the challenge, we must hear the word of warning – “If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5).
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” – What are the consequences, in our lives, when we do not take time to worship God? God seems so far away – so far away that we begin to wonder whether he’s really there at all.
* A bird in a cage, “I do not believe in the sky.” Should we believe this bird who lives his life within the confines of a cage?
* A fish in a bowl tells us, “I don’t believe in rivers, lakes, seas and oceans.” Should we believe this fish who spends his life, going round and round and round a fish bowl?
* A man, who spends his Sundays in his bed or by his fireside, tells us, “I don’t believe in God.” Should we believe this man, who never gives God the opportunity to be real in his life?
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” – What happens when we forget God? We become tired; we become tense; and we are tempted to abandon God completely, to turn away from him altogether.
* A man said to his minister, “I’ve lost my faith in God.” The minister asked him, “Have you been working hard?” The answer was, “Yes.” This was the story of the man’s life. He was tired – too tired to find time for God.
In our society, there is a growing number of people, suffering from depression, anxiety and stress. There are so many people who are wound up tight – like a bomb, waiting to explode at the slightest provocation. Why are there so many people living defeated lives? So many have forgotten the truth contained in the fourth commandment – we need a day of rest. We need to learn to rest in the Lord.
* Tired and tense, we are tempted to give up altogether. Do you feel tempted? – tempted to forget the Lord, tempted to abandon your ‘first love’, tempted to turn away from the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is speaking to you. He has a message for you. It’s a message yo may have forgotten – “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
* So many people, today, will tell us, “Sunday’s just another day.” Don’t believe them! Sunday is the Lord’s Day. It’s an opportunity to recharge our spiritual batteries. Sunday is the Lord’s Day. It’s a God-given invitation to have an effective spiritual renewal. Sunday is the Lord’s Day. It’s a day to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. You can turn every Sunday into a personal resurrection day – a day of being filled with the joy of the Lord, a day of being renewed with the gladness only God can give. On the Lord’s Day, we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. He rose again. He’s alive today. He lives in us. He’s alive forevermore. Don’t let anyone tell you, ‘Sunday’s just another day.’ If you start thinking like that, you will become, tired, tense and tempted. You will live a defeated life – life without the renewing power of the risen Lord.
You and I can learn from the apostle John: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10). The Lord’s Day is a day for learning from God’s Word. It’s a day for praying to the Lord. It’s a day for worshipping God. It’s a day for enjoying fellowship with God’s people. It’s a day for renewing your commitment to serving the Lord. It’s a day for learning to live as an obedient follower of Jesus Christ.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I invite you to make a resolution to attend church every Sunday. Make a commitment – right now – to observe the fourth commandment – “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”