The Sabbath



In the times of Christ even as it is today, “The Sabbath” is a controversial issue. The word “sabbath” means to cease and rest. It is a day of complete rest from secular work following six days of labor. Established and modeled by God.
Genesis 2:1–3 NKJV
1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
This model of work and rest by God in creation gives an example to man the proper balance in life of work/rest and that without rest for the body and soul, man will stray from fellowship with his Creator. God set this seventh day apart as a special day to rest and reflect upon the past 6 days and the blessings of God in them.
But unfortunately, through the ages, the sabbath has become a legalistic issue in an age of grace. I want us to look at it today and try to get a handle on “The Sabbath”.

Text; Mark 2:23-28

Mark 2:23–28 NKJV
23 Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: 26 how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?” 27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”

Legality of the Sabbath; 23-24

Legality- it is legitimate. It is an agreement/contract that is consistent with the law or state of being lawful in a prescribed jurisdiction. In this case the command of God to the nation of Israel. Fourth of the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:8–11 NKJV
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 the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
The word “work” refers to “their business”. The people of Israel were forbidden from labor that brought them a profit on that day. God was so serious about the children of Israel keeping the Sabbath that He made it clear that people who violated the Sabbath work ban were to be put to death [Ex. 31:12-18].
Carr, A. (2015). The Scandal over the Sabbath (Mark 2:23–28). In The Sermon Notebook: New Testament (p. 488). Lenoir, NC: Alan Carr.
The disciples weren’t working to make a profit but simply gleaning to eat because they were hungry. They were actually abiding by the law.
Deuteronomy 23:24–25 NKJV
24 “When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes at your pleasure, but you shall not put any in your container. 25 When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor’s standing grain.

Legalism in the Sabbath; 24

Legalism- The belief that salvation demands or depends upon total obedience to the letter of the law. [Illus. Rich Young Ruler, Mark 10:17-22]
No one can keep the whole law without failing in some part of it at some point in time.
Galatians 3:24–25 NKJV
24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
The Law was not given to save man but has the function of liberating man to live according to his true nature in God. The Law has been given for our good to enjoy the fullness of life God intended for us.
“Rabbi Johanan and Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish worked out the number of regulations imposed by the law of Sabbath observance, and arrived at a grand total of 1,521.
”The Mishnah specified only thirty-nine types of work which were prohibited on the Sabbath.
SOURCE: G. F. Moore, Judaism, II.28; quoted in James Stewart, A Man in Christ (Hodder and Stoughton, 1972 [1935]), 92.
The disciples were not breaking the law but the traditions of men, which the Pharisees/scribes and religious leaders had placed above the Word of God.
People were forbidden from traveling more than 3,000 feet from their homes on the Sabbath
A Jew could not carry an object that weighed more than a dried fig. But, an object that weighed half that amount could be carried twice.
If the Sabbath came upon you as you were reaching out for some food, you would have to drop the food before you pulled your arm back, otherwise you would be guilty of carrying a burden on the Sabbath.
False teeth could not be worn because they exceeded the weight limits.
If a Jew was injured on the Sabbath, it was unlawful to make him better. You could only give him enough treatment to keep him alive.
The restrictions had even become dangerous. On two occasions, the Jews were defeated by their enemies, and thousands of Jews died, because they refused to defend themselves on the Sabbath.
Hasn’t the church done the same thing as the Pharisees with Sunday?
Can’t work, fish, golf, go to the lake or enjoy any recreation unless it’s sanctioned by the church. Sunday is a day you are supposed to go to church, go home and take a nap, and come back on Sunday night and live a dull and lifeless life. yet we go to eat after church and make those who aren’t in church sin by working and serving us!

Lord of the Sabbath; 25-28

Jesus is the Lord [authority] over the sabbath and the sabbath was made for a blessing and not a burden to men.
[25-26] David while running from Saul ate the showbread that only the priests were allowed to eat and God did not condemn him. Jesus is showing that there are times that human needs are more important than a legalistic keeping of the Law.

Christian and the Sabbath; 28

The one commandment that was not brought forward from the Old Testament was the keeping of the Sabbath. There are 2 reasons why.
The Sabbath [Saturday] was given specifically to the nation of Israel after they were freed from Egypt as a sign of the Mosaic Covenant
Exodus 31:16–17 NKJV
16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ ”
Ezekiel 20:12 NKJV
12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.
2. The Sabbath is the only commandment that is ceremonial in nature where the other 9 are moral in nature. Jesus and the Apostles upheld the other nine commandments; the teaching of the Sabbath belongs under the old covenant. When the church was formed the Christians met for worship on the first day of the week to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Acts 20:7 NKJV
7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
1 Corinthians 16:2 NKJV
2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
Close; As we live under grace, Sunday should be a blessing not a burden-a delight not a downer. We should look forward to this day as we have opportunity to come together as the children of God and enthusiastically thank Him and worship Him for His amazing grace this past week. Regardless of how your week has been, be reminded today that without Him you are nothing but with Him you are more than conquerors and nothing can separate you from His love!
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