The Christian Sabbath: Considering The New Testament

The question before us is do the scriptures teach that the fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”, is still in force for Christians today? This is not my first post on the subject. In the first, I simply stated our belief on the matter. In the second, I addressed what I believe to be a crucial problem within the modern church, namely, antinomianism. In the third, I introduced the categories of moral, civil, and ceremonial as they apply to the law of Moses. I made the case that the fourth commandment contains both moral and ceremonial aspects. This is why the command will abide forever (because it is moral), and why some things have changed (the day has moved from Saturday to Sunday, etc., due to the ceremonial aspect of the command). Now we turn our attention to the New Testament and ask, does the New Testament teach that the fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”, is still in force for Christians today?  I have seven points for you to consider. Continue reading

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The Nicene Creed: We Believe in One Holy Catholic Church & One Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins

We have a custom at Emmaus Christian Fellowship to confess the faith together before we partake of the Lord’s Supper. We typically do this by reading the Nicene Creed or the Apostles Creed in unison. Sometimes I (or another Elder) will read the Creed and the congregation will respond, saying “Amen”.

Both of these Creeds are very old. The Nicene Creed was adopted by the Church in 325 A.D.; the Apostles Creed existed before that. Both Creeds were penned to give a summary of the essential truths of the Christian faith brief enough to be memorized by the people of God. Historically the Church has used these Creeds to defend against heresy, to teach new believers, to confess the faith before baptism, and in the worship of the church.

There are many benefits to using the Creeds in our worship. In uttering these ancient sayings we keep the essential truths of the faith always before us. This is helpful, not only for those who are young in Christ, but also for those who have been walking with the Lord for some time. I believe it will become more important as the divide widens between the Christian Church and the American culture. The Church will, in the decades to come, labor to preserve the faith as the world presses against her more and more strongly.

Using the Creeds in our worship is not without challenges, though. One of the challenges is that both the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed contain phrases that can be difficult for Christians to understand if they are not first instructed.

I would like to take a moment to deal with two phrases in the Nicene Creed which have raised questions. Continue reading

The Christian Sabbath: Is the Sabbath Command Moral or Ceremonial?

I can actually remember uttering the words, “Oh, this is good”, the first time I read chapter 19 of the London Baptist Confession. Many of the questions that arise concerning the scriptures have to do with, what appear to be, inconsistencies between the Old and New Testaments. Some have been troubled to the point of believing that the God of the Old Testament is altogether different than the God of the New – the one being a God of wrath, the other a God of grace. Others come to less troubling conclusions, but still struggle to appreciate the beautiful continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments.

Chapter 19 of the Confession identifies three categories of laws found within the Old Testament – moral, civil, and ceremonial. These categories help the student of the Bible understand why some things have remained the same while others have changed as the Old Covenant gave way to the New. It should be acknowledged from the start that the Confession provides but a brief statement concerning these things. Confessions of Faith are like this – they do not seek to prove a case, or to thoroughly explain an issue – they are, as the name implies, confessions or declarations. Though complexities remain, the categories of moral, civil, and ceremonial are, in my opinion, good and helpful and true. Continue reading

The Christian Sabbath: The Law is Good

My objective in this short series on the Christian Sabbath is to persuade you to believe that the fourth commandment – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8, ESV) – applies to the Christian today just as the other nine commandments do.

It is true that we are not justified by the keeping of the law – no one ever was (Galatians 2:16). And it is true that we are not under the law in the way that Old Covenant Israel was, or those not in Christ are (Galatians 5:18). But it is a mistake to assume that the moral law, as well as the moral principles contained within the civil and ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, do not apply to those in Christ (Matthew 5:27; 1 Timothy 5:18). Continue reading

The Christian Sabbath: Our Confession

The fourth of the Ten Commandments is this: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8–11, ESV)

How are we as Christians to understand this command? Even a brief glance at it reveals that it was originally given to a people living in a time different than our own. They were to rest on the seventh day. We, if we rest at all, rest on the first. They were to provide rest for their male servants, female servants, livestock, and to the sojourners who dwelt in their midst – all of this sounds very foreign to us, doesn’t it? Continue reading