The Gospel is perfect in all its parts and perfect as a whole: it is a crime to add to it, treason to alter it and a felony to take from it! Charles Spurgeon For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 ESV
For those of you who are regular readers, you know that I am a fan of “The Chosen” series. In the first season I especially loved the episode on the Sabbath and was deeply moved by the final scene of all the different families in different settings taking time to honor God. This week I will be sharing a series on the Sabbath which I wrote a few years ago but I believe with all my heart is needed now more than ever. As a young man, I belonged to a church that taught us some pretty legalistic forms of Sabbath keeping which sadly obscured the deeper truths and blessings for which God created the seventh day. The reality is that Christ is our Sabbath, and our only rest is in Him. But that being said, there does remain a uniqueness to keeping Sabbath which I hope we never lose. I will be delighted to hear not only your reactions, but how you keep Sabbath and the blessings you have found. So here is day one –
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:11
This Sunday as I was resting, I began to thank God for having planned for us such a special day. The world is push-push- push 24/7 and 365. No day, no hour, no minute is any different from any other. One day when I was a teen-ager I was driving home from work. I was tired and, in a hurry, so when I found myself behind a long line of slow-moving traffic, I was particularly irritated. I couldn’t remember a construction zone in that area and the speed limit was 60-70 miles per hour so immediately I began to pass as many cars at a time as I could. I thought I was making pretty good time till I pulled out and noticed that the first car in line was a hearse! Oh, how ashamed I felt! The world is a lot like I was that afternoon. There is no time to slow down until we are being driven away to be buried!
But rest is coded into the very DNA of God’s creation. The Sabbath was unique because on that day when He was no longer busy with creation, God set aside an entire day just to spend time with Adam and Eve. God wasn’t worn out or tired from His work but instead He rested by choice. Today is the first in an eight-part series on why God has made the Sabbath unique. I am sometimes afraid that in our modern world we have forgotten how to rest. In our worry and hurry, our pushing and shoving it is so easy to forget the value of Sabbath rest. God’s day is not meant simply as a ritual observance or a duty to be carried out with gritted teeth. God’s Sabbath is His gift for us. Together let’s slow down and allow the wheels of life to cease turning just long enough for us to unwrap His gift and look into God’s humble and unhurried heart.
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27
Perhaps the younger generation has missed out on the experience of Sunday best, so I’ll recap briefly. Even when I was just seven or eight I had to put on dress pants, a shirt and tie and last but not least : black leather shoes. I say last because the Sunday morning ritual given me meant shining those shoes until they gleamed brightly enough to pass my stepfather’s inspection. I’m pretty sure that none of this made us any holier than folks who troop into church with shorts and T-shirts but it did speak volumes about how special the day was to us.
The Bible also lays out a Sunday going to meeting outfit for us to wear. In The third chapter of Colossians Paul tells us to put on compassion, kindness, patience and love. That inspired me this morning to share a little verse. If you are getting dressed for church it is full of fashion advice that just might help coordinate your outfit.
Getting dressed for church on Sunday
There's some clothing we must choose
And an outfit we must pick out
Before slipping on our shoes
Now the Bible points out kindness
And forgiveness are in fashion
And gentleness and patience
Should be worn with God's compassion
But designer jeans of selfish pride
And envy just don't make it
And bitterness should not be put on
Nor the golden chains of gossip
Then over all our Sunday best
What brings it all together
Is the wedding gown of God's own love
That He gives to wear forever!
Wearing Our Sunday Best
by Peter Caligiuri
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