I Will Not Willfully Offend God

John Nelson— Methodist itinerant minister:

Opposition on the Grounds of Fanaticism
Tested on His Sabbath-Keeping

 So great was the change that was wrought in him, and so much was he filled with the Holy Ghost, that the persons with whom he lodged became alarmed, and ordered him to quit his lodgings at a day’s notice. He was now working for a master who had a contract under the Government, and on the first Saturday after his conversion, the foreman ordered him to come on the Sabbath and look after some men who were to work on that day. This he at once refused to do. He was threatened with immediate dismissal, but calmly replied, ‘I cannot help it, though it may be ten pounds out of my way to be turned out of my work at this time of the year, I will not willfully offend God; for I had much rather want bread; nay, I would rather see my wife and children beg their bread barefoot to heaven, than ride in a coach to hell.’ As the result of his steadfastness, the Sabbath work was not done, neither was he discharged, but more fully trusted and valued. Having found salvation, he was not satisfied to remain in London, and leave his family and friends in Yorkshire ignorant of the way of salvation and careless in their sins. While at the Lord’s table in St. Paul’s, he was deeply impressed that he ought to return home, and although it involved loss of money he resolved to go back, and tell his family and neighbours what the Lord had done for his soul.

Source: http://thecontinuingwitness.com/menu/id/54/The%20Lord%27s%20Day

Sundays In Arrears

“We doctors, in the treatment of nervous disease, are now constantly compelled to prescribe periods of rest. Some periods are, I think, only Sundays in arrears.”

— Sir James Crichton-Browne, British physician

Source: http://thecontinuingwitness.com/menu/id/54/The%20Lord%27s%20Day

By Other Acts Of Piety And Devotion

Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley:

February 6, 1711-12

“___As I am a woman, so I am also mistress of a large family. and though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you; yet, in your absence, I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my care as a talent committed to me under a trust by the great Lord of all the families both of heaven and earth. And if I am unfaithful to Him or you in neglecting to improve these talents, how shall I answer unto Him, when He shall command me to render an account of my stewardship?

“As these, and other such like thoughts, made me at first take a more than ordinary care of the souls of my children and servants, so—knowing our religion requires a strict observation of the Lord’s day, and not thinking that we fully answered the end of the institution by going to church unless we filled up the intermediate spaces of time by other acts of piety and devotion—I thought it my duty to spend some part of the day in reading to and instructing my family: and such time I esteemed spent in a way more acceptable to God than if I had retired to my own private devotions.

“This was the beginning of my present practice.  Other people’s coming and joining with us was merely accidental. Our [1] lad told his parents: they first desired to be admitted; then others that heard of it begged leave also: so our company increased to about thirty, and it seldom exceeded forty last winter.”

Source: http://thecontinuingwitness.com/menu/id/54/The%20Lord%27s%20Day

A Spiritual Work That Requires A Suitable Frame

“As the particular day is specified, we are apprised beforehand of its return, and ought to be in readiness to enter upon the duties of it. “Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy.” This is not merely a caveat against forgetting the Sabbath when it arrives, or mistaking it for some other day. It must relate to some previous duties preparatory to it. These relate to both civil and religious things. The sanctification of the Sabbath is a spiritual work and requires a suitable frame. This ought to be kept in view, and a proper frame obtained against its return. Every thing that tends to prevent or destroy such a frame, ought to be guarded against. Even the lawful pursuits of the world tend to unhinge the soul, and unfit it for holy duties. The design of the Sabbath, the nature of its duties, and the difficulty of sanctifying it in a proper manner, ought to be frequent subjects of meditation. Secular business ought to be seasonably finished, so as neither to encroach on the Sabbath, nor disqualify the mind for sanctifying it. These would prove happy means of acquiring and improving a suitable frame.”

Source: A TESTIMONY AND WARNING AGAINST SOME PREVAILING SINS AND  IMMORALITIES: ADDRESSED TO CHRISTIANS IN GENERAL, BY THE REFORMED PRESBYTERY, at http://www.truecovenanter.com/reformedpresbyterian/reformed_presbytery_testimony_against_immoralities.html

The OPC on the Perpetuity of the Sabbath

1. The Sabbath is a “creation ordinance,” a weekly rest patterned after God’s creation rest, and established for mankind by God at the beginning of history. This is the teaching of Genesis 2:2–3 as interpreted by Exodus 20:10–11 and especially by Mark 2:27–28 and Hebrews 3:7–4:13.

2. The Sabbath was intended for all men from the beginning and is thus for all ages until the consummation of all things. Among others, Mark 2:27–28 particularly points to the inclusiveness of the Sabbath ordinance, and Hebrews 3:7–4:13 to the final goal of entering into God’s eternal rest that awaits those who persevere in faith.

3. The Sabbath is meant to be a day of rest from labor and a day of worship, holy to the Lord. It is defined in terms of rest, as in Exodus 20:10–11 and the activity of worship is not only appropriate to the sanctifying of the day commanded by God, but is prescribed as in Leviticus 23:3; cf. Acts 15:21.

4. The Sabbath received the same kind of attention from our Lord during his earthly ministry that was given to other commandments of God, as he purified it from “traditions of men,” brought it to perfected expression, and thus prepared it for his New Testament people. Jesus’ concern for the Sabbath is seen in such passages as Mark 2:27–28; 3:1–6; Luke 13:10–17; 14:1–6.

5. The Sabbath was not abrogated for the New Testament dispensation. Colossians 2:16–17 refers to the loosing of the bonds of the Mosaic requirements in respect to ceremonial and sacrificial elements of the Old Testament holy days in the light of Christ’s perfect sacrifice; but it does not remove the obligation of the Fourth Commandment itself. Such passages as Romans 14:5–6 and Galatians 4:10 do not nullify all distinctions between days, since the New Testament itself distinguishes the first day of the week from other days, as in 1 Corinthians 16:2; Acts 20:7, and designates that day as the Lord’s Day or Christian Sabbath, as in Revelation 1:10.

6. In summary: The Scriptures teach that God, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, has appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him.

Source and read more: http://www.opc.org/GA/sabbath.html

Would Strict Sabbath Observance Destroy Western Economies?

Brian Schwertley:

“Sabbatarians acknowledge that certain economic activities and industries cannot be completely shut down on the Sabbath. One example is the steel industry. If the smelter in a foundry takes several days to reach its proper temperature, then it cannot be shut down every Lord’s day without shutting down the whole steel industry. Thus, at least a minimal crew is needed to keep the operation running through Sunday. But the benefits of steel for mankind…render it a necessity… Power and electric utilities and telephone companies must maintain service on the Lord’s day. Hospitals, churches, homes, retirement communities and nursing homes need heat and electricity to preserve life and minister to the sick. Communication facilities need to operate for emergencies… Industries that have a genuine need for labor on the Sabbath are few in number. The percentage of people working on the Lord’s day should be very small compared to those who work on a given week day. The vast majority of economic activities on the Sabbath…are totally unnecessary and sinful (e.g., shopping malls, sporting events, restaurants, movie complexes, newspapers, retail outlets). Those industries which require sabbath labor should rotate staff so that working on the Lord’s day is kept to a minimum for each worker. Workers must also be given another day off in place of the Lord’s day.”

Source and read more: http://www.reformedonline.com/uploads/1/5/0/3/15030584/the_sabbath_and_modern_civilization.pdf

Complete Silence Upon The Entire Face Of The Earth

Wilhelmus a Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Vol. III, p. 142:

Secondly, the persons by whom the sabbath must be sanctified are: “thy son…thy daughter, thy manservant…thy maidservant…thy cattle…thy stranger that is within thy gates” (Exo. 20:10). By this delineation, all men without distinction are forbidden to work. It is not sufficient that we rest ourselves, but we must also permit our children and servants to rest, and we must even oblige strangers who dwell or stay with us to rest. They are also men, and the commandment is applicable to them as well as to native residents and members of the church. Yes, even the cattle must rest, since they cannot perform work without the direction of man. God thus wishes to have complete silence upon the entire face of the earth.

WLC on the Fourth Commandment

Q115: Which is the fourth commandment?
A115: The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
[1]

1. Exod. 20:8-11

Q116: What is required in the fourth commandment?
A116: The fourth commandment requires of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath,[1] and in the New Testament called The Lord’s day.[2]

1. Deut. 5:12, 14, 18; Gen. 2:2-3; I Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; Matt. 5:17-18; Isa. 56:2, 4, 6-7
2. Rev. 1:10

Q117: How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified?
A117: The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day,[1] not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful;[2] and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to betaken up in works of necessity and mercy)[3] in the public and private exercises of God’s worship:[4] and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.[5]

1. Exod. 20:8, 10
2. Exod. 16:25-28; Neh. 13:15-22; Jer. 17:21-22
3. Matt. 12:1-13
4. Isa. 58:18; 66:23; Luke 4:16; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Psa. ch. 92; Lev. 23:3
5. Exod. 16:22, 25-26, 29; 20:8; Luke 23:54, 56; Neh. 13:19

Q118: Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A118: The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.[1]

1. Exod. 20:10; 23:12; Josh. 24:15; Neh. 13:15, 17; Jer. 17:20-22

Q119: What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A119: The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required,[1] all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them;[2] all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful;[3] and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.[4]

1. Ezek. 22:26
2. Acts 15:7, 9; Ezek. 33:30-32; Amos 8:5; Mal. 1:13
3. Ezek. 23:38
4. Jer. 17:24, 27; Isa. 58:13

Q120: What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A120: The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:[1] from God’s challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:[2] from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it; Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.[3]

1. Exod. 20:9
2. Exod. 20:10
3. Exod. 20:11

Q121: Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?
A121: The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment,[1] partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it,[2] and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments,[3] and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion;[4] and partly, because we are very ready to forget it,[5] for that there is less light of nature for it,[6] and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful;[7] that it comesthbut once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it;[8] and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.[9]

1. Exod. 20:8
2. Exod. 16:23; Luke 23:54, 56; Mark 15:42; Neh. 13:19
3. Psa. 92:13-14; Ezek. 20:12, 19-20
4. Gen. 2:2-3; Psa. 118:22, 24; Acts 4:10, 11; Rev. 1:10
5. Ezek. 22:26
6. Neh. 9:14
7. Exod. 34:21
8. Deut. 5:14-15; Amos 8:5
9. Lam. 1:7; Jer. 17:21-23; Neh. 13:15-23

Unless He Hallowed And Blessed It With Respect To Mankind?

“Third, it is unreasonable to suppose any other, than that God’s working six days and resting the seventh, and blessing and hallowing it, was to be of general use in determining this matter. It was written that the practice of mankind in general might some way or other be regulated by it. What could be the meaning of God’s resting the seventh day and hallowing and blessing it, which he did before the giving of the fourth commandment, unless he hallowed and blessed it with respect to mankind? For he did not bless and sanctify it with respect to himself, or that he within himself might observe it: as that is most absurd. And it is unreasonable to suppose that he hallowed it only with respect to the Jews, a particular nation, which rose up above two thousand years after.

So much therefore must be intended by it, that it was his mind, that mankind should, after his example, work six days and then rest and hallow or sanctify the next following: that they should sanctify every seventh day, or that the space between rest and rest, one hallowed time and another, among his creatures here upon earth, should be six days. — So that it hence appears to be the mind and will of God that not only the Jews, but man in all nations and ages, should sanctify one day in seven: which is the thing we are endeavoring to prove.”

~Jonathan Edwards, “The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath”

Source and read more: http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/sabbath.htm

As if They Would Serve the Devil and Cheat the Lord

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1
Volume 7 http://www.spurgeongems.org 1

ABRAM AND THE RAVENOUS BIRDS

NO. 420
A SERMON
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, NOVEMBER 24, 1861,
BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

“And when the vultures came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.”
Genesis 15:11.

…In company with these foul vultures, fly those ravenous birds called worldly thoughts, which spring from the force of habit. The wheels have been running the last six days in this direction; it is not quite so easy to reverse the action, and to make them go the other way. We have been sinking, sinking, sinking in the miry clay of daily business; it is not very easy for the soul that lies cleaving to the dust, to rise at once towards Heaven! It is no wonder, when you have so many things to think of in this age of competition, that the ledger should lie there in front of the pew instead of the Bible, and, that at times, the daybook should come in when your hand holds the hymnbook, or that you should be thinking of a bad debt, or of a long account which is rather precarious, instead of meditating upon the faithfulness of God, and of pardons bought with blood. These traffickers molest the very Temple, and we have not always the scourge of small cords to drive them out, nor the commanding Presence of the Savior, to say, “Take these things hence, it is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” How many a mother comes here with all her tribe of children on her shoulders? How many a father comes here with thoughts of where he shall apprentice his eldest son, or what shall become of his younger daughter? How many a merchant comes in, and every wind that makes the windowpanes rattle reminds him of his ships at sea; how many a farmer is thinking of his land, and the fitful gleams of sunshine and returning showers make him remember his cattle and his crops? Shops and stalls, bushels and scales, silks and cottons, horses and cows, and even meaner things intrude into your house, O King of kings!

Brothers and Sisters, how often do some of you indulge in them? I hope there are none of you who keep your account books on Sunday, and yet how common is this in London! There are some who shut up their shop in front, and keep it open at the back, as if they would serve the devil and cheat the Lord! If you register your ledgers on Sunday, why not open your shop? You might as well be in the shop as in the country house, for the sin is just the same; only you now add hypocrisy to it, by pretending to serve God when you do not! Yet how many there are, true Believers in Christ, who would scorn to look at the ledger on Sunday, and yet their mind is hampered with accounts, and debtor and creditor will be striking balances continually in their brain! Some professors on the Sabbath afternoon will be talking about the state of the markets, and asking, “What do you think of the rise and fall of Consols?” “When will this terrible American war be over?” “When is it likely the Manchester factories will obtain full employment by the arrival of ship loads of cottons,” or “How will Louis Napoleon pay his debts?” When they come up to the House of God in the evening, they wonder how it is they do not get on with the preacher! The preacher might wonder how he could be of any service to such hearers! They wonder that the Sabbath is not a refreshment to them; but, how is it likely to be when they still continue in their worldly employments, really giving their hearts to the world, though they profess to give their bodily presence to the service of Christ?…

You have heard persons say, “I would sooner wear out than rust out.” There is no occasion for either, if we would but keep this day of rest as a perfect rest to our heart and soul; but, that we can never do unless we love Christ, for a Sabbath is an impossibility to an unconverted man! If we would but, as Christians resting in Christ, keep this first day of rest, giving our souls thorough ease, there would be no fear of the brain giving way. We would labor on, even to a good old age, and then die in peace, and our works would follow us. I cannot expect you to believe me if I should say, you can carry on your business all the days of the week without care, without diligence, without very earnest thought. We must be “diligent in business,” and you must put both your hands to the wheel if you would make it go! But do leave the wheel alone today. Now, have done with it. You will madden yourself, or, if it comes not to so sad a climax as that, you will destroy your comfort, destroy the acuteness of your mental powers, if you do not give them rest today. I am no preacher of the old legal Sabbath; those who are teachers of the Law insist upon that quite enough. As for me, I am a preacher of the Gospel, and rejoice that Believers are not “under the Law, but under Grace.” A worldling is under the Law, and it is his duty to remember the seventh day, to keep it holy, for so runs the Law which is his taskmaster! But I am not under the Law, and therefore I keep this day—not the seventh, but the first day of the week, on which my Savior rose again from the dead—keep it not of Law, but of Grace—keep it not as a slavish bondage, not as a day on which I am chained and hampered with restraints against my will, but I keep it as a day in which I may take holy pleasure in serving God, and in adoring before His Throne! The Sabbath of the Jew is to him a task; the Lord’s-Day of the Christian, the first day of the week, is to him a joy, a day of rest, of peace and of thanksgiving. And, if you Christians can earnestly drive away all distractions, so that you can really rest today, it will be good for your bodies, good for your souls, good mentally, good spiritually, good temporally and good eternally!…

Time is the ring, and these Sabbaths are the diamonds set in it! The ordinary days are but the walks in the garden, hand trodden and barren; but the Sabbaths are the beds full of rich choice flowers! This day is Care’s balm and cure, the couch of time, the haven of Divine calms. Come, my Soul, throw yourself upon this couch; for now the bed is long enough, and the coverlet is broad enough—rest and take your ease—for you have come unto Jesus, to a finished Sacrifice, to a completed Righteousness, and your soul may be satisfied in the Lord, and your spirit may rejoice in the Lord your God. This is to keep Sabbath!

An unconverted man or woman cannot do this; and there are many of you, I fear, here present who never knew what Sabbath means—never had a Lord’s Day in your lives! In vain do you keep the day, unless, your hearts keep it too. Oh, may your hearts know how to find in Christ a perfect rest! Then shall the land have rest, and shall keep her Sabbaths. May God give you Divine Grace to know your sin, and enable you to fly to the Savior, and find in Him all your soul needs! May He enable you to rest in Christ today, and then you shall keep Sabbaths on earth till you keep the eternal Sabbath before the Throne, “For thus says the Spirit, ‘They rest from their labors.’” “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,” and you shall have rest. Trust Him, and so shall you be saved, and your spirit shall be at ease.

http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols7-9/chs420.pdf