To Keep the Sabbath Properly

  1. To keep the Sabbath holy

Exodus 20:8-10 says, “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.”
First, God says we should do no work and keep it holy. It means we should not let our heart be tangled by worldly things but offer the whole day to God only, not only for ourselves but also for every aspect that is under our authority.
Because God blessed and sanctified the Sabbath, we can receive full blessings only when we keep the Sabbath holy. Therefore, on Sunday, we should not take any worldly entertainment or enjoy ourselves but come to the church, attend worship service, have fellowship with believers, and spend a holy day within Word and prayer.
So when we keep the Sabbath properly, God protects us for the whole week from all kinds of accidents, diseases, or trials, and gives us prosperity. Also, God will let your family have peace, and even though you make a mistake to cause an accident, He works for the good of everything.
But sometimes, one who seems to keep the Sabbath properly faces an accident, but there must be a reason. God looks at our inner heart, and He wants us to keep the Sabbath with our whole heart. For example, let us say body is at the worship service. But if our mind is at somewhere else, it is not really keeping the Sabbath holy.
Also, even though your body is at the sanctuary, if your heart is full of the thoughts about your business or taking entertainments, or if you just miss the message dozing off or in idle thoughts, it cannot be holy and proper worship service. It is rather being rude to God, and it tells us that we have not prepared the vessel to receive blessings.
When we keep in mind that God looks at our inner heart and receives the aroma of our heart, and keep the Sabbath holy and properly, God does not only protect us but also gives us abundant blessings. That is why we can hear testimonies like when they closed the shop on Sunday, the sales for six days was equal to and became more than the sales for seven days previously.
On the contrary, if we violate the Lord’s Day, it may seem that we have more income for the moment. But it is likely that we may face unexpected damages due to accidents or disease. But when we wholly keep the Sabbath, God gives us overflowing blessings for six days.

  1. How to Keep the Sabbath Holy

First, we should have proper mind.
We should prepare for the day of the Lord with longing heart. We should take a bath, clean up our house, prepare neat clothes to wear, and so on. We should purify our mind and body and prepare with all our heart things necessary for the Sabbath including offerings.
Also, Isaiah 58:13-14 says, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, [14] Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Thus, we should not take any worldly pleasure but have spiritual thoughts and conversations to have a joyous and spiritual day.
Also, we should keep our heart not to get offended or angry and commit evil. This day should be full of peace, joy, and thanks more than any other day. We should be able to offer the aroma of our heart to God being filled with the Holy Spirit. When we spend the day with holy and spiritual heart, will become a holy Sabbath that can be acknowledged by God.

Second, we have to keep the Sabbath wholly.
Some people attend only morning service, and go on a picnic or to work in the afternoon. This cannot be considered as keep the Sabbath with perfect and holy heart. In Israel, they keep the Sabbath just like in the Old Testament days. They keep it wholly even though they received the law thousand of years ago. Even when they are away for different kind of businesses, they go back home on by Friday evening, and keep the Sabbath fully from the sunset of Friday till Saturday. Therefore, if we are saved by the blood of the Lord and have just a little bit of faith, we will obviously keep the Sabbath wholly.

Third, we should not buy or sell anything on the Sabbath.
In Nehemiah 13, we see the governor Nehemiah prohibited people from buying and selling things on the Sabbath. Nehemiah 13:17 says, “What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day?” Nehemiah explains that their ancestors did not recognize God’s authority by violating the Sabbath, and God also had to turn His face away from them. They then had to face a lot of disasters including losing their country by invasion of the Gentiles.
Nehemiah then closed the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, so that nobody would move and merchants would not bring in anything. He commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should go and guard the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. He even drove away those who were spending the night around the wall to trade the next day.
Likewise, because Nehemiah kept God’s law to keep the Sabbath holy and did the things that were pleasing to God, he could ask God for blessings boldly (Nehemiah 13:22). If we keep God’s commandments and do what pleases God, we can receive the answer for whatever we ask (1 John 3:21-22). Therefore, we have to buy the things that are necessary for the Sabbath day beforehand, on Saturday, so that we will not have any business transaction on the Sabbath. But we should be prudent and wise to those new-believers who do not know well about the Word of God and that there is heaven and hell. We should teach them what kind of blessing would follow when we keep the Sabbath and tell them some testimonies of those who received blessings by keeping the Sabbath. In this way, as we sow faith in them, we should guide them to keep the Sabbath by their will with joy.

  1. Exceptions in Keeping the Sabbath

There can be some exceptions in keeping the Sabbath. If choir members or volunteers have to eat but the church cannot provide the food for them, we can buy something outside for them even on the Sabbath. This is passable in God’s sight because it is something to give to the Lord who is the master of the Sabbath. But if we do anything for our own desire, it has no relation with God. Of course, if the we can provide the food in the church, it would be much better than buying food outside.
Other than this, we may have a bookstore, a stall, or vending machines in the church to provide the members with some convenience. Things that are sold at the bookstore are not for worldly profit. They are the Bible, sermon tapes, or praise tapes that give life to us. Also, the stall or vending machines are provided for the new-believers so that they would not violate the Sabbath. This is not for personal benefit but to keep the Sabbath more joyfully. This is done in goodness, so God would not deem it as violating the Sabbath.
Now, what should we do when our close friends or relatives who are not believers have a wedding on Sunday? As a general rule, those who have strong faith would not attend worldly ceremonies on Sunday even if they have to face persecutions. If we have this kind of faith, people around us would recognize us that we will keep the Sabbath in any occasion, so they will not either misunderstand or persecute us. Even if some misunderstandings arise, God will solve the problem.
But those who are not on the rock of faith yet may worry that the counterpart will be offended or get angry, or they will stumble and not be saved. If you do not have enough faith to overcome these worries, it will not be a sin just to attend the ceremony and congratulate them, according to your measure of faith. But obviously you must attend the worship service first, and it is not right for you to go to their party after the ceremony and have worldly conversations.
Basically, these things are not right on the Lord’s Day, but we may attend for the sake of that soul. But it is more right if we do not accept the invitation to keep the Sabbath wholly. In this case, we should be able to explain to the other person that we have to keep the Sabbath in the church.
Also, there are special cases where we cannot keep the Sabbath for the good of everybody. They are cases of special occupations such as doctors, soldiers, or policemen. In these cases, if we they must work on Sunday, God would not say they violated the Sabbath. In these cases where they have to work for the country without freedom, God will look at their inner heart and deem it as keeping the Sabbath even though they might not be able to keep it wholly. But even in these cases, they must do their best in attending worship service.
Also, there are some people who have to work on Sundays in restaurants or department stores. That is why our main church (Manmin Joong-ang Church, Korea) has Light and Salt Mission for these people. Its members work during the daytime of Sunday and attend worship service in the evening. If we teach them they must keep the Sabbath fully from the beginning, it is very difficult to bring them to Christ. That is why we guide them to increase their faith attending the worship service after their work.
There are also some people who themselves have enough faith to keep the Sabbath fully but remain in this mission group for the faithless souls who work in department stores or restaurants. But this is not to violate the Sabbath.
If we keep the Lord’s Day with faith, God protects us from all kinds of hardships, diseases, or accidents and gives us blessings. But we should keep the Sabbath not only with action but also with our true heart. We should consider it holy and keep our body, mind, lips, and deeds holy.
If we keep the Sabbath in this way, we will try to live other days with more holiness also. God will bless us to have prosperity, become sanctified more quickly, and finish the decoration as a bride to the extent that we keep the Sabbath holy. I hope you will remember and keep the Sabbath holy until the Lord comes back so that you will be able to have true rest both on this earth and in the kingdom of heaven.

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