The Christian’s Day of Worship

Romans

The Christian’s Day of Worship

January 30th, 1955 @ 10:50 AM

Romans 14:3-6

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
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CHRISTIAN DAY OF WORSHIP

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Romans 14:5-6

1-30-55    10:50 a.m.

 

You are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas.  And this is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled The Christian Day of Worship.  In our preaching through the Word of God, we are in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Romans, in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Romans.  And if through the message this morning, you would like to follow the pastor, hold your Bible in your hand, and we will go from verse to verse as we see what God hath to say of the order and the habit of divine worship, of religion, in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Romans.  Now, we are reading from the fifth and the sixth verses of Romans 14:5-6:

One man esteemeth one day above another: another man esteemeth every day alike.  Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.

Then he talks before and after that passage about eating meats, what were called clean and unclean meats, meats dedicated to idols and meats killed in the marketplace.  But we are going to take one thing this morning, this passage wherein Paul discusses the day of worship.

Now, in order for us to have any understanding at all of the Lord’s Day, we must first understand the Sabbath day controversies.  In the days of the apostle Paul, there waged a fierce war, a religious war of mind and idea, a preacher’s war, a fierce controversy over the relation of Christianity to Judaism, the relation of the Christian faith to the Jewish faith.  Jesus was a Jew.  All of the apostles were Jews.  All of the writers with the exception of Luke were Jews.  The Christian church was made up at first altogether of Jews.  They lived in the Jewish national state.  They lived in the Roman providence of Judea.  And when the gospel was preached, it was preached always to the Jew first. It was preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath day, on Saturday’s day.

Now I say, in the days of the apostle Paul, in the days of the first disciples and apostles, there waged a fierce and unrelenting controversy between the new doctrine and the old doctrine, the old garment and the new patch, the old wine bottles and the new wine.  And to show you an example of that controversy, I am going to read three little passages here in the Bible.  “And certain men,” and this is the fifteenth chapter of Acts and the first verse,  “And certain men which came down from Judea to Antioch taught the brethren, and said,  Except ye keep the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved” [Acts 15:1].  The fact that Jesus died for us and rose again is not enough.  To our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you must also add the rites and ordinances and laws of the Mosaic Decalogue, and of the Mosaic covenant, and of the Mosaic Pentateuch.   And unless you keep those Mosaic laws ye cannot be saved.  To faith in Christ, they wanted also to add that vast legalistic system of the Old Testament.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them [Acts 15:2], they were in a first-class fight, and it waged furiously.

All right, may I read one other passage here in the third chapter of the Book of Galatians?  The reason the letter to the churches of Galatia was written was because of these legalistic Judaizers.  Paul had been up there preaching the gospel of Christ, and those Greek idol worshipers in Galatia, those old Roman provincial towns of Galatia, the city in Antioch, Lystra, Iconium, Derbe, up there; they had embraced the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They were baptized upon that confession, and they became Christians just by trusting the Lord Jesus.  And so these Judaizing legalistic teachers came and said, “You cannot be saved and go to heaven just by trusting the Lord Jesus; you must also keep the law; you must keep the law.”  And that is why Paul wrote the letter to the churches of Galatia.  Now listen as he says, he closes the second chapter and begins the third chapter, “For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” [Galatians 2:21].

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

This would I learn, tell me, Receive ye the Spirit of God.

Were you regenerated by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

[Galatians 3:1-2]

 How were you saved?  How were you saved?

Well, may I do something kind of—about Paul, you know these men; we think of them as being so saintly, and they are, “Saint” Paul, and they were men of God, and they wrote by inspiration.  But you listen to Paul in the third chapter of Philippians as he writes of these Judaizers: “Beware of dogs, dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of their circumcision.   For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit,” and so forth [Philippians 3:2-3].  He calls them dogs.  Beware of them.  Beware of them, these legalizing teachers.

All right now, in the system of Jewish worship—the ordinances, the institutions, the laws, the commandments of the Jewish religion, I would say the most distinct is this, the Sabbath day. And so a war and a controversy raged in that first Christian church about the Sabbath day.  What about the Sabbath day?  “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy” [Exodus 20:8].  And that is in the Decalogue.

What about the Sabbath day?  Well, some of them said it is incumbent; it is commanded by God; it is obligatory.  And that is what he says here in the text in Romans 14:5, “One man esteemeth one day above another.”  He says it is obligatory.  It is commanded of God.  Ye must keep the Sabbath day.

All right, another man says that is not so.  I am not under any bondage, and I am not under any law; Christ hath made me free.  “Another esteemeth every day alike” [Romans 14:5].  He says that old law is abrogated and annulled and repealed.  And so they just went to war over it.

All right, now before I start out, first I want to read what Paul says about it.  What about the Sabbath day and the law of the Sabbath?  Paul is very explicit, and he is very open, and he is very concise and very lucid and very plain about the Sabbath day.

And I say before I start out preaching about it, and looking at this Book about it and why, first of all, just to set before us what Paul said about it.  In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul says, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat.” Can’t eat pork, can’t eat ham, can’t eat on and on.  “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in drink,” the reason I can drink anything in the world.  The only reason I don’t drink liquor, alcoholic beverages, is not because of the commandment; it’s because of the influence of my life.  It isn’t good.  But I am under no commandment at all; “or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” [Colossians 2:16-17].

Paul says that these old laws, and these old ordinances, and these old commandments, and these old institutions are shadows of the Lord Jesus Christ [Colossians 2:17].  He is the body, the answer, the fullness of all, the fullness of all that filleth all [Colossians 2:9].  And he says that in Christ the old shadows and the old types and the old figures are passed away.  We have the substance and the body now.  Therefore, says Paul, let no man sit upon you in judgment and say, “You don’t keep the Sabbath!”  All of that, says Paul, has been annulled; it’s been repealed; it’s been done away; it’s been abrogated.  These are shadows of things to come [Colossians 2:17], and the substance and the reality is now found in Christ who hath made us free [Galatians 5:1].

Now, may I read one other typical passage of Paul before I leave this?  In the fourth chapter of the book of the letter to the Galatians, listen to Paul as he writes to them in the fourth chapter, the ninth and tenth verses:

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.

[Galatians 4:9-11]

 “You’re going back to the old Judaism.  You’re going back to the old legalism.  You’re going back to the old institutions and the old ordinances and the old commandments.  And I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain” [Galatians 4:9-11].  All right, that’s what Paul thinks about the Sabbath day.

Now let’s start: what about the Sabbath day?  Now to begin with, to us, when we think of the Sabbath day, we think of the Jewish Saturday, just Saturday; the Sabbath day, the weekly Sabbath.  But in the old covenant, in the old commandment, there were many Sabbaths, not just once a week.  But when you go back to the old law now, when you go back to the old legalism, when you go back to the old Jewish observances, you don’t have just one Sabbath; brother, you have a multitude of them!

For example, in the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus and the thirty-ninth verse, listen, “In the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath.”   Right in the middle of the seventh month, the fifteenth day of that month is to be a Sabbath day [Leviticus 23:39].  And the eighth day of that month is also to be a Sabbath day.  Now, I am just taking typical passages, there are a lot more.  Now you turn the page, and in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of [Leviticus], you will find a whole year of Sabbaths, a whole year.  Listen:

And the Lord spake unto Moses in Mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you come into the land which I give you, then shalt the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord.

Six years shall thy sow thy fields, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit:

But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the [land], a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

[Leviticus 25:1-4]

Now the eighth verse, “And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven.”  And every fiftieth year was to be a Sabbath year, the whole year” [Leviticus 25:10].  That meant in a century, two times.  And usually in a century, two times, one time in a lifetime everybody would reach a year’s Sabbath.  Now I haven’t time to follow that through the Old Testament.  You’ll find many, many, many Sabbaths.

A weekly Sabbath is just one out of a multitude of Sabbaths.  So when you go back into the old law and observe those old ordinances and commandments and institutions, brother, you’ve got a lot them on your hands.  You have not got only Saturday, but you have a multitude of other Sabbaths, when you begin to keep the Sabbath day holy according to the commandment of God.

Now, what is the meaning of the Sabbath?  Where in was it instituted and why?  What is its significance?  The Bible again is very plain.  I shall read from the thirty-first chapter of the Book of Exodus about the institution of the Sabbath and what it means.  Now, listen to God:

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbath ye shall keep:  for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

[Exodus 31:12-13]

Now the sixteenth and the seventeenth verses:

Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever:  for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.

[Exodus 31:16-17]

The Jewish Sabbath is a sign of the Jew.  It is a sign of the old covenant.  It is a sign of the contract between God and the Jew.  And if you are a Jew, that is a part of your obedience.  You are to keep the Sabbaths, plural.  It is an incumbency; it is a commandment; it is an obligation of the Lord God.  It is a sign between God in heaven and His chosen people, the Israelites, the children of Abraham.  Are you a Jew?  Are you a Jew?  If you are not a Jew, that covenant does not pertain to you at all; you are not included in it; you are not a part of it.  It is a sign between God and the children of Israel; that is, that’s what He says.

Now whether God means what He says or not is something else.  But if you take what God says, and believe that God said what He meant, then the Sabbath is a contract, the sign of a covenant between God and the children of Abraham.

Now, that Sabbath day in the Old Testament, you have it first met back there in creation.  At the end of the [first] chapter of the Book of Genesis, then it will say, “Now the Lord made all of the heavens and the earth, and everything that liveth therein.  And He made it in six days; and on the seventh day He rested” [Genesis 1:31-2:12].  God ceased His creative work on the seventh day.  Then the Sabbath is never mentioned, a Sabbath is never mentioned until you come to the place where I have read of its institution in Moses, here in the Book of Exodus [Exodus 31:12-13, 16-17].

For thousands of years, how many thousand I do not know, for thousands and thousands, for millions of years, how many millions, I don’t know; when did God create this world?  When did He finish all of His creative work?  I don’t know.  But I know for millions, and millions, and millions, and millions, and millions of years, there was no reference made to a Sabbath!  It is not even referred to.  And down through those great patriarchal ages there was no Sabbath.

Enoch never heard of it that we know of.  Seth never heard of it that we know of.  Abraham never heard of it that we know of.  Melchizedek never heard of it that we know of.  Isaac and Jacob never heard of it that we know of.  Joseph never heard of it that we know of.  Down there in the land of Egypt where they lived for four hundred years, the children of Israel never heard of it that we know of.

The first time you meet the institution of the Sabbath day is when God called Moses on the top of Mount Sinai and said, “And now, Moses, I am making a sign. I am making a covenant, a contract between Me and the children of Israel!  And that sign and that contract is to be the Sabbaths, plural; the Sabbaths, of which there are many of them.  It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever” [Exodus 31:12-13].

All right, what is the penalty for the violation of God’s Sabbath day?  Then He says again, and I read two, just two out of many I could read:

Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you:

everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death:  for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

[Exodus 31:14]

Six days may work be done, but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord:  whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

[Exodus 35:2]

All right, how did God implement that commandment?  In the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Numbers, in the thirty-second verse, God said, this is His word: “And when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that had gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day” [Numbers 15:32].  He was going to build a little fire to warm his dinner or breakfast or lunch or whatever.  He gathered a few sticks or maybe he was cold.  He gathered a few sticks on the Sabbath day, and they that found him gathering sticks. “Look at him!  On the Sabbath day he is gathering sticks.”

They that found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses, and to Aaron, and to the congregation.  And they put him in jail, because it was not declared what should be done to him [Numbers 15:33-34]. And the Lord said unto Moses, “The man shall be surely put to death” [Numbers 15:35-36].  That’s what God said.  “All of the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.  And all of the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died”; as the Lord commanded Moses” [Exodus 15:36].  All of you that want to be legalists, and want to go back to the Sabbath day, that’s an intricate part of it!  The man that violates it must die!  And he is to die by stoning.  You are to take him out and throw rocks at him until he perishes!  That is the law of the Sabbath.

Well, the Sabbath was a burden; men made it a burden.  God intended the Sabbath for man [Mark 2:27], but legalism always—and there is no exception to this—whenever you start down a legalistic road, you finally wind up in so many precepts, and commandments, and statutes, and ordinances until it becomes a yoke upon the people.

In the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Acts, Simon Peter, standing before that Jerusalem conference I mentioned, to which they brought that question, “What are we going to do about these men who say if we do not keep the Sabbath day we will be damned and lost?  What about it?” [Acts 15:5-6].  Simon Peter stood up at that conference in Jerusalem, and he said, Acts 15:10: “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”  Who could observe a Sabbath day and how do you do it when any infraction of it, when any little thing that is done that violates its covenant and its spirit and its contract, the man thereby is put to death?  How do you keep a Sabbath day?  Simon Peter said, “Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon these Christians, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” [Acts 15:10].

Now that does not mean very much to you for me just to read that there, “Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples?” because you have so lived your life in Christian liberty, and in Christian freedom, and in the glorious gospel of Christ whereby Christ has made you free [Galatians 5:1].  Ye have so lived your life in that; you hardly recognize that it could have been any other way.  And when he speaks of a yoke [Acts 15:10], that means nothing to you; you’ve never borne a legalistic yoke; you’ve never been Judaizers.

Well, let’s look at it for a moment.  The reason they despised the Lord Jesus Christ first was because He broke the Sabbath day; they said He broke the Sabbath day.  He broke their laws in trying to make that Sabbath day applicable, trying to run it down legalistically into every piece and part and parcel of the lives of the people.  They wrote Mishna and Gemara and Halakha and Haggadah, and Talmud.  They wrote it endlessly on the application of the Sabbath day.  There were precepts by the thousands and the thousands and page after page of how they were to observe the Sabbath day.  Now, out of the Mishna and the Jerusalem Talmud, I have copied here, I have copied sixteen instances here out of thousands and thousands of rules whereby you observe the Sabbath day.  All right, let’s start.

This is how to observe the Sabbath day.  When you go legalistic you’ve got to write the law down.  This is it: one, two, three, four, page after page.  If an object that was intended to be worn or carried in front had slipped behind, it involves no guilt.  But if the object was intended to be worn or carried behind and had slipped forward, this involves guilt, as involving labor.  You are guilty of sin.

Second, here is another one:  if an object is thrown into the air and caught with the same hand, this involves sin.  If the object thrown into the air is caught with the mouth, this does not involve sin.  If you will throw up an object in the air and catch it with your mouth, why, you haven’t sinned on the Sabbath day.  But if you throw up an object in the air and catch it with the same hand by which you threw it up, you have sinned.

Another one:  if a man carries rain water which he caught as it fell from the sky, there is no sin in it.  But if the rain water were caught as it ran down a wall, to you carried that on the Sabbath day is sin.

Here is another one: if a person were in one place and his hand filled with fruit stretched into another, and the Sabbath overtook him in this attitude, he must drop the fruit since if he withdrew his full hand from one locality into another he would be carrying a burden on the Sabbath day.

All right, here is another:  if on the Sabbath a flea of any kind or an insect of any kind gets on a man, it must not be removed, for that is the same as hunting on the Sabbath day.

Ah! we’re not done with that flea business: nor may the clothes or the body be examined on the Sabbath, lest the examiner be tempted to find those little animals and kill them; for to kill a flea is like killing a camel, and that’s an exact Talmudic quotation. To kill a flea is like killing a camel.

All right again: unless a candle light—the better translation is lamp light, they did not have candles in those days—unless a lamp light is extinguished for fear of Gentiles, or robbers, or evil spirits, it may not be blown out on the Sabbath day.

All right, another one: women are forbidden to look in a mirror on the Sabbath day because they might discover a white hair and attempt to pull it out, which is a grievous sin.  And I mean they label it a “grievous sin.”

All right, again: a woman may walk about her own house on the Sabbath with false hair, but she must not walk in the street with false hair, because that’s sin.

 All right, again:  a person may go about on the Sabbath with wadding in his ear, but he cannot go about on the Sabbath day with false teeth or with a gold filling.  Regarding the false teeth, they might fall out and the wearer might be tempted to lift them up and carry them which would be sinful on the Sabbath day.

All right, again: mud on the dress may be crushed and shaken off, but the dress must not be rubbed.

Again:  if a woman rubs wheat to remove the husk, it is as sifting.  If she rubs the heads of wheat, it is as threshing.  If she cleans off the side adherences, it is as sifting.  If she bruises the ears, it is as grinding.  If she throws them up in her hand, it is as winnowing.

 Again: if you scatter two seeds, you have been sowing.  To break up a clod of earth, to pluck a blade of grass, to remove a withered leaf is sin.

Again:  if a hen lays an egg on the Sabbath, the egg is forbidden.  You cannot eat an egg on the Sabbath day.  It involves labor.  If however, the hen had been kept not for laying but for fattening, if you had put her up to fatten her to eat her and she lays an egg, then the egg can be eaten as forming a part of the hen that is fallen off.

All right, two more—three.  Some of these are awful: no wound may be dressed on the Sabbath day.  You doctors could not bind anyone on the Sabbath day.  No medical application to a wound can be made on the Sabbath day.  The throat may not be gargled, Dr. Marchman, on the Sabbath day.  However, I found an exception to that.  If a fellow will swallow the gargle, they said he could do it because it becomes part of him.  But he can’t gargle his throat and regurgitate it.  Bones may not be set, nor any medical or surgical operation performed on the Sabbath day.  If a wall falls on a person, and it is ascertained that he’s dead, the ruins and the rubbish of the wall cannot be removed any further to extricate the body.  You have to leave it there because of the Sabbath day. The eyes of the dying and the dead cannot be closed on the Sabbath day.  And this goes on endlessly, page after page after page after page; the law of the Sabbath day.

That’s what I say; I was trying to define what Peter was talking about when Peter says there at that Jerusalem conference, “You want to take these Christian disciples and send them back into the legalism of Pharisaical Judaism, the old law and the old ceremonial institution?  Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” [Acts 15:10].  Even the fine, good Jew couldn’t keep all that law.  It was a yoke, it was a burden; the Sabbath day, the law of the Sabbath.

Now, in the little moment that’s left, let’s turn to us.  What about us today?  We who are Christians, what about us?  Well, we are under no commandment for any holy day, none at all.  We are under no commandment:

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.  Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, to the Lord he regards it; he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he does not regard it.

[Romans 14:5-6]

 

You are under no commandment whatsoever.  We could meet and have our services on Tuesday; and such as I can and am able, I can preach as well on Tuesday as I can on Sunday.  And we could meet on Wednesday or Thursday.  We could meet on Friday or on Monday.  The Christian people are at liberty, they can meet anytime they please.  You can meet every day in the week if you so desire.  Every day to the Christian is dedicated unto the Lord.  To the Lord you are to regard it, Monday as well as Sunday, Wednesday as well as Thursday, Friday as well as Tuesday.  They are all alike, all alike.  You are under no commandment, none at all.

Well then, where did we fall into Sunday’s day, the Lord’s Day?  Where did that come from?  All right, this is where it came from: it is highly significant, to me at least, when I turn to the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Matthew and read, “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week . . .” [Matthew 28:1].

“In the end of the Sabbath.”  How prophetic that is, “In the end of the Sabbath”:  the old Jewish ceremonialism, the old Jewish laws, the old Jewish institutions, the old Jewish ordinances which were shadows and types prefiguring Him who is to come.  “In the end of the Sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.” On the first day of the week our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7]. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene [John 20:11-18]; then He appeared to all of the women at once [Matthew 28:9-10]; then He appeared to Simon Peter [Luke 24:34]; then He appeared to two on the way to Emmaus [Luke 24:13-32]; then He appeared to the ten disciples [Luke 24:36-43], all of them on the first day of the week.  Then, one week later, the first day of the week later, in the evening He appeared to all of the eleven disciples together [John 20:26-31].

And from then on, the disciples who loved the Lord Jesus, who turned toward their Lord like a sunflower turns to the sun, from the morning until the evening, the disciples following their Lord and loving their Lord, out of deference to the Lord Jesus, out of love for Him, the disciples began to gather in the celebration of His being alive, of His being quickened; that He is the living Lord, that He was raised from the dead, that He is resurrected [Matthew 28:1-7], they met on the first day of the week in honor and in love and in deference to the Lord Jesus.  Under no commandment; nobody made them.  Under no aegis of a terrible sword, by which if they failed to meet, thereby it incurred the penalty of death.  Nothing at all, save the love of the Lord Jesus; they met on the first day of the week just because they loved the Lord, and they were honoring Him on the day of the week that He was raised from the dead.

So in the Bible, in Acts 20:7, you find where the disciples are gathered together on the first day of the week in order to break bread.   That Sunday, they gathered together to observe the Lord’s Supper and to hear the apostle Paul preach the gospel.  In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul says, “As I give order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God is prospered him” [1 Corinthians 16:1-2].  The Christian disciples were gathering and bringing their gifts and their offerings to the Lord’s work on the first day of the week.

And in the first chapter of the Book of the Revelation and the tenth verse, the sainted John says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day on Patmos isle” [Revelation 1:10].  By himself he was observing the Lord’s Day, Sunday, the first day of the week.  On that day, on that day the sainted John had first seen his Lord alive again.  First time that he had looked upon His face, immortalized, resurrected, raised from the dead, was the first day of the week [Revelation 1:10-18].  And in the years after—John is now about a hundred years old— in the years after, even by himself on an isle, and to die of exposure and starvation, when that day came, the day that he first saw his Lord, on that day John hallowed, sanctified those hours, remembering the loving and living and quickened and living Lord.

We don’t observe any Sabbath day.  We’re not going back to the old ordinances and the old institutions and the old observances. They’re the shadows [Colossians 2:17]; they’re the types; they’re the husks.  We have in Christ the substance!  When I date a letter January 23, 1955, I am not celebrating the day of creation, way back yonder when God rested on the seventh day [Genesis 2:2].  When I address my letter January 23, 1955, I mean by that “anno Domini,” in the year of our Lord, 1955; going back to Him, going to Jesus, going to Jesus.

And so our people who are called Christians, why, Sunday by the love of the Lord, that’s all.  Here, teaching God’s Book, loving Jesus, that’s all.  Bringing a tithe of what we make to the Lord by commandment?  No!  If you bring a tithe, it’s just because you love the Lord Jesus.  If they brought it back there under commandment [1 Corinthians 16:1-2]; we’ll do more without it.  We’ll bring a tithe and an offering because we love the Lord Jesus.  And we’ll gather here for worship to listen to our pastor open that Book and read from that Book, and break the bread of life the best he prayerfully can, on the Lord’s Day, on God’s day, because just of the love of the Lord Jesus, that is all; under no commandment, under no commandment, under no commandment.

Now I’ve got to quit.  Deep in human nature we need it; our bodies need it.  The thing I missed most walking around India, looking at India, was the Lord’s Day.  Every day to them is just the same: Monday’s just like Sunday, and Sunday’s just like Friday.  Ah, I missed it there; they don’t have any Lord’s Day.  Something deep in human nature, I think, demands it.  And then our souls need it.

I tell you, with all of the frailties and all of the foibles and all of the things that enter into human life and into the story of family and home, there’s one thing in our home that would stay in memory, in example, in model as long as I live, and it is this: when we lived out on the farm and had to drive a little buggy into town, when we lived in the little bitty town, when we lived in the city, as long as I could remember, I could not forget that when Sunday came my father and my mother and the household, all of us got ready for Sunday school and for church.  They took us to God’s house on God’s day.  It was built into the soul, the warp and woof, the substance and fiber of the children who grew up in that home, the Lord’s Day.  And no finer, finer thing can any man ever do as he leads and walks in front of his house than to guide the destiny of his little family on God’s day to God’s house.

 “Here we are, pastor, here we are.  Now preach to us the Word of life. What has God said that’s good for our souls?  What is it that shall save us from hell?  What shall deliver us?  What shall promise us the world and the life that is to come?  Here we are, pastor, and here is my family. What is it that God had to say?”  This is it, on the Lord’s Day, and God bless us as we keep it out of love to Him.

 All right, may we sing our song?  While we sing our song, anywhere, somebody you, “Pastor, I’m here today, and I’ve made that decision in my soul.  I’m coming, I’m going to give my heart to the Lord, to God, and here I am, here I am.”  In that balcony to that back seat up there, you come down these stairwells right down here to the front and stand by me. “Here I am, preacher, here I come, here I am.”  Anywhere; “Well, here’s our whole family, we’re coming into the church, pastor.”  However the Lord shall say the word and lead the way, you come.  While we stand and while we sing.