Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018.01.03 Worship Wednesday - The Day of Worship, Chapter 2

On these Worship Wednesdays, we are reading The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath by Ryan McGraw. Chapter 2 was "The Importance of God’s Day of Worship"

McGraw quotes from Ezekiel 8 as a way of reminding us that sometimes we just need to see the ugliness and filthiness of a sin.

Nowhere is this more true than with the sin of Sabbath-breaking.

God has set apart a day as holy for worship and communion with Him. So, profaning the Lord's Day is not just beastly ingratitude for the rest of God's blessings, but especially for the blessing of His Day, and truly and ultimately for God Himself.

If we recognize what the Day is for, then we must exclude all practices that that are inconsistent with or do not immediately promote worship. Consider the following quotes from the chapter:
In the garden, Adam and Eve lived every day in worship and service to God. Part of their joyful service was the labor God had given them. On the day on which God called them to imitate Him in His own rest, they had no activity left other than direct acts of communion with God...

The “rest” required on the Sabbath cannot be equated with inactivity; it was not so with God Himself, who has never ceased to labor in His works of providence...

It means cessation of the labor of the six days and the taking up of different labors appropriate to the Lord’s Day.
In thinking about the Lord's Day, what we rest from is not nearly as important as what we rest unto. Because what we rest unto is worship and fellowship with the Lord Himself. Focusing upon what we rest from puts us in the Pharisees' shoes and sets us up to neglect and even reject Christ on His Day, just as they did!

When we consider that even unfallen Adam needed such a day; and when we consider the nature of God's absolute claim upon "devoted things" that He set apart unto Himself in Scripture; and when we consider that the first four commandments are entirely about right worship of God; then, how can we turn this into a Day of enjoyment of ourselves instead?

Scripture reinforces this by connecting the Sabbath repeatedly to duties of worship. The Sabbaths are marked by "holy convocations." The morning and evening sacrifices are doubled on the Sabbaths. Psalm 92, which calls itself "A Psalm for the Sabbath Day" focuses upon morning and evening worship. The first day of the week was the time for the Corinthians to gather an offering for the poor.

When we take a day that is for the worship of God, and turn it into an argument over what we can "get away" with doing, we completely miss the great and generous mercy of what we are given the day to do! Consider the following quotes:
If Adam and Eve needed a day of worship before the Fall, do you not need such a day? When you disregard the Sabbath by bending your conscience to the will of employers or to the lusts of the flesh rather than to the Word of God, do you realize you are actually despising the privilege of worship? You are not simply disobeying a commandment of God; you are spurning one of His greatest gifts to mankind.

We must beware that we do not act as though our employers sovereignly provide for our families rather than God.
It's no wonder that the author is so passionate about the subject. And is he wrong? Shouldn't we be passionate about it as well?

McGraw rightly points out that we wouldn't allow disagreement about the Sabbath to rupture our fellowship in the same way as we would over the doctrine of justification or the authority of Scripture. But, at the same time, his alarm is well-taken: when we realize the place that the Lord has given to His Day, we must recognize that the current neglect and misuse of the Lord's Day is nothing less than a spiritual catastrophe in the church.

It is no wonder, then, that so many chase after this or that spiritual remedy, when they have cut themselves off from the means appointed by God to stir up their delight in Him!

What is a wonder is God's longsuffering patience with such a Lord's Day profaning people as we currently are. Turn us back, O God!

No comments:

Post a Comment