Phil and Sherry stared at each other across the after-dinner clutter on the dining room table. “What are we going to do?” Sherry said, her fingers twisting and turning. “Jeremy doesn’t love the Sabbath.”1
“He used to,” Phil said. “Remember when he was thrilled when we told him it was Sabbath and time to get ready for Sabbath school?”
“He was two. Now he’s sixteen and off riding his bicycle with his friend Neal. Didn’t wake up in time for church.”
Fifteen years later Jeremy had finished specialized training and had a good job, a loving wife, and three youngsters under age six. They didn’t drink or smoke, but none of them attended church on Sabbath or attempted to keep the Sabbath holy.
Phil and Sherry prayed for their son and his family every day, that somehow he would come back to keeping the Sabbath.
“It will be so lonely in heaven without them there,” Sherry sighed.
[Thought Questions for Lord of the Sabbath February 15, 2012]
1. An invitation or a demand? Jesus invites us to share Sabbath with Him. If we refuse to accept His invitation, are we lost? Should parents like Phil and Sherry (above story) accept the reality that their son Jeremy will not be granted eternal life with Jesus? If Sabbath isn’t a matter of winning or losing heaven as far as Jeremy is concerned, is it for you and me? Is Sabbath keeping a requirement for salvation? Or just an option? Or neither? Explain.
2. Sabbath’s beauty. What is the most beautiful aspect of the Sabbath as far as you are concerned? How does the seventh-day Sabbath remind us of our origins? Is that a good thing? Why? What does the Sabbath command reveal about God and His character? The Bible states that God made all things. Are all things beautiful? or even desirable? How can we explain the appearance of horrible manifestations of nature on earth? Do these imperfections have any influence on the Sabbath?
3. Creation’s Sabbath. Why do you think God took the time to create the Sabbath at the close of Creation week and give it to us? Was God tired on the seventh day of creation? Are you and I ever worn-out when Sabbath rolls around? Did God enjoy that first Sabbath on earth? What do you think He did that day? Considering that God lives outside of time, is it possible that He gave us the Sabbath as a gift to those who are stationed in time? Do you think of Creation every Sabbath? If you have children at home with you, do you show them special things that God created for us to enjoy? Do you offer nature samples and lessons to children you know?
4. Six days. The Sabbath commandment says that in six days we should labor and do all our work. Some say the commandment is more about working Sunday through Friday than not working on Sabbath. Is your work ever all done in six days? If not, is it because you didn’t work hard enough through the week? Or did Jesus mean something else? Why do you think the Sabbath commandment includes animals in the prohibition against work on that day? What kind of work do you think was not allowed for animals to do when the Sabbath commandment was proclaimed?
5. A symbol of creation or rescue? Do you find it interesting that the fourth commandment includes references to sin? Have you read the commandements as quoted in Deuteronomy as well as in Exodus? What’s the difference? Wait a minute. What does the Deuteronomy version tell you about the time of the origin of the Ten Commandements? Be careful. Aren’t we Adventists sure that there has always been a set of commandments? Don’t you believe that? How do you anchor your belief in the endurability of the Ten Commandments?
6. The Sabbath was but is no more? What happens to your belief in an eternal God if you insist that the commandments were temporary restraints imposed on the Children of Israel? What do you think is the real reason that most churches and most members of those churches keep the first day, Sunday, holy? Are all Sunday keepers rebelling against God? Do they give the Catholic church credit for establishing Sunday as a day of rest? What are some positive characteristics of the Sabbath as they reflect God’s character? How common is it for a Sunday keeper to keep the day holy from sunset to sunset?
7. The body of Jesus. When Jesus was crucified, how important was it that His body was interred throughout the Sabbath hours? Your lesson author gives us a good dose of logic at the conclusion of the lesson. Do you follow that if-then logic? If the Sabbath was abolished at the cross, then why would Jesus have rested the first day after His crucifixion? Why do you think the devil hates the Sabbath so much? Why didn’t Jesus establish Sunday as the day of rest since that was the day He was resurrected? What is more important?
8. The danger of Sabbath. Can we be too proud of the Sabbath? Why do people assume we Seventh-day Adventists are legalists because we keep the seventh day Sabbath? Can you imagine being ridiculed for being so peculiar that we insist on worshiping on a day that almost no other Christians feel is important? Can our attitude towards the Sabbath drive others away from the church? Are we sometimes too strident in our Sabbath teaching, as if anyone who doesn’t agree with us is ignorant or stubborn? Is there a way to present the Sabbath other than “We’re right, you’re wrong?”