Too Much Commentary
avatar

I know a woman who is a fabulously good cook. Not only is the food delightful to taste – it is seriously good for you. The problem is that all her food comes with commentary.

Did you know that this food has Vitamin K?
And you get 85.6% of your selenium requirements from this kind of parsnip!
There are 28 trace elements required by the human body and this meal today is providing 14 of them!

To the extent that sometimes I feel so frustrated that I want to scream, “Shut up and let us just enjoy your good cooking!”

And then there is the Sabbath, a gift of rare beauty, that we want to surround by rules.

  • Did you know that you can keep the Sabbath better by cooking everything on Friday?
  • Maybe it would be better to only eat raw food on Sabbath?
  • I wonder if microwaving is really cooking?
  • Perhaps it is a sin to cut a fresh lettuce out of the garden after the church service so that we can have fresh salad?

One of the biggest sins of Seventh-day Adventists is that we do not know how to enjoy (worship) on Sabbath. Often our ideas of Sabbath-keeping are rooted in Puritanism and orthodox Judaism and have more to do with control than with worship.

Consider:

I have baked bread on Sabbath – one of the most successful Sabbath School lessons I have ever taught. Man may not live by bread alone, but the smell of good home-baked bread wafting out of the study room had life in every lung-full, not to mention the enjoyment of those who ate it later.

My wife has skipped the church service to go home and prepare a meal for someone who needed a shoulder to cry on and a caring ear to listen too.

I have mowed lawns on Sabbath, when I was supposedly ingathering. Helping the needy is not just about collecting money for others.

The Sabbath is a gift, and unless we seek how we can share it with others it becomes a ritual surrounded by rules and as dry as the desert hills. That is not worship. This quarter we are studying Galatians. It would be a sad outcome indeed if we lost the plot. We are saved by grace; we are not bound by law-keeping. We are free to share the fruits of our salvation.

In many respects we are like the cook that spoiled her good food with badly timed science commentary.

Share Button
Posted in Christian behavior, Feature, Sabbath Tagged , , , , , , permalink

About Maurice Ashton

Maurice Ashton is a retired lecturer who lives in Australia. He taught Science and Mathematics at high school level before taking a research interest in Computer Science. He lectured at Avondale College for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2012. He is married to Carmel and they have two adult children and two grand children. Currently Maurice is pursuing a keen interest in bird photography and spends much of his time sitting in swamps observing and photographing birds. He has been involved with Sabbath School Net since about 1997.

Comments

Too Much Commentary — 60 Comments

  1. Actually I found the Sabbath was far more enjoyable years ago when people took it as a matter of fact thing that no unnecessary work was to be done on the Sabbath. Thus freeing the day for spiritual pursuits.

    I often wonder -- do most Adventist still believe obedience to the 4th commandment will be the test of our loyality to our Creator in the last days?

    Like(0)
    • From some of the comments (not all) it does appear (and I hope I am mistaken here) that there are Adventists who no longer feel the Sabbath issue will be the test of loyalty in the last days.

      I'm sure you realize what the founders of the Adventist Church taught concerning the Sabbath. They clearly taught that Sabbath will be the sign of our loyalty to our Creator God in the last days.

      It's not a case of the Sabbath saving us. It is Christ that does the saving. But those who love Christ will be keeping His commandments.

      And I agree -- all the commandments are important. Revelation shows the saints as keeping God's commandments as well as having the faith of Jesus. (See Rev. 14:12)

      The test shows our loyalty to Christ.
      How about the Sabbath as a test?

      Was the refusal to sprinkle incense before the Roman gods the salvic "work" of the early Christians? Why would they refuse to drop a bit of incense and thus give up their very lives over such a "trivial" matter?

      Or how about the Bapists -- in the days when to be "twice baptised" (speaking of those who didn't believe their baby baptism meant anything and chose to be baptised as adults) were routinely tied into sacks with stones and thrown into the river to drown. Why would they risk their lives to be baptised under those threats?

      And so we have been told that the last test will be the Sabbath. That a time will come when it won't be "convenient" to keep the 7th day holy.

      It does concern me that all this talk that we are not to worry about following any of the guidelines for proper Sabbath observance is simply paving the way to slip into a virtual rejection of the 7th day Sabbath when the crises comes and it will be very inconvenient to keep God's day holy.

      If the popular cry is -- "if you really love your neighbor and desire the good of all, you will comply with Sunday legislation and forget about that old covenant sabbath." Would we say -- "Ah well, OK, why not, we are to love our neighbor and we can praise God just as well on Sunday as on the 7th day."

      Like(0)
      • I do believe that the Sabbath will be a test in the last days. However, I too had been shackled by the "do's and don'ts" of the Sabbath and I hated it. I never felt that there was any "delight" in it. I was brought up as a Seventh Day Adventist and I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. This happened some years ago when a Pastor explained it all to me. I have been liberated, I have found freedom in knowing that it was for me Christ died, and that it is because of His grace why I am here as a witness today.

        Like(0)
      • @Ulrike: I wonder if you missed the intent of the author entirely. The subject is "Too Much Commentary" -- as in the "commentary" the Pharisees created to attempt to keep the Sabbath holy, as well as other such commentary.

        Jesus, the Author and Lord of the Sabbath, "broke" many of the rules of Sabbath keeping in His day. The Jews accused Him of Sabbath breaking. Do you think He was opposed to obedience to the fourth commandment?

        Maurice calls the Sabbath "a gift of rare beauty" which we are spoiling by "too much commentary" -- reminiscent of what the Jews did to the Sabbath. In response you seem to imply that Maurice is opposed to obedience to the fourth commandment?

        @Cecile: Thank you for recognizing and illustrating Maurice's point by sharing your own experience. May you continue to enjoy the "gift of rare beauty" from our great Creator and Savior. :)

        Like(0)
      • @Ulrike
        I agree wholeheartedly that the Sabbath will be the test. In fact it is now a test.

        You indicated in your recent post that you sense there may be posts that do not seem to support the Sabbath as the test. I have carefully reviewed the posts and do not find anything that warrants your concern.

        I see some posts concerned with the quality and spirituality of Sabbath keeping. This being so, would indicate that these writers would be the foremost in upholding the Sabbath under persecution.

        Like(0)
  2. Well, it may not be the only one but, it is going to be a good one. Let's not forget, the fourth commandment state God created all that exist and in the great controversy, God's enemy want to decoy that true. According to the book of Revelation, adoration is going to be the issue at the end and the fourth commandment ask us to remember who created everything - to adore Him- so that's why Satan try so hard to diminish the importance of this commandment that reminds us where we have come from.

    Like(0)
  3. Matthew 25:31-46 tells us that Sabbath keeping is not enough to save us. Isaiah 58 tells us this also and shows how they are both necessary. Perhaps this is the point the author is making.

    Like(0)
  4. There should not be a question as to whether keeping the Sabbath is your test of obedience and inheritance to eternal life. The fourth commandment is just as important as the fifth, sixth, ninth or the tenth! The commandments are not a "requirement" of salvation, they are a standard of God's character. Without the commandments, we would know what sin is (Romans 7:7). When you grow in your relationship with the Lord, the keeping of the commandments become a part of you. The Sabbath has become an issue because the enemy wants to bring division among the people of God. All commandments are important, and if we break one, we are guilty of breaking them ALL. (James 2:10)

    Like(0)
  5. Juan, if we look at the world today. Adoration is already at center stage. Plastic surgery is no longer Hollywood's little secret. They have become so bold as to do reality tv shows about it now! Models have become the new standard for exemplifying woman/manhood. No longer are church leaders respected or honored. Adoration is truly key in these last and evil days. But, I believe that "keeping" the Sabbath is more than worshipping on this day and not doing any work. It is about serving God with your heart and communing with Him. That will be the test for the household of faith. If we forget that God is our creator, and He is the Lord of Lords, just going to church on Saturday is not enough, and we will forget where we come from.

    Like(0)
  6. "The commandments are not a “requirement” of salvation,...."

    So, whether we do the will of God or not is not relevant to our salvation?

    I don't know where people come up their ideas of salvation. But it is certainly not biblical.

    Bill Sorensen

    Like(0)
    • I hope you are being sarcastic. Didn't Jesus say not everyone who says Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of God but does who does the will of the father. I agree doing the will of God on your own effort meaning without trust and faith and dependency on God is not going to save you but does who are saved can't help but to do God's will and keep his commandments.

      Like(0)
      • Dear (a name would be nice ;) ),
        Thank you for your comment demonstrating that you understand the intent of the author.

        And thank you for the succinct summary of the relationship between faith and obedience. May you be blessed abundantly. :)

        Like(0)
  7. Way to go Maurice! You have captured the essence of Sabbath keeping -- practicing the service of love while following our Master's example. But you do make me curious regarding "the rest of the stories."

    Many good meals have been spoiled by a running commentary on their nutritional components, sometimes to the point of causing indigestion, wouldn't you say? Yes, we too often do the same to the Sabbath.

    I had to do a double take with your, "One of the biggest sins... not knowing how to enjoy (worship) on Sabbath." But then it came to me -- no one benefits from a party-pooper's presence, least of all the Host.

    Sabbath worship should be spontaneous, joyful, full of praise and thanksgiving and the service of love.

    There is a time for instruction in Sabbath keeping, done in a winsome way -- before the Sabbath hours. The same is true in planning worshipful and inviting services. Just like there's time for planning and cooking a meal -- before the meal begins.

    Many pleasant and happy Sabbaths to you all.

    Like(0)
  8. It never ceases to amaze me, that despite all the teachings and sermons; some of us are so legalistic to the point of hating other members of the body of Christ.

    I love visiting the sick, I feel so blessed in bringing a smile to a sad face despite the pain he/she may be feeling. There is a running thought in my church that when a sick is visited on the Sabbath, there should only be singing and praying.

    I believe that comfort measures can be provided. I think Jesus would do what I do. I am trying to follow His footsteps. So I change dirty diapers, reposition the sick person and also suction the mouth if I hear gurgling. The last time I did that, one of the elders was so upset with me that when she was asked to pray, she could not.

    Needless to say no one ask me to accompany them to visit the sick anymore and when I do request to visit with them on a sabbath (I do not drive) they have many excuses why I cannot go with them. The person I suctioned, died the following week; I told them after I attended to her that she was going to end up in the hospital with aspiration Pneumonia.

    Where is Jesus in the Sabbath? Where is service and love? would he have changed our sister's diaper and cleared her airway. Or would He have just sung a hymn, prayed and left. We have become so heavenly minded as a people that in my opinion we are no earthly good. May the Lord help us all.

    Like(0)
    • Thank you, Paulette, for caring for the sick. I'm sure the people that you were assisting were able to see Jesus in you with the care that you gave them. I'm sad to know that you are no longer asked to go visit the sick. Care, kindness and compassion of others go hand in hand with prayer.

      Like(0)
  9. My original message was not meant to challenge the importance of Sabbath-keeping but rather to make us think about practical ways we can make the Sabbath more meaningful to one another. Let me expand a little on the examples I gave.

    Breadbaking on Sabbath

    Some time ago we had a series of Sabbath School lessons on healthful living. One of the lessons was on healthy eating. It was my turn to take the lesson and I decided that talking and discussion was much less important than demonstrating and showing. What better way was there than actually going through the process and producing some healthy food on the spot. I do not normally make bread on Sabbath, but in this instance the demonstration provided a significant shared focus for the lesson study and provided the incentive for others to consider practical ways of living healthily.

    Meal Preparation
    Some folk that we know were visiting our church after a tragic event in their lives. We did not know that they would be at church that day and were surprised to see them. Of course we had to have them for a meal to support them in their time of need. We typically keep little prepared food in our house in order to keep my weight down, so my wife went home during the church service to prepare a meal for our visitors. There are times when sharing someone's burden is more important than rules.

    Lawn Mowing
    Now I do not go around looking for lawns to mow on Sabbath, but when you see an old man on a hot day struggling to mow his lawn, what do you do? A few minutes of mowing a lawn to allow an old man time to sit in the shade is a much more acceptable way of keeping the Sabbath than excusing one's lack of compassion on religious grounds.

    I do not want to set myself up as some sort of exemplar of Sabbath behavior. I am simply saying that the Sabbath is something to be shared and that our concern for others is sometimes more important than the rules. I do not seek out lawns to mow on Sabbath, nor do I usually bake bread on Sabbath, and most of our food preparation for Sabbath is done during the week. But there are circumstances where we can share the Sabbath more effectively by breaking the rules.

    Jesus delivered compelling arguments about Sabbath keeping based on rules when he healed sick people and defended his disciples when they plucked grains as they were walking through the fields, both on Sabbath.

    To those of you who have discussed the issue of Sabbath keeping in the last days: The judgement scenes depicted in the Bible say nothing about Sabbath-keeping but a fair bit about compassion. Seventh-day Adventists can often give proof texts about Sabbath-keeping, and provide a historical account of how the Sabbath was changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week. They can provide rules about sunset times and work/rest situations. It would be really sad if ultimately we could say that we had kept all the rules, knew all the history, but had not shared the Sabbath compassionately with one another.

    Like(0)
  10. Thanks, Maurice, for the rest of the stories.

    Perhaps I should clarify my use of the term 'party poopers' relative to Sabbath worship experiences in my previous post. My first thought goes to the party held to honor Jesus by a Pharisee who wanted to express his gratitude to Him. But Mary Magdalene sneaks in with her extravagant gift and in a sociably questionable way pours out her gratitude and devotion on Jesus. In this case the host and Judas were the party poopers. They condemned Mary's spontaneous and heartfelt worship because it was an offense to them.

    What about decorum?

    She upstaged me!

    Doesn't Jesus know what kind of person she is?

    And Judas thought, 'She is wasting a lot of money that I could have put to better use.'

    These party poopers didn't really hold Jesus in highest esteem, but Mary did.

    Critical party poopers are not there for worship, and they are not willing to permit demonstrations of true worship, unless it fits their own taste.

    A true story:
    A Mexican gang member with a couple of his friends started attending a church in California. He took note of the testimonies given in song. Inspired, he composed his testimony of praise for what God was doing for him. He asked his spiritual mentor if he could sing it in a church service. It was composed in rap. The lyrics were good, but they were rap!

    The elders and pastoral staff reluctantly agreed, with trepidation. The song was sung, the audience was stone silent, and only the former gang members gave their Amens. This church was normally very demonstrative in audience response. Heaven rejoiced while the church cringed.

    Party poopers.

    I could bring other examples. The question is, "Do we get it?"

    Like(0)
  11. Well, it's a relief to hear most of you affirm you still believe the Sabbath test.

    Maybe I "miss the point" because maybe I was just lucky? I didn't find Sabbath to be a "shackling" in my early years.
    I have many happy, and pleasant memories of Sabbath from childhood, and with my own children.

    I guess I don't really see "too much commentary" on the Sabbath as it seems things are getting pretty liberal and people in general are scared to voice their concerns about how things are going. A review of guidelines on "how to keep the Sabbath" seems to be a thing of the past as far as I can see in most churches.

    Now, doing good on the Sabbath has always been acceptable as far as I remember. Diapers have always needed to be changed even on the Sabbath. If someone is sick, their needs need to be met, even on the Sabbath. To give a helping hand when we see an immediate need.

    However,
    You'd probably think I'm a party pooper, because I don't really think church should be a party. Visited one church last spring -- we arrived during intermission between sabbath school and church. The noise in the sanctuary was absolutely deafening with everyone talking to their neighbor, I mean, it was a ROAR, and the organ playing loudly trying to drown everyone out. I sat there quietly, my ears throbbing, thinking, OK, hopefully the service will start soon and things will quiet down. Well the service started with "praise singing" that had instrumental music so loud it gave me a splitting head ache. I had to leave -- I couldn't stay.
    OK -- so I'm a party pooper, but it's pretty hard to worship under those conditions. And yes, I do go to church to worship.

    Like(0)
    • Ulrike, I may or may not agree with every one of Andy A's opinions. Honestly, I'm not quite sure of one or two of them, just yet. However, I think that you may be missing his point about "party poopers."

      Just think of the elder brother of the prodigal son. Here is an example given by Jesus Himself, so we shouldn't have to worry about one person not being quite so sure of what seems so obvious to another. I believe that the elder brother's attitude, as expressed to his father, epitomizes Andy's intended meaning of a "party pooper." Rest assured, Ulrike, I (for one) see no reason to suspect you of belonging to that class!

      God bless!

      Like(0)
    • I am not particularly worried about a Sabbath test in the "time of the end", whenever that time may be. I am sure that God will prepare us for that event when it does occur. My concern is that we learn to share the Sabbath now in the way that it was intended. I would like to think that when unchurched people see us observing Sabbath, they will exclaim, "Wow! I wish I had a day like that!" If we learn to share the Sabbath now, then the "testing time" will take care of itself. All too often we use the Sabbath to show that we are right and everyone else is wrong! The Sabbath was never meant to be a proof that we are right.

      I grew up on a dairy farm and understand the problem of having to work on Sabbath. Cows need to be milked twice a day every day, or things grow horribly wrong. Even then though, Sabbath was something special. My parents made a special effort to ensure that the milking did not interfere with the "rest" of Sabbath.

      For most of my life I have been an academic. I still remember the meetings that I would have on Friday with my supervisor as we argued about concepts and discussed results and fought over the wording of papers. The delight was obvious when I would pack up my computer and papers at the end of those meetings and tell my supervisor that it would be over 24 hours before I would work on them again. It was during those times of intense study I learned the value of Sabbath rest.

      The experience of Sabbath rest is a better argument than all the proof texts put together. "O taste and see that the Lord is good!"

      Like(0)
      • Just to clarify some things I was wondering. I'm guessing that when we're talking about the Sabbath being a test at the end, we are talking about standing against a government anti-Sabbath law at the penalty of fines, imprisonment, and or death, correct?
        So obviously, that is in the back of everyone's mind probably. It comes to my mind that everyone here is clear on the Sabbath being a delight and a gift loved and cherished from our Heavenly Father. If it wasn't, even if we knew good guidelines for keeping it, under such pressure from the community we would discard it. If it isn't truly loved, it will be left sooner or later....just as an example, look at the divorce rate these days...:\.
        --Guidelines/Sabbath customs--
        I think I am with you all in a general sense. I myself want to preserve the Sabbath and "guard the edges" and so I, and many of you I'm sure, have customs specific to our lives that ensure a "no work, no foot trample for my own pleasure, delightful experience w/ God, family, church family, and unbelievers."
        I say unbelievers with affection, those to whom we should witness about the Lord of the Sabbath, not with any kind of insult in mind.
        So I set up guidelines. Not "set in stone". I could overlook a rap in a worship service, for example, it being to the glory of God of course. Lol, besides, there is always cringe worthy stuff that happens in every church now and again, it just comes w/ the territory. :D
        Oh, and sort of related, everyone has "ox in a well" scenarios that, according to Jesus, don't upset Sabbath keeping. (Luke 14:5) Like changing a flat tire or something.
        --Edifying--
        I also am of the persuasion that the church is an edifying body. That brothers or sisters help each other along the narrow way, if it be in Sabbath keeping or any of the other facets of the race we run.
        So in being tenderhearted and forgiving toward one another, edifying would be a necessary part of that. It would be unloving not to. Obviously, the method of edification should be Christlike, be it gentle or stern, "instant in season and out of it", according to the people and the situation.
        Edifying brothers/sisters out of genuine love relationships with them, which implies an open dialogue on such spiritual matters, is a good thing. We are our brother's keeper.
        ------Good works----
        And oh, to do good on the Sabbath! I pray that Paulette and Maurice and all others continue to serve! As Jesus Himself said, "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then is it unlawful to pass up doing good?
        Sins of omission was what sorted the goats from the sheep, remember? (Matt 25)
        Doing good is actually one of the ways God wants us to enjoy the Sabbath. The Lord, I think, purposefully gives us oppurtunities to do good on the Sabbath, and yes, that does mean, seeking oppurtunities out, not waiting for them to fall in our laps.
        Heaven forbid if one of the "guidelines" I set up keeps me from doing good on the Sabbath. In trying to preserve it, I might lose it the sweet communion God wanted to have with me and the person I am helping.
        Of course, I think that has already been stated here and there above in one way or another.
        And of course, this is all because of our salvation from Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit that we are now free to do good, the true good that we are unable to do in and of ourselves.
        ------
        Concerning party poopers...you'll always have them around until real hard persecution hits. Then hopefully by God's grace they snap out of the pooper mood, or they leave the party. Actually, hopefully before then, through loving edification and a living witness in our lives, they will be won before then. They are everywhere, and I'm sure at one time or another I've been guilty of being one. Unawares, many of us have perhaps gotten in the way of something the Spirit was trying to do that was out of our comfort zone. God have mercy on us.
        --------
        Well I hope that wasn't too scatterbrained. I was trying to address multiple concepts w/ one fell swoop. :)
        Happy Sabbath to you all! I really mean it! I have enjoyed reading from you all! May we all come to a closer knowledge of the Truth, as it is in Jesus.

        Like(0)
  12. How I wished someone told me all of this as I raised my son in the SDA faith. So many rules, so many laws/ and bilaws. The Sabbath was no fun, and no fun to raise him that way. He is 17 now and has never appreciated the Sabbath. How I wish I was more knowledgeable about God's great love for us and "we are not in bondage, but free. How many ways could I had shown him the freedom in God's love. As he prepares to leave for college, I have the fear that this SDA life will not be a priority for him because I did it the wrong way. I love the Sabbath. It is so liberating!!! Wish I could have just studied it for myself and not listened to everyone around me. I will have to stand before God and there will be no one else standing around me then. I trust God on my son's behalf.

    Like(0)
    • Robin, we all will stand before God. I wish to ask you seriously, do you think that he will treat you any worse than how He will treat Paul? Or what about how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery, or the woman at the well, or the thief on the cross, etc.?

      I believe unless we finally rebel and turn against God, our sins are paid for and Jesus stands as our mediator, our lawyer on our side, if there is mediation that needs to be done along with the Father whose judgment is for us (Dan 7:22) not against us.

      "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God" (John 16:26-27 NKJV).

      Like(0)
    • Dear Robin, All of us with children now pretty well grown up have regrets. We could have done things better. It seems to me that you are doing the right thing in trusting God to take care of your son.

      A thought came to me as I was considering your post. Could you send a note to your son letting him know of what you have found about the beauty of the sabbath and apologize for your mishandling of the sabbath through his life?

      Just a thought to consider and pray about, to use or discard, you know your situation better than anyone else.
      Remember God has a special place in His heart for caring mothers.

      We will pray for you and your son.
      Andy A.

      Like(0)
      • That is an awesome thought. I will consider and ask God to help me in writing this note to him. Thank you for your prayers and your thoughtfulness in your reply. May God Bless you Abundantly, as I know He has already!!

        Like(0)
  13. It was not my intention to put anyone in suspicious suspenders as to whether I had some hidden agenda such as opening the doors wide to rap music or, for that matter, some of the other genres that would be offensive to the saints' ears. Such music would probably offend my ears also. Those who know me would say I'm pretty conservative in tastes. I also like well-planned worship services, with the proviso that they must be spiritually alive.

    With that preamble, you might guess I was not making a case for introducing rap music to our worship services. At the same time I would remind us that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents. There were four converted gang members represented by their former gang leader who composed and sang the song of their testimony of finding faith in Christ. This was the medium and language of their hearts. Could not the saints overcome their fear of the "entering wedge" to welcome and rejoice with them in their moment of praise and thanksgiving?

    If we expect (and we should) that our evangelistic outreach is going to be effective in reaching this generation, we are going to have to loosen up and put people before our obsession with the "entering wedge." Perhaps we should develop an obsession with an open and welcoming door. God's truth is powerful and is capable of keeping balance as we go on to the kingdom.

    O, and by the way, Ulrike, when it comes to overly amplified and perhaps raucous music in a church service, I would be out the door about the same time as you, if not sooner. Maybe then some would consider me the party pooper,

    My only intention in the former post was to stir up the saints' pure minds. May God bless you all!

    Like(0)
  14. Sometimes we would do well to remember that in our "freedom" we may actually be enslaving others. For example, our freedom to what we want is not freedom if it means someone else must clean up the mess our freedom created. A wife may enjoy the fact that her husband brought her breakfast in bed on Sabbath morning, but later when she sees the kitchen, the Sabbath blessing is gone. In this case she may feel it would have been better if her spouse felt that meal preparation on Sabbath was a sin.

    Like(0)
    • Stephen, I had to laugh at your illustration. :) In it the husband was really trying to please his wife, and so surely he had the right motivation. :)

      But in many other cases, we dredge up biblical reasons to buttress our own preferred cultural traditions. Our "freedom" to do it "our way" (which we interpret as "God's way) may thus be putting others under our "yoke of bondage." To avoid that, I believe the Apostle Paul's admonition to "be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another" (Rom. 12:10) is helpful. "In honor giving preference to one another" means that we don't take for granted that we have a corner on understanding God's preferences, when they are not specifically stated.

      "Too much commentary" is a good title to epitomize our habit of making up rules regarding how to keep God's Law -- just like the Pharisees did. We need to leave others a little room to interpret these principles according to their consciences, not ours.

      Like(0)
  15. Indeed Sabbath keeping is a vital role in christian life from creation. Thank God for this quarter lessons, let us be the 'new covenant and accept that we can only do it if we rely on Him to fill us spiritually. We don't have to break the law but we can make it more enjoyable by our example. If i am not Adventist and witness somebody ignoring a sick because of his religion, i certainly don't want nothing to do with that religion. If i am an old man mowing my lawn under a heat and a stranger in a suit with a bible, set it aside and decide to help, i will definitely want to know about what kind of people will help an old-man and i will be amazed if he tells me his religion is Seventh Day Adventist.Then I will request to know more about that.
    All am trying to say is that us much as salvation is not by our work, we still have to obey our Masters instructions and we can do it by asking his help spiritually.

    Like(0)
  16. "All am trying to say is that us much as salvation is not by our work, we still have to obey our Masters instructions and we can do it by asking his help spiritually."

    Salvation is always "by works". To make no distinction between "works of the flesh" and "works of the spirit" will lead to a faulty theology.

    Paul tells us to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling......" And Paul is no "legalist".

    Christians are not "free from the law" of God. We are "free from the law of sin and death". And there is a world of difference.

    Christ did not die and pay for our sin and merit heaven for us to free us from the law of God. Only in the sense that the penalty of the law has been transfered to Christ, and even that will not be appropriated to us unless we repent and return to the covenant of "obey and live, disobey and die."

    Jesus never removed the penalty of the law from the law itself. The law always remains and the penalty remains as well.

    But the penalty is removed from the believer and placed on Christ, and finally on Satan, the originator of sin by way of the "scapegoat transaction".

    If we break the law, after we are forgiven, we again come under "the penalty of the law." Forgiveness in the end of the final atonement is only "for sins of the past."

    Bill Sorensen

    Like(0)
    • Hello Bill, I think I understand what you are saying. However, when you say, “Salvation is always ‘by works’” I tend to squirm. The problem is, as has been stated so many times before, is that no matter how hard you try you will never measure up to the infinitely high standard that God has set. That is one of the reasons why Paul talks about justification so much. Justification is a declaration that pronounces a person as righteous even though that person is faulty based solely on that person’s faith. That is the only way we can ever come up to the standard.

      Even if we were able to keep the law perfectly from conversion on we still have to deal with the past which is something that only the cross can take care of. All of that involves Jesus who is to us the beginning and the end and everything in between. We can’t even repent on our own, it is a gift as well (Acts 5:31).

      When we begin to think we can do it we automatically diminish Christ’s role in our lives and elevate ourselves up to the status of a God. The only reason why all the saved will bow before the Lord and cast their crowns at his feet is because they will know that the only reason why they are there is because of what Jesus has done for them, not what they have done.

      No one is arguing anti-law, not one is saying that we don’t have to keep the law. What many of us are saying is that you cannot do it on your own. It is something only God can do through you and for that reason we are to concentrate what God can do through us rather than what we think we can do.

      “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet 1:2-4 NKJV).

      Like(0)
      • I think he is simply saying salvation by works of the flesh or works of the Spirit. We can't do it on our own effort but we can direct our will power towards God and he will do the rest. I do not have the power to change myself but I have the power to direct my will towards the one who has the power to change. I believe this is what the work of the Spirit is. God is write his laws on the heart of us as part of the new covenant. Salvation by works of the flesh puts faith in self and salvation by the works of the Spirit puts faith in God. So what he said is correct. Let's debate meaning and not words.

        Like(0)
    • Bill said, "Salvation is always 'by works.'"

      *
      I must beg to differ. Judgement is according to works, but salvation is by GRACE. It is only by God's grace, with which we must diligently co-operate (i.e. exercise faith) -- but the power is all God's -- that we can ever reach the point of having any hope of being acquitted in a judgement based on our works. Secondly, even if the judgement should find that our character is in harmony with God's law, we still need God's pardoning grace (through the blood of Jesus) for our sins. Any good works which we may do are only done in Christ. There is no merit in them for us, whatsoever, so as to make up for past sins.

      *
      Bill again:

      *
      "Christ did not die and pay for our sin and merit heaven for us to free us from the law of God. Only in the sense that the penalty of the law has been transfered to Christ, and even that will not be appropriated to us unless we repent and return to the covenant of 'obey and live, disobey and die.'”
      *

      True, we are never freed from the authority of God's law. Why should we want to be? However, there is a second sense in which we are freed from the law, and that is in the very sense of which Paul is speaking in Galatians. We are freed from being UNDER the law. It need no longer be a hard taskmaster or strict disciplinarian OVER us. When the Holy Spirit has led and empowered us into a new life -- one in which the fruit of the Spirit is manifest -- as Paul says, there is no law against that. And yet we are living happy and free.

      *
      May God bless you all.

      Like(0)
    • I praise God for His plan of salvation, Through the forgiving Grace of Jesus,Therefore I rejoice in keeping Gods Commandments. my works is a results of my love and thankfulness of God's free gift of Grace through Jesus.

      Like(0)
  17. My mind turns over in its cranial bed when I hear so many legal arguments used about the Sabbath. It is a bit like surrounding a beautiful feast with a barbed wired fence. I think very few people are convinced that they should keep the Sabbath because of legal arguments. They are more likely to be convinced by seeing us enjoying the Sabbath. I wish that every Sabbath-keeper could say, "I keep Sabbath because I love it, not because it is God's requirement!"

    I come back to the thrust of my original post on this issue: I am sure that if we were to devote more time to creative worship and rest on Sabbath, focusing on sharing its blessing with our friends and family, and less time on "legal requirements" our Sabbath would be both more effective and enjoyable. Who wants to have a feast surrounded by a barbed wire fence?

    Like(0)
    • Has anyone ever felt good to be required to do something?
      I think that feeling of rebellion or squirming I get when I am required to do something, say of my parents, is the carnal nature. This is where sin gets power through the law. The law gives the sin in our members something to rebel against, because sin in and of itself does not exist, it NEEDS something to rebel against.
      So perhaps you Maurice, like me and others here I'm sure, have felt this "barbed wire" feeling when talking about the Sabbath as a requirement. Please correct me if I am wrong brothers and sisters, but I think it should be addressed as a requirement AND a delight. Who can argue with God wanting us to have a good rest and communion with Him? It's awesome! And for His relationship with us to be a "full" experience, it is critical.
      ---
      May the Lord Jesus help us to delight in keeping His Sabbath and all His laws. May He empower us by His Spirit to keep them in our hearts....inspire a desire in us for the goodness that is found in the law of God.
      Isaiah 58:13,14 doesn't remove the requirement of the law. It kind of says to me, look you don't have to hate this experience, it could really be fun. It's kind of like my mom making me take swimming classes as a kid. I hated them at first, but I really learned to have fun doing it and started to want to do it.
      Oh, and of course this comment is in the space of righteousness by faith. You all have already mentioned in some way or another that every human attempt to keep God's law w/o faith in Jesus is fruitless anyway, so I didn't feel the need to expound there. :)
      ---------
      Dear friends, may we all and those we witness to have a Psalm 119 experience with the requirements of God's law, and of course, the Sabbath.

      Like(0)
  18. When I was 18 years young, (about 100 years ago), I joined the military. I was young and dumb had no idea what else to do with my life, so I did what other young men in our church did, joined the military.
    I was raised keeping the Sabbath Holy. Not doing any work meaning, no food preparations, not going out to restaurants, no ironing clothes, no shinning shoes, especially no mowing lawns.
    I was raised with the knowledge that working on the sabbath would violate God's Holy Law, and that law breakers would end up in the lake of fire. So before I, or rather we, my twin brother and I, signed on the dotted line, we asked the older youth who had previously graduated HS and joined the military how to go about the sabbath issue. They all gave us the same answer, "Saturday is a regular work day. After you get to your permanent duty station you can ask to have the sabbath off and if their is no problem, they will gladly let you go to church". This news was not what we wanted to hear. So we prayed about it. We made a decision. We would join the army, and if they told us we cannot keep the sabbath holy, then God was telling us that it was time for us to get out of the service. We were not going to break God's holy sabbath and miss out on going to heaven and spending eternity with our Lord and Savior.
    Well to make a long story short, we went through basic training, AIT, and the rest of our 4 year military enlistment without breaking God's holy sabbath. When everyone was going out to the firing range, we were on our way to church. When we got back to the barracks, we sat quietly opening our bibles reading from His word until sunset. The other troop would come back dirty and tired, then we all got back in formation to go eat supper. They asked us how we got the sabbath off, we answered, "we asked for it". One guy was Jewish, so he went to the company commander who also was Jewish and asked for the sabbath off. His request was denied.
    God opened the door for two naive youth, who grew up trusting in Him.

    Like(0)
  19. The issue is not whether Sabbath will be a test, but the scriptures state that it will be those who love God and keep His commandments...plural. As Adventists we have forgotten that it is written, "whoever shall keep the whole law, yet sin in one point will have failed in the whole law" (my paraphrase). We seem to have forgotten about the other nine. When was the last time you heard a sermon on the importance of "Thou shalt not covet" or "Thou shalt not bear false witness". Have we conquered those sins?

    Like(0)
    • Bill, I think you are right in saying that we shouldn't forget the other nine commandments.
      However, I do believe the Sabbath becomes a test in the same way that idol worship was a test to the ancient Hebrews and like confessing that Jesus is the Messiah was during the first few centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus.
      There are times when areas of belief become points of separation between the Christian and the world. It is my understanding that the Sabbath will become one of those points when the image to the beast demands Sunday worship in allegiance to itself (Rev 13:15).

      Like(0)
  20. You are right, their is a barbed wired fence surrounding the Sabbath, but God did not place it there, nor did we place it there. The enemy has placed a barbed wired fence around the Sabbath to keep God's people from having access to His holy day.
    We are living in a tough economic time. People need their jobs. We need to pay for our flat screen TVs, the XBOX our son wants for Christmas, the new/used car for our daughter in adventist university, Christian education, etc...
    If we disregard the Sabbath in easy times as Sunday keepers keep their sabbath, how are we going to respect and keep God's Sabbath, the Lord's day, when our jobs demand our presence during the sacred hours of rest?
    Like Ulrike stated earlier, "the 4th commandment will be the test of our loyalty to our Creator in the last days"

    Like(0)
  21. Tyler said.....

    "What many of us are saying is that you cannot do it on your own."

    So? You still have to do it. Jesus helps us "do it". It does not mean we don't have to do it, or, somehow, Jesus will do it for us, because He won't.

    The Holy Spirit motivates, He does not take your place.

    Jesus represents the Christian community in heaven. And when the Christian community represents Jesus on this earth, He will come and take us home.

    Jesus kept His Father's commandments, and so must we.

    Bill Sorensen

    Like(0)
    • Bill said, "You still have to do it. Jesus helps us 'do it'”. In one of the churches I have attended when we prayed "Lord help us ..." I used to remind them that it wasn't like we were doing 95% of the work and Jesus simply comes along and steadies us a little. As I see it, it is the exact opposite only more so.
      The only real power we have is the power of choice or decision. It is when we make a decision that the power is given to us to do it. As I have said before the process is seamless so that we can't tell where one leaves off and the other begins.

      Like(0)
    • Bill, I personally have no problem with much of what you have been saying. My concerns generally have more to do with what you are leaving out. That said, I wish to make two points with regard to your latest comments.
      *
      1) I feel that you are making too much of Tyler's words "do it." To what are we referring, when we use such words? If we mean that we intend to earn heaven by our own efforts in keeping God's law, then we are attempting an impossibility. We'll never succeed in "doing it" at all. If we are referring to a successful compliance with the law, yes, this is something we "do," but only by God's power and grace. Is it essential that we "do it?" Yes, but the only path to true success is to "do it," not because we have to, but because God has written His law on our hearts and we love both Him and it. I respectfully point out that this is called the (much neglected) new birth experience.
      *
      2) Even successfully complying with God's commandments (by the power of the Holy Spirit) is not sufficient to save us. We all have sinned, and we all fall short of the glory of God. Therefore, we must somehow be justified, if we are not to suffer the second death for our sins. This justification comes to us by God's grace, when we "believe," or put all of our faith, trust, and hope in Jesus. I respectfully submit that any confidence placed in ourselves (or in even our very best works) is bound to undermine this.
      *
      Blessings!

      Like(0)
  22. Bill, in Adventism we look back with respect on the 1888 message regarding righteousness by faith presented by Jones & Waggoner. Although many say today that they believe that message, too few really understand it and therefore place an emphasis on personal obedience. However, Waggoner in his book "The Glad Tidings" wrote, "Good works are commended but we can not do them. They can be performed only by the One who is good, and that is God. If there be ever any good in us, it is God who worketh in us." He also wrote of those who think they must do some work of obedience "Righteousness gained by trusting, good works wrought without working, seem to them inpractical and fanciful. The call themselves 'practical' men, and believe that the only way to have a thing done is to do it. But the truth is that all such men are highly impractical."

    Few that say that they believe in righteousness by faith understand these basic principles of that understanding. Instead they feel that obedience is key and that without it all manner of evil will overcome God's work. In doing so, they open a door for the very things you are presenting. Once man claims any power in the works of God then we become those that Paul spoke of as "having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof." Any emphasis on human power is a diminishing of the power of God.

    Like(0)
    • Stephen, you said, "Any emphasis on human power is a diminishing of the power of God." Amen times 1,000!
      *
      You also said, "Few that say that they believe in righteousness by faith understand these basic principles of that understanding. Instead they feel that obedience is key and that without it all manner of evil will overcome God’s work."
      *
      As I understand things, obedience IS key -- or at least the willingness to obey. Of course, even THAT is a gift from God, brought to us at His initiative. Nevertheless, God's gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. (See Acts 5:32.) There can be no question that receiving the Holy Spirit is THE key.
      *
      God bless!

      Like(0)
  23. @ Maurice: Maybe the whole problem can be summed up in the phrase "keeping Sabbath." What a difference it would make if we said "No, I am not keeping the Sabbath, I am loving it." Keeping it implies that we have the ability to put barriers around the Sabbath and keep all imperfection away. We do not. Only God is perfect.

    Anyone who has had much experience with Sabbath can relate stories about how Sabbath can be the most trying time of the week. We are often reminded by the events of the day that no matter how hard we try we cannot make the day perfect. An argument with a spouse on the way to church, a recalcitrant child, a difficult church member are all reminders that even our best efforts to have a perfect Sabbath can fall short. Loving the Sabbath as a gift instead of keeping it as an obligation can set us free from that burden.

    Like(0)
  24. Consider what thus saith the Holy Scriptures:
    John 15:10
    If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

    1 John 2:3
    And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

    1 John 2:4
    He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    1 John 3:22
    And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

    1 John 3:24
    And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

    1 John 5:2
    By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

    1 John 5:3
    For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    2 John 1:6
    And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

    Revelation 22:14
    Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

    Like(0)
  25. Well, of course "Glad Tidings" is far from a clear biblical presentation of either justification or sanctification. Are you aware that R.J. Weiland edited out the Pantheistic phrases? And that Waggoner along with Jones abandon the SDA faith? And that Waggoner denied the Investigative judgment?

    And that EGW wrote a letter to Jones refuting his ideas of faith and works? And warned him of his immature or false presentation?

    We place way more credibility on how Jones and Waggoner understood the full scope of salvation than is warranted. Have you read the many statements by EGW where she endorses the bible's teaching that we are saved by faith and works?

    And by the way, here is a very definitive statement of how the Holy Spirit "helps us" obey the law.

    "Man, in the work of saving of the soul, is wholly dependent upon God. He cannot of himself move one step toward Christ unless the Spirit of God draws him, and this drawing is ever, and will continue until man grieves the Holy Ghost by his persistent refusal. . . . {HP 27.2}
    The Spirit is constantly showing to the soul glimpses of the things of God, and then a divine presence seems to hover near, and if the mind responds, if the door of the heart is opened, Jesus abides with the human agent. . . . {HP 27.3}
    The Spirit of God does not propose to do our part, either in the willing or the doing. . . . As soon as we incline our will to harmonize with God's will, the grace of Christ stands ready to cooperate with the human agent; but it will not be the substitute to do our work independent of our resolving and decidedly acting. Therefore it is not the abundance of light, and evidence piled upon evidence, that will convert the soul. It is only the human agent accepting the light, arousing the energies of the will, realizing and acknowledging that which he knows is righteousness and truth, and thus cooperating with the heavenly ministrations appointed of God in the saving of the soul." {HP 27.4}

    She does not believe in this mystical "just give yourself to Jesus and He will do everything."

    And as for faith and works.....

    "If we are faithful in doing our part, in cooperating with Him, God will work through us [to do] the good pleasure of His will. But God cannot work through us if we make no effort. If we gain eternal life, we must work, and work earnestly. . . . Let us not be deceived by the oft-repeated assertion, "All you have to do is to believe." Faith and works are two oars which we must use equally if we [would] press our way up the stream against the current of unbelief. "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." The Christian is a man of thought and practice. His faith fixes its roots firmly in Christ. By faith and good works he keeps his spirituality strong and healthy, and his spiritual strength increases as he strives to work the works of God." [REVIEW AND HERALD, JUNE 11, 1901.] {NL 38.2}

    And her commentary on Galatians in Acts of the Apostles....

    "To substitute external forms of religion for holiness of heart and life is still as pleasing to the unrenewed nature as it was in the days of these Jewish teachers. Today, as then, there are false spiritual guides, to whose doctrines many listen eagerly. It is Satan's studied effort to divert minds from the hope of salvation through faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God. In every age the archenemy adapts his temptations to the prejudices or inclinations of those whom he is seeking to deceive. In apostolic times he led the Jews to exalt the ceremonial law and reject Christ; at the present time he induces many professing Christians, under pretense of honoring Christ, to cast contempt on the moral law and to teach that its precepts may be transgressed with impunity. It is the duty of every servant of God to withstand firmly and decidedly these perverters of the faith and by the word of truth fearlessly to expose their errors." {AA 387.1}

    And her final comment on the law in Galatians....

    " It is not essential to understand the precise particulars in regard to the relation of the two laws. It is of far greater consequence that we know whether we are justified or condemned by the Holy precepts of God's law." {7MR 234.3}

    You won't find those quotes or any simular to them in this quarters lessons on Galatians. Why? Because her comments can not be reconciled with the views presented.

    We are justified by obedience to the moral law. And just because we can not merit or earn heaven by obedience, does not release us from the necessity and moral imperative to obey God and keep His commandments.

    Bill Sorensen

    Like(0)
  26. @ R.G.: The concept of obedience that you have shared is the essence of the problem. It is how righteousness by faith is presented by the church today. It is not how it was presented in 1888.

    Very few understand this difference. Morris Venden is one who did. Unfortunately, even many who say they agree with Morris Venden teach something different regarding obedience.

    Here are some examples from his book "95 Theses on Righteousness by Faith" that are completely inline with what was presented in 1888.

    -Our good works have nothing to do with causing us to be saved. Our bad works have nothing to do with causing us to be lost.

    -Victory is not something we achieve. It is something we receive.

    -In the Christian warfare we are active toward the fight of faith, and passive toward the fight of sins.

    -Real victory is getting the victory over trying to get the victory.

    -Anyone who gets discouraged with his relationship because of his behavior is a legalist.

    -Working to give up our sins can keep us from giving up on ourselves.

    -Surrender is giving up on ourselves, not giving up our sins. Giving up our sins is the result of giving up on ourselves and seeking God.

    Those who still want to put our desire to obey into the equation will no doubt have problems with Mr Venden's statements. But his statements are in complete harmony with the 1888 message as presented by E. J. Waggoner in "The Glad Tidings."

    Heaven is our goal. The 1888 message is the way. We have wandered in the wilderness of our own works for far too long. Telling ourselves we must obey the law will not get us there. Surrendering it all to God and trusting Him working in our lives will. If we can't figure that out then maybe our generation will "die in the wilderness" also.

    -

    Like(0)
  27. @ Bill: Your opinion about "The Glad Tidings" is no surprise as the book does not support your position.

    In regards to your comment about Weiland,if you have any true understanding of Weiland and Short, then you should know that they worked tirelessly to get the Ellen White Estate to release the many writings by Ellen White regarding 1888. Those writings were not released until after Glacier View and even in incomplete form fill 5 volumes. Far from opposing the views of Jones and Waggoner, they support those views.

    The official position of the church has been one of faith + works, even though they state it is righteousness by faith alone. Ellen White's position was well expounded in the following quote from "Faith and Works" pg 19 "Should faith and works purchase the gift of salvation for anyone, then the Creator is under obligation to the creature. Here is an opportunity for falsehood to be accepted as truth. If any man can merit salvation by anything he may do, then he is in the same position as the Catholic to do penance for his sins."

    This is the same position as Jones and Waggoner held. It is also the same position as I hold. As far as your disparaging remarks about the pair, I can only say that if God can speak through an ass, why can't he speak through Jones and Waggoner? If only the perfect can speak for God, then we had all better cease speaking about Him as we are all sinners.

    BTW since you have used several Ellen White quotes in an attempt to support your position, you are undermining her authority by attempting to portray her as being in opposition to what I have quoted above. Truth is consistent so the only explanation of the apparent conflict is either a)Ellen White is in conflict with herself and therefore in error, or b)your interpretation of the quotes you have listed is in error. If I have to make a choice, I will go with "b."

    I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but you have portrayed Ellen White as opposed to the message presented by Jones and Waggoner in 1888, and that is simply not correct. She wrote repeatedly of the severe consequences to be faced by those who rejected that message.

    I do not expect you to agree. Understanding has to come from God, but even though you may choose to continue to give a false report like the majority of those who spied out the promised land and refused to go in, I must give a faithful report of the true message of 1888.

    Like(0)
  28. Re Comments on this post
    .
    I am now commenting with my editorial hat on.
    .
    The thrust of Maurice's original post was appreciation of God's precious gifts of the Sabbath, without burdening it down with "Too Much Commentary."
    .
    Unfortunately, the comments derailed the discussion in a way that illustrated that Maurice's viewpoint is very much under-appreciated among some commenters on this blog. A big "Thank you!" to those of you who shared regarding the blessings of the Sabbath.
    .
    The comments finally degenerated into a debate about the place of "works" in the Christian life. This is a question that has been discussed in Christian circles ever since the time of the apostles. We cannot expect to "solve" the issue in our comments on one blog post that was not intended to be on that subject. There will be other posts that will provide opportunity for discussing the subject in a spirit of mutual inquiry. Thus commenting was turned off for a while.
    .
    Commenting is open again, but please note:
    Only comments of personal experience regarding the joy and blessings of the Sabbath will be published.
    Any comments seeking to continue the debate will be rejected.

    Like(0)
    • Regrettably, I think we have illustrated the point I was making in the original message.

      It is nearly Sabbath, I have had a hard couple of weeks. Tonight and tomorrow I am going to enjoy the Sabbath - no rules - just rest, and enjoying the retelling of the story of an unselfish child born 2000 years ago. My grand-kids are taking part in a Christmas pageant and I am doing the visuals for them. Sabbath does not come much better than that! Obedience? Rules? Why?

      Like(0)
  29. Sabbath Traditions

    Some traditions fall into the category of "Too Much Commtary" because they are rules set up by someone at some time for who knows why.

    But there are good traditions -- traditions that bind us together through common practices.

    I wish we had started more Sabbath traditions sooner in our family, but here are some I remember from when our younger boys were young:

    Friday supper was popcorn and fruit time in our house -- which may not mean anything to you, but our boys loved it. But it was popcorn and fruit by the light of seven candles -- one for each day of the week. I still remember those eyes gazing into candles, and the lingering long at the table, just to make sure the candles burned down properly.

    This was followed by "Bible in Living Sound" time. Some of you may be familiar with these recordings of acted-out Bible stories. Everyone would get their pillows and some blankets and spread out on the carpeted living room floor in front of the fire place -- to the illumination of the flames and perhaps a candle or two,and the sound of the introductory music, followed by a Bible story acted out in believable detail. In my mind's ear, I can still hear them ...

    Sabbath morning was, of course, church time, and we generally sat together as a family in the front third of the sanctuary.

    Many Sabbath afternoons were spent exploring God's nature through the trails of surrounding mountains. Just a few minutes on the trail transformed even previously irritable youngsters into happy, eager hikers.

    I remember one Sabbath afternoon when our three older boys were young. We had purchased cross-country ski equipment for every member of the family from the oldest and tallest to the youngest, about five years old. And on a Sabbath afternoon, about 8 inches of fresh snow glistened on the surrounding country side of New Brunswick. The morning had been still, and the tree branches hung low under heavy crystal blankets. Even though my husband was a pastor at the time, we decided to forego they afternoon youth meeting in favor of making tracks in that glistening white powder.

    We drove a short distance, and the five of us fastened on our skis and glided through the pristine snow, with Daddy ahead and Mommy following on behind. The stillness was palpable, except for the swish of our skis. We flushed an occasional flock of chickadees while being dusted with snow from overhanging branches. Conversation seemed superfluous under the brilliant winter sun.

    We didn't take any pictures, but snap shots of that afternoon are etched in my mind as though it were yesterday, whereas the youth meeting would have been forgotten in a week. And I'm guessing each of the boys remembers that Sabbath afternoon as well. (But we didn't tell anyone that we had been ski-ing on Sabbath, of all things!)

    We don't always have to talk about God when we are out in nature. Sometimes we just sense His greatness and love just by being out there.

    We have done many other things on Sabbath afternoons, but family nature outings probably top the list of happy memories. In my mind, Sabbath is for families --not just individual families but church families. But that's another story.

    Sabbath has been such a blessing in our lives as a mandated mini vacation every 7th day. The spiritual, emotional and physical benefits have been immeasurable. With the Sabbath comes this sense of liberation that I don't have to worry about bills, I don't have to worry about weeding the garden, I don't have to ... do a whole bunch of things. ;)

    Thank God for the beautiful and precious gift of Sabbath!

    Like(0)
  30. I grew up with the do and don'ts and although the idea that the Sabbath was a test of loyalty was well engraved in my mind it did not make a delight for me because I did not have a relationship with the creator of the Sabbath. Then, tired of the do and don'ts, I joined the crowd of the social sabbath, we would eat together, talk about trivial things, laugh, and have fun. Did that make the sabbath a delight? No. The reason was that those activities did not bring me into a relationship with my creator. What makes the Sabbath a day of rest, a delight, is that we enjoy spending time with Jesus and doing what he did, He said

    "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

    Like(0)
    • "Take My Yoke upon you." Rest by working, working with Jesus that is. :) He being the stronger ox and training us and pulling us along, us being the weaker ox.
      It is a beautiful illustration of the Christian walk.
      We must yoke up w/ Jesus in Sabbath observance, as in all points. Some of us, myself included, have been guilty of just following in Jesus' footsteps w/o being yoked up; it can be hazardous to your spiritual health!
      ---------------
      I appreciate the posts of Sabbath traditions by Inge and others! They are giving me good ideas for what my growing family and I will be doing on Sabbath. :) Expecting a son in February by the grace of God!

      Like(0)
  31. Frankly speaking, I don't care what change was made. If I did not read about it, I would not have known about it. The sense the hymn makes about loving God and serving Him is good enough for me and a good many Christians who may not be aware of any change. While a reminder about the Christian struggle is good, we need to sense the need to learn to love and to serve God as we should and to do so for our fellow men as well.

    Like(0)
  32. Great comments and I am encouraged by the depth of understanding my brothers and sisters have re the Sabbath. This is in response to one comment about Christ "breaking" the rules re the observance of such.

    Jesus didn't break the commandments as He was accused of doing. He kept the Sabbath according to the guidelines, rules, that He had made. He did not keep it according to the law or rule of man. That is the rub.
    Jesus said to follow Him, Look to Him and be saved, walk as He walked and abide in the Spirit as He abode. Jesus said, we are to obey God and not man is very sound advice. Jesus was our example. Do not look at each other to judge our growth in righteousness. Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith!
    God has called each one of us to serve Him but He has not called us to do the same things at the same time in the same way. What we do in our personal ministries is not to be taken as a standard for others to follow for we are all given different gifts and ministries in service for our Lord. But God gave us the standard for holiness, worship, and love and that is the standard we should be striving to honor, love and obey. Not those that we have set up for ourselves nor for others.

    Like(0)
  33. Just commenting on the "Test" for God's People, His BLOOD Provision for His People under the New Covenant, The Sabbath, the Role of the LAW The Seal of God, under the New Covenant.

    OUR TEST OF FAITH: According to the Word of God is found in the parable of the Sheep & the Goats Matthew 25: 31-46

    OUR PROVISION FOR THE TEST has already been secured by the Sacrificial Blood of Jesus & his priestly ministry: Hebrews 9: 15-28, 10: 1-18

    JESUS'S NEW COVENANT PROMISES, ADMONITIONS & OUR APPROACH TO THE SABBATH
    Galatians 3: 1-21, Hebrews 8: 1-13; 10:10-13; Hebrews 4:9

    THE SEAL OF GOD FOR HIS PEOPLE: 2 Cor 1:22, Ephesians 1:13. Ephesians 4:30

    Like(0)

What do you think? If you like a comment, just [Like] it or post a thoughtful reply. Please provide a working email address and your real first AND last name to have your comment published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.