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Laws Of The 4th Commandment

Laws Of The 4th Commandment
What is the Sabbath? The New Testament Sabbath is God inviting us to set aside time with Him because we love Him. Looking to the days ahead as we dig into the Scriptures, let me just share my conclusions with you.
The Sabbath is not a day we observe, but an attitude that flows from a relationship. It has nothing to do with shopping, traveling, or activities; and everything to do with knowing God, longing for His Word, and delighting in His His Presence.
Our time investments as New Testament believers should show a conscious move away from the endless time invested in work for physical profit, and growing choices for regular time invested in knowing God better each day.
Sabbath observance becomes a daily lifestyle of enjoying moments of resting in Christ. Any temporary daily cessation from work is primarily to open time for reflecting our desires for intimacy with our Savior and Creator. We don’t live to work every moment, we live to know Christ and work hard to fulfill our Biblical responsibilities in life.
The New Testament teaches that all the Old Testament rules regulating Sabbath Day’s behavior were part of the ceremonial law that God gave to Israel. The moral law is repeated in the New Testament and is binding upon all believers of all ages, but the ceremonial law is not repeated in the New Testament and is not binding upon New Testament believers.
The system of sacrifices, the system of a Levitical priesthood, and all the elements of the ceremonial law system including Sabbath Day behavior passed away when Christ came to bring the New Covenant.
Sabbath observance was not stated anywhere in the creation account in Genesis 1-2. But, in Exodus, Ezekiel, and Nehemiah the Sabbath Day is stated to be a sign to Israel, not to the Church.
In the Epistles Paul explicitly says that the Old Testament ceremonies were shadows of Christ that are past, now that He has come (Gal. 4:10-11; Col. 2:16-17). When Paul wrote about sins to avoid, he never stated sins of not observing the Sabbath, rather he stated the opposite. Paul says beware of Sabbath observance that leads to bondage.
So the Sabbath Day has blessings, but an unbiblical observance leads to bondage. That is what we will see in the days ahead. God wants us to understand the Sabbath rest He has given both in salvation and in our rhythms of life.


Are we under the law for the Sabbath? Turn to Colossians chapter 2 with me. You have to think about what’s going on with the gospel spreading and what happened. Boy, I’ve got too many parts here. I want you to see this, what happened.

They have all these commands, by the way. The Pharisees were the experts of these 613 commands, and they wrote a lot of insights. They, the Pharisees, took the 613 commands and made a mountain out of them. They had all this legislation out of the 613, like about washing.

You had to wash. Your mom probably made you wash when you were little, but boy they really believed in washing. They believed that you had to wash with your hands up, your elbows down. You had to pour water, the water had to drip down like this, it had to go this way, you had to wipe with a cloth immediately after, and you couldn’t touch anything. It was almost like going into surgery. They went overboard on washing. They also went overboard on tithing. Then, they went overboard on the Sabbath and that’s where we get the Sabbath day journey.

The church is born from literature, all written by Jews, all the Bible’s written by Jewish people except for two little parts. Nebuchadnezzar a Babylonian wrote part, and he was not a Jew. Luke was a proselyte to Judaism, but we don’t believe that Luke was a Jew, he was writing along. But all the rest of the Bible is written by Jews. All the apostles were Jewish. Jesus was Jewish. Naturally, the early Church was born into this maelstrom of Judaism. It was hard for the people to separate the words of the Bible. Those 613 commands are really in God’s word, but all this expansion on it. This is called the Mishna, the Talmud. These are commentaries, the Gemara. All of this was their enlargement of all the laws. Boy, did they enlarge the Sabbath day.

Remember what Jesus did? He was always messing up their system. He healed people on the Sabbath. They didn’t like that. He told the man that He healed to take up His mat and what? You could not carry a load on the Sabbath day. Where does say that in the Bible? It says you’re not supposed to do your customary work, you’re supposed to set aside the day for the Lord. By the way, see how hard it is? The law. The 10 commandments. Jesus said, love fulfills the whole law. Every one of the 10 commandments is repeated in the New Testament except this one, the fourth. Isn’t that interesting? All the others, either the apostles or Christ repeat and lay on us.

Murder is wrong, coveting is wrong, lying is wrong, fornication and adultery are wrong, dishonoring God, et cetera. This one is not repeated. For anybody that’s told you, you can’t go out to eat on Sunday, or buy gas, or travel more than a Sabbath day’s journey, it’s okay for them to believe that but it doesn’t say that in the Bible. The Sabbath day was never placed on us. Now to Colossians 2, because people started becoming law detectors. They were coming out of the Jerusalem church, and they were going to all the little churches. They were going around and saying, you guys can’t do that stuff.

Paul starts talking to them and what he says to them is, starting in verse 11 he says, “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands…” In other words, there is a spiritual side to this circumcision, because another thing they were really big on was all the laws about circumcision. With that, you had to be circumcised on the eighth day if you had a male child. The mother was unclean for 40 days, if she had a male child 80 days, if she had a female child… there was all this stuff. What he said is spiritual circumcision is pictured by putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, you’re buried with Him. He talks about all that and he keeps going through.

Look at verse 14, “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” What he’s saying is, all these 613, the law was a school master that was to bring us to Christ. Christos. I use an X as an abbreviation for Christ. The law was not intended for people to go through their lives worrying as to whether they had washed properly, circumcised on the right day, tithed enough. They were tithing their plants. They were going through, the Pharisees, and they would count every 10th. Can you imagine going through your sunflowers and pulling out every 10th petal or whatever and taking it to the temple? Then, the Sabbath thing got huge.

Look what Paul does. He starts with talking to them about circumcision, and then the whole body of ordinances that was against us. Looking at all the ones we had broken, because the law was supposed to show us. The law as a school master was to show us how completely unable we are to match up to God’s righteousness. We all are law breakers, in so many ways, to bring us to Christ; to realize that our only hope is not us living a perfect life, but that He lived it.

Look what Paul gets to. Keep reading down there. He “…nailed it to the cross.” Verse 15, I’m in Colossians 2:15. “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Here’s verse 16, “Let no one judge you in food…” I didn’t even talk about that. The diet here, you could not eat pork, you could not eat shellfish, you could not eat many types of anything that scavenged. Shrimp eat all the waste at the bottom, so do lobsters. My good Seventh Day Adventists friend and fellow student of scripture, every time we’d go out to eat in Lansing at Bill Knapp’s, when there used to be Bill Knapp’s, when they used to be a good restaurant, I would always order the shrimp basket. He says, you’re eating whale poopies, because shrimp are a scavenger, they are bottom feeders. It’s carp and all that stuff. All these dietary laws were just on people, so he says don’t let anyone, verse 16, “judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival…”

There were seven Jewish festivals, they were huge. Rosh Hashana is coming up, the New Year’s coming up. This is a very sobering time for Jewish people. If you’re a Jewish person right now, you’re supposed to do all that. It’s really an amazing time. It’s a very sober time for them, the New Year’s is sober. But, don’t let anybody judge you in “regarding a festival or a new moon…” Here it is, “…or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come.” “The substance,” verse 17, “is of Christ.”

Do you know what Paul said in one verse, just like that? We’re not under the fourth commandment. In fact, we’re not under any of the ceremonial law. The moral law never changes. The reason we know homosexuality is wrong is, one of these 613 commands from God had to do with His character. God says in Leviticus 18, that homosexuality is an abomination to me, to God. If homosexuality is an abomination to an infinite, immutable, unchanging God 3,500 years ago, it still is. You understand that the same thing goes for beastiality. The same thing goes for astrology, horoscopes, witchcraft. Those things are in the moral law, the character of God. This Sabbath day is not part of His moral law, it was His ceremonial law for His people. They were to be distinguished in the culture of Canaan and the world.

Remember this morning, if you were here, I told you about the Via Maris. Last Sunday night I showed it to you. It went from Africa, crossed right across Israel, went north of Israel, and split to India and to Europe, the whole world. If you’re shipping anything from Europe to Africa, it went through Israel. If you shipped anything from Africa to India, went through Israel. If you shipped anything from India to Europe, it touched on the northern coast. All three continents, Israel’s the hinge, and they were supposed to be observing these laws to make them distinct and to show them through the sacrifices, Christ. Remember, Christ was portrayed in all the sacrifices and every time they sinned, they had to go to the tabernacle. They had to trust a substitute. The law was a school master that was pointing them toward a substitute. It was not a yoke that was to be put on the Church.

A Sabbath day’s journey in the first century, to the law keepers, was if you went further God is going to judge you. To the Jews, it was their background. It is like us saying, something that’s real American. When you go overseas and you say, hey, we’re going to celebrate Thanksgiving. They go, what? You say, you don’t have pilgrims? You don’t eat cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie, and eat a turkey? They go, what are you talking about? That’s American. A Sabbath day’s journey was Jewish. It was ingrained in them from little childhood that you don’t walk more than so many steps and you don’t carry anything on the Sabbath day, that concept stayed with them.

Did you know Paul never stopped celebrating the festivals? If you read the book of Acts, all the way through the book of Acts, Paul says I’ve got to hurry, I hope to get to Jerusalem before Pentecost. I hope that I get to you before this feast of… His mind is on the biblical calendar, but he never imposed it on anybody else. What I would say is, if you really want to understand the Bible, you got to do what our family did for a year. We celebrated the Jewish feasts, and read what they meant and when they happened, to what they signified, and what event happened. You know what? We don’t do it every year. We don’t think everybody else should, but it is the backdrop of the Bible. Acts 1 verse 12 is because of that backdrop.


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