The keeping of the Sabbath comes as a Christian obligation by divine example, and by divine command. God rested after creation, and in the fourth commandment He instructed us to keep the Sabbath. Its importance can be seen in its priority. It was first mentioned in Genesis, and in the wilderness, before the law was given on Sinai. Notice also its perpetuity, lasting from Genesis through life on earth to heaven (Hebrews 4:9). As to its position, it is the keystone in the arch of the law, spanning man’s duty to God, and to his fellow man. Its primacyamong the holy convocations of Leviticus 23 is evident, as it is the only moral command, the rest being ceremonial.
Christians observe the first-day Sabbath. It is the day of rejoicing and gladness, commemorating the resurrection of Christ (Psalm 118:22-24). By contrast the seventh-day Sabbath was a day of intense sorrow and sadness as Jesus languished in the tomb.
The Christian Sabbath, or Lord’s Day, was observed by the disciples. They met together for the preaching of the Word, sat together in remembrance at the Lord’s table, and collected offerings for the support of God’s work. It was also the day when the apostle John had a vision of the risen and exalted Christ.
Observance of the Lord’s Day is an intelligent practice. We must have rest from toil, perhaps the more with the pressures of early twenty-first century life. We must stop and worship God. There should be solemn preparation for the Lord’s Day. By way of preparation we should take time to meditate upon the Lord, and his goodness. We should pray the Lord to impart some special blessing from His Word as we meet to worship. The Sabbath will not then be a drudgery, but a delight to the soul.
“People who cannot abide the Lord’s Day, cannot abide the Lord” [Thomas Watson].