Alma’s Question: Should we worship on the Sabbath or Sunday?
This is a great question, one I hear quite frequently. There might be some things that you have not heard in my reply, but we shall stick to what the Bible has to say vs. man’s traditions and opinions. But in the end you must decide what you believe and how you will worship God with your life. It is my belief that worship of God is not tied to one particular day of the week, but the Christian should worship God seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
1. In Colossians 2:16-17 NKJV, the Apostle Paul gives us some helpful information: “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Notice that these are a shadow of things to come; the reality for the Christian is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Notice now what Paul says in Romans, “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. LET EACH BE FULLY CONVINCED IN HIS OWN MIND” (Romans 14:5, emphasis added, NKJV).
3. No doubt you can see that Sabbath-keeping is a matter of spiritual freedom, not a command from God. This is not something that we should, as Christians, attempt to judge each other with.
If you are to consider the Sabbath a day to worship God on, then you must be fully convinced that it is something God “WANTS YOU TO DO.”
4. Remember that with the start of Christianity, the believers were predominantly Jews. The Jews had a dilemma. They had to figure out what aspects of the Mosaic Law and Jewish Tradition they should follow and then teach Gentile Christians to obey. The Apostles met and discussed the issue at the Jerusalem Council (see Acts 15). They arrived at the following decision: “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood” (Acts 15:19-20). Did you notice that Sabbath-keeping was not one of the commands the apostles felt was necessary to force on the Gentile believers? Now, no doubt, if it had been a command from God, for the Age of Grace, the Apostles would not have neglected such an important command.
5. This may shock you, but please read Exodus 20:8-11 and you will find that the Sabbath was NOT given as a day of worship. The command was to do no work on the Sabbath. Further, nowhere in Scripture do we find a command that the Sabbath is to be the day of worship. However, Jews in the Old Testament, New Testament, and modern times use Saturday as the day of worship, but that is NOT the essence of the command.
6. Along with this the normal question becomes, “When did the early Christians meet?” We find the answer is Acts 2:46-47. “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” We find in the Scriptures, if there was a day that Christians met regularly, it was the first day of the week (Sunday), not the Sabbath (Saturday). (See Acts 20:7; and I Corinthians 16:2.) This was done in honor of Christ’s resurrection on Sunday. The early Christians observed Sunday, not as a Christian Sabbath but a day set aside to worship Jesus Christ.
6. So here is the normal question: “Is there anything wrong with worshipping on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath?” The answer is NO! As I indicated previously we are to worship God every day of the week, not just on Saturday or Sunday.
*If you look around the country, many churches have worship services on both Saturday and Sunday.
*There is freedom in Christ (Romans 8:21; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1). Here are some other questions that come up:
- Should a Christian practice not working on Saturdays? If a Christian feels led to do so, the answer is YES (Romans 14:5). However, those who choose to practice Sabbath-keeping should NOT judge those who do not keep the Sabbath (Colossians 2:16). Further, those who do not keep the Sabbath should avoid being a stumbling block (I Corinthians 8:9) to those who do keep the Sabbath.
- Galatians 5:13-16 sums up the issue for us: “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do NOT use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through LOVE SERVE ONE ANOTHER. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by another! I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
7. To address the issue broadly, Scripture indicates that Sabbath keeping is a matter of Christian Liberty; but, the one who follows it must be CONVINCED that it is God’s will for their life. However, we are not to judge others who might not see it the way we do and we are not to become a stumbling block to others.
I trust that this will answer your question and trust you won’t mind but I am including my answer to some others. Feel free to ask me questions in the future. You may not always agree but you will get an answer.
In Christian Love
Pastor Shelton – President, Open Bible Ministries of TN