Have Faith Ministries

 

Should Christians Worship on Sunday or the Sabbath?


The following article proves biblically, that Christians are to worship the Lord on the First day of the Week, Sunday.

Biblical evidence reveals that the disciples, after the Lord's resurrection, began to meet on the first day of the week for their fellowship, prayer and time in the word as believers in Christ.

Paul said in, 2Th 2:15, "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle."

One must determine what traditions were given by the apostles to the church. Today the church may have some traditions that find no basis in the Scripture, some may be beneficial some may be harmful. For example, we find no such tradition in the New Testament concerning special music in a worship service or instruments of any kind being mentioned in the church. Yet, we allow both and they have a spiritual benefit if done according to other biblical principles. We also find traditions practiced today and throughout history that have no basis in the Bible, yet the Bible gives clear teaching on the matter. These traditions that go against clear biblical instruction should be avoided. Concerning what day Christians should worship together, some will say, "Worship on the Sabbath is the only acceptable day." Others will say, "worship on the first day of the week is the only acceptable day." A little evidence for either day is more important than no evidence for one of these days. The questions is, "which day does the NT reveal is the day for Christians to worship?" Only God's word should be allowed to determine the truth. Traditions and history are not the benchmark for spiritual truth. God1s word is!

Follow through God's word and determine what it says and NOT what you've been told.

Mt. 28:1, Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

Mr. 16:9, Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.

John 20:19, Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."

The NT clearly teaches us that Jesus rose on the 1st day of the Week. The OT & NT clearly teach that the Jews worshiped God on the 7th day. The OT promises to the nation of Israel are built largely upon entering the promised land. A people forever, a land forever, a nation forever, a king forever, etc, all of these have to do with God's covenants to the nation of Israel, not to the Church, but to the Jews. The 7th day, the Sabbath, was a constant reminder to the Jews that God rested on the seventh day of Creation and the Jews were to rest on the seventh day. Entering into the promised land was a state of Rest. For the believing Jew there will be an eternal state of Rest. Christians through faith in Christ enter into a state of Rest, spiritually. Heb. 4: 9, "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10, For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His."

Ex. 31, is a passage spoken to the Jews alone. Yes, the moral law of God is good for Christians in the church age, but God has not promised Christians a land, an eternal nation, etc. These promises are for the Jews.

Ex. 31:12, And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,13, "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.14, 'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 ,'Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16, 'Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17, 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.' "

Now, no good student of the word would argue that God did not give the Sabbath to the Jews, the nation of Israel. That's what God's word say. Yet do we find God's word saying that the Sabbath was given to the Church? Deut. 5 adds that the Sabbath was a reminder that God had taken Israel out of the bondage of working all the time in Egypt. Slaves worked constantly, but God wanted His people to set aside a day to rest and worship Him:

Dt. 5:12 'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15, And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Don't miss the Jewish nature of this reminder in the Sabbath rest.

What is the Sabbath for?

Mr 2:27 "And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Meaning, a day of rest is beneficial to man. Man needs rest and man needs time to devote to God.

What did Jesus mean when He said:

Mt 12:8 "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." In the context the Jewish religious leaders had just confronted Jesus because His disciples had walked through a grain field on the Sabbath and picked some grain, because they were hungry. Jesus point was, He and His disciples could do whatever He wanted them to do on the Sabbath. Jesus was not saying this to enforce a strictness of Sabbath observance, but rather to give mislead Jews a proper understanding of the Sabbath.

What did Jesus do on the Sabbath and what did His disciples do on the Sabbath?

The gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus, as a Jew going into the synagogue or temple and teaching on the Sabbath. This is normal, because Jesus and His disciples were Jews. This is normal for Jews.

The book of Acts (a complete reading in one sitting recommend) reveals that the Jewish apostles took advantage of their access into the synagogues, on the Sabbath, for evangelistic purposes, but Christian meetings were held on the first day of the week.

Every time the apostles entered the synagogue it was to be a witness for Christ to the Lost.

Ac 17:2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, Ac 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

We need to understand the NT epistles regarding the church's purpose. We do not come together to reason with each other, to see if we will believe Jesus is Messiah or that the NT is Truth for today. The epistles clearly teach that the Christians come together to be built up, edified to do the work of the ministry. The apostles were not equipping saints for the work of the ministry when they went into synagogues on the Sabbath. They were trying to win unbelievers to Christ so that they could be "added to" the church.

Ac 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

All Christians should be reminded of the specific commission to the apostles in following passages:

Acts 1: 8, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Ro 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Without question, these Christians who were formerly under Judaism, took liberty with the Jews they knew and the customs they understood, to proclaim Christ to Jews. However, the purpose was not to go back into Judaism, but rather to lead unbelieving Jews out of the synagogue and it's corrupt teachings.

Interesting facts:

The last actual recorded entrance into a synagogue mentioned in the NT, is in Acts 19:8 (chronologically) date is aprox. 54 AD.

Ac 19:8, And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

The last mention of the apostles evangelizing on the Sabbath, is in Acts 18:4, "And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks." This date is also approx. 54 AD.

What's the point? The Book of Acts covers church history from 33 AD up until 63 AD with no mention of the Sabbath or synagogue after approx 54 AD. What's more important is that the Epistles which were the letters sent to various churches, don't mention Sabbath meetings at all.

Romans, written in 60 AD makes no mention of Sabbath day worship.

1Cor. which was written in 59 AD makes no mention of Sabbath worship, but instead says in 1Cor. 16:2, "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come." This meeting lines up with the clear evidence of Christian meetings in Acts 20:7, "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight."

2Cor. and Gal. make no mention of Sabbath day meetings. Both books were written at or after the time of those events taking place in Acts chapter 20.

Epistles dealing with church related issues (ie: Eph., Philippians, Col.) were all written in 64 AD, yet no mention of the Sabbath meetings are included in these NT books.

1 & 2 Thes. was written in 54 AD, at about the time of the events in Acts 18 & 19, yet still no mention in these epistles about Sabbath meetings.

1Tim. written approx. 65, AD, written to instruct how things should be done in the church. Yet we find nothing about Sabbath worship, nor does 2 Tim. in 66 AD. or Titus, in 65 AD, make mention of the Sabbath meetings. The fact is, the only day mentioned is the First day of the week. Only Sunday is mentioned as the day the Christians gathered. This progression cannot be and should not be ignored! Let's follow the chronology:

Jesus' ministry as a Jewish Man to reach the lost sheep of Israel, did focus on Sabbath day worship.

Then the church started on the day of Pentecost, the first day of the week, this was also the day that Jesus rose from the dead (first day). Yes the apostles did evangelize on the Sabbath, but I would challenge Sabbatereans to find one passage in the NT where Christians come together with just Christians for the purpose of fellowship, prayer and being in God1s word on the Sabbath. There is absolutely NO evidence in the NT Scriptures that the Saints in the church age came together on the Sabbath. To the contrary, there is clear evidence that the Christians met on the first day of the Week, Sunday. This tradition was followed and recorded by early church fathers, before the church of Rome. Sabbatereans have been mislead to think that the early church gathered for their own worship services on the Sabbath. All Christians need to understand that the early church did evangelize on the Sabbath, but did not have their corporate meetings on the Sabbath. Those that worship the Lord on Sunday are following the Biblical tradition set forth by the first Christians beginning at the day of Pentecost. Those that worship on Sunday are also following the traditions that continued in the 1st and 2nd century right up to our present day. Groups that name the name of Christ and meet on Saturday have confused instruction for the Nation of Israel with instruction for the church age. Typically, these kinds of groups will also have other misunderstanding, such as keeping the dietary laws and a number of other instructions that were only given to the nation of Israel. Study the Scriptures to see if these things are true!


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