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Holy Day or Holiday? (Part 1 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
November 9, 2021 3:00 am

Holy Day or Holiday? (Part 1 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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November 9, 2021 3:00 am

The fourth commandment calls us to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. But today’s culture struggles to fit busy schedules into such a framework. Is God’s ancient law still relevant today? Find out when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The fourth of the 10 commandment the woman calls us to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. But here in the 21st century that still makes sense is this ancient law still relevant in our culture today on Truth for Life.

Alister Meg explores the clear and specific instruction.

God has given us to set apart one day all the rest invite you to take your Bibles and turn to Exodus there in Exodus chapter 20 we read in verse eight and following the words of the fourth commandment. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work on the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.

On it you shall not do any work. Neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy shall be bound in a moment of prayer. Our gracious God and father.

This commandment, perhaps more than any other is militated against both outside the church, and inside the church and were going to come to terms with it for going to bow beneath the weight of its instruction were going to need the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to convince us of the truth of the word of God and so we ask for that today nothing more than that, and nothing less than that, so that we may be renewed in our inner being. Regarding the truth of holy Scripture. And we pray in Jesus name. Asking this comment a number of people have spoken to me concerning the impact of these 10 Commandments, as we have begun to study them together. One gentleman announced at the conclusion of last Sunday morning that he was, as he put it 043 and as you know we had only done three to that point. He, his honesty extended to the fact that he went on to say that having read ahead. He felt that the best he might hope for was 1/19. He made contact with me later in the day to say that after some further study. He has revised estimate was that he was going to be zero for 10 of those observations are as helpful as they are honest, because there isn't one of us here this morning that is going to be a will to stand up and say that we have kept any of the first three commandments perfect love God exclusively we have worship the correct God correctly.

We have been free of the misuse of his name.

Now as we come to the fourth commandment, we got a sneaking suspicion it would have to bow beneath the weight of this one and acknowledge that we are guilty and that we are lawbreakers now that are not to be of a concern to us insofar as that is the purpose of the law are one of the purposes of the law. If we could have kept all the commandments perfectly.

Then God would've accepted as but we can, and therefore he doesn't wear guilty we broken God's law and it is by means of the law that were made conscious of our sin.

If we simply compare ourselves with other people, we may say well I'm a little garden better than this individual. I'm not as good as that one but on a kind of sliding scale, I'm really not that bad if God grades on the curve then presumably I'm really okay but when we stand against a perfect law of holiness and place our lives in the reflection of this we realize that were guilty note, the whole of the Bible makes clear just why this is and if you turn for moment this morning by way of introduction to Romans chapter 3 I need to say this, and there is a sense in which I might realistically have this as the recurring introduction to all of our studies in each of the commandment because it is equally apropos.

Every time we turn to another one. Romans chapter 3 and in verse 19, Paul is writing is already pointed out from the Old Testament that there is no one who does good, not even one. People don't like to hear that.

And then he says in verse 19 now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, the purpose being so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law rather through the law we become conscious of sin is told her there for moment what Paul is saying is this the law of God, summarized in the Decalogue in the 10 Commandments is given to us as a mirror in which we see a reflection of ourselves and when we see ourselves. We realize that we are lawbreakers that we are guilty before a holy God.

We also realize that we cannot keep this law with any sense of perfection and therefore that the law, the 10 Commandments cannot be far as the ladder up which we claim to acceptance with God, and if there is to be acceptance with God then we know that it must come by some other route that's verse 21 but now, says Paul, a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known to which the law and the prophets testify.

In other words, he says what I'm about to tell you is not new goal of the Old Testament in the law and in the prophets there pointing forward to the solution to the problem. Verse 22 this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. That is the appeal of the gospel that is the opportunity of the good news that is the expansiveness of the offer that there is a possibility of being put in a right standing with a holy God. I am guilty of the lawbreaker and the way in which that divine transaction takes place is through faith in Jesus Christ and it comes to all who believe who entrust themselves exclusively and fully into the care of the provision that God has made for us in Christ, for he says there's no difference.

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. So then we see the law confronts us with our guild. It sends us to Christ to find forgiveness and freedom. The freedom is not a freedom to do what we want, but rather to do what we should.

What should we do, how may we know what we ought to do.

While that is summarized for us here in the Decalogue in the 10 Commandments. Here are the guidelines for freedom. Here is how children are to live with her parents. Here is how husbands are to live with her wife's here is the sanctity of human property. It is the sanctity of work. Here is the sanctity of life here is all that God intends in this great summary statement providing for is the nature of genuine freedom. So the believer then keeps the law of God, not believing that by keeping it. We gain acceptance or approval with God, but rather we keep God's law is a declaration of our grateful response to his life. Until we understand that and we haven't really understood enough to proceed with the study of the 10 Commandments, so let me summarize it again until the law of God confronts us with our sin and our need of a Savior in whom we then Christ any explanation of the 10 Commandments will fall back upon our years, because the 10 Commandments are not a way to gain acceptance with God but they are the guidelines for free living, lived out by those who through faith have believed in the provision of Christ. So this morning when we proclaim the law.

We are inevitably categorized. We are all lawbreakers.

We are either those who, having broken the law have come to Christ for salvation and trust in that alone or we continue as unbelievers. I did hunting come to Christ to sell for salvation.

We then are those who are saying teach me from the word what the parameters of freedom really are.

So we discovered in the first commandment that it had to do with the exclusive worship of God in the second commandment that it was important for us to worship the correct God correctly in the third commandment last time that we are not to misuse the name of God, and now this morning in the fourth commandment, we discover that there is an abiding significance to a day that is holy to the Lord. Now there are two things that mitigate against any good understanding of this commandment and their needs.

On the one on an almost complete lack of conviction about any notion of the abiding significance of the fourth commandment will address that in a moment, and on the other hand, almost total confusion concerning the nature not only of all the 10 Commandments but peculiarly of this one day note, we can highlight this in a number of ways. Let me do so by quoting from the Civil War Gen. Jackson is a legend in American history and if you have read of Jackson will know that he was a man of extreme principle and character.

At the very heart of this was his conviction faith in Jesus Christ and his extreme rigorous character attached itself also to the observance of the Sabbath and writing in his biography's widow says certainly he was not less scrupulous in obeying the divine command to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy than he was in any other rule of his life since the creator and set apart this day for his own and commanded to be kept holy.

He believed that it was wrong for him to desecrated by worldly pleasure, idleness, or secular employment as to break any other commandment of the Decalogue. Sunday was his busiest day of the week as he always attended church twice a day and talking to Sabbath schools he refrained as much as possible from all worldly conversation and in his family. If secular topics were introduced, he would say, with a kindly smile. We will talk about that tomorrow. He never traveled on Sunday never took his mail from the post office nor permitted a letter of his own to travel on that day always, before posting it calculating the time required to reach his destination once or strengthen his own Sabbath observance naturally believe that it was wrong for the government to carry the mail on Sunday. Any organization which exacted secular labor of its employees in the Lord's day was, in his opinion, a violator of God's law, so his life was marked by a rigorous obedience to the law of God. I love once here's the quest is this quote from Jackson an anachronism. In other words, if Jackson was right. Where does that leave us because if we are right.

Most of us he was wrong.

But one thing is for sure were not both right. So we need to go to our Bibles then and determine who approximates to the instruction of God's word closely. Is it us in our libertine rejection of the Lord's day or is it Jackson in his rigorous obedience that can assess the context you're going to have to think with me. I feel the alien nature of this commandment so strongly that it couldn't be graphically portrayed anymore than if I were to come up here wearing the funniest suit you ever saw, and you can say all I understand why saying that because he's a fellow the wares that funny suit.

He has a lot of quirks to levels we better get to grips with what the Bible states there so much material we can cover it in one sermon.

So tonight will come to many of the questions that most of you are hoping will address right now were not going to get to them. The reason were not is because unless we understand the foundational element of this those other questions about which we debate so strongly and are frankly just in the relevancy. Okay so there. If any point surrender address number one way going to consider the principal as it stated. Secondly, were going to look at the practice as it is observed and then were going to finally, and I will be this evening to the practice. Apply okay.

So sorry. The principal stated the pattern observed in the practice apply the principle stated to summarize clearly in this first sentence of verse eight of Exodus 20, all of the rest of it is an application or an amplification of this straightforward command, namely remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy is nothing particularly difficult about that is very clear what it actually means demands our attention.

But the clarity with which it is stated is obvious.

As with the others you shall do this you shall not do that. It is clear, even a child can understand God's concern about the sanctity of one day in seven so it is absolutely vital that we come to understand that there is no convincing reason to believe as some have taught and continued to teach the fourth commandment is in a different category from the other nine. If you been around church life long enough, you may well have imbibed the notion that we have nine commandments and then we have one that is kind of maybe in and maybe out. Interestingly enough, the maybe out factor as a direct correlation with the prevailing impact of the surrounding culture. There was no maybe out in the mind of Stonewall Jackson. There was no maybe out in the minds of our forefathers in this country. One of things I always do when I travel this country and I'm with older pastors. I always asked him tell me about the Lord's day when you were this when you were a young man and they describe a day that is very very different from today. Others are reason for that loved ones. We need to find out what it is and we need to determine whether it is actually progress or regression. Well, you see, there are people who say that the fourth amendment has things that attached to it.

Regulations Mosaic factors that are such that we don't do those things anymore, and therefore, because we don't do those things anymore.

We no longer need to be governed by this commandment, but loved ones. This is just silly talk.

For example, we recognize that there are Mosaic attachments to all of the commands, not least of all to the fourth now in the fourth commandment, you are not allowed to light fires on the Sabbath day. That was a peculiar ceremonial attachment to if you broke the fourth commandment, the punishment was stoning so people say hey we we light fires and we don't stone people. Therefore, we don't get into this fourth commandment stop. Therefore, we don't have 1/4 commandment, no, because if you think it out. There were ceremonial attachments to all the other command take the Fifth Amendment honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land is not an abiding command is that regularly accepted within the chart yet everybody upholds that the fight to the matter is that of a young man cursed his father or his mother. The punishment was stoning. The seventh commandment, thou shalt not commit adultery, do we give credence to that and we uphold as we do and what happened to an adult or an adulterous. They were stone, we no longer strong people because those are the ceremonial accretions that were part and parcel of the Old Testament context, but the fact that we no longer entertain that which surrounded the command in no way negates the command doesn't for adultery. It doesn't for honoring your father and mother. So the question is love once why in the world should for the forthcoming, and I put it to you that the reason that it does for the fourth commandment is because we don't like the implications of the fourth commandment, it cuts across our lives. It cuts across what we've become used to it cuts across our desires for acquisitiveness.

It cuts across our commitment to leisure. It cuts across the God that we made a family living in frankly we are glad to set it apart as a different kind of command of a question that you must answer for yourself is, is there any abiding biblical validity for making that kind of distinction now were going to go on and follow this through and you must think along with remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Elbert sanctify the day. The phrase here means two things. It means first of all remember the Sabbath day by setting it apart is what it means to keep it holy means to set it apart: what way is the day set apart what wonders seven days in the week that God made. Yes, it did he just call one holy yes was there to be one that had a peculiar holy, sanctify dimension to it. Yes. So in what way was a set apart was set apart from all the other days it was a different day from every other day that God create and he sanctioned this by his own example as we will see now, the immediate reaction to that on the part of some is to say, but you don't understand, nor I are maybe not so forcibly but disabled by the five and every day is the Lord's day will there's a sense in which that's true. We ought to serve the Lord every day we are to serve the Lord. Every moment of every day on the way in which we do our work on to be a service to the Lord. But the fact is love ones that even when we acknowledge that it in no way said society need the distinctive almond of this fourth commandment isolating this one day in seven and possessing it with distinction which God has her name, John Murray, the late John Murray, Prof. Westminster theological seminary says to obliterate the difference between one day and the other six to obliterate the difference may appear pious, but it is pi All-City, not piety is not piety to be wiser than God is in piety of the darkest human the Sabbath. He is different from every other day and to obliterate this distinction in thought or practice is to destroy what is the essence of the institution. The recognition of the distinction of the day is indispensable to its observance, so that unless you and I be convinced that God has distinguished this day for all of time and I because he has distinguished it in this way, we must live within the framework of what he is laid down that any attempts at keeping the Sabbath day will simply be as a result either of legalistic externalism or as a result of a kind of time honored tradition or as a result of the reinforcement of what is become stability for listing to Truth for Life Alastair big sharing with us. Part one of a message on the fourth commandment, Alastair will have more for us on this topic tomorrow.

There is no question that this series on the 10 Commandments has a lot to look at one thing to memorize God's laws.

But how do we fully grasp their relevance to our lives right now. The pathway to freedom study guide is a great way to help you personalize the study guide has 12 chapters that correspond with each of Alistair's 12 messages in this series there are also key scriptures from Alistair's teaching and questions related to the main ideas of the message. The study guide is great for you to work through on your own. It's perfect for small group discussion as well. You can purchase it online the truth or you can download a copy for free while you're on our website. Be sure to look for Alistair's book titled pathway to freedom how God's laws guide our lives. This book is an additional way for you to deepen your understanding of the 10 Commandments, you can request your copy you give to truth for online Truth for or you can call 888588788 about the pain God has set apart one day from all the rest, and tomorrow we will learn why that day matters sure to join us Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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