Will You Obey the Fourth Commandment? | Telecasts | Tomorrow's World

Will You Obey the Fourth Commandment?

Will You Obey the Fourth Commandment?

How often do you remember the Sabbath and keep it holy? Learn that priority for Christians as Richard Ames proves from the Bible—especially the book of Acts—that Sabbath-keeping is part of how to show God you love Him.

[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]

What Is the Fourth Commandment?

Billions of people in the world are missing out on the New Testament message of abundant living. Human reason, including non-biblical ideas of “human love,” continues to lead the world toward suffering, confusion, and disaster. What is the true way to love and peace in the world? Most professing Christians know the answer, Matthew 22:37. Jesus Christ gave these two principles to be obeyed by every human being:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).

My friends, this is the way to true life, meaning, and fulfillment. But why do so few enjoy this true life? Because human beings do not like to be told what to do. These are “commandments” and humans resist commandments, including the Ten Commandments.

But many would rather remain ignorant, because it suits their selfish desires. Aldous Huxley, the famous English author, expressed this perspective well: “Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence” (Ends and Means, p. 312). But there IS a God, and He commands us to love Him!

The First Great Commandment to love God is defined by the first four of the Ten Commandments, and the Fourth Commandment of the Ten emphasizes a weekly action in loving God.

Exodus 20:8–10,

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.”

My friends, will you love God? Will you obey the Fourth Commandment? You need to know the true Christian way of life and the true Sabbath of Jesus Christ!

Stay tuned!

Christians and the Sabbath

Billions of people all over the world enjoy holidays. They celebrate secular holidays and religious holy days.

Muslims worship on Friday and follow the call to prayer five times a day. Jews around the world have worshiped for thousands of years on the Sabbath, the day that begins at sunset every Friday evening, and continues through sunset on Saturday. Professing Christians meet for Sunday church services, proclaiming theirs is the true day for worship.

The Sabbath controversy has continued for centuries. Did the New Testament change the Sabbath observance to Sunday worship? Should religious people set aside ANY special day as HOLY? Does your Bible COMMAND us to observe SUNDAY, the first day of the week, as a day of worship? Or should Christians observe the seventh-day Sabbath? On today’s program, we’ll answer that question from the Bible.

The most important questions of life are answered in your Bible. And yet, we see religious conflicts and differences even among professing Christian denominations. Why do so many professing Christians keep Sunday, while others keep Saturday as the Sabbath?

To answer the question, let’s look at the beginning of Christianity as recorded in your Bible. If you have your Bible, turn to Acts 13:42. In the first century AD, the Apostle Paul had preached on the Sabbath in the ANTIOCH synagogue. His audience consisted of both Jews and Gentiles. Notice that after the Jews left the meeting, the Gentiles made a request. Now, this was YEARS after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Surely, if Christians were to keep Sunday, the Gentiles would have met with the Apostle Paul the very next day, Sunday, after they had met in the synagogue on Saturday. But did they? Acts 13:42, “So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them [WHEN? The next day, Sunday? No!].” “The Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.” Read that again in your own Bible. “The Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.”

My friends, the New Testament Church of the first century observed the seventh-day Sabbath. Let’s continue reading in Acts 13:43: “Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. [Now, listen to this!] On the NEXT SABBATH almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God” (Acts 13:43–44).

Yes, it was the Apostle Paul’s custom to preach on the Sabbath as it tells us in Acts 17:2. Many were converted to Christianity and continued observing the Fourth Commandment. Paul was very effective in his preaching to both Jews and Gentiles, as we read in Acts 18:4. He was in Corinth on this occasion:

“And he [the Apostle Paul] reasoned in the synagogue EVERY SABBATH, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.”

The Christians of the first century AD observed the seventh-day Sabbath. But when was it changed to Sunday? And WHO popularized Sunday observance?

The Catholic Encyclopedia, on the topic of “Sunday,” states this: “Tertullian (202 [AD]) is the first writer who expressly mentions the Sunday rest: ‘We, however (just as tradition has taught us), on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection ought to guard not only against kneeling, but every posture and office of solicitude, deferring even our businesses lest we give any place to the devil’” (“Sunday,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 14, 1912). That was not until 202 AD, more than 170 years AFTER the death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ!

And it was not until the fourth century AD that the Emperor Constantine ENFORCED Sunday worship throughout the Roman Empire. Constantine had been a pagan sun-worshipper. He gave the following edict in 321 AD: “On the venerable day of the SUN let all magistrates and people … REST” (“Sunday Legislation,” Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 11, p. 147, 1911).

The sun-worshiping emperor Constantine, declared Sunday to be a day of rest. But what was the justification for that? Even Tertullian, whom we mentioned earlier, cited “TRADITION” as his authority. Listen, what is your foundation of truth? What is the source of your religion? Is it tradition apart from the Bible? Is it church authority apart from the Bible? Or is it the Bible itself?

Jesus gave a very strong warning when human traditions contradict the commandments of God. Turn to Mark 7. Many churches have followed that wrong pathway, just as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Mark 7:7.

Jesus said, “In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…. All too well you REJECT THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD, that you may keep YOUR TRADITION” (Mark 7:7–9).

That is a warning I hope all of us will heed. Jesus stated He is Lord of the Sabbath. He observed the Sabbath regularly and He did NOT break the Sabbath commandment as some theologians assert. As He said in John 15:10, “I have kept My Father’s commandments.”

And we as Christians must strive to follow our Savior’s example. He warned us, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven’” (Matthew 7:21).

My friends, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and the instructions of your Bible? Or will you follow the tradition of men?

The Sabbath Rest—A Day of Worship

Turn in your Bible to Mark 2:27. Jesus stated,

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

And notice what Jesus DID NOT SAY. He did NOT SAY, “The Sabbath was made for the Jews.” No, the Sabbath was made for ALL HUMANITY—for every man, woman, and child on planet earth! That is what Christ proclaimed!

We’ve seen that Jesus instructed His followers to keep the Ten Commandments. He Himself observed the seventh-day Sabbath, as did the Apostles. But is there OTHER New Testament evidence that Christians should observe the Sabbath? Yes, there is!

Turn in your Bible to Hebrews 4. In this chapter, the Sabbath is pictured as a type of the millennial rest, as well as a memorial of God’s rest at creation. Hebrews 4:8. Speaking of the disobedience of the ancient Israelites on their way to the promised land, Hebrews 4:8 states, “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. [Now, listen! Verse 9] There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:8–9). The original Greek word for the word “rest” in verse 9 is “sabbatismos” which means “a Sabbath-keeping” (according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (“Rest,” Vine’s Complete Expository of Old and New Testament Words, p. 529, 1985).

Both the Revised Version and the New International Version translate verse 9 as “a Sabbath rest.” Yes, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, even to this day!

Now, does this mean a symbolic rest—or a literal Sabbath rest? The Anchor Bible Dictionary cites several secular Greek writings, where “sabbatismos” LITERALLY means “Sabbath observance” or “Sabbath celebration” (“Sabbath,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 5, pp. 855–856, 1992).

My friends, there is no question that this verse is a New Testament statement on literal Christian observance of the Sabbath.

The context of Hebrews the fourth chapter does speak both of symbolic and literal rest. The Greek word “katapausis” is also translated “rest” in this section. But notice what God says of those who have now entered into God’s rest, that is—those who are converted, those who will now follow Christ. Notice this important statement in verse 10 of Hebrews 4. “For he [the individual Christian] who has entered His rest [God’s rest] has himself also ceased from his works [notice] AS GOD DID FROM HIS.”

If we, as converted Christians, are to cease from our works just as God did from his, we simply need to ask one question: HOW did God cease from His works? Verse 4 of Hebrews 4) gives us the answer: “For He has spoken in a certain place of THE SEVENTH DAY in this way: ‘And God rested on THE SEVENTH DAY from all His works.’”

There is no guessing here. New Testament Christians are supposed to rest just as God rested—on the Seventh Day! The Bible is very clear. Both the Old Testament AND the New Testament give Christians the clear example and instruction to keep the Sabbath Day Holy!

The scholarly Anchor Bible Dictionary affirms the responsibility of New Testament Christians to observe the Sabbath. It states: “PHYSICAL sabbath-keeping on the part of the NEW COVENANT believer as affirmed by ‘sabbath rest’ epitomizes cessation from ‘works’ (4:10) in commemoration of God’s rest at creation (4:4 = Gen 2:2) and manifests faith in the salvation provided by Christ” (vol. 5, p. 856). That’s quite a plain statement!

Do you realize, my friends, that the fourth commandment was not instituted at Mt. Sinai during the time of Moses? It already existed at the recreation as we read in Genesis 2:2. The fourth commandment states: “REMEMBER the Sabbath Day” (Exodus 20:8). God established the weekly Sabbath, not during Moses’ time! God established the Sabbath more than 2,500 years before Moses! Your Bible proves that fact.

The bottom-line question is: WHO or WHAT is your authority? Is it the Bible? Or some church and religion APART FROM the Bible?

The Sabbath has Never Been Changed

As we’ve seen, some religious leaders, including Roman Catholic and Protestant, claim TRADITION or church administration, APART FROM THE BIBLE, as their reason for keeping SUNDAY, rather than the Sabbath.

My friends, we can be very thankful that original Christianity, the Christianity of the first century, which observed the fourth commandment, has continued to this day. Biblical Christianity has continued in spite of persecutions through the centuries. For example, in the seventeenth century, Sabbatarian Christians were persecuted in England and searched for religious freedom in the new lands, the colonies of North America.

The royal charter of 1663 granted by Charles II of England, guaranteed religious freedom to the colony of Rhode Island. That charter can be seen today in the Providence, Rhode Island statehouse.

Stephen Mumford and his wife came to Newport, Rhode Island in 1665 in search of religious freedom. They were the first Christian Sabbath keepers in America. As their group expanded and grew, they needed a larger meeting hall. The Sabbatarians built a large meeting hall in 1729. It is now preserved by the Newport Historical Society. If you’re ever in Newport, Rhode Island you will want to visit this historic building. In fact, the oldest Jewish synagogue in America is located right next door to the Christian Sabbath meeting hall.

In the Newport Sabbatarian meeting hall is a raised pulpit. Behind the pulpit are two large plaques inscribed with the Ten Commandments. At the bottom of the second plaque is the Apostle Paul’s bold statement of Romans 3:31 in the King James Version, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Yes, these New Testament Christians affirmed their allegiance to Christ’s statement, “But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).

Sabbatarian church records, preserved in the Newport Historical Museum, contain members’ names and contributions. Most significantly, the church describes itself in those records as “keeping the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, and in particular the Lord’s 7th Day Sabbath.” And in eighteenth century Rhode Island, there were other prominent Sabbatarians, including two governors of the Rhode Island colony, Richard Ward and his son Samuel—and even the first president of Brown University, James Manning, was a Sabbatarian.

Sadly, many over the centuries have chosen human tradition over God’s plain teachings. The noted Catholic theologian, James Cardinal Gibbons, wrote this bold statement: “But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify” (The Faith of Our Fathers, pp. 72–73, 1917). That is a quote from Gibbons’ The Faith of Our Fathers, first published in 1876.

In other words, Gibbons is saying, if the Bible is your authority, you have NO basis for observing Sunday. The Scriptures, as he states, “enforce the religious observance of Saturday.” We agree with his statement. What Gibbons and other Catholic authorities state, is that, it is the authority of the Catholic Church that changed observance in the Christian world from Saturday to Sunday, NOT the New Testament scriptures! And that occurred in the Council of Laodicea in the middle of the fourth century!

Furthermore, here is an admission by Harold Lindsell, editor of Christianity Today magazine and Southern Baptist minister (November 5, 1976): “There is nothing in Scripture that requires us to keep Sunday rather than Saturday as a holy day” (“Consider the Case for Quiet Saturdays,” Christianity Today, November 5, 1976, p. 42).

So, will you keep the seventh-day Sabbath? It is a memorial of the Creation—and points to the true God and true Creator of the Universe. The book of Hebrews in the New Testament also emphasizes the Sabbath as a foreshadowing of the millennial Sabbath, the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. The seventh-day Sabbath has deep meaning for Christians.

The Blessing of the Seventh Day Sabbath

“The Sabbath was MADE for MAN, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

My friends, Christ and the Apostles observed the seventh-day Sabbath, and the biblical holy days. The Scriptures admonish us to follow their example. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). The Apostle Peter exhorted us to follow the example of Christ. 1 Peter 2:21, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” In observing the New Testament Passover, Jesus instructed His disciples to follow His example, even by practicing the foot-washing service. Jesus said in John 13:15, “For I have GIVEN YOU AN EXAMPLE, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:15–17).

We look forward to the day when all peoples and all nations will do as Christ says. The Messiah will establish world peace, world government, true education, and the biblical way of truth, love, and life. All nations will OBSERVE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. They will observe the weekly Sabbath and the biblical holy days! What a wonderful, peaceful, and prosperous world it will be for all peoples! Will you obey the fourth commandment? Will you follow our Lord’s instruction in Matthew 19:17? Jesus told the young rich man and us: “But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

God’s commandments are a joy for true Christians! As the Apostle John wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3)—or “not grievous,” as the KJV has it. The seventh-day Sabbath brings joy to those who observe it as God commands!

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