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R Myers

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The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« on: October 01, 2000, 08:57:00 PM »
      The Sabbath
   

Listen to The Sabbath


     The Sabbath was hallowed at the creation. As ordained for man, it had its origin when "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Job 38:7. Peace brooded over the world; for earth was in harmony with heaven. "God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good;" and He rested in the joy of His completed work. Genesis 1:31. 
     Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,"--set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God's power and His love. The Scripture says, "He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered." "The things that are made," declare "the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world," "even His everlasting power and divinity." Genesis 2:3; Psalm 111:4; Romans 1:20, R. V.
     All things were created by the Son of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. . . . All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1:1-3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.
     The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature, and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul. He "who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6. 
     It was this thought that awoke the song,--

                "Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work;
                 I will triumph in the works of Thy hands.
                 O Lord, how great are Thy works!
                 And Thy thoughts are very deep."
                                                 Psalm 92:4, 5. 
     And the Holy Spirit through the prophet Isaiah declares: "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him? . . . Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. . . . To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? . . . He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength." "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness." "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." This is the message written in nature, which the Sabbath is appointed to keep in memory. When the Lord bade Israel hallow His Sabbaths, He said, "They shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am Jehovah your God." Isaiah 40:18-29; 41:10; 45:22; Ezekiel 20:20, R. V.
     The Sabbath was embodied in the law given from Sinai; but it was not then first made known as a day of rest. The people of Israel had a knowledge of it before they came to Sinai. On the way thither the Sabbath was kept. When some profaned it, the Lord reproved them, saying, "How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?" Exodus 16:28. 
     The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law." So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator's power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God's holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. "From one Sabbath to another" the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up "to worship before Me, saith the Lord." Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 66:23. 
     No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ. When the command was given to Israel, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," the Lord said also to them, "Ye shall be holy men unto Me." Exodus 20:8;  22:31. Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God. 
     As the Jews departed from God, and failed to make the righteousness of Christ their own by faith, the Sabbath lost its significance to them. Satan was seeking to exalt himself and to draw men away from Christ, and he worked to pervert the Sabbath, because it is the sign of the power of Christ. The Jewish leaders accomplished the will of Satan by surrounding God's rest day with burdensome requirements. In the days of Christ the Sabbath had become so perverted that its observance reflected the character of selfish and arbitrary men rather than the character of the loving heavenly Father. The rabbis virtually represented God as giving laws which it was impossible for men to obey. They led the people to look upon God as a tyrant, and to think that the observance of the Sabbath, as He required it, made men hard-hearted and cruel. It was the work of Christ to clear away these misconceptions. Although the rabbis followed Him with merciless hostility, He did not even appear to conform to their requirements, but went straight forward, keeping the Sabbath according to the law of God.
     Upon one Sabbath day, as the Saviour and His disciples returned from the place of worship, they passed through a field of ripening grain. Jesus had continued His work to a late hour, and while passing through the fields, the disciples began to gather the heads of grain, and to eat the kernels after rubbing them in their hands. On any other day this act would have excited no comment, for one passing through a field of grain, an orchard, or a vineyard, was at liberty to gather what he desired to eat. See Deuteronomy 23:24, 25. But to do this on the Sabbath was held to be an act of desecration. Not only was the gathering of the grain a kind of reaping, but the rubbing of it in the hands was a kind of threshing. Thus, in the opinion of the rabbis, there was a double offense. 
     The spies at once complained to Jesus, saying, "Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day." 
     When accused of Sabbathbreaking at Bethesda, Jesus defended Himself by affirming His Sonship to God, and declaring that He worked in harmony with the Father. Now that the disciples are attacked, He cites His accusers to examples from the Old Testament, acts performed on the Sabbath by those who were in the service of God.
     The Jewish teachers prided themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures, and in the Saviour's answer there was an implied rebuke for their ignorance of the Sacred Writings. "Have ye not read so much as this," He said, "what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, . . . which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?" "And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." "Have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple." "The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." Luke 6:3, 4; Mark 2:27, 28; Matthew 12:5, 6. 
     If it was right for David to satisfy his hunger by eating of the bread that had been set apart to a holy use, then it was right for the disciples to supply their need by plucking the grain upon the sacred hours of the Sabbath. Again, the priests in the temple performed greater labor on the Sabbath than upon other days. The same labor in secular business would be sinful; but the work of the priests was in the service of God. They were performing those rites that pointed to the redeeming power of Christ, and their labor was in harmony with the object of the Sabbath. But now Christ Himself had come. The disciples, in doing the work of Christ, were engaged in God's service, and that which was necessary for the accomplishment of this work it was right to do on the Sabbath day.
     Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all. The object of God's work in this world is the redemption of man; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law. Jesus then crowned His argument by declaring Himself the "Lord of the Sabbath,"--One above all question and above all law. This infinite Judge acquits the disciples of blame, appealing to the very statutes they are accused of violating. 
     Jesus did not let the matter pass without administering a rebuke to His enemies. He declared that in their blindness they had mistaken the object of the Sabbath. He said, "If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless." Matthew 12:7. Their many heartless rites could not supply the lack of that truthful integrity and tender love which will ever characterize the true worshiper of God. 
     Again Christ reiterated the truth that the sacrifices were in themselves of no value. They were a means, and not an end. Their object was to direct men to the Saviour, and thus to bring them into harmony with God. It is the service of love that God values. When this is lacking, the mere round of ceremony is an offense to Him. So with the Sabbath. It was designed to bring men into communion with God; but when the mind was absorbed with wearisome rites, the object of the Sabbath was thwarted. Its mere outward observance was a mockery.
     Upon another Sabbath, as Jesus entered a synagogue. He saw there a man who had a withered hand. The Pharisees watched Him, eager to see what He would do. The Saviour well knew that in healing on the Sabbath He would be regarded as a transgressor, but He did not hesitate to break down the wall of traditional requirements that barricaded the Sabbath. Jesus bade the afflicted man stand forth, and then asked, "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?" It was a maxim among the Jews that a failure to do good, when one had opportunity, was to do evil; to neglect to save life was to kill. Thus Jesus met the rabbis on their own ground. "But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other." Mark 3:4, 5. 
     When questioned, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?" Jesus answered, "What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days." Matthew 12:10-12. 
     The spies dared not answer Christ in the presence of the multitude, for fear of involving themselves in difficulty. They knew that He had spoken the truth. Rather than violate their traditions, they would leave a man to suffer, while they would relieve a brute because of the loss to the owner if it were neglected. Thus greater care was shown for a dumb animal than for man, who is made in the image of God. This illustrates the working of all false religions. They originate in man's desire to exalt himself above God, but they result in degrading man below the brute. Every religion that wars against the sovereignty of God defrauds man of the glory which was his at the creation, and which is to be restored to him in Christ. Every false religion teaches its adherents to be careless of human needs, sufferings, and rights. The gospel places a high value upon humanity as the purchase of the blood of Christ, and it teaches a tender regard for the wants and woes of man. The Lord says, "I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." Isaiah 13:12. 
     When Jesus turned upon the Pharisees with the question whether it was lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill, He confronted them with their own wicked purposes. They were hunting His life with bitter hatred, while He was saving life and bringing happiness to multitudes. Was it better to slay upon the Sabbath, as they were planning to do, than to heal the afflicted, as He had done? Was it more righteous to have murder in the heart upon God's holy day than love to all men, which finds expression in deeds of mercy?
     In the healing of the withered hand, Jesus condemned the custom of the Jews, and left the fourth commandment standing as God had given it. "It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days," He declared. By sweeping away the senseless restrictions of the Jews, Christ honored the Sabbath, while those who complained of Him were dishonoring God's holy day. 
     Those who hold that Christ abolished the law teach that He broke the Sabbath and justified His disciples in doing the same. Thus they are really taking the same ground as did the caviling Jews. In this they contradict the testimony of Christ Himself, who declared, "I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." John 15:10. Neither the Saviour nor His followers broke the law of the Sabbath. Christ was a living representative of the law. No violation of its holy precepts was found in His life. Looking upon a nation of witnesses who were seeking occasion to condemn Him, He could say unchallenged, "Which of you convicteth Me of sin?" John 8:46, R. V.
     The Saviour had not come to set aside what patriarchs and prophets had spoken; for He Himself had spoken through these representative men. All the truths of God's word came from Him. But these priceless gems had been placed in false settings. Their precious light had been made to minister to error. God desired them to be removed from their settings of error and replaced in the framework of truth. This work only a divine hand could accomplish. By its connection with error, the truth had been serving the cause of the enemy of God and man. Christ had come to place it where it would glorify God, and work the salvation of humanity.
     "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath," Jesus said. The institutions that God has established are for the benefit of mankind. "All things are for your sakes." "Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." 2 Corinthians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 3:22, 23. The law of Ten Commandments, of which the Sabbath forms a part, God gave to His people as a blessing. "The Lord commanded us," said Moses, "to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive." Deuteronomy 6:24. And through the psalmist the message was given to Israel, "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise." Psalm 100:2-4. And of all who keep "the Sabbath from polluting it," the Lord declares, "Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer." Isaiah 56:6, 7. 
     "Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord's day. It belongs to Christ. For "all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, "I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,"--make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ's power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God. 
     And the Lord says, "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord." Isaiah 58:13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ's creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. 

Kellee

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2000, 02:37:00 AM »

(1) "He had rested upon the Sabbath."

What does it mean for God to rest? Was He resting from creation? It doesn't seem like it would have been that hard for God to create anything. I mean, we're not talking hard labor here. God was not resting because He was physically tired. He might have been creatively tired. So what does it mean for God to rest? What was He resting from?

Creation Week was a very important week. Not so long before, something really wrong and awful had occurred in heaven, something that tore apart the way things were. Even those creatures who remained loyal to God still had questions and doubts, still wondered if Satan might be telling the truth. How was creation supposed to help?

Well, we know that during Creation Week, God answered some of the questions about the use (or misuse) of His power by creating beings with their own power to create. He answered the question of His greed for worship by creating beings who would not only love Him but have the desire to love and spend time with someone else. He answered the question of His unfairness by creating beings who didn't know anything about the conflict and really didn't know anything about God. They were "neutral" so to speak. They had been warned about the devil, and the devil was even allowed to be in a certain place in the garden, but God didn't stack the deck unfairly in His favor. Was the Sabbath just for man?


(2) The Sabbath was for the angels.

The Sabbath has come to be a great reminder to us of the many ways in which God has worked with us through time. But before that, I imagine that (especially at Creation Week) the Sabbath was a day when the entire universe took a moment to reflect upon the Controversy and the questions which God had answered. It was a time for them to rest and think about all the things that God had done. Remember, their faith needed to be strengthened as well! They also needed time to look at what God was doing and to decide if what He had done was consistent with Satan's charges or not.


(3) The Sabbath was for God.

Obviously, when we say God "rested," that doesn't mean He stopped running the universe for a day. But maybe it means that He put all His energies into His new creation that day. He had been present the other six days, but that was before things were complete. Now that things were complete, He could enjoy and spend time with all that He had made. God is a craftsman (a carpenter was truly a good earthly occupation for Him!), and one of the characteristics of a good craftsman is the enjoyment of the craft. If I can compare it to my Daddy's love for trains, God would enjoy making the train and the train tables, and then setting it up and letting it run, making sure all the little switches and flashing lights work. He could be in the basement running that train for hours. My brother and I just like to make the trains crash head-on.  ;D

So maybe it would be appropriate to say God "feasted" on the Sabbath. He partied! What He had just created was wonderful and marvelous and He took a day solely devoted to the enjoyment of it.


(4) The Sabbath was for man.

God gave the Sabbath to Adam as a gift. It seems significant that the Sabbath is not our 7th day. It was God's 7th day - when we honor it, we are honoring His gift to us. The Sabbath was only our 2nd day - which also seems significant. God spent the first 5 days creating a beautiful and marvelous world for us to live in. Then, on the 6th day, He created His companion. He brought Adam into the place He had just made for him and said, Look around - what do you think - I think it's pretty cool.

And Adam looks and says, "God, You're almost perfect. I just need one more thing."  ;D Of course God already knew that - so He made Adam's companion. So the very first gift God gave was life. The second gift God gave was love for another (still blows my mind). The third gift God gave was Himself. It was a gift of time. Even though He had created beings who didn't know anything about Him, He made a very special day for them to work on their relationship. Kind of like an anniversary every week! The Sabbath is more than the gift of a holy day. It's a gift of God Himself.


(5) A gift of time.

The Sabbath is the greatest gift ever given (besides Jesus Himself). Do you know why? It is impossible to pluck the Sabbath out of the air, stuff it down in a box and regulate it. You just can't do it. It is a gift made out of something we can't see, touch, taste, feel, or hear - it's time.

Did you know that only if you're within the same time zone do you celebrate Sabbath at the same time? The majority of people on the earth *don't* celebrate Sabbath the same time you do. People who live in California or Alaska or in Western Canada are celebrating Sabbath at the same time Sunday-worshippers in Australia are celebrating Sunday. Does that mean they're both keeping Sabbath since it's during the same period of time? I don't think so.

Hardly anybody keeps Sabbath all at the same time.


(6) A gift of relationship.

Hardly anybody keeps Sabbath all in the same way. That is to be expected, because Sabbath is our special relationship time with God, and no two relationships are the same. There are two things God says about the Sabbath: (1) stop your work and (2) keep it holy.

STOP YOUR WORK: When I come home in November for a 5-week vacation, I will not be working! (Well, I might have to work a little bit, but that's my bosses fault...) But the majority of the time, I will not be working. And I won't be doing much of anything else besides spending time with my family. That's what the Sabbath is: it's a vacation. It's a time to just spend time with God. It's not only a vacation from our physical work, it's also a vacation from our spiritual work. "Come to Me, all you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I find my most blessed Sabbath rest is in the ceasing of trying to "work" for my salvation and resting in the knowledge I have about God. Sabbath reminds me that He (1) finishes what He starts, (2) it is good, (3) is true to His word, and (4) that He is powerful enough to meet all my problems. I don't have to do anything but come.

KEEP IT HOLY: "In order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ." In order to keep the Sabbath holy, we must have a relationship of faith with God. We must trust Him. Anyone who claims to be keeping Sabbath but doesn't know God obviously isn't keeping Sabbath at all! This was evident by the way the priests and rabbis were keeping Sabbath. Keeping it holy means having a relationship. For this reason, it is also impossible (and silly) to burden the Sabbath with rules meant to bring uniformity. Since no two relationships are alike, no set of "rules" about the Sabbath will be standard for everyone. What may hinder you in your relationship with God may strengthen my relationship to Him.

When Jesus came, He showed just how much of a burden the Sabbath had become by trying to place rules and regulations upon it. The only "rule" upon the Sabbath is the only "rule" upon a good and healthy marriage: love and honor me as I love and honor you. And what does that mean? Lots of things to lots of different people.


(7) A+

God gets an A+ from me for giving the Sabbath. It tells us so many things about Him that it's impossible to go into all of them here! God is creative, powerful, redemptive, honest, unselfish, caring, sharing, giving... In His wisdom, He has given us a gift that is as unique as the individual. And what a gift it is! The Sabbath should always be a time of joy. Anytime the Creator-God draws near to be with us, it is a time of joy!


Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2000, 08:16:00 PM »
When given my first opportunity to teach publicly, it was the subject of the Sabbath that was chosen.  The beauty of the message in this chapter of The Desire of Ages was such that I purposed to follow the Scripture texts as given. Those that were in attendance were mostly from other Christian churches and they expressed they had never heard the Sabbath presented in such a beautiful manner. Of course there were some that were intent on fighting against the truth and they missed the beauty of the Sabbath.

It is an interesting thing to note that many Seventh-day Adventists believe they keep the Sabbath, but deny it is possible to be "holy", yet here God has impressed His servant with these words: "But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy." Outward observance and profession of faith has never been enough to maintain justification, but rather the heart must be converted and the man must become a partaker of the divine nature, then obedience rendered from a pure heart is acceptable to God.

Unselfish service is the result of the "new birth". The "holiness" imparted from Christ results in the keeping of the Sabbath. "Ye shall be holy men unto Me." Ex. 22:31. "Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God." Thus it will be today and in the days just before us when those that "keep the commandments of God" will stand against the fiery darts of Satan.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Joan Rügemer

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2000, 08:42:00 AM »
Desire of Ages
Chapter 29
The S a b b a t h


"This is the day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

God the Father created the world and all that is in nature upon it through God the only begotton Son who we call Jesus. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God...All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. John 1.

A memorial is the setting up of a visible sign in memory of... person, event, accomplishment. Our God given priviledge of being presented with a period of 24 hours at the end of each and every week of our lifetime is comparable to walking out from the world into a spiritual skydome where each rivet, bolt, rods, stays, material are stamped with the name: Jesus Christ. There within this Sabbathdome is opportunity for us to separate from the world in still a more special fashion. To come apart, to retreat from, and to enter into this dome of sanctuary; The SABBATH.  

This day was made for us humans. Mark 2:27 "The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath." ....but still "the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath" so we are not to seek our own pleasure on the day as a king would in this world, but to have the chance to honor in respect and fellowship Him who gave, and gives, life in nature,life in humans and animals, and in all other living creatures crawling, swimming or flying.

Are we spending the day of the Lord to get to know Him more intimately ?

Are we spending the day of the Lord to get more knowledge of his creation ?

Are we spending the day of the Lord in worshipping Him ?

*"It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."   Ex. 31:17
*"Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you." Ex. 31:13
*"Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them." Ezek. 20:12
*"And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God."  Ezek. 20:20

Keeping the Sabbath holy is not possible or acceptable in the sight of God when the person himself is not holy by not having had received the pure robe of righteous of Christ by faith. Outwardly keeping of the rules and regulations of the Sabbath doesn't sanctify anyone. The person must first be in the sanctification of the Lord to receive the right benefits of honoring the Day.

Then those who know us personally will see our faith as credulous, will accept in respect that we honor God when we honor the holiness of the Day. They will see our witness that we separate ourselves from the demands of worldly idolatry to go into connection with the living God. When our relatives and work-mates notice that we are softhearted and kind during the week, the witness of Sabbath rest we do will be for them a witness that the God we serve is not mean or arbitrary, forcing us to do outward signs for the sake of power control. No, they will notice that we believers are honoring the day out of freedom of conviction and love toward God. Truthful intergrity with tender love shown to the ones around will be the witness of our worshipping God in spirit and truth.

"The object of God's work in this world is the redemption of man; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law."  

Many of us have gotten tired with the roundrobin of rituals and liturgy of church life on Sabbath. Our love to service has gone cold. We are going through the motions with a heartless attitude. Didn't Jesus himself teach that sacrifices were in themselves of no value if the service we do is not warmed by love to God ?  Have we gotten to a point where Sabbath observance is a mockery in our lives ? Could it be we are not doing enough 'good' from a heart of love to lighten the lives of others on the Sabbath ? Is the coldness of our hearts due to the self-centered selfish rut we have trenched out for ourselves when it comes to the structuring of our 24 hours of Sabbath ?

Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath ? YES ! You better believe it is !  :)  :)

~~~~~~~
Joan
~~~~~~~


Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2000, 07:29:00 PM »
Amen, Sister Joan.  We do not want cold formalism, we want Jesus!  :)  Let spend some time in nature on the Sabbath looking for the fingerprint of Jesus in the things He created. It will strengthen our faith in Him as we see His love and His power.  :)

Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2016, 03:51:40 PM »
Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, “I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,”—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God. {DA 288.2}

Until I read this I had never considered the 4th commandment a promise of God's ability and desire to make us holy. There are some things in life I wish I understood long ago.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2016, 05:30:29 PM »
Amen, Jim. Notice that there is a connection between sanctifying and reconciliation. Some do not pay attention to either our need to be reconciled or our need to be made holy. Some do not understand we come into the world separated from God unless we are filled with the Spirit because of a believing parent. They do not believe we need to be reconciled with God in order to be saved. And, others insist God does not make us holy or sanctify us when we are converted.

"...By His power we are reconciled to God." When are we by His power reconciled to God? At birth, at death, when?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2016, 05:48:58 AM »
God loves us!  As we study the life of Christ, we cannot help but better understand His love and His ways. If Israel had studied the Sanctuary and its services to know God, they would not have been led into such a great deception. As we read the close of today's chapter, we too will better understand the gospel of grace and its power to transform us.

“Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, “I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,”—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.


Thus, there is a very important reason why the Sabbath points us back to creation.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2016, 06:52:27 AM »
Notice that there is a connection between sanctifying and reconciliation. Some do not pay attention to either our need to be reconciled or our need to be made holy. Some do not understand we come into the world separated from God unless we are filled with the Spirit because of a believing parent. They do not believe we need to be reconciled with God in order to be saved. And, others insist God does not make us holy or sanctify us when we are converted.

"...By His power we are reconciled to God." When are we by His power reconciled to God? At birth, at death, when?

As I again deeply enjoyed reading Chapter 29 of Desire of Ages this morning in my devotional time with Jesus, I was impressed by the thoughts in this chapter--that rest is not an inactive state. I did not grow up as a Seventh-day Adventist, but I did grow up with a mother who taught me about the seventh day being the Sabbath. That often meant not working or doing some house cleaning on Friday to prepare. But we did not usually go to church on Sabbath.

It is interesting that the Jews had a largely negative concept of the Sabbath (what they could not do), while Christ had a very positive view of the Sabbath (all that could and should be done in the ongoing work of redemption). If we more fully grasped the biblical concept of "rest," even our own experience on the Sabbath would be more filled with the joy and presence of Jesus, by abiding in His work to redeem and save! Notice this paragraph:

"Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all. The object of God’s work in this world is the redemption of man; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law. Jesus then crowned His argument by declaring Himself the 'Lord of the Sabbath,'—One above all question and above all law. This infinite Judge acquits the disciples of blame, appealing to the very statutes they are accused of violating." {DA 285.3}

Jesus did not break the Sabbath by healing, nor did the disciples by gathering some grain in their hunger. God is a God of mercy, and He provides for our needs. We see in the Sabbath how rest and labor go hand-in-hand in the service of God. Hence why Matthew 11:28 makes such a fitting closing text for the last paragraph of this chapter:

"And the Lord says, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; ... then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” Isaiah 58:13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, 'Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.' Matthew 11:28." {DA 289.1}

Yet the verses that follow Matthew 11:28 show how the rest is actually experienced: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30).

The heaviest yoke we try to bear is the yoke of self-serving (sin!). That is what the Jews were making the Sabbath out to be--a symbol of their own narrow, selfish conception of God. But what a joy to see how Christ swept away the mists of selfishness that surrounded the Sabbath! And for us today, through communion with Christ, we are able to experience Him in His grace and power each Sabbath as a continual reminder that we are dependent upon Him for holiness of heart! The new heart that Christ gives us at conversion is holy, but that holiness of heart must be maintained through a living connection with Him by faith--the evidence of which is that all the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives--not one will be missing! I am so grateful that to "rest" on the Sabbath includes a call to God's redemptive work! Hence why Steps to Christ makes this profound statement:

"Jesus says, 'Abide in Me.' These words convey the idea of rest, stability, confidence. Again He invites, 'Come unto Me, ... and I will give you rest.' Matthew 11:28. The words of the psalmist express the same thought: 'Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.' And Isaiah gives the assurance, 'In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.' Psalm 37:7; Isaiah 30:15. This rest is not found in inactivity; for in the Saviour's invitation the promise of rest is united with the call to labor: 'Take My yoke upon you: ... and ye shall find rest.' Matthew 11:29. The heart that rests most fully upon Christ will be most earnest and active in labor for Him." {SC 71.2}

The yoke that binds us to service is the law of God--but the Sabbath is the seal of God's law, the only one of the ten commandments that gives us the name, territory, and authority of the Lawgiver, Christ!

I just love how even though Christ is "above all law" (DA 285.3) that this in no way means that He goes about breaking the law. (That was actually the heathen custom in the nations around Israel. The idea was held that crimes committed in the ruler were considered innocent--that influenced David somewhat in his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah the Hittite.) But Christ in no way breaks the law--rather He exalts it and makes it honorable!

Yet the law cannot save us. The old covenant of which Paul writes in the New Testament was the very covenant God made with Israel at Sinai. He gave them a covenant based upon "obey and live." When the Israelites came to see their sinfulness and helplessness apart from the Savior, they longed for another covenant. Thus, they needed the everlasting covenant (the "new" one that Christ sealed with His blood) shadowed forth in the Abrahamic covenant and first given as a promise in Genesis 3:15, which was God's promise to renew the heart, and to implant in the heart enmity (hatred) against sin when the human agent surrenders the heart fully to Christ in the experience of conversion. Thus, it can truly be said that the "law was our schoolmaster" (Galatians 3:24) in bringing us to see our need of Christ CONSTANTLY! And the Sabbath as the seal of that law is essentially that--it reveals to us our constant need of Jesus--for we cannot keep holy a day without the constant indwelling presence of our Holy God abiding in our hearts by faith! The keeping of the Sabbath then becomes the greatest miracle of God's grace--for we cannot keep the Sabbath apart from a living faith connection with Christ, by becoming partakers of His rightesouness. And how do come to partake (or even desire) such an experience of righteousness by faith? By beholding the loveliness of Jesus! I praise God that this is a theme and a song that will resound throughout eternity! It is the everlasting gospel! It is the essence of the message of righteosusenes by faith! Praise God! Hallelujah! Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, and now living in Him, duty becomes a delight and sacrifice a pleasure!

Furthermore, having reflected upon the posts made here in response to the chapter, I see an opportunity to interact with some of the statements you made, Richard.

You mentioned about how a child comes into the world separated from God unless they are sanctified by a believing parent. We see that of John the Baptist it was promised by the angel that "he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb" (Luke 1:15). Yet even John needed a Savior. There is a teaching that wants to assert that so long as the parents are filled with the Holy Spirit, (and thus the child) that the child will never (or need never) sin. Well, we find that each child must come to repentance and see their need of Jesus as Savior. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23). Any teaching that leads away from revealing our constant need of Jesus, no matter how pleasant it may sound, is a dangerous error. We need to realize more fully that there is no way to be righteous apart from a living connection with Christ. The Holy Spirit that filled John the Baptist aided in the development of John for his mission, and his parents were guided in training him for his important work. But this could never replace the necessity of John coming to repentance and personal faith in Christ. Praise God that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! God is more than just--He is SO MERCIFUL!

Indeed, Richard, as you brought out, there are those who do not see the need for a person to be converted to be saved. It is at conversion that the heart is cleansed. It is at conversion that a person experiences the infilling of the Holy Spirit so that not one of His fruits is missing (hence, it is a supernatural work via the divine nature--not something that the human agent can produce). At conversion, God sanctifies the converted child of His--a new being has been begotten through faith. But sanctification continues--and must continue, or, like a seedling whose growth is stunted, if there is retrograde or stagnation, it can only mean one thing: spiritual death. To stop growing in sanctification reveals a disconnection with Christ. Perfection of character and Christian growth through abiding in Christ are inseparable. At conversion, the child of God is perfect--but that perfection is progressive within the experience of growth that is to be constantly advancing by the divine work of the Holy Spirit. When God reveals something to which the human agent rejects, or His Spirit is resisted, then perfection of character is not only broken, but Jesus is no longer abiding in the heart. (Praise God He mercifully gives us a period probation, and invites us by His knock and voice to repent, and let Jesus back in the heart--see Revelation 3:20). Sin is not just wrong acts committed, it is also the good we ought to do or act upon left undone through resistance of His Spirit (see James 4:17). This is because the law of God is not passive, but active--and how all sin is aptly called "transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). Hence, we are constantly in need of Jesus to teach us His way!

What role does the human agent play? Our part, though small, is essential--we must give up our sin-polluted heart to Christ so He can make us holy. Then the Sabbath becomes the blessing God intended it to be to us!

Finally, Richard, you asked, when are we reconciled to God? Well, in a sense God in Christ is "reconciling" the world to Himself at this very moment (2 Corinthians 5:19)--but there are many who are resisting His drawing. It is when the heart is FULLY SURRENDERED to God in conversion that a person is reconciled. But to be reconciled does not mean a static, unchanging experience. Rather, to be reconciled means that one now is engaged in the ministry of reconciliation. Notice the connection:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). As soon as one becomes a new creature, it is said that God "hath reconciled us" but with that immediately comes the ministry connection: "and hath given us the ministry of reconciliation."

May we so abide in Christ that in keeping the Sabbath we become active Spirit-filled agents of reconciliation to a world that is shrouded in misapprehension of the character of God. Let the light of His self-sacrificing shine!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2016, 07:10:06 AM »
Are we tired of the ways of the world? Do we see sin in all of its ugliness? Do we want the peace that passes all understanding? We may have it today.

   To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

How do we come to Jesus? We come just as we are, filthy and unrepentant sinners. We spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the character of our Savior. As we behold His grace, how could we not surrender our sin sick souls in exchange fo the fruits of the Spirit!!  It is that mighty creative power that transforms sinners into saints at their conversion. We cannot change ourselves, but we must learn of Jesus if we hope to be saved.  "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." Jeremiah 13:23. Only through the indwelling power of grace can we be changed. And that we can obtain today if we will learn of Him who created heaven and Earth.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2016, 07:53:39 AM »
Thank you, Richard, for your post today.

I accept Christ's rest right now, continually, and I am so thankful that as the Sabbath draws near as the sun will set today, that we can see Christ in the gift of the Sabbath, Christ in the gift of time that we can spend with Him. I am thankful that each day leading up to the Sabbath, and especially the Sabbath, is to be enjoyed by spending that "thoughtful hour" contemplating the life and love and ministry of Jesus, the revelation of unfathomable love. Oh, what joy to be made holy by the indwelling presence of Jesus!

“Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For “all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, “I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,”—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God. {DA 288.2}

If it is by His power that we are reconciled to God, it must also be by His power that we can be made holy, remain holy by abiding in Christ, and keep the Sabbath holy by His presence within the renewed heart. I love how Jesus clearly shows us that His ways are best. Oh, what joy we can have as we surrender entirely to Him, moment-by-moment!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2016, 05:55:51 AM »
I am so thankful for Jesus, who gives us His presence in the blessed Sabbath day! What a joy to commune with Him--not just on the Sabbath, but each day. And then the Sabbath will reveal that we are resting in Him from our own works, and trusting in His divine power through the divine nature whereby the heart and mind are made pure and holy at conversion. Oh, we need Jesus continually! I love Jesus and I love the gift of His Sabbath!

Again Christ reiterated the truth that the sacrifices were in themselves of no value. They were a means, and not an end. Their object was to direct men to the Saviour, and thus to bring them into harmony with God. It is the service of love that God values. When this is lacking, the mere round of ceremony is an offense to Him. So with the Sabbath. It was designed to bring men into communion with God; but when the mind was absorbed with wearisome rites, the object of the Sabbath was thwarted. Its mere outward observance was a mockery. {DA 286.1}

May we appreciate all that heaven is doing to help us to enjoy and experience continual communion with God by living faith! Such communion is evinced in the life of the believing child of God as all of the fruits of the Spirit are seen in the life--not one is missing. Thank the Lord for all He is doing to save us, and to help us to contemplate and appreciate things of eternal worth! God Himself is the great Gift that excels all others, and we come to appreciate Him as we become assimilated to Him in mind and character--for by beholding the loveliness of Jesus, we are being changed into His image more and more, from "glory to glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18) each day we behold Him!

As the mind dwells upon Christ, the character is molded after the divine similitude. The thoughts are pervaded with a sense of His goodness, His love. We contemplate His character, and thus He is in all our thoughts. His love encloses us. If we gaze even a moment upon the sun in its meridian glory, when we turn away our eyes, the image of the sun will appear in everything upon which we look. Thus it is when we behold Jesus; everything we look upon reflects His image, the Sun of Righteousness. We cannot see anything else, or talk of anything else. His image is imprinted upon the eye of the soul and affects every portion of our daily life, softening and subduing our whole nature. By beholding, we are conformed to the divine similitude, even the likeness of Christ. To all with whom we associate we reflect the bright and cheerful beams of His righteousness. We have become transformed in character; for heart, soul, mind, are irradiated by the reflection of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Here again there is the realization of a personal, living influence dwelling in our hearts by faith. {TM 388.2}
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2016, 07:41:17 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean! The Sabbath "was designed to bring men into communion with God." It reveals "His power and His love." How much we need to see both. By  beholding His character we are indeed changed into His image from glory unto glory even as by the Spirit of God. If it was a blessing for Adam before sin, imagine how much more we fallen humans need a day of rest to commune with God. In nature we are reminded of what God has given to us in this Earth.

Today, when so many are surrounded by sin, noise, dirty air, and crimes of all kind, it would be good to move to the country where we can behold God's creation. But, even when living amid a large city, we are granted time on the Sabbath to not only spend time with our brothers and sisters in His temple, but we are also allowed time to dwell among the trees of God's creation.

Many do not know of God's power to transform sinners in to saints. When we learn of the gospel we see that we must be converted, born of His Spirit, in order to enter the kingdom of God. When this happens, the Spirit takes possession of the heart and cleanses it from all sin. Then the convert as he abides in Christ is holy, manifesting all of the fruits of His Spirit. When this truth is understand, then it necessary to understand God's grace has power to accomplish this.

God created Adam. This was easy compared to recreating sinful man in His image. This requires our cooperation. As we learn of His power  in creation, our confidence is strengthened that He who spoke the world in existence has power to cleanse our hearts from all selfishness.

No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ. When the command was given to Israel, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” the Lord said also to them, “Ye shall be holy men unto Me.” Exodus 20:8; 22:31. Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God.


Thank you, Jesus, for a day wherein we can behold you in Word and in nature, that we might remember how much you love us and how great is your power to keep us from sin!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2017, 08:26:33 AM »
The Sabbath was given to man before sin. But, it has an even more important work for those who are born with a fallen nature. Adam prior to his sin lived in holy flesh, and the Sabbath was to be a blessing for him. But, we need the Sabbath to remind us of the creative power of God that we might trust in God's ability to re-create us, to convert us, to make us holy while living in fallen flesh.

  "Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord's day. It belongs to Christ. For "all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, "I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,"--make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ's power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2017, 09:10:47 AM »
Amen, Richard! God knows we need the Sabbath--both now, and through eternity!

 And the Lord says, "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord." Isaiah 58:13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ's creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.

Let us find rest in Jesus--and as we do, the Sabbath will be a blessing!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2017, 05:06:45 AM »
I really love the Sabbath and the blessing of getting to spend time with Jesus each week with Him and His people. I love how the word of God reveals the loveliness of Jesus, and that the Sabbath was intended to be a blessing for all humanity! What a joy it is to realize that Christ is preparing a place for us in heaven even now, and that the Sabbath will continue to be enjoyed in heaven and the earth made new!

Yet there were some who professed to keep the Sabbath who totally missed its significance. So it is today. If we do not read the Bible with a sincere desire to behold the loveliness of Jesus and to conform our lives to the marvelous revelation, then we are missing what the Bible even says. So it was for the Jews:

 The Jewish teachers prided themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures, and in the Saviour's answer there was an implied rebuke for their ignorance of the Sacred Writings. "Have ye not read so much as this," He said, "what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, . . . which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?" "And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." "Have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple." "The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." Luke 6:3, 4; Mark 2:27, 28; Matthew 12:5, 6. 

The Jews did not know the Scriptures (thought they may have memorized the very passages quoted by Christ), because they did not come to them with faith working by love to have the soul temple purified and made holy by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. May we realize that a mere "knowledge" of Scripture without a corresponding experience of entire surrender to Christ will avail nothing. We need Jesus to enable us to see in every page the true beauty and significance of Scripture so that we may come to understand what the Holy Spirit is seeking to reveal to us. We can be SO SO THANKFUL also that God sent a modern-day messenger in Ellen G. White so that the beautiful passages of Scripture may be placed in a TRUE FRAMEWORK, just as Christ sought to do:

  "The Saviour had not come to set aside what patriarchs and prophets had spoken; for He Himself had spoken through these representative men. All the truths of God's word came from Him. But these priceless gems had been placed in false settings. Their precious light had been made to minister to error. God desired them to be removed from their settings of error and replaced in the framework of truth. This work only a divine hand could accomplish. By its connection with error, the truth had been serving the cause of the enemy of God and man. Christ had come to place it where it would glorify God, and work the salvation of humanity."

And so it is today. Precious statements that teach important truths are placed in a false framework because many even in God's church have accepted a false gospel--a gosple that gives a person assurance of salvation even during the commission of a known sin. How is this often done? It is often by taking precious promises of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that clearly teach God's desire to save the sinner, but are then made to give a false assurance. One such example is the following statement from Steps to Christ:

"The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts" {SC 57.2} This is true about character, but it is not a true statement of salvation experience as to whether one is abiding continually in Christ. If we separate from Christ by "misdeeds" that we know are sinful, then we are separated from Christ (Isaiah 59:2) until we respond to the loving voice of Jesus and His earnest knocking to repent (Revelation 3:20). Thank God that He pursues us with such love that He promises, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5)! Yet not leaving us (giving up on our case) is not the same as the person surrendering fully to Christ and having Christ abiding in the heart.

Just as the Sabbath was perverted in the time of Israel, and this was due to a false gospel, so false gospels today give many assurance of salvation while sinning--which is leading many to lean upon a supposed hope (in a Laodicean condition, see Revelation 3:14-22), and not have the only real assurance: Christ within the soul as evinced by all of the fruits of the Spirit being in the life without one missing while living surrendered to every known statute of truth revealed to the soul! Jesus will enable us to live in complete victory over sin THROUGH HIS GRACE BY FAITH as we allow the soul to flourish through union and communion with Him!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2017, 09:20:12 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean.   This chapter reveals the blessing of the Sabbath, but more than that it sets aside the deceptions that had been brought into God's church, Israel of Old. It is interesting that the Sabbath is the last test to come to the world before probation closes and Jesus returns to take us home. Why has the Sabbath truth been allowed to be lost to so many for so long? Because it is an easy test for the whole world. It is one of the ten commandments.

I was listening to a Babylonian preacher this morning. I used to do this a lot when I was first converted. It helps to know how to reach the deceived. As I listened, it reminded me why I spend so much time presenting the simple truth in so many different ways. We are in a spiritual battle against the father of lies. Yes, as it was 2,000 years ago, so it is today. Satan has brought his deceptions into God's church. It is the gospel truth that has power to save. It is the gospel that he has so cleverly perverted. Listening to the Babylonian preache reminded me how hard Satan has worked to pervert the gospel. So many verses from the Bible used to lead the sheep away from Jesus. But, the Holy Spirit is opening minds to see the beautiful truth of the power of grace to change one's character at conversion.

     The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law." So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator's power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God's holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. "From one Sabbath to another" the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up "to worship before Me, saith the Lord." Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 66:23.
     No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ. When the command was given to Israel, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," the Lord said also to them, "Ye shall be holy men unto Me." Exodus 20:8;  22:31. Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God.
 

Sadly, how many sermons do we hear encouraging sinners to give their whole hearts to Christ so He can make them holy? To the contrary, we hear the opposite, that none can be holy, for our righteousness is as filthy rags and all have sinned and missed the mark.  :(  Or, we hear that only the 144,000 will be holy.  That when converted, we are not holy.  All around us is grace that will transform the very nature. While we live in fallen flesh, Jesus will cleanse the heart whiter than snow.....if we will give it wholly to Him. Then the promise that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear will be ours. The fruits of the Spirit will be in the life of all who love Jesus supremely.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2017, 05:42:14 AM »
What a blessing to behold Jesus in the very center of the Sabbath commandment--all His biddings enable us to abide in Christ!

As the Jews departed from God, and failed to make the righteousness of Christ their own by faith, the Sabbath lost its significance to them. Satan was seeking to exalt himself and to draw men away from Christ, and he worked to pervert the Sabbath, because it is the sign of the power of Christ. The Jewish leaders accomplished the will of Satan by surrounding God's rest day with burdensome requirements. In the days of Christ the Sabbath had become so perverted that its observance reflected the character of selfish and arbitrary men rather than the character of the loving heavenly Father. The rabbis virtually represented God as giving laws which it was impossible for men to obey. They led the people to look upon God as a tyrant, and to think that the observance of the Sabbath, as He required it, made men hard-hearted and cruel. It was the work of Christ to clear away these misconceptions. Although the rabbis followed Him with merciless hostility, He did not even appear to conform to their requirements, but went straight forward, keeping the Sabbath according to the law of God.

We are to come close to sorrowing, tempted humanity and reveal the righteousness of Christ by having Him abiding in the soul. The Sabbath is a gift that reveals whether we have received the most significant gift--Christ Jesus through the impartation of the Holy Spirit! We cannot keep the Sabbath holy unless our holy God makes us holy and we remain vitally connected to Him moment-by-moment! Jesus Christ will bring forth in our lives all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing as we gladly follow every known statute--including the Sabbath as a means of enjoying communion with Him and opportunities to minister to others!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2017, 01:24:42 PM »
Amen, Pastor Sean.  God gives us a day of rest when we can spend more time with Him. And, by communing with Him, we remember all He has done for us. What a blessing to have true rest.

I was contemplating the "righteousness of Christ" and what it means "to make the righteousness of Christ their own by faith." We hear frequently that His righteousness is imputed to us, that it is what Jesus has done for us that saves us. Since we have no righteousness, His character stands in place of ours. Is this what it means "to make the righteousness of Christ their own by faith." How do we go about making His righteousness ours? Has this been misrepresented in the church? Have we been instructed that it is impossible because we live in sinful flesh to obey God's laws, and thus Jesus obedience stands in place of our disobedience?

     The rabbis virtually represented God as giving laws which it was impossible for men to obey. They led the people to look upon God as a tyrant, and to think that the observance of the Sabbath, as He required it, made men hard-hearted and cruel. It was the work of Christ to clear away these misconceptions.


So it is today. Leading teachers express that in the Investigative Judgment, Jesus will stand in our place. It is His righteousness that will enable us to enter heaven. There is some truth in this, but it is surely a deception as taught by many, for it is possible to obey all of God's laws.

What does God mean when He says "I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." Isaiah 13:12.  Is He talking about us who live in sinful flesh? How will He make a man more precious than fine gold? Does He change man in order to do this? If so, how does God change man? What difference is there in such man and the common man on the street?

The difficulty comes when man does not want to know the truth, the whole truth. It is sitting before us. When we ask God to help us understand that we might walk in the light He gives to us, He will reveal what He means. Sadly too many will just walk away from such a question because it seems to interfere with what they already believe. The Sabbath points us to God's love and His power to recreate us in His image which is holy and undefiled.





Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--29--The Sabbath
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2017, 06:04:49 AM »
The Sabbath Day is a blessing for all of mankind, if we will accept it. It is the truth that brought me into His church. They that love Him supremely will hear His voice and follow Him into His church.

For what purpose did God set aside one day above another?

     It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God's power and His love. The Scripture says, "He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered." "The things that are made," declare "the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world," "even His everlasting power and divinity." Genesis 2:3; Psalm 111:4; Romans 1:20, R. V.
     All things were created by the Son of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. . . . All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1:1-3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.
     The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature, and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul. He "who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6. 


It was to be a blessing for all of man from the very beginning, but how much more do we need it today!

     It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, "I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them,"--make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ's power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God. 

Sadly, many do not believe God's grace has power to cleanse from sin and make the repentant sinner holy. Study the Sabbath School lesson for today on "justification by faith." Or, study it each week and see that the idea of God making a repentant sinner holy is a foreign thought. The Sabbath Day is given to us that we who need His power to make us holy, will understand He has power to cleans us from all sin. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:7,9. 

The One who created heaven and earth has power to re-create man in His character. If we will behold His great love, grace, character, will become like Him in character (2 Cor. 3:18). Take time each day to behold this wondrous love, but especially have we been given time every Sabbath Day to contemplate His creation that we might remember His love for us and the creative power which is His.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.