Thursday, July 5, 2012

Famous Christian Sabbath Observers

D.L. Moody
In another blog of mine, called The Four Tallest Homes in Heaven (see here), I told of a conservative Presbyterian Pastor from Korea, named Yong Park, who was taken to Heaven and Hell when he died tragically in 1987. He was shown why some saints are richly rewarded in Heaven.  These included those saints with the four tallest homes in heaven, two of whom are John Wesley and D.L. Moody.  Both of these men labored tirelessly for the Lord in preaching the gospel to their generations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively.

As I mentioned in my blog called The Lord's Day (see here), about keeping Sundays holy, both John Wesley and D.L. Moody believed and taught that we should keep the Sabbath, according to the fourth commandment.  You can read Wesley's position on the Sabbath (see here), as well as Moody's (see his view on the Fourth Commandment here). And they both believed that the Christian Sabbath is on Sundays, not Saturdays (see my blog about that here), which was their constant practice.

There were many famous servants of the Lord down through history, who kept the Christian Sabbath very strictly.  Among those were brother David Wilkerson; Matthew Henry, the humble, beloved pastor whose expository commentary of the Bible has blessed millions down through the centuries; Albert Barnes, the writer of the popular Bible commentary by that name; Lottie Moon, the famous missionary to China; Mary Slessor, the Scotttish missionary to Nigeria; and William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army.

However, today I would like to highlight one of them, and share an excerpt from a book, called The Shorter Life of D.L. Moody, regarding his deathbed experience. It was glorious!

"When D. L. Moody, the American evangelist, was dying, his son was at his bedside and heard him say in slow and measured words, 'Earth recedes: heaven opens before me.' His son’s impulse was to arouse him from what he thought was a dream. 'No, this is no dream, Will,' he said. 'It is beautiful!…If this is death, it is sweet!…God is calling me and I must go.'

"Later he exclaimed, 'This is my triumph; this is my coronation day! I have been looking forward to it for years.' Then his face lit up, and he said joyfully, 'Dwight! Irene! I see the children’s faces!' referring to his two grandchildren, whom God had taken home within the past year. Again he said later, 'This is my coronation day! It’s glorious!'"

There is much more to his testimony that's worth reading, and it's all posted a on the Consumed in Christ website (see here).  I encourage you to read the whole testimony!

There is a stark contrast between the horrible and terrifying death of the wicked, and the sweet and peaceful death of the righteous. Moody enjoyed such a glorious coronation day, because he knew Jesus Christ as his Savior and spent his life in obedience to the Lord's commandments, serving Him.  He was ready for the end of his earthly life.  And the fact that he and Welsey have two of the four tallest homes is heaven is directly connected with the way they lived their lives on earth in service to the King.

My friend, please make very sure you are ready, because we all have an appointment we will definitely not miss, which is our appointed day to die, and we have no idea when that will be. Please don't ignore the Lord's commandment to keep the Sabbath holy.

Author's Note: I also recommend reading David Wilkerson's message, Honoring the Sabbath, which I discovered after writing this article, as well as Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him. If you enjoyed this message, you may also be interested in the other posts on this blog, available through the Home page, especially Resting from Work and Christian Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday.

You can also find my complete collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.

Photo credit: D.L. Moody photo from Sermon Index.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Christian Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday

I've written previously on the need to keep Sundays holy.  If you have not read those posts, please do (see note at the end of this blog).  I know that some people are very opposed to this teaching.  Some feel it is not biblical to keep the Sabbath, which I have already addressed in my previous posts.  Others believe the Sabbath is supposed to be celebrated from Friday evening to Saturday evening.  So I'd like to address that question here in this post. I will be borrowing largely from research done by someone who identifies herself as "ursinsrforgiven" on the official website of brother Yong Doo-Kim.

She provided the following information, which I have revised here, explaining that the true Christian Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday.  I will quote her piece directly, as much as possible, interjecting my own comments in between hers:

Emperor Constantine did not change the Christian Sabbath
Some people claim that Emperor Constantine changed the Sabbath from Saturday to the first day of the week. "A little knowledge of history can easily dispel that myth."

First, consider the common practice of Christians before the time of Constantine, who became emperor in the fourth century. "For Christians two important events happened on Sunday. First, the Resurrection of Christ occurred on Easter Sunday (John 20:1ff). Secondly, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church on Pentecost Sunday (Acts 2:1ff). Also after His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Apostles twice, each on Sunday (John 20:19, 26). As a result, Sunday became known as the Lord's Day for Christians." Let's take a close look at those two instances when Jesus appeared to His disciples on Sundays after His resurrection:

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!'” (Joh 20:19).

Matthew Henry, a famous Sunday Sabbath keeper, stated in his commentary on this verse:
"Here is a Christian sabbath observed by the disciples, and owned by our Lord Jesus. The visit Christ made to his disciples was on the first day of the week. And the first day of the week is (I think) the only day of the week, or month, or year, that is ever mentioned by number in all the New Testament; and this is several times spoken of as a day religiously observed. Though it was said here expressly (Joh_20:1) that Christ arose on the first day of the week, and it might have been sufficient to say here (Joh_20:19), he appeared the same day at evening; yet, to put an honour upon the day, it is repeated, being the first day of the week; not that the apostles designed to put honour upon the day (they were yet in doubt concerning the occasion of it), but God designed to put honour upon it, by ordering it that they should be altogether, to receive Christ's first visit on that day. Thus, in effect, he blessed and sanctified that day, because in it the Redeemer rested."

"A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!'" (Joh 20:26, NIV).

Matthew Henry commented on this verse:
"He deferred it so long as seven days. And why so? (1.) That he might put a rebuke upon Thomas for his incredulity. He had neglected the former meeting of the disciples; and, to teach him to prize those seasons of grace better for the future, he cannot have such another opportunity for several days. He that slips one tide must stay a good while for another. A very melancholy week, we have reason to think Thomas had of it, drooping, and in suspense, while the other disciples were full of joy; and it was owing to himself and his own folly. (2.) That he might try the faith and patience of the rest of the disciples. They had gained a great point when they were satisfied that they had seen the Lord. Then were the disciples glad; but he would try whether they could keep the ground they had got, when they saw no more of him for some days. And thus he would gradually wean them from his bodily presence, which they had doted and depended too much upon. (3.) That he might put an honour upon the first day of the week, and give a plain intimation of his will, that it should be observed in his church as the Christian sabbath, the weekly day of holy rest and holy convocations. That one day in seven should be religiously observed was an appointment from the beginning, as old as innocency; and that in the kingdom of the Messiah the first day of the week should be that solemn day this was indication enough, that Christ on that day once and again met his disciples in a religious assembly. It is highly probable that in his former appearance to them he appointed them that day seven-night to be together again, and promised to meet them; and also that he appeared to them every first day of the week, besides other times, during the forty days. The religious observance of that day has been thence transmitted down to us through every age of the church. This therefore is the day which the Lord has made."

Moreover, with a bit of research, I easily verified that the first Pentecost in Acts 2 was on the first day of the week (see here).  And the early church continued to assemble together on the first day of the week to break bread, as we read in the book of Acts:

"On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.: (Ac 20:7)

"The Romans had an 8 day week with the 8th day being a market day. The Romans never ceased working on their 7th day which they called Dies Solis. In 321, Emperor Constantine issued an edict forbidding work on the Christian Sabbath. That edict never became part of Roman law. In the Theodosian Code, all Constantine did was close the courts on the day he called Dies Solis which just happened to coincide with the Christian Sabbath."

"Constantine and his advisers noticed that the Christian Sabbath corresponded with the Roman Dies Solis or Day of the Sun so they used that to merge Christianity with Roman paganism."

"Christians by this time were already meeting together for worship on the first day of the week. Many, if not most, had been doing so for at least a couple centuries before Constantine arrived on the scene. They did not call this day Sunday, but rather referred to it as the Lord's Day, in honor of Christ's resurrection from the dead. And history does not support statements by the Catholic Church that they changed the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday. This is an inconsistent argument that fails to make any sense."

Emperor Leo I was the first truly Christian Emperor—not Constantine.
"In 469, the Emperor passed legislation outlawing work on the Sabbath and commanding all to observe the day of the Resurrection with reverence. Obviously he wanted all the people to keep the 4th Commandment."

"Leo's coronation as Emperor on February 7, 457, was the first known to involve the Patriarch of Constantinople.  In 469, Leo issued an edict concerning the 'Christian Sabbath or the Lord's Day.' Here is Constitution LIV (54) from the Constitutions of Emperor Leo:"
A law was in force among the disciples of these distinguished men which directed that every kind of labor shall be suspended on the day of the Resurrection. There is, however, another which contradicts this, and provides that all persons shall not be prevented from working upon that day, but that some should be indulged in this respect; for it declares that judges, the inhabitants of cities, and all artisans should rest on this venerated day, but that persons residing in the country can freely engage in the cultivation of their fields, which exception is not founded upon reason. For although, in this instance, the pretext that the crops must be saved can be alleged, this excuse is of no weight, and indeed is futile, as when God gave Us the fruits of the earth he intended that they should be preserved by the effect of the sun, to which, rather than to the industry of the cultivators of the soil, is due the abundance of the crops, and should be so attributed; and as the existence of a law of this kind dishonors the worship of the Lord, and is contrary to what was prescribed by those who, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, obtained a victory over all their adversaries, We hereby decree, in accordance with the 'wishes of the Holy Spirit,' as proclaimed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, that, during the sacred day when Our redemption is celebrated, everyone shall desist from labor, and neither farmers nor anyone else shall be allowed to perform any unlawful work. For if those who observed only the shadow and semblance of the laws had so much respect for the Sabbath as to strictly abstain from every kind of labor, how can those who are enlightened by divine grace, and cultivate the truth, fail to exhibit the same reverence for the one day out of seven which has been consecrated to the glory of God, and on which he has honored Us, and delivered Us from death? And when one day of the seven has been dedicated to Our Lord, does it not evince contempt for religion to refuse to be satisfied with working during the other days and not preserve this one sacred and inviolate for God, nor make a distinction between it and the others by using it for the same purpose? (Constitution LIV).
"We can directly cite the writings of Christians who lived in the first century - centuries BEFORE Eusebius or Constantine. Even though these writings do not have the same authority as the Bible, they are still reliable historical sources - preserving the thoughts, beliefs and lifestyle of Christians during the first century. These writings include the Didache (a church manual written by the Apostles during the 1st century), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 100 A.D.) and the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch who was martyred in Rome before 110 A.D. Translations of these classic Christian writings can be found at the local public or university library. The following quotes were cited from Early Christian Writings (Penguin Classics, 1987). According to the Didache, the Apostles wrote:"
Assemble on the Lord's Day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. [The Didache 14:1]
"This passage is very similar to Acts 20:7. Also note the connection between the breaking of bread and the Eucharist (cf. Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 10:16; 11:23ff). St. Barnabas in his epistle devotes a whole chapter on the issue of the Sabbath. He concluded by writing:"
And we too rejoice in celebrating the eighth day; because that was when Jesus rose from the dead... [Epistle of Barnabas 15]
"St. Barnabas in using the phrase 'the eighth day' was referring to Sunday. Perhaps the most powerful statement was made by St. Ignatius of Antioch. Before 110 A.D., St. Ignatius wrote to the Magnesians:"
We have seen how former adherents of the ancient customs have since attained to a new hope; so that they have given up keeping the Sabbath, and now order their lives by the Lord's Day instead - the Day when life first dawned for us, thanks to Him (Jesus) and His death. [Epistle to the Magnesians 9]
"This passage indicates that early Christian converts from Judaism began to observe the Lord's Day in honor of Christ's Resurrection. From their writings it is clear that Christians already during the first century were observing the Lord's Day on Sunday."

"As baptism replaced circumcision (Col 2:11-12) for Christians, so does Sunday replace Saturday. Observance of the Lord's Day is not a 'mark of the beast' but the mark of being Christian."

Early Church Fathers' Writings

Epistle of Barnabas 2:4-6 (c. 130 A.D.)
For He has made it clear to us through all the prophets that He needs neither sacrifices nor whole burnt offerings nor general offerings, saying on one occasion: 'What is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?' says the Lord. 'I am full of whole burnt offerings, and I do not want the fat of lambs and blood of bulls and goats, not even if you come to appear before Me. For who demanded these things from your hands? Do not continue to trample My court. If you bring fine flour, it is in vain; incense is detestable to Me; your new moons and Sabbaths (Saturday) I cannot stand.' Therefore He has abolished these things, in order that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is free from the yoke of compulsion, might have its offering, one not made by man.
Epistle of Barnabas 15:8-9 (c. 130 A.D.)
Finally, He says to them: 'I cannot bear your new moons and sabbaths(Saturday).' You see what He means: it is not the present sabbaths that are acceptable to Me, but the one that I have made; on that Sabbath, after I have set everything at rest, I will create the beginning of an eighth day, which is the beginning of another world. This is why we spend the eighth day in celebration, the day on which Jesus both arose from the dead and, after appearing again, ascended into heaven." (11)The Didache (or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) 14:1 (c. 70 A.D.)"On the Lord's own day gather together and break bread and give thanks, having first confessed your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure." (12)
"The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus (c. 260-339 A.D.) is probably one of the most important works on early Church history available, covering the events of its first three centuries. As one born during the early Church period, Eusebius was an able historian who had a close view of the events that helped shape the historical and theological developments of the early Church."

Eusebius Ecclesiastical History, Book 1, Chapter 5 (c. 315 A.D.)
For as the name Christians is intended to indicate this very idea, that a man, by the knowledge and doctrine of Christ, is distinguished by modesty and justice, by patience and a virtuous fortitude, and by a profession of piety towards the one and only true and supreme God; all this no less studiously cultivated by them than by us. They did not, therefore, regard circumcision, nor observe the Sabbath (Saturday), neither do we; neither do we abstain from certain foods, nor regard other injunctions, which Moses subsequently delivered to be observed in types and symbols, because such things as these do not belong to Christians. (13)
Eusebius Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, Chapter 23 (c. 315 A.D.)
The churches throughout the rest of the world observe the practice that has prevailed from apostolic tradition until the present time, so that it would not be proper to terminate our fast on any other but the day of the resurrection of our Savior. Hence there were synods and convocations of the bishops on this question; and all unanimously drew up the ecclesiastical decree, which they communicated to all the churches in all places, that the mystery of our Lords resurrection should be celebrated on no other day than the Lords day. (15)
Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (c. 178 A.D.)
The duty of celebrating the mystery of the resurrection of our Lord may be done only on the day of the Lord. (16)
Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 A.D.)
"Justin Martyr lived during the reign of Antonius Pius and suffered martyrdom in 165 A.D. during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. He was an enthusiastic evangelist of the Gospel, and after traveling widely throughout the Roman Empire settled in Rome as a Christian teacher. While there, neighboring philosophers plotted against him because of his Christian profession, brought him up before the Roman authorities, who carried out his execution by beheading him."

The First Apology of Justin, Chapter 67
And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things ... But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. (17)
"This is the Church of which Christ said 'the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.'" The Lord is quite capable of preserving and/or restoring Truth in His Church over the centuries. "Also, the men who wrote letters such as these to the early Christians were the type of people of whom were spoken of in Hebrews 11. (Hebrews 11:35-40)." 

"Many early Church leaders and followers of Christ such as Ignatius, Polycarp and Justin Martyr, to name a few, suffered severe persecution and eventual martyrdom at the hands of the Romans for spreading the Gospel of Christ. But to keep to the main point, Sabbath-keeping was not a requirement (talking about Saturday, the old Sabbath.) in those days for all Christians, nor was it generally observed."

In the fourth century, John Chrysostom cited Acts 20:7 as testimony. According to this verse in the Bible, the disciples assembled together on Sunday, the first day of the week, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper:

Scripture never mentions any Sabbath day (Saturday) gatherings by believers for fellowship or worship. However, there are clear passages that mention the first day of the week.  "And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled together to break bread [the Lord's Supper], Paul discoursed with them, intending to leave the next morning; and he kept on with his message until midnight." (Acts 20:7)

"Therefore let no one pass judgement on you in questions of food or drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath (Saturday). These are only a SHADOW of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Col. 2:16-17)"

"According to these verses, the Hebrew diet, festivals and Sabbaths are no longer obligations for Christians. These were only a FORESHADOWING of things to come in Christ. The focus now is Christ (2 Cor. 3:7-17). Elsewhere Paul told the Corinthians to contribute money to the Church each Sunday (1 Cor 16:1-2)."

"NOW CONCERNING the money contributed for [the relief of] the saints (God's people): you are to do the same as I directed the churches of Galatia to do.On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come." (1 Cor 16:1-2).

"This would be a strange request, if Christians assembled on Saturdays...According to Rev. 1:10, John was 'in the Spirit on the Lord's day.' This is the only place in the Bible where the phrase 'the Lord’s day' occurs. If his vision occurred on Saturday, St. John would have written 'the Sabbath' instead of using a new [expression]. Even though the disciples may have attended the synagogues on the Sabbath to evangelize (Acts 18:4), there is already a definite transition from the Sabbath to the Lord's Day in the New Testament."

[end of article by "ursinsrforgiven" accompanied by my comments]

The Days of the Week in Other Cultures
Obviously, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Sunday is considered to be the first day of the week. In this tradition, biblical Sabbath corresponds to Saturday, and the day following Sabbath is the first day of the week corresponding to Sunday, which the Hebrews call Yom Rishon (literally "First Day").  Certainly this is the pattern followed throughout all of the Scriptures, including the New Testament.  Both the ancient Jews and the early Christians designated the days by numbers (as was first done in Genesis 1), while the sixth and the seventh were also called ‘the Preparation’ and 'the Sabbath’ respectively.  However, it is interesting to note that not all cultures consider Saturday to be the seventh day.  Some consider Sunday the seventh day of the week and Monday as the first day.

For example, we spent nearly five years in Hungary, where Sunday is the seventh day.  According to Wikipedia, "The Slavic, Baltic and Uralic languages (except Finnish and partially Estonian) adopted numbering [the days], but took Monday rather than Sunday as the "first day".  Therefore, when people become dogmatic that the biblical Sabbath day of worship must be on Saturday, they are doing so from a culturally-centered or traditional point of view.

Moreover, there is further evidence that other cultures of the world consider Sunday to be the day of worship. For example, Wikipedia states that one "Chinese numbering system, found in spoken Mandarin and in southern dialects/languages (e.g. Wu, Yue and Min), refers to Sunday as the 'day of worship' and numbers the other days 'first [day after] worship' (Monday) through to 'sixth [day after] worship' (Saturday). The Chinese word used for 'worship' is associated with Christian and Muslim worship."  Likewise, many European languages, including all of the Romance languages, have changed the name of Sunday to the equivalent of "the Lord's day" in English (based on the Latin dies Dominica). In Russian and Portuguese, their word for Sunday means "resurrection."

These are just a few examples of how certain aspects of the world's languages point to the Truth of God's Word.

The Sun of Righteousness
The fact that Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, rose from the dead on Dies Solis (the "sun's day") is another such redemptive analogy.  The prophet Malachi prophesied four hundred years before Christ:

"But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves." (Mal 4:2)

As I wrote in my article, Light of the World, "The word for sun in this passage is the Hebrew word , שׁמשׁ, 'shemesh' (sheh'-mesh). It comes from an unused root meaning to be brilliant; the sun. So while the expression 'Sun of Righteousness' sounds like the English expression 'Son of Righteousness,' this is not the case in the original Hebrew language the Scripture was written in. This Hebrew word shemesh is the same word used for the actual sun in our sky, which is the closest star to the earth." It sounds nothing like "ben," the Hebrew word for son.  But the Scripture does not confuse God with the sun, and never does it teach that the sun is God or that we should worship the sun.

The Psalmist wrote, "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly." (Psa 84:11)

The apostles, as well as the Church fathers, from Justin downward, and nearly all the earlier commentators understood the "Sun of Righteousness" to be Christ, who is described as the rising sun.  The apostle Paul wrote, "Christ will shine on you" (Eph 5:14b). The apostle Peter wrote of the day dawning and the Morning Star (a figurative reference to Christ as the sun) rising in your hearts (2 Pe 1:19). The apostle John wrote about the New Jerusalem in heaven: "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp" (Rev 21:23). Jesus refers to Himself as "the Light of the World" (Jn 8:12) and "the Bright Morning Star" (Rev 22:16).  Clement of Alexandria wrote of "the Sun of the Resurrection, he who was born before the dawn, whose beams give light". The prophet Isaiah also wrote:

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." (Is 60:1-3).

Therefore, it's no coincidence that Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, known at that time in the Roman empire as Dies Solis (the "sun's day").  He alone is the only sun to be worshiped, which the prophets foretold. Anyone who takes issue with the fact that we worship the Lord on Sunday has missed the intended prophetic significance.

In Conclusion
I think the article by the sister I have quoted above was well-done and sums up my own thoughts on the matter succinctly. 

I acknowledge that there are different opinions in the Body of Christ about which day is the Lord's Day or Christian Sabbath according to the Bible.  I have my opinion, which is that the Christian Sabbath is on Sundays.

The focus should always be on the Lord, not on passing judgment on others regarding which day they believe is the Sabbath day.  You cannot rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5).

I think the main reason why it is so important for us to assemble ourselves together for worship on the same day -- the Lord's day -- is for the sake of unity.  When we assemble together in the Lord's name, there is greater power in the spirit than when we pray separately, and the enemy fears this. 

As a believer in Christ, you have a great deal of freedom in this matter, but with that freedom comes a great responsibility.  You will be accountable to God for your decision, and subsequent actions, so make your decision wisely.  If you are a pastor, I recommend you diligently search the Scriptures, pray and ask the Lord for guidance, and then be led by the Spirit in obedience to the Word.  If you are not a pastor, then submit to your leaders and honor the day they designate for worship.

I also recommend reading David Wilkerson's message, Honoring the Sabbath, which I discovered after writing this article, as well as Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him.  He had been a Seventh Day Adventist evangelist. Unfortunately Seventh Day Adventists teach that keeping Sunday's holy is or will become the mark of the beast, and they dogmatically insist that the Christian Sabbath is on Saturdays.

Please also see my previous posts on this blog about keeping Sundays holy:
Resting from Work
Keeping Sundays Holy - part I
Keeping Sunday Holy - part II
Famous Christian Sabbath Observers
The Lord's Day
Sabbath Period
Light of the World

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.  

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Home page. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Keeping Sundays Holy - Part II

In my previous post called "Keeping Sundays Holy," I wrote about the revelation given by Jesus Christ to brother Yong-Doo Kim in 2005, regarding the need to keep Sundays holy. Yet I have spoken to people who say they see no such expression in the Bible about "keeping Sundays holy."  

In Exodus 20:8 the fourth commandment is written to keep the Sabbath holy.  My friend, the fourth commandment has not been abolished.  In the New Testament, we celebrate the Sabbath on the first day of the week, because this is when Jesus was resurrected.  In Acts 20:7, we learn that the church met on the first day of the week to celebrate the Lord's Supper and listen to preaching.  In that instance, the apostle Paul preached all through evening until dawn the next day.  Meeting on Sundays has been the normal practice of the church since the resurrection.   

But we should be very careful not to compromise this day.  It's the Lord's Day, and we should delight to honor the Lord all throughout that day. I want to share with you an excerpt from the book called "Baptized by Blazing Fire" by Yong Doo Kim.  In book 3, he writes about a fellow pastor friend of his who died after many years of diligent service to the Lord, and was shut out of heaven.  In this experience, he was shown many souls in hell, who had consistently attended church meetings and faithfully lived their lives, but they ended up in hell because of the errors of their pastor's teaching.  Many were in hell, because they did not "keep Sundays holy."  This was the expression used by the angels, not mine.  Here is the excerpt:

Pastor Kim, Yong-Doo: * Oh! Pastor Kim, Young Gun

    Sung Min general hospital is located in my neighborhood. Pastor Kim, Young Gun, had evangelized and ministered at this hospital. I had once admitted myself to Sung Min hospital. When I was a patient there, the pastor and I had greeted each other and became acquainted. I had sometimes invited him to my church to give a sermon as a guest speaker.

    Pastor Kim, Young Gun once told me a story. He was in his early 60s. He had always evangelized at the hospitals. He was also well known for evangelizing on the streets. One day, he fell ill as his liver swelled. A lot of water filled his liver and stomach. More than that, he also had jaundice, an illness that colors the body yellow. He admitted himself to the hospital while he was evangelizing.

    Pastor Kim, Young Gun was once dispatched to the Philippines on a missionary trip by his church. While he was on his mission trip in the Philippines, he had over-exerted himself and worked beyond his physical strengths. The pastor was very stressed by the pressure he received from his church. They wanted results and they called him frequently. “How many people have you evangelized? How many new registrants have you enjoined?” They utilized various tactics to pressure and interrogate him. The pressure and stress eventually overtook him and he had become physically ill. He died during treatment in Korea.

    Pastor Kim, Young Gun explained the experience when his spirit/soul departed his body. He said when he breathed his last breath he experienced his spirit/soul separate from his physical body. In fact, his spirit/soul looked identical to his physical body. Pastor Kim, Young Gun was able to see the doctor use the defibrillator on his body. The doctors had attempted to resuscitate him several times with the defibrillator. With no result, the doctors confirmed his time of death and had covered his whole body and face with the white linen.

    The Pastor’s family and relatives had come too late and were informed of his death once they had reached the hospital....his soul flew at great speed and arrived at the gate of heaven. The Pastor said that the gates of heaven consisted of twelve pearl gates and were a magnificent sight. The Pastor’s first impression was amazement: “Literally fantastic!”

    As Pastor Kim, Young Gun attempted to enter the pearl gates of heaven, two angels standing guard gave him a stern, frightening look. The Pastor became very frightened and his heart was filled with fear. The two angels had a large sword at their side. They were very tall and he could not properly view all of them with one glance.

    The angels asked the Pastor: “How dare you walk near the gate? Who are you? What is your title and what did you do when you were on earth?” The Pastor answered, “I had just died from an illness; my liver swelled. I was a Pastor and I worked as a missionary.” The angels demanded a ticket. “Very well, present your ticket of permission to enter heaven. Now!” I replied in shock. “What! You need a permission ticket to enter heaven? I had never heard of such thing! I do not have one.” One of the angels immediately replied: “What! What are you saying? How dare you walk toward the gate without a permission ticket!” As the angel rebuked me, the other angel kicked me like I was a soccer ball. In that moment, the Pastor thought he was kicked very far off. Then the same angel who had kicked him caught up to him and kicked him once more for a second time and even farther away.

    The Pastor was suddenly kicked toward hell and was dangling at the edge of a cliff. The Pastor was able to observe the miserable sights of hell. As the Pastor dangled off the edge of the cliff, he pleaded for someone to save him. Then the angel pointed and said, “Look at those souls! Look very closely at those souls going to hell! All of those souls attended church and lived a faithful life but the errors of their Pastor’s teaching led them to hell! I am showing you this scene because you are also a Pastor who led a ministry. You cannot be forgiven for you have committed the same atrocity. They did not keep Sundays holy and did not properly keep their faith. They mocked God and believed according to what they wanted to believe and based their faith on what was in their minds.”

    Within the moment Pastor Kim was about to be thrown in hell, two souls immediately came and earnestly grabbed hold of him. The Pastor found out later that the two souls were his relatives who were prayer warriors. Due to their earnest pleadings, the Lord had granted the Pastor an extension of seven more years to live. The Pastor received special grace. He had been given another chance and had escaped from being thrown into hell.

    The Pastor came back down to earth to reunite with his dead body. When he came back, his relatives were still singing hymns....[at his funeral]

    He had experienced a supernatural event. With the power of God, the Pastor had come back alive. Now, this is the seventh year and because of exhaustion and illness, he had relapsed once more. His liver had swelled up and the Pastor had to be admitted to intensive care. Pastor Kim, Young Gun earnestly appealed, “Pastor Kim, Yong-Doo, I was very proud of myself. Until now, I thought I had evangelized properly throughout my life and in faith. I later realized that I had done it all with my strength and passion instead with the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit. Please Pastor Kim, Yong-Doo, you must seek help from the Holy Spirit in every case. I want you to lead your ministry with the help and strength of the Holy Spirit.” Pastor Kim, Young Gun then asked me to sing many hymns that are powerful and strengthening. Joo-Eun, Sister Baek, Bong-Nyu, my wife, and I gathered around Pastor Kim, Young Gun. The Lord, Jesus, accompanied us as well. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the guardian angels watched and prepared to take the Pastor to heaven.

    Today is Thursday and the Lord announced that He was going to take Pastor Kim, Young Gun to heaven soon. When Joo-Eun and Sister Baek, Bong- Nyu glanced up to heaven, the home of Pastor Kim was almost finished. The last thing was for the Pastor’s soul to arrive in heaven. His home was waiting. Pastor Kim, Young Gun and his wife were very joyous once they heard of that news.

[end of excerpt from Baptized by Blazing Fire book 3]

Putting it All Together
If you are a pastor, I recommend you diligently search the Scriptures, pray and ask the Lord for guidance, and then be led by the Spirit in obedience to the Word.  If you are not a pastor, then submit to your leaders and honor the day they designate for worship.

I hope this has served as a wake up call for you, if you have been lax about Sundays.  Please get with God and repent, if you have not properly kept Sundays holy.  If you have properly done so, then please do others a favor by sharing this testimony with them.  This is not an isolated incident.  Other pastors have also seen souls in hell for not keeping Sundays holy, and after reading this, we have no excuse for this sin.  Now is the time of God's favor.  Now is the day of salvation.

You cannot rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  But don't receive God's grace in vain.  We were saved to be the righteousness of God.  If you know Him, you will keep His commands.  Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5), and if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).

Author's Note: If you enjoyed this message, I also recommend reading David Wilkerson's message, Honoring the Sabbath, which I discovered after writing this article, as well as Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him. You may also be interested in the other posts on this blog, available on the Home page, especially Resting from Work, Faith Works!, Christian Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?  and Pleasing the Lord. Please allow me to also recommend Restored Truth. I also invite you to visit my collection of blogs at Writing for the Master
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Entering God's Rest

I'd like to draw your attention to God's rest intended for the people of God.  Let's begin by looking at Israel's example.

Israel’s Example
  • They hardened their hearts, went astray from God in their hearts, and did not know His ways (Heb 3:8-10).
  • They had an evil, unbelieving heart that fell away from the living God (Heb 3:12)
  • When they heard the Lord’s voice, after Moses brought them out of Egypt, they provoked Him to anger (Heb 3:16)
  • They were disobedient (Heb 3:18)
  • The Word they heard did not profit them, since they did not combine it with faith (Heb 4:2)
  • They were unable to enter God’s rest because of unbelief (Heb 3:19)
  • God swore in His wrath that they would never enter His rest (Heb 3:11)
  • These things happened as examples for us and were written for our instruction (1 Cor 10:1-12)

God’s rest
  • God’s work has been finished from the foundation of the world (Heb 4:3)
  • He rested from all His works on the seventh day (Heb 4:4)
  • Jesus said, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." (Joh 5:17)
  • God rests even while He works righteousness, healing, salvation, and everything good
  • This is God’s rest
  • It is different from entering the promised land on earth.  This is not the rest that Joshua gave them on the other side of the Jordan (Heb 4:8)
  • There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb 4:9)
  • A promise of entering His rest still remains (Heb 4:1)
  • We who have believed enter that rest (Heb 4:3)
  • Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mat 11:28-30)
  • Then He demonstrated what that looks like.  Immediately following that in Matthew 12, Jesus was going through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and the disciples were picking heads of grain to eat.  The Pharisees objected to this practice, which they said was breaking the law.  But Jesus taught that it was lawful.  He taught that God desires mercy (love) and not sacrifice.  He also taught on many other instances with words and through his practice that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
Hearing God's Voice
Hearing God's voice is critical to entering His rest.  But it's essential to combine what you hear with faith.  I would like you to observe a continuity found in Hebrews 4.  It's a recurrence of the following terms that are similar but not identical: gospel, spoke, voice, Word, and speaks.  Here are the verses:
  • "For indeed we have had the gospel preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard." (Heb 4:2)  We and the Israelites had the gospel preached to us.  Their problem was that they didn't combine what they heard with faith.
  • "God again set a certain day, calling it 'Today.' This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day." (Heb 4:7-8) Long after the time of Joshua, God spoke through David about entering His rest, as recorded in the Word of God. He warned that we must not harden our hearts if we hear His voice when He speaks.
  • "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Heb 4:12-13).  This is a key verse in chapter 4, because it connects all these similar terms together.  This is why we must combine what we hear with faith.  When God speaks, he uses His voice to proclaims His Word, his gospel message. And the Word He speaks is actually living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow.  His Word discerns the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.  So when we hear it, we are accountable for how we respond.  Nothing is hidden from God's sight, not even our attitudes or intentions! We must give an account to God for it all.
  • "See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven." (Heb 12:25).  God is still speaking to us today.  We'd better be sure we are listening and that we combine what we hear with faith, rather than harden our hearts.  If we have faith, we will enter His rest.  If we harden our hearts, we will fall through disobedience.
Lessons Learned
  • Let us fear lest anyone comes short of entering God's rest (Heb 4:1)
  • Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb 4:7)
  • He who enters this rest, also rests from his work just as God rested (Heb 4:10)
  • Entering requires diligence, so that no one will fall through disobedience (Heb 4:11)
  • When you hear the Word, remember that it's powerful, active and sharper than a two-edged sword
  • It’s not just your outward actions that matter, but your thoughts and intentions.
  • These are all laid bear and open for God to see and judge (Heb 4:12-13)
  • We must hold firmly to the faith we profess in Jesus, the Son of God (Heb 4:14)
  • He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses.  He was tempted in every way, yet without sin (Heb 4:15)
  • Let’s draw near to His throne of grace with confidence (Heb 4:16)
  • We’ve been sanctified (Heb 10:10)
  • He has perfected us who are being sanctified (Heb 10:14)
  • There is forgiveness for sins (Heb 10:19)
  • We have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus (Heb 10:21)
  • Let’s draw near with a sincere heart and a full assurance of faith (Heb 10:22)
  • If we go on sinning willfully, only a fearful expectation of judgment remains (Heb 10:26-31)
  • Don’t throw away your confidence (Heb 10:35)
  • We are not those who shrink back to destruction
  • We are those who have faith to the persevering of the soul (Heb 10:39)

Putting it All Together
There's a rest that remains for the people of God.  But let's not be like the children of Israel, who failed to enter that rest.  In spite of experiencing God's deliverance from bondage, and His supernatural provision, they fell short of entering His rest.  Even though they heard His voice, they hardened their hearts and did not obey Him.

It's possible to fall away from the living God and not enter His rest.  This is what happens if we go on sinning deliberately after we come to know the Lord.  In this case, only a fearful judgment remains.  In other words, there is no other sacrifice that can save you from God's wrath.  No amount of prayers from your loved ones or from you will save you once you die in that condition.

This is why we need to hold firmly to our faith in Jesus, the Son of God.  It's only as we come to Him that we truly find rest for our souls.  His burden is easy and His yoke is light. We need to persevere to the end and encourage one another toward love and good deeds.

This is different from the weekly Sabbath that we take from work to honor the Lord on Sundays. According to Hebrews, this rest comes to those who hold on firmly to their confidence to the end of their lives and do not fall away.  Our weekly rest is a time to cease from all our work, except doing good, so that we can honor the Lord.  This weekly rest just a foretaste of our future rest.

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  It's not enough just to hear the message.  You've got to combine it with faith and obey the Lord.

I also believe that even though God's rest is yet future for us, we can begin to enter into that now, not just on a weekly basis, but even on a daily basis.  In other words, even as we go about our necessary labor, we can rest in the midst of it.  We can cease from striving, and move in the Lord's mighty strength, gentle leading and supernatural guidance. Then we are no longer trying independently to make something happen, we are trusting the Lord and working with Him.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's note: I strongly urge you to read my follow up post about Keeping Sundays Holy, in order to more accurately understand what God expects of us on a weekly basis.  I also recommend reading David Wilkerson's message, Honoring the Sabbath, which I discovered after writing this article, as well as Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy, Resting from Work and Faith Works! I invite you to visit the Home page of this blog. You can access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.  "Resting in His Arms" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. You may visit the Danny Hahlbohm Gallery.  Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sabbath Period

As I have sought the Lord to show me when the Sabbath day begins, He reminded me of the account of creation.  “God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” (Gen 1:4-5). In the beginning, at the creation, God reckoned days like this: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” This phrase is repeated for each of the first six days of creation (Gen 1:5; Gen 1:8; Gen 1:13; Gen 1:19; Gen 1:23; Gen 1:31). 

The Lord is saying that each new day begins in the evening, and continues through the night, the next morning and for 24 hours until the next day begins in the evening. So I realized for the first time that this is where the Jews got their understanding and why they begin the Sabbath in the evening at sunset.  This practice is not a Jewish cultural matter, but a divine matter that was established in the beginning by God Himself. 

It’s very clear from Scripture that “the light He called day and the darkness He called night.” (Gen 1:5).  God later provided a means to govern both the day and the night.  “God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.” (Gen 1:16-18).  As long as the sun is above the horizon, it is daytime.  This is why sundials were the ancient means of telling time, which is one way the sun governed the day.  But once the sun sets, it can no longer cast a shadow.  At that point, in days of old, they could no longer use the sundial to tell the time.  At that point, it was no longer day. 

During the night, they used the moon and stars to track time, since these celestial bodies were given by God to govern the night.  This is why four watches referenced the time during the night.  There would always be watchmen on the wall, standing watch over each city.  The enemy could use the cover of darkness to attack while everyone was sleeping, so it was important to maintain a watchman on the wall.  During the twelve hours of night, there were four watches or shifts for the watchmen.  Just as in our modern military, the watchmen would rotate, taking turns standing guard for these periods.  So each watch would last three hours.

All of this helped me to understand more clearly what happened at the time of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  Scripture says, “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.” (Mar 16:1-2).  In Matthew’s gospel it states: “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.” (Mat 28:1)

The Sabbath was from Friday evening until Saturday evening.  On Saturday evening when the Sabbath ended, perhaps this is when the ladies went to buy the spices.  Perhaps there were some markets that opened for business at that time, since everything had been closed for 24 hours.  In my opinion, it is more likely that some merchants opened for business in the evening, as soon as the Sabbath ended.  It is remotely possible that the ladies bought these spices very early in the morning at sunrise.  But it’s very unlikely that any markets would be open at that early hour.  It seems to me that on Saturday evening, as soon as the Sabbath ended at sunset, they bought the spices during the dusk period, and then the next morning, they went to the tomb very early at sunrise.  This was probably because they did not want to be entering a tomb in the dark of night, so they did not go there on Saturday evening. Women would not want to be roaming about the city in the dark.

After the Lord showed me when the Sabbath day begins, I decided to do a quick search online the following day to see what the Jews believe.  Amazingly the first answer I found stated: “The Torah describes creation, ‘And there was evening, and there was morning, one day.’ Thus, according to Judaism, a new day begins in the evening, at sunset. The Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat), like all Jewish days, begins at sunset.” This confirmed what the Lord showed me. Of course, as Christians, we are not seeking to adopt Jewish customs. I am not advocating Saturday Sabbaths that start on Friday evening and end on Saturday evening. I am simply saying that based on Scripture, long before the Law of Moses and before the Jews were a people, we learn from the account of creation that each day begins and ends at sunset. Moreover, as I have already written in another article, the Christian Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday

In summary, the Sabbath day, like every day, begins at sunset (when the sun goes down) and ends twenty-four hours later at sunset. If you are not a pastor, then submit to your leaders and honor the day they designate for worship. If you are a pastor, I recommend you diligently search the Scriptures, pray and ask the Lord for guidance, and then be led by the Spirit in obedience to the Word.  You cannot rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  And we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5), but if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's note:  A pastor from South Korea, named Yong Doo Kim received a revelation from the Lord of the importance of Keeping Sundays Holy. He asked the Lord when this day begins and ends and the Lord told him it begins at midnight on Saturday night and ends at midnight Sunday night, which includes the twenty-four hour period of Sunday. I realize this is different from what I received when I prayed and read the Word, but I include it here for your consideration. I do not advise anyone to engage in any money-making or money-spending activities at all on the Lord's Day.  Also see Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him.  If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Home page. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Please also see my previous posts on this blog about keeping Sundays holy:
Resting from Work
Keeping Sundays Holy - part I
Keeping Sunday Holy - part II
Christian Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday
The Lord's Day
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Lord's Day

I realize that a vast number of Christians today think the Sabbath has been repealed in the New Testament.  Here are some Scriptures about the Sabbath that I read this morning:





Lord of the Sabbath
Let's start with the basics. The fourth commandment says: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy." (Exo 20:8-11)

So what about the New Testament.  Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man...” (Mar 2:27).  In saying this, He did not repeal it, but affirmed the need for the Sabbath.  In fact, he declared, "So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." (Mar 2:28).  While Jesus taught that certain emergency situations may be necessary on a rare occasion on a Sabbath, and he taught that it is lawful to do good and to save life on the Sabbath, he never taught that it is an ordinary day like every other day.

Even in speaking about the last days, Jesus expected the Sabbath to be observed.  When he spoke about the time of great tribulation upon the earth, he said that His people would need to flee.  "But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." (Mat 24:20-21).  It's clear from this passage that His heart was for His people to keep the Sabbath day holy until the very end of the age when He returns.

The Lord's Holy Day
He says, "If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, Then you will take delight in the LORD, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isa 58:13-14).  So through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord taught the following practices regarding ways to keep the Sabbath day holy:
  1. Turn you foot from seeking and doing your own pleasure.  Desist from your own ways. This includes sports, fishing, hiking, shopping, television, internet surfing, Facebook, eating out, and anything else you might enjoy doing to please yourself on Sunday. 
  2. Call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable.  Be careful not to speak disparagingly about the Lord’s holy day, but speak about it with delight and honor.
  3. Honor it.  This means to hold it in high esteem, as the Lord’s holy day.  Here are the kinds of things that will honor the Lord on the Sabbath: evangelizing the lost, preaching the gospel, teaching the Word, assembling yourselves together for worship and service to the King, visiting the sick and imprisoned, praying for the sick and healing them.
  4. Desist from speaking your own word. Be careful that your conversations are not about worldly things or mere idle talk.  Speak lovingly about the Father, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit with great honor.  Praise the Lord! Take delight in Him.  Encourage one another with Scriptures.  Share testimonies of His faithfulness and power in your life. Sing spiritual songs to one another and make melody in your hearts to the Lord.  Let your conversation be heavenly, from above, not earthly.
If you do these things, then the Lord will make you ride on the heights of the earth, and He will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.

Moody and Wesley upheld the Sabbath
I recently read portions of two articles by famous preachers about keeping the Sabbath holy, which upheld this teaching.  One was by D.L. Moody and the other was by John Wesley. They were among the many Famous Christian Sabbath Observers that I have written about elsewhere. By the way, these famous preachers both believed that the Christian Sabbath is on Sunday, not Saturday, as I have covered in my article by that title (see here).

Personal Testimonies
I'd also like to share a couple of personal testimonies.

1. The first one is in "Baptized by Blazing Fire," Book 5 (p. 213-216).  This testimony is given by a pastor, who had attended the all night prayer meeting at the Lord's Church and read the book.  Gok Sung, Mok Sa dong Full Gospel Church - Testimony by brother Gong, Tek Mo:

"After a short time, an unexpected accident occurred to one of our church members. It was on February 18th, 2007, Sunday, a Korean new year. This member was a high school student who had just graduated and was about to enter his freshman college. This student was a drummer on the worship team and he also served as a Sunday school teacher. On the day of the accident, he had played drums on the worship team for the service on Sunday. After the service, I went to look for him to have lunch with him but I could not find him. When I asked another member if he knew the where abouts of the student, he replied and told me that he had left during the middle of the sermon. The student had left to attend a student gathering with the other former high school classmates. I was perplexed and could not believe what I was hearing. Before this accident had occurred, I was emphasizing to the congregation of the seriousness to live a Holy life. Even after I had read the fire books, I was now emphasizing it to a greater degree. I was emphatic about keeping Sundays Holy and Christians living according to the Word of God. This student had violated the Sunday and got drunk at the student gathering. He was killed from his injuries in a vehicle accident. The other students were seriously injured as well. Once I was informed of the accident, I rushed to the emergency room at National University Hospital. When I arrived in the emergency room, the doctor was performing mouth to mouth resuscitation. It looked hopeless. As I was thinking, I knew if he died right now he would end up in hell. I felt like the world was falling apart. I left the emergency room and earnestly prayed. 'Lord, this is my fault. I did not teach and nurture him correctly. I could not lead him to live a righteous Holy life.'"

"Even though I prayed and beseeched the Lord to give him another chance, the student eventually died. I was in much mental suffering from this episode. As I got into the car to return to church, the Lord opened the spiritual eyes of Deacon Cho. God showed the deacon the path of the student in which he was walking forward to."

Brother Gong, Tek Mo later testifies that individuals in his church visited hell in the spirit and the Lord made sure to show them this young man suffering their in torment: "In our all night prayer service, the Lord granted the church members to experience hell. Of all the experiences, the most painful to experience is to witness the student who was in the car accident. He was a brother who had church with us not too long ago. Now, when I see him tormented in the fiery flames of hell, I am in pain and frightened myself. I was thinking that I must live a faithful Christian life. Whenever I witness the scenes of hell, I am not able to sleep and usually lose my appetite."

"Deacon Cho works at a company. Ever since he witnessed the sight of the souls being tormented in hell, he fiercely clings on to his job. He is now constantly reminded of the souls tormented in hell. He tries to forget what he has seen by intently focusing on his job. He said that he can not stop thinking about how he must live a faithful Christian life. This is reminded to him through the student who is now experiencing misery in hell. This is the brother/student who had only worshiped and had service with him several days ago. The deacon then had to witness the student in hell more than ten times even after his previous visitations. Even now, when he visits hell, the Lord will show the student to the deacon. The Lord's intention was to reinforce to the church members that hell was a serious place of torment and that they should not come to hell. When the deacon hears the student, the student would ask, 'Deacon Cho, I am thirsty, please give me some water.' The deacon's heart is torn up. As I even journalize all this, I write with streams of tears running down my face."

2. The second testimony was posted on the website of The Lord's Church, by a lady who identifies herself as "Sammy Sam."  She states:

"My husband owns his business so he thought that success meant working 7 days a week. He would rush to church on Sundays.. rush back.. eat his meal in a rush and then rush to work until sometimes 10 or 11 pm... I prayed and begged him not to work on Sundays because I wanted to keep the Sabbath day holy. He took me for granted to say the least.....but I continued in prayer and fasting. One day his friend asked him to use his truck to help him with moving some heavy equipment, he went to the company as as soon as he was about to go through the gate the gate slammed shut without any one closing it... everyone was in awe and they said that that has never happened before. He then told his friend that he does not think that he should be here on Sunday working."

"He kept the Sabbath a few times but he then got a huge job promising him BIG money and that he could not refuse so he decided to work that Sunday and I went to church without my husband. That morning his truck would not start for some reason he rushed to the store to purchase the parts that he thought was the problem but upon changing the part he realised that the issue was not what he thought. He went back to the store bought different parts, which helped him move his truck and headed to work. As he was heading to work.... he was involved in a minor accident with a fire truck. The police was called to the scene; that earned him some demerit points.... blah... blah.. blah... NOW he does not venture out on a Sunday... goes to church comes home and attempts to keep the Sabbath holy to the best of his ability."

"GOD is not mean. He hears the cry of the righteous and heeds those cries. If we seek him diligently about the Sabbath which is so dear to his heart, then he will make ways for us to keep it holy. He is a just GOD. We may just need to spend some more time on our knees."

Putting it All Together
It's my hope that this post on the Lord's Day has helped you to see the importance of keeping it holy.  The fourth commandment has not been abolished.  Sabbath observance was not repealed by Jesus.  Rather He upheld it! He's the Lord of the Sabbath, and it is His holy day.  We are commanded to remember it and keep it holy until He returns.  While that may have become unpopular today and faded from common practice among Christians, famous preachers during the 18th and 19th centuries, like D.L. Moody and John Wesley certainly taught it.  The testimonies given here are a stark reminder that God will not be mocked.  That includes the observance of the Sabbath.

If you are a pastor, I recommend you diligently search the Scriptures, pray and ask the Lord for guidance, and then be led by the Spirit in obedience to the Word.  If you are not a pastor, then submit to your leaders and honor the day they designate for worship.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Beautiful sun rise photo from HD Wallpapers

Author's note: I also recommend reading David Wilkerson's message, Honoring the Sabbath, which I discovered after writing this article, as well as Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him. If you enjoyed this post, you may also like my other posts in this blog available through the Home page, especially Resting from Work, Keeping Sundays HolyFamous Christian Sabbath Observers, and Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?  You can find more articles like this on the Home page for Working God's Way. You may also access a collection of my most popular blogs at "Writing for the Master."
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Keeping Sundays Holy

I previously wrote about Resting God's Way.  In that post, I tried to explain the need to keep the Sabbath holy, and proved from Scripture that God expects us to do so.

Since that time, I have been reading an amazing book by brother Yong-Doo Kim, called Baptize by Blazing Fire.  In Book three, he documents how he inquired of the Lord about the matter of Sundays, and the answer he received from the Lord Jesus Christ will probably shock you.


I would like to now include an excerpt directly from his book about this:

Excerpt from the book:
*Keeping Sunday Holy, Do Not Spend Money On Sundays

    I decided to ask the Lord about Sundays, the Sabbath day: how we should keep it Holy and if we are to spend any money on Sundays. I wondered how He thought about it. “Lord! Currently, I see many churches and saints not keeping Sundays holy. Sundays are utilized by families to eat out, as a day for recreation, and to spend time on their hobbies. They say that if those things are done for the sake of the gospel, it is justified. Their conviction of keeping Sundays holy is lackadaisical at best. Moreover, their faith has no convictions to God‘s Word. The servants of God are not emphasizing the importance of this subject in their sermons. Furthermore, Sunday evening services are gradually decreasing and being eliminated. Most only have day services. Please give me your thoughts on this subject.”

    As soon as I asked, the Lord became quickly angry. His expression changed and His anger showed on His face. The Lord wanted me to reference and document scripture: scripture that described kindling a fire to those who do not keep Sunday holy.

        “But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates of thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and it shall not be quenched.” (Jeremiah 17:27)

        “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call a Sabbath a delight, the Holy of the Lord, honorable and shall honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words. Then shall thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 58:13-14)

        “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8)

        “Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.” (Matthew 12:12)

    The Lord had commanded us to keep Sundays Holy in every way. He rebuked watching television, dining out with family, and other secular activities. Furthermore, the Lord did not permit Christians to run any business of any kind for profit on Sundays. He also did not approve Saints to do any shopping on Sundays.

    As a matter of fact, only a few saints barely made it to heaven that did not keep Sundays properly. And on the contrary, there were an over flowing number of saints who were in hell for not keeping Sunday holy. The saints in hell were shouting in anguish. They were experiencing countless degrees of torment.

    The Lord commanded: “Look at those souls! Those souls did not consider my day with much relevance. They had made my day unclean. Look very closely.” The church congregation and I had witnessed a shocking scene. We were in total shock. After witnessing the scene, I concentrated on repenting of not keeping Sundays Holy in every way.

    We need to adjust our concept of Sundays. There are numerous saints who think that spending money on Sundays is justified if it is for the sake of the gospel. With that thought, they spend money on Sundays.

        “And he said unto them, the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)

    If we simply justify spending money for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of people, then everybody will validate with their own reasoning to spend money on Sundays. Eventually, they will continuously create more special cases or reasons to spend money. Within time, people will create their own excuses to spend money on Sundays.

    The Lord had clearly clarified the reality of the church’s deception.

    The Lord stated. “People obfuscate, misuse, and abuse the commandment of Sunday for the sake of the gospel. They do it consistently. Do not spend money on Sundays! Once men have decided to do what is in their hearts, they present their reasons or justifications to break the commandment at any cost.” The Lord looked very serious. His majesty overflowed. His seriousness and majesty vividly touched me.

    Moreover, on Sundays, Jesus did not want us to spend any money on the coffee machine before or after a meal in church. The Lord desired us to raise money for missions and missionaries on weekdays and not on Sundays. The Lord told me to document this problem. Currently, the people throughout the churches cry out for revival and reformation but the ministers and church congregations must first be changed. They must fearfully repent. They do not properly teach or proclaim keeping Sunday Holy. In fact, they treat this matter with negligence. The Lord had given a stern warning.

    Any kind of events held in the house of God must be free of charge. Many churches today sell meal tickets since they have numerous attendants. Purchasing meal tickets is not keeping Sundays Holy. The Lord meticulously showed me how Korean churches and the saints therein are not approved by our Holy God -- just by not keeping Sunday Holy.

    The Lord also wanted the church to feed any guest speakers at either the Pastor’s house or a saint’s house if the special event is held on Sundays. The Lord did not want the church to take the guest speaker out to a restaurant on Sundays. If the church had a kitchen, the guests could be fed there. The Lord ended His admonition by stating that He forbade us to spend money on Sundays.

    I would like to disclose an event a church member experienced in church. My son, Joseph, evangelized to his friend, Oh, Seung-Young. He had invited him to our church. While we laid our hands on him and prayed, his spiritual eyes opened. He was not aware or ignorant about keeping Sundays holy. Out of habit, he continued to casually buy bubble gum on Sundays. Then one evening on Sunday during church service, he was brought before the throne of God.

    God immediately said, “Seung-Young! Why have you made my day unclean? Why have you not kept Sunday holy? My heart is woeful and breaks.” God then laid him on his stomach and spanked him six times. Seung-Young felt the tingles on his butt as he laid on his stomach. Then God ordered him to do push ups.

    While Seung-Young was being punished, the other church saints were praying. Seung- Young was also praying in his physical state. While we all prayed, Seung-Young, out of the blue, gasped. I asked, “What are you doing? Shouldn’t you be praying?” Seung-Young shouted, “Pastor! I bought a bubble gum this afternoon and now God is punishing me for breaking His commandment of keeping Sunday holy. I am being punished right now.”

    After being disciplined, Father God said, “Seung-Young! Since my heart is woeful, cheer me up now. Appease and gratify Me!” Seung-Young stopped his push ups and began dancing in a humorous way before the Lord. God became very delighted.

    God commanded Seung-Young never to purchase any gum or snacks on Sunday. God proclaimed that Sundays are Holy and must be kept holy. Seung-Young continuously said, “Amen!” He obeyed God.

    As a Pastor, I had never properly taught my congregation about keeping Sundays Holy. I, myself, have not kept Sundays Holy as well. Therefore, I repented. Now with a fearful and trembling heart, I wholly keep Sundays Holy. My family and I, including the church congregation, avoid going out for personal pleasures of any kind. Now on Sundays, we gather together in church to have service and evangelize. We gain rest from it.

[End of excerpt from Baptize by Blazing Fire, Book 3.]

You can read more of a Scriptural explanation for keeping Sundays holy on my other post called Resting from Work.  And Part II of this article is now posted online at Keeping Sundays Holy - Part II

Putting it All Together

Here are the lessons I've learned from this part of the book, which are essentially quotes:
  • We entangle ourselves with various kinds of business and/or recreational activities and give the excuse that we are too busy for the Lord. We then often forget the Lord. Rather than relying on the Kingdom of God, we rest on our current physical world. As a result, we miss hearing the voice of God. Slowly and gradually, we change and follow the life that is irrelevant to the Lord.
  • Always put the Lord and His business first.
  • We need to adjust our concept of Sundays.
  • People obfuscate, misuse, and abuse the commandment of Sunday for the sake of the gospel. They do it consistently. Do not spend money on Sundays!
  • If we simply justify spending money for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of people, then everybody will validate with their own reasoning to spend money on Sundays. Eventually, they will continuously create more special cases or reasons to spend money. Within time, people will create their own excuses to spend money on Sundays.
  • The Lord desires us to raise money for missions and missionaries on weekdays and not on Sundays.
  • The Lord also wants the church to feed any guest speakers at either the Pastor’s house or a saint’s house if the special event is held on Sundays. The Lord does not want the church to take the guest speaker out to a restaurant on Sundays. If the church has a kitchen, the guests could be fed there. The Lord ended His admonition by stating that He forbade us to spend money on Sundays.
  • The Lord had commanded us to keep Sundays Holy in every way. He rebuked watching television, dining out with family, and other secular activities. Furthermore, the Lord did not permit Christians to run any business of any kind for profit on Sundays. He also did not approve Saints to do any shopping on Sundays.
It's time for us to repent, church!  I have not kept Sundays holy, although I may have thought I was doing so.  Up until now, I have justified my own actions, and assumed that what I was doing was alright.  But the Lord has used this book to bring me to repentance, and as I write this, I am still in the process of repenting.  I hope you will allow it to do the same in your heart, too.

You cannot rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5), but if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10). 

If you are a pastor, I recommend you diligently search the Scriptures, pray and ask the Lord for guidance, and then be led by the Spirit in obedience to the Word.  If you are not a pastor, then submit to your leaders and honor the day they designate for worship.  

Author's Note: Please see Opportunities to Serve the Body of Christ.  I also recommend reading David Wilkerson's message, Honoring the Sabbath, which I discovered after writing this article, as well as Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell, in which she saw a man of God in hell for relying on His obedience to the Law to save him. If you enjoyed this message, you may also be interested in the other posts on this blog, available through the archives on the Home page, especially Resting from Work, Faith Works!, Christian Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday, and Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?
I also recommend Restored Truth, Pleasing the Lord, and invite you to visit my collection of blogs at Writing for the Master
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.