Here's the thing. . . I'm OK with a Seventh Day Adventist, who chooses to worship the Lord on Saturday . . . but I'm not sure if they're ok with me, who chooses to worship on Sunday.
What am I talking about? A week ago Sunday, we explored the theme of rest in the Scripture, beginning with the God Who Rests in Genesis 2:1-3. In the message, I tried to explain why most Christians today worship on Sunday, instead of the traditional Sabbath Saturday, and what we do now with the 4th Commandment.
Since the message, I've had some good dialogue with some former SDA folks and have been hearing about some engaging discussions in Growth Groups.
So why am I OK with an Seventh Day Adventist who chooses to worship on Sunday? Because I think the Bible instructs me to be . . .
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day — things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” --Colossians 2:16-21
One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. --Romans 14:5-10
Why, when Paul has every chance to reinforce strict Sabbath keeping, does he do the opposite and encourage freedom and grace in Christ in these matters?
Despite the arguments of Seventh Day Adventists, in the book of Acts already and clearly by the end of the first century, Christian worship and rest had shifted to Sunday. This was not a 3rd or 4th C. Papal invention.
The 4th command seems to be a unique mixture of ceremonial/civil/moral law. . . unlike the other nine. . . . the civil/ceremonial shell is removed in the coming of Christ. . . . but the principle of rest . . . the kernel of that 4th command . . . still stands.
Christ fulfills all 3 aspects of the law. . . . civil and ceremonial are lifted, moral still stands as a guide for the believer. Therefore, I've still got 10 commandments, not 9. The 4th should be taken seriously, but with freedom and grace, not legalstically. The principle of rest stands, but the practice of rest is transformed with the coming of Jesus, our real rest.
So I can embrace a Seventh Day Adventist, as a brother in Christ who chooses to worship on Saturday and is fully convinced in his own mind.
But the question remains: Would a Seventh Day Adventist be OK with my worshiping on Sunday, instead of Saturday. Could he embrace me as a fellow believer? If not, why not?
(If you missed it, listen here for 10 benefits of developing a consistent practice of rest near the end of the message.)