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SF086 - THE LORD OF THE SABBATH (Matthew 12 1-14)

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Matthew 12:1-14

Introduction

The events recorded in Matthew 12 mark a major turning point in Jesus’ ministry, focusing on the rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish people.  Verses 1-21 depict the mounting unbelief of Israel crystallizing into conscious rejection, and verses 22-50 depict the blasphemy that follows the rejection.  After the King was presented and attested, He was then rejected and blasphemed before finally being put to death on the cross.

One of the primary causes for opposition centered on observance of the Sabbath, the problem with which the present text (12:1-14) deals.

In today’s study we will take up the subject of the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian worship on Sunday.  For some this is a very confusing topic; there are entire denominations that insist on observing the Jewish Sabbath rather than worshipping on Sunday.

Ø      We will seek to answer the following questions: 

Ø      What was the Sabbath practice of Jesus day and how did He deal with it? 

Ø      What was the purpose for the Jewish Sabbath? 

Ø      What is the significance of the Christian observance of the first day of the week; and how should Christians celebrate it?


1A.      The Jewish Sabbath

1B.      The practice of the Sabbath

God commanded the Sabbath for the Jewish people

Ø      The command is found in the Ten Commandments.  (Exodus 20:8-11)

“This law is the only one of the Ten Commandments that is nonmoral and purely ceremonial; and it was unique to the Old Covenant and to Israel.”  (MacArthur)

Ø      God held Israel accountable to keep the Sabbath.  (Jeremiah 17:21-22, 27; 2 Chronicles 36:21)

The leaders of Israel added man’s regulations to God’s law and thereby perverted God’s law and burdened God’s people

Ø      Among the many other forbidden Sabbath activities were: sewing, plowing, reaping, grinding, baking, threshing, binding sheaves, winnowing, sifting, dying, shearing, spinning, kneading, separating or weaving two threads, tying or untying a knot, and sewing two stitches.

Ø      These abuses of God’s law infuriated Christ and He refused to observe them.  (Mark 2:23-3:5; Luke 13:10-16)

Christ’s response to the abuse of the Sabbath by the Jewish leaders (Matthew 12:3-8)

Ø      Using David as an example, Jesus declared that He was greater than their Sabbath rules because He is the Messiah.

Ø      The practice of religious ritual works only to harden man’s heart toward God.  (Matthew 12:7)

Ø      Jesus declared His authority over the Sabbath because He was the Lord of the Sabbath.


2B.      The purpose of the Sabbath

The Sabbath was established before Moses (Genesis 2:2-3)

Ø      However, there is no record of any actual Sabbath observance by anyone before the time of Moses.

Ø      There is evidence of sacrifices, of prayer, of circumcision by the Jewish people before Moses’ day – but no Sabbath keeping.

The Sabbath was instituted for the Jews only

Ø      The Sabbath was established at the time of the giving of the law in Sinai.  (Nehemiah 9:13-14)

Ø      The Sabbath was a sign between God and Israel.  (Exodus 31:12-17)

Ø      The Sabbath was intended to distinguish Israel from other nations.  (Ezekiel 20:10-12)

“We conclude that the Sabbath was for Israel alone, that it was neither instituted nor observed before the exodus and the giving of the law at Sinai.”[1]

The observance of the Sabbath ended with the coming of the gospel

Ø      Paul declares that through Christ’s death God “canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”  (Colossians 2:14)

Ø      After the resurrection there is no record of the people of God meeting on the Sabbath.

Ø      In the epistles we are told that believers are freed from all Sabbath observances.  (Colossians 2:16-17; Galatians 4:9-11)

2A.      The Christian Sunday

1B.      Why do Christians celebrate the Lord’s Day?

Because it was on a Sunday that God raised Christ from the dead (Matthew 28:1-6)

Ø      Therefore it is a day of celebration, not sorrow. (Psalm 118:22-24; Acts 4:11-12)

Ø      We should celebrate the Lord’s Day not simply “observe” it.

Because beginning with the resurrection, every spiritually significant event recorded in the New Testament fell on a Sunday.  (Boice)

Ø      Jesus Christ arose from the dead.

Ø      Jesus ascended into heaven for the first time.  (John 20:17; Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:39)

Ø      Jesus appeared to the disciples for the first time.  (Luke 24:13-ff)

Ø      Jesus first ate with His disciples.  (Luke 24:30-31, 41-43)

Ø      Jesus taught them from the Scriptures.  (Luke 24:45-47)

Ø      Jesus commissioned the disciples to the task of world evangelism.  (John 20:21)

Ø      Jesus breathed on the disciples, imparting the Holy Spirit to them.  (John 20:22)

Ø      The Holy Spirit descended from heaven at Pentecost.  (Acts 1)

Ø      The Holy Spirit directed Paul to gather the believers together and preach to them.  (Acts 20)

Ø      Paul established Sunday as the day the church in Corinth was to receive offerings.  (1 Corinthians 16:2)

Ø      The Lord Jesus appeared to the apostle John on the island of Patmos and gave him the revelation of Himself in all His present glory.

Because it is a weekly reminder that we are not under law but under grace!

“We have been called by grace.  We have been redeemed by grace.  We are justified by grace.  We are sanctified by grace.  God operates constantly by grace.  He is a gracious God.”  (Boice)

2B.      How are Christians to celebrate the Lord’s Day?

The Lord’s Day is to be celebrated by believers only.

Ø      Only those who have experienced God’s grace in regeneration can truly celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.

Ø      Therefore we should not attempt to force non-Christians to observe it.

“None of us would think of forcing baptism or communion upon a person who has not trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.  In the same way, the celebration of the first day of the week is given to help a person remember the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and the only person who can keep that day in a way acceptable to God is the person who believes that Jesus died for his sin and that has been raised from the death of his ole self into newness of life through Christ Jesus.”  (Boice)

Ø      The fact that a number of unregenerate Americans attend church on a regular basis simply makes it more difficult to get a clear picture of who is saved and who is not.

The Lord’s Day is to be a day of joy.

Ø      The resurrection is the source of great joy for the believer!

Ø      The early church was characterized by this joy.  (Acts 2:42, 46-47)

The Lord’s Day is to be filled with activity

Ø      It is a day to worship.

Ø      It is a day to witness.

The Lord’s Day is to be characterized by spiritual expectation

Ø      We should come to worship with the expecting God’s to working in and among us.

Application

1.       Are you spiritually prepared to celebrate the Lord’s Day?  In other words, have you have placed your faith in Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

2.       Is Sunday a day of joy for you?

3.       Do you come to worship with a spiritual expectation.


Matthew 12:1-14

1A.      The Jewish Sabbath

1B.      The ___________________ of the Sabbath

God commanded the Sabbath for the Jewish people 

Ø      The command is found in the Ten Commandments.  (Exodus 20:8-10)

Ø      God held Israel accountable to keep the Sabbath.  (Jeremiah 17:21-22, 27; 2 Chronicles 36:21)

The leaders of Israel added man’s regulations to God’s law and thereby perverted God’s law and burdened God’s people

Ø      These abuses of God’s law infuriated Christ and He refused to observe them.  (Mark 2:23-3:5; Luke 13:10-16)

Christ’s response to the abuse of the Sabbath by the Jewish leaders (Matthew 12:3-8)

2B.      The ________________________ of the Sabbath

The Sabbath was established before Moses (Genesis 2:2-3)

The Sabbath was instituted for the Jews only

Ø      The Sabbath was established at the time of the giving of the law in Sinai.  (Nehemiah 9:13-14)

Ø      The Sabbath was a sign between God and Israel.  (Exodus 31:12-17)

Ø      The Sabbath was intended to distinguish Israel from other nations.  (Ezekiel 20:10-12)

The observance of the Sabbath ended with the coming of the gospel  (Colossians 2:14, 16-17; Galatians 4:9-11)


2A.      The Christian ______________________

1B.      _______ do Christians celebrate the Lord’s Day?

Because every spiritually significant event recorded in the New Testament fell on a Sunday.

Ø       Jesus Christ arose from the dead.  (Matthew 28:1-6)

Ø       Jesus ascended into heaven for the first time.  (John 20:17; Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:39)

Ø       Jesus appeared to the disciples for the first time.  (Luke 24:13-ff)

Ø       Jesus first ate with His disciples.  (Luke 24:30-31, 41-43)

Ø       Jesus taught them from the Scriptures.  (Luke 24:45-47)

Ø       Jesus commissioned the disciples to the task of world evangelism.  (John 20:21)

Ø       Jesus breathed on the disciples, imparting the Holy Spirit to them.  (John 20:22)

Ø       The Holy Spirit descended from heaven at Pentecost.  (Acts 1)

Ø       The Holy Spirit directed Paul to gather the believers together and preach to them.  (Acts 20)

Ø       Paul established Sunday as the day the church in Corinth was to receive offerings.  (1 Corinthians 16:2)

Ø       The Lord Jesus appeared to the apostle John on the island of Patmos and gave him the revelation of Himself in all His present glory.

2B.      How are Christians to celebrate the Lord’s Day?

The Lord’s Day is to be celebrated by believers only.

The Lord’s Day is to be a day of joy.  (Acts 2:42, 46-47)

The Lord’s Day is to be filled with activity

The Lord’s Day is to be characterized by spiritual expectation


----

[1] Boice, James M., The Gospel of John, Volume 1, The Coming of the Light, John 1-4, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1985), 371.

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