For Lord’s Day April 14, 2013.
In preparation study for sermons the next few weeks on the heart of the fourth commandment, I was very challenged by Chuck Baynard’s commentary on the Westminster Larger Catechism regarding its sections guiding our present evening sermons. It’s one of those kind of readings where I am tempted to quote him too much in my sermons. So I’d like to share some with you here and encourage you to honestly meditate on them before the Lord, remembering God’s Law is a perfect mirror that converts the soul and makes the simple wise (Psalm 19:17):
- “While the first three [commandments] speak of the same thing in going after strange gods, the Sabbath breaker has brought that strange woman into the bedroom of God’s own house.”
- “Open breaking of the Sabbath is no less a declaration by man of his fully taking charge of his life and religion over God’s rightful place as his Creator.”
- When we break the Sabbath due to the desire to work [Amos 8:5], ” [we are saying] … God is a liar and if we obeyed him and everyone rested and worshipped God on Sunday the nation would suffer.”
- “God never cursed a nation for showing obedience.”
- “Perhaps if you learned to obey God and rest and worship on His day He would be pleased to bless your efforts the other six.” [Isaiah 58:13-14]
- “ … not obeying the commandment and keeping the Sabbath holy does affect everything else we do and stand for so righteously at other times.”
- “With such total disregard of God’s law and the violation of His command, and the defilement of that which He has hallowed, and the tossing aside of the great grace given us, can we wonder why the church as a whole is so ineffective? Friends we have surrendered the fortifications to the enemy without his firing the first shot. The road to recovery will be long and uphill for the church to regain even a portion of the respect of man and the reverence for God she once maintained. The first step of this journey is the return of the Sabbath to its rightful place in God’s family, His gift of grace and love, returned to Him in worship in spirit and truth. From here alone will the prayers of the saints rise as missiles from hidden silos to rain on the stronghold of the evil one, as in prayer and fasting the church prepares for the sudden return of her Master, even Jesus Christ. Judgment begins in the house of God, and here is the first charge. Are you guilty?”
- “How rediculous our lame excuses will be on that great day of the Lord.”
Do these quotes possibly annoy you? A little bit? If so, consider that the people being called out in our evening texts (Amos 8:5 and Malachi 1:13) were similarly annoyed with having to worship God His way on His Day, even as they did it, yet not well and only half-heartedly. And so, the evening message is: “Watch Your Sabbath Attitude”. Related to this concern to whole-heartedly obey God, our morning sermon’s text will show us through the midwives of Exodus 1:15-21 and God’s response to them fearing God rather than man and thus obeying Him only, that ” … them that honour me I will honour” (1 Samuel 2:30).