Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 50

“‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.

  • Leviticus 19:30

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.

  • Deuteronomy 5:12

Blessed is the one who does this—
    the person who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it,
    and keeps their hands from doing any evil.”
Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say,
    “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.”
And let no eunuch complain,
    “I am only a dry tree.”
For this is what the Lord says:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
    who choose what pleases me
    and hold fast to my covenant—
to them I will give within my temple and its walls
    a memorial and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
    that will endure forever.
And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
    to minister to him,
to love the name of the Lord,
    and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
    and who hold fast to my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain
    and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
    will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
    a house of prayer for all nations.”

  • Isaiah 56:2-7

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

  • Genesis 2:3

Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

  • Luke 23:56

On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

  • 1 Corinthians 16:2

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.

  • Acts 20:7

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!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
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!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

  • John 20:19–27

“Q. 50. What is required in the Fourth Commandment?
“A. The Fourth Commandment requires the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself (Lev. 19:30, Deut. 5:12).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)

“Q. 58. What is required in the Fourth Commandment?
“A. The Fourth Commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself.”

  • The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

“Q. 116. What is required in the Fourth Commandment?
“A. The Fourth Commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian Sabbath, and in the New Testament called ‘the Lord’s Day.’ ”

  • The Larger Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

The Shorter and Spurgeon catechisms have the same wording, essentially.  The Shorter adds an extra proof.  The Larger Catechism is larger in detail and biblical proofs.

Much of the proofs deal with the first day of the week, Sunday being the day of worship for Christians.

When my wife, who died a few weeks ago was on kidney dialysis, she had dialysis on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Her weekend was Sunday and Monday.  Of those two days, Monday would have been a better day for worship.  She had more energy on Monday.  Otherwise, the recovery from dialysis would only arrive in time to have more dialysis.  But our pastor saw no precedent in shifting the worship service to Monday.

I wrote that jokingly, but there is a point that to worship God in spirit and in Truth, we need to be engaged in the process and we need to worship in the right spirit.

Sometimes our bodies fail us in that regard, but more times our minds fail us.  This world has so many distractions and we often are attracted to the wrong things just because they are shiny.

Last week, I brought up the idea that pastors work hard on Sunday, but they are leading in worship, which is what we should all be doing.  We should be keeping that one day holy.

When I spend time with God, a varying amount each day, it does not seem like work.  Sometimes the busywork can wait and the communication with God can increase.  And often I find the best communication when I begin to tap the keys on the keyboard.

As for the photo, the church was empty since I had gotten there early. The stained glass is what the pastor sees every Sunday morning.

And now let us sing.

The following song is The Church’s One Foundation, sung by the Duke Chapel Choir, the Duke Vespers Ensemble, and the Evensong Singers.  The point is not when we worship as much as who we are worshipping, its one foundation.

The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with thee.

  • Samuel J. Stone, The Church’s One Foundation

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We need You.  We need to focus our lives on You so that every day is a worship day, but we know we need our rest.  Too often we ignore that rest to get one more thing done.  That one thing can wait.  We need to focus on You, Your kingdom, and Your will for our lives.
In thy Name we pray.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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