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Luke {Week 6} How Should We Practice the Sabbath?


Below is a picture of my mom as a little girl with her brothers wearing their Sunday best.  Life was different back in the 50′s. In Ohio, there was a Blue Law that required stores and most places of work and business to be closed. This made it possible for most people to be in church.

My father says almost everyone went to church. This social expectation even crossed into the classroom. My father recalls his public school 5th grade teacher asking on Monday mornings who went to church and they had to raise their hands. His family sometimes missed and he was a little embarrassed he couldn’t raise his hand – could you imagine that now in our schools?

My grandmother usually spent her Saturdays preparing for her Sunday day of rest. This meant that she cooked her Saturday meals (usually simple hamburgers) plus her Sunday meal (usually a roast and sheet cake). After attending church on Sundays, she merely reheated the prepared food and served it.
Following the meal they spent time with friends and relatives. They would talk and visit all afternoon and then return back to Sunday evening church. My father’s family would often go on a Sunday drive to look at the countryside or skip rocks in a lake.
Sunday dress was very different. Men would not even consider going to church without a suit jacket and tie. Even the little boys (as pictured above) wore suit coats. And on 90+ degree days, in churches with no air-conditioning, the men just sat there sweating. The women also wore their best dresses and shoes and hats too.
I remember my mother telling me about a time when she was sad on a Sunday because her father would not allow her to cut out her paper dolls.  He said that cutting was work –and so she’d be sinning on Sunday to play in that manner.
And so that brings us to today’s passage.  Jesus broke the Sabbath day rest…let’s see what happens.

 (if you cannot view this video – click here to view it)
5 points we can take from Exodus 20:8-11 about the Sabbath:
1.  Remember the Sabbath DaySabbath means rest. Remember that you are human – not a machine – do not neglect rest. God WANTS you to rest.
2. Keep it holy – our day of rest is not for going boating and to amusement parks –it’s to be a holy day.  Remember to go to church.
3.  Work 6 days and then rest 1 – in the 10 commandments God does not designate which day is to be the day of rest.  It only gives us the pattern of working 6 days and resting 1.  In the Old Testament the Sabbath fell on Saturday.  Then in Acts, whe see the Christian church meeting on the first day of the week for communion – which would have been Sunday.
4.  We are not to make others work on the Sabbath – the commandment states that our sons and daughters, servants and oxen are also not to work.
5.  This is all based on God’s example in creation – God created the earth and everything on it in 6 days and then he blessed the 7th day, called it holy and rested.  He didn’t rest because he was tired.  He rested because He was setting the example that we are to follow.  Work 6 days and then on the 7th – call it holy, be blessed and rest.
In today’s passage, Jesus did not abolish the Sabbath – he merely put his foot down against legalism and rules and regulations that are heartless.  Some professions such as doctors or police will have to work on Sundays –we are not to judge.  We will be tempted to try to put rules on this special day – like no cutting paper dolls or no cooking (note today’s passage when Jesus rubbed the kernals to eat and the Pharisees attacked him ) –but that misses the heart of what God meant in creation for our Sabbath rest to be.
The Sabbath rest is a gift.  We must humble ourselves and acknowledge that we need it.  We need a day to worship.  We need a day to rest.  We need a day where there’s time for extended prayer and  Bible reading.  Put your feet up and read a good spiritual book –guilt free friends!!!!  And trust –we must trust that the work load we have – God will help us accomplish in the 6 days we’ve been given to work.
**Chime In: How do you and your family practice the Sabbath rest?  Is this a challenge for you?
Walk with the King,
Further Resources for study this week - Verse by verse commentary from John MacArthur:
Luke 6:1-5 Jesus: The Divine Truth Teller
Luke 6:6-11 Divine Truth Confronts Human Tradition
Luke 6:12-13 Common Men, Uncommon Calling
Luke 6:14 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Peter, Part 1
Luke 6:14 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Peter, Part 2
Luke 6:14 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Peter, Part 3
Luke 6:14 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Andrew and James
Luke 6:14 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: John
Luke 6:15 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Matthew and Thomas
Luke 6:16 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Judas Iscariot, Part 1

Luke 6:16 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: Judas Iscariot, Part 2
Luke 6:15-16 Common Men, Uncommon Calling: James, Simon, and Judas
Luke 6:17-19 The Popularity and Power of Jesus
Luke 6:20-23 The Character of a True Christian-1
Luke 6:23-26 The Character of a True Christian- 2

Luke 6:27-28 The Commands of Kingdom Love

Luke 6:29-30 The Actions of Kingdom Love
Luke 6:31-38 The Content of Kingdom Love

Luke 6:39-45 The Danger of Following the Wrong Spiritual Teacher

Luke 6:46-49 The Ultimate Religious Decision
Week 6 Memory Verse: Higher resolution download links:
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  1. I will go a step farther-I remember when we had prayer and bible reading in school. It is a shame that those days are gone…we would have never started the day without prayer, bible reading and pledging the flag..

  2. It’s definitely hard for me to rest on Sunday. We have four kids and my husband’s work hours means he’s not around on Sundays to help me (or any other day of the week! but we are blessed that he is working!). So this means that I’m still making breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Sunday for four kids. Plus we go to church twice on Sundays – once in the morning and back again in the evening for Bible studies and youth group. My younger kids don’t really do much on Sunday nights, but my oldest daughter has youth church where they worship and get a word from the youth pastor. So every time I think that I’ll just not go back on Sunday evening so we can just rest… I get convicted because its the time my daughter gets fed by her pastor and so we always go. Sunday is actually the busiest day of the week for me.. and I don’t know how else to do it. :(

  3. I remember those days as a little girl, well. We went on those Sun. drives too!

  4. Renee Pearison says:

    I have to somewhat disagree with your post. The Sabbath was given to the Jews. The Sabbath is Saturday, not Sunday. The Jews worked six days a week. For some today, God has given them the conviction that they should treat Sunday as their Sabbath. But we need to be careful to not become Pharisees and push our Godly convictions on others whom God has not convicted that this is what their family needs to follow. (Which is exactly what the point of this scripture is about.)

    Paul reminds us we are “free” from the law. We need to be careful that we distinguish between the eternally right and the morally neutral. We can only hope to do that if we stay in tune to God, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

  5. I was raised to respect Sunday as our Sabbath. I just read Renee’s post and agree with you both. Since God rested on the 7th day as an example, we are to set aside a day to rest. Whether we rest on Saturday or Sunday is up to each individual and the way they believe. As a Bible believing Christian, I choose to go to church and take the rest of my Sunday off. Sometimes as a Mary Kay consultant, I need to deliver some products to customers at church. That is usually the only time I will see them. This is where I have some difficulty. However, I can still use the rest of the day to honor my commitment to God and resting on the Sabbath after church services. Sorry if too long!

  6. Hi Renee – thank you for sharing your convictions. No doubt this is a difficult text and I struggled with what angle to come at this.

    I shared in the post in #3 that the Sabbath in the Old Testament was on Saturday and then when the new Christian church began – in Acts 20 – we see the church meeting on the first day of the week – Sunday. Which is why most Christians worship on Sundays now.

    My 5 points were taken from the law in Exodus as I said above the list. It’s important that we get the history of what God said about the Sabbath so we can understand what was happening in Jesus’ day. You are correct – we are no longer under the law. The tricky part is that the rest was not just mentioned in the law – but also at creation – before the law. Hebrews talks much of the Sabbath and entering the rest – the rest from having to work to be saved. We do not rest to obey the law or gain God’s favor but we rest because we recongnize that we need rest and a day to worship. We do it out of a heart set aside for God – out of a love for God. The rest is not a rigid set of rules and I hope that came through in the post.

    We see other things like this in the Bible – such as the “rule” you must tithe 10% in the Old Testament and in the New Testament we are to give cheerfully. The rule of 10% is undone but the heart of giving is still there. In the same way, the rigid rule of you “must not work on the Sabbath” is undone – but a heart of worship and rest is still there.

    I’m sorry if that did not come through more clearly in the post. Thank you for your input.
    Lots of Love,

  7. Rachel Jones says:

    Being free from the law does not mean we can live any way we wish and call it holy. I get so tired of that excuse. I am a runner and do not participate in races on Sunday because they would cause me to miss worship – God commands us to keep the Sabbath, not keep the Sabbath unless we have something else to do. We are not to be like the Pharisees but our hearts should WANT to worship and rest and commune with believers on the Sabbath.

  8. I don’t observe a Sabbath rest on Saturday or Sunday. I don’t believe Christians are called to do so based on Hebrews 4. Jesus is our rest. http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA135/are-the-sabbath-laws-binding-on-christians-today

  9. Well this is something I struggle with on a practical level, just because it seems like everything that can happen does to make things as difficult as possible for us to get to church and set aside a day for the Lord. However, I (we) NEED that time of rest and worship and fellowship with God and other Christians and it definitely makes a difference in the rest of our week. I just read Hebrews 4 and tried to do so with an open mind, and for me it just confirmed that I NEED to purposefully set aside that time of rest in his presence,and it is an awesome privilege to do so until that time that I can be forever, fully, completely at rest with him. Thank you for sharing your perspectives, as it is a great encouragement and motivater to me!

  10. The word Sabbath or Sabbath Rest aren’t words I use; therefore, my take on this scripture is not to make sure I have my “Sabbath Day Rest”,but rather, see what Jesus was doing: abolishing rules and regulations, and seeing health and healing–ultimately to bring glory to God. This was mentioned earlier.Jesus came to show us our need of the Savior (if we view the law as a schoolmaster to reveal our inability to please God on our own). The law was also used to set God’s people apart in a special way. This is where the ceremonial laws were used. Talk about a list of do’s and don’ts. That was the law Jesus abolished, but the moral law: the Ten commandments, Jesus came to fulfill. We can’t love God with our whole heart aside from the renewed life Christ gives us. We can’t observe a day set aside for God in worship without Jesus’ work of salvation giving us new hearts and biblical worldviews. This is why I love going to church, so I can demonstrate an outward action to reveal an inward change. Now, on that note, though we make church-going a very regular part of our families routine, I had no problem not finding a church while out of town. Instead, I prayed and read my Bible on my own, then enjoyed my family walking around the Market. May we not become so relaxed in our freedom’s in Christ that there are more Market days than Church days, but even then, I am not saved on how often I rest, but how I’ve put my faith and trust in the One who bore my sins on the cruel cross and that leads me to pursue holiness. Love this study and the woman here. The body of Christ is a beautiful thing.

  11. Grammar check from my post: I love the women here. ;)

  12. :) Great feedback everyone!!! I agree – we are not binded under the law to practice the Sabbath rest (nor do I)…but I believe that there are principles taken from the Sabbath rest that we can apply to our Sundays of worship. This is only a matter of the heart and in no way a list of rules.

    I think we all can agree that our culture is one of run yourself ragged 24/7. With electricity we stay up late and burn the candle at both ends. With the use of technology many can work 7 days a week. Most women I know say they are too busy and stressed. And most of us feel guilty to sit down and take a break – so we press on working, working, working – and end up exhausted, ill, depressed, or with broken relationships.

    I think that the principles of Sabbath rest are a gift to us. God does provide a day where we can follow his example in creation and rest from our work. But this day is to represent something greater – and that is that in Jesus we have found the ultimate Sabbath rest. We do not have to work for salvation or follow the Jewish laws.

    Great discussion everyone!!! Thanks!
    Courtney :)

  13. I see the act of abstaining from work one day a week as a ceremonial issue, not a moral one. I do set aside Sunday for worship, but that doesn’t mean I won’t cook or clean or run errands or visit with family and friends later. Romans 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

  14. Awesome post!! I got chills as you were speaking Courtney about how Jesus was bold. He did it in love,but He was not afraid of speaking truth. My husband and I were actually told by a Music Leader’s wife that my husband should find another job that wouldn’t interfere with Sunday service. He’s a State Trooper. We were shocked and floored. It’s very important to rest on the Sabbath,but it is also very important to be a light to others if you have to work that day. Thank you for your encouraging words!

  15. I see many different views of how people view the Sabbath, whatever your view is you need to make sure it matches up with scripture, you would be surprised in what you read. I am discovering there are many people that follow the crowd and the crowd does not seem to know why either so be careful as to why you are doing what you are doing and we should all at some point ask ourselves why this is our belief.

  16. My family and I keep the Sabbath on the 7th day as it says to throughout all of Scripture. The 7th day is from sun down Friday until sun down Saturday as the Hebrew calendar specifies a day as being sun down to sun down. We work for 6 days…working towards the Sabbath…our day of rest. Since I homeschool every day after school there are specific chores and errands that are taken care of so when Friday night comes we truly can rest and be refreshed (spiritually, emotionally, and physically). Many times throughout the Scriptures it says that Sabbath was made for man. The Scriptures never say the Sabbath was made for the Jews and given only to the Jews. When God gave HIS Law at Mt. Sinai HE gave it to ALL of Israel and the 70 nations that came up out of Egypt with them. God established the Sabbath day long before the 12 tribes were ever around. For my family and I the Sabbath is a time to figuratively and literally unplug from the world and give our full and undivided attention to God. We spend that time with our family and any friends who may want to join. We have a cyclical reading and study we do every week. As well, along with that reading and study we may also do another study…for instance we read, studied and discussed the true meaning of things and people being revealed on the 3rd day throughout Scripture. We sing and worship together and find our true rest in God and each other. Everyone is so busy running to and fro all week. It truly is a joy and a blessing to have this one day that God gave us to rest, worship, study, spend time and just ‘to be’ in HIM.

  17. Thank you for this thoughtful blog on Sabbath Rest, and keeping the Sabbath. My husband and I have decided to not shop or eat in restaurants on a Sunday, and has it changed our lives!We just don’t feel comfortable making others cook and serve us, while we sit back and have our rest. Instead, we invite people over for Sunday lunch after church and have a great time! It’s like an informal party every Sunday! Especially if we have done some of the prep work on Saturday.

  18. Fulbrightgirl says:

    I still ask my students that question, many of them still go to church and those that don’t have something to ask thier parents. It also posese an opendoor for student to talk about Jesus and invite each other tocome to church. Still love that God has me in Public school to be a light to His glory!
    Under His Shadow!

  19. veda goushaw says:

    I so remember those days in the 50′s…..great memories but I am so thankful for Christ completing His work and now the Sabbath is still on Saturday but Sunday is the Lords Day! My husband never wears a suit coat anymore and I wear slacks to church but do not feel out of place. We go to our morning worship service to worship the Lord in music and the preaching/teaching by our pastor. Our times have changed from the 50′s and although there are times I’d love to go back to some of those values I don’t miss never hearing about Grace…..God’s Grace…..church on Sunday evening is optional for me as is Wednesday evening…..programs divide out families sometimes so I’m not afraid to change to small groups on either Sunday or some other evening…….a real community……..thank you for the ‘No judgement zone’ :) I think God gives us each a different way of worshipping maybe but His Word never changes and there is only one way to heaven….the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Lord!!!!

  20. Courtney, I loved reading this beautiful blog about how and why we as Christians should keep the Sabbath. Thank you for sharing! I believe, as the Bible states, that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath…meaning it was given to all people, not just the Jewish nation!! However, I respectfully disagree with you about the issue of the day we should keep. The 4th commandment goes all the way back to God’s creation of the world. Genesis 2:3 says, “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that he had done in creation.” Nowhere in the bible, New Testament or Old, is there mention of God sanctifying a different day. In Acts 20, it simply says that they were gathering to “break bread”, which means eating together. They were in the upper room, not the temple or synagogue, which is where they would have been if they were officially gathering for worship. Even though we disagree on this, I appreciate the message you’ve shared. My family and I celebrate the Sabbath every week, and it is truly a day of blessings. We step away from the things of this world, and enjoy time with Our Saviour and each other. I encourage anyone who doesn’t already, to give it a try…enjoy the day of rest God made for us!! God Bless. :)

  21. Raeanne,

    I agree with you and echo your sentiments. As humans it is not up to us to go around changing what God has established. Everything is HIS. Constantine was the one who decided the Sabbath would be Sunday and let me tell you ladies…it was for a very selfish and horrible reason that he did this.

    An interesting note…I know everyone has at least heard of the Duggar family. I do not put them on a pedestal however I really do appreciate what they do and how they raise their family. They are Sabbath keepers. They keep Saturday as their Sabbath using this day to unplug from the world…for family and God only. They think of Sunday as The Lord’s Day.

    I really appreciate and enjoy this study!

  22. If we study the Sabbath day change~it is found that there was no Biblical change of the 7th day as Sabbath, but that of human convenience after the Bible was written. It is an important personal choice which day to keep holy.

  23. Just a thoughtful question here…does it really matter if we celebrate the Lord on Saturday or Sunday so long as it’s done with the right heart and spirit?

    So many times I find it very frustrating that small things like this can create such division when there are so many other larger, more important things to worry about and celebrate together. So much good can be done if we don’t let these molehills become mountains.

    I’m pretty sure we won’t get dinged in heaven for worshiping Him on the “wrong day”.

    Love God and live a Christ like and filled life.

  24. I feel compelled to respond to an incorrect statement. In point #3, the following statement was made: “in the 10 commandments God does not designate which day is to be the day of rest.”

    My Bible says: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Ex. 20:11. This is consistent with the creation story which says “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Gen 2:3

    Interestingly, point #3 also says that Sunday is the 1st day of the week. From my reading and study, there is no historical evidence that the weekly calendar has changed down through the years.

    Also, just because the disciples gathered on the first day of the week doesn’t mean that was the Sabbath. There are several NT verses that mention the first day of week, but none of them change the solemnity of the Sabbath to the first day of the week. In most churches today, I think that believers gather together at various times during the week for Bible study, prayer meetings, ministry, etc. This doesn’t mean that those days automatically become “sabbaths”.

    Acts 2:42, 46 says, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers…. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart”. According to this passage the early Christians were meeting daily.

    The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine says:

    Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
    A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.

    Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
    A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.

    I believe that if we accept scripture as God’s word, and thus as our sole authority, then we are compelled to keep Sabbath on Saturday–the day God blessed and set aside.

  25. Addendum: Now, reading some of the previous comments, I see that others have already commented on this same issue. My apologies…

    I also wanted to say that I really appreciated what was said about the manner in which Sabbath is kept. Personally, I believe it is a blessing, not a means of salvation. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” I think we miss a significant portion of the blessing when we do not fully follow God’s plan. While it is important to honour what God has designed and ordained (in all aspects of life), I also believe that there are more important issues and if we are truly seeking God’s will He will bring us to where He wants us to be. Thank you to the authors of this blog who are living lives of love and service and sharing of themselves. You are greatly appreciated!

  26. I blogged about our day on my blog, linked through my name above. :-) Being a busy Mom of 7, I enjoy that my day is different from the rest of the week. :-)

  27. Everyone must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Keeping Sabbath is not a salvation issue however I do agree it truly is such a blessing to have that one day set aside for rest and refreshment with HIM! I truly don’t know how my family and I ever lived without it!

    Beth, you asked, “does it really matter if we celebrate the Lord on Saturday or Sunday so long as it’s done with the right heart and spirit?”

    The way I see this is…there are several things throughout the Bible that God has called us…told us to do. HE does so because HE knows what is best for us. In my humble opinion if God says to rest and meet with HIM on a certain day, there is a reason for it. To me keeping Sabbath on Sunday is like showing up for a doctor appointment a day late. I also feel that once you accept one man made change to the Scriptures, you are setting yourself up to accept other man made changes so long as they don’t stray from Scripture too much. I do not say that to judge, I do not and will not judge as God will be the one to take care of all that in the end. I don’t see any of this as being divisive. For my family and I and many many others around the world, keeping Sabbath on the 7th day truly has been a heart conviction only brought about by the Holy Spirit. This isn’t something that someone convinced us to do or made us do. As we read and study the Bible things are revealed by the Holy Spirit. We then have the choice to follow God’s lead or not. Thirteen years ago we chose to follow that leading and have never regretted it. It has been a blessing!

    It is true that we should be spending time with God every day of the week, however we are only talking about the Sabbath not the other days of the week. I remember when I was small my dad said something that stuck with me. He said,”You know, the first day of the week is actually Sunday not Monday.” I told him that is Sunday was really the first day of the week then people should be working Sunday through Friday with Saturday off. I asked him why it isn’t this way. He told me that we are to listen to what the church says as they know the correct interpretation of Scripture. That never set well with me. I felt if the church was the ultimate authority, then why even read the Bible? Maybe we should throw it out and just do whatever the church says to do. This was at age 12.

    Also keep in mind that this wonderful Book we have been given is VERY Hebrew in it’s wording and culture. If we read and study the Bible through Hebrew eyes, it really comes to life and brings greater understanding.

    No judgement here. We all do the best we can with the understanding we have at the time. When God reveals truth we are to prayerfully and truthfully consider what to do with the truth that has been revealed.

    In a Bible study we learn and grow together in love!…..Sorry for the long post.

  28. @ tymz l wonder why Exodus 20v4 begins wth e word,’remember’,wel in a way l feel that God knew that one way or e other we wil forget keeping e sabbth,wel as for me and my family we keep our sabbth on Saturday.we do our preparations on Friday then Saturday we dont cook,or do any household chores,our day is spent in e house of e Lord.

  29. The Hebrew word for remember is Zachor (the ch is pronounced like the letter k). In Exodus it says to remember the Sabbath and in Deuteronomy it says to guard the Sabbath. The Hebrew word for guard is Shamar. The Hebrew language and culture are very active. The Hebrew language and culture is more about function (how something works). The Hebrew language and culture doesn’t recognize or understand abstract thought. To guard the Sabbath would, in it’s most basic form, mean to be sure no work is done on that day. To remember the Sabbath, in it’s most basic form, would mean to take time to remember and to appreciate God’s creation since the first mention of Sabbath is tied to the creation. Also, it means to remember all God’s provisions and blessings. How do we do that? It’s different for everyone. We are to search these things out…Proverbs 25:2

    In Israel everything closes a few hours before sun down so people can go home and prepare for the Sabbath…Mark 15:42 speaks of Preparation Day being the day before Sabbath. After sun down on Saturday businesses open again. The only exceptions are the police, hospital staff and military members because the preservation of life is so very important and indicative of the Scriptures. Remember, not everyone living in israel is jewish by blood or religion, however everyone is expected to remember and guard the Sabbath. A lot of people think of Sabbath in terms rules and regulations….what cannot be done during the Sabbath. That type of thinking is very western. Jesus wasn’t from the west, HE was from the east. We should try our best to think as HE did. My family and I think of Sabbath in terms of what we get to do during this time of rest. It is the most joyous time of the week! Amen!


  30. I practiced the Saturday Sabbath, doing no work from Friday sundown through til saturday sundown. I stopped because I was the only one in town (as far as I know) who did this and it got very lonely to worship and rest, but I always felt so rested and refreshed come Sunday, in a way I never do when I worship on Sunday. It was frustrating though, because The whole town shuts down practically on Sunday so I’d be all set and full of energy to commence with my week and everyone else is off. I don’t get that way on Sundays / Mondays

    I miss it though, so I’m thinking of restarting Saturday worship

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