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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sign of Christ’s followers

My father was a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for many years. I always thought I’d marry a preacher not be one. Truth be told I hate to make public speeches. When I was a kid if something made me mad, instead of talking about it I would go to my room, (often because I was sent there to think about it) and I would sit there on my bed and “discuss” it with myself until I thought that I could make my parents understand my point of view. This hardly every worked. Did I mention that before My dad was a minister he had been a drill Sergeant in the Army? You can imagine how I grew up. And I have found out that the prayer ministers say before their sermons it’s not necessarily just for you, the congregation but for the ministers themselves to have the courage to stand up and actually speak the truth and pray that they make some sense. And that the snoring from the front row doesn’t discourage them too much.
Whenever my father was placed with a new congregation his opening sermon would begin with something like this… “I don’t want you to believe one word that comes out of my mouth. Yes, you heard correctly-- not one word--except that which you study with your own Bibles and prove to be correct. So I do not want you to listen to me except that I give you the Word of God, without my own personal bias.

Let’s begin back in the beginning Genesis, as you may recall the first chapter deals with the first six days of creation. Then we get to the second chapter. Let’s look at the first three verses. (Genesis 2:1-3) "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God BLESSED the seventh day and MADE it HOLY, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." Sanctified, hallowed, made holy, if God makes something holy what should that mean to us?

Skip ahead a few years, the Children of Israel had been in captivity in Egypt. They are in the desert, no food and they are murmuring again to Moses. Exodus Chapter sixteen. You can read the whole story on your own but for our purposes let’s start with verses four and five, "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days." What was God trying to do here? He was reminding the children of Israel which day was His Sabbath. We read that back in verse five. Now do you think after forty years of manna that they figured out what He wanted them to know?

Let’s go now to the New Testament and see what it says there. Luke chapter four and verse sixteen. "He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his CUSTOM and stood up to read." Of course you say, after all, Jesus was Jewish. Time after time in Jesus ministry He clashes with the authorities of His day over how to keep the Sabbath. Not about which day it was, after all they already knew which day it was. How do we know which day it was? Let’s look at the end of Jesus life. Luke chapter 23 and verse fifty to 24 verse three. "Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus Body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was the PREPARATION Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the SABBATH in obedience to the commandment. On the FIRST day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." When does the whole Christian world celebrate Easter? What is “Good Friday”? So we do know which day is “the Sabbath”. You might say, but that was the Old Testament law. Well, did you throw out the other nine as well? Is it okay to have other gods, murder, commit adultery? No, of course not, then why just throw out one? You say the law was done away with at the cross. Which law? Three of the four gospels indicate that when Jesus died the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Why was that? What was going on at that time? John 19:14 "It was the day of Preparation of PASSOVER Week, about the sixth hour." The Passover was going on. So what was happening in the temple at Passover? First Corinthians five verse seven. ..."Christ our Passover lamb has already been sacrificed!" Do we sacrifice animals at Passover anymore? Only those who do not accept Christ as our sacrifice would do that. This is the law that was fulfilled when Jesus died for our sins, so now we don’t have to follow it. What do we do to remember Christ’s death? You hold communion, right? Right!

Why then are there so many that worship on another day? Well, someone had to have changed the law a little bit. Who was it? The disciples? Who? Let’s see if our Bibles tell us. I will give this twenty dollar bill to anyone who can find the verse in the Bible that tells me that either Jesus or His disciples changed the Sabbath. Let’s look at a few verses. (I have a concordance and have looked up the word “First" the following are texts with the "First day of the week in them) John 20:19"On the evening of that FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, when the disciples were together(why were they together? finish the verse) with the doors locked for FEAR of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said peace be with you!" They were together because they were afraid. Would you be afraid if you knew your Lord and savior were alive and well? No! Were they worshiping? No! Did Jesus tell them anything different at this time No! 1 Corinthians 16:2 This is the text most commonly used to signify a change took place so lets read it. "On the first day of every week, each of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." What is this talking about? Collections, he didn’t want to waste time while he was visiting to take up collections. That’s it; there are no texts in the Bible that indicate that God wanted any other day to be made “holy”.

So, where do we get it from? For that answer we have to go to historical records other than the Bible. When did worship on another day become the rule? I searched the Web for the answer to that question. This is what I found. We must go back to the days when Constantine became the emperor of Rome. Just put his name in your search engine and you can find what I found. In the book, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” on p.340 & 341 you will find these words. There are more, it’s all documented in history.

(The Church further obtained the right to inherit property, and Constantine moreover placed Sunday under the protection of the State. It is true that the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas. Consequently Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun. According to Eusebius , the heathen also were obliged on this day to go out into the open country and together raise their hands and repeat the prayer already mentioned, a prayer without any marked Christian character (Vita Const., IV, xx).) Constantine, emperor of Rome, changed the day that people worship on.

I would like to close with three texts Ezekiel 20:12 "Also I gave them my Sabbaths , as a SIGN between us, so they would know that I the Lord made them Holy. “The Sabbath is a sign between God and his people. Isaiah 66:22 & 23"As the New heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me, declares the Lord, so will your name and descendants endure. From one New moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me says the Lord." In heaven we will come to worship God from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another. And lastly, Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus, Himself, says that not a jot or tittle shall pass from the law and we should be teaching others to obey it too. Know what a tittle is? I have four versions of the Bible here. I like the way this one puts it. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law OR the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until EVERYTHING is accomplished. ANYONE who breaks one of the least of these commandments AND teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (New international) Anyone know another language, Spanish? Know those little marks they put above their n’s that little enyay thing. It’s a little curvy line. That’s what Jesus is talking about here. He says, not even the smallest little line of the law is getting changed. The law isn’t changed. We have Easter to commemorate Jesus resurrection. We have communion to celebrate His death. And we have the seventh day Sabbath to Remember our Creator.



H H B H T N E V E S D O G

P J L E N H M H M E V W A

S W E N J Y V F T V U S V

D O S D D U S S U G A J Z

E G S E O F E R S N B I V

H Q E D H R G H C Y A D V

S V D F V F N T T O A O G

I R Q K A G I S V Z H D B

N P Q M W F O L Z T P B S

I I A D I H A D R Q Q M K

F D A E J D I A G M W R O

E Z D H C V E C E T O B R

X H E A V E N S H W I H R

blessed
host
day
made
earth
rested
ended
finished
seventh
God
which
heavens
work



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