150607 Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Last Updated on Monday, 08 June 2015 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Theme: Worship the Lord of the Sabbath!

How many graduation parties were you invited to this year? How many of those parties did you skip on purpose? You knew it was important to the person and the family who invited you that you come and share this special day with them, but you decided you had other, more important things to do. We make every effort we possibly can to attend things such as graduation parties, weddings, family reunions or other special events. We say it is important for our children to attend our Lutheran Elementary School, Sunday Bible School classes or Catechism classes. But when it comes to attending worship on a regular basis the excuses for why we can't attend come far too quickly and easily to us.

Why is it that the Third Commandment is so easily broken? Why do so many people ignore the opportunity to worship the Lord on a regular basis? If we break the 5th Commandment and murder someone, we know that we would go to jail. But, we also know that no one will throw us in jail for missing a Church service. Some will say, "Well, I don't need to come to Church to worship the Lord. I can worship him in my home, at the cabin or in the boat on the lake." While this certainly is true, in answer to this line of thinking someone once said, "Going to an airport, won't make you an airplane. But, if you are an airplane, you belong at an airport. So it is true that going to Church on a regular basis won't make you a Christian. But, if you are a Christian, this is where you want to be." God's Word before us this weekend gives us the opportunity to talk about the most important time we spend each and every week. Based on God's Word from Deuteronomy, chapter 5, we hear the encouragement to WORSHIP THE LORD OF THE SABBATH. You will worship the Lord of the Sabbath because it is he alone who OFFERS YOU REST; you will worship the Lord of the Sabbath because it is he alone who REMINDS YOU OF RESCUE.

In God's Word before us, Moses says to the Children of Israel, "Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you." The first thing Moses reminds the people of is that this command was not coming from him, or any of the other leaders. It is the will of God himself that they worship him, the Lord of the Sabbath.

Moses says that the people are to "observe" the Sabbath day. This means much more than simply going through some motions on a particular day of the week. What Moses is literally saying is that the children of Israel were to "exercise great care over the Sabbath day." The Sabbath day was to be treated as a valuable treasure that they were to protect and care for.

As they exercised great care over the Sabbath day, the Children of Israel were also told to "keep it holy". This means that the Sabbath Day was to be different from their regular work day. It was to be an entire day set apart for the Lord and worship of him. It was to be a day of physical rest. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do." Not only was the Sabbath day to be a time for physical rest for God's people, but more importantly it was a time for them to stop and rejoice in the rest offered by a gracious God. It was to be an entire day set aside to remember the spiritual rest offered by the Lord of the Sabbath.

The Third Commandment says that you and I are to remember or observe the Sabbath day. Yet, as a congregation, we do not conduct our regular weekly worship on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. Rather, at this time, we are worshipping on Sunday mornings and Monday evenings? Is our congregation guilty of breaking this Commandment because of the day of the week we choose to gather together for worship? There are some who would say "Yes!" But for an answer to this question, we must let the Word of God speak. In the second lesson today from Colossians chapter 2, the Lord of the Sabbath led the Apostle Paul to write, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ". The laws of Old Testament Israel all pointed ahead to the Savior, Jesus Christ. The law regarding the Sabbath day also pointed ahead to Jesus Christ, and the rest he would provide. Yes, it is still the will of our God that you and I worship the Lord of Sabbath. It is still his will that you and I gather together on a regular basis to rejoice in the rest offered to us through his great undeserved love.

You and I know from God's Word that the only thing we deserved because of our sins was the never-ending unrest of suffering in the fires of hell. Yet, in Jesus Christ alone, our souls find rest. Only through the blood of Jesus Christ can you and I be assured that all of our sins are forgiven. In Matthew 11, the loving Savior himself offers this comfort: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." And we know from the rest of Scripture that the rest the Savior is speaking of here is the forgiveness of all sins. Jesus Christ won this forgiveness, this rest, by living the perfect life none of us could ever hope to live. He suffered and died in our place. The Father accepted Jesus payment for our sins, and assures us that we are forgiven by the resurrection of the Savior. As you and I gather together to worship the Lord of Sabbath, we do so rejoicing in the rest offered to us by our gracious Savior-God.

In God's Word before us, Moses reminds the Children of Israel not only of the rest offered to them by the Savior-God. He also reminds them of the rescue the Almighty Lord provided for them when he says, "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day." God wanted the people of Israel to remember that it was only a short time ago that they were still being held as slaves in Egypt. Each time they gathered together for worship, the Lord wanted his Chosen People to remember this. Time after time, worship service after worship service, he wanted his people to remember the rescue he provided for them. Certainly they would do this at special worship services, such as the Passover celebration. But, Moses' encouragement for the people was to remember this rescue at each of their weekly worship services.

Dr. Martin Luther writes this about the Third Commandment in his large Catechism: "On such a day of rest, freedom and time should be taken to attend divine service, so that we come together to hear and treat of God's Word, and then to praise God, to sing and pray." Why "praise God"? Why "sing and pray"? Because in the opening of Paul's letter to the Galatians we read, "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of God our Father, to whom be glory forever and ever." As you and I gather together to worship the Lord of the Sabbath, we remember that we have been rescued by our gracious Lord and Savior. Like a person sinking in a lake without a life jacket, you and I were drowning in the lake of our sins. We were headed for certain death; an eternity separated from our God and Savior. It was God the Holy Spirit, working through the powerful Word of our God, who gave to you and me the one and only Life Preserver who could save us from certain death. Jesus Christ reached out his hand to you and to me and offered us his rescue from all our sins. An important part of every worship service that we conduct here in God's house is remembering the rescue provided to us through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In our worship services, you and I gather together to worship the Lord of the Sabbath and remember the rescue from all of our sins which he alone won for us.

One author has written about these verses from Deuteronomy, chapter 5, "The best way New Testament Christians can keep the Third Commandment is by gladly hearing and learning and doing God's Word every day, every time they have the opportunity." Yes, you and I still set aside that one special day to join together with our Christian Family to worship our God. But, throughout our day-to-day lives, you and I worship the Lord of the Sabbath, spending time in his Word. Why? Because of the spiritual rest and the rescue from all sins which he freely offers to us. My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, with hearts filled with joy for these blessings, continue to WORSHIP THE LORD OF THE SABBATH! Amen.

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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