In Exodus 20: 8-11 God instructed the Hebrews to take a day off. It is in this passage that one learns that the Sabbath was commanded by the Lord, because in six days He made the Heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He rested (Gen. 2:3). For centuries as seen in the Old Testament and till the time of Christ, Jews rested and observed the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath unto the Lord.
Yet today Biblical Christians meet on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, Sunday as they have since the beginning of the church in Acts 2. The shift in the calendar was monumental. Something catastrophic happened to effect this change in the day of worship from Jewish Sabbath, to the first day according to the Jewish calendar!
This monumental event that changed history was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we read in the Gospels (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, 9, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1, 19) which are eyewitness accounts that Jesus Christ arose from the tomb on the first day of the week.
After his resurrection, we never find Christ meeting with his disciples on the seventh day or Sabbath day. But He specially honored the first day by manifesting Himself to the apostles and others on four separate occasions (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:34, 18–33; John 20:19–23). Again, on the next first day of the week, Jesus appeared to his disciples (John 20:26).
Nothing but the resurrection of Jesus Christ could change the day of honoring the Lord from the Sabbath to the first day of the week.
Many centuries before Christ, some tradesmen who resented keeping the Sabbath day came to the prophet of the Lord, Amos and demanded to know, “When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances of deceit? “(Amos 8:5).
Amos responded in Amos 8:9, “"And on that day," declares the Lord GOD, "I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.”
Scripture confirms just as Amos prophesied that the Sabbath was abolished when God darkened the earth in a clear day and the sun went down at noon. This of course happened when Jesus was crucified; as a result the Sabbath day was nailed to his cross as we see in Matthew 27:51ff.
Then Col. 2:14-16 clearly states, "Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."
These verses clearly state the weekly Sabbath was nailed to the cross and abolished. In reading the rest of the New Testament, we also find that Jesus and the inspired writers taught all the commandments of the Ten Commandments, except for the fourth commandment, the Sabbath law. There is no command in the teachings of Christ for any person to keep the Sabbath. Again, the Sabbath, along with the rest of the Old Testament were nailed to the cross. The only day given special recognition in the new covenant is the first day of the week, Sunday. (Mt. 28:1; Mk. 16:2, 9; Lk. 24:1; Jn. 20:1; 19; Acts 2:1; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10).
Let us not forget that the first Christians were originally Jews, as recorded in Acts 2. The beginning of the church began with Jews becoming Christians (Acts 2:38; 41; 47). The Day of Pentecost was the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover week (Lev. 23:15-16), thus the first day of the week. So not only is the first day of the week Resurrection day it is also the day the church began, and when Christians worshiped the Lord. For these early Jewish Christians to continue to assemble on the first day of the week would be a clear distinction that they had abandoned the keeping of the Sabbath and Judaism all together.
Christians are not bound to keep the Sabbath, but they are commanded to worship the Lord together (Heb. 10:19–25). Because of the power and influence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christ’s fulfilling prophecy of the Old Testament, the New Testament examples of worship on the first day of the week and the teachings of the New Testament that show the early Christian abandoning the Sabbath and the Old Law; Christians are to worship the Lord on the first day of every week.
Written by Mark T. Tonkery
I am happy to announce that our family is now moved into our new home in Belpre. We love the house and have wonderful dreams about ministry that can happen there. However, I must admit that moving did not go as smoothly as we hoped. Some of our possessions were in an uncovered trailer. After checking the weather in Michigan (which said clear skies all day) we thought it would be okay. We should have checked the weather in southern Ohio too I suppose. After driving a few miles first it dumped snow, then it rained, then it hailed, then it snowed some more. We scraped a half inch of ice off our stuff when we got there. Additionally, the U-Haul got stuck in a ditch when we tried to back it up into our narrow drive, requiring a wrecker at two in the morning. Gasoline from the tipped lawn mower got dumped on our best mattress. A few other pieces of furniture got wrecked in transition. And you know what? It’s okay. All of these are temporary things. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
My troubles are temporary and my best blessings are forever. Whatever minor trial we go through does not come close to comparing to all the good that is in store for me as a Christian person. By comparison even a severe illness, even the complete loss of all our possessions, even being separated from one another for a time is a “light and momentary trouble.” This is one of the many reasons I am so happy to be a Christian. I know that even if I have to walk through some dark valleys God is always leading me to good places. What hope do you have if you do not follow the Lord? What hope do you have as your body wears out and your possessions rust and break and those you love pass away? I’m sure I know several people who would fall to pieces if their table or their T.V. broke in the U-Haul. Without Christ they have no hope of anything better.
Let all who belong to Christ know that our hope is great. Let’s say along with David: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). Whether God gives or takes away let us praise His name! His presence in our lives is worth far more than any material thing we could hope to gain. His love is more precious than any costly jewel. These are blessings that can never be taken from me. They are blessings I enjoy now, they are blessings I will enjoy in the house of the Lord forever. If you cannot say the same I encourage you to put your treasure in a different place. Then all of your troubles will seem light and momentary compared to the eternal glory that outweighs them all.
Written by Doug Wells
Proverbs 11:30 states, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise.”
The New Testament continues to emphasize the winning of souls by teaching us to make disciples in Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15-16. Once one has been won to Christ, we are to continue being taught. In Acts 2:42 it tells us to be devoted to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. Acts 8:39 tells us to continue to rejoice in our salvation. In I Corinthians 1:17 it tells us to keep preaching the gospel. When each Christian makes disciples, teaching the gospel, fellowshipping, praying, rejoicing and serving we will win souls. According to Acts 2:47 and Acts 16:5 this is what the church did in the first century; they won souls daily.
When was the last time you “won a soul for Christ”? When was the last time you taught someone the scriptures about how to become a Christian? When was the last time you saw a person baptized and become a new creation in Christ? When was the last time you invited someone to worship services?
We have seen the church winning souls in the past and now it is time to get back to winning souls for Christ. Unfortunately, too many Christians are just baptized and are not involved in the work of winning souls for Christ. For too many Christians, have not been taught that Christianity is a total conversion and commitment to the cause of Christ, which includes winning souls for Christ.
One’s conversion is just the beginning of one’s salvation. God wants our whole hearts, minds, bodies, and actions. He wants us to be totally converted to His cause. God wants every Christian doing and modeling His will in our daily lives. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20) Can this statement be our statement, have we crucified our souls, minds, hearts, bodies, and actions with Christ? Are we totally committed to Christ and winning souls for the Kingdom of God?
Written by Mark T. Tonkery
I think a general rule is the more worthwhile something is the harder it is to get it. In school it wouldn’t have been hard for me to pass a class with a “D.” I could do that with almost no effort at all, but the much more valuable “A” took a lot more work. If something is extremely valuable it might even be unattainable. Could I get a small diamond to ask Raeanne to marry me? Sure, with some saving and sacrifice. Could I obtain the 45.52 carat Hope Diamond? Uhh . . .not legally. And since I’m a minister instead of a master criminal not illegally either. Get how this works? The best things tend to be super hard to get. But I hope this doesn’t discourage people from pursing God. I hope this principle doesn’t convince people to abandon seeking God’s Word.
Even though every Word from God is more precious than diamonds it is amazingly accessible to us. As Moses once said, God’s Word “is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so that we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deuteronomy 30:12-14). I think righteous people would happily cross the ocean to receive a word from God . . . but they don’t have to. God loves us so much that He has put something incredibly valuable within reach.
The Word is in our hearts so that we may seek (and find) God. I’ve watched a few Indiana Jones movies in my time, where Harrison Ford goes on incredibly difficult quests to obtain priceless artifacts. Perhaps that’s how many people view seeking God. They may think the quest to get to God would be so difficult, the obstacles so great, it’s not really worth the effort. Perhaps these people would be surprised to know that God is not far away. The obstacles to get to God are great but they have already been overcome by Christ. “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27). What is it worth to you to be near God? How worthwhile would that be? Rejoice that God has made this an exception to the rule! God is worth more than the whole world but He is not far from each one of us.
Written by Doug Wells
It is hard to believe, but my daughters are talking about going to college, they are in high school and it will not be long before they take that big step into adulthood and college life. So, as a parent, I have been thinking a lot about my daughters going to college as well. Although I would like for my daughters and every Christian to go to a Christian college, I realize that this may not be possible for some, because of degree programs, finances, scholarships, and many other reasons. But even if a person goes to a Christian College there are still some things they should be thinking about as one starts living life on their own. So, whether a person is going to a Christian College or a public College they should think about the following:
- First, as one goes off to college, they must keep seeking God and putting Him first (Mt. 6:33). It is often in college that one can be tempted to ignore God and follow a crowd of friends that may choose a way of life that is contrary to the will of God. So, keep seeking God, studying the Bible, praying, and obeying Him in your everyday life.
- Second, find a church home and be committed to that local body of Christians, not only will this help one keep their focus on the Lord, but it will have one develop friendship and a community of believers that can be a family, while one is away from their own family and church home (Heb. 11:24,25). Plus, they may give you a home cooked meal occasionally.
- Third, find and develop friendships with fellow Christians, this again is where the local congregation will be of great importance. We tend to be influenced by our friends, whether good or evil. Remember 1 Cor. 15:33, “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
- Fourth, go on a mission trip. One of the greatest spiritual building events in my college years was when I went on mission trips; I went on three mission trips in college and was blessed every time. Whether the mission trip is foreign or domestic look for an opportunity to go. Most Christian colleges offer mission trip opportunities during spring break, and summer breaks, but there are many missionaries looking for groups to come and help them throughout the year. Even if one does not go to a Christian College there are still many opportunities to go on a short-term mission trip. One place to check out opportunities for short term mission trips is Disciple Trips their web page is: http://www.discipletrips.com/about-us. These are mission trips supported and sponsored by members of the church of Christ.
This is just a short list of spiritual things that a Christian should be looking for during their college years. The goal is to develop one's own spiritual life, and grow as a Christian, so one will go to Heaven.
Young people and parents, please be very prayerful and wise in your choice of college or university it will point you in the direction that you will live the rest of your life, please make sure that direction is helping you get to Heaven.
Written by Mark T. Tonkery