Follow by Email

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2005--On the New Covenant spiritual sabbath

            My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.  A number of years ago, I was speaking to a man who had a friend who was a church leader among college students at the University of Ramkhamhaeng (rahm-kam-haung) in Bangkok, Thailand.  At this university, like ours, wasn’t a particularly devout place, but unlike ours, nearly 95% of students showed up at sunrise Thursday mornings to make the ritual offering of rice to the Buddhist monks.  In a society such as this, when would be the best time for the small group of believers in Jesus to meet for worship and prayer?  Sunup Thursday, when most of that society was somewhat shut down.
            I bring this up in that, the reason most of believers in western culture meet on Sunday morning is not that, somehow, it is connected with Jesus rising from the grave on a Sunday.  It’s really much more pragmatic than that, and like the Thailand example.  In all the time of the New Testament and for the next couple hundred years, there were few believers, although the amount grew quickly over this time.  The church, that is, believers in Jesus, was technically illegal in the Roman Empire.  The official belief had as part of it worship of Mithras, the sun god, on Sunday.  That’s why it’s s-u-n-d-a-y, not s-o-n-d-a-y.  When most of society outside Israel was doing that, it was the best time to meet to worship.
            In the Old Covenant, God gave the Law for the physical children of God, the Jews, which included some non-ethnically Jewish persons who had come to believe in the God of Israel. A physical Sabbath day today is celebrated among Jews on sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  We should recognize that, in that day, the four festivals of the Old Covenant did not count as days of the week, so by our calendar standards the Sabbath day rotated.  When Jesus died, He fulfilled the Old Covenant, and his New Covenant children of God are those of us who have believed on him.  We went through a spiritual six days of creation before finding Jesus, who has given us our spiritual day of rest.  We see in Acts that the early church went house to house, giving thanks to God, and desiring to serve him.  Revelation 1:6 tells us we are now all kings and priests.  The church is believers who meet to worship Jesus in spirit and truth, and build up each other. As we seek to follow Jesus, each day we grow to become spiritually mature.  A mature person is a basic definition, in a wide variety of cultures, of the word elder. 
            This brings up the question of why, in our fast paced, 24/7 society, is it so hard, if one must work on Sundays, to meet for worship?  Even when it is recognized that the body of Christ is people, and not ritual or a building, far too often in the Christian subculture, those of us who must work Sundays, which oftentimes is those of us on the lower end of the economic scale, are treated, I believe and hope unintentionally, as second-class believers.  Let me say that, even if unintentional, to do so is bad applied theology.  History has shown from the beginning of the church that God’s true devotion has grown most spectacularly among the economically poorest of people.
            You can find out more information about believers who, albeit imperfectly, are overtly attempting to avoid unintentionally adding to scripture in ways such as what I’ve just been describing, at  I can be reached at __________.  If you wish to review a transcript of what I just said, I have it on my blog,, dated June 9, 2011.
Being many years ago, I cannot give any specific citations of persons for the Thailand story.   

No comments:

Post a Comment