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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sunday--(program 2005)

Since recording the "Simple Church Minute" programs, I have realized that it is easier to repost the transcripts on the day of broadcast, so what is below is the same as the date stated at the end of the program.
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2005--Sunday

My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.  Today, I wish to speak about the way we who are believers treat Sunday, as opposed to what the Bible teaches us about Sunday.  In Genesis 1, we are told that God rested on the seventh day.  We know that days, months, and years have an astronomical basis; weeks do not.  When God established the Old Covenant Law, there was a Sabbath day.  While it is now celebrated among the modern Jews from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, back then, the festival days were not counted among the days of the week, so relative to our calendar, the Sabbath floated through the week. 

            When Jesus came to earth and ministered to the people and taught his disciples, there was a continual clash between Him and the religious leaders over various aspects of the Law, including how to honor the Sabbath, to keep it holy.  The Roman Empire, which controlled Israel at the time, had the worship of the sun god, Mithras, on Sunday.  That’s where the word Sunday comes from.  When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Covenant and the Law.  Now, God knew that, and the few hundred people who came to believe on Jesus while he was on earth knew that, but the Jewish religious leaders didn’t know it, and Jesus’ death wasn’t even a blip on the news to the Romans, just one more person put to death on a disorderly edge of the Empire.

            When the Holy Spirit was sent on the 120 persons in the upper room in Jerusalem that we read about in Acts chapter 2, the God’s New and better Covenant began.  By the power of the Holy Spirit the people came from that room and spoke about Jesus in the street.  The church grew rapidly, and we are told that they met daily.  They didn’t all meet together daily*.  It tells us they met from house to house.  They may have met a little by the side of the Jewish temple, but that went away after a while.  Almost all of them were poor.  Some foreigners who heard about Jesus and believed dropped what they were doing and attached themselves to the believers.  Because they were poor, most of the believers assuredly worked long and odd hours.   They had no building, no ritual, but were connected by having seen Jesus in their spirits, and from that, desiring to live to honor Him.  Because of Roman Mithras worship, Sunday probably became a convenient time to meet, especially outside of Israel where Jews and Jewish worship was a minority belief. 

The Jews were unhappy under Roman rule, and between attacks in 70 and 130 A.D., the people of Jerusalem were dispersed, which would have made the Sabbath as a holy day of even less effect on surrounding society.

            After the legalization of Christianity in the 4th century, many pagan ways got forced into the now legal, no longer underground church, and Sunday became entrenched as the day of worship.  The Reformation came, formal, ritualized worship changed, but the use of Sunday as the day of the services was not affected. 

            This is not the case everywhere.  I know of a man who is a leader of a small group of believers in a Buddhist dominated country.  The tradition in that land is that most of the people meet at sunup on Thursday mornings to give a ceremonial bowl of rice to the Buddhist monks.  In that area, it is only reasonable for the small group of Christians to meet at that same time, as the social tradition of the area will make it easiest for everyone to meet then.  This will be the case wherever a religion or dominant social organization has ruled that a certain regular time is an off time, whether for religious ritual, political indoctrination, or whatever.

            Why is this important?  Because, even though scripture doesn’t command a special off day, tradition can make it feel that way.  A couple of years ago, I had a job where I worked all day Saturday and Sunday, and I mean all day as in 16 hours on Saturday followed by 10 on Sunday,  what little I had to do the rest of the week was easily scheduled to my convenience.  It was impossible to “plug in” to what we in this culture see as a traditional church, as almost all are set up to revolve around a Sunday morning meeting.  In 1 Corinthians 11 verses 20 to 22, when Paul is warning persons in this city about their behavior about food during a shared meal among the believers, the underlying situation is that some believers got to the assembly at different times due to their work.  Is it because most of the believers there were poor and some were slaves that this church was expected by Paul to be flexible to lives of the various persons among the saved, but today, because churches are big business, with real estate, well paid officials, and neighborhood marketing plans, that they don’t have to be flexible to real needs in their midst?  Jesus told us that the poor we would always have with us, but never commanded buildings, salaries, or marketing plans.

            Every day is the Lord’s Day.  Church is where one gets spiritually fed, but that doesn’t have to be, and oftentimes isn’t, an intellectual thing, when the Holy Spirit is directing us.  He has commanded us to build up each other in faith, and serve those around us.  Almost all of what, in this society, looks like Christian ritual really doesn’t have a basis upon what Jesus taught the disciples, who taught the early believers. 

 I can be reached at simplechurchminute@yahoo.com or 757-735-3639.  To see what I just said written down, where you can read it at your own pace, visit my blog tevyebird.blogspot.com, where this is the entry for September 16, 2011.  For more information about simple church, visit www.hrscn.org.

*I mean, as in, all of the now thousands of believers in Jerusalem

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