The human soul needs to find time to rest in Christ. We were created for His purpose. (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
It is impossible to live as Christ calls us to live by separating ourselves from others. Jesus made us to glorify him in community (Gen 1:28). To give us a healthy community to accomplish his will, He created His church (Matt 16:18). He calls His church his bride (Revelation 19:7) and He has gifted each person within the church with different gifts so they may serve and edify (1 Corinthians 12:14-23). A gift is intended to be given away. When we neglect His church #1 we make light of what Jesus created by giving His life, #2 we neglect our opportunity to glorify God, and #3 we fail to permit God’s people to encourage one another.
In regards to the Sabbath, it is important to remember that the early church (1st century) did not observe the Sabbath as we know it in the Old Testament. In fact, the Bible tells us the early church met every day (Acts 2:46-47). If a specific day is mentioned for the church they met on Sunday and not on Saturday which was the Old Testament Sabbath Day. (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). However, this is not because Sunday is any more special than Monday. In fact the Old Testament Sabbath was merely a shadow of something greater. That shadow is Jesus. Remember Sabbath means rest. We were originally created to rest in God, when sin entered the world our rest was lost. So to point to Jesus who would restore rest, God created an Old Testament sabbath law to capture this picture of rest (Genesis 2:2; Exodus 35:2). Now Jesus has fulfilled the law (Hebrews 8:13) and has become our place of rest (Hebrews 4:1-11 Especially verse 10-11). Today we don’t rest on a legalistic day. We rest in Jesus alone. (If you want to here one of our messages on Hebrews 4 click here).
Jesus mentions that the entire purpose of the Sabbath was to serve man and not for man to serve the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath itself is not what is sacred but rather our desire in the true Sabbath is sacred… Jesus is the Sabbath! We need to rest in Christ as his followers. You can do this everyday and it is important to pick a day to do it together.
Congregate as followers of Christ. Honor Christ and encourage each other in Christ. Today our American culture has given emphasis to a specific day to worship, Sunday. The body of Christ congregates most heavily on Sunday, but this isn’t the only day to worship, nor is it a biblical law to worship on this day. If it were, you would see the writers of the New Testament commanding the early church to worship on the Sabbath. It is practical and logical for us to distinguish particular organized days for God’s people to worship. However, Christians may find circumstances that prohibit them from gathering on Sunday. Such reasons could include: Persecution, Work, Illness. God isn’t disappointed in our inability to gather on a specific day, He is rather more interested in our desire to glorify him by taking time to join with other true believers to encourage and be encouraged in our walk with Christ.
IF we question the Sabbath because we feel guilty about not going to church or we don’t want to attend church, we have a wrong outlook on “church”. Joining together with the church should primarily be about celebration, hope and victory. Yes the church does other things, but ultimately church is all about what we have in Jesus. Thanks to Jesus you don’t have to be a part of a church, you get to be a part of His church. Being a part of His church means we are a people of tremendous hope and joy because of what awaits us in Christ. Thanks to Jesus, you don’t have to go to church, you get to go to church and celebrate and encourage each other in the story of redemption.