Church and the Sabbath

So I am really struggling to be a part of a church body as we traditionally know it.  For various reasons and none are really negative,  just preferential.

I attend a men’s group once a week where  we eat,  fellowship briefly,  read and discuss the Bible,  and pray together.  But this is not church in the traditional sense.  This is a personal experience outside of a church body where I can get fellowship with other believers.  It is encouraging and primarily a support system for prayer when we are not together.  I do love these men though and their examples they set as men pursuing a higher calling.

It leaves me questioning how church came about and how the act of going to a building with other believers replaced the sabbath commandment culturally America.  Reading through an old children’s book about life on the prairie,  I see that they not only went to sing and hear preaching on Sundays but that the entire day was the dedicated to God.  They rested.  No fiddles.  No laughter (it was considered rude or selfish to tell a joke).  No pointless conversations.  They read from their Bibles,  contemplated,  and prayed.  Children were not  permitted to play as they would normally, and breakfast,  lunch,  and supper had to be simple meals – no fire cooking.  They held the Sabbath as Saturday at sundown until Sunday at sundown which is inline with Jewish tradition of the Sabbath starting Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown.

And then I contemplate the depth of our sins today and how slowly the transformation of Sodom and Gomorrah must have happened as I look at the Western Christian’s transformation.  I wonder if American Christians are looked down on around the world by our brothers and sisters who are literally persecuted for their faith while being imprisoned,  beaten,  and starved.  When they get together for church it truly is a time of worship and praise.  They value the Bible as more precious than silver or gold.  The Bible is basically food for them.  “Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3 – unknown Bible version, I pulled it from my memory)

At some point we will be forced to decide who or what we will serve in a direct fashion.  For now,  we will continue our decline into Christian hypocrisy where we rebuke those not in our buildings where we gather to socially exercise Christainity.  We will go out to eat and complain about the service we receive and lock our doors at the stop light where the homeless man is asking for a handout (whether he deserves it or not  we don’t know, but we see him there or nearby every week).  We will go home and watch hours of football, work on the lawn or a project we haven’t been able to get to.  And the list goes on.

In the end the question is deeper than what I am talking about here.  There are several questions to answer before you or I will get motivated to make lifestyle changes:

  1. Are Christians required to follow the Sabbath or any Old Testament laws?  If so, why?  Why do we get to pick and choose what we follow?  Again I will refer to Leviticus 19 for an example.  Read through the chapter and see what you believe still applies today and why you follow that one piece and not the others.  How do you know what was cultural and what was from God?
  2. What do you believe about the Bible?  Are you a fundamentalist who believes that it is 100% without error and infallible in all matters?  If so, which Bible version?  If the original manuscripts, then do you own a copy and can you read it?
  3. What exactly did the death of Jesus cover from the Old Testament?

These are the questions that I honestly believe most Christians cannot answer but that are central to understanding Christianity.

Back to church and the Sabbath.

Presentation1

I don’t have an answer to what the body of Christ in Christian culture should look like other than it should be full of grace,  love,  learning, and following God based on Biblical teachings and this should include a healthy dose of repentance that constantly leans on the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in Christ while holding one another accountable to the execution of the faith.

That was a mouthful.  Read it again.

I don’t have an answer to what the body of Christ in Christian culture should look like other than it should be full of grace,  love,  learning, and following God based on Biblical teachings and this should include a healthy dose of repentance that constantly leans on the forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in Christ while holding one another accountable to the execution of the faith.

Attend your church but be the change you want to see? Like I said,  I don’t have an answer.

Keith

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7 thoughts on “Church and the Sabbath

  1. It’s a tough question to answer. I know several believers who don’t attend church for the reason that it has become a social club. I struggle to attend as well even though I love my church. I rationalize that it isn’t necessary because I talk to God every day of the week. But I know it rejuvenates my soul when I do attend…although many times time alone deep with God accomplishes this even more so. I remember reading Jesus was the fulfillment of the law. Does this mean that we no longer have to adhere to it? Hmm…maybe. The ones I focus on are the ones Jesus talked about: Loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might/mind and loving your neighbor as yourself. If I love in this way, is this all God asks of me? Love conquers all and covers a multitude of sin. So I focus on Love. Which isn’t always easy. But it is good, like God. Cause God is Love. And as you know, love is my favorite thing.

  2. SANDRA MONTS says:

    I believe all you said. Thank you for elaborating. Always a blessing. love and prayers, Granny

  3. amyleebell says:

    I have a question of my own: What would Christianity look like today if the Jews had accepted their Messiah after His resurrection? I believe that my question is the answer to your question. My family and I are Torah-observant Christians. Not Jews, but folks who have joined ourselves to the covenant that God gave to His people. All of His people. “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 24:22.
    However, keeping the Law cannot make you righteous, unless you keep the whole Law – that is, never sinning, even once. This is precisely what Christ did for us. His righteousness became our righteousness. It was attributed to us, as though we were the ones who had kept the entire Law – which is the only way to Life. (Sin equals death, Law equals Life – Romans 6:23, Deuteronomy 32:46-47) “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:21.

    • I almost put my thoughts about this in the post as well. I honestly believe that Messanic Judasim is the purest way of practicing the Christian faith. It was the onslaught of large numbers of Gentile converts coupled with being adopted by Rome as the official church of the Empire that destroyed any hope of seeing it practiced according to the Torah. Paul’s writings make way more sense from that understanding as well. Thank you for posting!

      • amyleebell says:

        Absolutely! When the scales fell from Paul’s eyes, it was like he suddenly understood the Torah in light of the gospel of Christ. It was like, “Suddenly, now I see!”

      • The questions were intended to get to the question you asked. You have no idea how cool this is for me. I am struggling to adopt your beliefs for myself but I believe it will be the direction I need to turn to soon. God is working on me to transform my mind. It is difficult to find like-minded believers too!

      • amyleebell says:

        It really is hard to find others who believe this way, but not nearly as hard as it was a couple years ago. I blog about this topic quite frequently, and I am getting more and more response on Facebook as people begin to study this for themselves. Sometimes, folks will even send me a private message wanting to know more.

        My best advice: Read your Bible. Read it without interpreting it through the lens of man-made doctrines, if at all possible. There really is hidden treasure in there, and we have been blind to it for so long!

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