Ex. 20:8-11/Ps. 92
Some people just love to make lists. Some make grocery lists, to do lists, or project lists. Perhaps this appreciation for such lists can be attributed to the satisfaction of knowing that we've accomplished something, and are working our way towards completing our goals.
Yet this concept of marking off an item on a list can be deceptive when it comes to Sunday. Perhaps you've noticed sometimes it seems that Christians 'check off the box' on their list of things to do on God's holy day. "We've gone to church, now we can...," the thought goes. This mindset overlooks what God actually requires of the day, and that, for our good.
For those who might be a little nervous, wondering whether or not I am going to intrude upon 'family time,' or something like that, have no fear. We will simply seek to state what is clearly taught by Scripture.
Today I simply want to note that the Lord's Day is just that. It belongs to Him and it lasts the whole day. Exodus 20:9-10 says, 'Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God...' While all of our time belongs to the Lord, and in one sense, all of life is worship (Rom. 12:1-2), there is to be a whole day set aside for the Lord our God. It is the day of rest, the day He 'hallowed.' (Ex. 20:11) (I'll address the change of the day from day seven to day one at a later time.)
The commandment itself refers to the Sabbath day, not the Sabbath morning. This is why the Jewish custom was to observe the day from sundown to sundown. (The Genesis account of creation, in stating days one through seven, includes 'morning and evening.' Gen. 1:1-31) My point is this: If we think we are keeping the Lord's day merely by attending morning worship, we are mistaken. To have the attitude that we've 'checked the box,' and think therefore it is ok to go about our normal business for the rest of the day, is contrary to the commandment.
Psalm 92, entitled 'A Song for The Sabbath Day,' says that it is good...'to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night.' This is why historically, Christians have worshipped on Sunday morning and Sunday evening. At the very least, we ought to have such 'book ends' on the day, 'morning and evening,' and historically, those bookends have been 'morning' and 'evening' worship. Thus the Westminster Shorter Catechism, speaking about the fourth commandment (remembering the Sabbath Day), says that the requirement for the commandment is keeping holy to God...'one whole day in seven' (Q. 58), and that the Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days' (Q. 59). The day belongs to Him!