On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:2
In our last post we said that the resurrection of Christ was so monumental that it altered the Christian calendar. No longer was the seventh day mandated as the day to observe as the Sabbath. This specific day was temporary and has passed with the coming of Christ.
On the basis of this some in our day would say that we can now freely choose whichever day we want to be the day of rest and worship. They say that God has not mandated any one specific day, but simply that the principle of sabbath rest ought to be upheld at some point. This view has had some significant proponents. Indeed, this has been said to be John Calvin's view.
But one ought to wonder why God would be so very specific about which day we were to observe in the Old Testament and allow so much freedom in the New Testament. It would seem that God's specification would have some "carry over" between the testaments.
We may also ask why the church came to a universal agreement so very early on that Sunday ought to be the day which the church would designate as its day of rest and worship. One would expect that if it were left to conscience or convenience that the church would have a variety of days it recognizes as the Christian Sabbath.
When the text of Scripture is analyzed we can see that the Lord does leave us some divine guidance regarding the specific day. The first regards the day Christ rose from the dead. Again, this was the monumental event of redemptive history, save Christ's second advent.
The subsequent appearance of Christ is also significant in this regard. John 20:26 records how Jesus appeared to the disciples a second time after his resurrection. On the day of his resurrection, Thomas was missing from the gathering of the disciples. His disbelief is renowned as he said, "Unless I see the wounds and put my hand in the holes, I will not believe."
The text records that eight days after the original appearance Christ revealed himself again to the disciples, for the benefit of Thomas. The eighth day would have again been Sunday, the first day of the week. That Christ chose to reveal himself on this particular day seems to indicate that there is now something special about this day of the week.
We can also look at the rest of Scripture to see that the church got the message. For instance we read in Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.”
What are they doing here? It is obviously a worship service. Paul preaches and they gather for the purpose of “breaking bread;” that is to say to observe the sacrament of communion.
1 Cor. 16:2 also hits along these lines. Paul tells the Corinthians, “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” Why did Paul designate the first day of the week? Well, what better time to take up an offering than when all the saints are gathered together for worship?
Another revealing text is found in Rev. 1:10. There the apostle John says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.” John indicates that though he was detained from having communion with God's people due to his exile, he still sought communion with God on the day that was designated as His. And what can that be but the day he instituted in commemoration of his having finished his work of redemption!
These Scriptures provide us with the pattern of the early church. The first Christians understood that the Lord Jesus, by virtue of his resurrection, claimed a new day as the Christian sabbath. It was to be set apart from all the other days of the week as "the Lord's day", the day belonging to him and for the purpose of giving homage to him.
Kindled Fire is dedicated
to the preaching and teaching ministry of
Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.