The more I worked on last Sunday morning’s sermon, and then on this post yesterday based on that sermon, the more I considered the way God has provided us means for nurturing and sustaining faith in Christ in a world that denies and suppresses the truth about God and creation. I wrote that the means of grace that are found in the context of the life and ministry of the Church are vital for sustaining faith. The Body of Christ – the community of God’s people – serves (or at least it should serve) as a sanctuary from the unbelief of the world, a sacred place whose spiritual “architecture” (values, beliefs, practices, culture, etc.) confirms for us the truth of the worldview given in God’s Word.
Another similar sanctuary God has provided to help establish and sustain our faith in Christ is the Lord’s Day. On the Lord’s Day, as we refrain from our usual work and devote ourselves to the worship of God, we are reminded that all creation, including time, belongs to the Lord. This is implied in the reason given for the 4th Commandment in Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” So observing the Lord’s Day reinforces what is at the heart of true faith as described by Hebrews 11:3: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God…”
And just as the Sabbath reminded Israel they were God’s redeemed people (Deut. 5:15), so the Lord’s Day reminds us we are a saved people: our deliverance from sin and death was sealed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first day of the week.
Naturally the secular world has absolutely no use for the Lord’s Day because it has no place for a Creator nor for a Savior. Thus, in our increasingly secularized society, Sunday has become just another Saturday. And grievously, insofar as Christians have similarly forgotten the theology and practice of Lord’s Day observance (i.e., keeping the 4th Commandment), we have neglected another means of grace given to us by God to foster our faith in this world. For when we observe the Lord’s Day by devoting it to rest and to the worship of God, we are saying to ourselves, to one another, and to the world: “God is Lord over all, even ‘my’ time. I can rest because I trust he will provide for me. I will worship him because he is the Creator, and because in Christ he has loved me and saved me.”
Of course I realize the reality of today’s job demands and such make it difficult for many believers to observe the Lord’s Day. At the same time I believe most Christians have largely forgotten what the Lord’s Day is all about (this shows how hard it is to go against the secular tide). And in losing the Lord’s Day, we’ve lost what could be a mighty fortress to help protect our faith from encroaching unbelief.