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The Lord’s Day, part 7

The modern American culture treats the normal week as beginning with Monday. The typical work week is from Monday through Friday, which often leads people to “live for the weekend.” Saturday, then, is often taken up with some kind of event, while Sunday is set aside for “family time,” sporting events, or home projects. This brief series of articles is meant to challenge those views, particularly in the lives of Christians.

My contention is that Sunday should be the focal point of the week for every Christian. It is the day set aside for the corporate worship of God’s people because it was upon this day that our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It is The Lord’s Day and therefore should be viewed somewhat differently than the rest of the days. When the apostle Peter preached in Acts 4, he referenced the Lord Jesus being “the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner,” alluding to Psalm 118:22. That prophecy in Psalm 118 goes on to say that “this is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Which day? The day upon which the rejected stone became the head of the corner, which was the day of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This day is distinguished in a way that no other day of the week is.

How should Christians view Sunday? Let me offer some applications based on biblical, theological, and historical truth.

First, there is no doubt that Christians ought to view the Lord’s Day with preference. Hebrews 10 exhorts believers, based on their salvation in Jesus Christ, to consider how they can encourage each other to love and good works, all the while not forsaking the assembling of themselves together for normal times of worship and biblical teaching. Every believer is to prefer the corporate worship of the Lord on the Lord’s Day to all other extra-curricular activities. This exhortation involves all the times a local church offers during the Lord’s Day, not only those times that are convenient in one’s schedule. Our world cares nothing about church schedules. Sports teams, employers, and other gatherings of various kinds care nothing about gathering for corporate worship, but God does. The test of one’s loyalty to corporate worship on the Lord’s Day is when some other event conflicts with it.

Second, Christians ought to retrain their minds to view the Lord’s Day not as the end of the week to get some extra rest, but as the beginning of the week to prepare their hearts for a successful rest of their week. Sunday should not be a convenient day of travel, or extra rest at the expense of missing the times of corporate worship of God. Christians ought to value the times of corporate worship more than sleep, or food. Travel on Saturday or Monday; take a nap in between morning and evening services (not during J), but realize the necessity of corporate worship on the Lord’s Day to the spiritual life, growth, and health of the believer.

Third, Christians should make adequate preparations for the Lord’s Day. Church congregations expect a certain level of preparation from their pastors and musicians prior to the various worship services on the Lord’s Day. And yet very few Christians make adequate preparation themselves. Every Christian should prepare for the Lord’s Day prior to the Lord’s Day. This would involve:

  • Preparing all clothes on Saturday which are to be worn on Sunday.
  • Getting adequate rest Saturday night in order to be well rested and alert for Sunday services.
  • Gathering all needed materials for the Lord’s Day including such things as Bibles, notebooks, pens, music, and offering.
  • Getting out of bed at a decent time Sunday morning in order to not be rushed.
  • Spending some time either as a family or individually meditating on scripture and prayerfully asking God to help you worship Him with the right heart and in the right way.

The point is that proper worship on the Lord’s Day takes preparation on the part of every Christian. What if your pastor prepared for the Lord’s Day with the same amount of care as you do?

Fourth, Christians should, as much as is possible, clear their Lord’s Day of any secular work. I say this carefully because there are some professions where this is not always possible. But by and large the vast majority of professions allow for work to be avoided on the Lord’s Day. However, this is put to the test most often when Christians are asked to work on the Lord’s Day by their employer. Fast food chains, grocery stores, department stores, etc. are not the type of professions where a Christian must feel obligated to work on the Lord’s Day. Honor the Lord on His day, and the Lord will bless you for it. Don’t sacrifice the time of corporate worship just for a few extra dollars.

Fifth, Christians should approach corporate worship with a holy mentality. I think of this in two ways. First, there should be a reverence that we are teaching our families regarding the corporate worship of God. It should not be viewed haphazardly or flippantly, but with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire. Secondly, view the day with regards to what you give to God and others rather than what you will “get out of” the day. A proud consumer-minded Christian worshipper will be resisted by God; a humble servant-minded Christian will be the recipient of God’s grace.

We are living in a day when the significance of the Lord’s Day is being diminished in the minds of God’s people. Could it be that problems in the lives and homes of God’s people are due at least in part to a devaluing, ignoring, and even desecration of the Lord’s Day? Please don’t misunderstand me; I am not advocating a mindset that rigid attendance of every worship service will equal godliness. However, when an individual or family has a wrong view of the Lord’s Day and/or regularly misses times of corporate worship with God’s people, we should not be surprised when there are serious personal or familial issues in the home.

God has designed our vertical relationship with Him to function most successfully within the horizontal connection of God’s people. Israel functioned this way, as does the Church today. When Christians believe they can function successfully apart from the local assembly of God’s people, including the regular times of corporate worship, they are failing to understand the significance of the Lord’s Day, as well as the significance of the Church. The Christian life should revolve around the ministry and worship of the local Church.

May we as believers reclaim the significance of the Lord’s Day; may we teach its importance to our children, passing on the kind of reverent Christianity that should endure; may we reject our culture’s infringement upon our responsibility to corporately worship with God’s people. We live in difficult days, and we need God’s grace to help us in this pursuit. May we do these things for His glory and honor.

This post originally appeared here and is republished by permission from the author.

About Guest Author

This guest article has been published because an editor has determined its contents to be supportive of the values of Religious Affections Ministries. Its publication does not imply full agreement between its author and RAM on other matters.