Keeping Sabbath

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
~ Psalm 27:4

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. ~ Isaiah 58:13-14

I Love the Lord’s Day, by Robert Murray McCheyne. An Excerpt.

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
~ Mark 2:27

When he (the believer) retires, and meets with God in secret in his closet, or, like Isaac, in some favourite spot near his dwelling, it reminds him of the day when “he shall be a pillar in the house of our God, and go no more out.” This is the reason why we love the Lord’s day. This is the reason why we “call the Sabbath a delight” A well-spent Sabbath we feel to be a day of heaven upon earth. For this reason we wish our Sabbaths to he wholly given to God. We love to spend the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is taken up in the works A necessity and mercy. We love to rise early on that morning, and to sit up late, that we may have a long day with God.

Here is the full text from the above sermon.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
~ Exodus 20:8

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.
~ Psalm 122:1

And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
~ Acts 20:7

“This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

“The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is just, good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the heart, and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.”
~ The Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order, 1658.

Sunday is not a day for shopping, sports, and indulging in pleasures and idolatry. In fact,

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
~ Acts 17:16

Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.
~ Ezekiel 20:16

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
~ 1 Corinthians 10:14

“People complain about the dwindling congregations and how the churches are going down. Why are people ceasing to attend places of worship? Why is it, that last Sunday night I noticed that, while the places of worship in Cardiff were only sparsely attended, the trains coming from Porthcawl and other seaside places were packed out. Why did these people spend their day at the seaside and in other places rather than in the House of God worshipping? Well, the answer is perfectly plain. They obviously prefer to be at seaside and feel that they get greater benefit there than they do in their chapels and churches. Now it is no use arguing with people like that, it is no use our telling them that they really do not get greater benefit there, because they honestly believe that they do… What I feel like saying to these trippers is this: if you honestly believe that you derive greater benefit by spending your day in the country than you do by attending a place of worship, well then, go to the country. Don’t come here if you honestly feel that you could do better elsewhere. Unless you feel that something is being offered and given to you here which no other institution can offer or equal, well then, in the name of Heaven, go out into the country or to the seaside. The church Christ died for is a church of believers, a common association of people banded together by a common belief and a common love. You don’t believe? Well, above all, do not pretend that you do, go to the country and the seaside. All I ask of you is, be consistent. When someone dies in your family, do not come to ask the church in which you do not believe to come to bury him. Go to the seaside for consolation.”
~ D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.
~ Romans 1:25 a, b

C. H. Mackintosh, a popular Plymouth Brethren devotional writer of the last century, wrote, “the idea of anyone, calling himself a Christian, making the Lord’s day a season of what is popularly called recreation, unnecessary traveling, personal convenience, or profit in temporal things, is perfectly shocking. We are of opinion that such acting could not be too severely censured. We can safely assert that we never yet came in contact with a godly, intelligent, right-minded Christian person who did not love and reverence the Lord’s day; nor could we have any sympathy with any one who could deliberately desecrate that holy and happy day.”

Jonathan Edwards pointed out that since God sanctified and blessed the sabbath, since the risen Lord Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples on Sunday, and since He poured out His Spirit on the church on that day, it is a day when the Lord especially delights to confer His grace and blessing on those who seek Him.

‘…when we think how public worship should be constructed and what methods should be employed in the praise of God and the edification of his people, “such means are to be desired, as have much of a tendency to move the affections. Such books, and such a way of preaching the Word, and administration of ordinances, and such a way of worshiping God in prayer, and singing praises, is much to be desired, as has a tendency deeply to affect the hearts of those who attend these means.

‘When people object that certain styles of public worship seem especially chosen for their capacity to awaken and intensify and express the affections of the heart, they should be told that such is precisely the God-ordained purpose of worship. What they fear – namely, the heightening and deepening of the heart’s desire and love for God, and the expansion and increase of the soul’s delight and joy in God, what they typically call “emotionalism” or even “manipulation” – is the very goal of worship itself. For God is most glorified in his people when their hearts are most satisfied in him.

‘Consider…the singing of praises to God, which seem to be “appointed wholly to excite and express religious affections. No other reason can be assigned, why we should express ourselves to God in verse, rather than in prose, and do it with music, but only that such is our nature and frame, that these things have a tendency to move our affections.” We sing because God has created not only our minds but also our hearts and souls, indeed our bodies as well, in such a way that music elicits and intensifies holy affections for God and facilitates their lively and vigorous expression.’
~ Jonathan Edwards

“First, The nature and being of God is the foundation of all true religion and holy religious worship in the world. The great end for which we were made, for which we were brought forth by the power of God into this world, is to worship him and to give glory unto him; for he ” made all things for himself,” or his own glory, Prov. xvi. 4, to be rendered unto him according to the abilities and capacities that he both furnished them withal, Rev. iv. 11. And that which makes this worship indispensably necessary unto us, and from whence it is holy or religious, is the nature and being of God himself. There are, indeed, many parts or acts of religious worship which immediately respect (as their reason and motive) what God is unto us, or what he hath done and doth for us; but the principal and adequate reason of all divine worship, and that which makes it such, is what God is in himself.”
~ John Owen

Here is the full text of The Nature and Beauty of Gospel Worship, by John Owen,

Thomas Manton said, “Though there be not an express rule particularly set down how often we should be with God,” yet God’s commands and calls to prayer “are very large.” He pointed out that the Word commands us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) and to be “praying always” (Eph. 6:18). This implies a continual habit of prayer, and also set times especially devoted to prayer. He offered us the examples of David (Ps. 55:17) and Daniel (Dan. 6:10), both of whom prayed three times a day. It is true that we can shoot up sudden prayers (Neh. 2:4) in the middle of our ordinary work. But we must also “strive” in prayer (Rom. 15:30), which implies a longer time given exclusively to prayer. Some of those longer prayer times are with the family or with the church, but Christ taught us especially to pray alone in a secret place (Matt. 6:6), and in that same context to pray “daily” (Matt. 6:11). We should not view prayer as a mere religious performance, asking, “How often do I have to do it?” Instead, Manton said that prayer is the conversation of “a loving soul with God,” and “acts of friendship and communion must not be rare and unfrequent, but constant and often.” He wrote, “If we have a love to God, we cannot keep long out of God’s company, but will be with him pouring out our hearts to him.”

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