Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered March 6, 2004 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Jesus' Day

You know that Jesus created this world in creation week, and the seventh day he rested and created the Sabbath. What a blessing that is. We are Seventh-day Adventist Christians. Adventist means that we believe in the soon return of Jesus Christ. And seventh-day means that we keep the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath in honor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Now, Christians naturally want to worship their Creator God. We all desire to worship something. In Africa some of the natives worship idols and images, although many of them are being converted now. Worship is as natural to the Christian as blooming is to the flower. It's just something we want to do. The God that we worship is the Eternal Father, the Eternal Son, Jesus Christ, and the Eternal Holy Spirit. The Trinity, that's our God. That's Who we worship. Worship means to love or adore or serve someone. In Matthew 4:10 Jesus said, commands us to: . . ."Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only." That's a very good command from our Savior, Jesus Christ.

So, we know WHO to worship, don't we? And we know how to worship because the Bible is full of how we worship. Do we know when to worship? Well, there's some confusion about that. Islam worships on Friday. Now, the Jews and some Christians worship on Saturday. But most Christians worship on Sunday. So, you can see there is some disagreement there, and I would like to focus on what day we should worship on.

Does our Lord have a Day on which we are to worship Him? Let's examine several New Testament texts. Let's go to the last book of the Bible: Revelation. Revelation 1:10. Here, John the Revelator is speaking about the great vision he was in. He was shown all of the book of Revelation. Notice what he says: On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit." "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day," Does God have a day? Yes, He does. There is a certain day the He has. It's not just any day. The Lord's day. God does have a day. It doesn't say what day it is, but that the Lord does have a day.

Jesus tells us which day He is the Lord's Day. So here it is straight from our Savior's own mouth: Mark 2:27,28. Then He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." Jesus is Lord of what day? He is the Lord of the Sabbath day. Of all the seven days of the week, which one is the Sabbath day? Does this tell you which one? Does this verse tell you which is the Sabbath day? No, it does not, does it. For this, do we have to go to the Old Testament? No, we don't. Let's go to the last chapter of Matthew. Here is the conclusion of the Passion story. Now the Passion story is really in the news lately. Right now millions of people are going to see the Passion Story. They exit from the theater sobered. It's a sobering experience. I hope that millions of Americans, and people throughout the world will give their hearts to Jesus because of that movie.

Jesus was brutally beaten and finally died a horrible death. No question about it. Then Jesus was buried in the tomb. There he rested all day long. Then on Sunday morning, the first day of the week, Jesus rose from the cold grave. This is recorded in Matthew 28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. And the tomb was empty! Jesus had risen. Praise the Lord for that. Jesus rose again! We serve a risen Savior! Jesus is now our living King. And we worship Jesus Christ. He's our loving Savior. We often read this wonderful verse but a lot of people overlook a simple but clear fact about the Sabbath day.

This New Testament verse says the Sabbath is the day before the first day of the week. Did you catch that? Which day is before the first day of the week? What day would that be? It's the seventh day of the week, isn't it. So the Lord's day is the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week. The Lord does have a day: Revelation 1:10; Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath: The Sabbath is the day before the first day of the week, which would be the seventh day. Saturday is the Sabbath.

Some folk claim you can't prove the Sabbath from the New Testament. Well, we just did, didn't we. We have gained all this information without ever going to the Old Testament. The Sabbath is for New Testament Christians. Actually the Sabbath is Jesus own day. It belongs to Him. Come over to Luke 4:16. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. When did Jesus go to church? He went to church on the Sabbath. Was it a habit? Yes, it was His custom to go to church on the Sabbath day.

Now really, this ought to settle it for Christians, wouldn't you think? Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath and if He had the holy habit of going to church on the Sabbath then there ought not to be any question about what day we should go to church. Every Christian ought to go to church on the same day that Jesus went to church on if they're Christians because we want to worship Jesus Christ on His day. Seventh- day Adventists are not Jews. We are Christians that simply find in the Bible the Holy Sabbath Day. Because we Love Jesus, we want to keep His day.

But, alas, most Christians worship on Sunday the first day of the week. How did this Sunday keeping come about? My Wife and I went to visit Rome in January of 2004. Just outside the original papacy, which is not on Vatican Hill, in another part of town, in the original Vatican, the original Papacy, is a large monument. When I saw that , I stood there with my eyes riveted to it. It was an amazing thing. Our guide said that what we were looking at the central shaft of this tall (50 to 70 feet tall) stone monument was an obelisk that had been transported in one piece all the way from Egypt. It had been taken to Rome by boat about the year 300 AD. So this thing has been in Rome now. Transported from Egypt to Rome in the year 300 AD. This obelisk is covered with Egyptian writing and little symbols. The guide said, "Do you know what those symbols say" That obelisk is actually a monument for pagan Sun Worship." You see, the Egyptians worshiped the sun. And this whole obelisk is a monument to sun worship. And there it is, in Rome. Why is it in Rome? It was erected on a humongous stone pedestal.

The name engraved on this base was none other than Constantine. Now, Constantine was the first 'Christian' Roman Emperor. By birth he was a pagan sun worshiper. He worshiped the sun god on Sunday. He brought this heavy heathen obelisk all the way to Rome for a big reason. He had the idea that he could he could unite pagans and Christians if he could get the pagans to worship Christ and if he could get the Christians to worship on the pagan Sunday. The Christians could keep their Christ and the Pagans could keep their Sun worship day. It would be an amalgamation of the two. He could unite the whole world. It was a grand idea! Christians could keep their Jesus, and pagans could keep on with their sun- worship day. It would be an amalgamation of the two.

So, as I stood there, I looked way up at the top of this huge obelisk, which is a symbol of heathen sun-worship, and right there on top is a Christians Cross. It's been there since 300 AD. It's still there! Isn't that a weird thing? You're combining paganism and Christianity. It's like combining an Jewish synagogue using a large hog to carry their menorah down the aisle of their sanctuary. Or maybe that would be like some person here in America making a stone monument that would look like a stack of Playboy Magazines and putting a bible on top of them, and putting it right outside the church.

That's about what Constantine did. Would you do that? Here he has this heathen symbol of sun-worship with a cross right on top of it. Right there is the joining of Sunday-worship into the mainstream Christian world. Constantine did that. After erecting this mismatched symbol he passed the first Sunday Law in 321 AD compelling all Christians to worship on Sunday the first day of the week. So in this way Rome claimed to transfer the Bible Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday.

To this day the Roman Catholic Church claims to have transferred the Sabbath to Sunday. If Protestantism really wants to base its teachings only on the Bible they ought to worship on Saturday. (For further information on the Roman Catholic support for the change of the Sabbath see - Rome's Challenge - http://www.immaculateheart.com/maryonline/html/apologetics.html

Seventh-day Adventists believe that this attempted change to Sunday observance was predicted in Bible Prophecy. Look at Daniel 7:25. The Bible actually predicts what Constantine did, that somebody would attempt to change the law of God. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. Now, what law deals with time? If you read all ten of the commandments, the only commandment that has anything to do with time is the Sabbath commandment, and here is the prediction this change would be attempted. Can we actually change the Bible? We can't do that.

Seventh-day Adventists also believe that the revival of true Sabbath keeping will happen in the last days. That is predicted in the Bible in Revelation 14:12. This calls for the patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. In the last days God's true saints will again be keeping all ten of God's commandments including the Sabbath commandment.

Let's look at it: Exodus 20. Here indeed is the Sabbath found in the heart of the Ten Commandments. It's right there in the middle. It's the longest of all the commandments. It's the only one that says,"remember" because He knew the world would forget this one, but we're getting back to it. The world is remembering it, aren't they. And praise the Lord for that. More and more Sabbath-keepers are turning up every day.

Exodus 20:8-11. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Which day is the Lord's day? The Sabbath, the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

One day a man came to me one time an he said to me, "Pastor, it really doesn't make any difference which day we keep, because every day is just as good as any other day. God created every day. So, it doesn't make any difference which day you keep, just so you keep one out of every seven days. One day is just as good as another." Well, I thought about that statement. Is one day just as good as another? Did God create every one of the seven days? Well, yes He did. So, is every day just as good as another? Romans 14:6-8 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. . . .For none of us lives to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Is every day equal to another? Let's suppose that you date a lovely girl. You fall in love with her. You ask her...you get down on your knees and you say, "Would you marry me?" And she says, "Well, Yes. I'll do it." So you come up to your wedding day, you walk down the aisle, the preacher says, "Will you...?" You say, "I do." And she says, "I do." And you're married! And then you have a lovely reception. And then it's time to go on the honeymoon. So your new bride goes off into a room to change out of her beautiful wedding dress and she gets into her honeymoon clothes. Then she comes out and there she is with her mother, your new mother-in-law and six sisters. This lady had seven daughters. There they all are. They're here to tell you "goodbye." You're ready to go on your honeymoon. And your new mother-in-law says to you, "It's time for you to leave on your honeymoon. You take your pick of any of my seven beautiful daughters. And go ahead and go on your honeymoon." And your new mother-in-law says, "The choice is yours. One is just as good as another." But, you say, "No way! The seventh one was set aside for me! The seventh one has been sanctified for me! The seventh one is holy to me! I can't choose just one. They're not all the same. This one has been made for me. She's joined to me. She's my wife. I'm going to select her." And you would make the right decision. In fact, it would be wrong for you to accept any of the others, wouldn't it.

The Sabbath was made specifically for God's created people. No other day can be special to us. In fact, come back here to Genesis 2 in your Bible. Genesis 3:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done."

Only the Sabbath was set apart for mankind. Only the Sabbath was made holy. Only the Sabbath was sanctified. Only the Sabbath is the birthday of the world, and you can't your birthday. The older I get the more I wish I could move the date forward a bit, maybe ten years or fifteen. But birthdays are history and you can't change history. You can't change the Sabbath because it is the birthday of the world. You can't change your birthday. You can't change history. Only the Sabbath is the day of worship.

At Creation God gave thousands of gifts to human beings. The frosting on the creation cake was the very last gift, the Sabbath. It was God's finest gift. The Sabbath is God's weekly appointment with you. The Sabbath is when you've got a date with God, a 24-hour date, a gift of time, called the Holy Sabbath. It was made for us.

What motivates us to keep the sabbath? We don't keep it to be saved! Does Sabbath-keeping save us? No! I keep the Sabbath because Jesus died for me, because I love Jesus. I keep the Sabbath because Jesus is my God.

Because I love Him, I am on the constant alert to find out His favorite things...the desires of His heart. As I discover them, I respond accordingly in love. I have found that the Sabbath is one of His favorite things. of the Commandments the Sabbath is the longest. Jesus Himself said: John 14:15. "If you love me, you will obey what I command. I believe that Jesus doesn't change. Malachi 3:6. "I the Lord do not change." Hebrews 7:21. "The Lord has sworn and He will not change his mind. He's the same today as He was back then, as He will be forever. The Sabbath has not changed.

I believe that if Jesus Christ were on this world today He would be keeping Saturday the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath. How do we know this. Let me share a story. You can find this story on the Internet by logging into Yahoo. Ans using the link: www.guidemagazine.org This true story happened in September of 1990 in Kwaibaita near Atoifi in the Solomon Islands.

A Christian pastor went out to hoe the Taro plot in their garden on a pleasant Sabbath morning. Pastor Timothy and his wife and ten year old son had to cross a cow pasture to get to the garden. Every cow stood there blocking their path. Strangely the cows were lined up like soldiers in a parade. There was no way through to the garden.

They thought that when they approached the cows would move out of their way but they didn't. So the two parents with their son made their way to the end of the line to go around the line of cows. At the end of the line stood a large muscular bull. As the family approached, the bull suddenly spoke in the Kwaibaita language.

"Why are you going to the garden now? Don't you know that today is the Seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord God?"

The Pastor and his wife looked around but no one else was in sight. Then they heard the voice again. "Timothy, I am speaking to you." The sound was coming from the animals mouth which was moving as it talked.

"Th there must be a devil in you to make you talk like that" said the Pastor.

"I am not the devil" the bull replied. "I am the voice of Jesus talking to you".

The voice continued: "Today is the Sabbath of God. Don't you know that God gave you six days to work, and the seventh day is the Sabbath? You have been a pastor and yet you don't know these things? How blind can you be?"

Pastor Timothy, who was also the village chief, called the entire village together and shared what Jesus had told him. The entire village kept that Sabbath. Today Pastor Timothy is a baptized Seventh-day Adventist Christian keeping the Sabbath every Saturday. Today the majority of the entire village are also Seventh-day Adventist Christians. (Reference: Guide, December 6, 2003 Volume 51 Number 49 page 8. www.guidemagazine.org This includes a photo of Pastor Timothy.)

The Sabbath is a space in time that God has invented and set aside for us to have time to show love to Jesus, to spend twenty-four hours together. That's your time to worship Him, to sing to Him, to go to church, to fellowship with Him. You wouldn't work on the Sabbath any more than you would go out and shovel coal on a date with your girlfriend. We don't work on a date

Now; a hard question: Can I really enter in to all Jesus has in mind for me if I skip church? As far as I know, Jesus did skip church only once in His whole life. So, skipping church is okay if you skip church for the same reason Jesus did. Do you know when He skipped church? He skipped church when He was in the cold stone tomb- dead! So if you are dead, go ahead and skip the worship. Skip the fellowship. Don't come.

I want to conclude with this last text: PSALM 84:10. This special verse tells me how valuable Sabbath keeping really is. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked. When you skip church you have missed the blessings of one thousand normal days.

Did David over exaggerate? Is David really correct in this bold verse. A single Sabbath with you in church, worshiping God, praising His name, fellow shipping with the Saints is a thousand times more valuable than skipping your Church and going to the beach or even going camping. This is a serious text. Those are strong words: Anywhere else! 1000 times more valuable. Think about that the next time you plan your weekend. Give your heart to Jesus. Faithfully honor Him every Sabbath day. Use this time to deepen your love to Him.

Hymn of Praise: #88, I Sing the Mighty Power of God
Scripture: Resposive Readings, # 769 - The Sabbath* See below.
Hymn of Response: #381, Holy Sabbath Day of Rest

040306#24

THE SABBATH - 1 (responsive reading) Thus the heavens and the earth and all the host of them, were finished.

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

By [Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

You alone are the Lord; You have made the heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all things on it, the seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worship You.... You made known to them Your holy Sabbath.

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day, therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

[Jesus] said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath."



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