Six Days Shalt Thou Labor

 

Audio mp3

Beware how you neglect secret prayer and a study of God’s word. These are your weapons against him who is striving to hinder your progress heavenward. The first neglect of prayer and Bible study makes easier the second neglect. The first resistance to the Spirit’s pleading prepares the way for the second resistance. Thus the heart is hardened, and the conscience seared.—(Messages to Young People, 96.) {Pr 181.4}

Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power. No other means of grace can be substituted and the health of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Wellspring of life, and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or engage in prayer spasmodically, now and then, as seems convenient, and you lose your hold on God. The spiritual faculties lose their vitality, the religious experience lacks health and vigor.—(Messages to Young People, 249, 250.) {Pr 182.1}

This is for anyone who is feeling weak spiritually or discouraged. The secret of spiritual power is prayer, private prayer. The fourth commandment is unique, very unique. It is the only one of the ten that you have to show or prove it still exists. Everyone takes for granted the other nine are moral but there is an alarming amount of people who suppose that the fourth commandment is not really equated with the other nine or should not be equated amongst the other nine. In fact, people say that maybe it was a mistake and that it shouldn’t have been in there seeing it was part of the Mosaic Law. That it shouldn’t have been given by God Himself for the moral law as the moral and mosaic are law to separate and distinct things.

Morality governs mankind. It doesn’t matter what race you are. Morality is morality. But everyone puts the fourth one into the Jewish basket into some cultural setting. Because of the thought upon the Sabbath compared to the other nine, it makes it unique.

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

In the fourth commandment, two precepts are shown. Firstly, there is a day of rest from your work and it also shows that the remaining days are to be occupied with work. The fourth commandment is not just about the day of the Sabbath, but it is also showing what you do on all the other days. Many people say if you keep the Sabbath then you are a one day Christian. Does the fourth commandment only deal with one day? No, it actually deals with seven days, the whole week. You can’t keep the Sabbath unless you occupy yourself for six days. That is part of the commandment. Six days shall thou labour. Labour for six days but on the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord they God. Our society doesn’t like labor too much and perhaps that is another reason why this commandment is not popular. Is the fourth commandment a moral commandment?

When we talk about morality or immorality, the most gross immorality practices have often been identified with the city of Sodom. Sodom is equated with morality isn’t it?

Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her…

When we talk about the hot bed of immorality, what are the three things that were the root problem? Pride, lots of food to eat and plenty of spare time. Does being idle cause immoral actions? Of course it does, we can see that. It was a terrible thing the people of Sodom were trying to do to the guests that came to stay with Lot. What was the root cause of that? Idleness. Were they working six days? No. They had spare time. If you work hard all day long and then you come at the end of the day to retire and do your basic house duties and have some prayer and meditation the day is gone. What else will you do? You are tired because you have been working physically.

Sodom and Gomorrah

There is nothing more desired among men than riches and leisure, and yet these gave birth to the sins that brought destruction upon the cities of the plain. Their useless, idle life made them a prey to Satan’s temptations, and they defaced the image of God, and became satanic rather than divine. {PP 156.2}

Is the fourth commandment that says six days shall thou labor applicable today? It is so important.

Idleness is the greatest curse that can fall upon man, for vice and crime follow in its train. It enfeebles the mind, perverts the understanding, and debases the soul. Satan lies in ambush, ready to destroy those who are unguarded, whose leisure gives him opportunity to insinuate himself under some attractive disguise. He is never more successful than when he comes to men in their idle hours. {PP 156.2}

There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; {2MCP 432.2}

Satan works upon us with thoughts and feelings. These statements say he is never more successful than when he comes to men in their idle hours. In other words, idle hours cause more thoughts and feelings that you can know how to deal with. I am not saying that when you work, there is no temptation, but there is a great reduction of these things. He is not as successful although he still can be successful in people that are busy but he is most successful when he comes in their idle hour. What flows in the train of idleness; vice and immorality?

In the fourth commandment is housed two things – the source of morality which is time with God spending a day between you and God where your mind is to be uplifted to Him in praise and worship, a whole day of God’s pleasures. The fourth commandment holds the source of morality and it reveals the source of immorality.

The fourth commandment is unique in that if we don’t keep the fourth commandment, we will find that we cannot be moral at all. It is the key to all the other commandments yet it is just the one that people think shouldn’t be there. How convenient? It is good for the devil if he doesn’t wants people to follow God’s ways.

Isaiah 58:12 And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. 13 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: 14 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].

What is Sabbath all about? Not doing thine own pleasure on my day but calling the Sabbath a delight. How many people cannot do what they want to do and be happy about it? People can’t. It is contrary to human nature. So this commandment really strikes the base of what humanity loves. Do we love pleasure or God? Sabbath is going to determine that. Because if I can’t do my pleasure and I love my pleasure more than God then I will despise this particular day.

2 Timothy 3:1 perilous times shall come. 2 men shall be lovers of their own selves. 4 …men shall be lovers of their own selves, 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

It is not that we don’t love God; it’s just that we love pleasure more than God is the worldly mindset. There is God and there is my pleasure. Most people work for the weekend. It’s a common saying ‘I am working for the weekend’. The reason people work is so they can live to have pleasure. I have talked to people and they say, if I didn’t have to work I wouldn’t. I just wouldn’t work. They don’t actually enjoy work, they enjoy pleasure.

But if you think of the fourth commandment where it says six days shalt thou labor and you are working for pleasure and then on seventh day when there is meant to be a day you can’t do your pleasure, then how will you deal with that? You will come up with another day – a two-day weekend saying, let us have a day which is for God and let us have a day for pleasure, fun in the sun. Let’s call it Sunday. In these two days people have come to use as days of idleness. The scriptures declare six days shall thou labor. I am not saying that we have to go out and have a paying job for six days a week, but we need to be busy six days a week.

The Bible tells us in Jesus ministry there came a time where Jesus and his disciples came apart to rest a while. There is nothing wrong with having a break from your constant labor. we need to be working and occupied with activities six days a week. That is what the scripture says. Six days thou shall do all thy labor and on the seventh do not do your pleasure but delight yourself in the Lord. If your pleasure is in God, then you will find it a very happy day. If you find work pleasurable then you will always enjoy your six days. But the mentality that has crept into this society in which we live is that work is just a drag and I need some other outlet. That is not scriptural.

In fact when Adam and Eve were placed into the garden, their work was actually a joy, something they liked to do and they did it. Do you know we can be physically tired from work but the actual stress of work does not come from physical labor it comes from a mental outlook. How do you look at it? Do you look at it as what you enjoy doing? Do you enjoy doing it or is it a drag? It depends on how you look at it. If you don’t really like doing it then most of your life will be miserable. Do you see work, as a gift from God that we can labor with our hands and build characters in doing this, if so, then it will be a blessing?

The question is; is the fourth commandment moral or not? It is extremely moral; in fact, it is source of morality and the neglect of the fourth commandment is the source of immorality. It is where it all springs.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

The commandment says it so clearly but people say that commandment doesn’t exist anymore. Do we need to work six days anymore if the claim is true?

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.

It is imperative that the six days of labor come before the rest. It is by necessity that the seventh day is the Sabbath. You don’t rest and then work, you work and then rest. So it is by necessity that the seventh day is the day of rest and in that you cannot have rest unless you have previously worked. To break the news to you very plainly, if we don’t occupy ourselves for six days in useful diligent labor, we cannot keep the Sabbath. If I can’t keep the Sabbath, then I can’t be a Seventh Day Adventist in reality. Useful labor and work is moral.

The Master has a work for each to do. None can be idle, none can be careless and selfish, and yet perfect Christian character. {3T 531.1}

Can I perfect a Christian character when I am idle? It is impossible I can’t do it.

I have been shown that much sin has resulted from idleness. Active hands and minds do not find time to heed every temptation, which the enemy suggests, but idle hands and brains are all ready for Satan to control. The mind, when not properly occupied, dwells upon improper things. Parents should teach their children that idleness is sin.” {1T 395.2}

A lot of people can work with their hands. They are working with their hands and their brains are going into all sorts of places. We are to have active hands and minds. In other words, our minds needs to be harnessed into what we are doing. Not wandering around thinking what the neighbours are doing. This is part of labour. It is not just physically doing something. You may want to do one of those jobs which we call a no brain job where you don’t have to think too hard, you just do your work. God is saying you have to work with your brains too. Your brain can’t be idle. That is the question. Are our brains idle like butterflies going here there and everywhere? Parents should teach their children that idleness is sin.

Mothers should take their daughters with them into the kitchen and patiently educate them. Their constitution will be better for such labor, their muscles will gain tone and strength, and their meditations will be more healthy and elevated at the close of the day. They may be weary, but how sweet is rest after a proper amount of labor. Sleep, nature’s sweet restorer, invigorates the weary body, and prepares it for the next day’s duties. Do not intimate to your children that it is no matter whether they labor or not. Teach them that their help is needed, that their time is of value, and that you depend on their labor. {1T 395.1}

Our society has often thought negatively about child labour. Children shouldn’t be working and there is the abuse of that in the third world countries where children are used as machines to do work for people and people make lots of money. That is definitely wrong. But the idea that children play and do whatever they like whenever they are children, and when they finish school they get a job and get taught how to do things, is just as criminal. Children should be taught to work around the house and to be part of the family firm. This is so important for their mental and physical development. Once again, is the fourth commandment moral or immoral? It is moral.

It was God’s purpose to alleviate by toil the evil brought into the world by man’s disobedience. By toil the temptations of Satan might be made ineffectual, and the tide of evil stayed. And though attended with anxiety, weariness, and pain, labor is still a source of happiness and development, and a safeguard against temptation. Its discipline places a check on self-indulgence, and promotes industry, purity, and firmness. Thus it becomes a part of God’s great plan for our recovery from the fall. {MYP 213.1}

Can you see that working six days is a part of the plan of redemption? We can’t do without it. You can’t claim to be a Christian and stop your job and be on the dole, you can’t do it. You won’t be recovered.

One of the surest safeguards against evil is useful occupation, while idleness is one of the greatest curses; for vice, crime, and poverty follow in its wake. Those who are always busy, who go cheerfully about their daily tasks, are the useful members of society. In the faithful discharge of the various duties that lie in their pathway, they make their lives a blessing to themselves and to others. Diligent labor keeps them from many of the snares of him who “finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” {MYP 214.1}

Here is the Lord of glory our great example. The person who we worship and admire comes to earth to show us what a Christian life really is and out of His thirty years, how many were spent in the home toiling? Out of His thirty-three years, thirty of them were spent quietly in a home. He grew as a baby and then he was taught how to toil in the home right up to the age of thirty. That is a stark contrast with the mentality of today. Here is a person who went around unnoticed and un-honoured. Today we would be tempted to think we are wasting our time here. We are meant to be the savior of the world and no one knows about me yet. I need to make a big noise in society and blow my trumpet to let everyone know I am here; yet Jesus shows that Christians are to work and live quietly. That is what He shows. Then in His ministry, He would help someone and say, “don’t tell anyone, keep quiet.” But of course they couldn’t keep quiet. So He was popular not by His pursuing popularity but by simply doing God’s will. Jesus created a big stir but it was not His purpose to create a stir. He just went about doing what He had to do. If He hadn’t had years of training beforehand, He wouldn’t have been a successful experience. He learnt by the things which He suffered.

Judicious labor is a healthful tonic for the human race. It makes the feeble strong, the poor rich, the wretched happy. Satan lies in ambush, ready to destroy those whose leisure gives him opportunity to approach them under some attractive disguise. He is never more successful than when he comes to men in their idle hours. {MYP 215.1}

Work is not just about working for work sake. It is about character training.

I address you, young men: Be faithful. Put heart into your work. Imitate none who are slothful, and who give divided service. Actions, often repeated, form habits, habits form character. Patiently perform the little duties of life. So long as you undervalue the importance of faithfulness in the little duties, your character-building will be unsatisfactory. In the sight of Omnipotence, every duty is important. The Lord has said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” In the life of a true Christian there are no non-essentials. {MYP 148.1}

Many who claim to be Christians are working at cross-purposes with God. Many are waiting for some great work to be brought to them. Daily they lose opportunities for showing their faithfulness to God; daily they fail of discharging with whole-heartedness the little duties of life, which seem to them uninteresting. While waiting for some great work in which they may exercise their supposedly great talents, and thus satisfy their ambitious longings, their life passes away. {MYP 148.2}

My dear young friends, do the work that lies nearest at hand. Turn your attention to some humble line of effort within your reach. Put mind and heart into the doing of this work. Force your thoughts to act intelligently on the things that you can do at home. Thus you will be fitting yourself for greater usefulness. Remember that of King Hezekiah it is written: “In every work that he began, . . . he did it with all his heart, and prospered.” {MYP 148.3}

The ability to fix the thoughts on the work in hand is a great blessing. {MYP 148.4}

How many of us start something and then we don’t finish it? Our minds start wandering and then we are not so interested in that anymore. We work according to our mind, then our mind travels off instead of pulling our mind in and keeping it there until the job is done. It is a good thing for children when they start something to be thoroughly encouraged to finish it and the satisfaction of finishing it will be a reward in itself. A lot of undone things cause dis-stabling in the mind. Children who haven’t learn that when they are young grow up into adulthood and do the same thing. They start something or talk about something and it goes so far and it doesn’t get done any more. The ability to fix the thought in the work at hand is a great blessing.

1Peter 1:13 gird up the loins of your mind,

To gird it up is to belt it up, brace it and to pull it in and harness our mind. You can see that the Christian work is in putting our minds and our hands to do something to the glory of God whether at home or in His service.

God-fearing youth should strive to discharge their duties with thoughtful consideration, keeping the thoughts in the right channel, and doing their best. They should recognize their present duties, and fulfill them without allowing the mind to wander. This kind of mental discipline will be helpful and beneficial throughout life. Those who learn to put thought into everything they undertake, however small the work may appear, will be of use in the world. {MYP 149.1}

Not matter how small, the thing that you do is only a means to discipline your mind. If you look at that thing and say, I don’t need to do it and don’t discipline your mind on it, you actually lose the grand benefit that little thing actually had for you.

I don’t know about you but there comes a time in a Christian walk where things seem to get stale. The experience is that someone may come to the Lord and learn all these amazing truths and all these things that buzz the mind and say, wow this is amazing. There are different paradigm shifts and different perspectives to look at the world and it really occupies the mind. Then after a time when you’ve grasped all the grand themes, maybe not all the fine details but a large chunk of the whole plan of salvation, and you hear it again you think, okay I have heard that and then the mind starts to wonder what is it in Christianity that has to keep happening?

Do I have to keep finding some new fascinating things to excite my brain? Some new philosophy? Some new little angle that makes you think wow, I never seen that before. Is that the ongoing walk of a Christian or is it taking what we know and doing our work by harnessing our mind and walking in a very consistent way after that? This is exactly what the Bible says.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as you have received him so walk ye in him.

There comes an experience where we need to just start concentrating on harnessing the mind. Christianity may seem a little dull for a little while but gird up the loins of our mind. This is the ongoing experience of Christianity; what we are doing at home, how we engage our mind in activity.

2 Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

If you do a study about not keeping company with someone, it means they are not members of the church. It does not mean that you avoid them and never talk to them as that is contrary to many other scriptures, but don’t keep company being part of the same church. Even in the removal of church membership, can hinge upon idleness. Here Paul has given examples:

2 Thessalonians 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

The Apostle had all the right to solicit help in his ministry and eat food from house to house wherever he went and didn’t have to supply his own needs. He had power to do that. But he says, I have given you an example. I didn’t do that, I didn’t go to your house and just eat your food for nothing, I labored and I purchased everything that sustained me. Why? So I can show you what you are meant to do as a Christian. This is what you are meant to do as a Christian not because you have not power but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 10 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

What is the result of not working?

This is a major source of church problems. People can work and still be busy bodies, but it is harder to work and be busy bodies. Getting into people’s affairs and interfering with people’s lives is the major result of idleness. Being a busy body is a curse to the church. It is something that needs to be avoided at all costs.

1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

The mentality to pry into people’s lives is just as wicked as murder and thieving. The Bible says that we are to labour and to learn how to live quietly.

2 Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

Do well to other people. The apostle is using his position as an authority in the church saying I have commanded you by example to work. There are some in the church that aren’t working and as a result, become busy bodies and he exhorts them that the Lord commands them to learn how to live quietly. In other words, mind your own business and eat your own bread. That is Christianity, live quietly. Did Jesus do that? He walked through the streets unnoticed, un-honored. He minded His own business. He was not weary in well doing if He saw someone hungry He helped him or her. He had a ministry all through His life but He was not in idleness just going around being a social problem.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and [that] ye may have lack of nothing.

It is a powerful statement to walk honestly. Another word for study is to aspire to lead a quiet life. It is an aspiration as a Christian to aspire to study how to live in a way of not being a busy body and minding your own your own business that you may walk honestly.

One of the strongest evidences of true conversion is love to God and man. “Concerning love of the brethren,” the apostle wrote, “you have no need to have any one write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another. Aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you; so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody.” {Testimony Treasures page 140.1}

One of the strongest evidences of conversion is to live peacefully with all men. The truth has its power to make a stir but as a people, we have to be quiet loving people. We are not rioters as the Bible says. To be rioters and activists is not our work. Our work is to uplift the truth to keep the commands of God which means to be working six days and to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. That entails minding my own business and being happy in that. As this takes place, there will be far less temptations. Satan makes men idle and when they are idle he makes them busy bodies and tattlers and then yo,u get social dilemmas in the church and the church falls over and it is all wreck because people haven’t been occupied properly. If you are interested to know how to continue as a Christian, how to develop Christianity; our continued development comes in gird up the loins of our minds. How does that happen? By not letting my mind wander but pulling my mind into what I am actually doing and bringing the Lord into what I am doing.

People have thought you have a prayer life so you have to have your eyes up in the stars when you are working. This would be so inefficient that the boss will fire you if you like that. If we have work to do, let’s do our work and let us know that God is with us watching us and do it with all our might as serving God Himself. As we do this, I know God’s blessing will come because not working is the greatest curse. If you get rid of the greatest curse, you will bring in one of the greatest blessing. It is my prayer that you can understand that the fourth commandment is moral and that we can labor to enter into that rest and be true Sabbath keepers and live quiet lives.

Amen.

Posted on July 23, 2013, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons For Sabbath. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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