04 Restoration of the Sabbath Glory

By John Thiel, The Last Generation Challenge series, mp3

Scripture reading: Isaiah 56:1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

Our challenge is to give God the glory in these last days. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” We as the people living at this time are called upon to give God the glory. This is the message of the first angel:

Revelation 14:7 …Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come:

In Revelation 18 we are shown that the glory of this angel is to cover the whole world.

Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

This is also written in Habakkuk 2:14:

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

The glory of God shall cover the earth like the waters of the sea.

Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

The Spirit of Prophecy puts this question to us:

The question of most vital importance for this time is, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will unite with the angel in giving the message of truth to the world? Who will receive the light that is to fill the whole earth with its glory?” {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 12}

This is the call and the challenge. Will we be on the Lord’s side? We have considered the consequences of the human ways of living and the sinful ways of this planet. Jesus displayed His glory by taking our ways and giving us His ways in replacement. Those who surrender themselves to Jesus, to this wonderful exchange – that He suffered with us and pleaded, Lord, if it be possible, remove this cup from Me, but not My will, Thine be done – God’s people, as they have to exchange their ways for God’s ways, will often come face to face with what the Spirit of Prophecy says.

It will often seem like the very lifeblood is being drawn from your heart. That is what Jesus was suffering under when He cried; let this cup pass from me. As we go through that and we surrender ourselves to His ways, we come to the following scripture of Isaiah 61. We read there of those people whom Jesus redeems and takes from the captivity of their ways. Jesus here spoke of His ministry:

Isaiah 61:1 The spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. 4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

This is what a people will do. They will be restorers of former desolations, they will build the old wastes, and they shall repair paths to dwell in. That is what Isaiah 58:12 makes reference to. But this is the consequence of people who have been inspired by Jesus, and in every subject that we look at, we must never lose sight of the fact that Jesus must be our focus. Because of Jesus and what He has done for us, we will be inspired to be restorers of the paths that have been left in a shattered state the ways of living that God had put down for us to live by. They will restore those and we are to be this people.

In such a time as this when there are so many paths that have been forged by the theologians of these last days, we are to look and say, which one is the right one?

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

In the time in which we live today the people are saying no.

Jeremiah 6:16 …we will not walk [therein].

They’ve done it in the time of Israel, they do it today. But if we have been redeemed by the beautiful sacrifice of Jesus, then we will stand in the ways and see and ask for the old paths, where is the good way to walk therein and we will find rest for our souls. We need to find God’s ways, the good way. He had established it for many generations. Here are the restorers of paths to dwell in, those who will be on the Lord’s side:

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.

If what? We will be restorers if we commence correctly in reference to Sabbath-keeping.

Isaiah 58:13 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:

We will be restorers of paths to dwell in, in a time when there are so many different paths and ways that man has forged. We will ask for the old paths and the Sabbath is the clinching repair that will then also repair all others as well. “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath.”

We want to explore how the believer reveals God’s glory, His way of Sabbath-keeping, in the last generation. We often fall into the danger of a very shallow approach to the Sabbath. It’s the seventh-day-of-the-week in contrast to the first-day-of-the-week worshippers. Adventists believers tend to glory in the fact that they are Seventh-day Adventists. But are they really keeping the Sabbath according to God’s way?

Giving God the Glory in True Sabbath-keeping.

The Sabbath reveals a bond relationship with the sanctifying God of the universe.

Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.

That appreciation of sanctification that is linked with God’s justifying gift of Jesus Christ. This comforts the heart of a person. We have been redeemed, we have been released from captivity and now there is a sign between the God who has done and is doing, this work for us. This sign is His Sabbath – a sign between the God of the universe and the glorious God of all the Bible stories of the past. We have then this beautiful meditation that should occupy our mind before we actually go into restoring the Sabbath. What is our privilege? To be bonded together with the Master of the universe.

There are many that revere the seventh-day; the Jews, the Seventh-day Adventist organisation, and there are many other Sabbath-keeping companies. But to restore true Sabbath-keeping is more than a day. Within this short verse of Isaiah 58 there is a world of application.

Isaiah 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath,

Don’t tread the Sabbath underfoot. How can you do that?

Isaiah 58:13 …[from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day;

You can see that God is attached to the Sabbath. He calls it, My holy day.

Isaiah 58:13 …and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him,

Honour God, give Him the glory.

Isaiah 58:13 …not doing thine own ways,

There it is again. We are not to do our own ways.

Isaiah 58:13 …nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words:

This is the call of restoration. The Spirit of Prophecy makes a very pertinent connection between the glory of God and the Sabbath.

I saw that we sensed and realized but little of the importance of the Sabbath, to what we yet should realize and know of its importance and glory. {3SM 260.3}

What is the Sabbath to you? Do we know it? According to these words, we are told that people do not see its importance or its glory as they should. What is the importance and the glory of Your Sabbath?

I saw we knew not what it was yet to ride upon the high places of the earth and to be fed with the heritage of Jacob. {Ibid.}

She is referring to verse 14:

Isaiah 58:14 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].

Sr. White writes that we don’t really know what that means as we should.

But when the refreshing and latter rain shall come from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power we shall know what it is to be fed with the heritage of Jacob and ride upon the high places of the earth. {Ibid.}

As the Holy Spirit is poured upon God’s people, this will become clear to us; we will see the glory.

Then shall we see the Sabbath more in its importance and glory. But we shall not see it in all its glory and importance until the covenant of peace is made with us at the voice of God, {Ibid.}

The covenant of peace – this is the experience of the 144,000, which is written of in Early Writings (p. 285). Those who had died in the faith of three angels’ message are raised to hear the covenant of peace. This is just before the coming of Jesus. As they hear the voice of God they are glorified, and it will be then that we will see the Sabbath more in its importance and glory.

…and the pearly gates of the New Jerusalem are thrown open and swing back on their glittering hinges and the glad and joyful voice of the lovely Jesus is heard richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear bidding us enter. {Ibid.}

According to this, the Sabbath and its glory is something that will swell in our understanding. It becomes more and more precious to us, right up to the point where God makes His covenant with the 144,000 and they will see such glory. Then as the gates of the city open, the glory of the Sabbath and its importance will be revealed even more in its fullness.

If Sabbath is going to be kept in all its dimensions, if we will really be restorers of the Sabbath under the direction of the Holy Spirit, what will happen? “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” In other words, our delight in the Lord will grow the closer we come to proper Sabbath-keeping. “And I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father.” The Lord has spoken that.

Let us then see how to ensure this glory. Isaiah 58:13 is the precursor to verse 14. Then you shall delight in the Lord. Let us build on the words of this scripture:

Isaiah 58:13 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:

Thine own pleasure, thine own ways, thine own words.

Isaiah 56:1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.

The beautiful righteousness of Jesus is to become brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.

Isaiah 56:2 Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

To keep the Sabbath from polluting it. The people who come to the gospel of Jesus Christ as strangers from the household of the Hebrews, the gospel Christians, will also keep the Sabbath from polluting it.

Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

How do we pollute the Sabbath? The word pollution is very clear to us today. You don’t want to pollute a lovely, clear flowing river by walking and paddling in it if you want to drink some fresh water from it. I experienced this when I was travelling in New Zealand. That water coming down from the mountains was just so beautiful and fresh to drink. But if you walk around in it and then you want to drink it, it’s all polluted. So it is with the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a clear, glorious, flowing blessing from God, and we are to not pollute it, to take away our foot from the Sabbath. How do we pollute it? Our pleasure, our own ways, our own words.

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates:

Even the farmers with their farm hands and their animals were to have an atmosphere of true Sabbath-keeping.

Exodus 20:11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

He made it holy, glorious. We are not to do our own ways, or our own pleasures, on that holy day, not to work. What are we to do on the Sabbath day? To ensure the blessing that God has in it for us. There is a very important scripture that here comes into focus if we are going to gain the blessing. This of course not only applies to the Sabbath, but to every time God’s people meet together to enrich each other – the prayer meeting, the camp meetings, the times which God has set aside for His people, and the Sabbath is the forefront of that.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

We are so much the more to do that as we see the day approaching. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together – I see this in so many ranks of Christians, and especially those who know the Sabbath; they tend to forsake the assembling and the opportunities to get together more often. They tend to do their own thing instead. We are not to do our own ways on the Sabbath; we are to go to be together with God’s people and be there on time. There is much written in the Spirit of Prophecy in regards to this. We are not to arrive at church late. Be there on time. That is such a special time, a hallowed time with God. We often get caught up before the Sabbath meetings with so many other things, whether it is our body weariness, or whether it be other activities, and we just don’t think that God is dishonoured by us arriving late, or even missing out on a meeting. God wants us to be there to help us so don’t forsake those important times. This is what it means not to do our own ways, but the ways of the Lord. It’s always interesting when you are really excited about something, you will be there right on time. You will be there to make that experience that is so precious.

Let us seek for some clarifications in regards to what we do, so that we can enjoy the promise that is written in Isaiah, that we will ride on the high places on the earth and have the heritage of Jacob. God had given the Hebrews the Sabbath even before He gave the Ten Commandments. He was already trying to remind them of the value of the Sabbath when the manna was being given them in the wilderness:

Exodus 16:22 And it came to pass, [that] on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one [man]: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 And he said unto them, This [is that] which the LORD hath said, To morrow [is] the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD:

The rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord. What are you to do?

Exodus 16:23 …bake [that] which ye will bake [to day], and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.

If they kept it over for the next day during the week, it had worms and it smelled. But on the Sabbath day the Lord said, keep it over for the Sabbath so that you don’t have to go out and gather the food on the Sabbath. He made sure that it didn’t go off. They were not to do any cooking or baking on the Sabbath.

Exodus 16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

They did not go out to gather food; they stayed in worshipping the Lord instead. Here we get a very clear revelation of what it means not to do our own ways. Remember why we are doing this, we are seeking to understand not just that the seventh-day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, but to make sure that we receive its blessing.

Speak not lightly of the restrictions placed upon Israel in Sinai regarding the cooking of manna. The Lord has placed barriers around his Sabbath, that it may not be regarded with the least carelessness or irreverence. {RH, June 8, 1897 par. 3}

When we cook our food we cook it, this is our way to nourish ourselves. But God has put a restriction on the Sabbath day, and don’t speak lightly on this story. The Lord has placed restrictions on the Sabbath activity so that it does not become polluted. That is the issue. We are not to pollute the Sabbath. How do you pollute it? You carelessly get and do your own ways, your own cooking as you feel like doing. It says here that the Sabbath is not to be regarded with the least carelessness or irreverence. These are very important words in regards to God’s glorious Sabbath.

When the Lord said, “Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe,” he meant that Friday should be our preparation day, in which we are to do all our cooking. The Sabbath is not to be a day when titbits shall be prepared or cooked. If it is really essential to have beans on the Sabbath, let them be cooked on Friday, and kept warm in the oven. They need not be eaten cold unless preferred. But let no remarks be made as though it were a very light thing whether or not we regard the special requirements of God in regard to the Sabbath. It is not left for any man or woman to venture to disregard one requirement of God. {Ibid.}

You can read this as a rebuke or you can read it in the light of what we have meditated upon in Isaiah 58. We want to give God the glory in what we do, so when the Sabbath hours come we have been so thoroughly prepared that we don’t do any cooking on the Sabbath, apart from warming something up, but not seething and baking. Some people say, “Oh, I mustn’t even warm anything!” No, this is not a legalistic exercise. It is having a mind in tune with the blessings of the Sabbath so that we can ride on the high places of the earth.

The Lord is no less particular now in regard to his Sabbath than when he gave the foregoing special directions to the children of Israel. He required them to bake that which they would bake, and seethe (that is, boil,) that which they would seethe on the sixth day, preparatory to the rest of the Sabbath. Those who neglect to prepare for the Sabbath on the sixth day, and who cook food upon the Sabbath, violate the fourth commandment, and are transgressors of God’s law. All who are really anxious to observe the Sabbath according to the commandment, will not cook any food upon the Sabbath. They will, in the fear of that God who gave his law from Sinai, deny themselves, and eat food prepared upon the sixth day, even if it is not as palatable. {3SG 253.2}

Interesting. Some people don’t want to have any food left over. They don’t like to eat leftovers. So to them it’s unpalatable. They like to have everything freshly cooked. Well, if it’s not freshly cooked, not palatable, you have it any way. That’s what it says. Don’t do your own ways. Can you see? Mine own ways – I want it this way! No, the Lord says, this way, please. He prevented the food from going off. He will help us to enjoy even on the Sabbath day the food which has been pre-prepared.

God forbade the children of Israel baking and boiling upon the Sabbath. That prohibition should be regarded by every Sabbath-keeper, as a solemn injunction from Jehovah to them. The Lord would guard his people from indulging in gluttony upon the Sabbath, which he has set apart for sacred meditation and worship. {Ibid.}

He has set it apart for sacred meditation and worship. He wants us to focus and not let anything disturb us by having concern about this food and that, and the preparation of it. But have it all set, and you don’t have to think about it. The meditation and worship is paramount for us to receive the blessing of the Lord.

Preparation

What is another thing that we do with full attention upon ourselves but that we are not to do on the Sabbath day so that we don’t pollute its meditation?

The fourth commandment is explicit. We are not to do our own work upon the Sabbath. … On the sixth day all needful preparation for the Sabbath is to be made. . . . All purchases should be made and all our cooking should be done on Friday. Let baths [or showers] be taken, shoes be blacked, and clothing be put in readiness. {HP 151.2}

The things that we do for our personal adornment, for our personal ways, let them all be done before Sabbath. Let baths be taken, shoes be blacked, and clothing be put in readiness. We often spend quite a bit of time in our personal adornment and cleanliness. Some people say, “Oh! I can’t have shower on the Sabbath? Terrible!” Well, the Sabbath day is a day that is blessed; you don’t have to worry about your cleanliness. If the food isn’t going to stink on the Sabbath day, why should you? Wash yourselves, cleanse yourselves before the Sabbath day, and the Lord will take care of you! Apply yourself outside of the Sabbath hours so that the mind is then free from our own ways. That is the issue here. This is not my words! I am not showing you what I think! I am showing you what God thinks, and how God wants to bless us.

The violation of the fourth commandment is not confined to the preparation of food. Many carelessly put off blacking their boots, and shaving, until after the beginning of the Sabbath. This should not be. If any neglect to do such work on a working day, they should have respect enough for God’s holy time to let their beards remain unshaven, their boots rough and brown, until the Sabbath is past. This might help their memory, and make them more careful to do their own work on the six working days. {ST, May 25, 1882 par. 7}

Don’t forget with what we are so used to doing, when we come across something like this, we might think, “Oh, I can’t see my way through that. Let this cup pass from me.” No, we look to Jesus and we say, Amen. Thank you, Lord. This is how you are going to bless me. As we put this into practice, what a blessing it is, to just have a whole day without the interferences of worrying about my ways that I do all through the week.

Travel

Acts 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.

A Sabbath day’s journey – what is meant here in regards to our own ways and our own pleasure?

If we desire the blessing promised to the obedient, we must observe the Sabbath more strictly. I fear that we often travel on this day when it might be avoided. In harmony with the light which the Lord has given in regard to the observance of the Sabbath, we should be more careful about traveling on the boats or cars on this day. {6T 359.4}

That is the language they used then – boats or trains, for public transport.

In these matters we should set a right example before our children and youth. In order to reach the churches that need our help, and to give them the message that God desires them to hear, it may be necessary for us to travel on the Sabbath; but so far as possible we should secure our tickets and make all necessary arrangements on some other day. {Ibid.}

Today we have our cars and we travel by car, so we just make sure that we have a tank full of petrol, so that we don’t buy any petrol on the Sabbath day. On the Sabbath day, for what purpose do we travel? A Sabbath day’s journey means to go and worship the Lord. A Sabbath day’s journey is to be able to go out and walk in nature, and enjoy fellowship with God’s people. Anything beyond that, just for the sake of doing our own thing, is not a Sabbath day’s journey.

Then comes a very interesting aspect about our own ways and our own pleasure. We work hard through the week and then on the Sabbath day we are so weary:

None should feel at liberty to spend sanctified time in an unprofitable manner. It is displeasing to God for Sabbathkeepers to sleep during much of the Sabbath. {CCh 270.4}

Now get that picture straight. This is not saying that it is wrong to have a nap. What is wrong is that Sabbath-keepers sleep during much of the Sabbath.

They dishonor their Creator in so doing, and, by their example, say that the six days are too precious for them to spend in resting. They must make money, although it be by robbing themselves of needed sleep, which they make up by sleeping away holy time. {Ibid.}

This is our own ways again. This is to be laid aside so that we will have a blessed Sabbath day. That covers many areas of meditations. We have been reading about cooking, bathing, shaving, shoes, boots, traveling, sleeping. You can cover all the different things from these statements as to what is meant by “doing your own ways” or “seeking your own pleasure” different from the worshipful meditation of the Sabbath.

Worshipful Meditation

Then what else did the scripture say? “Nor speaking thine own words.” As we seek to glorify God, we are not only to understand the practical issues of the Sabbath – because we may fall into the danger of looking upon it legalistically – but there is much more to the Sabbath than just what you do or don’t do.

Those who discuss business matters or lay plans on the Sabbath are regarded by God as though engaged in the actual transaction of business. To keep the Sabbath holy, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. {PP 307.3}

How easily we permit our minds to dwell on things that are not worshipful meditations of the Lord. Enjoying the beautiful things of nature, speaking of our experience with Jesus, this is what the Sabbath is for. But the scripture says, Not speaking thine own words. You will speak out of the abundance of the heart, so if I’m thinking about things I will speak it out, won’t I? So if my language is going to be guarded carefully, then my thoughts are also to be guarded carefully.

And the commandment includes all within our gates. The inmates of the house are to lay aside their worldly business during the sacred hours. All should unite to honor God by willing service upon His holy day. {Ibid.}

As we let these things continue to unfold to our minds we begin to realise, Yes, if I let God affect my mind even, to the point of true Sabbath-keeping, I will have a mind that is free from stress and from anxiety; and not only free from that, but also filled with the glories of God’s love. And we don’t interfere with our language, our conversation, in planning what we are doing tomorrow or what we are doing another time. So many people in the churches have their business meetings on Sabbath afternoon! Oh… This is just not keeping the Sabbath.

Speak softly, walk softly. Let not a word of lightness or trifling come from your lips. This is God’s day. He has blessed the seventh day, as his Sabbath, to be sacredly observed. {RH, June 8, 1897 par. 4}

You know what it’s like when you have some special time and there is some beautiful music being played, and you go in there and you walk quietly, and you don’t speak because you are trying to receive the beautiful melodies of the music. Well, the Lord is playing beautiful music to us in the spiritual sense, and if we talk triflingly, speak our own words, do our own things, we are talking over the blessings that the Lord is pouring upon us.

What do we speak about? If we are not to speak our own words, then what are we to speak about?

If you, on that day, lay plans of what you will do when the Sabbath is past, or talk of your work, amusements and clothes, you pollute the Sabbath. {YI, February 1, 1853 par. 2}

Oops. To talk about your clothes? How many times do we come to church on Sabbath and we say, “Woo, I like that dress you’re wearing. How did you get that?” You are polluting the Sabbath! because you are taking your mind away from the beautiful things of God. It’s our own words. We don’t want to pollute the Sabbath, to make plans, to speak of our amusements, our clothes, and so on. So what do we talk about?

When you are speaking of your hope in God, of Jesus and of his soon coming, and of the beauties of the New Earth, you are not speaking your own words. Of these things you may freely speak on the Sabbath. On six days you may talk of business matters, and lay plans that are necessary; but the Sabbath is holy time, and all worldly thoughts must, on that day, be dismissed from the mind. {YI, February 1, 1853 par. 4}

Here is a wonderful counsel. Dismiss them from your mind. They may come, but dismiss them.

The blessing of God will then rest upon you, and you will have the sweet consolations of his Spirit, and you will also have confidence when you approach the throne of grace. {Ibid.}

Here is a blessing. This is a positive thing. It’s not a prohibitive thing. And this is the case all the way through. God has given us pleasures and joys to appreciate.

The most important thing is, if we are going to have that Sabbath in which we dismiss the things that are polluting it and we concentrate on doing the things beforehand so that it’s all done when the Sabbath comes, there needs to be an important preparation for all this.

The church of God below is one with the church of God above. Believers on the earth and the beings in heaven who have never fallen constitute one church. Every heavenly intelligence is interested in the assemblies of the saints who on earth meet to worship God. In the inner court of heaven they listen to the testimony of the witnesses for Christ in the outer court on earth, and the praise and thanksgiving from the worshipers below is taken up in the heavenly anthem, and praise and rejoicing sound through the heavenly courts because Christ has not died in vain for the fallen sons of Adam. {6T 366.1}

Is that something to rejoice about? Just to think that they are interested in us and they are there looking down upon our experience on the Sabbath day – what a joy to have the angels drinking with us at the fountainhead.

While angels drink from the fountainhead, the saints on earth drink of the pure streams flowing from the throne, the streams that make glad the city of our God. Oh, that we could all realize the nearness of heaven to earth! {Ibid.}

To realise this, to appreciate this, this is Sabbath blessing. So what must we do to be well prepared?

All through the week we are to have the Sabbath in mind and be making preparation to keep it according to the commandment. . . . {FLB 34.3}

All through the week we will have the Sabbath in mind, preparing for it.

When the Sabbath is thus remembered, the temporal will not be allowed to encroach upon the spiritual. {FLB 34.4}

We will not pollute it.

No duty pertaining to the six working days will be left for the Sabbath. During the week our energies will not be so exhausted in temporal labor that on the day when the Lord rested and was refreshed we shall be too weary to engage in His service. . . . {Ibid.}

On Friday let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. {FLB 34.5}

Prepare all through the week, but let the Friday be the final preparation. There is much written on this subject of Sabbath-keeping, but we have there the enlargements of not doing your own pleasure, your own ways, and your own words, that we do not pollute the Sabbath.

As we come to the conclusion of this challenge, return now to how Jesus inspires us to meet true Sabbath-keeping.

In his life and death, Jesus taught the strictest obedience. He did not consult his convenience or pleasure when he left his station of high command to become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, accepting ignominy and death in order to deliver man from the consequence of his disobedience. Jesus died, not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. Man is to leave the error of his ways, to follow the example of Christ, to take up his cross and follow the Master, denying self, and obeying God at any cost. {RH, September 13, 1898 par. 10}

In his life and death, Jesus taught the strictest obedience. He did not consult his convenience or pleasure when He left His station of high command.” We have here the inspiration in Jesus. Seeing that He sacrificed all His convenience for us, and as our mind is occupied with Him, then the things we have been reading with regards to being sure not to pollute the Sabbath, are a sparkling appreciation of what we will do because of what Jesus did for us. But we do it to receive the rich blessings of verse 14 of Isaiah 58.

Let us remember that there is this majestic bond between us and the Lord, and that it is a sign that He is sanctifying us. May God help us to launch out upon purer Sabbath-keeping under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so that the Sabbath will become just what it is meant to be – a riding upon the high places of the earth.

Amen.

 

Posted on September 15, 2016, in Divine Service Sermons, The Last Generation Challenge Series. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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