The Lord’s Day Still Belongs to the Lord
It’s called the “Lord’s Day” for a reason: the day belongs to Him. The early church luxuriated in His presence, but we are eager to get home and watch our asinine, ephemeral games, much like the ancient Romans watched the spectacles in the arena. What a grand set of men we are – giving the Lord all of one hour on Sunday morning when He deserves the entire day.
In the Baptist Faith and Message, the article on the Lord’s Day remained unchanged from 1925 to 1963 (although the word “being” was added in 1963 for clarification). The 1963 statement reads as follows:
The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, and by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employments, works of necessity and mercy only being excepted.
The 2000 revision reduces the third sentence by half and adds a fourth sentence. Here are the last two sentences concerning the Lord’s Day in the BFM 2000:
It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Christ.
This sounds like “liberty,” but will not many use it as an excuse for license? Our early Baptist founders all shared the same convictions about the Lord’s Day – that it was a day set aside in its entirety for worship and spiritual devotion. The very motto of a Christian should be, “Christ above all.” The success of our whole life, and of our weekly labors, will be directly proportionate to the priority we give to the things of the Lord on His Day.
The man who cannot give the Master of the Universe more than half a day on Sunday will not give Him more than that throughout the week. The great Baptist Spurgeon said it best:
God’s day is dishonoured by those who are not thankful to him. God has, in great mercy, given us a day, on day in seven, wherein to rest, and to think of holy things. There were seven days that God had in the week. He said, “Take six, and use them in your business.” No, we must have the seventh as well. It is as if one, upon the road, saw a poor man in distress, and having but seven shillings, the generous person gave the poor man six; but when the wretch had scrambled to his feet, he followed his benefactor to knock him down, and steal the seventh shilling from him. How many do this! The Sabbath is their day for sport, for amusement, for anything but the service of God. They rob God of his day, though it be but one in seven. This is base unthankfulness. May not many here confess that they have been guilty of it? If so, let no more Sabbaths be wasted; but let their sacred hours, and all the week between, be spent in diligent search after God; and then, when you have found him, the Lord’s-day will be the brightest gem of all the seven, and you will sing with Dr. Watts,—
“Welcome, sweet day of rest,
Oh, what a delight to worship the King of kings! Come, then, off with sloth and indifference! Let us forsake our worldly “amusements.” We shall be exalted by the Lord only when we humble ourselves. The Lord’s Day still belongs to the Lord, and He is still worthy of our fullest adoration and praise.
February 8, 2005
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. If you would like to know more about becoming a follower of King Jesus, please feel free to write Dave.