Series: The Gospel: It's Not...
Message: About the Sabbath
Preacher: Mark Johnson
Daily Walk: Mark Johnson
Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 94:1-10.
Read: Mark 2:27; Romans 13:10 Re-read in the English Standard Version for new insights/questions.
Reflect: When we talk about the Sabbath, in a larger sense we are talking about the Law of God.
The Sabbath commandment is found right at the center of God's Law and is central to it. "The fourth commandment is the only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver It is the only one that shows by whose authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of God, affixed to His law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force." (Patriarchs and Prophets, 307)
People who are preoccupied with law are either lawyers or legalists. Because of our perceived preoccupation with the Law of God, particularly the fourth commandment, other Christians have often been tempted to rank Seventh-day Adventists as legalists, and in all honesty we have to admit that at times we have been. But perhaps it isn't our focus on the Law that is a problem; perhaps we have been wrong about what it means to keep it.
The Bible is full of writers who seem to be preoccupied with God's law, but the focus seems to be on love, not on works. James raves about the "law of liberty" and the "royal law," and states that loving your neighbor is fulfilling the law. (James 1:25; 2:8, 12, KJV) The author of Psalms 119 says in four places how much he loves the law. (Psalms 119:97, 113, 163, 165) Paul, in several places, talks about the law being fulfilled if we love our neighbor, and summarizes in one of the texts for the week with the claim that "love is the fulfillment of the law." (Galatians 5:14; Romans 13:8, 10, NKJV) And Joshua, at the end of his life, left this timely advice with his people, "(T)ake careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him will all your heart and with all your soul. (Joshua 22:5, NKJV)
So keeping the law means loving our neighbor and loving our God. Jesus told us how we do this—by lovingly caring for our enemies and by being willing to sell all and give it to the poor.
No wonder they wanted to have Him killed.
Respond: Pray for a heart that loves the law of liberty and loves your enemies.
Research: Read one of the suggested commentaries found in the bibliography.