Press statement on behalf of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
As a denomination we would like to affirm our support for the Observance of the Lord's Day in keeping with the words of the Fourth Commandment which states:
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 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: 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."
In recent days two sporting events, namely the NW200 and the Euro 2016 football, have brought to the fore the sanctity of Sunday. While the NW200 has never taken place on a Sunday, and we hope and pray it never will, there is now the possibility of it being used as a contingency day for racing.
In relation to the Euro 2016 football we are told that the decision has been made by UEFA and cannot be changed, but it means that for the first time Northern Ireland will play international football at Windsor Park on a Sunday. It is interesting to note that within the rules dealing with the UEFA draw there is an allowance made with regard to political difference between countries, yet there is no account taken of religious views.
Sunday is a special day for a number of reasons:
- It brings to our attention the creation institution where one day in seven is appointed for rest.
- It is a reminder of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ on the first day of the week when He rose victorious over sin and the grave.
- It is a foreshadowing of the eternal rest purchased by Christ for those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and are trusting in Him alone for salvation.
The Lord's Day is for rest and worship, and has been observed as such in Northern Ireland for many years. It is a day when according to the command of Scripture, men and women set aside the regular affairs of life to attend a place of worship and spend time with God. The Westminster Confession of Faith, Shorter catechism puts it in this manner:
"The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy."
There is blessing in keeping the Lord's Day. A blessing that benefits man spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Today, stress is a major problem, life is too busy and there is little time for God or family, it is for this reason that there is a day of rest. Mark 2:27
There is a very true saying:
"A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content, and strength for the toil of the morrow, but a Sabbath profaned, whate’er be gained, is a certain forerunner of sorrow."
May we as a country and nation return to honouring the Lord's Day and seek His pardon for breaking His law.