Tomorrow, the Lord’s Day 20th May, there will be a rugby match played at the Kingspan Stadium. While we rejoice that this is not a regular occurrence, we are nevertheless saddened to see the desecration of the Lord’s Day.
The fourth Commandment 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.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
We are commanded that one day in seven is to be special unto God. While every day should be lived in obedience and honour unto our God, one day is to be kept “holy”. It is to “sanctified”, to be set apart unto God, in that we worship God and thank Him for His goodness and saving grace to a wicked world.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 60 asks - How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
The answer is given – “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.”
The command includes a responsibility to ensure that family, employees and visitors are not profaning this special day.
For those that profess the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour there is that duty and responsibility to keep this day unto the Lord and to be a witness to others.
The Saviour set an example to others, “and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” (Luke 4:16)
Likewise it was also the custom of the apostles “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them,” (Acts 20:7)
Sporting fixtures are not works of necessity nor mercy but rather entertainment and ought not to have priority over the laws of God.
This Lord’s Day we would encourage men and women to forget about the sporting events and rather consider God’s love for sinful man in providing a Saviour and as we read in Matthew’s Gospel “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”.