Part 3 of a New Series: “Principally Regulated by the Scripture”
“The Sabbath Assembly and its Purpose in Congregational Worship”
This study will be a doctrinal subject study with a focus on understanding the 4th commandment in ordaining the time of Assembly, and what purpose the Sabbath is to serve in congregational worship according to Hebrew 10:23-25 as a holy day and time.
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Compiled by JS LOWTHER
Principally Regulated by the Scripture
The Sabbath Assembly and its Purpose in Congregational Worship
Our Father we know by thy word :
All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Therefore make us strong.
Let us not be decieved by evil men and seducers
which wax worse and worse, being deceived them selves.
Continue us in the things which we have learned of and have been assured of by thee:
Though we may have from a child known the holy scriptures,
allow them to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Profit unto us All thy scripture given by thy inspiration:
for our doctrine, for our reproof, for our correction, for our instruction in righteousness:
That we may be the men and women of God perfectly & thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Gal_4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Gal 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Gal 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
So I want to briefly remind you of these links and then move on from the ground work I had laid for the contextual meaning of Hebrews 10:25 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.
And how the whole of Scripture when it regulates our worship is predicated upon the 4th commandment.
The 1st commandment establishes that the YHWH THY GOD which brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage is God alone and that we shall have no other God beside him, and that there is no other God beside him.
2nd commandment establishes the forbiddance of idols, that is of likenesses or images of this 1st commandment YHWH who is God alone.
That YHWH can not be worshiped by an Image or likeness of any thing in the heavens or the earth or the waters.
This includes likenesses that we fancy in our heart and mind according to Ezekiel , this includes lust and covetous desires that are willfully out side of the will of God as it is expressed by His word in scripture as it is understood by natural revelations in creation as well ordained by the word of God Logically.
Let me remind you of this regulative principle established as the essence of the 2nd commandment:
Eze_14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?
Eze_14:4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;
Eze_14:5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
Also lets look again at :
Eph_5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Col_3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Hold those thoughts now as I inculcate the 3rd commandment is:
Though shalt not take the name of YHWH THY GOD in vain…
Which is simple when one in any area of life, most especially worship, yet for a Christian life is worship, that one says they are YHWH’s, they are Christs, they are Israel (as a prince ruling with God) and they live an empty, vain life that is not full or filled up like a vessel with the virtues of Grace through Faith, where in their life force exudes the Name of this Almighty God they claim to swear by. You say, I do not swear by God’s name! If you ascribe the New Covenant to your self , a covenant being a promise, and oath to your heart mind and inward parts and do not live the mighty Name you know ascribed it there, you are in fact taking the Name of God in vain, and the vanity of life that exudes from that state of existence will permeate ever area of life including worship independent and congregational.
Now Consider those essential particulars of violating the 2nd commandment in that light:
1. Idols in the heart are the sin of idols before the eyes
2. The desires of the flesh contrary to the will of God is lust or covetousness that is idolatry
3. The Christian that claims they have called on the Name of the LORD YHWH and has been saved that still is full of their own vanity is engaging in a form of guilt laden idolatry.
Now these principles are clear, now let us read the 4th commandment:
Exo_20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
Exo 20:10 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:
Exo 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.
The Sabbath day is not described here but is referred to as a remembrance, meaning Israel know what the Sabbath day was, their is a directive mentioned as to how the 4th commandment is followed, but the statement Remember or lit. memorialize the ‘Sabbath Day’ to keep it holy, is a call to remembrance not an active lesson.
Now consider how this sabbath day is to be remembered:
3.Six days shalt thou work
Then the identifiers with directives:
a. seventh day is the sabbath
b. of the LORD thy God
c. thou shalt not do any work
Then a note on the aspect of memorial to be had:
Why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it?
I. Because in 6 days YHWH created the heavens and the earth and all that in them is…
I also want to point out a ‘ II. ‘ point, that in the Deuteronomy 5 citation of the Decalogue , the aspect of memorial has another addition mentioned :
Deu 5:15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
II. thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out
So here is what I want to express concerning the first YHWH God ordained & commanded and therefore non-idolatrous day of worship called the Sabbath day.
This day is not idolatrous for worship because:
1st the only true and living God YHWH which brought Israel out of bondage commanded it
2nd the Sabbath promotes no idolatrous inventions of man in the ideal of likeness in the heart or mind or imagination of the members of the flesh, that it is what ever this sabbath day is that is to be remembered, kept and set aside (that is holy).
3rd it is therefore full of YHWH God’s will by his word and it is therefore a way to take hold of the Name of God, or I could say it like this, the keeping of the sabbath day is a form of worship that is full of YHWH’s will, word and spirit and answers to the definition of a ” good work”.
4th in and of itself the remembrance of the Sabbath and its intrinsic connection to Creation and Salvation by means of holiness (that is set aside as special or sacred) and kept by men in worship teaches all the prior commandments and is further established and is fortified by the succeeding commandment of the 10, it will encourage the next 6 commandments in practice and or practical application in life, as well as provide for holy time to be kept to learn about the other 9 commandments, meditate upon all 10 commandments, and to at times apply particular aspects of the other 9 commandments.
Hebrews 10:25 (Do) 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.
Is speaking firstly of the Sabbath synagogue or assembly:
This is the time of assembling of our selves by the Regulative Principles of Scripture, The assembly remembered best used for exhortation, and therefore in accordance with the whole of divine Law, the sabbath is the time of assembly all the sacrifices of the context of Hebrews 10 was referring to, and therefore in accordance with the context of the book of Hebrews, Just because the Sacrifices in the Tabernacle in Jerusalem has ceased in accordance with the prophecy of Daniel and all the other prophets, the author of Hebrew is assuring you that you have no access to abandon sabbath worship which is sacrificial worship, but rather reaffirms Moses and the prophets and Jesus Christ in saying:
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Heb 10:25 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.
I hope I have established the 4th commandment as the basis of principally regulated worship for the individual that then links individuals into an assembly of exhortation considering one another to provoke unto love and to good works in a joint profession of faith.
So let me say this here:
We keep the sabbath differently here in this assembly than the vast majority of Christians in this world at this time, and we find that as important and our reasoning undisputable as I will go on to, but to have an assembly that exhorts and considers one another to provoke unto love and to good works in a joint profession of faith is important as well, and therefore for those not here at this assembly, but who listen abroad I have to say this, It is better for you to assembly for exhortation & considering one another to provoke you unto love and to good works with a joint profession of faith than it is to sit at home alone on the right day of sabbath rest. No I am not saying ‘break the sabbath’, but I am saying worship and profess with others that exhort and consider you.
If they are contentious and can accept that you keep a different sabbath, then they are not considering and exhorting you, they are contentions leave them be. And beyond that, if that is the case, and all you have is fellowship with the ungodly, that is some heretical not Gospel oriented or anti-nomian church to exhort you and consider you, that is if they do not provoke you to good works according to the commandments of God and his word by his will , we all need to consider where we are to go to be the assembly we are called to be.
Here is a hard statement, but it comes on the heals of many men and women before us that left all to establish a community of election and order with their fellows.
The people who shook the world, were always willing to leave all things they desired or found comfort in: house, home, lands, family, father, mother and all things needed to be left behind for the establishment of a community of greater significance. The USA is a country that was founded an made by such men of all over Europe who desired liberty of conscience to worship God by the word of God, we are at no hinderance today to do the same at this time in these wicked days. That is unless we lust after something else outside the will of God.
Find a congregation that is able to exhort you and consider you and love you unto good works, and do your part in this struggle, any one who will not follow in this desire leave them behind, let them come also, remember lots wife… do not look back. Remember Jesu Words in
Luk_9:62 …No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
The number 1 work of the Christian is the work of breaking Ground in the establishment of the kingdom.
Therefore it is foolish and anti-kingdom to not assemble with those who will exhort us and that we can exhort in the
Heb_10:23-25 … holding fast of the profession of faith without wavering; (and in the teaching of He who is faithful that promised;) in consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works…
Now that this has been established, that is what is to happen in the Assembling of our selves, that (let me say it again)
1. it be for helping the body ‘hold fast to the profession of our joint and united faith
2. for the teaching of the Faithfulness of YHWH the triune God in the persons of Father Son and Spirit
3. and considering one another to provocation of love
4.considering one another to provocation of good works by the Law of God
5. Exhort,G3870 it means to encourage, to comforted παρα καλουντες / para kalountes lit. ‘near called’ or to call near
and so muchG5118 the more.
So here is the first level of what is to be done on this time of assembly, first and foremost and this is not to be forsaken.
Secondly, and in some ways foundationally, while we can undoubtedly be assured that that these points to be done at the times of assembly are of the utmost reason for our assembly, as well the command of God as to how to preform these commands are likewise important.
This is the systematics of the issue, the system of how to preform, they are to be regulated principly by the scripture.
So firstly having covered:
1. the profession of our joint and united faith
2. for the teaching of the Faithfulness of YHWH the triune God in the persons of Father Son and Spirit
and having then laid the first course of the purpose of the assembly in reference and being assured that what ever the context of the sacrifices referred to in the book of Hebrews and in the whole of scripture is the times of assembly being referred to by the New Testament writer of Hebrews, let me then cut through the modern distortions of when those times of assembly and therefore congregational worship take place according to the whole of Scripture sufficiently and backed with the testimony of YHWH God’s created order in Natural revelations which he established by his word.
Some of this we had covered at our Purim assembly, but now I hope to make it alive in everyone understanding yet again in context of Heb 10 and those points of the purpose of Assembly we are not to forsake, in also showing by Scripture and Natural revelation when those days of sacrifice which we observe in the Worship of YHWH God according to his Law Occur.
It is by the sufficianct of Scripture that we are lead to recognize that the services of the tabernacle for worship and sacrifices mentioned by the author of Hebrews, firmly establishes what ever those times of worship, service and assembly were for Moses they are also for Jesus Christ, and what they are for Jesus Christ they are for every Christian that good and acceptable will of the LORD to be prooved.
And so beside the great evidence of conclusion of context as to which days and times of worship are being referenced in Hebrews as the time of Christian assembly not to be forsaken, what do we find our Lord walking in, that we with him may walk in by his holy earthly example for us?
Turn to: (Mention connection to synagogG4864 and assemblyG1997 , root: G4863 soon-ag’-o
From G4862 and G71; to lead together, that is, collect or convene )
Luk_4:15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
Luk 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
So here we find Jesus Christ the Son of man the incarnate word and son of God observing synagogue or assembly on the sabbath day, and this was his usual custom, and there we find him involved in convocation of ‘reading’ and ‘teach’ the people.
How about Paul after the resurrection?
Act_17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures…
Where did Paul get confirmation of convoking with the Synagogue on the 3 days of sabbath, in reasoning or logically opening and alleging the truth of Christ from the scriptures?
By the Jerusalem council of apostles that up held and sustained the Law of God through Moses to the people:
Act_15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
Act 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
Act 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Act 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
A commonly missed or ignored part of the instruction of the council of Christ’s disciples is that the Gentiles hear Moses who has anciently been read, convoked, by preaching every sabbath day in the synagogue.