In last weekend’s message, Pastor Bobby Chaw expounded on the meaning of the Sabbath and taught three practical ways to honour the Lord on Sabbath day.
“Jesus must be the Lord over every area of our life, every single day of the week,” said executive pastor of City Harvest Church, Bobby Chaw as he opened his sermon on the weekend of Oct 2 and 3. “Today I want to share with you that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.”
On Resurrection Sunday, which was the Sabbath, Jesus rose victoriously from the dead. On the day of Pentecost which also fell on the Sabbath, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on all flesh. From then on, believers everywhere gather on Sabbath to fellowship, pray, worship and receive the Word of God. Acts 20:7 records that the disciples were still meeting faithfully on Sabbath despite the persecution they faced, and Pastor Bobby noted that this occurred 27 years after the day of Pentecost.
In fact, right from creation in Genesis, God established the Sabbath and declared it holy. He created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh day. By doing so, He set an example for mankind to take a day off each week to rest from the busyness of life and enter into His rest.
“Every first day of the week, we remember that we are God’s creation,” the pastor preached. “Jesus is the Lord of my life and I am accountable to Him.”
He then challenged the church, “Is the Sabbath still regarded as the Lord’s Day in your life? Or has it become your day, a day for yourself?”
Sunday is typically a day when people make plans to catch up with their friends or relax with different recreational activities. While self-care and recreation are necessary, says Pastor Bobby, Christians need to give God time to worship, to hear His Word and to give an account of one’s life on the Sabbath day.
The pastor gave an illustration. “Say you were invited by your best friend to his wedding in Bali,” he began. “The trip is fully paid for and you get so excited that you pack your daily schedule with all the things you want to do and see, and you become so tired and distracted that you totally forget about the wedding banquet! Can you imagine missing the most important purpose and person of the trip?”
Similarly, to not give attention to God on the Sabbath is to miss its whole purpose. “Especially now, when attending church service happens in the comfort of our homes and our bedrooms, we can get so easily distracted,” Pastor Bobby said.
One could be watching service on one screen while checking the stock market on another screen simultaneously. Pastor Bobby warned that if this continues for a period of time, Christians will start to only have an outward form of religiosity without having the genuine inner spiritual life and reverence for God.
HOW TO PRACTICALLY HONOUR THE LORD ON HIS SABBATH
Pastor Bobby shared three practical things to do to honour the Lord on the Sabbath.
1. Stop, Reflect And Remember
Isaiah 58:13 reads, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honourable, and shall honour Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words.”
Pastor Bobby explained that to “turn away your foot” means to be conscious of the steps one is taking and turn around because you suddenly remember something. Reading Psalms 119: 29, he preached that one needs to turn towards God’s testimonies.
In this fast-paced society, a person’s mind is often occupied with so many worries that there is no room for God’s testimony. “The purpose of Sabbath is for us to stop in our tracks and reflect on our steps and to remember God’s words,” preached Pastor Bobby.
He urged the church members not to be too eager for weekly service to end so that they can get on with the rest of their weekend plans. He added, “I want to encourage you, Church, to take time to ask yourself questions like, ‘How is my attitude?’, ‘What is the temperature of your love towards Jesus?’, ‘What is going on in my heart? Is there anger, unforgiveness?’”
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 reminds Christians to “draw near to hear” and “do not be rash with your mouth” when they are going to the house of God. This means that God wants to speak to His people on the Sabbath. “Therefore, don’t keep talking,” the pastor urged. “Don’t be too quick to judge your situation and say to yourself that there is no hope.”
God is still speaking to His people today, says Pastor Bobby. “Pay attention to hear His words!”He shared the testimony of Evangeline, a staff member of CHC who had been unable to conceive after marrying. As years went by, she became hopeless. However, she would faithfully attend service and give attention to God’s Word. During one service, God spoke to her and asked if she would be willing to simply love and serve Him, even if she had no child. She said yes to God, and that set her free from depression. A miracle happened soon after and God gave her a baby boy.
“Stop, reflect and remember the Word of the living God, because your miracle is in His Word,” reminded Pastor Bobby.
2. Delight Yourself In The Lord
Sabbath is not meant to be a burden but a delight (Isa 58: 13). Verse 14 reveals that this joy comes from the Lord, and is “not a result of how perfect the church service was run,” the pastor said.
He recalled the early days of CHC where the hall was crowded, and the air-conditioning did not work so well. By the end of the service, the members would be drenched in sweat, but their hearts were burning with the joy of the Lord. “I would long to come back to the presence of God again and again,” he remembered. “He is my joy and my satisfaction.”
That joy is found in an encounter with Jesus Christ. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus calls out to those who are burdened to come to Him so that He can give them rest. Jesus should be the reason why Christians attend church services every weekend—because He is the Lord of the Sabbath.
3. Serve People In Mercy And Love
In Luke 14:2, Jesus was eating with the Pharisees and He asked them if it was lawful to heal on Sabbath. What He was really asking was the purpose of the Sabbath. Then He gave them the answer by healing the sick man and setting him free.
“In a single action, Jesus demonstrated the purpose of Sabbath—to serve people in mercy and love,” Pastor Bobby taught. Right at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus had already declared His mission and purpose on the Sabbath day (Lk 4:16-17)—to heal the broken-hearted, to set the captives free, to restore sight to the blind and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
Pastor Bobby encouraged the church to find a need to meet and find a hurt to heal among their friends and family members. “When you serve someone, you honour Jesus, and you declare that He is the Lord of your Sabbath,” he explained.
He shared his experience visiting his member’s mother who was not a believer. As Pastor Bobby and his wife Cindy laid hands and prayed for the mother, they could feel the presence of God touching her. They eventually led her to salvation.
“When that happened, I was reminded again that whenever we serve people with the love of Jesus, Jesus always shows up,” the pastor said.
In closing, the pastor reiterated the three practical ways to honour Jesus during the Sabbath and urged the church not to let the season of COVID-19 rob them of the presence of Jesus Christ.