by Joseph Miller
Sunday is not the Christian Sabbath. Sunday is the first day of the week while Sabbath means the seventh day—a day of rest from labor. The Lord’s Sabbath rest commemorated His finished work of creation in six literal days. The Old Testament instructions concerning the Sabbath rest taught rest from labor and dependence upon God, with acts of sacrifice in worship that anticipated a greater rest in the finished work of Christ—the ultimate sacrifice for sin anticipated in all the Old Testament sacrifices.
Why do we worship on Sunday? Pastor Jerry Lancaster of Starkey Road Baptist Church, Largo, Florida, recently stated in a communion service seven biblical reasons for Sunday worship. I am listing Pastor Lancaster’s reasons with only brief comments to follow each one.
1. Christ arose on Sunday (John 20:1-9). Sunday worship commemorates new life through forgiveness from sins through Christ, who died and rose again. Every Sunday worship service is a remembering-resurrection Sunday. The old Sabbath order of remembering sins and forbearance of penalty through anticipatory sacrifices is now replaced with Christ’s once-for-all-time sacrifice for sin and His bodily resurrection, which evidences God’s satisfaction with Christ’s sacrifice.
2. The disciples met on Sunday (John 20:19-31). Two gatherings of the disciples on Sunday are recorded in this passage. In these services they saw the living Lord Jesus Christ, were empowered with the Holy Spirit, and were sent to minister to sinners. Through God’s Word, your worship experience should have the same impact. Note that the Sunday gathering in verse 19 was in the evening. Are you an advocate of and participant in the Sunday evening church service?
3. The church was born on Sunday (Acts 2:1-13). Pentecost was fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, or the seventh Sunday after the resurrection. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit the Body of Christ was formed of believers in the risen Christ, who were subsequently filled with the Holy Spirit to serve Him. Sunday worship is to renew our commitment and spiritual energy to be “witnesses.”
4. The believers observed the Lord’s Table on Sunday (Acts 20:7). While the record of the Last Supper notes singing at the service, this text speaks of preaching until midnight. This gathering to “break bread” wasn’t a quick ten or fifteen minutes tacked onto an unrelated church service. I hope your church, like ours, builds the entire communion service around the communion table with a unifying theme that lasts for more than an hour. It can be life-changing.
5. Paul preached on Sunday (Acts 20:7). Sunday church services are primarily for preaching. While preaching is foolishness to the perishing, it is still the Lord’s foremost method to communicate His message (Col. 1:28; 2 Tim. 4:2). The New Testament precedent for the church is Sunday preaching, although I have found no passage to forbid church gatherings or preaching on weekdays as well. A point of principle in this passage is that the people gathered on Sunday for preaching.
6. The people gave their offerings on Sunday (1 Cor. 16:2). “On the first day of the week...” again shows the pattern of the New Testament following the resurrection of Christ to gather the church on Sunday for worship. This included heart-purposed giving as an act of worship for participation by “every one of you.” Sunday worship was the continuing practice of the churches as congregations were multiplied through commissioned witnessing.
7. John was given the Revelation on Sunday (Rev. 1:9,10). It was the Lord’s Day—the day remembering His resurrection—when John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This Sunday message from the Lord Jesus Christ to us through John and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
challenged the church to faithfulness, informed the church of the coming judgments, and encouraged the church with the message of His coming quickly.
Yes, all the evidence concerning the day of church worship following the resurrection of Christ is Sunday worship. Don’t lose sight of the primary significance of this day for worship and service.
Discovering Life Ministries, email@example.com
Joseph Miller, who heads Discovering Life Ministries, is a church development consultant and publisher of The Church Planter—a Comprehensive Manual for Church Development.