The board of directors for the Carolina Messenger would like to pay tribute to Louise Craft, a sweet sister in Christ who left this life to be with the Lord on March 1, 2015. Louise’s husband, Oscar Craft, worked hard to faithfully serve the Lord in the Carolinas, and helped make the Carolina Messenger what it is today. Louise supported him in his work, and served her Savior loyally and perseveringly as well. Like Phoebe, she was “a helper of many” (Rom. 16:1-2), and what was said of the godly wife of old can be said of her also: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all” (Prov. 31:29). The example and memory she and Oscar left behind will continue on, and we honor them for the service they gave to the kingdom of the Lord during their lives.
Balance (10/13/14): $10,416.99
Church contributions: $4195
Duncan, Wildwood, W. Walker, Mauldin, Corinth, Charlotte Ave, Eastside, Anon, Boiling Springs, Cape Fear, Abilene, Central
Individual contributions: $4957
T Lambert, B Mattox, L Craft, J Brown, T Collier, C Mendahall, J Nygard, A Zeiss, G Rainey, V Plyar, L White, J Odom, S McMullen, G Lively, J Lathen, B Miller, J Graham, C Cooper, P Johnson, F Roland, L Munger, D Long, P McCullum, B Rowan, C Graves, W Garrett, S Dexter, C Marshall, P Kennedy, W Williams, D Alsup, J Buie, V Miller, C Bledsoe, A Horne in memory of Gaylene Horne, JC Anthony, M Howell, DC Trotter, J Woodall, P Williams, W Storch, D Nicholson, J Clark, L Overton, S Piper, F Shively, B Voss, S Ragsdale, S Vinsant, W Ford, C Stanley, V Enriquez, J Taylor, M Hull, J Warren, C Hinton, J Vaughn, G Knight, T Mastenbrook, B Lyons, H McCree, E McKenzie, J Miller, D Carpenter, S Matthews, G Wilder, B Anderson, R Upton, J Kinley, H Doub, D Young, D Webster, M Payne, J Tittle, G Boggs, G Palmer, Anonymous
Bates Printing, Michael Jordan (labels, mailings), Accuzip
Balance (3/19/15): $13,525.85
Thank you so much for your generous contributions! Because of your kindness, we will likely be able to publish an extra issue this year. You have our gratitude for extending your hand in fellowship so that the teachings of God’s Word can reach souls through the Carolina Messenger. — Jon
Elijah is a unique prophet because he left this earth before he died physically (2 Kings 2:11), was prophesied to return (Mal. 4:5), a prophecy which was accomplished through John the Baptist (Mt. 17:12-13), and he appeared with Moses at the transfiguration (Mk. 9:4). Elijah was a godly man as indicated by the meaning of his name, “My God is Jehovah.” There is much for us to learn from this prophet of old.
We are first introduced to Elijah in the following verse: “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word’” (1 Kgs. 17:1). Right away, we see Elijah carry out the will of God by rebuking the sins of Ahab. It did not matter that Ahab was the king. All sin has consequences regardless of who you are. At times, those sins can affect everyone, which is what happens with Ahab’s punishment. There would be no rain or dew for the next three and a half years (Lk. 4:25). All Christians should have the spirit of Elijah when it comes to speaking out for the Lord, no matter who stands before us, because no one is above the law of Christ. Exposing sin requires us to be bold and courageous, and we should never be ashamed of what God’s Word calls sin.
After Elijah’s encounter with Ahab, the Lord instructs him to hide by a brook (1 Kgs. 17:2-7). He obeys, and the Lord takes care of him. He has water to drink, and ravens bring him food. When the brook dries up, the Lord tells him to go to Zarephath where a woman is supposed to take care of him (1 Kgs. 17:8-16). When he finds the woman, he learns that she has been hit hard by the drought and was making final preparations for her and her son to die. She only had a handful of flour and a little bit of oil. Elijah performs a miracle which makes the woman’s flour and oil not run out until the drought is over. God provides for His people. Just because hard times come along does not mean that God does not care. He knows what we need, and He will be there for us; why should not worry (Mt. 6:25-34)? Instead, let us put our trust in God as Elijah did.
However, not everything works out like we might hope. For example, this woman’s son gets sick and dies (1 Kgs. 17:17-24). She is not happy about this, but Elijah cries out to God and brings her son back to life. Though God cares for us, He is not going to stop life from happening. People die and babies are born; it is the cycle of life. Though Elijah brought her son back to life physically, we can all be made alive in Christ spiritually when we obey the gospel. When we live faithfully to God, we can know that physical death is just the beginning of eternity (Phil. 1:21-24).
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah meets with Ahab again. Ahab is quick to blame Elijah for the trouble Israel is going through, but Elijah corrects him and tells him that he is the one who has caused the trouble because he stopped obeying the commands of God and had embraced the Baals. Elijah says, “Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table” (1Kgs. 18:19).
Elijah is ready to put these prophets to the test because it is time to see who the real God is. The challenge is as follows: “‘Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.’ So all the people answered and said, ‘It is well spoken’” (1 Kgs. 18:23-24).
Elijah allows the prophets of Baal to try first. They try all day long, and Elijah points out the obvious. Their god is not listening. Being full of confidence, Elijah gathers the people and takes his turn. He builds an altar to the Lord which includes twelve stones. He gathers the wood and puts the bull on it, but he does not stop there. He also digs a trench around the altar, has the people fill up four buckets of water, and has them drench the bull and the wood. They do this three times, and they even fill up the trench around the alter with additional water.
Elijah cries out to the Lord: “‘Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.’ Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!’” (1 Kgs. 18:37-39).
What a sight this must have been, but it shows us just how powerful and attentive our God is. Every Christian should have the same confidence Elijah did. Though God is not working miracles in our age, He is always in our corner, and we can draw strength from Him (Phil. 4:13). With God on our side, who can stand against us (Rom. 8:31)? Even if we are the only ones willing to take a stand for the cause of Christ, we are never alone (Heb. 13:5).
After Elijah’s great victory, we find him fearing for his life because Jezebel sent word to him saying she was going to kill him just as he killed the 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kgs. 19:2). So he ran off and hid. As courageous and confident as Elijah was, he was still human. He had a weak moment and even became depressed, but God did not allow him to remain in that state of mind. God came to him and encouraged him by letting him know that he was not alone because there were 7,000 other faithful men (1 Kgs. 19:18). Like Elijah, we might struggle with keeping our confidence in God, especially if we feel like we are the only ones who seem to care. However, we must realize that there are always going to be others who are just as concerned about living for God and keeping His commands as we are. Even if we have a weak moment, we can always re-ignite our faith in the Lord and get busy serving Him again.
God gives Elijah three things to do: “Then the LORD said to him: ‘Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place’” (1 Kgs. 19:15-16). There is always plenty to do for the Lord. When we focus on serving God, we have less time to be depressed or worried about what others think. Notice also that besides anointing these kings, God wants Elijah to anoint Elisha as his replacement. While it is important to stay busy for the Lord, every Christian should be training and encouraging others to take their place. Imagine if the church only had the elders and preachers it has right now. If other men are not trained to take their place, we will end up with a church without any leadership, which is why it is imperative we train our youth to be the next leaders of the church.
In 1 Kings 21, another scandal happens involving king Ahab and Jezebel. A man named Naboth had a vineyard that Ahab wanted. He tried to buy it but Naboth would not sell it, so Ahab acted like a spoiled child who could not have the toy he wanted. Jezebel fulfills the role of a mother who makes sure her spoiled child gets what he wants, which leads to Naboth being put to death. Now the vineyard belonged to Ahab, but God would not allow this scandal to go unpunished. Elijah’s faith is put to the test once again because God tells him to confront Ahab about this wicked deed done to Ahab and to pronounce judgment on him and his wife (1 Kgs. 21:17-19). Though Elijah had a weak moment earlier when he ran from Jezebel, his faith in God has been restored because he does not hesitate when God tells him to go to Ahab. We must learn to have this same courage in our lives. Like Elijah, we should continue to conquer any fears we have that keep us from serving God as we should. Just because we are weak today, does not mean we have to be weak tomorrow.
Usually when Elijah rebuked Ahab, he did not listen, but this time things were different (1 Kgs. 21:20-29). Ahab allowed the message from God to move him to repentance. Though people may not listen to us at first about God’s Word, it does not mean we should give up. One day, they just might take heed and turn to the Lord. Do not underestimate the power of God’s Word to convert the wicked.
Though Elijah mainly dealt with the sins of Israel, he also sent a letter to Jehoram, the king of Judah, in which he pronounced judgment on him and the people because of their wickedness (2 Chron. 21:12-15). Elijah’s boldness continues to show his trust and faith in God are intact. Let us also continue to grow in our boldness in God and in His truth.
One last event in Elijah’s life is his encounter with King Ahaziah (2 Kgs. 1). The king falls through the lattice of his upper room. Instead of asking the Lord about whether he would recover, he sends his men to ask Baal. Elijah meets these men and rebukes them for trying to go to Baal instead of God, and he sends the men back to the king with the message that he is going to die and never leave his bed. The king is not happy with Elijah, so he sends a captain with his 50 men to get Elijah, but Elijah brings fire down from heaven, which consumes them all. This happens twice. After the third group of men came, the angel of the Lord tells Elijah to go to the king with the same message as before. It is implied that if the king had asked of the Lord instead of Baal, he would have recovered. Ahaziah’s example teaches that no other god, person, or thing can help us like God Almighty. So don’t put your trust in worldly things. Put your trust in God.
In 2 Kings 2, Elijah leaves this earth in a unique way when a chariot of fire appears with horses of fire and separates Elijah and Elisha, and Elijah is taken up into heaven in a whirlwind.
Like Elijah, we must remain faithful until the end (Rev. 2:10). Yes, we may fall short of the glory of God occasionally, but this does not mean we have lost the war. Rather, we have only lost a few battles. Elijah teaches us to never stop fighting the good fight of faith/ If we perservere like him, heaven will be our home as well.
Excitement rippled through the exquisitely dressed congregation as the visiting speaker announced he would read a letter dictated by Jesus to John the apostle. Anticipation buzzed as he described Jesus’ dazzling appearance standing among seven golden lampstands dressed in a robe with a golden sash, and having hair whiter than wool above eyes that burned like fire. Feet glowing like brass in a furnace and a voice like rushing waters must mean divinity. They understood the sharp two edged sword coming out of his mouth emphasized he was speaking God’s words, but what did the seven stars mean? The buzz increased when he said that one of those lampstands represented their congregation and this letter was written directly to them.
A shock wave of accusation drowned the buzz as they reeled at Jesus’ categorizing them as “lukewarm” and threatening “to vomit them out of my mouth.” Then in spite of their expensive clothes, the Lord called them “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:16, 17 NKJV). How could he do that? Didn’t he know they were rich? Couldn’t he see the beautiful colors splashed throughout the crowd? Slowly, the fear that he was right began to spread. They looked reproachfully at their friends while hanging onto the thought that surely the Lord didn’t mean me.
The Lord sent seven letters to seven different churches which many believe are representative of the church as a whole, but Laodicea had the only condition that made him want to vomit his followers out of his mouth. It therefore behooves us to examine how the Laodiceans reached such a pitiful state, and, perhaps more importantly, to ask how we might avoid slipping into this nauseating condition.
Webster defines a lukewarm person as one having little passion, emotion, or conviction. At first glance, one might conclude that having a little passion is better than having none at all, but apparently this is wrong since Jesus said he would rather they be cold or hot. Is that because lukewarm Christians do more damage to the image of God’s kingdom than a person totally indifferent to the Lord? Do lukewarm Christians portray a dead, inactive, and unloving faith in the Supreme Creator which causes outsiders to not want to become a part of the royal family?
No Christian ever deliberately set out to become lukewarm, but perhaps we let the pressure of today’s urgency push aside our devotion and service to God. Jesus’ words imply that the Laodiceans fell into this condition because they were comfortable. From a worldly standpoint, they weren’t poor. They were rich, living was easy, and there is no indication of persecution from anyone. They were involved, but whatever they did was without passion. They were just going through the motions.
Think about their situation and consider if this comfortable lifestyle sounds like our present-day America. We live in the richest nation that has ever existed since the beginning of history. Life is not easy for everyone, but for the majority life is comfortable. Never have so many things competed for our attention, with many promising to make our life easier. Not becoming lukewarm may be American Christians’ greatest challenge.
Self-examination to determine if we are sliding towards lukewarmness or have already arrived is critical, but correctly recognizing our situation may be extremely difficult. Lukewarmness provides contentment that all is well, and we are doing everything we need to do. Since lukewarmness assures us that we are comfortable, we feel righteous, saved, and in need of nothing. The Laodiceans didn’t realize their condition; they thought they were rich and had everything they needed; yet they were found wanting.
To assist our personal examination of our spiritual temperature, the following suggestions are presented in the comedic form used and made popular by Jeff Foxworthy, but these are not meant to be funny. Nothing can be more serious than how we are viewed by Jesus.
You may be a lukewarm Christian if you don’t feel excitement as the time nears to gather and worship the Lord. We have the opportunity to meet with the royal family and worship the Supreme Being who created the universe and everything therein. Our family will recognize and respond to our passion whether we realize it or not, and family members are rarely fooled. Lukewarmness can be contagious to our friends and family. Someone must generate heat, and working together we can warm each other.
You may be a lukewarm Christian if reading the scriptures doesn’t move you to want to know more. These are the words of our God and they are written directly to each of us so we can live a more productive life for God, ourselves, our family, and everyone we meet. Although the Bible is an old book, nowhere can we find more appropriate words for today’s living and learning the criteria we need for valid self-examination. In the words of Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
You may be a lukewarm Christian if singing praises with the congregation doesn’t lift your heart and spirit. Read the words and make them your thoughts as you raise your voices in song. Don’t be a listener only, and don’t just mouth the words. As Paul said, “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts” (Eph. 3:19).
You may be a lukewarm Christian if your possessions don’t make you want to give to further God’s kingdom on earth. We are the most affluent people who have ever lived and we can help others in our community and throughout the world learn about our savior so they can make him their savior. Giving our money can extend our reach to places and people we will never see in person. That is exciting.
You may be a lukewarm Christian if you leave worship feeling empty and unfulfilled. It is the responsibility of those who preach and lead the worship to edify, but worship is an individual act. No one can lift our voice in praise and honor God except ourselves. No one can listen and evaluate the sermon but us. Being with a group praising God for his love and blessings requires our wholehearted involvement, and wholehearted involvement keeps us from being lukewarm.
You may be a lukewarm Christian if you don’t have confidence that prayers, both those of the congregation and personal ones, can impact your life and the lives of those mentioned in the prayers. Our prayers must be with conviction and made with preparation. Peter warned that our family relations may prevent our prayers from being heard (1 Pet. 3:7).
You may be a lukewarm Christian if you don’t look forward to communing with your Lord each Sunday and remembering his death until he comes again. It’s a special time to join with our fellow Christians as we celebrate why we worship and to rejoice that our sins are forgiven and the Lord is coming back for us.
You may be a lukewarm Christian if you leave Jesus in the worship assembly and don’t demonstrate your passion to be an example to all you meet. Jesus told us to “do unto others as we would have them do to us” (Luke 6:31). If you hadn’t yet heard the gospel, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you the good news? Our lives are powerful teachers, but our example alone will not produce faith in anyone’s hearts because “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Our faith can open our lips to share with others.
You may be a lukewarm Christian if you think your life is pleasing to God based on the life of your father, mother, or grandparents. We aren’t God’s grandchildren. We are his children. John said, “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13). It doesn’t matter how many generations our families have been Christians. It only matters if we believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that we are saved by his grace through obedience to him, not by our works but through his blood.
We may drift toward lukewarmness, but we must pull ourselves back into the warmth of God’s love. Being lukewarm is like being in quicksand. The longer we stay there, the harder it is to get out. Fortunately, Jesus assured the Laodiceans and us that lukewarmness didn’t have to be permanent; they could buy gold refined in fire and white clothes from him. Repentance and prayer are still the answer today. Listen to Jesus’ encouraging words: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent” (Rev. 3:19).
The times in which we live are filled with discouragement. As I write this, the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments concerning whether homosexual marriage should be nationally legalized, while preachers in the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are being told by officials that they are breaking a city ordinance when they refuse to marry homosexuals. Baltimore is being torn apart by the latest of a series of riots which have been taking place across the United States.
You might have been going about your day when suddenly a policeman knocked on your door or you received a call from the local hospital informing you that your loved one has died after being in a car accident, or after suddenly suffering a heart attack or stroke. Perhaps you have sat by their sickbed for long hours months on end watching them deteriorate from cancer or some other life-threatening disease, have held their hand as they slipped from this life, and now you are facing a future without them. Maybe you showed up for work at the job you so desperately need to put food on your family’s plate and a roof over their head, only to suddenly be handed the dreaded pink slip while you’re informed that the bad economy is forcing the company to make some changes and they have to let you go. Perhaps your spouse of many years has told you out of the blue that they no longer love you and want a divorce, or your child has grown and started their own life only to then fall away from the Lord.
Perhaps you are a preacher who has just been unexpectedly told that your services are no longer required in the congregation whom you’ve served and for whom you’ve sacrificed much, or who has spent many hours pouring your heart and soul into a lesson only to watch some sleep through it. You might be an shepherd who has just left the home of a wayward member, heartbroken that they have rejected your pleas to return to the fold. Perhaps you’re an elder or preacher who is worn down by the continuous complaining by those “well-intentioned dragons” who continually nit-pick every decision you make and find fault every day with everyone but themselves. You might be a deacon who finds it very hard to get some or all of the members excited and involved in various service projects. Maybe you’re a member of a local congregation who has just gone through a split, or a Christian who is heartbroken over the doctrinally liberal stances many are taking and the evangelistic apathy which exists among more and more in the church.
Faced with so many hurdles and obstacles, how can we stay strong and loyal to the Lord? How can we focus only on what is good and pure (Phil. 4:8)? The apostle Paul was “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9). We try to be like him and “not lose heart;” we try to let “our inner self (be) renewed day by day;” we want so desperately to “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” and “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 4:8-9, 16, 18; 5:7). How did he do it? How can I do it?
Paul was not alone. Yes, he had the Lord with him always, a true Companion who can’t be surpassed. However, he also had his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with him. Timothy, Barnabas, Luke, Silas, Titus, Philemon, the churches at Thessalonica and Philippi…all of these and more helped, refreshed and encouraged him throughout the dark times in his life. Fellow Christian, you are not alone either. You have the Lord Jesus, and you have his family, your family, his church.
Church, in order to be the beacon of light to both Christians and the lost who are groping through this dark world of discouragement, we must be what God would have us to be. Each of us must let our light shine (Mt. 5:16). We all must treat each other like family (1 Tim. 5:1-2). We must avoid complaining, grumbling, gossip, and backbiting, and strive not to produce it ourselves (Phil. 2:14; Gal. 5:15). Rather, we must “be at peace…encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient…(and) seek to do good to one another and to everyone” (1 Th. 5:13b-15). We must bring the saving message of the gospel to everyone and live it in our own lives and in our dealings with each other (Mk. 16:15; 1 Pt. 2:12). Our assemblies must always be gatherings of edification and encouragement as well as worship in spirit and truth (Heb. 10:24-25; Jn. 4:24).
That’s how we “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2) and bring others and ourselves out of the darkness of despair and into the light of hope. When peace, unity, true love, and encouragement exist in the local church, the lost soul looking for the hope and salvation found only in Jesus will be drawn to you. The new convert will not lose his zeal, and you and your fellow Christians will have your batteries recharged, ready once again to live for Christ in this dark world.
Look around you next Sunday during worship and remember that you need these precious, like-minded brethren…and they need you. — Jon
Situated in fourth position among the original Ten Commandments is the command to keep the Sabbath Day as a holy day (Ex. 20:8). On that day the Israelites were to do no work. It was to be a day in which homage was paid to the God of heaven and earth. We even find later that there was a death penalty connected with its transgression. Many professing Christians believe today that we still are under that Sabbath law. Sunday is often called the “Christian Sabbath”. However, a close study of God’s Word will reveal this to be incorrect reasoning.
First, let us consider the fact that the Law of Moses, of which the Ten Commandments are a part, was never intended to be binding upon anyone but the nation of Israel. God had great things in mind for Israel. Through their obedience He would consider them His own people, His holy nation, different from any other in the world (Ex. 19:5-6). Many years later, Paul would write of the Jews, “that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:2). Moses says this: “The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with US, EVEN US, who are all of us here alive this day” (Deut. 5:3, emp. mine).
Consider also that as part of the Law of Moses, the Sabbath observance was taken away at the cross (Col. 2:14). An objection is sometimes raised that Christ took away the ceremonial law but not the royal law. In other words, Christ eliminated the feasts and sacrifices but not the Ten Commandments. Our reply to this would be to ask for the scripture where such is stated. Since none such exists, we will go to the words of Paul, one who was guided by the Holy Spirit: “But if the ministration of death WRITTEN AND ENGRAVEN IN STONES was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; WHICH GLORY WAS TO BE DONE AWAY” (2 Cor. 3:7, emp. mine). What was written on those tablets? The Ten Commandments! (Ex. 34:1, 29)
Perhaps we should pause to understand the meaning of the word “Sabbath” and see the reason it was established. The word basically means “to rest, to cease.” It was instituted as a memorial for Israel. So many things are forgotten when not kept close to our memory. That undoubtedly is one reason that Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper.
God ceased His creation on the seventh day (Gen. 2:2). No more was done after that. The Sabbath Day observance was set up to be a reminder of that fact to Israel and so they would cease all of their work for one day and devote that day to God. We are told that the creation of God was done in six literal days and so He sanctified the seventh day as the day of Sabbath or rest (Gen. 2:2). This is the only one of the Ten Commandments peculiar to the Law of Moses. The other nine are all principles of God that are also found in the New Covenant.
Many professed Christians do not understand that we now worship on the first day of the week and not the seventh. Our worship day has been completely removed from that of the Old Law, possibly to help instill in us that Christianity is not an extension of the Law of Moses. It is not “new wine” put into “old bottles.” It is as far removed from the First Law as day is from night.
There was no Christ under the Old Law. There was the foretelling of His coming but He did not appear until the New Testament was ready to be brought in. When He did come, the leaders of the Jews refused to accept Him as the Messiah of prophecy and stirred up the people against Him. They finally caused Him to be turned over into their hands to be crucified on the cross. Jesus was killed and buried on a Friday so that He would not be on the Cross on the Sabbath day (John 19:31). Jesus was in the grave part of Friday, all of the Sabbath day (our Saturday) and part of the next day. If the Sabbath day was the seventh day (our Saturday), what then was the next day? The first day of the week (our Sunday). The tomb was empty when Mary came to the tomb early on that first day (John 20:1)! We must be careful here. Some so-called Bible “translations” will seek to call this the seventh day but the original text will not support this. Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week.
Some will point out that the above information by itself does not prove our worship day has been changed. Let’s examine more information supplied by the Holy Spirit. We read Jesus appeared to His disciples that same day as they were assembled, “being the first day of the week” (John.20:19). When the Holy Spirit came to empower the apostles as promised, He came upon the Day of Pentecost. This was during the feast of the ingathering and Pentecost was the first day following seven Sabbaths (Lev. 23:15-16). What day would that be? The first day of the week.
To review, Christ was raised on the first day of the week. The church was born on the first day of the week. Additionally, we read of the early church meeting on the first day of the week. In Acts 20, we read that Paul came to Troas and waited seven days so he could meet with the church. The Bible there tells us that it was indeed the first day of the week when Paul met with them and preached to them (v. 7).
One of the most memorable things from this reading is the young man’s falling out of the window and being raised back to life by Paul. Yet one very significant thing is missing from this account. Paul, an inspired apostle, obviously possessing the powers of all of the other Apostles does not tell these people they are meeting on the wrong day! He purposely waited until that day so he could meet with them.
Later, we know they were still meeting on that day. Paul, writing to the Corinthians about a collection for poor saints, says this: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him” (1Cor. 16:2). Why the first day of the week? Why not the seventh day as that would be the end of the week and the Sabbath? Because the church was assembling on the first day of the week.
Sometimes the argument is made that the Gentile churches met on the first day of the week while the Jewish Christians continued to observe the Sabbath. Since all those churches professing the Christian religion also claim an allegiance to the Bible, we must again call for scriptural support for this teaching. It is always necessary to accept what the Bible teaches as it teaches it rather than adding to or detracting from its words (Rev.22:18-19). Once again, no scriptural support exists for this idea.
In fact, quite the opposite is taught in scripture. After showing the Christians at Colossae that the Old Law had been taken away, Paul then said: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Col. 2:16-17). Part of the purpose of writing Galatians was to teach the Christians who were Gentiles that they did not have to submit to the Old Law or Jewish traditions. Paul there records for us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal.3:28).
What does this all tell us? All who are Christians worship God in the same way and on the same day. There is no reason to grasp at straws. We just need to see God changed the law and so now things are different. By the way, how is it we dare to call the Law of Moses the Old Law? Because God made it old (Heb. 8:13).