What is the Fourth Commandment?
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God.
Like the rest of the Ten Commandments, the fourth commandment and the Sabbath day of rest was a wonderful gift from God to His ancient Jewish people, Israel. Jesus told us, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27b).
What Day is the Sabbath?
There are three primary rest days in God’s Word:
When God had finished creating the world in six days, He rested. “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:3).
God gave the Jews the seventh day. “Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant” (Exodus 31:16; emphasis added).
The Old Testament Sabbath was the seventh day of the week. So why is Sunday the day we meet to worship, now? Revelation 1:10 calls it “the Lord’s Day.”
Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. (See Mark 16:9.)
Jesus met with His disciples after His resurrection on the first day of the week. (See John 20:18-19.)
The disciples were commissioned to preach the Gospel on the first day of the week. (See John 20:21.)
The disciples received the Holy Spirit on the first day of the week. (See John 20:22.)
The Early Church met for worship and brought offerings on the first day of the week. (See Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2.)
The Sabbath was a shadow that pointed toward Christ. (See Colossians 2:16-17.) Our Lord has taken the Old Testament Sabbath, fulfilled it, and transformed it.
How do We Apply the Fourth Commandment Today?
This brings the question: if we are no longer under the Old Testament laws of the Sabbath, what are the regulations for the Lord’s Day?
The Bible does not give any rules. This does not mean we have jettisoned the fourth commandment. We simply see the Sabbath in its fulfillment, as it applies to the Church. Sunday is absolutely holy; it is the Lord’s Day. But it is a day of love, not legalism.
How to Keep the Lord’s Day as a Family
Make Sunday Holy
Make church attendance on the Lord’s Day a regular habit. The Bible commands New Testament Christians to worship together. (See Hebrews 10:25.) Little eyes are watching. “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
Fathers, make your worship on Sunday a higher priority than your work on Monday.
When you do not make church attendance a habit, you are saying to your children, “That’s nice, but it’s not a necessity.”
Make Sunday Healthy
Rest on this day. If you are burning the candle at both ends, you are not as bright as you think you are.
This is not a rule, but a principle. You will do more in six days, if you will learn to rest one day, than you will do in seven days without resting.
Make Sunday Happy
Jesus came out of that grave on Sunday! It is a celebration! He is alive, and we rejoice.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Remember it as a day of liberty to celebrate that Jesus has set us free—not free to do our thing, but free to do His thing.