December 17, 2006 – December 23, 2006
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 295, 296; Testimonies, vol. 1, 531–533.
“God is no less particular now in regard to his Sabbath than when he made this requirement of the children of Israel.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 259.
“On Friday let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. See that all the clothing is in readiness and that all the cooking is done. . . . The Sabbath is not to be given to the repairing of garments, to the cooking of food, to pleasure seeking, or to any other worldly employment. Before the setting of the sun let all secular work be laid aside and all secular papers be put out of sight. Parents, explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them share in your preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment.
“There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, ‘confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another.’ [James 5:16.]
“Before the setting of the sun let the members of the family assemble to read God’s Word, to sing and pray.
“We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time.” The Faith I Live By, 34.
1 What is the biblical reckoning of the beginning and end of a day? Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.
2 The Bible gives a number of examples of how the faithful have observed the Sabbath from the Creation (Genesis 2:1–3), in the time of Israel (Leviticus 23:32), during the post-captivity Reformation (Nehemiah 13:19), and all the way to the time of Christ (John 19:31).
note: “At last Jesus was at rest. The long day of shame and torture was ended. As the last rays of the setting sun ushered in the Sabbath, the Son of God lay in quietude in Joseph’s tomb. His work completed, His hands folded in peace, He rested through the sacred hours of the Sabbath day.” The Desire of Ages, 769.
“The Sabbath was now drawing on, and it would be a violation of its sanctity for the bodies to hang upon the cross. So, using this as a pretext, the leading Jews requested Pilate that the death of the victims might be hastened, and their bodies be removed before the setting of the sun.” Ibid., 771.
“Gently and reverently they removed with their own hands the body of Jesus from the cross. Their tears of sympathy fell fast as they looked upon His bruised and lacerated form. Joseph owned a new tomb, hewn in a rock. This he was reserving for himself; but it was near Calvary, and he now prepared it for Jesus. The body, together with the spices brought by Nicodemus, was carefully wrapped in a linen sheet, and the Redeemer was borne to the tomb. There the three disciples straightened the mangled limbs, and folded the bruised hands upon the pulseless breast. The Galilean women came to see that all had been done that could be done for the lifeless form of their beloved Teacher. Then they saw the heavy stone rolled against the entrance of the tomb, and the Saviour was left at rest. The women were last at the cross, and last at the tomb of Christ. While the evening shades were gathering, Mary Magdalene and the other Marys lingered about the resting place of their Lord, shedding tears of sorrow over the fate of Him whom they loved. ‘And they returned, . . . and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.’ Luke 23:56.” Ibid., 774.
3 How important is it that we do not encroach on any of the Lord’s time on the Sabbath day? Luke 19:17; 16:10.
note: “God is no less particular now in regard to his Sabbath than when he made this requirement of the children of Israel. His eye is upon all his people, and over all the works of their hands. He will not pass by unnoticed those who crowd upon his Sabbath, and employ time for their own use which belongs to him. Some professed Sabbath-keepers will intrude upon the Sabbath in doing those things which should have been done previous to the Sabbath. Such may think they gain a little time; but instead of being advantaged by robbing God of holy time, which he has reserved to himself, they will lose.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 259.
“There has been too much slackness in regard to the observance of the Sabbath. There has not been promptness to fulfill the secular duties within the six working days which God has given to man and carefulness not to infringe upon one hour of the holy, sacred time which He has reserved to Himself. . . . Transgress in a small matter, and look upon it as no particular sin on our part, and the conscience becomes hardened, the sensibilities blunted, until we can go still further and perform quite an amount of labor and still flatter ourselves that we are Sabbathkeepers, when, according to Christ’s standard, we are breaking every one of God’s holy precepts. There is a fault with Sabbathkeepers in this respect; but God is very particular, and all who think that they are saving a little time, or advantaging themselves by infringing a little on the Lord’s time, will meet with loss sooner or later. He cannot bless them as it would be His pleasure to do, for His name is dishonored by them, His precepts lightly esteemed.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 531, 532.
4 How can we be sure that we will not infringe on the sacred time of the Sabbath?
note: “Before the Sabbath begins, the mind as well as the body should be withdrawn from worldly business. God has set His Sabbath at the end of the six working days, that men may stop and consider what they have gained during the week in preparation for the pure kingdom which admits no transgressor. We should each Sabbath reckon with our souls to see whether the week that has ended has brought spiritual gain or loss.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 356.
5 What time has God given us to be prepared to keep His Sabbath according to the commandment? Mark 15:42; Luke 23:52–56.
note: “While preparation for the Sabbath is to be made all through the week, Friday is to be the special preparation day.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 354.
“The day before the Sabbath should be made a day of preparation, that everything may be in readiness for its sacred hours. In no case should our own business be allowed to encroach upon holy time. God has directed that the sick and suffering be cared for; the labor required to make them comfortable is a work of mercy, and no violation of the Sabbath; but all unnecessary work should be avoided. Many carelessly put off till the beginning of the Sabbath little things that might have been done on the day of preparation. This should not be. Work that is neglected until the beginning of the Sabbath should remain undone until it is past. This course might help the memory of these thoughtless ones, and make them careful to do their own work on the six working days.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 296.
6 What should we consider when planning for our temporal needs on the Sabbath? Exodus 16:23.
note: “The Lord is no less particular now in regard to his Sabbath, than when he gave the foregoing special directions to the children of Israel. He required them to bake that which they would bake, and seethe (that is, boil) that which they would seethe, on the sixth day, preparatory to the rest of the Sabbath. Those who neglect to prepare for the Sabbath on the sixth day, and who cook food upon the Sabbath, violate the fourth commandment, and are transgressors of God’s law. All who are really anxious to observe the Sabbath according to the commandment, will not cook any food upon the Sabbath. They will, in the fear of that God who gave his law from Sinai, deny themselves, and eat food prepared upon the sixth day, even if it is not so palatable. God forbade the children of Israel’s baking and boiling upon the Sabbath. That prohibition should be regarded by every Sabbath-keeper, as a solemn injunction from Jehovah to them. The Lord would guard his people from indulging in gluttony upon the Sabbath, which he has set apart for sacred meditation and worship.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 225, 226.
7 Since we desire to come into the presence of the Lord on the Sabbath, how should we present ourselves before Him? Exodus 19:9–11.
note: “On Friday let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. See that all the clothing is in readiness, and that all the cooking is done. Let the boots be blacked, and the baths be taken. It is possible to do this. If you make it a rule, you can do it. The Sabbath is not to be given to the repairing of garments, to the cooking of food, to pleasure seeking, or to any other worldly employment. Before the setting of the sun, let all secular work be laid aside, and all secular papers be put out of sight. Parents, explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them share in your preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment.” Child Guidance, 528.
8 How should our dress be when we come into the presence of the Lord on His holy Sabbath day? Leviticus 19:30; Hebrews 12:28, 29; Genesis 35:2.
note: “Many need instruction as to how they should appear in the assembly for worship on the Sabbath. They are not to enter the presence of God in the common clothing worn during the week. All should have a special Sabbath suit, to be worn when attending service in God’s house. While we should not conform to worldly fashions, we are not to be indifferent in regard to our outward appearance. We are to be neat and trim, though without adornment. The children of God should be pure within and without.” Child Guidance, 531.
“Especial care will be taken to dress in a manner that will show a sacred regard for the holy Sabbath, and the worship of God. The line of demarkation between such a class and the world will be too plain to be mistaken. The influence of believers would be ten-fold greater if men and women who embrace the truth, who have been formerly careless and slack in their habits, would be so elevated, and sanctified through the truth, as to observe habits of neatness, order, and good taste in their dress. Our God is a God of order, and he is not in any degree pleased with distraction, with filthiness, or with sin.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 476.
9 On the Sabbath, how should our homes be prepared to welcome the heavenly angels into them? 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40; Ezekiel 44:23.
note: “The ten commandments spoken by Jehovah from Sinai can not live in the hearts of persons of disorderly, filthy habits. If ancient Israel could not so much as listen to the proclamation of that holy law, unless they had obeyed the injunction of Jehovah, and cleansed their clothing, how can that sacred law be written upon the hearts of persons who are not cleanly in person, in clothing, or in their houses?—It is impossible. Their profession may be as high as heaven, yet it is not worth a straw. Their influence disgusts unbelievers. Better if they had ever remained outside the ranks of God’s loyal people. The house of God is dishonored by such professors.” Review and Herald, January 23, 1900.
“He who was so particular that the children of Israel should cherish habits of cleanliness, will not sanction any impurity in the homes of his people today. God looks with disfavor on uncleanness of any kind. How can we invite him into our homes unless all is neat and clean and pure?
“Believers should be taught that even though they may be poor, they need not be uncleanly or untidy in their persons or in their homes. Help must be given in this line to those who seem to have no sense of the meaning and importance of cleanliness. They are to be taught that those who are to represent the high and holy God must keep their souls pure and clean, and that this purity must extend to their dress, and to everything in the home, so that the ministering angels will have evidence that the truth has wrought a change in the life, purifying the soul and refining the tastes. Those who, after receiving the truth, make no change in word or deportment, in dress or surroundings, are living to themselves, not to Christ. They have not been created anew in Christ Jesus, unto purification and holiness.” Ibid., June 10, 1902.
10 What did Jesus teach about the small details? Luke 24:1–3; John 20:7.
Guarding the Edges—“We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time. Whenever it is possible, employers should give their workers the hours from Friday noon until the beginning of the Sabbath. Give them time for preparation, that they may welcome the Lord’s day with quietness of mind. By such a course you will suffer no loss even in temporal things.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 356.
The Preparation Day—“Let every family of Seventh-day Adventists honor God by a strict regard for his law. The children should be taught to respect the Sabbath. On the day of preparation, clothing should be put in proper repair, shoes polished, baths taken. Then around the family altar all should wait to welcome God’s holy day, as they would watch for the coming of a dear friend.” The Signs of the Times, May 25, 1882.
“At the very beginning of the fourth commandment the Lord said, ‘Remember.’ He knew that amid the multitude of cares and perplexities man would be tempted to excuse himself from meeting the full requirement of the law, or would forget its sacred importance. Therefore He said: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ [Exodus 20:8.]
“All through the week we are to have the Sabbath in mind and be making preparation to keep it according to the commandment. . . .
“When the Sabbath is thus remembered, the temporal will not be allowed to encroach upon the spiritual. No duty pertaining to the six working days will be left for the Sabbath. During the week our energies will not be so exhausted in temporal labor that on the day when the Lord rested and was refreshed we shall be too weary to engage in His service.” The Faith I Live By, 34.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.