November 12, 2006 – November 18, 2006
“Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:2.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 283–289; 788–794.
“Each member of the different families in our churches who believes the truth may act a part in its advancement by cheerfully adopting systematic benevolence.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 411.
“Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with [my] whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and [in] the congregation. The works of the Lord [are] great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work [is] honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord [is] gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands [are] verity and judgment; all his commandments [are] sure.” Psalm 111:1–7.
1 What is the first reference to the first day of the week (Sunday) in the New Testament? Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1.
2 What were the followers of Jesus doing on that day that indicates that it was not a special day for worship? Luke 23:56; 24:1.
note: “The spices with which the body of Jesus was to be anointed had been prepared on the day preceding the Sabbath. Early in the morning of the first day of the week, the Marys, with certain other women, went to the sepulcher to proceed with the work of embalming the body of the Saviour. As they neared the garden, they were surprised to see the heavens beautifully lighted up, and the earth trembling beneath their feet. They hastened to the sepulcher, and were astonished to find that the stone was rolled away from the door, and that the Roman guard were not there. They noticed a light shining about the tomb, and, looking in, saw that it was empty.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 198.
3 When Mary saw Jesus, did He give any indication that the first day was to henceforth be regarded as a sacred day of worship? Mark 16:9; John 20:11–17.
note: “But now in His own familiar voice Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ Now she knew that it was not a stranger who was addressing her, and turning she saw before her the living Christ. In her joy she forgot that He had been crucified. Springing toward Him, as if to embrace His feet, she said, ‘Rabboni.’ But Christ raised His hand, saying, Detain Me not; ‘for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.’ [John 20:17.] And Mary went her way to the disciples with the joyful message.” The Desire of Ages, 790.
4 What were the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples? John 20:19–23.
note: “The Holy Spirit is the breath of life in the soul. The breathing of Christ upon his disciples was the breath of true spiritual life. The disciples were to interpret this as imbuing them with the attributes of their Saviour, that in purity, faith, and obedience, they might exalt the law, and make it honorable. God’s law is the expression of his character. By obedience to its requirements we meet God’s standard of character. Thus the disciples were to witness for Christ.” Review and Herald, June 13, 1899.
5 After Jesus breathed the Holy Ghost on His disciples, was there any indication of a change in their obligation to the law and the Sabbath?
note: “[John 20:20–23 quoted.] Thus the disciples received their commission. They were to teach and to preach in Christ’s name. The instruction given them had in it the vital, spiritual breath that is in Christ. He alone could give them the oil which they must have in order to work successfully. Christ’s likeness must appear in them. They could be successful only as they studied their Master’s character and followed his example.” Review and Herald, June 13, 1899.
6 Eight days later when He met with them for the second time, what message was given to them? John 20:26–31.
note: “Many who are given to doubt excuse themselves by saying that if they had the evidence which Thomas had from his companions, they would believe. They do not realize that they have not only that evidence, but much more. Many who, like Thomas, wait for all cause of doubt to be removed, will never realize their desire. They gradually become confirmed in unbelief. Those who educate themselves to look on the dark side, and murmur and complain, know not what they do. They are sowing the seeds of doubt, and they will have a harvest of doubt to reap. At a time when faith and confidence are most essential, many will thus find themselves powerless to hope and believe.” The Desire of Ages, 807, 808.
7 Where do we find the next reference to the first day of the week? 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2.
8 What did the apostle mean when he said “lay by him” (see marginal reading for 1 Corinthians 16:2)? Was this a meeting in the church?
note: “Each member of the different families in our churches who believes the truth may act a part in its advancement by cheerfully adopting systematic benevolence. ‘Let every one of you lay by him in store [by himself at home], . . . that there be no gatherings when I come.’ [1 Corinthians 16:2.] The burden of urging and pressing individuals to give of their means was not designed to be the work of God’s ministers. The responsibility should rest upon every individual who enjoys the belief of the truth. ‘Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.’ Every member of the family, from the oldest down to the youngest, may take part in this work of benevolence.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 411, 412.
9 Did the apostle put any religious significance on this day when he designates it as the “first day of the week” in 1 Corinthians 16:2? Ezekiel 46:1.
10 Should the Sabbath be a day when we count our income? Exodus 31:14, 15.
note: “When the Sabbath begins, we should place a guard upon ourselves, upon our acts and our words, lest we rob God by appropriating to our own use that time which is strictly the Lord’s. We should not do ourselves, nor suffer our children to do any manner of our own work for a livelihood, or anything which could have been done on the six working days. Friday is the day of preparation. . . .
“Those who are not fully converted to the truth, frequently let their minds run freely upon worldly business, and although they may rest from physical toil upon the Sabbath, their tongues speak out what is in their minds; hence these words concerning cattle, crops, losses, and gains. All this is Sabbath-breaking. If the mind is running upon worldly matters, the tongue will reveal it; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Gospel Workers (1892), 207, 208.
11 In Acts 20:7, we find the only recorded public meeting on the first day of the week. How often did they assemble to “break bread”? Acts 2:42, 46.
12 When did this meeting begin and how long did it last? Acts 20:7, 8, 11.
13 Since the creation record informs us that the day begins at sunset (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31), we can see that this meeting was held on Saturday evening. Why did Paul hold a meeting on this evening?
note: “Upon the last evening of his tarry with them, the brethren ‘came together to break bread.’ [Acts 20:7.] The fact that their beloved teacher was about to depart, had called together a larger company than usual. They assembled in an upper room on the third story, the coolest and pleasantest place for such a gathering on that warm spring evening. The nights were then dark, but many lights were burning in the chamber. Paul’s mind was impressed with a sense of the perils that awaited him, and the uncertainty of again meeting with his brethren; he had matters of great interest and importance to present before them; and in the earnestness of his love and solicitude for them, he preached until midnight.” Sketches From the Life of Paul, 196, 197.
14 Where was Paul going? Did he believe that he would ever see the brethren again? Acts 20:16, 22, 25.
note: “Since his conversion, Paul’s visits to Jerusalem had always been attended with anxiety, and with a feeling of remorse as he gazed upon scenes that recalled his former life. There was the school of Gamaliel, where he had received his education, the synagogue in which he worshiped, the house where the high priest had given him his commission to Damascus, the spot where the blood of Stephen had witnessed for Christ. As the apostle gazed upon the place for martyrdom, the scene in all its vividness rose up before him. Was he going forward to a similar fate? Never had he trod the streets of Jerusalem with so sad a heart as now.” Sketches From the Life of Paul, 206.
15 On which day does the apostle John say he was in the spirit? Revelation 1:10.
16 Of which day did Jesus say He was the Lord? Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5.
17 Which day did He declare was “my holy day”? Isaiah 58:13.
note: “The Sabbath was made for all mankind, and was instituted in Eden before the fall of man. The Creator called it ‘my holy day.’ [Isaiah 58:13.] Christ announced himself as ‘the Lord of the Sabbath.’ [Mark 2:28.] Beginning with creation, it is as old as the human race, and having been made for man it will exist as long as man shall exist.” The Signs of the Times, November 12, 1894.
18 What is the only day according to Scripture that can be termed the “Lord’s day”?
note: “It was on the Sabbath that the Lord of glory appeared to the exiled apostle. The Sabbath was as sacredly observed by John on Patmos as when he was preaching to the people in the towns and cities of Judea. He claimed as his own the precious promises that had been given regarding that day. ‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,’ John writes, ‘and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. . . . And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks One like unto the Son of man.’ Revelation 1:10–13.” The Acts of the Apostles, 581, 582.
“He Is Risen!”—“The women who had stood by the cross of Christ waited and watched for the hours of the Sabbath to pass. On the first day of the week, very early, they made their way to the tomb, taking with them precious spices to anoint the Saviour’s body. They did not think about His rising from the dead. The sun of their hope had set, and night had settled down on their hearts. As they walked, they recounted Christ’s works of mercy and His words of comfort. But they remembered not His words, ‘I will see you again.’ John 16:22. . . .
“He is risen, He is risen! The women repeat the words again and again. No need now for the anointing spices. The Saviour is living, and not dead. They remember now that when speaking of His death He said that He would rise again. What a day is this to the world! Quickly the women departed from the sepulcher ‘with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word.’ [Matthew 28:8.]” The Desire of Ages, 788, 789.
Obedience At Any Cost—“This subject opens before the earnest seeker after truth. It becomes more and more clear to him that God has not changed or altered the thing that has gone out of his lips. He sees the sanctity and blessing placed upon the seventh day, and the necessity for its observance. The more earnestly he investigates this subject, the more convinced he becomes of the truth of God’s word, as seen in the law of the ten commandments. His interest in truth is tested, his love for God proved, as he advances. If he submits his will to God’s will, all will be well. If he chooses obedience to God’s commandments at any cost, his peace and happiness will increase.” Review and Herald, July 13, 1897.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.