Bible Study Guides – True Sabbath Observance

December 10, 2006 – December 16, 2006

Key Text

“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 360–368; vol. 2, 703, 704.


“All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honorable.” Child Guidance, 536.

“To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God [is] our refuge a nd strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; [Though] the waters thereof roar [and] be troubled, [though] the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. [There is] a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy [place] of the tabernacles of the most High. God [is] in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, [and that] right early. . . . Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts [is] with us; the God of Jacob [is] our refuge.” Psalm 46:1–5, 8–11.

1 From what physical things are we to rest on the Sabbath day? Exodus 20:9, 10; 31:15; Jeremiah 17:22.

note: “All ordinary labor for a livelihood or for worldly profit was forbidden upon the seventh day. According to the fourth commandment the Sabbath was dedicated to rest and religious worship. All secular employment was to be suspended; but works of mercy and benevolence were in accordance with the purpose of the Lord. They were not to be limited by time nor place. To relieve the afflicted, to comfort the sorrowing is a labor of love that does honor to God’s holy day.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 193, 194.

“Servile work for a livelihood, or common business transactions upon the Sabbath, constitute those who take part in them transgressors. All labor necessary to provide for the sustenance of the body is to be done in the six working days.” Review and Herald, September 6, 1898.

“God has given man six days in which to work for himself, but He has reserved one day in which He is to be specially honored. He is to be glorified, His authority respected. And yet man will rob God by stealing a little of the time which the Creator has reserved for Himself. God reserved the seventh day as a period of rest for man, for the good of man as well as for His own glory.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 532.

2 Why is it necessary to have this rest? Psalm 46:10; Luke 8:14; 21:34.

note: “God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 48.

3 Besides rest from our labor, what other precious privelege do we have on the Sabbath day? Psalms 92:1; 100:1–5.

note: “God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 368.

4 If we are devoted to God, where will we be found on the Sabbath? Hebrews 10:23–25; Matthew 11:28–30.

note: “None should permit themselves, through the week, to become so absorbed in their temporal interests, and so exhausted by their efforts for worldly gain, that on the Sabbath they have no strength or energy to give to the service of God. We are robbing the Lord, when we unfit ourselves to worship him upon his holy day. And we are robbing ourselves as well; for we need the warmth and glow of association, as well as the strength to be gained from the wisdom and experience of other Christians.” Review and Herald, June 13, 1882.

“Fathers and mothers should make it a rule that their children attend public worship on the Sabbath, and should enforce the rule by their own example. It is our duty to command our children and our household after us, as did Abraham. By example as well as precept we should impress upon them the importance of religious teaching. All who have taken the baptismal vow have solemnly consecrated themselves to the service of God; they are under covenant obligation to place themselves and their children where they may obtain all possible incentives and encouragement in the Christian life.” Child Guidance, 530, 531.

“Never entertain the thought that you can be Christians and yet withdraw within yourselves. Each one is a part of the great web of humanity, and the nature and quality of your experience will be largely determined by the experiences of those with whom you associate. Jesus says: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst.’ Matthew 18:20. Then let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhort one another; and so much the more, as we see the day approaching.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 190.

5 In resting from our labors on the Sabbath day, of what must we be careful? Isaiah 58:13; 11 Timothy 3:2–5.

note: All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honorable. They cannot do this by seeking their own pleasure in sinful, forbidden amusements. Yet they can do much to exalt the Sabbath in their families and make it the most interesting day of the week. We should devote time to interesting our children. A change will have a happy influence upon them. We can walk out with them in the open air; we can sit with them in the groves and in the bright sunshine, and give their restless minds something to feed upon by conversing with them upon the works of God, and can inspire them with love and reverence by calling their attention to the beautiful objects in nature.” Child Guidance, 536.

6 Does this mean we will find no joy in the Sabbath? 111 John 4; Philippians 2:13; Psalm 5:11.

note: “And the Lord says, ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.’ Isaiah 58:13, 14. To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” The Desire of Ages, 289.

7 Where do we find the most joy? Psalm 16:11; Proverbs 21:15; Matthew 25:21; John 15:10, 11.

8 Not only are we to cease from the actual labor on the Sabbath day, but from what else should we cease? James 3:5, 6.

note: “Those who discuss business matters or lay plans on the Sabbath are regarded by God as though engaged in the actual transaction of business. To keep the Sabbath holy, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. And the commandment includes all within our gates. The inmates of the house are to lay aside their worldly business during the sacred hours. All should unite to honor God by willing service upon His holy day.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307, 308.

“God requires not only that we refrain from physical labor upon the Sabbath, but that the mind be disciplined to dwell upon sacred themes. The Fourth Commandment is virtually transgressed by conversing upon worldly things or by engaging in light and trifling conversation. Talking upon anything or everything which may come into the mind is speaking our own words. Every deviation from right brings us into bondage and condemnation.” Child Guidance, 529, 530.

9 Why has God given this instruction? Matthew 15:18; Job 6:24, 25.

note: “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.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 703.

“When you are speaking of your hope in God, of Jesus and of his soon coming, and of the beauties of the New Earth, you are not speaking your own words. Of these things you may freely speak on the Sabbath. On six days you may talk of business matters, and lay plans that are necessary; but the Sabbath is holy time, and all worldly thoughts must, on that day, be dismissed from the mind. The blessing of God will then rest upon you, and you will have the sweet consolations of his Spirit, and you will also have confidence when you approach the throne of grace.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 1, 1853.

10 What is our responsibility concerning those who dwell in our homes on the Sabbath? Exodus 20:11; Genesis 18:19.

note: “Parents, above everything take care of your children upon the Sabbath. Do not suffer them to violate God’s holy day by playing in the house or out-of-doors. You may just as well break the Sabbath yourselves as to let your children do it, and when you suffer your children to wander about and suffer them to play upon the Sabbath, God looks upon you as Sabbathbreakers.” Child Guidance, 533.

“Make your children feel that you love them, and desire to do them good. Encourage every effort to do right. Show them that you have confidence in them. Remember that your example will be the most impressive lesson which you can give. Your courtesy and self-control will have greater influence upon the characters of your children than mere words could have.” Review and Herald, June 13, 1882.

11 How far does our responsibility connected with the Sabbath commandment extend beyond our homes? Deuteronomy 5:14; Nehemiah 13:19–22; 11 Corinthians 6:14–18.

note: “Some who claim to be giving allegiance to the law of Jehovah have even gone so far in Sabbath desecration as to unite in partnership with those who have no respect for the Sabbath. The professed Sabbath-keeper may cease his own labors on the Sabbath, but his partner continues the work. How must angels look upon this partnership, as the Sabbath observer kneels reverently before God in the house of worship, while those with whom he is united in business continue their labor just the same as on any other day! How does Heaven look upon the noise and confusion, the sound of the mechanic’s ax and hammer, which ascends instead of thanksgiving, as if in defiance of his injunctions! Can the Lord regard as guiltless the man who thus unites with transgressors?” Review and Herald, November 13, 1888.

Personal Review

The Church Triumphant—“The children of God will be triumphant. They will come off conquerors and more than conquerors over all the opposing, persecuting elements. Fear not. By the power of Bible truth and love exemplified in the cross, and set home by the Holy Spirit, we shall have the victory. The whole battle before us hinges upon the observance of the true Sabbath of Jehovah.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 319.

The Path of Transgression—“Faith in God’s love and overruling providence lightens the burdens of anxiety and care. It fills the heart with joy and contentment in the highest or the lowliest lot. Religion tends directly to promote health, to lengthen life, and to heighten our enjoyment of all its blessings. It opens to the soul a never-failing fountain of happiness. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that he has something vastly better to offer them thaSn they are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by him who knows what is best, and who plans for the good of his creatures. The path of transgression leads to misery and destruction; but wisdom’s ‘ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.’ [Proverbs 3:17.]” Christian Education, 68.

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.