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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 8 - SABBATH SACREDNESS

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK WE LOOK AT THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH AND THE
SABBATH.  YOU WILL BE PLEASED TO KNOW THAT ON THIS WEEK THAT WE ARE
STUDYING THE SABBATH, THAT I MET WITH MOSES, SPOKE TO HIM AND EVEN
HAD MY PICTURE TAKEN WITH HIM! 
     THE TEACHERS' NOTES CONTAIN A STATEMENT THAT CAUGHT MY EYE,
"THE WAY WE RELATE TO THE SABBATH INDICATES THE HEALTH OF OUR
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE." (SUNDAY)  IF THAT IS TRUE, THEN THIS IS A
PRETTY IMPORTANT TOPIC!

I. GATES AND LOADS

     A. LETS ASSUME THAT YOU WERE TALKING TO SOMEONE FROM OUTER 
     SPACE AND YOU WERE EXPLAINING THE OUTSIDE DOORS ON YOUR HOUSE.
     THEY HAD NEVER SEEN OUTSIDE DOORS AND HAD NO IDEA ABOUT THEIR
     PURPOSE OR USE. 
          1. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THEM? 
          2. WHAT FUNCTION DO THEY SERVE? (THEY ARE A MEANS OF 
          CONTROLLING YOUR ENVIRONMENT. THEY KEEP THE BAD THINGS
          OUT, IF YOU WANT THEM OUT, BUT LET YOU GO OUT AND IN AS
          YOU PLEASE.)

     B. WE ARE GOING TO READ PORTIONS OF JER 17:19-27 IN JUST A
LITTLE BIT. THIS SECTION DEALS WITH SABBATH KEEPING. AN UNUSUAL
ASPECT OF THESE VERSES IS THAT THEY REPEATEDLY MENTION THE GATES OF
THE CITY OF JERUSALEM IN THE CONTEXT OF SABBATH KEEPING.

          1. WHEN WE STUDIED NEHEMIAH AND EZRA, WE LEARNED A GREAT
          DEAL ABOUT REBUILDING THE WALL OF JERUSALEM AND THE
          GATES. WHY WAS REBUILDING THE GATES AND THE WALL SO
          IMPORTANT? (IT GAVE THEM POWER OVER THEIR ENEMIES. THAT
          IS WHY THEIR ENEMIES RESISTED THIS SO MUCH.)

          2. LET ME READ SOME OF THE VERSES THAT TALK ABOUT SABBATH
          KEEPING AND GATES:

               a. JER 17:19 AND 21
               b. JER 17:24
               c. JER 17:27.

               d. WHY DOES GOD SPEAK OF SABBATH AND GATES IN THE
               SAME SENTANCE?
               e. HOW IS THE SABBATH LIKE A GATE?
               f. AND WHY WOULD GOD BURN DOWN THE GATES OF THE CITY
               (v.27) IF THEY DID NOT KEEP THE SABBATH?
               
(THE SABBATH IS A HEDGE AGAINST EVIL. THE SABBATH IS A TIME THAT WE
CAN BLOCK OUT THE WORLD AND WORK AND ITS BURDENS. IT IS A TIME WHEN
WE CAN RECHARGE OUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT GOD TO HELP RESIST THE DEVIL
THE REST OF THE TIME. IF OUR GATES ARE NOT WORKING, WE CANNOT KEEP
OUT EVIL. SO GOD SAYS THAT IF YOU WILL NOT USE YOUR GATES TO KEEP
THE SABBATH, THEN I WILL DESTROY THE WHOLE GATE/FORTRESS SYSTEM AND
LET YOUR ENEMIES IN.)

          3. IF THE SABBATH IS A GATE, A DOOR TO OUR FAMILY AND OUR
          LIVES, LETS FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD USE IT IN
          JER 27.
          
II. WHAT SHOULD BE GATED OUT AND GATED IN.

     A. READ JER 17:19-22. WHAT DOES GOD SAY THAT THE PEOPLE SHOULD
AND SHOULD NOT DO ON SABBATH? (
          1. v.21 CARRY LOAD 
          2. v.21 BRING IT THROUGH THE GATES. 
          3. v.22 CARRY LOAD OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. 
          4. v.22 NOT DO ANY WORK.  
          5. v.22 KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY.)

     B. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MEANT WHEN BY THIS PHRASE "CARRY A
LOAD?"

          1. DOES IT MEAN CARRY ANYTHING?
          2. DOES IT JUST REFER TO HEAVY THINGS?

     C. WHAT WOULD BE THE EQUIVALENT TODAY? CARRYING THE TABLES 
     AROUND FOR VISITORS' DINNER OR FELLOWSHIP DINNER?

     D. A TEXT THAT GIVE GREAT LIGHT ON THIS IS NEH 13:15-19. WHO
     ARE THE FOREFATHERS OF v. 18? (THE PEOPLE THAT WE ARE STUDYING
     IN JER.)

          1. HOW DOES THIS CLARIFY WHAT CONSTITUTES "CARRYING A 
          LOAD?" (WORK. MAKING MONEY)

          2. WOULD YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO HEAVY LIFTING TO COME
          WITHIN THE MEANING OF THIS TEXT? (I DON'T THINK SO.)

          3. WHAT ABOUT THE REFERENCE IN NEH 13:16 ABOUT SELLING
          FISH AND MERCHANDISE IN JER?

          4. LETS APPLY THESE IDEAS TO OUR LIVES TODAY:
               a. WOULD YOU GO TO A MALL ON SABBATH?
               b. WOULD YOU HAVE A TUPPERWARE PARTY AT YOUR HOUSE
               ON SABBATH? 
               c. WOULD YOU DO ANY PART OF YOUR ORDINARY JOB ON 
               SABBATH? (DISCUSS THE IDEA THAT MY JOB IS MENTAL,
               AND IT IS HARD TO NOT THINK ABOUT JOB PROBLEMS.
               PERHAPS DISCUSS THE IDEA THAT OTHERS MIGHT BE ABLE
               TO DO MY JOB ON SABBATH, BUT I CAN'T. A CLIENT WHO
               WANTS HELP WITH REL LIB PROBLEM. THEY DON'T PAY ME,
               WHY SHOULDN'T I HELP? PROBLEM IS THIS IS MY USUAL
               LOAD LIFTING.)

          5. NOTICE IN NEH 13:19 WE SEE A REFERENCE AGAIN TO THE
          "GATES." HOW DO WE CLOSE OUR "GATES" TO THE THINGS THAT
          WE HAVE DISCUSSED ON THE SABBATH? 

     E. LETS TURN BACK TO JER 17 AND READ v.24-25. 
          1. NOW WE SEE THAT SOMETHING QUITE DIFFERENT IS COMING
          THROUGH THE GATES OF THE CITY.  KINGS AND PRINCES SITTING
          ON THE THRONE OF DAVID. WHEN DAVID AND SOLOMON WERE
          KINGS, THE COUNTRY WAS AT ITS ZENITH -- IT GLORY. WHAT
          DOES THIS SUGGEST? (THAT PROPER SABBATH KEEPING WOULD
          BRING A VERY GOOD THING INTO THEIR GATES - INTO THEIR
          LIVES.
          
          2. HOW IMPORTANT FOR THESE PEOPLE WAS PROPER SABBATH 
          KEEPING? (IT MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD BETWEEN
          BEING ADMIRED BY THE WORLD AND GIVING ADVICE ON HOW TO
          LIVE AND HAVING THE ENEMY COME RUSHING THROUGH THE FRONT
          DOOR AND BEING CONQUERED. (WHICH IS THE DOWNSIDE THAT WE
          READ BEFORE IN v. 27.)

          3. IS THIS TRUE TODAY? BY THAT I MEAN, DOES GOD CARE IF
          WE KEEP THE SABBATH? AND DOES HE OFFER THE SAME REWARDS
          AND PUNISHMENTS? 
          4. IF YOU SAY "YES," THEN THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT 
          MATTER.

III. REASONS THE SABBATH IS IMPORTANT.

     A. TURN TO EX 31:12-13, 14-17.

     B. DO YOU THINK GOD WAS TIRED AFTER HE CREATED THE WORLD AND
     NEEDED TO REST?
          1. IF NOT, FOR WHOSE BENEFIT DID HE CREATE THIS REST 
          PERIOD? (OURS)

     C. THESE VERSES GIVE SEVERAL REASONS FOR KEEPING THE SABBATH.
     LETS LOCK THEM DOWN:
          1. v. 13 GOD SAYS THAT IT IS A SIGN THAT WE KNOW "THAT I
          AM THE LORD WHO MAKES YOU HOLY." WHAT IS MEANT BY THAT?
          (IT ACKNOWLEDGES HIM AS THE CREATOR. AND IT ACKNOWLEDGES
          HIM AS THE ONE WHO FORGIVES OUR SINS AND MAKES US CLEAN.)

          2. INTERESTINGLY, THESE ARE THE SAME ELEMENTS IN REV 
          14:7: (THE FIRST OF THE THREE ANGELS MESSAGES) THAT GOD
          IS THE CREATOR, AND THE TIME OF JUDGEMENT HAS COME, IE.,
          IT IS IMPORTANT WHETHER HE HAD MADE US HOLY.

          3. IN (EX 31) v. 16 AND v. 17 GOD CALLS THE SABBATH A 
          "COVENANT" AND A "SIGN."  HOW IS THIS TRUE? (IT IS A SIGN
          THAT WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF GOD. THE
          NEW COVENANT THAT GOD OFFERS IS FOUND IN JER 31:33: "I
          WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR MINDS AND WRITE IT ON THEIR
          HEARTS. I WILL BE THEIR GOD AND THEY WILL BE MY PEOPLE.")

     D. DO WE DARE NOT KEEP THE SABBATH SINCE IT IS THE SIGN OF THE
     NEW COVENANT? ISN'T THE SABBATH A BADGE OF HONOR? THAT WE ARE
     THE SUBJECTS OF THE RULER OF THE UNIVERSE? KING OF KINGS AND
     LORD OF LORDS?!

IV. THE DETAILS.

     A. THERE IS A SAYING THAT A PERSON "SWEATS THE DETAILS." I 
     SWEAT THE DETAILS AT WORK. FOR A LONG TIME WE HAVE SAID "WELL
     WE DON'T WANT TO BE LEGALISTIC, AND SO AVOIDED DISCUSSING THE
     "DETAILS" OF SABBATH. BUT I'M NOT TOO SURE THAT IS RIGHT
     BECAUSE I HAVE THE FEELING THAT WE NEED A DISCUSSION OF
     SABBATH KEEPING DETAILS.

     B. LETS GO BACK TO NEH 13:15 TO DISCUSS THE DETAILS IN MORE
     DETAIL. SPECIFICALLY, WHAT IS BEING DONE HERE THAT BREAKS THE
     SABBATH? (THESE PEOPLE WERE OPERATING A BUSINESS AT ALL LEVELS
     ON THE SABBATH. THEY WERE MAKING THE PRODUCT (TREADING THE
     WINEPRESS); THEY WERE TRANSPORTING IT ("LOADING AND BRINGING"
     v.15); AND THEY WERE SELLING THE FINSHED PRODUCT (SEE v.15,
     LAST LINE)

     C. IF YOU ARE OPERATING YOUR BUSINESS ON SABBATH, YOU SHOULD
     BE WORRIED.

     D. TV WATCHING? IS THAT CLOSING THE GATES?

     E. OUR LESSON HAS SOME DETAILS THAT WE SHOULD CONSIDER.
DETAILS THAT I KNEW USED TO BE PART OF THE "ADVENTIST HERITAGE"
(AND I USE THAT TERM LOOSELY), BUT I NEVER KNEW UNTIL TODAY THE
SOURCE OF THESE IDEAS. IN THURSDAYS LESSON WE FIND A QUOTE FROM
TESTIMONIES THAT SAYS:
          "ON FRIDAY LET THE PREPARATION FOR THE SABBTH
          BE COMPLETED. SEE THAT ALL THE CLOTHING IS IN
          READINESS AND ALL THE COOKING IS DONE. LET THE
          BOOTS BE BLACKED AND THE BATHS BE TAKEN...
          BEFORE THE SETTING OF THE SUN LET ALL SECULAR
          WORK BE LAID ASIDE AND ALL SECULAR PAPERS BE
          PUT OUT OF SIGHT."

          1. WHEN WE LIVED IN ATLANTA THERE WAS AN OLD PATRIARCH OF
          THE CHURCH WHO HAPPENED TO FALL AND BREAK HIS ARM WHILE
          IN HIS BATHTUB ON FRIDAY NIGHT.  I KNEW HE WAS EXTREMELY
          EMBARASSED TO FALL IN THE TUB ON SABBATH, BUT I WASN'T
          SURE WHY.

     F. CONSIDERING THE SCRIPTURES WE HAVE STUDIED IN JER 17 AND EX
     31, IS BATH TAKING CONSISTENT OR INCONSISTENT WITH SABBATH
     KEEPING?
          1. HOW ABOUT COOKING?
          2. HOW ABOUT SECULAR PAPERS?
          
     G. ANOTHER QUOTE FROM TESTIMONIES IS FOUND IN FRIDAY'S LESSON.
IT SAYS:
          "NONE SHOULD FEEL AT LIBERTY TO SPEND SANCTIFIED TIME IN
          AN UNPROFITABLE MANNER. IT IS DISPLEASING TO GOD FOR
          SABBATHKEEPERS TO SLEEP DURING MUCH OF THE SABBATH. THEY
          DISHONOR THEIR CREATOR IN SO DOING, AND, BY BY THEIR
          EXAMPLE, SAY THAT THE SIX DAYS ARE TOO PRECIOUS FOR THEM
          TO SPEND IN RESTING."

          1. IS THIS CONSISTENT WITH THE SCRIPTURES? (THE LAST 
          PHRASE THAT SUGGESTS THAT THE SIX DAYS ARE TOO PRECIOUS
          FOR RESTING SEEMS TO MISS THE PART OF THE COMMAND THAT WE
          WORK FOR SIX DAYS. REST IS A SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE
          SABBATH.) 

          2. BUT NOTE THAT THIS QUOTE CONDEMNS NOT SLEEPING, BUT
          "SLEEP DURING MUCH OF THE SABBATH." SHOULD WE BE SLEEPING
          INSTEAD OF COMING TO CHURCH? (NO. WHAT KIND OF SIGN IS IT
          IF WE ARE SNORING ALL DAY? THE SIGN THAT HE IS OUR GOD
          AND WE HIS PEOPLE SEEMS BEST FULFILLED BY WORSHIP AND
          STUDY. PART OF THE QUOTE FROM TESTIMONIES THAT I DID NOT
          READ SPECIFICALLY TALKS ABOUT ASSEMBLING AT A HOUSE OF
          PRAYER INSTEAD OF SLEEPING.)


V. NEXT WEEK: DIVINE DISCIPLINE.