|Volume 19 Number 12 December 2017||
Mark T. Tonkery
When was the last time you spent a whole day with the Lord? In Revelation 1:10, John stated he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” In the first century, the first day of the week came to be known as the Lord’s Day for Christians. It was so named because this was the day that Christ arose from the grave and appeared to His disciples (John 20:1, 19). Christ’s followers continued to meet together on the first day of the week to worship Christ (Matthew 28:7) and continued to do so after Christ was taken up into Heaven (Acts 2:1). The believers of Christ gathered on the first day of the week to worship God in prayers, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, singing, giving of their means and being instructed in the teachings of Christ through preaching and teaching (Acts 2:38-47). They also spent their time in fellowship with their brothers and sisters in Christ (Acts 2:41-47) and encouraged each other to continue in the faith (Hebrews 10:24-25).
In Acts 2, we not only see the beginning of the church, but we also observe the first worship service on the Day of Pentecost. The Old Testament teaches us that the Day of Pentecost was to be celebrated on the first day of the week (Leviticus 23:15). Barton Johnson explains, “The Savior, crucified on Friday, was in the tomb on the Passover Sabbath, and rose on Sunday, the day from whence the count began. The Sunday following would be the eighth day, and the fiftieth day would fall on Sunday, the first day of the eighth week. Hence, the ancient church observed Pentecost on the first day of the week” (People’s New Testament). This is the day that the Lord sent the Holy Spirit upon the twelve apostles, and they preached the first Gospel sermon, which resulted in baptizing 3,000 souls.
Notice that the events in Acts 2 were not a one or a two hour event; it was the Lord’s Day. These early disciples did not speed up the worship; they didn’t hurry the preaching or “rush in and rush out.” It was a day of worship, fellowship, praising God and giving to those who had needs. The Lord added to their number (Acts 2:47).
Then in Acts 20:7, Paul was eager to meet with the disciples on the first day of the week to partake of the Lord’s Supper and worship. Paul spent the rest of that day and part of the next day with the disciples. Again, this was not a one or a two hour event; Paul and these Christians did not rush in and out. They took time to spend with God and fellowship with other Christians.
In our fast-paced, hurry-up society, we drive up to a restaurant and eat our meals on the road. Multi-tasking is the norm. We sometimes forget that time with God cannot be rushed. I am sure in the first century, just as today, Christians had things to do, mouths to feed, jobs to do, places to go and people to see. Still, they took time, the first day of the week, to worship God and to remember Christ’s death and resurrection.
When was the last time we spent a whole day with the Lord? When we think about it, many of us take a day off for other things. Many people will take a whole day off to go fishing, shopping, golfing or to visit friends and family. However, have we ever taken a day off from work to spend time with God? It seems like many times we make worship just another scheduled event and hope we do not forget about it on the way to the ball field or to the shopping mall. We treat worship like a meal in the microwave oven and expect it to be done in 60 seconds. We become upset because it is not done more quickly. We cannot expect to be spiritually fed if we treat our relationship with God like driving up to a fast food restaurant’s drive through window.
The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, not the Lord’s minute or even the Lord’s hour. “So let us rejoice and be glad in it for this is the day the Lord has made” (Psalm 118:24). May we take the time on the first day of every week to enjoy the worship of the Lord and the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ; it is just too good to rush through and treat it like any other activity.
When was the last time you spent the whole day with the Lord? Maybe you could begin today.
Ernest S. Underwood
Of late there has been a lot of controversy about whether the Ten Commandments can be placed on public property. A lot of silly and ungodly arguments have been made by those who are opposed to God and any portion of His Word. However, there is a passage that I would like to see in every room, office and building where lawyers, politicians and judges do their work. That verse is Deuteronomy 16:19 which reads, “You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.” If there are no judges, lawyers and politicians who are perverting justice and twisting the wise words of the founders of our nation, then there is no such thing as truth. We all know, however, that there are such wicked and sleazy public officials from the local level all the way up to the nation’s Capitol. Such persons are nothing more than tyrants using their positions and ability to twist the law as they practice their tyranny. Yes, those who believe in the truth that God is and that Jesus Christ is His Son are under attack. How long will it be before physical persecution follows?
[Editor’s Note: Persecution manifests itself in a number of ways. Everything from verbal insults to legal penalties to monetary punishment, besides the possibility of physical harm, for no other reason than upholding Christian values are forms of persecution and precursors to physical persecution. Yet, the faithful child of God has but one course to pursue, no matter what (2 Timothy 3:12). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]