1. SIX DAYS
a. What are the six days of the week designed for—and how important is this in the Christian’s life? Exodus 20:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
b. Explain a biblical day—and what we are to keep in mind on those six days. Genesis 1:5; Leviticus 23:32; 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. We are not merely to observe the Sabbath as a legal matter. We are to understand its spiritual bearing upon all the transactions of life.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 353.
“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.”—Ibid., p. 354.
2. KEYS TO PROPER SABBATHKEEPING
a. What is the name of the day before the Sabbath and what is to be done on that day? Mark 15:42; Exodus 16:22, 23.
“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.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 225.
“Cooking on the Sabbath should be avoided; but it is not therefore necessary to eat cold food. In cold weather the food prepared the day before should be heated.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 307.
“Before the setting of the sun let all secular work be laid aside and all secular papers be put out of sight.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 355.
b. What if some things are not finished on that day—and how important is spiritual preparation, too? Luke 23:54–24:1; Matthew 5:23, 24.
“Many carelessly put off blacking their boots, and shaving, until after the beginning of the Sabbath. This should not be. If any neglect to do such work on a working day, they should have respect enough for God’s holy time to let their beards remain unshaven, their boots rough and brown, until the Sabbath is past. This might help their memory, and make them more careful to do their own work on the six working days.”—The Signs of the Times, May 25, 1882.
“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, that ye may be healed.’ James 5:16.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 356.
c. How important is cleanliness in getting ready for the Sabbath and in places of worship? Exodus 19:10, 11; 30:18–20.
“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.”—Ibid., p. 355.
3. SECULAR LABOR
a. What reveals the serious nature of God’s commands that guard the Sabbath? Exodus 31:14; Nehemiah 13:15–18.
b. What about carrying burdens and unnecessary travel? Jeremiah 17:21, 22.
“If we desire the blessing promised to the obedient, we must observe the Sabbath more strictly. I fear that we often travel on this day when it might be avoided. In harmony with the light which the Lord has given in regard to the observance of the Sabbath, we should be more careful about traveling on the boats or cars on this day. In these matters we should set a right example before our children and youth. In order to reach the churches that need our help, and to give them the message that God desires them to hear, it may be necessary for us to travel on the Sabbath; but so far as possible we should secure our tickets and make all necessary arrangements on some other day. When starting on a journey we should make every possible effort to plan so as to avoid reaching our destination on the Sabbath.
“When compelled to travel on the Sabbath we should try to avoid the company of those who would draw our attention to worldly things. We should keep our minds stayed upon God and commune with Him. Whenever there is opportunity we should speak to others in regard to the truth. We should always be ready to relieve suffering and to help those in need. In such cases God desires that the knowledge and wisdom He has given us should be put to use. But we should not talk about matters of business or engage in any common, worldly conversation. At all times and in all places God requires us to prove our loyalty to Him by honoring the Sabbath.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 359, 360.
c. What about our words and thoughts? Isaiah 58:13.
“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.”—Ibid., vol. 2, p. 703.
4. OUR MERCIFUL CREATOR
a. How important is worship on the Sabbath day? What is associated with worship? Leviticus 23:3; Acts 15:21; Luke 4:16.
b. In what should we be involved, especially now—and why? Hebrews 10:24, 25.
“Those who do not feel the necessity of seeking the assembly of the saints, with the precious assurance that the Lord will meet with them, show how lightly they value the help that God has provided for them.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 934.
c. Is providing relief to those who are suffering considered secular work, or is it consistent with worship? Matthew 12:10–13.
“There will always be duties which have to be performed on the Sabbath for the relief of suffering humanity. This is right, and in accordance with the law of Him who says, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.’ But there is danger of falling into carelessness on this point, and of doing that which it is not positively essential to do on the Sabbath.”—Medical Ministry, p. 50.
d. Why did Jesus choose to heal on the Sabbath? John 5:5–9.
“[Jesus] had come to free the Sabbath from those burdensome requirements that had made it a curse instead of a blessing.
“For this reason He had chosen the Sabbath upon which to perform the act of healing at Bethesda. He could have healed the sick man as well on any other day of the week; or He might simply have cured him, without bidding him bear away his bed. But this would not have given Him the opportunity He desired. A wise purpose underlay every act of Christ’s life on earth. Everything He did was important in itself and in its teaching. Among the afflicted ones at the pool He selected the worst case upon whom to exercise His healing power, and bade the man carry his bed through the city in order to publish the great work that had been wrought upon him. This would raise the question of what it was lawful to do on the Sabbath, and would open the way for Him to denounce the restrictions of the Jews in regard to the Lord’s day, and to declare their traditions void.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 206.
5. LESSONS FROM NATURE
a. Explain another vital aspect of Sabbathkeeping. Exodus 20:11; Romans 1:20; Acts 16:13.
“The Sabbath school and the meeting for worship occupy only a part of the Sabbath. The portion remaining to the family may be made the most sacred and precious season of all the Sabbath hours. Much of this time parents should spend with their children. In many families the younger children are left to themselves to find entertainment as best they can. Left alone, the children soon become restless and begin to play or engage in some kind of mischief. Thus the Sabbath has to them no sacred significance.
“In pleasant weather let parents walk with their children in the fields and groves. Amid the beautiful things of nature tell them the reason for the institution of the Sabbath. Describe to them God’s great work of creation. Tell them that when the earth came from His hand, it was holy and beautiful. Every flower, every shrub, every tree, answered the purpose of its Creator. Everything upon which the eye rested was lovely and filled the mind with thoughts of the love of God. Every sound was music in harmony with the voice of God. Show that it was sin which marred God’s perfect work; that thorns and thistles, sorrow and pain and death, are all the result of disobedience to God. Bid them see how the earth, though marred with the curse of sin, still reveals God’s goodness. . . .
“Tell them of the way of salvation. . . . Let the sweet story of Bethlehem be repeated. Present before the children Jesus, as a child obedient to His parents, as a youth faithful and industrious, helping to support the family. Thus you can teach them that the Saviour knows the trials, perplexities, and temptations, the hopes and joys, of the young, and that He can give them sympathy and help.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 358, 359.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How might overwork during the week be pushing me into Sabbathbreaking?
2. Why must we stop all work by sunset Friday, even if unfinished?
3. How can I improve my traveling habits with regard to the Sabbath?
4. Explain the balance in Sabbathkeeping and helping the sick.
5. What can we as parents do to help our children appreciate the Sabbath?