1. OUR EXAMPLE
a. How will we live if we truly love Jesus and follow His example? John 14:15; 15:10. What did He do on the Sabbath? Luke 4:16, 31.
“What is the evidence of conversion?—‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments’ (John 14:15). ‘If you love Me, let not your love be merely like the supposed feeling of attachment between people. Genuine love lies in the keeping of My commandments.’ The love that will yield willing obedience is not a fickle thing, but a strong, fixed principle, revealed in word and action.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, p. 291.
“Jesus made an infinite sacrifice. Nothing less than the life of God’s beloved Son would suffice to pay the heavy debt that we had incurred by breaking the law of God. He took on Him our nature, and became sin for us, that we might have ‘remission of sins that are past,’ and through His divine strength and grace, might fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. Whoever takes the position that it makes no difference whether or not we keep the commandments of God, is not acquainted with Christ. Jesus says, ‘I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love;’ and those who follow Jesus will do as He has done.”—The Review and Herald, March 6, 1888.
b. What should we do with His example? 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6.
a. How do we know that Jesus was crucified on the preparation day—and which day is that? Luke 23:52–56; Mark 15:42.
“That was a never-to-be-forgotten Sabbath to the sorrowing disciples, and also to the priests, rulers, scribes, and people. At the setting of the sun on the evening of the preparation day the trumpets sounded, signifying that the Sabbath had begun. The Passover was observed as it had been for centuries, while He to whom it pointed had been slain by wicked hands, and lay in Joseph’s tomb.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 774.
“At last Jesus was at rest. The long day of shame and torture was ended. As the last rays of the setting sun ushered in the Sabbath, the Son of God lay in quietude in Joseph’s tomb. His work completed, His hands folded in peace, He rested through the sacred hours of the Sabbath day. . . .
“Now Jesus rested from the work of redemption; and though there was grief among those who loved Him on earth, yet there was joy in heaven. Glorious to the eyes of heavenly beings was the promise of the future. A restored creation, a redeemed race, that having conquered sin could never fall,—this, the result to flow from Christ’s completed work, God and angels saw. With this scene the day upon which Jesus rested is forever linked. For ‘His work is perfect;’ and ‘whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever.’ Deuteronomy 32:4; Ecclesiastes 3:14. When there shall be a ‘restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began’ (Acts 3:21), the creation Sabbath, the day on which Jesus lay at rest in Joseph’s tomb, will still be a day of rest and rejoicing. Heaven and earth will unite in praise, as ‘from one Sabbath to another’ (Isaiah 66:23) the nations of the saved shall bow in joyful worship to God and the Lamb.”—Ibid., pp. 769, 770.
b. Why didn’t the believers finish preparing the body of Christ on this first Sabbath after the crucifixion? Luke 23:56; Mark 15:42–47.
“The disciples rested on the Sabbath, sorrowing for the death of their Lord, while Jesus, the King of glory, lay in the tomb.”—Early Writings, p. 181.
c. When did they go with the plan to complete their task? Mark 16:1, 2.
3. THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH
a. What prophecy of Jesus showed that the church would respect the Sabbath 40 years after His resurrection? Matthew 24:15–20; 5:17.
“He who made the Sabbath did not abolish it, nailing it to His cross. The Sabbath was not rendered null and void by His death. Forty years after His crucifixion it was still to be held sacred. For forty years the disciples were to pray that their flight might not be on the Sabbath day.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 630.
“Christ made the Sabbath, and He never abolished it. The Sabbath was not rendered null and void by the crucifixion, as many claim. Christ’s death on the cross is an unanswerable argument in favor of the changeless character of every precept of God’s holy law. . . .
“As the head of the human family, He lived every precept, every jot, every tittle, of the law. He lived in humanity the life that He requires His followers to live, and therefore there is no excuse for any one to fail of reaching the standard of perfection.”—The Review and Herald, December 20, 1898.
b. What was the regular custom of the apostles on the seventh-day Bible Sabbath? Acts 18:1–4.
“When [Paul] had finished, and the Jews had left the synagogue, the Gentiles still lingered, and entreated that the same words might be spoken unto them the next Sabbath day. The apostles created a great interest in the place, among both Jews and Gentiles. They encouraged the believers and converts to stand fast in their faith, and to continue in the grace of God. The interest to hear the words of the apostles was so great that the whole city came together on the next Sabbath day.”—Sketches from the Life of Paul, pp. 48, 49.
c. What can we learn from Paul’s practice when there was no synagogue in a place where he visited? Acts 16:12, 13.
“We are not to teach our children that they must not be happy on the Sabbath, that it is wrong to walk out-of-doors. Oh, no. Christ led His disciples out by the lakeside on the Sabbath day and taught them. His sermons on the Sabbath were not always preached within enclosed walls.”—Child Guidance, pp. 533, 534
4. THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
a. When Christ first appeared after His resurrection, why had the disciples assembled? How does His second visit further confirm that He was not establishing a different day of worship? John 20:19, 26.
“Christ rested in the tomb on the Sabbath day, and when holy beings of both Heaven and earth were astir on the morning of the first day of the week, He rose from the grave to renew His work of teaching His disciples. But this fact does not consecrate the first day of the week, and make it a Sabbath.”—Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 204.
b. How does setting aside one’s offerings at home show that the first day was not instituted to be a special day of worship? 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2. Does breaking bread show that a specific day or night is designated as a special day of weekly worship? Acts 2:42, 46.
c. Why was the meeting in Troas held until past midnight? Acts 20:8–12. When is midnight of the first day of the week in modern times? Genesis 1:5; Leviticus 23:32.
“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, pp. 196, 197.
d. Which day is actually the Lord’s day—and how important is it for us to realize this? Revelation 1:10; Mark 2:28; Isaiah 58:13.
“If the light of truth has been presented to you, revealing the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and showing that there is no foundation in the Word of God for Sunday observance, and yet you still cling to the false sabbath, refusing to keep holy the Sabbath which God calls ‘My holy day,’ you receive the mark of the beast. When does this take place? When you obey the decree that commands you to cease from labor on Sunday and worship God, while you know that there is not a word in the Bible showing Sunday to be other than a common working day, you consent to receive the mark of the beast, and refuse the seal of God.”—Evangelism, p. 235.
5. A MEMORIAL
a. Of what is the Sabbath a memorial? Exodus 31:13; Genesis 2:1–3.
“ ‘The importance of the Sabbath as the memorial of creation is that it keeps ever present the true reason why worship is due to God’— because He is the Creator, and we are His creatures. . . . It was to keep this truth ever before the minds of men, that God instituted the Sabbath in Eden; and so long as the fact that He is our Creator continues to be a reason why we should worship Him, so long the Sabbath will continue as its sign and memorial. Had the Sabbath been universally kept, man’s thoughts and affections would have been led to the Creator as the object of reverence and worship, and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel. The keeping of the Sabbath is a sign of loyalty to the true God, ‘Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ It follows that the message which commands men to worship God and keep His commandments will especially call upon them to keep the fourth commandment.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 437, 438.
b. How is it a memorial of our personal redemption? Deuteronomy 5:15. How does this heart change take place? Ezekiel 36:26, 27; Psalm 51:10.
“It is the service of love that God values. When this is lacking, the mere round of ceremony is an offense to Him. So with the Sabbath. It was designed to bring men into communion with God; but when the mind was absorbed with wearisome rites, the object of the Sabbath was thwarted. Its mere outward observance was a mockery.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 286.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What example did Christ give regarding Sabbath observance?
2. How do the events surrounding the crucifixion clearly show that the Sabbath remained intact?
3. What kind of custom regarding the Sabbath did the apostles continue?
4. Explain why the first day of the week has no designation as an official day of worship.
5. What is the most important aspect of Sabbathkeeping?