The short answer: Yes!
You know that one of my pet peeves for fellow Christians is the constant abuse of the Sabbath, or the Lord’s Day. For some reason, many think that the fourth commandment has been relegated to the back burner and is no longer a requirement for the Christian.
Or as the Dispensationalist will say, “the Sabbath is to be kept by the Jews only because the covenants were made only with the Jew.” This is a false understanding of the Law and the covenants made with God’s people. The first abuse of this is that the covenants were made with all of God’s people, since by our faith, we are in Christ, the true covenant keeper. He is true Israel, and by our union with Christ, we are made partakers of both the promises in the Old Testament and the New Testament as well.
Jesus did not come to remove the Law, or the covenants, but to fulfill them. This does not mean He abolishes the Law. The Christian is still bound to the Law for the purpose of our sanctification. I readily admit that we do not find favor by keeping the Decalogue with God. Our favor is found in Christ and His righteousness. But that does not remove the need for to strive and do what is pleasing to God.
We see the pattern of Sabbath rest in Genesis 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. The beauty of this verse being seen so early in Scripture is that the Sabbath rest applied to all men even though it was not yet codified the Ten Commandments. Keeping the Sabbath is a creation ordinance, not just a covenantal ordinance. it is meant as a blessing to all mankind.
Occasionally, I will convince someone that keeping the Sabbath (the First Day of the week in the Christian era), is honoring to God and the next question is: How? I think J.C. Ryle deals wonderfully with this in his commentary on Luke 14, where Jesus heals the man with dropsy.
“The qualification which our Lord here puts on the requirements of the fourth commandment is evidently founded on Scripture, reason, and common sense. The Sabbath was made for man,– for his benefit, not for his injury,– for his advantage, not for his hurt. The interpretation of God’s law respecting the Sabbath was never intended to be strained so far as to interfere with charity, kindness, and the real wants of human nature. All such interpretation only defeat their own end. They require that which fallen man cannot perform, and thus bring the whole commandment into disrepute. Our Lord saw this clearly, and labored throughout His ministry to restore this precious part of God’s law to its just position.”
You can see here that the Lord’s day truly does offer the believer a wonderful opportunity. Not only are we given the opportunity to worship our Lord, but we are also given the opportunity to serve others as Christ served us. One of the remarkable realities that came to light as I preached through Matthew 25:31-46 on the last judgment is that of the works of the sheep. They were not commended for doing great works for mankind, but for showing kindness and mercy towards His people. Many people talk about not having enough time to do these things, yet the Lord’s Day is that day which we can serve him by showing kindness to those in need. What a privilege we have in being God’s people and in giving us a day to serve Him, fulfilling the works that He has given us to do before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 2:10).
All this to say, the Lord’s Day/Sabbath is for the Christian. Let’s take it back and use it for His glory by serving those in need.