Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. –Hebrews 10:24-25

I want to close our study of the Sabbath this week by sharing three lasting lessons that come from Luke 6 about our observance of the Sabbath.

First, recognize the difference between legalism and obedience. When we talk about legalism, we are not talking about God’s laws; we are talking about man-made laws. We are to avoid those man-made laws because we now live under grace. However, a lot of times people use God’s grace as an excuse for immorality, self-indulgence, or non-involvement in the work of God’s kingdom. It’s legalism when they say, “I don’t have to do anything. I’m under grace, not under the law.” Grace imposes a higher standard of obedience, not a lower standard. Grace is not the license to do what you want; it’s the freedom to do what you should.

Second, remember the principle behind the Sabbath. We are not under the Old Testament restrictions about what to do on the seventh day, but the principle of the Sabbath still applies. There needs to be one day a week when we focus on our relationship with God in the community of other believers. In Hebrews 10:24-25, the New Testament gives us this standard: “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” This passage is not saying you can never ever miss a Sunday at church. The key word is “habit.” What is your habit on Sunday? If you miss church as much as or more often than you attend, then you are not obeying God. You are robbing yourself of the spiritual encouragement that comes from being with God’s people, singing together, hearing God’s Word preached, praying together, and encouraging one another. And when you are not in church you are also robbing other people of what they need. When you are not there, that’s one less voice praising God in song, one less prayer being offered, and one less spiritual gift being exercised in the body of Christ. Your absence has an impact just not on you but on others as well. That’s why we need to make our presence in church an absolute priority.

Third, resist the urge to impose your convictions on others. In issues that the Bible doesn’t address directly, resist the urge to impose your convictions on others. Jesus said, “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). In areas that the Bible doesn’t give specific direction about, try to learn the principles from God’s Word that are behind those regulations. Pray for God’s leadership in how you should act and behave, but resist the urge to make your conviction somebody else’s obligation. If we do that, we will all live happily together.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Squabbling Over the Sabbath” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.