Sabbath Day

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Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?

A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission, or careless performance, of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.
Scripture References: Ezek. 22:26; Mal. 1:13; Amos 8:5; Isa. 58:13; Jer. 17:24, 27.


1. What are the two types of sins forbidden in this fourth commandment?

The two types of sins forbidden are the sin of omission and the sin of commission.

2. What are the sins of omission mentioned in this question?

The sins of omission mentioned are: (1) The omission of the duties of the Sabbath. These duties would be such things as the neglect of private or public worship, and the neglect of duties of love and mercy that should be performed on the Sabbath.

3. Would it be possible for us to sin even in the performance of duties of love and mercy on the Sabbath?

Yes, it would be possible for us to sin in the performance of these duties if we performed them in the wrong manner. We could go about them in a weary way, wishing that we did not have to perform them, failing to realize that in the performance of these duties we may also be serving our Lord. (Matt. 25:31-46)

4. How could we best defend ourselves against such attitudes?

We can best defend ourselves by fixing our hearts on God (Ps. 57:7), by claiming by faith our place “in the heavenlies” at the start of the day, asking God to keep us faithful in all things.

5. What are the sins of commission mentioned in this question?

The sins of commission mentioned are the following: (1) Profaning the Sabbath Day by idleness. (2) Profaning the day by doing things which are sinful in the eyes of God on His day. (3) Profaning the day by unnecessary thoughts and words and acts regarding worldly matters, by pleasures and recreations that are contrary to all the Word teaches for the lawful performance on the Sabbath.

6. Why is it so important to keep this day as unto the Lord?

It is important because God has commanded us to do so and it is important because it is impossible to be holy without the keeping of His commandments.


The question is asked by many believers today: “Why has it become such a common thing to break the Sabbath?” That it is a common thing can’t be denied. It is a rare church today where any attempt is made to keep the Sabbath Day holy in the Lord. Did you ever ask a minister, who says nothing about this in his church, why he does not?
Did you ever pin him down to giving a reason for it? You might be surprised at his answer.

Many of them will answer with words like these: “Well, I fail to see why this has too much importance to the church of today. After all, this was a ceremonial law and ceremonial laws are no longer binding on the Christian. Besides, you can’t expect too much of the people. We should be thankful if they attend church on the Lord’s Day.”

There are two glaring errors in such an answer. The first error is that the keeping of the Sabbath was a ceremonial law. The observing of the Sabbath was instituted a long time before God gave His people the ceremonial laws through His servant Moses. The keeping of the Sabbath is one of the moral laws handed down by God and is just as binding as the other nine commandments. Did you ever notice that in our Shorter Catechism there are more questions devoted to the keeping of the Sabbath than in any other of the commandments?

The second error in the hypothetical answer by the minister is that of not expecting too much of the people. This is a common error today of ministers and one that is practiced by many ministers in their work. In the area of Sabbath keeping the average minister of today has simply given up. He keeps quiet; but he is commissioned by God to preach the whole counsel of God and the keeping of the Sabbath must be submitted to the Lordship of Christ just as much as anything else. He should remember that Christ did not eliminate the keeping of the Sabbath. Christ simply placed it where it belonged. He secured It. He placed it under His Lordship. (Matt. 12:7, 8).

As a born-again believer, ‘What are you doing about the Sabbath? Do you recognize the Lordship of Christ in this area of your Christian life? Would you be willing to submit every part of your life to this commandment? May God help all of us to do so, all to His glory.

The Shield and Sword, Inc.
MemphIs, Tennessee 38117.
Vol. 4 No. 56
Rev. Leonard T. Van Hom, Editor
August, 1965.

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Freedom From Terror Comes with a Cost

Where were you on September 11, 2001?  This has become this decade’s most asked question.  Where were you when the Twin Towers of the Trade Center were destroyed by terrorists?  It has replaced the question of “where were you when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas?” Or even a generation earlier, “where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 6, 1941?”  Everyone has an answer to all of these questions, including the first one.  And usually there is a story to go along with it as well.

On September 2, 2011, the Glasglow Presbyterian Church of the Presbyterian Church in America, decided to do more than ask the familiar question.  They decided to dedicate that Lord’s Day, the Sunday before this terrorist attack, with a display of small American flags on  their church property.  Located on the busiest highway in the state of Delaware, the sixty-two hundred flags were a heart-warming, yet solemn remembrance of the U.S. citizens and other nations who have been lost to the War on Terror thus far, particularly in the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, where our young warriors have been fighting that terror network. As the senior pastor of this congregation, Dr. Chuck Betters, said, “Freedom from terror comes at a cost.”

But the church congregation didn’t stop with just an outdoor memorial.  Using dozens of volunteers, they were able to mail a package to every family who had lost a loved one in the decades long conflict.  In the package was a personal note, and an audio tape entitled “The Ultimate Sacrifice,” which deals with the tender subject of coping with the loss of a loved one.

The following Sunday, on September 11, 2011, Dr. Better preached a sermon on this tragic day which has been seared in our consciences forever. 

Words to live by:
The word “remember” is a word which is used often in Scripture.  One of the Ten commandments, which dealt with the Sabbath Day, began with “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  The inspired writers of  the New Testament are always telling us to “remember this” or “remember that,” usually with regards to an exhortation he has given them at an earlier time.  In Acts 20:35, we are told to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus,” for example.  This is one of the purposes of this whole devotional guide, to remember the faithful Christians and events who and which have gone before, that we will either imitate the good deeds and/or be warned against the bad actions.  Remember!

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