Answers to "Ask Mike" Questions
41. We know the Sabbath Day to be Saturday. However, we elect to worship on Sunday. Is there a passage in the Bible that would back up our practice for worshipping on Sunday?
Our view has been that apostolic precedent equals divine command. Therefore, if the early church worshiped on Sunday rather than Saturday, it should be sufficient for us.
Acts 2 gives us the account of the church's beginning. The coming of the Holy Spirit with power and Peter's first sermon all occurred on Pentecost - a Sunday. Since the 3,000 who were baptized that day were Jews, it stood to reason that they continued to follow the temple schedule. The Acts account implies this gathering for worship occurred more than once a week. Acts 20:7 tells us what happened when the Gospel moved out beyond Jerusalem and the Jews. That event describes a Gentile situation in which the church gathered on the first day of the week to worship, break bread (communion), and to hear Paul speak. The grammar of the passage suggests this was a regular occurrence not a special meeting gathered for fellowship with Paul. A careful reading of Acts 20:7 gives the impression this gathering occurred after 6:00 p.m. Saturday evening - the first day of the week by Jewish reckoning. This indicates to us that at least by the time the Gospel penetrated the Gentile world; worship was taking place on the first day of the week - Sunday.
Other references speak of "the Lord's Day." Most scholars understand this to stand in contrast to "the seventh day." Sunday was the day Christ rose from the dead, it was the day the church started, it is not surprising that Christians preferred referring to that day as "the Lord's Day."
Early church history supports these inferences drawn from Scripture. While there may be earlier references I am unsure of, Justin Martyr who wrote mid-second century specifically states that the church met on the first day of the week for worship, the Lord's Supper (Eucharist), and preaching.
One last observation, while there is no specific command to worship on Sunday, there is also no specific command to worship on Saturday. In fact, Paul tells the Colossians (see Colossians 2) that there is no longer any special day for worship because the Christian worships every day. Whether one worships on Saturday, Sunday, or even Tuesday should not be a matter of concern. It is the focus of worship not the day of worship that matters!
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