How Do We Sanctify the Sabbath & Keep the Lord’s Day Holy?

Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12; Revelation 1:12
       Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
       Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
       I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): This word, ‘remember,’ shows that we are apt to forget Sabbath holiness; therefore we need a memorandum to put us in mind of sanctifying the day.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): What then appears to be the will of God about the manner of observing the Sabbath Day?

EDMUND CALAMY (1600-1666): Make the Lord’s day the market-day for thy soul―lay aside the affairs of the other part of the week.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): When our shop windows are shut on the Lord’s Day…this is to the end that we should have more liberty and leisure to attend on that which God commandeth.

THOMAS WATSON: The business of week-days makes us forgetful of God and our souls: the Sabbath brings Him back to our remembrance…It is good to rest on the Sabbath day from the works of our calling; but if we rest from labour and do no more, the ox and the ass keep the Sabbath as well as we; for they rest from labour. We must dedicate the day to God; we must not only ‘keep a Sabbath,’ but ‘sanctify’ a Sabbath.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): What are the parts of the sanctification of the Sabbath? They are two―holy rest, and holy exercise.

THOMAS WATSON: We keep the Sabbath day holy, by consecrating and dedicating this day to the service of the high God…Sabbath sanctification consists in two things, in resting from our own works, and in a conscientious discharge of our religious duty.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The Sabbath was made a day of rest, only in order to its being a day of holy work, a day of communion with God, a day of praise and thanksgiving; and the rest from worldly business is therefore necessary, that we may closely apply ourselves to this work, and spend the whole time in it, in public and in private.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): David went [into the house of God] to get bread for himself and his men, being hungry, I Samuel 21:6: so in a spiritual sense, where should such go, who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but into the house of God? Here is bread enough, and to spare; here is a table furnished with excellent provisions; here the Gospel is dispensed, which is milk for babes, and meat for strong men; here Christ, the bread of life, is set forth, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed; here the ordinances are administered, which are breasts of consolation to the children of God―and this was on the sabbath day that David went into the house of God―and so under the Gospel dispensation, on the Lord’s day, the day set apart for public worship, it becomes the saints to go up to the house of the Lord, and feed upon the provisions of it.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The Lord’s people in the olden time welcomed the times appointed for worship; let us feel the same exultation, and never speak of the Sabbath as though it could be other than a ‘delight’ and ‘honourable.’

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): What attitude did the incarnate Son of God take to the Sabbath? How did He act in regard to it, and what was His teaching concerning it? We answer, unhesitatingly, He honoured it; He kept it; He upheld its claims upon men.

MATTHEW HENRY: Christ chose to work his cures on the Sabbath day to dignify and sanctify the day, and to intimate that spiritual cures should be wrought mostly on the Christian Sabbath day. How many blind eyes have been opened by the preaching of the gospel, that blessed eye-salve, on the Lord’s Day!

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): “As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read,” Luke 4:16. Our Lord regularly attended the public worship of God in the synagogues; for there the Scriptures were read.

MATTHEW HENRY: The reading of the scripture is very proper work to be done.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): Read the Bible. If ye be led by the Spirit, ye will love the Bible.

JOHN DUNCAN (1796-1870): Those who love Christ Himself truly, have also an high esteem of His Word, and are much delighted with that; and where there is little esteem of His Word, there is but little esteem of Himself: they who have tasted the sweetness of the Word, do highly esteem of Christ Himself.

THOMAS WATSON: God made this day on purpose to raise the heart to heaven, to converse with Him.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): A Sunday that commences without prayer, is likely to be spent without pleasure, and closed without profit.

RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): The Lord’s day is exceeding seasonable for this exercise…It being a day appropriated to spiritual duties, methinks we should never exclude this duty, which is eminently spiritual. I verily think this is the chief work of a Christian Sabbath, and most agreeable to the design of its positive institution. What fitter time to converse with our Lord, than on the Lord’s day? What fitter day to ascend to heaven, then on that which He arose from earth, and fully triumphed over death and hell.

J. C. RYLE: The soul has its wants just as much as the mind and the body. It is in the midst of a hurrying, bustling world, in which its interests are constantly in danger of being jostled out of sight. To have those interests properly attended to, there must be a special day set apart.

MATTHEW HENRY: The sabbath is a sacred and divine institution; but we must receive and embrace it as a privilege and a benefit, not as a task and a drudgery. First, God never designed it to be an imposition upon us, and therefore we must not make it so to ourselves. “Man was not made for the sabbath,” for he was made a day before the Sabbath was instituted. Man was made for God, and for His honour and service, and so we must make it.

J. C. RYLE: I do not tell anyone that he ought to pray all day, or read his Bible all day, or go to church all day, or meditate all day, without let or cessation, on a Sunday. All I say is, that the Sunday rest should be a holy rest. God ought to be kept in view; God’s Word ought to be studied; God’s House ought to be attended; the soul’s business ought to be specially considered; and I say that everything which prevents the day being kept holy in this way, ought as far as possible to be avoided.

IGNATIUS of ANTIOCH (circa 50-108): Let every one of us keep a spiritual Sabbath.

RICHARD BAXTER: The fittest temper for a true Christian is, like John, to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.

MATTHEW HENRY: Let us who call him our Lord honour Him on His own day, the day which the Lord hath made and in which we ought to rejoice.


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