“One Day”  Deuteronomy 5:12-15

It is just another day, right?

Second Sunday After Pentecost  June 1-2, 2024

“One Day”  Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Rev. John R. Larson  Ascension Lutheran Church  Littleton, Colorado

            Did you know that some days are special?  They are different than any others.  If you forget the birthday of some friend, or family, you’ll find out quickly that you shouldn’t have.  Forget your anniversary?  You might be sleeping on the couch.  David and Tina Kaiser, members of Ascension, are some of the wisest people that I know.  I’m not sure if David picked their wedding date, or Tina, but neither of them should ever forget it.  9.10.11.  Just another day?  No.

            Later this week is the 80th anniversary of “D-Day”.  On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces landed in France in their work to put an end to WWII.  Just another day?  No.  When Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, addressed a joint session of Congress the next day and his words began with, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a day that will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”  Just another day?  I don’t think so.

            Today my sermon is about the third commandment, or as some call it, “The Third Word.”  “You shall sanctify the holy day.”  Why is that important to God?  Why would He speak a word – give a commandment – about how we are to live one day out of the seven?  It is just another day, right?  It is no different than the other six, right?  No, this one day, is unique.

            You need to remember the background of the commandments.  The people of Israel had been slaves.  Slaves didn’t get a day off.  You didn’t get a 2-week vacation once you had been a slave for 10 years, 3 weeks after 20 years of servitude and 4 weeks after 30 years.  No.  Never.  You worked 7 days a week.  52 weeks a year.  Until you were dead. 

            God changed that.  Remember, the word Sabbath means “rest.”  This is from Exodus 20, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the Sabbath day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.”  (Exodus 20:8-11)

            Why would God need to rest?  Was He exhausted?  After those six days of creation was He physically worn out?  Did He need to take a nap?  No.  But we need a different day every week.  Maybe the “rest” is to go on a hike, to work in the yard, to read a book, to play with the kids.  It is a day that is different.  For some it may come on a weekend.  For others it doesn’t.  My check-out person at King Soopers, when I ask how they are, sometimes responds, “I’m great, today is my Friday.”  But it was only Wednesday.  They mean, “I get a few days off beginning after this shift.”

            God said that all days should not be alike.  There is one day that is a sabbath – a rest – a day that is different – on purpose.  Have you remembered that?  Most of the 10 Commandments begin with the words, “You shall not.”  Right?  “You shall not steal.”  “You shall not murder.”  “You shall not commit adultery.”  But this one is not written in the negative.  “Remember the Sabbath day.”

            There is another reason why this day is unique out of all the seven.  It is more than a day of physical refreshment.  It is a day for the soul to find God’s grace.  As Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man.”  (Mark 2:27)  In Exodus it mentions that the day is a day of rest because God rested from His work.  In Deuteronomy the stated reason is this, “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”  (Deuteronomy 5:15)

            They were to reflect on redemption.  Once they were slaves but no more.  It was the day to remember that God is almighty and merciful and that He had them in His hands and that His plans for them were magnificent.  It was a day for not just physical refreshment but also spiritual renewal.  It was a day to ponder the goodness of God.

            Why do you come to church?  You’ve done it your whole life?  If you didn’t you would feel weird, disjointed?  Your parents brought you to church and Sunday School and you’ve continued that tradition?  Maybe your friends come here and it is fun to hang out with them?  There is nothing wrong with good habits and with traditions that are kept, but there must be something more.  Jesus gave this warning to some folks who were steeped in their traditions, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”  (Matthew 15:8-9)

            What does God want to happen here?  Why does He give one of His ten words, one of His ten commandments, to speak about a Sabbath day, a day that is not like the others?

            God does not want us to despise His word.  Many folks have no time for listening to God, no time for worship, no time for Bible Study, no time for reflecting on God’s role in their life, no time for prayer, no time for repentance, no time for considering their Baptism, no time for preparing to receive Holy Communion.  No time for Jesus. 

            You are His people.  He calls for you to be different.  Worship has to be more than a habit.  This is the place where God brings us the gifts of His Holy Spirit.  He speaks His truth, His love and guidance.  The early Christians realized that this day wasn’t just another day.  Acts 2:42 reads, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”  This is God’s place and this is God’s working. 

            Some people will say that they worship God when they sit in the mountains or by the creek or viewing the ocean.  God is sure visible there, isn’t He?  He even says such in His word, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech of language where their voice is not heard.”  (Psalm 19:1-4)  “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  (Romans 1:20)

            The natural knowledge of God – that comes to believers and unbelievers, as well – is amazing.  But it is limited.  God’s revealed knowledge comes by His word – the Scriptures.  Listen:  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1)  Listen: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may have a new life.”  (Romans 6:3-4)  Listen to what Jesus says, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  (Matthew 26:26-28)  What do we do here?  We do that here.  We bring the gifts of God to God’s people.  This is not just another day.  In worship God comes to us, reveals His love and graces us with His gifts.

            As you probably know – Sunday is not the Sabbath.  Saturday is the Sabbath.  It is the 7th day – when God rested from creating all things.  So why do we worship on Sunday?  All because of the One day.  Thee day.  “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled way from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”  (Luke 24:1-3)  Is that just another day?  No.  That is the day that changed our life, eternally.  He lives and now we live.    

            Why do you come to church?  Why do you worship?  It is because this day is not like any other day.  This is God’s day.  This is God’s work.  He is here to bless you deeply.  Amen!!     







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