It was Jesus’ custom or habit to be in church on the Sabbath. As the Creator and Keeper of all things, He could not abandon something He Himself created, sanctified, blessed, and left as an example for all humanity.
As human beings, we were created to worship God. In our innermost being, we long for what is eternal and divine. The Creator wants to fill our lives with real joy and happiness, especially when we are united in an Adventist congregation.
• The Sabbath is a day of praise and worship toward our Creator God.
• On the Sabbath, congregational worship is just a sample of what our worship in heaven and in the New Earth will be like.
• Jesus worshiped God on the Sabbath day (Luke 4:16).
• The apostles also worshiped God on the Sabbath (Acts 17:2).
• The redeemed will worship God each Sabbath for all eternity (Isa. 66:22, 23).
I. CONGREGATIONAL WORSHIP AND THE SABBATH
Every week, our heavenly Father gives us the privilege of resting from our daily routine to join together with other believers and worship Him. In congregational worship, we feel delight in worshiping God, receiving His holy grace in our lives, and enjoying His unlimited love. “The Lord draws very nigh to His people on the day that He has blessed and sanctified.”1 “That specified portion of time, set apart by God Himself for religious worship, continues as sacred today as when first hallowed by our Creator.”2
II. OUR PARTICIPATION IN THE SABBATH WORSHIP
The Sabbath is a priceless gift that God gave to mankind. With this gift, He has given us the opportunity to worship Him in His church.
A. We should remember that music is the most subtle of the arts; it has more power for good and for evil than any other agent. Martin Luther said, “Music is the art of the prophets; the only one like theology which can soothe the troubles of the soul and put Satan in flight.”
B. God surely deserves the best praise in Sabbath congregational worship. “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11). We did not come into existence by chance. We exist because a God of love created us. He gave us the wonderful gift of life. That is why He is worthy of our deepest and most solemn praise during Sabbath worship.
C. When we worship God on the biblical Sabbath, we are openly declaring that we remember His commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exod. 20:8). Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord declares unlimited blessings for those who keep the Sabbath (Isa. 56:2).
III.THE CONGREGATION IN ETERNITY
The redeemed will worship the Lord every Sabbath throughout eternity (Isa. 66:22, 23). In God’s eternal kingdom, we will find true and complete rest while we worship Him on His blessed day. Through the centuries and millennia of eternity, the Sabbath will remain a constant sign of God the Creator and His redeeming powers. The Sabbath will be a symbol of His eternal love and desire to forever make the redeemed happy
Seventh-day Adventists recognize God as Creator and as the only One who deserves our worship. Ellen G. White says, “The sacred observance of God’s holy day would have led the minds of men to their Creator. The things of nature would have brought Him to their remembrance, and they would have borne witness to His power and His love. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. It points to God as the Creator, and is the sign of His rightful authority over the beings He has made.”3 We are reminded of this fact every week; when we go to church, it is to praise our Creator and Redeemer.
Three men were working at a construction site. A gentleman passed by and asked all three men the same question: “What are you doing?” The first man answered, “I’m breaking stone.” The second one said, “I’m making a living.” The third man, smiling with satisfaction, declared, “I’m building a cathedral for God.”
A. Each congregation should be a cathedral, an altar to worship God. Communing, leaning on one another, growing together in faith—this was God’s intention for the church family. During Sabbath worship, we hear the voice of God speaking to our hearts through the message and the messenger. We talk to God through our prayers, and we worship Him with our voices, tithes, and offerings.
B. The practice of worshiping God on Sabbath involves the entire being, which corresponds to the use of the mind and body, in emotional expressions and in attitudes of reverence, acceptance, and participation. We need to learn to “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (1 Cor. 16:29).
C. In Revelation 14:6, 7, there is an invitation to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people to worship God the Creator. For years Adventists have announced that this praise consists of the true worship of God on the Sabbath, the day He sanctified.
Today, millions of people around the world worship God on Sabbath. Throughout eternity, God’s people will sing, “Far from all care we hail the Sabbath morning; o’er waving fields and from the distant sea swell notes of praise in harmony resounding as all creation turns her heart to Thee.”
1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 137.
2 ———, Counsels on Stewardship, 66.
3 Signs of the Times, November 1, 1899, par. 10.
Davi Tavares is chairman of the School of Theology of North Brazil.