Sunday School Lesson – Lesson 24 The Sabbath Day
Last week I was released from my Sunday School Calling. For the past few months I have listed my lessons under this catagory – Sunday School Lessons – Gospel Principles. I was actually quite surprised that so many of you readers were interested in reading these lessons. For the past few months these entries have had huge amounts of traffic. So, although I won’t be posting any more lessons from the manual, I thought I would share a link where you can purchase the lesson manual. It costs $3.00.
I love the Gospel Principles book! It contains a very simple overview of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and outlines the principles and ordinances necessary for salvation. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and if you would like to learn more about my faith, simply check out these web sites: Here and Here.
Here is the lesson I taught last sunday, it will be the final lesson for this calling, and then I am off to new adventures in Provident Living. Our church has a lay ministry. Nobody is paid and we all pitch in to help teach the sunday school classes, children’s classes, and do the myriad tasks associated with running a church. Last week I was called to be the preparedness person in my ward. So I will be doing that calling for the next few months, years, etc…
Here is the lesson from yesterday:
The Sabbath Day
31110, Gospel Principles, Unit Seven: Perfecting Our Lives, 24: The Sabbath Day, 159
What Is the Sabbath Day?
The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word meaning day of rest. The Sabbath day commemorates God’s day of rest after he finished the Creation. We read in the book of Genesis that God created the heavens and the earth in six periods of time, which he called days: “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” (Genesis 2:2–3).
The Sabbath day is every seventh day. It is a holy day ordained by God for us to rest from our daily labors and worship him.
• What is the Sabbath day?
The Purpose of the Sabbath Day
Jesus taught that the Sabbath day was made for our benefit (see Mark 2:27). The purpose of the Sabbath is to give us a certain day of the week on which to direct our thoughts and actions toward God. It is not a day merely to rest from work. It is a sacred day to be spent in worship and reverence. As we rest from our usual daily activities, our minds are freed to ponder spiritual matters. On this day we should renew our covenants with the Lord and feed our souls on the things of the Spirit.
• What is the Lord’s purpose for the Sabbath day?
History of the Sabbath
The seventh day was consecrated by God as a Sabbath in the beginning of the earth (see Genesis 2:2–3). Since earliest times, the tradition of a sacred seventh day has been preserved among various peoples of the earth. God renewed a commandment concerning this day to the Israelites, saying, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). Keeping the Sabbath day was also a sign that the Israelites were his covenant people (see Exodus 31:12–13, Exodus 31:16; Isaiah 56:1–8; Jeremiah 17:19–27).
However, some Jewish leaders made many unnecessary rules about the Sabbath. They decided how far people could walk, what kind of knots they could tie, and so forth. When certain Jewish leaders criticized Jesus Christ for healing sick people on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded them that the Sabbath was made for the benefit of man.
The Nephites also observed the Sabbath day according to the commandments of God (see Jarom 1:5).
In modern times the Lord has repeated his commandment that we should remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy (see D&C 68:29).
The Lord’s Day
Until the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he and his disciples honored the seventh day as the Sabbath. After his resurrection, Sunday was held sacred as the Lord’s day in remembrance of his resurrection on that day (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). From that time on, his followers appointed the first day as their Sabbath. In both cases there were six days of labor and one for rest and devotion.
The Lord has given us a direct commandment in these days that we, too, should honor Sunday, the Lord’s day, as our Sabbath (see D&C 59:12).
• Why was the Sabbath changed from the seventh day to the first day?
• What special event does the first day commemorate?
How Do We Keep the Sabbath Day Holy?
The Lord asks us, first, to sanctify the Sabbath day. In a revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1831, the Lord commanded the Saints to go to the house of prayer and offer up their sacraments, rest from their labors, and pay their devotions to the Most High (see D&C 59:9–12).
Second, he asks us to rest from daily work. This means we should perform no labor that would keep us from giving our full attention to spiritual matters. The Lord told the Israelites, “Thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle” (Exodus 20:10). Our prophets have told us that we should not shop, hunt, fish, attend sports events, or participate in similar activities on that day.
Elder Spencer W. Kimball cautioned, however, that if we merely lounge about doing nothing on the Sabbath, we are not keeping the day holy. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts. (See The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 96–97.)
What kinds of things may we do on the Sabbath? The Lord has told us to prepare only simple foods on that day, keeping the purpose of the Sabbath in mind (see D&C 59:13). The prophet Isaiah suggested that we should turn away from doing our own pleasure and should “call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable” (Isaiah 58:13). We should do righteous things. We keep the Sabbath day holy by—
1. Attending Church meetings.
2. Reading the scriptures and the words of our Church leaders.
3. Visiting the sick, the aged, and our loved ones.
4. Listening to uplifting music and singing hymns.
5. Praying to our Heavenly Father with praise and thanksgiving.
6. Performing Church service that we have been assigned to do.
7. Preparing family history records and personal histories.
8. Telling faith-promoting stories and bearing our testimony to family members and sharing spiritual experiences with them.
9. Writing letters to loved ones.
10. Fasting with a purpose.
11. Sharing time with children and others in the home.
In deciding what other activities we should properly engage in on the Sabbath, we should ask ourselves: Will it uplift and inspire me?
There may be times when we are required to work on the Sabbath. We should avoid this whenever possible, but when it is absolutely necessary, we should still maintain the spirit of Sabbath worship in our hearts as much as possible.
• Read Doctrine and Covenants D&C 59:9–13. What things can we do to draw nearer to our Heavenly Father?
Blessings for Observing the Sabbath
If we honor the Sabbath day, we may receive great spiritual and temporal blessings. The Lord has said that if we keep the Sabbath day with thanksgiving and cheerful hearts, we will be full of joy. He has promised:
“The fulness of the earth is yours, … whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;
“Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
“Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul” (D&C 59:16–19).
• Read together Doctrine and Covenants D&C 59:15–19. Discuss some of the blessings that come from keeping the Sabbath day holy.
• Exodus 31:14–17 (under Mosaic law the Sabbath was kept holy under pain of death)
• Luke 6:1–11 (lawful to do good on the Sabbath)
Sunday is a day for worship.
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