When Sunday Becomes An Option

Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. (Acts 20:7)

When Sunday Becomes An Option

The early disciples did not have two thousand years of history to understand the pattern of the church. They were blessed to live at the same time as Jesus Christ, with many of the saints eyewitnesses to the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of God’s Son. When the church began at Pentecost, what did the saints do? Luke writes that the first Christians devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. There was no question in the minds of the first disciples about what they must do and when they must do it. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the church began to meet on the first day of the week to worship in accordance with God’s divine plan. Throughout the acts of the apostles, the pattern of the New Testament church revealed itself in a specific pattern and design. The focal point of the worship was the first day of the week.

Troas, a city located on the coast of Mysia, was a regular port of call on coasting voyages between Macedonia and Asia. Paul visited the city often and, on his third mission work, arrived in the city to meet with the brethren on the first day of the week. The disciples gathered to break bread and to hear a sermon by Paul. This was a regular pattern for the saints at Troas, as it was with all the saints who met in churches throughout the world.

One of the early characteristics of the disciples of Christ was the frequency of gathering on the first day of the week. This was not culture or tradition but a command of God. When Jesus instituted the supper, He gave the early church a memorial commemorating the day He would rise from the dead. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. Under the Law of Moses, the seventh day of the week was a holy day God gave as a day of remembrance. The Law was taken away (including the Sabbath) and the Lord’s Day became the first day of the week. In the modern era, the first day of the week is Sunday. This is the day God ordained as a day of remembrance and memorial to the sacrifice of His Son.

There are numerous references to the early saints meeting on the first day of the week. The first Christians were Jews, but they learned the new covenant was now the first day rather than the seventh day. There does not seem to be any confusion or dissension about the day that now must be celebrated. Later, the writer of Hebrews would exhort those saints not to forsake the assembly with reference to the first day of the week. When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he upbraided their abuse of the Lord’s Supper in how they abused the memorial. He reminded them that when they came together, it was for the wrong reasons, and they needed to see the warning from God to ignore the memorial feast of Jesus Christ. There were penalties attached to taking the supper in an unworthy manner; consider the penalty for not being present to take the supper.

The church has celebrated the Lord’s Supper for two thousand years and will continue to do so every first day of the week until the Lord returns. Authority establishes the purpose of the supper and the frequency. To deny the Lord’s Supper is to deny the will of God. The church has constantly been challenged by the unfaithful who deny the relevance and importance of the first day of the week. Some in the body of Christ feel satisfied to miss the services of God’s people on the first day of the week for many reasons. Almost any excuse will keep people at home. Monday morning, they will be at work with headaches and body aches but not so on the Lord’s day.

Faith is marginalized when the first day of the week becomes an option. How can a child of God view Sunday as an option? There were no options given under the Law of Moses for the Sabbath. On one occasion, a man was stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath. How much worse punishment for those who ignore the first day of the week with excuses, complaints, and blatant disregard? COVID did not change the mind of God to allow His children to “worship” at home as an act of convenience. Jesus died a horrible death. Is the least we can do found on the first day of the week?

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