Hello Steve.

A couple of questions. First about how to keep the sabbath. Should a Christian do such things as go to movies on the sabbath or other secular sorts of entertainment? Second, should a Christian join the military services? If yes, what about the fact that one in the service would sometimes be required to break the sabbath? Not just in fighting, but in other activities such as cooking for the men or other such secular activities? Should one refuse? Thanks for your time. Take care!



The initial example of how God himself kept the Sabbath Day was that he “rested” from all his labors (Genesis 2:1-3). We therefore should follow God’s own example and make it a “rest” day for ourselves as well. Hebrews 4:4-10 repeats this same “rest” theme so the theme of “rest” from one’s labors is consistent in both Testaments. This should hardly be surprising as God says he doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6) and neither does Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:8).
I cannot advise you (or anyone else) on specific “details” about how you or someone else should “keep the Sabbath.” I don’t know your heart or situation re: Sabbath observance nor am I a “judge” on such matters. How you (or anyone else) observes the 4th Commandment is a matter between you and God. We are told that we will be judged according to the standard via which we judge others ( Matthew 7:1) so I urge everyone to “judge others” with abundant grace on this matter. Romans 14:4 reminds us that we are all fellow-servants of Jesus Christ and he will judge us all. None of us will judge each other in the Judgment, so I see no reason for me to “judge” anyone else’s attitude re: how to keep the 4th Commandment. It is between them and God!
Getting into laundry lists of specific “do’s and don’ts” re: the 4th Commandment leads to stifling legalism which robs the Sabbath Day of all joy. The Sabbath is supposed to be a “delight” (Isaiah 58:13). Jesus vexed the Pharisees because he had a more “liberal” view of Sabbath-keeping than did the narrow-minded Pharisees. The Pharisees didn’t like the way Jesus ate on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-8) and they were infuriated that he healed someone on the Sabbath Day (Matthew 12:9-14). Rather than celebrating the healing of a fellow human being, the Pharisees were so lost in a ridiculously legalistic thicket of their own making that this act of compassionate love angered them!  As Jesus noted, they had heaped so many “traditions” on top of God’s law, that they no longer could grasp the original intent of God’s commands (Matthew 24:4, Mark 7:13).
I used to be in a church denomination that mandated very legalistic and rigorous Sabbath-keeping rules, and it was so oppressive that the children and youth left that church denomination en masse as soon as they reached adult age. In their legalism, that church failed to see they had actually banned joy from the Sabbath Day.
My advice (and that is all it is) re: the 4th Commandment is to rest, worship God and enjoy fellowship with other believers!  The rest is between you and God!