Sabbath and Special Days
A Sermon on Romans 14:1-6
Principles of Conscience
1Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not to have quarrels over opinions. 2One person has faith that he may eat all things, but the one who is weak eats only vegetables. 3The one who eats is not to regard with …
1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge …
In this sermon on Romans 14:1–6 titled “Sabbath and Special Days,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones offers that Paul is not addressing the importance of observation of the Sabbath since that has been established in Scripture for all time. He provides Scriptural support for this and offers up a question that has been discussed in Christian circles often since the early church: what day of the week is supposed to be set aside for the Sabbath – Saturday or Sunday? He references Biblical evidence for the day of the week that Christians used to meet on, as well as historical evidences from writings that are outside of Scripture. How do Christians today make the right choice about the day to meet? To answer this, Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that the early church would not have changed the day of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday arbitrarily— he argues that they must have received a revelation that it was good to change it. However, he also states that it is not an issue over which Christians should divide. He addresses extreme Sabbatarianism, a view that is very literal about how the Sabbath day should be observed, and provides helpful points to consider when thinking through it. In echoing Paul, he concluded that Christians are to be fully persuaded in their own mind from Scripture about which decision is correct.
- The apostle Paul is dealing with indifferent things in Romans 14, not essential matters of faith.
- The specific issues Paul addresses are:
- Whether or not to eat certain foods, specifically meat. Some believed they could eat all foods while others only ate vegetables.
- The observance of certain days as holy, specifically Jewish feast days and fast days. Some esteemed certain days as holier than others while others viewed all days alike.
- Paul says we should not judge or condemn others over these indifferent matters. Each person should be fully convinced in their own mind.
- Paul is not addressing the observance of the Sabbath or which day should be observed as the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a moral law, not a ceremonial law. Paul is addressing extra feast and fast days added by Jews, not the Sabbath.
- The early church began meeting on the first day of the week, the Lord's day, not the Sabbath. This was likely due to Jesus's resurrection.
- We must follow our consciences but also be open to persuasion from Scripture. Our consciences can be wrong and need enlightenment. But we should never go against our consciences.
- Bigotry and unwillingness to listen to others is wrong. We must be willing to understand different viewpoints and be persuaded when Scripture shows us we are wrong. But we must act according to our conscience.
- The guiding principle is that the Sabbath and Christian liberty were made to serve us, not enslave us. We must not go to extremes but use them for God's glory and our good.
The Book of Romans
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.