Caveats and Clarification on First Day Conduct
Series | The Lord’s Day
First, I am not saying we must do each one of the first day activities every Sunday in order to properly observe the Lord’s day. There are no commands for proper protocol or procedure of worship services like we conduct today. There are no instructions on the right order of service or how much time we should spend on any particular part of the service.
Unlike Israel’s itemized, formal, and systematic Sabbath and temple worship in the OT, there is considerable freedom for Christians as we plan our time together. My point in identifying the three categories of first day and group activities is that we should use the same raw material even though the shape of our Sundays may be different from the first century church. The style our clothes may not match, but they should be cut from the same cloth.
Second, I am also not saying that we can’t do anything else other than these things on the Lord’s day, either when we’re at the house of worship or our own homes. Like I just said, believers have a measure of liberty as a Body both gathered and scattered on Sunday. We do not want to create a “can nots” list and add extra-biblical burdens like the Jews did to the Sabbath.
But I am saying that we should be careful about what we do on the Lord’s day. For some that does mean they should stop certain Christ-dishonoring pursuits. Others need to incorporate more of the corporate. I am also saying that the various activities we looked at, though not commandments for corporate worship per se, are all profitable as they clear the way for us to comprehend Christ’s worth and provision and salvation and instruction on His day.
The bottom line is that we benefit from setting aside an entire day every week to be reminded that we need God! Starting with the apostles, then the early church fathers, through the Reformers and up till today, the consistent practice of the church has been to observe the first day of the week as a special day for Christians to gather and worship.