Are Christians supposed to go to church every Sunday? Many times, when you hear a discussion about the Sabbath, you are really hearing a discussion about regular church attendance. Many ministers claim that we are supposed to go to church on Sundays because we are to continue to observe the Sabbath day. They don’t seem to realize or want to admit that the Sabbath day is Saturday. They also fail to admit that the Sabbath commandment in the Old Testament had nothing to do with church attendance. The commandment had nothing to do with going to church on Sundays. We weren’t even commanded to form churches. Consider what the Bible reveals about the Sabbath day in Exodus 20:10-11.
Exodus 20:10–11 (NASB95) — 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
The Sabbath day is a day that was set apart (made holy) so that we would rest. God instituted a day for the Israelites to rest from their work. They were also not to travel farther than a specified distance. It was truly a day of rest. Another important thing about the Sabbath day is that it is the seventh day of the week. Sunday is the first day of the week and the early church met on Sundays by choice. They recognized the day of the Lord (the day Jesus resurrected from the dead) as a special day. The early Christians met on Sundays in part to separate themselves from the practices of the Jews who met on Saturday to worship.
This tells us that the Sabbath day commandment in the Ten Commandments and the practice of going to church on Sunday are separate things. If Christians were to keep the Sabbath, then they would do no work on Saturday. Do you do work on Saturday like yard work, house cleaning, etc.? I’ll bet you do. If so, then you are breaking the Sabbath commandment.
The Sabbath Was Made For Us
Read Mark 2:23-28. There you will see that Jesus eluded to the fact that the Sabbath was not an arbitrary law that God decided to impose on people. Instead, the Sabbath was made for the benefit of people. It was designed so that we get rest. There is nothing in the Sabbath law about having church services. It was just a day for the people to get rest, which we know is very important. It makes sense that our creator would know that we need rest and tell us to rest.
The Apostle Paul later warns us about observing special days and months (See Galatians 4:8-10). It is very easy for us to get caught up in religious rites, rituals, and ceremonies and neglect the personal relationship with God through Christ that we have now. Many church services today are running religious scripts Sunday after Sunday. In many churches you are not taught how to deal with spirits, how to fight temptations, believe and trust God, deal with personalities, and so much more. We simply go through the religious motions every week. We call it a worship service, but there is very little worship. First, we are obligated to be at church on Sundays and we are led to believe not doing so is somehow ungodly. Though regular fellowship with each other is important, that does not mean that a religious service is.
Keeping the Sabbath simply means to get rest. Worshiping God is something that we should do all the time and perhaps every day. Meeting together for fellowship, edification, and to learn is something that can take place on any day with or without a church building. We have gone so far to replace our relationship with God with religion. We have substituted the revelation from the Word of God with religious practices. Otherwise, we would simply recognize the fact that we need rest and practice it regularly.
Don’t put yourself in the realm of guilt because you work on Sunday or Saturday. There are many professions that work on the weekends. Unfortunately, there are many religiously minded people that will condemn them for working on the Sabbath or not going to church on Sunday. Instead, be blessed in the profession that you have. Do it with honor and an expression of what God has given you. Eat, drink, and be happy and enjoy the fruits of all your hard work. Don’t allow religion to come in and destroy your honor or relationship with God. Take time to rest and relax. Worship God all the time. Spend time reading and studying your Bible. Live what you learn from Bible study. Most of all, cherish the fellowship you have with God through Jesus Christ.
Are Christians required to keep the Sabbath? I say, “not really.” We are told by our God that we should rest once a week. We should take a day and do no regular work. This is something that God instituted for us. There are exceptions. There are times when you will work even on the day you decided not to. Jesus revealed that in the previous Scripture passage in Mark 2. Do not get hung up on the letter of the law. Instead, allow the Spirit of God to live in you and through you. Live your life with respect for God and do what you’ve learned from Him.