Big Idea: What does it mean to be religious? The dictionary says, “A particular system of faith and worship”, but God says it means to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.
Scripture: One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:23-28 ESV
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. Mark 3:1-6 ESV
What is the Sabbath, and what does it mean to keep it?
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day He rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 NLT
Sabbath literally means “Stop” or in context it means “to rest from labour” The Jewish “Stop Day” was from 6pm Friday till 6pm Saturday. After the resurrection of Jesus, the New Testament Church began worshipping on Sunday. It was “Resurrection Day”
On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper.
Acts 20:7 NLT
On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. 1 Corinthians 16:2 NLT
What does it mean to be religious, according to Scripture?
In Mark’s Story, the Pharisees were confused as to what being “religious” means. They thought it was about diligently keeping rules and regulations, but in truth, all the rules and regulations of the Scriptures were simply ways of keeping God conscious and God centered. True religion is simply listening to God and loving others like God loves.
If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:26-27 NLT
Application: Yes, there are rules and regulations, like we see in the Ten Commandments, but if we see the big picture, that Moses was trying to teach Israel through all the Rules he laid out, everything we do comes under the covering of one law.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40 NLT