Memorial OPC Adult Sunday School - Westminster Shorter Catechism – 2011-2012


Q57: Which is the fourth commandment?

A57: The fourth commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maid servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.”


Q58: What is required in the fourth commandment?

A58: The fourth commandment requires the keeping holy to God such set times as he appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven to be a holy Sabbath to himself.


Q59: Which day of the seven has God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?

A59: From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath.


The Sabbath is a command that is NOT REPEALED in the New Testament.


1.      The Attempts from the New Testament seeking to find the command repealed

A.     “Silence” and the Christian Church’s Canon/Rule

1.      Option #1: Only that which is explicitly repeated in the NT is binding on the Christian; all else has been done away with in Christ. (ans. This is a misunderstanding of the relationship between the OT and the NT.)

2.      Option #2: Only that which is explicitly repealed in the NT has passed away with the coming of Christ. All else remains binding. (This most accurately fits with the biblical data as we see God’s single, unified plan of salvation throughout the Bible.)

B.     Romans 14:5-6 (ans.: This passage is not applicable as it deals only with feast/fast days.)

C.     Galatians 4:10; Colossians 2:16-17 (ans.: These verses deal with the 7th day Sabbath, not Lord’s Day)

D.     The “difficulty” of observing the command in a “foreign land” now that the gospel has gone forth to the ends of the earth. (ans.: #1. “Hard cases make bad law.”#2. Consider Israel in Babylon; the Sabbath command was not rescinded for them during the captivity.)



2.     The Trajectory of the NT – points towards the enduring nature of the command.


A.    Note the amount of space given to this question in the gospels.






B.    Note the significance of the day of Christ’s resurrection.


1.     The “new creation” completed.




2.     The new Apostolic pattern introduced: John 20:26, Acts 2:1, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2




C.    Note the changes in the command – Creation à Exodus à New Creation (the Mosaic “additions” now shed)





3.     The Command Continues to Bear God’s Ownership – from the beginning to the end


A.    The Old Testament Precedent





B.    The Startling Words of Jesus: Mark 2:27-28





C.    The Lord’s Ownership in a Foreign Land – the Island of Patmos: Revelation 1:10





D.    The Clear (?) Declaration: Hebrews 4:9