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 Sermon on Sunday

By Brian Pepper

It has often been said that it was Jesus and the apostles that changed the seventh day Sabbath to Sunday. The Question is 'did Jesus and the apostles keep Sunday'?

Does the Bible Sanction Sunday Worship?

A well known Catholic priest, Priest Enright of the Catholic Redemptorial College, Kansas City Missouri, has made this statement: "I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible."

For some reason or other, Saturday the seventh day has been set aside in favour of Sunday, the first day. The Catholics claim that the change cannot be found in the Bible.

And yet Protestants recognize the change and claim to believe and follow the Bible. It is indeed very interesting. Catholics are accusing Protestants of being unscriptural in the keeping of Sunday.

In Exodus 20:8 we read, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." 

We can see from this text that the Sabbath is a holy day.

Why a Holy Day?

How did it become a holy day?

Genesis 2:1-3 says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Yes, a Holy God made a Holy Day, a Blessed Day.

Does it Matter which Day you Keep?

Some people say “It doesn’t matter what day that I keep as long as I keep one day holy.” 

I want to tell you that no man can make a day holy. Say for instance, I decide to keep Wednesday holy and I spend the day in prayer and Bible study. Would it be holy? Of course not! It takes a holy God to make anything holy.

As St Peter says, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16

Did Jesus Change Sabbath Observance?

There are some people who say that Jesus changed the day. Where in the Bible do you find that?

Matthew 5:17 says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” 

Did you notice the significance of the words ‘think not’? In these words Jesus tells us not to even think such a thing, don’t entertain it for a moment. He says "I haven’t the slightest intention of destroying the law."

Verse 18 says, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Then lest anyone still remains in doubt of the eternal obligation of the law, He plainly states the consequence of disregarding the claims of the Law.

Matthew 5:19 first part says, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven...”

The ones who break God's Commandments and teach that they can be broken by men are called ‘the least’. That is they will be looked upon as the least worthy. Christ did not mean that the one who broke the commandments and taught others to do so would go to heaven. But rather they would have their names mentioned as ones who would be shut out of the courts of glory.

But to those who obey the law and lead others to do the same is reserved a great reward.

Verse 19 second part says, "…whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Seeing that Jesus is our great example we should follow in His steps.

John 15:10 says, "I have kept My Fathers Commandments."

However if Jesus did change the Sabbath He would most certainly have made it known, and the record would be found in His New Testament.

First Day Mentioned in the Bible

We find the 1st Day of the week is mentioned eight times in the New Testament. So we will look into these eight texts to see if Jesus made any mention of a change or if He ever sanctified the 1st Day or Sunday.

Testimony of St Matthew

Written 6 years after the cross, Matthew gives us the history of Jesus earthly life and His utterances. But in all of the Book of Matthew there is only a single reference to the first day. Here it is:

Matthew 28:1 says, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”

This verse is very simple. It says the Sabbath was past. There is no indication in this text of any change. Surely St Matthew would have said, when the old Jewish Sabbath was past, it began to dawn toward Sunday the Christian Sabbath." But he did not say that. 

Well we certainly did not take very long to get through 28 chapters. However we may be able to find something in Mark.

Testimony of St Mark

Written about 10 years after the cross. We find that St Mark mentions the 1st Day of the week twice. We will examine these two texts.

Mark 16:1,2 says, “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.”

Did you notice that St Mark verifies the words of St Matthew. He is speaking of the same event. It clearly states that the Sabbath was past. I notice that the ladies had come prepared to work on Sunday, for they intended to embalm Jesus, and that was a big job in those days. This also shows us very clearly that they did not believe in His resurrection.

However we will read the next text. Mark 16:9 says, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene....”

With this text we read Mark 16: 10,11. “And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.”

When I went to Sunday school I was told that the disciples kept that first Sunday in honor of the resurrection. But the Bible does not tell us that. We are told here that the disciples did not believe in the resurrection.

I want you to hear what it says in Mark 16:14.  “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”

Why, the Lord had to rebuke the disciples for not believing in His resurrection. No honest person could use this text to support the claim that the apostles met on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

Well, that is all we find in St Mark’s record.

Testimony of St Luke

Now we come to the testimony of St. Luke. Written about 30 years after the Cross. In all of his writings he makes mention of the 1st Day of the week only once. Here it is.

Luke 24:1 says, "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”

It is very clear from this text that the women were prepared to work on this first Sunday after the Resurrection. In the preceding verse it mentioned that they rested on the Sabbath of the commandments, and now that the Sabbath is past they are ready to work.

We certainly hurried through 24 Chapters. It seems as if we will have to try St John.

Testimony of St John

Written about 60 years after the cross. We should find something interesting in St John's Gospel. 60 years after the cross is certainly a long time. Surely he will mention something in connection with the 1st Day or Sunday.

John 20:1 says, "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”

Well there is nothing in this text to establish Sunday keeping. However there is another text.

John 20:19 says, "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

Now I ask you, how could this be a celebration in honor of Sunday?  The Scripture distinctly says that the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews. It does not say honour Sunday as the day of the Resurrection. It would have said that if it had been the case. Anyway the object of our Lord's appearance is clearly stated in John 20:26. "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.”

The reason the Lord appeared on this occasion was to establish the faith of doubting Thomas in His Resurrection. 

Well we have examined all that the gospel writers have to say regarding the 1st Day or Sunday. Jesus never said a word about Sunday observance. The gospel writers never wrote a thing about it. However there two or three references in the other New Testament writings. There is one in Acts.

Testimony of Acts

Written by Luke 30 years after the Cross. Acts 20:7 says, "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

There is one thing that we need to keep in mind and that is that the Bible day starts at the setting of the sun.

Genesis 1:5.says, “…and the evening and the morning were the first day."

Leviticus 23:32 says,  "From even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath."

In Deuteronomy we are told when even begins. Deuteronomy 16:6  later part says, ".. thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.”

So you see from these texts that a Bible day is quite different from the Roman day that we now keep, that is from midnight to midnight. So St Paul was conducting a special meeting on Saturday night.

You see St Paul had been at Troas for seven days, now he was about to depart at dawn for Assos. He had preached on the Sabbath and then in order to give a final message to the believers at Troas he conducted a meeting that was climaxed by the Communion service. Then at dawn of Sunday he set off on a 19 or 20 mile trip to Assos. This would be a full day’s journey. If St Paul had wished to point out that Sunday was now to replace the Sabbath then he had a golden opportunity here. He would have stayed with the believers and started them off with Sunday keeping but he didn’t. He waited until it was dawn and off he went. Friends you cannot find any sanctity for Sunday keeping here.

Testimony of St Paul

St Paul wrote many books but in all his Epistles the 1st Day is only mentioned once. Here it is.

1 Corinthians 16:1,2 says, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Many have honestly believed that this text indicates that a collection was made on this Sunday. But listen to what Weymouth's modern Translation has to say. 1 Corinthians 16:2. "Let each one of you put on one side and store up at home."

You see St Paul mentions that the 1st Day would be the best time for doing this as it would be like our pay day. The early Christians closed their shops and businesses down on Friday evening and on Saturday they forgot all earthly cares. But on Sunday they would make up their account and calculate the prosperity that had attended their business for the past week. Then they would say so much for the grocer, so much for the baker, so much for the rent, and so on then after all, expenses were taken out they would put aside a sum for St Paul when he returned.

Now there remains one more text to investigate.

The Lord's Day

Revelation 1:10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.“

Jesus said that He was "Lord of the Sabbath. So if St John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day then it must have been the Sabbath. For in Exodus 20:8 we read, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Verse 10 says, "But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God:”

You see it is the Sabbath that is God's day or the Lord's day, not Sunday. God never claimed that day. He said that is just an ordinary day, a working day.

Well we have investigated every text that mentions the lst day or Sunday. We have taken away every text that they say supports Sunday. And so you see Sunday is supported by tradition alone.

Did St Paul Change the Day of Observance?

There are some who claim that St Paul was the one who changed the day. We will take a moment or two to examine this from the Bible.

Acts 18:4,11 says, "And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks…And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

For eighteen (18) months St Paul preached the gospel every Sabbath. And in connection with this text we read Acts 13:42,44: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath…And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”

There are some who say that St Paul only preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath in order to reach the Jews but here was a wonderful opportunity to explain to these Gentiles that the seventh day was not the Sabbath for the Christians but that the 1st day Sunday was the day. What a splendid opening this was for St Paul, to tell these Gentiles that while he found it necessary to meet with the Jews on their Sabbath in order to bring them the gospel, that they the Gentiles could have their meetings on Sunday.

Friends he never did nor did he ever intend to do, for we read in the Scriptures verse 44, “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”

So you can see very clearly from this that St Paul never changed the day.

Jesus Sabbath Prediction

But Jesus made a prophecy that the Sabbath would be kept 40 years after Calvary. Matthew 24:20 says, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day."

Jesus told the Christians living in Jerusalem that 40 years after His death on the Cross that Jerusalem would be taken by Roman soldiers but He assured the Christians that they would be able to flee from the terrible conditions that would come because of the seige of Jerusalem. But He commanded them to pray that they would not have to flee in the winter because the extreme cold would kill little babes if not the mothers too. And neither on the Sabbath day because the excitement, the commotion, and travel would not be in keeping to the way Jesus wants the Sabbath kept.

We are told in Psalms 111:7,8: "The works of his hands are verity and judgment: all his commandments are sure, they stand fast forever and ever."

Worshipping in Vain

It is no wonder that our Lord in Mark 7:7 said "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

Jesus says "I want to make it clear, when you base your worship on tradition and not the Bible, I don’t want any of it. As a matter of fact I find it repulsive. How can we go on worshipping on Sunday when God says that it is a clear waste of time?

Listen to what St John says, speaking for the Lord. 1 John 2:3,4 says, "And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

To the one who calls himself a Christian and yet refuses to obey God, God says that person is a liar for calling himself a Christian, And He says there is no truth in that person.

I would rather be in the class of people that God speaks of who will entering into heaven and will have a home in the New Jerusalem.

Revelation 22:14 says, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."

The ones who enter the Holy City are blessed of God. They have kept the day that God blessed. Now God calls them blessed. Would you like to be a Christian blessed by God? Well you can be by keeping the day that God blessed. 


The Bible in Song Sermons category is expected to be enlarged over time as hard copy sermon notes are scanned, typed and edited in webpage format. Visit Sermons Page for the complete list of sermons and Bible Commentaries

  PDF Sermon Files
Click image for sample. The Complete Sermon Collection is available at the Store Page. It includes 169 sermons which are listed on the Sermons Page, plus several audio visual sermonettes and a number of incomplete sermons. Original typed sermon notes have been scanned in PDF files on a DVD.


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Easy access to all the uploaded Revelation Bible Commentaries written by Brian Pepper. Also a CD of the complete Book of Revelation consisting of 22 PDF files scanned from original typed documents. These files can be downloaded by Adobe Acrobat to view on computer screen, or printed in booklet or other format.


  SDA Prophecy Chart
Bible in Song Sermons and Commentaries pages have exposed flaws in the "2300 day" prophecy chart most notably used by Seventh-day Adventists. Seventh-day Adventists in their biblical interpretation have favored the tradition of their founding fathers over Scripture and the "divine revelation" of their own prophet Ellen White. Read more.


Thank you for posting some of (Brian Pepper's) sermons. It's like reading the very words Jesus has spoken to me and is a great encouragement. I cannot say that about many Pastors but I can say that about (Pr Pepper). Thank you. Robert (USA) ... more testimonials.



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