Is it okay to gather with a group of believers who don’t keep Sabbath? It may seem like a silly question, but it is a subject that stirs up strong feelings.
Sabbath Is Firmly Established
Let me clarify first that I’m NOT talking about keeping Sabbath on any day other than the day God established. He never changed the day. While many people choose to keep Sabbath on a different day, God still keeps it on His established day.
With that out of the way, I AM talking about getting together with groups of believers on days other than Sabbath. Looking at scripture, it’s easy to see that Sabbath was an established time for believers to meet, read God’s Word and pray together. Naturally, Sabbath is a day set aside to focus on God, spend time with Him and get to know Him better. So it makes sense to get together with others who have set aside the day to do this.
But is it lawful to gather with a group of believers on a day other than Sabbath?
And is it lawful to gather with a group of believers who don’t keep Sabbath?
Let’s look at the first question: Is it lawful to gather with a group of believers on a day other than Sabbath?
The answer is a pretty easy yes. Believers in Bible times gathered on many different days at many different times for many different reasons. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20
The second question is the one that causes problems: Is it lawful to gather with a group of believers who don’t keep Sabbath?
Of course I’m referring to believers who gather on Sunday. It is understood that most Sunday believers do not keep Sabbath. Most view Sunday as the “new Sabbath” or they really haven’t thought of Sabbath at all. It is not taught or it is simply explained as “done away with.”
What I have to keep in mind is that keeping Sabbath does not bring me salvation. It is an act of obedience and love after salvation. Whether I keep Sabbath or not does not add to or take away from my salvation. God sees the hearts of all believers. There are believers who love God but are ignorant of Sabbath (me a few years ago). There are believers who are aware of Sabbath but choose to believe a lie. There are believers who want to honor God by keeping Sabbath on Sunday. And there are believers who love God and honor Him by keeping His Sabbath on His established day. The common tie is that we are believers. We have been saved by God, undeservingly, from death.
When my family started keeping Sabbath, my husband was on staff (media minister) at a Southern Baptist church. So we were keeping Sabbath Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, then going to church on Sunday. We expected God to call us away from this church because they don’t keep Sabbath. We actively prayed and looked for other job opportunities. My husband was offered a job with a Sabbath keeping church, but heard God clearly say, “not now.” Instead, God asked us to stay and be an influence at our church. It’s not always easy having some different beliefs, but we have been surprised at the interest in Sabbath from people in our Sunday church. We share respectfully when God gives us opportunities and people have respectfully listened. We understand how they view Sabbath because we thought the same way two short years ago.
I understand that some believers and churches reject those who choose to keep Sabbath. I realize the pain and hurt that comes with rejection from those who are fellow believers. It just isn’t right. But keep in mind that rejection can go both ways. It is also not right to reject fellow believers who don’t keep Sabbath. If I see them as God’s fellow believers, I will want to share about Sabbath in love. I can’t control their response, only my motivation and actions.
I came to the conclusion that only God can give the answer to the question of whether to attend a non-Sabbath keeping church. For some, God will call them away. For others, like myself, God will ask them to stay. God knows the situation and how He can receive the most glory. Let Him be the one to guide you. You may face criticism and rejection from non-Sabbath keepers and Sabbath keepers alike, but you can’t go wrong when you keep your eyes on what God asks of you. Honor and obey God and you will find His blessings!