Why Do Christians Worship on the First Day of the Week?
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ meets on the first day of the week (Sunday) for regular worship. At that time, the members of the church eat the Lord’s supper. This is done in memory of the death of Jesus Christ for our sins. Teaching and exhorting from the Word of God is done. Prayers and songs of praise are offered up to God. A contribution it taken for the poor and for the preaching of the gospel. The Lord’s church meets on Sunday because some very important events happened on that day.
Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, arose from the dead on he first day of the week: “Now when he was risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons” (Mark 16:9; see also Matthew 28:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10). The resurrection of Christ is very important to Christians. It proves beyond all doubt that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God. It also gives us the assurance that we too will be raised to life again (see I Corinthians 15).
The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles upon the first day of the week: “And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). “Pentecost” actually means “fifty days.” Pentecost was a special feast of the Jews which was to be observed fifty days after their Passover feast. It is also called “the feast of harvest” or “firstfruits.” Sometimes it is called “the feast of weeks” because it was seven weeks after Passover. “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering; seven sabbaths shall there be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meal-offering unto Jehovah” (Leviticus 23:15-16; see also Exodus 23:14-19). Since the Sabbath was Saturday, the seventh day of the week, the day after the Sabbath would be Sunday, the first day of the week (Exodus 20:9-10).
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ began on this Pentecost day when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. On that day, they preached the gospel. Men heard, believed, repented, and were baptized for the remission of sins. They were added by the Lord to His church, which is the church of Christ (Acts 2:36-47). Thus, the church had its beginning on Sunday, the first day of the week.
The early church met on the first day of the week to remember Jesus Christ by eating the Lord’s supper: “And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). Paul was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16). But in spite of that, when he came to Troas, he stayed seven days (Acts 20:6). Without doubt, he was waiting for the first day of the week so he could worship with the church.
Some perverted translations of the Bible, such as the so-called “Good News Bible” and the “New English Bible,” mistranslated this passage. They make the breaking of bread, which is the Lord’s supper, to be a fellowship meal. They put “Saturday evening” instead of the first day of the week. This is misleading, dishonest, and wrong! The Greek words here for “the first day of the week” are the same as in Luke 24:1, where it is correctly translate “the first day of the week.” Those who really want to follow God’s Word will not use such translations.
Not only did the early Christians meet on the first day of the week for the Lord’s supper, but they also engaged in the other acts of worship. It is on this day that Christians are commanded to give for the work of the Lord: “Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come” (I Corinthians 16:2). Christians must exhort one another not to forsake the assembly on the first day of the week (Hebrews 10:25).
Jesus commanded His disciples: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). He also commanded them to teach the ones baptized “to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Now, when one sees the early churches observing the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, it follows that the apostles taught them to observe it on that day. We must follow the New Testament pattern in order to be the true church today.
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