By Stephen Flurry
The Bible is very specific on what should and should not be done on the Sabbath day. We know we are not to work on the Sabbath. But God also gives us specific instructions on what we should talk about on His Sabbath.
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon His name” (Malachi 3:16). This same verse is used to introduce the book Malachi’s Message. Those who fear God and are faithful enough to hold on to His true teachings will be written in a “book of remembrance.” However, that’s not all. True Philadelphians will also be characterized as those who speak “often one to another.”
How is our conversation on God’s Sabbath day? In coming before God on His Sabbath day, our fellowship first and foremost is with Him and His Son Jesus Christ. But a second, and also very important, aspect of Sabbath fellowship is that with the brethren. With this in mind, just what should be discussed on God’s Holy Sabbath?
Controlling Our Thoughts
When the Sabbath begins, we must first realize it is God’s day. God gave us six days to take care of our business and make a living. But the seventh day is God’s day. How can we expect to speak about the right things with our brethren if we haven’t first done so with our Creator? Take plenty of time, more than you do during the week, to pray fervently and to study and meditate on God’s law.
Notice what John wrote: “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). We can only have the right kind of Sabbath fellowship if we first fellowship with God and Christ in the right way.
Paul admonished us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” This of course should be the way we strive to live every day of our lives. But on the Sabbath, when we are away from our jobs, school, or whatever else may require our time during the week, we should be even more diligent to apply this instruction.
What we say is merely an extension of our thoughts. We might be able to fool people for a while and appear righteous, but sooner or later, we will say what’s on our minds, or in our hearts. Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 12:35: “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” If we are thinking good thoughts, we will speak good thoughts. In verse 34, Jesus said, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Conversely, if we are thinking evil thoughts, we will speak evil words.
Since the Sabbath is God’s day, the topics for conversation should be centered around God and His plan. Isaiah gives us further understanding on what we should talk about. “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words” (Isaiah 58:13). Isaiah went on to say how much we would be blessed for properly doing that. Just as we are not supposed to work or seek our own pleasure on the Sabbath, neither are we to speak “our own words.” Several things that you might typically talk about during the week may not be appropriate on the Sabbath. Discussing our favorite basketball team or our next financial expenditure usually would be classed as “our own words.”
What then should we talk about? We who have been called out of this world have the privilege of being in God’s Church at one of the most exciting times ever. Much is happening today that is the direct fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The topics for inspiring Sabbath conversations are truly countless! Never before has God’s overall master plan been so clear as it is today. Our incredible human potential is indeed awesome and most inspiring to talk about. Discussing current events in light of Bible prophecy not only makes good conversation, it can also be very educational for those who may have missed some of the news events over the previous week. Philadelphia Church of God members are regularly updated on the miraculous growth this Work of God is experiencing. Discussing the fruits and progression of the Work is definitely appropriate, as is discussing the messages given that day.