Some may argue that this is an Old Testament command and therefore does not apply to us but it truly is not so.
When Christ came to earth, He fulfilled the laws and became the perfect sacrifice for sin. Therefore today we are not trucking off to the temple everyday to sacrifice animals :)
The next verses in Matthew 5 prove to us that even though we live in the church age or the age of grace as we like to call it, God's standard for holy living has been raised NOT lowered as some would have us believe. Read verses 21-44....look for the phrases "Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time" and then look for the phrase "But I say unto you". In each of these cases it can be clearly seen how the law that was given "of old time" has even more application in the here and now. It is clear through these verses that God has raised the bar.
Back to the sabbath....
The principle behind the sabbath still applies today. Keep it holy.
Holy means dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred. That's exactly what God expects. Over and over and over in God's word you will find the Lord calling His people to be holy.
1 Peter 1:15 "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation:"
My husband and I grew up in a very conservative church and Sunday was a day of rest. To this day we are thankful for the basic principles we have been taught. Although we have "tweaked" some of our standards, the basis still remains.
We fear that the holiness of the Lord's day is slowly but surely being compromised.
To give you an idea here are some basic "guidelines" we as a family try to adhere to.( I am in no way "preaching" that you all should follow ours because they are perfect and if you do something different you are wrong. )
Because the day is to be "set apart", my husband and I decided that the Lord desired it to be totally different than the other 6 days of the week. We therefore do not work on Sunday as a general rule....now my husband has snow clearing contracts that must be done on any day of the week and therefore there are Sundays when he has to go out. He does not enjoy it when he has to go out and there may come a day when he says I'm not doing this anymore. Follow the Lord's leading!
Our children do not play outside riding bikes or doing those things that they would do on every other day of the week. We don't believe it is too much to ask that they learn to set aside a day to be quiet. Reading, singing praises, quiet board games, visiting, quiet walks, opportunities for service like ministering at a retirement home are all things that we will do on a Sunday. Sometimes we allow a quiet movie but we are very careful that the day is spent glorifying God and placing Him first.
We try not to do any shopping. When the Lord was supplying the needs of the Israelites with manna, He was careful to tell them to make sure they gathered enough to last them over the sabbath for He would not be sending any that day. I believe this principle would be pleasing to the Lord today. Plan ahead! We even try to remember to fill our tanks with gas (we do about 3 hours of driving every Sunday as we live 30 minutes from church and do a nursing home ministry almost every Sunday afternoon).
Please don't get the wrong idea....we try! :) Many times we have forgotten to fill the tank with gas and we have to stop and do it. If we don't have time to make it home for dinner before we have to leave for the nursing home we stop and buy dinner. We try not to do things on Sunday that can wait for another day...I would not be comfortable shopping for pants for my husband or anything like that, that certainly can be done on another day. Most of you know I enjoy Value Village and they throw their 50% off days on Monday but as an added bonus members can come in the day before (Sunday)for the first look. Oh that was not easy for me! But you know what?! The Lord has abundantly blessed and provided and I have not missed out on anything!
There are going to be times when you need to "break" some of your rules...happens to us! but the point is to please the Lord and I know He is pleased when we set apart the Lord's day as holy.
I encourage you to "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy"! The Lord will abundantly bless you for it!