Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

03/17/2019 A.M.

 

WRITTEN IN STONE

Remember The Sabbath And Keep It Holy

Exodus 20.8-11  Deuteronomy 5.12-15

 

We continue our study of the Ten Commandments...We’ve made the point previously that we feel that the principles behind these Ten Commands are eternal in nature.

 

This Morning… I hope that you can make the distinction

with me between a command and a principle.

 

For instance Noah was told to build an ark to the saving of himself and his family. We know that we are not to build an ark today... But we are to submit to the principle behind this command... That is to obey God’s voice… Always!

 

The command for Abraham was to travel to the land of Canaan... That’s not our command... But the principle behind the command... To go where God calls us is still very much operational today.

 

Many of us are not involved in God’s Kingdom work... His Kingdom ministry because we are not obeying this eternal principle... Amen?

 

No... We are not killing giants as did David... But we are conquering the Giants of our culture...Giants of the flesh... that Satan brings before us each day.

 

You see church... The Ten Commandments contain certain principles that were in effect long before they were ever written in stone at Sinai.

 

In fact our fourth commandment... Remember the Sabbath was the first principle given in Genesis... God rested on the seventh day of creation… Listen to the text… By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 

 

It was Paul who wrote... In Romans 15.4-6… These things written aforetime were written for our learning... For our instruction... That we might have hope and that we might live in harmony with God and one another.

 

Then in 2 Timothy3.15-17... All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

At the time Paul wrote these words... The only Scripture available was that of the Old Testament.... Commands no!... Principles yes!... They are eternal.

 

Eternal Principles like...

No other god’s before Me was evident in the Garden of Eden...

• The principle of worshiping idols has always been forbidden by God...

• The principle of reverence and respect for God’s name is an eternal principle.

• This morning we come to the principle of Human Rest.

 

Now... Some object to the Sabbath Rest...

As a principle because they say it’s not repeated in theNew Testament...

I beg to differ... I don’t want to be argumentative…

But I want you to consider these thoughts... These considerations…

 

Consideration number one... For Children of God...There’s a command for a reasonable self love... Love God... Love your neighbor... Love yourself... In that order. Loving self includes taking care of our ourselves... Our body... 

 

John gives us the reason for that... Because... God... Christ... Lives in us through the Spirit He gave us.

 

We are the Temple of God... This fleshly body is the Temple of God... Therefore we should be taking care of His Temple by appropriate rest.

 

In fact... Two weeks ago we learned that... Work without rest... Becoming a WORKAHOLIC... is idolatry... Placing work before God.

 

Consideration number two... Remember as Children of God... We are striving to build our life-house upon the rock of Jesus’ teaching... His Example... And those things inferred by His teaching.

 

• Did God Rest?... He did!... Scripture tells us we are to rest because He rested.

• Did Jesus rest?... He did... Jesus kept the Law perfectly... So He rested. 

• Did He encourage His disciples to rest?...Mark 6.30 & 31 has Jesus saying to His tired weary disciples... Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

 

It was Jesus who said in Mark 2.27... The Sabbath was made to meet the need of man for rest... Not man to meet the requirements or the Sabbath.

 

Our King James puts it in these words... Man was not made for the Sabbath... But the Sabbath for man… The context here is not worship… But works vs. rest.

 

Did Jesus teach by these verses that it was good and proper for us to rest?... I believe so!

 

It’s interesting to note that... One of the problems Jesus had with the Scribes and Pharisees was that they had devised so many rules for what could and could not be done on the Sabbath Rest that it turned God's gift of rest... His blessed day of rest... Into a real burden.

 

When a strict Jewish Family had kept the some 1500 rules the Pharisees had created for keeping… Not violating the Sabbath Day Rest... They were more tired than at any time of their week. Again... We must ask... how much like God and Jesus do we want to be?... If they rested... Commanded rest... Exemplified rest... Inferred rest...Shouldn’t we rest?

 

Consideration number three is found in our own Hermeneutic.

I believe that if we live up to the Hermeneutic we have espoused over the years... We will find physical rest as being a part of living for and in Jesus 

 

For instance... We in the church have used a hermeneutic that says... If we can find... 

Direct Command... 

• A New Testament Example... 

• Or where something is Necessarily Inferred... 

We believe it to be something we should apply to our Christian Walk.

 

Now... Let’s examine an example for each of these principles... For instance... Does the Bible Teach that we are to be evangelistic... That we are to share Jesus with others?

 

Is it Commanded?... From the lips of Jesus... Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit... Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

 

Is there an example... There are many passages... Perhaps none as meaningful as Acts 8.4... Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

 

Is there Necessary Inference?... Is evangelism...Sharing Jesus... Inferred as something we ought to do? Acts 4.12 is our verse... Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

 

If Jesus is the only way to be saved... It is necessarily inferred that we must preach and teach Him... Share Him with others.

 

Now... Let’s apply this hermeneutic to rest...

• Is it commanded... Rest because God rested...

• Do we have an example... Jesus and His disciples rested...

• If Jesus kept the law and principles of God perfectly... That Necessarily infers He rested.

 

Number four has to do with a misunderstanding of the word Sabbath in our text.

Because the Sabbath became the day of worship in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple... And the fact that Sabbath Worship has its various Old Testament instructions... Many say we don’t keep the Sabbath... And rightly so.

 

But notice this audience... Not once... Not once... In our text is Sabbath Worship mentioned.

 

In fact... The Ten Commandments in no way mention or infer anything about Sabbath Worship... It’s about Sabbath Rest only... Read it again from either Exodus or Deuteronomy.

 

Perhaps we should do that now... Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy... Holy here simply means set apart... Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. Here’s the reason... For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

 

Indeed... We make too much of this when we read into the text what is not there... The Sabbath here is about rest... Rest for man... Children... Servants... and Animals...And later we find that God enjoined this rest upon the farmlands and vineyards. 

 

Consideration number five... The Christian life... Even heaven is seen as rest.

How many times have we heard Jesus say or imply that a life in Him was a place of rest... Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

Listen as I read Hebrews 4.9-11... There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God... For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

 

If I understand these verses... God expects us to work in His Kingdom... And that if we do... And if we do… He will give us rest... But if we don’t... Our non-work...Non-ministry… Will be considered as disobedience.

 

Then there is Revelation14.13... Then I heard a voice from heaven say... Write... Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on... Yes... Says the Spirit... they will rest from their labor... For their deeds will follow them.

 

OK... Let’s change directions...

What does it mean to remember the Sabbath to keep it holy

 

The suggestion for us to remember suggests that we have an acquaintance with the Sabbath.

 

The nation of Israel...We here this morning... Know that God rested from His creation work on the seventh day... And thereby sanctified the principle of rest... Not just the day… But the principle of Rest!... Read Genesis 2.3 again.

 

I found it interestingto note in preparation for our lesson that no other nation practiced such a day or principle. 

 

People may have rested when they were tired... But there was… No idolatrous god… No pagan god… Command such rest... This was unique with Jehovah God’s people.

 

Israel many not have known... But we know the why of this rest principle... That if not obeyed... If we don’t rest... It takes a heavy toll on our bodies and minds… Our whole being.

 

Let’s note some blessings to be found in REST...

 

The Sabbath Rest was a safeguard...

It served as a reminder that there is more to life than work.

 

Church... We can never be caught up with all that needs to be done in life... Can we?

 

And wanting to do it...Trying to do it... Making ourselves available to do it... Can lead to our...Families... Faith... and Health… being abused. 

 

Here it is... Time demands are always going to be there... But ceaseless... continual labor should not be our behavior.

 

Rest is our safeguard that keeps us from the frantic pace that robs us of our... Faith... Health... and Family’s… Well-being... Amen

 

Sabbath rest serves as a reminder... 

It was given to remind the people of God that we were created by Him… For Him... To become like Him…And this includes this principle of Rest.

 

Notice in our text...Verse ten... It is a Sabbath unto God.

It reminds us that He is an integral part of our life... That indeed... It is in Him that we live...move and have our being... In Him we exist. 

 

Indeed… This should remind us that both our work and rest are to be God-regulated. 

 

Sabbath rest is a sign.

The Israelites were instructed to keep the Sabbath so that other nations around them could learn something about God. He wanted them to learn that there is a difference in grasping for life and being given the gift of life by a loving Creator Father God.

 

Exodus 31.13 has God saying... You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so that you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.

 

We close by asking the question...

How can we tell if we are observing God’s Rest?...

 

One... Are we refreshed?

In our culture... It is easy to have our… Leisure activities... Our rest… To become more taxing than our work... And often leaves us drained...

We must be careful here.

 

Are we reflective?

Have we considered God in our rest at all?

Have we counted our blessings... Understanding that life and all its blessings both physical and spiritual come from Him?

Perhaps rest is not rest at all… Until we consider God as a part of our rest.

 

Are we refocused?

In the hurried pace of our economy... It is easy to lose our compass... Lose our ability to navigate life.

 

Things... Work...Career... Appointments... Deadlines... Cause us to lose our way.

 

Rest... God’s Rest... Is about self-examination... It allows us to get back to our... true values and the absolute realities of life.

 

Church... I hope you will see rest as something that God wants us to do...

• Because it will bring refreshment... 

• It will cause us to think about Him… 

• And will enable us to refocus on the purpose of life.

 

In the way of invitation... Let’s remember that Heaven is a form of rest... And that it is ours if we will come to… A faith in God... A change in lifestyle...Confess the name of Jesus... And be born again in New Testament baptism.

 

Perhaps we just need to submit to His command to… Relax... Body... Mind... and Soul in genuine Biblical rest... As we stand and sing this song together.