Summary: Looking at Jesus’ teaching about the Sabbath

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A Proper Use of the Sabbath - Luke 6:1-11

Gladstone Baptist Church - 13/10/04

On your handouts this morning, I have a little questionnaire for you. It is a number of questions which I want you to answer. No one is going to look at your answers. No one is going to mark you right or wrong, but I want you to spend some time answering them here this morning.

Q1 - Do you make sure you have a rest each Sunday?

Q2 - Do you intentionally focus on God each Sunday?

Q3 - Would you be happy to play sport on Sunday?

Q4 - Would you be happy to work regularly on Sunday?

Q5 - Would you go to church on Sunday when on holidays?

Q6 - Do you think God would be pleased with how you spent your Sundays?

What is permitted and what is not permitted to do on a Sunday has been a hot topic for Christians for many centuries. In fact, it was a hot topic for Jews since the command to observe the Sabbath was initiated nearly 3500 years ago.

This morning I want to talk about a time when Jesus had a run in with the Pharisees. He was always seeming to get on their bad side wasn’t He?

Read Luke 6:1-11


The controversy that Jesus has on this occasion was regarding what is okay and what is not okay to do on the Sabbath. Before we look at this, it is worth looking again at what the Sabbath is all about

The Origin of the Sabbath Concept

The word Sabbath is from a hebrew root that means to CEASE OR STOP. It has the connotation of stopping what we are doing.

The first mention of Sabbath in Scripture is in Ex 16:23. The Israelites have just been led out of slavery and they are hungry in the desert. God wonderfully provides for them food in the form of manna and quails and here the instructions are being given to the Israel about the use of this food. Ex 16:23In

23 He said to them, "This is what the LORD commanded: `Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath (cease work) to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’ " 24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 "Eat it today," Moses said, "because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any."

Every day the people were to gather enough food for that day, but the Sabbath was a different day - the ordinary, everyday chores were not to be done. It was to be a rest day, a holy day to the Lord.

It is an interesting practice to just adopt - Resting on the seventh day. I’m quite sure in days of slavery, there were not many rest days at all so where did it come from? It seems to follow God’s example in creation, though the word Sabbath is not mentioned here..

You will remember that God created for 6 days all that we see, but on the 7th Day he rested. Gen 2:3 says that

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.

God "rested". This is the word "Shabath" the Root that the word Sabbath comes from. It means to cease from work. For 6 days, God was busy creating. But on the 7th day, he stopped creating. He didn’t lie back sipping lemonade under a tree. But he stopped the work that kept Him busy for the previous 6 days.

Somehow this 7th day was a special day, different to any other. It was special or HOLY because God set it apart as different. If something is set apart for a special purpose, it is holy. Don’t get hung up on that word holy - it just means special, different, set apart for a special purpose. As Christians we are holy - not because we are perfect, no - but because we are set apart for God - we are special, different.

Because God made the Sabbath holy, it is holy. We don’t observe the Sabbath, to make it holy, but because it is already holy. Make sure you have grasped this concept - it is important.

In Exod 31:13-14 , we read God commanding the Israelites to observe the Sabbath.

`You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. - `Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you.

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