You can hear the audio of this sermon at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/697261/4632668
• Lana asked on FB last week (w/o any idea this was coming up) what heaven would be like. Answers tell us a lot about ourselves. Nearly all of them appealed to our sense of gaining peace and rest in some way.
• In COVID-19 world, we’re probably even more connected to work than when we went to the office. Zoom/Teams meetings one after the other. TeleMed is the new doctor’s office. We’re all forced to some extent to be more digital than we’ve ever been.
• Opportunities to simply rest (not necessarily be motionless or sleep) are fewer and further between.
Sabbath is the Only Eden We Have Left.
• We try to manage our time and efforts well but it never seems enough.
• Old-time blue laws in many states. But it’s impossible to legislate morality and spirituality.
• Q: How can I find rest?
You can change your schedule all you want, but until you change your master, you’ll never find rest for your soul.
• We have no time for the things that matter most.
• We are made in God’s image and He knew/knows that we need to rest. Called the Sabbath.
• Seems old-school, irrelevant. One of God’s old-time “top ten” commandments:
Exodus 20:8–11 8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
• V. 11 reminds of the story of creation:
Genesis 2:2–3 On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.
• This Sabbath wasn’t because God had a hard week. He rested in celebration.
• Built into the cycles of creation.
• Also confirmed by our own research: after 50 hours of work in a week, productivity begins to decline rapidly.
• Working too long contributes to absenteeism and turnover and sleep deprivation.
• We’ve rediscovered what God knew all along: We need to take a break on a regular basis.
• Back to the “big ten”: 20% of the top commands deal with Sabbath and idolatry but along with God’s commentary, make up 60% of the text.
• God had more to say about these two commands than all the rest of the ten.
• Reason: He knew we would struggle the most with these. And they are interrelated.
• Idolatry in our world is materialism. To get the goods, means we have to work. The more we “need” the material things (worship them), the harder we have to work (violate God’s desire for us to rest.)
• We tend to violate these two hand in hand.
• But when we recognize God’s ownership of our time and treasure, we live longer, are more productive and become more generous.
• Since the Garden, humans have struggled with everything. Relationships, creativity, aging, etc.
• The only part of the experience that is left to us is the opportunity to find rest. The remainder of our lives are better when we find rest.
• Where do we find this Sabbath? We’re not OT Jews who even then struggled with how to experience the Sabbath.
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath
• Throughout his ministry, Jesus was criticized for his “lack” of Sabbath observance.
Mark 2:24 But the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”
• The Jewish leaders had built up an impressive list of rules and regs surrounding the original intent of the Sabbath which was to simply give time and attention to God and to enjoy life.
• They had rules on everything:
o If you could latch your sandals with one hand, it wasn’t working. But if it took two hands, you couldn’t put them on because that was work.
o You could carry two acorns, but not three. You had to eat one before you could move on.
o Women couldn’t look in a mirror on the Sabbath in case they saw a gray hair and would be tempted to pluck it out - which was considered work.
o How about this: an egg laid on the Sabbath couldn’t be eaten.
• This is crazy. If we’re so busy trying to keep up with what we should and shouldn’t do, how in the world can you ever rest?
• Jesus rejected these traditional regulations.
• He healed on the Sabbath to make the point that humans and their needs are a lot more important thana bunch of rules.
Humanity is served by the Sabbath, not burdened by it.
Mark 2:27–28 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”
• Jesus not only rejected the regulations but actively claimed to be the Lord of Rest.
• He demonstrated that Lordship by acting on the Sabbath with compassion and love.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Be Careful About Keeping the Sabbath
• What was meant to be a blessing became a burden. A collection of laws.
• A time to rest became a measuring stick of righteousness.
• Sabbath rest is a time to literally re-create. To celebrate life and God.
• As disciples of Jesus, we need to take Paul’s words to heart:
Colossians 2:20–21 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”?
• Righteousness is found in Christ alone. Not our adherence to rule-keeping.
• Here’s the emphasis we need to catch:
• Barna research.
o 1/3 still connected. Still and only attending their pre-quarantine church.
o 1/3 sorta-connected. They are watching/attending their “home church as well as other digital church streams.
o 1/3 probably completely disconnected from religious practices. They say they are “going to church” anywhere at all. For now, they’ve dropped out.
• Very dangerous place for folks to be.
• This means they are not taking the opportunity to come apart and rest, recreate. From a pastor’s perspective that means they are risking their souls.
• The struggle we face in the current circumstances is that the traditional tools we’ve used to pause from work and come together to edification, encouragement, worship, aren’t available and were already losing some of their effectiveness. (across all churches).
• This means we are going to be more creative in how we guide the church into worship, study, fellowship.
Acts 2:42–47 42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
• Worship is a fundamental part of rest and recreation.
• Take time to rest in Jesus and let Him be Lord of your Sabbath.