Summary: Describes two type of work ethic prominent in our society today and how each of them tempts us to violate the 4th commandment.

What If They’re Wrong Series Exodus 20:8-11

“But It’s My Day Off”

It’s a fact of Scripture that we don’t have to observe the Sabbath.

The reason we don’t have to is that we are not Hebrew.

The Bible says, "The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant." (Exodus 31:16)

Because we don’t have to observe the Sabbath, it’s tempting to ignore this commandment altogether.

It’s tempting to say, "Well, since I’m not an Israelite, I’m not bound by this commandment. It really has no relevance in my culture or my life."

Does this commandment have significance?

Is it relevant for us today?

Our culture says no. It doesn’t have any relevance today.

Every day is the same as the next.

There’s nothing special about a day, except that the weekends are "mine."

"Sunday is my only day off. I should be able to spend it the way I want."

God’s word disagrees with that answer!"

The answer to each of those questions is "yes."

Yes this commandment is relevant.

Yes, it is significant.


Because we are still God’s people.

You might remember in Verse 2 that God said, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

The letter of the law might not apply, but the principle of the law is just as valid and relevant today as it was when God gave it to Moses.

We might not need to observe the Sabbath, that period of time between 6pm Friday and 6pm Saturday, but we do need to observe "The Lord’s Day."

That’s the day that has significance for us.

That’s where the heart of the law is.

Setting aside a full day to worship the God who created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it.

We observe Sunday, the first day of the week, as the day we set apart for God because that’s when our Savior, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead.

Or do we?

There are two extremes governing the work ethic in our culture today.

A. The first extreme is to work 12 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.

That’s not good.

Look at the example God himself left for us.

God created everything in the universe in 6 days.

Now, you might disagree with me that God worked for only 6 literal days.

You might think that God did his work in "6 long periods of time" rather than 6 - 24 hour periods.

You might buy into what some people call "The Gap Theory" where God worked for a while, then waited for the dust to settle, then did some more work.

You might believe the earth is millions upon millions of years old.

I do not.

I believe that when God says in Genesis that he did it in 6 days, and he continually confirms those 6 days throughout the Bible, He did it in 6 literal days.

God set an example for us.

Work 6 days, then rest.

Work 6 more days, then rest.

And so on, and so on...

Wouldn’t have been much of an example for us if he had worked for 6 million years then taken a break.

Why did he do that?

Two reasons:

1. He understands better than all of us how the human body works.

After all, he built it from the ground up!

The body needs rest.

A human body just cannot tolerate repeated abuse.

At some point it will crash.

Look at how most people act when they’re tired:

The more tired a person is, the grumpier he is.

The more tired a person is the less alert he is.

The more tired a person is, the more dangerous he is.

Have you ever taken a long trip in your car?

Ever drive for hours and hours without a break?

What happens?

Your body begins to break down and you lose your focus.

Without rest, the body will break down and make you give it some rest.

You wouldn’t think of running your car 24/7, why would you do that to your body?

Fact is that in most cases we do it for money - whether ours or someone elses.

We’ve all heard of bosses that make their people work long hours like that without a substantial period of rest.

Owners of companies like that think they’ll lose money if they don’t work their employees to the bone.

You’d think they would want them to rest so they could work more effectively and efficiently, but lots of employers don’t think like that.

Our culture seems to have adopted this "work them until they drop, then get rid of them because they don’t work" sort of attitude.

Sometimes all that work is self-inflicted.

Money is almost always the cause of that.

We have this mindset that the more we work, the more money we should get.

That’s true, we should get more money and we often do, but is it worth it?

When do you find time to enjoy your earnings?

When do you find time to enjoy your family?

And when do you find time to enjoy God?

2. That’s the second, and most important reason: to enjoy God.

We try to read things into this commandment.

For example, we use that part that says "...he rested on the seventh day" to justify our sports events, our family reunions, our laziness, our lack of church attendance.

We assume that God is telling us to take Sunday off as our day of rest and relaxation and we should be able to spend it any way we want.

That’s not what the passage says.

It tells us to remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy, and to do all our work in six days so that we are able to devote that one day each week to God.

To give ourselves one day to keep focused on the really important things of life.

God says, "give me a day."

One day out of your busy schedule.

That’s really all God asks for.

So, how do you spend your Sundays?

Obviously, today you spent part of that day in church.

Some of you went to Sunday School, some of you didn’t.

What are you going to do with the rest of your day?

Is the remainder of this day devoted to you or devoted to God?

Are you going to rest your spirit as well as your body?

Your spirit needs a time of rest just as much as your body.

How does your spirit get rest?

Not by taking a nap!

It gets it from being in the presence of God. (cf Isaiah 63:14)

Is an hour enough for your spirit to get rest?

Is two hours enough?

How much is enough?

I do believe the amount of spiritual rest you get is proportionate to the amount of time you spend in God’s presence.

The Commandment to observe Sabbath is a call to quit the "rat race" of life for one day and to try and gain some eternal perspective on our lives.

B. The second extreme is to work as little as possible.

Most people work Monday through Friday, with Saturday and Sunday off.

That’s the average.

There’s nothing inherently sinful about that.

But consider how that came about.

When we were strictly an agrarian society, people worked 6 days a week, usually from sun-up to sundown.

Men spent lots of time in the fields with their boys; women spent lots of time in the home with their daughters.

They all came together at night to read together and interact.

The Bible was the center of a lot of lives.

Sunday was the Lord’s Day, and it was almost unheard of not to be in church.

The rest of the day was usually spent with family; the father usually led in some sort of devotion.

Enter in the Industrial Revolution.

Men moved from the farm to factories.

They worked the same amount of hours, but something was missing - their families.

They needed more time with their families, so people started grumbling about their long workweeks.

Unions began to form to negotiate contracts giving workers more pay for fewer hours.

The entire work ethic began to change.

The 5-day a week job became the standard.

People got real happy!

Better pay - fewer hours.

Did people spend more time with their families?

Yes - there was more time for recreation.

Now you could spend an entire weekend away with your family.

Weekends were for family.

Surely God wouldn’t mind that.

After all, God did create the family.

Where did God fit in to all of that?

He didn’t.

Now there was less time for God.

And in our culture today not only is there less time for God there is less time for family.

When we violate this commandment God and family both lose out because there’s just no time for them.

It’s sort of a paradox - we work longer hours doing less to make more money to buy things to save us time but we still have no time because we work longer hours and we grumble and complain because we don’t want to work at all.

Think about that!

The average American in our culture today would rather not work.

God says work.

Get your work done, then give me some time.

You can have those 5 or 6 days to get stuff done for yourself, but on that 7th day, give me some time.

Do you have any idea how significant that is?

The God of the universe who created everything in 6 days wants to spend time with us.

That is awesome.

But it’s humbling.

God doesn’t yell and scream at us to give him time.

He doesn’t force himself into our lives.

He gave us the Sabbath and he said, "Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy."

Set it apart...give God some of your time.