Summary: The celebration of a Sabbath for Christians is a matter, not of the letter of the law, but a matter of the Spirit and the Heart. How do we get there?
Sabbath: The Old Replaced by the New 2 Corinthians 3
We are spending a few weeks looking at the topic the fourth commandment: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it HOLY. Last week we saw that God rested on the seventh day after CREATING for six days. He didn’t command man to keep it holy because without sin, Adam and Eve only had to DELIGHT in God’s beautiful magnificent creation. With a GOOD AND GODLY creation, man had NO WEEDS in his life and had uninterrupted perfect fellowship with His Creator and His perfect creation.
After man sinned, weeds and hard work were imposed upon him. In Exodus 20, God gave the Law to Moses, which served as a stark reminder of the Holiness of the Almighty God and the fallen nature of man. The first four commandments spoke of man’s responsibility to the Holy Creator God, and in the fourth commandment, God demanded a Seventh Day sabbath to remind man that God CREATED the Heavens and the Earth and that man should not forget Him as Creator God.
Then in Deuteronomy 5, in the fourth commandment God said that a Holy Sabbath should be OBSERVED as a day of remembrance that God redeemed Israel from the bondage of Egyptian slavery. As the Church of the New Testament, we are reminded that God has redeemed His people from the bondage of sin and punishment. The Old Testament or Old Covenant pointed to Man’s need for a Redeemer (that was the lesson of the law: yet the sacrificial system (and the 4th commandment from Deut. 5) pointed to the reality that God would provide that Savior.
Last week we ended with Hebrews 4:9-10: “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.” Jesus IS our Sabbath. The finished work of the Savior allows believers to enter His Kingdom on the basis of HIS WORKS by FAITH. I stand REDEEMED on account of Christ’s Righteousness not my own.
Today we look at the redeeming aspects of the New Testament (Covenant) in Christ, the Old replaced by the New from 2 Corinthians 3:1 NKJ: “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you. 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” (The LAW was carved on stone, but the New Covenant of God’s love in Christ is written in the heart: Jeremiah 31:33- "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.)
False teachers in Corinth attacked Paul’s competency and authenticity as a minister of the Gospel and Paul responds: I don’t need any more letters of commendation; the love and sincerity that I have for God’s people and the transformed lives of the church are an open letter that can be read by all. It makes us ask: Are we that kind of LIVING epistle?
4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. ONLY God EQUIPS PEOPLE FOR SALVATION and for THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL by bringing dead hearts of stone to life!
A. The New Covenant is far superior to the Old: The New Covenant brings grace and gives LIFE. (Look at verse 6.) The letter of the law does what? It kills. The Law pointed to our sinfulness, but the Spirit, which is synonymous with the New Covenant, gives life through God’s Gracious Gift in Christ.
Romans 3, 7 and Galatians 3 says that if you break the law, you die, and that death means a spiritual eternal death apart from the life of God, and an eternal death; You can't keep the law, so it's totally frustrating in this life and provides for you a sort of a living death. The law was a killer in that it exposed sin. It showed you were a sinner because God's standard was perfect. When you look at your own life against the law, it kills you, and so what do you do?