Crabtree Acres

Sabbath Rest

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy"--Exodus 20:8

Until about the 1980s I can remember something society called “Blue Laws”. These laws were actual laws enforce that required businesses to close on Sunday in the entire state of Kentucky. In Campbellsville where I was growing up all stores closed around noon on Wednesdays because many people went to prayer meeting on Wednesday night. No sports events or school activities were held on Sundays or Wednesday nights. People did not go to movies on Sundays. I can remember sitting down with my grandmother one Sunday afternoon at her home and getting out some hand work to keep my hands busy. She looked at me and asked, “You aren’t going to do that today are you?” There are still 19 states that have blue laws in effect in the area of selling alcohol on Sunday, but Sunday is now the second-busiest day of the week for shopping. Many states still prohibit selling alcohol on Sunday, although it’s now the second busiest shopping day of the week overall. These laws showed an overall respect for God’s command and a general respect for the Christian community.

We think that America is changing drastically right now and are shocked at how much is being torn away before our eyes. But we have been changing for many years now; we just haven’t realized that it has been happening gradually. Our respect for God and for the Christian faith has dwindled away little by little.

Exodus 20:8-11 explains the entire 4th commandment in detail. Let's look at each word in verse 8 and see what this involves.

"Remember"--remember what?

In Genesis 2:1-4 God gave a blessing to the seventh day after He spent six days completing His work of creation. God had spent six days of work creating the heavens and earth and all that was to be in them. He looked at all He made and declared it good. He was finished with creation and rested on the seventh day. This does not mean that His work was finished for good and He does not do anything anymore. Rest to God does not mean that He was tired from all the work and needed to be inactive, either. God set aside a special day to be blessed and made holy because He was pleased with what He had done and considered it finished. Today we celebrate Sunday, the first day of the week to remember the finished work of Christ and His new creation in us. On the first day of the week the women at the tomb found that Christ was alive and resurrected from the dead to a new life, a new creation that He gives to all who believe in Him. Every Sunday is resurrection Sunday, not just Easter.

What does the Bible mean when it says "God rested"? God certainly doesn't get tired because He is a Spirit and has no bodily limitations that came with the fall of man. We know that He has not ceased moving or doing anything because the Bible says He is constantly at work in us to accomplish His will in us through His Spirit.

In the First Edition of Webster's American Dictionary, published in 1828 the following definitions are given for "rest":

1. Cessation of motion or action of any kind-- example: A body is at rest when it ceases to move; a mind is at rest when it ceases to be disturbed or agitated.

2. Sleep

3. Peace; national quiet; to cease from war; to be at peace

4. Death

5. A place of quiet; permanent habitation

6. Final hope

7. The new covenant state in which the people of God enjoy repose, and Christ is glorified
8. To cease from labor or performance

9. To be quiet or still; to be undisturbed

10. To lean or recline upon, as to rest the arm on a table

11. To stand on or be supported by, as a pillar rests upon the base.

12. To abide or remain with

If we look at these in the light of Christ's work of new creation, we see some interesting parallels. We cease to be disturbed by our sin in Christ. We find rest for our souls--our minds are at rest in Christ. We have a foundation of rock upon which to abide and stand. He tells us to abide in Him and He will be in us and God will be in us in John 14. We cease from our labors of trying to keep the law when we come into Christ. We have a final habitation in heaven and are no longer citizens of this world in our spirits. We cease from war with Satan and self and allow Christ to live His life through us. We have died to self and our will and become alive to Christ and God's will. We didn't even care what God wanted before, but now we are disturbed if we do not please God.

In Hebrews 4:1-11 the writer talks about a rest that God promises that we can enter into but may not receive if we fail to enter into it. We receive this as an act of our will, choosing to enter into it or rejecting it. It's like the present we can open and enjoy or keep wrapped and never open. The Children of Israel failed to get the rest of the Promised Land, even though they had heard the promise just as we have heard it from receiving Jesus Christ. What did they hear? They heard that God would deliver them out of Egypt, with its slavery and bondage, and out of the wilderness with its sufferings and frustrations and would deliver them into a land with milk and honey. They missed this rest because they did not have faith to believe God and feared the people of the land. Their lack of faith caused them to grumble and complain against God and the leaders He had placed over them. God allowed them to reap the consequences of their lack of faith by wandering in the desert for forty years and dying in the wilderness, rather than entering into God's rest. When I complain and fuss, I am not expressing faith in God's salvation; I am not trusting Him to deliver me from my problems; I do not believe that He is really in control of all circumstances of my life.

Looking in Scripture, we see many different aspects to the seventh day of rest:

1. Solemn day of rest--Exodus 35

2. Worship

3. Made for man

4. Dedicated to God--Exodus 35

5. Day of sacrifice and offerings

6. Day to remember the salvation of the Lord

Seventh year-- year of restoration

1. Rest for the land

2. Restore all property to its original owner (forgiveness)

3. Release slaves--Israelites are the Lord's slaves; we are slaves to Christ

4. Dedicated to God

Christ is all of these things and more!!

Hebrews 4--

Verse 7: God set another day--today as the day of rest. When we turn our lives over to Jesus we cease from the labor of sin and working to get salvation and enter into the rest of Christ. "My yoke is easy and My burden is light -- Matt. 11:28-30." In verse 8 of Hebrews 4 the writer explains that if the people had believed Joshua in the wilderness, God would have given them rest that day (today) and He would not have had to give another day. Others were allowed to receive it because of their unbelief -- the church (Gentiles).

Verses 9-13 -- That rest is still available for God's people. We must receive it as an act of our wills. Once we receive it, our work is also finished in the finished work of Christ.

Christ is our rest!!

Christ is our Sabbath!!

Christ is our Promised Land of milk and honey!!

Rest is also completion--

Christ completes salvation and Christ completes us.

He binds all things together (Hebrews 1:2-3; Colossians 1:15-20)

In Genesis 2:1-3 the Bible says that when the universe was completed God set aside the seventh day as a special day, because He had completed His creation.

The church is complete in Christ; He is head, we are the body. The children in the wilderness never did complete their journey to the Promised Land because they did not believe.

What are ways that we keep the Sabbath?

1. Do God's way instead of seeking our own pleasure

2. Desist from our own ways and from speaking our own words--Exodus 31:15-17

3. Once we have entered Christ as our rest we should have the attitude of Christ continually, not just one day of the week. We should remember what the work of Christ has done every day.

In the New Testament it is called the Lord's Day, not the Sabbath -- (Rev. 1:10) and was celebrated on Sunday, the first day of the week.

Mark 2:27-28 says that Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath

Mark 3 -- Jesus healed on the Sabbath

Matt. 5:17-20

"Keep it Holy"-- The Sabbath Day was made holy (set apart for God's use) by God Himself. He blessed it and we are to keep it that way. It is a God-given holiday. God was not tired and needed rest. We may not be tired and need to rest but God wants us to stop and remember the finished work of Christ. We are to set the day apart from the regular work and thoughts and turn our thoughts and worship to Christ and whatever He would have for us on that day. We are robbing ourselves of a great blessing when we do not use the day the way He desires; the same is true for everyday of our lives.