In this sermon, Pastor Babij explains how the Sabbath commandment was originally designed by God to provide rest from life’s normal temporal and physical labors so that people might enjoy the worship of God. Pastor delineates four assertions from God concerning what is and what is not true rest:
1) God’s promise
2) God’s warning
3) God’s oath
4) God’s offer
Pastor concludes by admonishing believers to let nothing keep them from participating in God’s graciously designed rest.
Today, we will be looking at two sections of Scripture. One is in Exodus 20:8-11 where we are looking at the fourth commandment. The other is in Hebrews 4 where it talks about the Sabbath rest for believers. Exodus 20:8-11 says:
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
As we look at this commandment, I pray, Lord, we would see the fulfillment of it in Hebrews concerning rest. I pray, Lord, that we would get a better grasp of it today and be able to practice it. Each day, on the Lord’s Day, we learn to rest in You as we pull ourselves apart from all the business of life. I pray, Lord, we would come and enjoy You, worship before You, hear Your word, and fellowship with Your people. Also, in our soul, we would find rest and refreshment, so we can live the next week until the next Lord’s Day. Bless us in our understanding today. In Christ, I pray. Amen.
We’re finding that the commandments clearly do spell out what is involved in a relationship with God, who is Holy. We are to recognize that He alone is God and is to have first place in our hearts. Worship of anything or anyone other than the redeemer God is absolutely prohibited, and it is called idolatry, which God hates.
Also, man must not attempt, in the second commandment, to make any visible representation of the invisible God. To do so would really degrade Him and destroyed His holiness. We know that anybody who does have something they use as an aid to worship eventually becomes God in their minds and that is whom they usually worship rather than the true God.
In the third commandment, we are responsible for the reputation of the Lord as we go into the world. We are to represent Him in a way where we are honoring His name, giving Him respect, and giving Him reverence in our thoughts, words, and deeds.
Lastly, we’ve been looking at the responsibility of one day and seven to attend to God’s honor and our soul. Both of them go together. The fourth commandment really teaches God’s people to keep this holy day and set this day apart as special. When we look at the word of God, we find that the Sabbath is one of those commandments that is not transferred into the New Testament as for us to do. However, it doesn’t mean that we don’t keep it, but we keep it because we are in Christ.
In saying that, turn to Hebrews 4:1-11. The slickest temptation that any Christian may be tempted with is the thought that turning to Christianity was a big mistake. That’s what the writer of Hebrews is dealing with in this epistle. Remember, in Hebrews majority of the audience is Jewish, so they have left Judaism because now they believe in Christ.
Most of their identity of being in the synagogue, being in the town, and working in their area has been tipped upside down. They have come to Christ and they were promised initial rest, but so far, they have experienced trials and suffering, and they have to resist the spiritual enemy against them. They have a struggle within their flesh. They have the opposition and currents of the world and society against them. Family has gotten a little distant with them since they have become believers.
Demeaning comments have come their way by those who were closest to them by saying to them that they are crazy. This new thing is false religion and it could even be a crutch to them. Then, you start to be tempted to think Christianity is not living up to its perceived expectations.
In the book of Hebrews, these Jewish Christians were beginning to think that Christianity was a big mistake and that they should turn back to their religious system of Judaism, which was really a system of works. Instead of rest, they were experiencing turmoil. They had given up their ancient religion, but we’re suffering for their new faith. To some, it seemed that the initial experience of rest as a cruel delusion. This is why it is very important for us to take heed of the warning we find, in this passage of Scripture, and hold on to the promise that is found.
If you grasp the promise and heed the warning, it should move you and I forward in the process of being more and more set apart to God, which leads to a greater daily trust in Him and in His providence. Then, it should move us to the place of resolve, which is to make you firm in your confession and stop you wavering in your faith. Therefore, anything that would cause you to mistrust the Lord would be, at that point, discarded from your life.
Last time, we ended with the observation about Sunday worship. On Sunday, the Lord’s Day is to celebrate actually two things: our present salvation and anticipate our future eternal rest. Both are for us to understand and think about the rest that we have as believers.
There are four important things concerning rest in this epistle. I want you to really understand what’s happening because the first thing we’re going to look at here is God’s promise. Hebrews 4:1 says:
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
The first thing we see here is that God did give a promise to His people. That promise would be that there is a way of entering God’s rest. Remember, on the Sabbath day, the people rested physically from any kind of work, so this rest is going further. The Old Testament dealt with the shadow or type of what would come in the literal, practical rest that we receive when we become believers.
After all that has gone before, there remains the promise of entering into that particular rest in God. Before I look at that, I want to look at some other things found in our passage, which is what rest is not. First, we see in Hebrews 4:3-4:
For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”;
In other words, this rest is not the rest of God after He finished creation. There was a morning and the evening for six days, but on the seventh day, there was no evening. Meaning, the day of God’s rest shall have no ending to it, so that Sabbath day was the beginning of an eternal rest that would come to the people of God. The rest of God is forever. Got started it and opened it up to all who would believe. It’s not specifically talking about what happened there after the world was made.
Secondly, it is not the Sabbath rest given in the law of Moses. Hebrews 4:5-6 says:
and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” 6Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience
Moses gave the Sabbath rest on the seventh day that they were commanded by God to do that. Although the rest on the Sabbath was a constant reminder of God’s rest, it looked forward to a rest God’s people receive in the coming of Messiah, Christ. Even though that shadows started there, it was not finished until Christ fulfilled it.
Thirdly, it is not the rest of Canaan, which Joshua brought the people into. Hebrews 4:8 says:
For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
The Scripture is saying that what happened back there was just a picture. It was pointing forward to something. He’s telling these Hebrew Jews to not give up and turn back to the old system because the old system was just pointing to the Messiah. This is a fulfillment of everything else you believed in. You heard from generation to generation, so don’t give it up.
Instead, Scripture is telling us that these are comparable to types and shadows of what is to come by pointing to the days of the Gospel, the days of God’s final Revelation in Jesus Christ. In Scripture, these things listed were only a shadow and pointed to the substance, which was what Christ accomplished on the Cross. He accomplished not only the redemption of sinners, but a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
The word of God tells us that we become new creations in Christ. Then, it leads to a resurrected body and eternal state. All these things are pointing to a rest that God has promised us way back in the beginning. Colossians 2:17 tells us:
things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
All those things are pointing to Christ, so don’t give that up. That’s the very essence of what God was saying in all those rests mentioned in the Old Testament of creation, of the Sabbath rest given in the law of Moses, and Joshua bringing people into the promised land, which gave him the rest from the wars, their own property, and learn to rest in their own land. That was only a picture, a type, pointing to the fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
So, what is rest? First, it is the present rest that we have. Some have called this the Gospel rest. This is a rest particular to the Gospel. It is a rest believer’s have in Christ. Trust in Christ’s sacrificial death begins our soul rest by giving us rest from the burden of the guilt of our sins. From giving us rest from the gnawing conscience that we had because of our sin and because of all the things that we’re building up in our life. Knowing that someday our conscience would be opened up and everything that we committed as far as sin in our life would be revealed.
We learn to trust in the sacrificial death that begins our rest and then to trust in God’s character as an almighty God, as a loving Savior, who gives us rest as we live by faith. Then, we learn to cast our burden on Him.
For example, when you’re reading through Scripture, you are going to find passages of Scriptures that give us the principles like this: don’t worry. Then, it doesn’t just say stop worrying. Matthew 6:33 says to not worry and:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Then. 2 Timothy 2:22 says:
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
We have this peace and rest that God has already given us in Christ, and we are to practice this. The Bible says to not hold on to your care but cast it on God so the peace of God can reign in your mind, not your worry, care, and patterns of sin that drag you away from it and rob you of this rest that we have in the Lord himself. In Matthew 11:28, there is an invitation that Jesus gives with a description of the people He’s inviting, and a promise in the invitation:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
That’s an invitation, simple command, and exhortation. Don’t come through priests, ministers, sacraments, ceremonies, churches, or temples. He is saying to come to Him personally where He will give you rest. In other words, He is saying:
Come directly to Me guilty and sin laden as you are. Don’t try to clean up your life to come to me. Bring it all to Me. Bring who you are to Me.
You will find that you are to come to Christ as He is, you come as you are, and He promises that He’s going to give all those who come to Him rest. Then, Matthew 11:29 says:
Take My yoke upon you…
A yolk was to keep two animals together, so that they would not go off on their own direction. Instead, they would be in subjection to their masters. That’s why they used to yolk animals together. If they didn’t, they would be wandering all over the place. Just like us.
Here, yoke is when we enter into submission to Christ. When we come and take His yoke, the sinner finds rest in surrender and obedience to Jesus Christ. Then, we’re not wandering off all over the place trying to get rest somewhere. We find that rest with God himself.
Before you can experience the peace of God, you must be at peace with God, which is important in Scripture. When a sinner submits to Christ, only then can they be yoked to Him. If they are not willing to submit to Him, they cannot be yoked to Him. He continues in Matthew 11:29:
and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
This is another command, which means to find out and discover the purpose of life. When we come to Christ, we discover why we were born, why we are here, and why we are living now. You can have a million questions and maybe get those questions answered somewhat, but you really don’t get real answers until you come to Christ.
When they get the answers and when they come to Christ, everything opens up to us. Now, we know why we’re here, we know what God did – created Heaven and Earth, we know the purpose of life, and we know where we are going when we die.
Do you know how many people try to search those things out? They come up with wacky solutions and results. It’s right here in Scripture, but you don’t rest in that knowledge until you come to the One who can give you the truth, which sets us free. In Matthew 11:28, He gives a description of those He invites:
…all who are weary and heavy-laden…
Not everybody who has it together or the righteous. His invitation is open to those who are exhausted, burdened down, and exhausted in their search for meaning and truth. People who feel the crush of life, the crush of sin, the slavery of sin, and the things you have to deal with in this cursed world. They are crushed by those things. People with troubled consciences, minds, and hearts that are empty, unfeeling, and afraid is who God is calling.
That’s who we are. That’s us. God is calling those people because He’s the only one who can settle the restlessness of your soul and give you the answers to know who you are, who Christ is, and what He has done.
John Bunyan, who wrote the second best-seller to the Bible called the Pilgrim’s Progress, describes the Christian Life, what you go through, and how narrow the road is to the celestial city. He wrote another book called Abounding Grace and wrote on his restlessness:
For five years and more, John Bunyan could not call his soul his own. He did not dare to sleep because he was afraid that he would wake up in hell. He was troubled all day long about a soul. His mind tumbled up and down, but when John met Jesus, he found rest.
Every Christian, who understands the Gospel and what it means to come to Christ, that’s what you find when you come to Christ. You find a peace, rest, and joy that the world, nothing in the world, or no one in the world can give you. We need this rest.
You cannot rest and riot in your sin. Jesus says to trust Me, believe Me, and follow Me. If you want to come, it shows that God has been at work in you to draw you to Himself. Again, in Matthew 11:28-29, there is a promise:
…and I will give you rest…and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
This is the eternal part of us. This is the part that lives forever. Our bodies will die and go to the grave, but our souls are eternal. Created in the image of God, the body goes to the grave and the soul goes into the presence of God awaiting the resurrection of our new body, which we will have when we live with God forever.
He gives us rest where we really need it, which is inside of us. The Lord deals with us in the turmoil of our soul. This is the gospel rest that comes to us when we believe in Jesus Christ. In the Scripture, the word “rest” means refreshment. Refreshment for your eternal soul. Peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Rest of conscience, rest of mind, rest of heart, and rest of spirit.
Jesus brings complete satisfaction to all of man’s spirit. I don’t really know any Christian, who has grown in the faith, that would deny Jesus right now and give it all up for the greatest riches that this world can offer. I don’t think any Christian, who understands this, would ever say I’ll make the exchange. The reason why is because they have the greatest treasure that anybody could ever want and that’s the very peace of God.
I am right with the God who created the Heaven and the Earth through Jesus Christ. I have a rest in my soul that nobody can give me, but God. Why would I want to give that up to a life of restlessness? I don’t want to give that up. 1 John 5:3 says:
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
When we willingly obey God, it’s not a burden to obey God. It’s something I want to do. It’s something that my soul wants to do because God has placed it there. What will Jesus say to those who come to Him? Matthew 25:34 says:
Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Here is that promise again. Come all of you who are burdened and heavy laden. Come bankrupt, ruined, and empty-handed, but come! That’s the invitation and Jesus will give you rest. That’s what He will do, which is Gospel rest.
In Hebrews 4, it is talking about the promise of this Sabbath rest. The second one is a future rest coupled with the Gospel rest. If you have the Gospel rest, you will have this rest. When people pass away and die, then they say that that person has gone to their rest. No, if they don’t know Christ, they have not gone to their rest. They have gone to a place of restlessness because they will never have that peace of God since they have rejected Christ.
They did not want Him, ignored Him, and put Him aside because they had their own way of saving themselves. Whether it is their own or a religion, they just put it aside and they will not have rest. They will have restlessness along with everything else that goes with being separated from God.
So, the Sabbath rest is a day in which we look forward to and when we can enjoy all that God has done in Christ for us. Right now, we are enjoying partly what Christ has done for us, not fully. We have to drop off these bodies to be in the presence of God and experience the fullness of it.
God did not need to rest because He was tired in Genesis. He rested because He was finished with creation and found refreshment after all His labor, and that’s what we will find too. We will find this refreshment that comes in knowing Christ and anticipating our future rest in the Lord. God has a rest being offered to people, and in Hebrews 4:1, the second thing is a warning and the warning says:
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
God is offering people rest as they come to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. While the promise is there, the warning is offered to those who didn’t come call the way. This is the language that that the writer of Hebrews is using with the Jewish people. Specifically, he is saying to them:
You have all this knowledge of the Old Testament. You have all these types and shadows pointing to the reality and you are not going to come all the way to Christ? Come on. That’s Insanity. Don’t stop there. Come all the way over.
A lot of times when you’re witnessing to people, they will have certain facts of the Gospel. They will know certain things about Jesus being the Savior, dying on the Cross, and the resurrection. We celebrate those days, but they have never really come all the way to the truth of what that means and giving themselves to it.
In our text, the word “fear” is the kind of fear that causes us to not run away from something, but the kind of fear that causes us to face the issue head-on. Here, the issue is to have fallen short and to have been left behind. Here’s the picture from the desert of those who are loaded down with unbelief, lagged behind on the journey, and they were left behind in the desert where they perished and failed to enter the Promised Land.
Today, the warning to us is to not fall short the same way they did concerning the promise that is now preached to you of entering God’s rest by listening to and heeding the good news of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:2 says:
For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
The failure of the past generations was that they merely heard what God said, but they didn’t believe Him. Hearing is one thing and believing is another. The word warned them not to harden their heart, yet they spurn the good news and the promise rest. The word of God is really saying to us to not repeat their folly. Don’t repeat their foolishness.
What is belief? Well, there’s a belief that emphasizes the content of faith. This is a mental acceptance of certain facts that are true. Jesus died, Jesus rose, and Jesus is coming up again. This belief does not save. It may lead to salvation, but in and of itself, it does not save.
Thus, profession does not mean possession. I can profess something, but I may not possess it. True saving faith means that I professed it and I now possess it. Someone may make a public profession of Jesus, yet he or she may be unregenerate. They may even be faithful to go to church because they think that’s what they ought to be doing. However, that still does not completely prove that they are a genuine believer.
Though, there is a belief that emphasizes the act of faith, which is a wholehearted trust in the truth. When a person hears the truth, they are moved in his and her will to act upon what they heard and to do what the truth requires. For example, the invitation, in Matthew, was to come.
Now, people could have heard, but never came. They could have listened to the whole message and never have appropriated what they heard, which is to step forward, come to Christ, and believe in Him. Yet, they haven’t done that. Thus, the person hears the truth and is moved in his will to believe what they hear and make that truth their own. For people who have whole-heartedly trust God to enter that rest, Hebrews 4:3 says:
For we who have believed enter that rest…
The promise is out there, and the warning has been given. Don’t be foolish like other people who have full knowledge of the Gospel, yet do not take it. Don’t be like them because you’re going to end up in a place you don’t want to be. Be like people who, at that point, just believe it and act upon it. The Bible says that if you have believed that way, you have not only Gospel rest, but you have eternal rest.
Remember, that rest began in creation and it will go right through to the new creation, new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem. All those things are going to take place, but why don’t people believe? People don’t believe the good news because they have a heart problem. Scripture tells us that in Acts 7:51:
You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart…
Meaning, they are stubborn. They are so set in the way they think and in their ways that they can’t even come to the truth. Of course, they’re also dead spiritually, and they have to be made alive. Also, they don’t come because they have a hearing problem. They’re deaf spiritually. They only hear what they want to hear. Because of their deafness, it says in Acts 7:51:
…and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.
He is saying, in other words, when you hear the truth, you resist it. You just don’t give yourself to it, so they had a hearing problem. In reality, they stopped listening to God, and because they stop listening, they misunderstood the message. In fact, they not only misunderstood the message, they end up misunderstanding everything else including their own history.
There are things that will always resonate with people who are spiritually hard-hearted, spiritually dead, and deaf. They think that they do not need anything and that they are all right. They will say things like:
You leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone. Let me go on my merry way. I’ll be alright.
People actually settle in that kind of thinking. Also, they resent the implication that there is anything wrong with them. They hear the message, the word of God slices and dices their hearts, presents them as sinners before God, and they say:
Well, that’s not me. That’s somebody else. That’s probably my neighbor, my relative, or someone that I work with, but that’s not me.
As a result, they fail to see the gravity of listening to God. They fail to receive the truth; therefore, they misunderstand the true meaning. However, when you are a person who truly listens, then you will regularly trust when you truly listen to God’s voice. You will not only regularly trust Him, but your faith will be strengthened, your hope will increase, and your rest will be evident. Your peace will be evident. Your joy will be evident knowing that it does not come from any earthly source, but from God himself.
When you truly listen, you will desire to grow in your understanding, which leads to greater faith. You will never be satisfied with what you know about the word of God and about the Lord. You will always want more.
When you stop listening, you become ignorant. When you stop listening, you lose sight of the glory of God. When you stop listening, you actually start disdaining God spokesman’s and preachers because you can no longer endure God’s word. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
We are living in that right now, and that is a reality that we all have to experience and deal with, which leads me back in Hebrews 4 to the third thing. God presents an oath to those who would listen in Hebrews 4:3:
“AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,”
Then, Hebrews 4:5 says:
and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”
God is really saying to anyone who decides not to believe, they will not enter. Hebrews is referring to something that happened in in the wilderness when God sent out spies to spy out the new land. He tells them to go search out the new land and come back to Him with a report.
There were two groups of people. One came back and gave a bad report and says these people are giants with fortified walls. They got cities and armies, so we can’t defeat them. Then, Caleb and Joshua, who came back, said, “Let’s go!” Based on the promises of God, they went and believe Him. They were the only ones in that generation who entered into the promised land.
In other words, unbelief is a message of a bad report. Meaning, the only way to be made right with God is through Jesus Christ, and if you don’t believe that, then that’s a bad report. Basically, you’re saying that God didn’t do it and cannot do it.
Therefore, if you believe that, then that’s why God is angry here in this text. He is angry here in the text because they did not believe. Christian pilgrims, in the Contemporary world, must realize that in the light of this passage, it will not do to confess a merely nominal allegiance to Christian truth or to pay occasional lip service, meeting, and services to faith in Christ. Our commitment must be sincere and genuine.
If you don’t believe, you lose out. If you don’t believe in Christ, you are left in your restlessness. There will be no rest, peace, or joy. That is the oath God has placed before not over His people, but the world. If you come, it’s available to you. Believe in Christ and you will have this rest. If you don’t, then you shall not enter it.
This leads to the fourth thing, which is an offer from the Lord. After all of this, the Lord has an offer found in Hebrews 4:6-10:
Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
If you know Christ, if you have submitted to His offer, and if you have believed in Him wholeheartedly where He has given you His spirit, then the promise is yours. You will enter His rest. However, if you are at a point where you never really came all the way, asked Jesus Christ to save you from your sin and the condemnation of it, and believed wholeheartedly in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, then the offer is still there.
Don’t harden your heart. You are not guaranteed tomorrow. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. So, the rest to which the Scripture speaks has a present and a future aspect to it. It must be entered presently, here on earth, by faith. That’s Gospel rest.
It must be pursued presently here on earth by faith, which is Gospel obedience. Also, it is Gospel sanctification. God’s going to sanctify you. Then, it must be entered bully in the future because the people of God have a heavenly life. They have a heavenly destiny. When faith turns to site, the people of God will have full possession of all that has been prepared for them.
That’s our hope. That’s what keeps us going. That’s where our faith goes through Christ right into eternity. The term “today,” in Hebrews 4:7, means while you’re alive. While there is yet time. Right now, give God the trust and obedience that He must have as God. Give it to Him while you have a chance. Not only in believing in Jesus Christ, but in serving Him with the rest of the time you have left on this Earth. Give Him the submission you ought to give Him before your days end, and we don’t know when that’s going to be.
That is the message that is coming through this passage of Scripture, and it’s all connected to the fourth commandment. Then, Hebrews 4:11 says:
Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
Here is the command: let us make every effort to believe and obey. If you don’t want to fall into unbelief and destruction, then labor by faith and obedience to enter the fullness of Christ’s rest. These Hebrew Christians are being assured that they have this rest right now, and they need to persevere in it.
Once you have it, you persevere in it until you reached the rest that is still to come, which is the future rest in heaven. It is the very rest that God himself enjoys. He offers it to us, but you and I must trust if you are to have it. You must trust wholeheartedly and on-going as they did in the Old Testament.
God desires that His people enter the Gospel rest through Christ, and then the benefits of that rest into the Sabbath rest, or eternal rest. So, the invitation is still open. It’s going to be open until Christ comes again, or He takes you out. It’s going to be open when you’re gone. We must realize that the pursuit of this rest, in the course of our pilgrimage, may very well be costly. We must strive and apply ourselves diligently to the journey ahead of us.
However, don’t misunderstand, it is not attained by works. That is not what I’m talking about. It is God’s rich gift to the faithful and obedient pilgrim at the end of his days when he ceases, and she ceases from labor as God did from His. The very desire to live at our best for Christ is really an ambition our Lord has planted in our minds and our hearts. He’s put that there.
All of that is leading to the Lord’s Day. When we come to the Lord’s day, it really is a day of restful worship. In comparison, the Sabbath rest is essential but not idleness, and for the Lord’s Day, worship is essential but not idleness. Both the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day are one day in a week. For the Sabbath, it’s duty to a command, and there are severe consequences for breaking the Sabbath. In the New Testament, on the Lord’s Day, there are no direct consequences for not observing it.
However, to deprive ourselves of such a happy and holy day is more than an error or a mistake. It is sin. It is not so much sin against a command or a law, but sin against love. Remember, I said already that the Lord’s Day is a day that is not about keeping it, but a day about Christ. It’s a day about the person so we ought to be considering that we serve God willingly.
The Sabbath is a day of gladness and cheer. The Lord’s Day is a day of praise, thanksgiving, and joy. The sabbath is no defined worship, but a focus on the works of God in creation and the beginning of redemption. The Lord’s Day is the define method of worship by following the means of Grace, listening to the Apostles doctrine, fellowship, the breaking of bread, prayers, and giving.
The Sabbath was a day of doing good. The Lord’s Day is a day of doing good, visiting the sick, comforting the sorrowful, teaching the unlearned, and using your spiritual gifts. Also, the Sabbath celebrated the God of creation and redemption, and the Lord’s Day celebrated a resurrected, exalted, and triumphant Christ where redemption is done.
Then, Sabbath is the creator’s day. The Lord’s Day is the redeemer’s day. Jesus is our true Sabbath. He stopped the curse of the law by fulfilling it and redeeming His children from the slave-market of sin. Then, we find that the Sabbath-Saturday is a blessed holy day. Israel had the shadow day in the Sabbath, and it pointed forward to the substance, Messiah.
Under, the Christian dispensation, the day has changed to Sunday, but the significance of the day is more pronounced. On the Lord’s Day, Christians have the substance in Christ. Jesus is our true rest. Again, Colossians 2:17 says:
things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
We come and worship the Lord not because the law says to do it, but because we want to do it since we love our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Also, the Sabbath is a cessation from secular and worldly occupations, and the Lord’s Day is a day that should be free from the demands that are on your life in order to trust the Lord in thoughtful worship and soul rest like we looked at in Matthew 11:28.
It is a day all believers need to stop working, cleaning, planning, plotting, fretting, fussing, and worrying and rest in God. Could you do that as Americans? Could you do that? American’s live by watches. Leave your cellphones in your car, and if you need to, take your wrist watches off and just relax. If you’re a Christian, rest in the Lord.
There’s nothing to be worried about. God’s taking care of everything. Leave all the baggage outside the door. Whatever went on in the week, leave it outside. Whatever is going to happen tomorrow, don’t even think about it. Matthew 6 says to not worry, there’s plenty of concern tomorrow, right?
I thank the Lord for so many present tense verbs in the New Testament because it’s not about yesterday, it’s not about tomorrow, but it’s about today. Live today. Don’t live in the past. Don’t live in the future.
Learn from the past, plan for the future, but live today. That’s what God wants us to do and when we come to worship on Sunday, that’s what we ought to be doing. We ought to be relaxing, worshipping, not scheduling, not doing the next thing, and not planning things. Just come and relax in the Lord. See that’s what we ought to do.
Neglecting the Sabbath brings the curse of the law. To neglect the Lord’s Day, such a privileged invitation, is to refuse God’s Lordship in your life and the blessings that He has for you on this day. It includes not listening to your flesh. Every time I decided not to listen to my flesh, and I went to church anyway, I always got my socks blessed off me. I could have stayed home and missed that? I would have missed that fellowship, that message, or that blessing that came from somebody. I’m not going to miss that anymore.
That’s what we were taught to be thinking. I’m not going to miss that unless I’m providentially hindered. The only excuse I ever thought that was legitimate for being providentially hindered is death. You’re going to be in heaven celebrating the Sabbath eternal rest, right?
When I was an assistant pastor, there was one man that would have the same routine every Sunday morning. He was faithful. You can set your clock by his faithfulness. He would stop at the carwash and get his car washed every Sunday.
Well, one Sunday, right in the middle of the car wash, it broke down. He couldn’t get out, so we’re all asking him where he was. He said, “you’re not going to believe this,” and he tells the story. That’s pretty legitimate. There’s not much you can do, and he only had one leg, so he couldn’t really just climb out of the car. That was a providential thing.
If none of that is in the way, be here. Be here with a restful spirit and soul, and trust God for not only the Gospel rest He gave you in Christ, but the eternal rest that we have all together as believers and what we anticipate that’s going to happen. That’s what we ought to be doing. Let’s pray:
Lord, You are an awesome God. You tell us from the word of God what we ought to know, and what we didn’t know. What we couldn’t have come up with on our own. Lord, it’s right there in Scripture. I thank You, Lord, that what was accomplished in creation, on the Lord resting on that seventh day, led to a picture and a type of what would ultimately come in Christ through the Cross, through us being redeemed and bought from the slave-market of sin, and then Lord into the Eternal rest that You promised everyone who would believe. Thank You, Lord that, You’re the only one who could do that. We want to praise You today. We want to lift up Your name. We want to give You the honor that is due Your name. I pray Lord, every single week, we would deal with the things that would rob us of our rest, peace, and joy. I pray we would make ourselves ready every day and every week to come and worship with other believers. Also, that we would be prepared to hear, to serve, and to honor Your name. I pray this in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.