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Jun 09, 2019

Keeping the Sabbath

Keeping the Sabbath

Speaker: James Gallaher

Series: Sabbath

Category: Sunday Morning

Sabbath is a good principle and also a gift that God gives to His people. We will begin as a church to recognize a 40-day period of Sabbath beginning July 1.

Sabbath is a good principle and also a gift that God gives to His people. We will begin as a church to recognize a 40-day period of Sabbath beginning July 1. Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but 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. 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.

The Old Testament (OT) includes the original ten commands for the Israelites. By these commands the Israelites could tell if they were fulfilling what God desired of them.

The ability to do the right thing to produce salvation in our life is impossible. We cannot possibly fulfill all that the law required in order to save ourselves. That’s why Jesus came. In the OT there were sacrifices required to create a temporary covering and a temporary forgiveness. Then Jesus came.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

We don’t have to be motivated by our ability to get everything right. Jesus became the propitiation (the full payment) for the sin in our lives. We don’t find salvation through the ten commandments or by works but through the grace of Jesus Christ. Still, the ten commandments come with both blessings when fulfilled and consequences when we don’t live up to them. If we would do what God calls us to, then there are benefits.

For most Christians, we are really comfortable with nine of these ten. But when it comes to the Sabbath, we make excuses. Yes, we are not bound by this law but we are missing out on the blessings if not observed. There are benefits to following His commands.

The benefits and significance of keeping the Sabbath:

1) It’s a commandment. We are not saved by it, but God gave it. Jesus came to fulfill the law. The first gift God gave Adam was the Sabbath. God wanted Adam to see that it was imperative to rest. Taking a day of rest gives God the opportunity to do something supernatural in your life. Exodus 16:23-29 God provided manna for six days but said He would not provide on the Sabbath Day. The principle God was trying to teach them - Sabbath wasn't about doing less, it was about trusting God more. Have you ever felt like no matter how much and how hard you work for can’t get ahead? Often, it’s because we are doing things in our own strength. Take everything we have to do and trust that God will provide as we rest. Rick Warren said, “The difference between blessed and stressed is often rest.”

2) Unobserved sabbaths accumulate. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete. The Israelites were put in a 70-year  captivity – they had ignored the command to let the land rest every seventh year. God cares about the land and wanted the Israelites to let the land rest every seventh year. If God cares about a Sabbath for the land, how much more does He care and desire that Sabbath is observed in our lives? Psalm 23:1-2 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He makes me lie down. God wants us to rest. Sabbath is about the restoration of the man – a gift from God. It brings about a fulfillment that we can’t do on our own. Are you putting yourself to death by refusing to rest?

3) It is a witness. The Sabbath was a great witness to the world as it was the only country to observe the Sabbath. It set them apart. Others would ask about this Sabbath. Israel could then be able to tell the story of our creator. Exodus 31:16-17 So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor and was refreshed. This perpetual covenant never expires.

Refreshed means to breathe in. For the first six days, God spoke into, exhaled, breathed out life. On the seventh day, He caught His breath. How often do we need to just breathe in the Spirit, to experience refreshing? When we rest, we testify to God’s provision. Six days of God’s blessing will go further than seven days without. Same as tithing – give God what He asks for - then a supernatural blessing is attached to it.

So, what does Sabbath look like?

  • Rest your body. Be cautious to not be legalistic. Do something that refreshes you. It might look different than others.
  • Recharge your emotions. For some, it’s solitude, being still, recreation. Part of recharging your emotions is relationships. Genesis 2:18 God made a helper for Adam. Relationship has value to recharge your emotions.
  • Refocus your spirit. Spend time in the word, time in worship, time in prayer. We need fresh anointings to come. Find ourselves in His presence so He can speak to us. Hebrews 4:9-11 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

God gives us a day off. If we are not willing to take it, then it points to a greater trust issue with God. There is a promise on one side (God will provide a day of rest) and there is a will on the other (we have the ability to choose to take it). Sabbath is about God helping us – in marriage, with our kids, in the ability to perform at work, etc. Don’t stress about taking a day off – that defeats the purpose. Do we trust God to provide? Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What are the worries that are keeping me from resting?

What consumes my thoughts, my attention, my emotions, my peace that I can put aside? Can you offer it to God saying, “I want to rest – I give you my worry”? Put it in His hands.

What practical ways will you change your Sabbath?