Our Sabbath Rest
Has anyone here this morning ever struggled with insomnia? You just can’t get to sleep. So you read or you pray or you get out your phone and start scrolling through Facebook. I know because when I’m up at 1 or 2 in the morning and see a comment that was made 2 minutes ago it’s kind of obvious who else’s is up. Over 70 million Americans struggle with insomnia and another 43 million struggle with some form of sleep apnea. This is caused by worry or anxiety about the stock market, the economy, terrorism and all the things that are happening in our world and how we are dealing or not dealing with it. this stress has helped to produce a 28-billion-dollar sleep industry that includes medication. Cpap machines, sleep labs and mattresses and other sleep aids. While diet and exercise are important so is getting enough rest for our bodies. The Lord God who made us knows this. Sometimes we overwork ourselves and try so hard at life that we just aren’t getting the rest and do you want to know something God also wants you to get some rest. In fact, there is a principle of rest in the scripture called Shabbat or Sabbath. It is probably one of the most misunderstood topics in the Bible. People often have 2 common questions
- Why don’t Christians keep the Sabbath day?
- What day is the Sabbath? Saturday or Sunday?
Let’s start with what Jesus said about the Sabbath when he was confronted on this issue.
Read Mark 2:23-3:6
Notice Jesus reaction to those accusing him and the disciples of breaking the Sabbath. He thought it was more important to feed the hungry and heal the sick while the Pharisees thought it was more important to follow the tiniest part of the law.
We have the same problem today with people who are more caught up into blasting their fellow believers with not so friendly fire. As Jesus would say the strain a gnat and swallow a camel. They miss the big picture of what Jesus is doing.
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath- He is the authority now. We need to listen o what he is saying is important. We do not see him or any of the apostles tell us to observe a literal Sabbath. The only ordinance we are told to observe is baptism and communion.
The Sabbath was not made for God but for man– The very purpose of the Sabbath was to be for our benefit. To give us time to recharge, to be restored.
Several things every Christian ought to know about this topic:
- Christians are not required to follow the Jewish Sabbath rules
- There are some groups that meet on Saturdays and follow the Jewish dietary restrictions such as not eating pork. They will say those who gather on Sunday for worship or not obeying the Word of God and even go as far as to say that we are following the anti-christ.
- This is nothing new. Paul had to confront “Judizers” in Galatia that was demanding Christians follow the Jewish law. And be circumcised and adhere to the Old Testament laws.
- IF you are ever confronted by someone who says such a thing to you then open your Bible to the following Scriptures
Colossians 2:13–14 (ESV)
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:16–17 (ESV)
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
These things where merely shadows pointing to Jesus who is the fulfillment of the law. Jesus is the expert and he never commands us to observe a particular day as he did with Israel.
- Sunday is not the Christian Sabbath.
Christians don’t observe a Sabbath day as the jews did. The early church begins meeting on Sundays early on in the first century which came to be known as “The Lord’s Day” particularly because it was when Jesus had risen from the dead. IT was never meant as a sabbath observance nor was it required as an ordinance. It was simply a tradition that developed. So it’s not about a particular day.
- By resting in the finished work of Christ for salvation we fulfill God’s Sabbath
Hebrews 4:9–10 (ESV)
9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For the Christian the sabbath is every day. It is about finding our rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ who said “it is finished” while on the cross.
- We must take time to be restored physically and spiritually– We fill our lives with too many pursuits and wonder why we suffer sickness, anxiety, and even depression.