Many people hope to be elected to heaven who are not even running for the office.
I am amazed at the number of people I meet who want to go to Heaven but do little or nothing about trying to get there. Grace is a free gift but that doesn’t mean a free ride. Grace means giving us the gift of forgiveness without our ability to earn it. But there is a certain expectation of trying to live as God has called us to live. This lifestyle that I am talking about is called “stewardship.” We hear that in many messages as time, talent and resources.
Gen 2:2-3 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
The practice of observing one day in seven as a time for rest and worship was originated in creation, because God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh. By this act, God ordained a pattern for living that humanity should work six days and should rest one day a week. Moses reaffirms this in our scripture text this morning.
There is a rich history behind the Sabbath in the Bible. Starting with Seth , men began to call upon the name of the Lord in acts of worship. Thus, periods of seven days play a prominent role at crucial points throughout Genesis . The mention of a seven-day week and a seven-year cycle in the life practice of Laban, Abraham’s relative, is striking. Job worshiped God every seventh day . The keeping of the Sabbath was a sign that God truly ruled Israel. To break His Sabbath law was to rebel against Him-an action meriting death . Society was not to seek advancement outside of submission to God. Therefore, all work except acts of mercy, necessity, and worship were forbidden on the Sabbath. During the period between the Old and New Testaments, Jewish religious leaders added greatly to the details of Sabbath legislation. They made the law a burden rather than a rest and delight. Thus they reduced the Sabbath to little more than an external observance . At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread– which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Many Christians feel that God still expects His people to set aside one day in seven to Him. They argue that such an observance is a creation ordinance which is binding until this creation comes to an end and our ultimate rest as Christians is realized in heaven. That is Paul’s argument in the 4th Chapter of Hebrew. Christians of this persuasion usually observe Sunday, the first day of the week, as the Christian Sabbath. They note that Christ arose on the first day of the week and, thereafter, the New Testament church regularly worshiped on Sunday.
This idea is expressed by the Hebrew word for Sabbath, which means “cessation.”
The word means “rest” and is embodied in this idea. God’s people are directed to keep the Sabbath because God delivered and redeemed His people from the bondage in Egypt. Thus, the Sabbath is an ordinance that relates redemption directly to history.
Finally, the Sabbath includes the idea and practice of celebrating rest, or salvation (saved from the labor). To this end, God declared that His Sabbath was a day for public worship to signify their submission to His lordship. The idea of Sabbath celebration includes the Sabbath as a sacrament– a gift of God that allows His creation to enter into God’s rest (salvation).
The “Sabbath” is now for the Christian no longer a day, but a spiritual experience.
In the tithe we understand that 1/10 of our income belongs to God. In the Sabbath, 1/7 of our time belongs to God. We tithe our time just as we tithe our money. It doesn’t matter what day we give to God as long as we give a day to God.
The rest offered on the Sabbath is both physical and spiritual. Matt 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. To find 1/7 of our time given to God brings great rest. Paul writes, Heb 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.