Each Summer our church celebrates the Sabbath. A forty day celebration that begins July 1 and caries us through August 10th. It is a time when we concentrate on fellowship with God and others.
Trust me! It’s not about “doing nothing” or “taking a break,” but a refocusing our attention on intimacy with God and others.
Question: What are some misconceptions that you have had or that you see in the church regarding Sabbath?
I want to share some of my story about how I found peace with God.
- Raised in a religion that related to God on the basis of ritual, regulations, and ceremony.
- You perform “obligations” with the end game of escaping hell.
- Do the basics: baptism, confession, Mass, and communion.
- And, legally, you were in.
A day came when I knew that it was a sham. Though keeping up with the basics, the sin I lived in had complete control, and the “good person” I should have been was non-existent.
So, on a day 43 years ago, I came to Jesus with the whole mess and became a Christian.
Five years later, I was in Bible College and was perplexed by this idea of “grace” that I was learning about. I was one of those that was saved by grace but was more comfortable living under the law.
And I wanted the law! Rituals, rules, measurable obedience to a system, and especially one that I could design and hold other accountable to.
Dr. Fount Schultz was a Greek and Hebrew scholar and the Dean of the Bible college, so I went to him with a single question –
“What is the balance between grace and the law?”
I was hoping for a discussion but what I got was a statement that changed the way I thought about God and the Bible.
He said, “There is no balance, it’s all grace.”
It’s all grace!?!
Jesus said in…
Matt. 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all [a]who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is [b]easy and My burden is light..”
- “Come!” – He drives no one away.
- “Unto Me” – He alone! Not doctrine, ordinance, or minister, but Jesus.
- “You who labor” – No just spiritually, but the physical and emotional as well.
- “And I will give you rest”
Sabbath for the Jewish nation was a reminder of two things –
“You were once slaves” – And such we were! Slaves of sin but now delivered.
“God’s divine provision” – Unmerited, undeserved, manna would come.
But it also required humility – something that the Jewish nation struggles with as much as the church today.
Isaiah 30:15 For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing,
“quietness” – means repose, calm, relaxed, free from anxiety – to be still, to lie down with support underneath
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
- “But you were not willing” – We have forgotten what it means to Sabbath with the Lord.
- “We will not walk in it” – We trust the world’s system more than God’s.
- Israel was running to Egypt for…”chariots and horses” or protection. Everyone in a panic!
What a lesson for God’s church today –
- Scores of believers in a frenzy of activity
- Panicked to get material wealth, possessions and pleasures
- Even ministers, running around constructing doctrines to line their pockets
- Going to and fro trying to find peace while telling others they already have it
- Everyone wants answers, peace and rest. So, why not do what God said to do?
Come to Jesus!
Forsake the horses and chariots of Egypt!
And come to Jesus!
See Matt. 11:28-30
The word “rest” is used twice by Jesus.
1. The first rest He gives
- He calls me
- He promises rest
- He freely gives, now freely receive
- He is the great sacrifice for sin which enslaves, controls, and condemns.
2. (vs. 29) When we have obtained the rest He gives, we will be ready for the further rest which we find.
“You will find rest for your soul.”
The second instruction, “take my yoke, and learn…”
- the first rest he gives through His death
- the second se find in copying His life
Often repeated tradition says that Jesus was the best yoke maker in Galilee. The farmer would bring the oxen. Jesus would measure, study and fit. The yoke was “easy” – it didn’t rub, was made for that ox only and his mate.
Is that yoke today chaffing?
His yoke is easy and Jesus invites you to share that yoke with Him today.
Sabbath – His divine deliverance, peace, rest and provision is His call.
- to these who hide from Him in shame
- to those who struggle today to amok the frayed ends of life meet
- to the one who is alone – the kind of loneliness that grips you and controls your thoughts
- His call to the troubles – marriage, kids, job, future, health
- His call to the sinner who cannot break through to holiness
- His call to the young person who is questioning what to believe
“Come to Me,” Jesus says. “I will give you rest.”
Come to Him today!
What yoke are you wearing today that is chaffing you? (Marriage, job, relationships)
Pray for each person who shares that God would remove the old yoke and replace it with one that is light and easy.