Stand Alone: Sabbath  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  52:19
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Intro: I was a wired and strung-out kid. I did not know how to rest. It ended up being part of both epilepsy and ADHD. I could not sleep. Still a struggle at times.
God, knowing the tendency of the human heart is self-reliance and not taking pause. God put into place a design to put the brakes on our drift. That's our text for today. Look at Exodus 31:12-18
Exodus 31:12–18 ESV
12 And the Lord said to Moses, 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’ ” 18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
We're going to pick it up in verse 12. "And the Lord said to Moses, 'You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, "Above all…"'"
Now listen. If you write in your Bible, that's a pretty significant piece right there. God just said to Moses is, "Above all, so more important than anything else I've said, is this."
(What he's about to say.) That's a pretty significant moment.
"Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you."
What does it say about the nature and character of God that above all he says, "Take a day off"? Think about that for a second.
You have this frenetic activity, and then he tells them to take a break. I want to make sure you understand He very serious, as you're about to see. This thing is going to escalate.
"You need to take a day off and do nothing. You need to rest. Stop your toil, stop your busyness, and remember that I the Lord am your God."
When I said it escalates… Look at verse 14. "You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death." That took a hard turn. Isn't that a weird…?
Like, "You're going to take a day off or I'll kill you." Something is going on here that's very, very serious to the heart of God.
How serious is this moment of rest to the Lord that the punishment for being disobedient is death? Think about how counterintuitive that is for us as Westerners.
Which one of you has a boss who goes, "Hey, if I see you on Sunday, you're gone"? No, we get rewarded for busyness and long hours and crazy activity. That's championed to the detriment of our souls.
God says, "Because you have a bent toward self-reliance and are prone to forget my goodness and grace, you're going to take a day a week and stop everything.
You're going to remember that I am the one who has delivered you. I am the one who fights for you. I am the one who provides for you, and I am who I am." He institutes the Sabbath.
What's interesting to note about the Sabbath here is God is showing the world what it looks like to belong to the Creator.
He's revealing to the other nations that he is the great provider and protector by letting his people just rest.
The heart of man is so insidious that he even takes the brakes and makes it self-reliant. In Luke, chapter 13:10-13. Jesus walks into a synagogue, and we'll pick up the story from there. Read: Luke 13:10-13
Luke 13:10–13 ESV
10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.
Is that not church? Are you kidding me? If we just gathered in here, and I'm preaching, and somebody who had been sick for 18 years, like bent-over sick, suddenly is just healed!
You would be like, "Hey, shut up, Derek, let's sing. We've got it, but this is huge! Look at that. That's amazing! That's church. Let’s praise the Lord!" That would make sense, right?
A woman with a disabled spirit comes in. Her back is broken because of this demonic oppression, and Jesus sees it, walks over, and says, "Not anymore."
He loosens the bonds of demonic oppression, and she straightens up and glorifies God.
Remember, the Sabbath is there to remind us of the power and presence of God and to woo us away from self-reliance and into dependence on that power and presence.
Let me show you what happens. She's glorifying God. The synagogue is going crazy over this, and watch what happens. Read: Luke 13:14
Luke 13:14 ESV
14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.”
So this woman has been healed, and he's like, "Hold on, guys, for a second. Everybody calm down. Love that that has happened, Betty. That's legit. We've been asking for that.
But here's the thing. If you're sick in here, I don't want you to look at this woman now and rejoice. This is Saturday. We don't heal on Saturday.
We try to concentrate on the Lord and glorify God on Saturdays. We don't like to heal on Saturday. So, if you'll come back Monday through Friday, we'll see if maybe we'll do that then."
Seriously. What has happened to this man? There are people in the Bible who deserve beatings. This is one of those men. So Jesus gives him one. Read: Luke 13:15-17
Luke 13:15–17 ESV
15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
If you're a person in this synagogue and you see someone miraculously healed, you see the power of God working in that way, and you start to get really excited about what God might do.
No imagine somebody gets up and crushes that and says, "Oh, you know what? That's not what we do here. We're not about those things.
God said…" The argument from the high priest is a twisted biblical argument. He's using the Bible to justify that Christ can't do this. That's crazy. He's like, "Well, it's the Sabbath."
Jesus rebukes him and the people rejoiced and exploded in gratitude. The high priest missed the point, as we so often do.
Things that were meant to be life giving and to orient us around the presence and power of God are replaced with a rigid religiosity that's emptied of power.
Here's what I want to answer in our remaining time together. Since the Sabbath is something instituted by God and, as we clearly read, right?
If this is a covenant with his people forever, does that mean you and I need to have one day a week that's set aside?
Should we have a Sabbath day on which we do nothing but think about the Lord and rest in the Lord? Maybe, but not necessarily. Here's what I mean by that.
In the same way that Jesus fulfills what's happening in the purpose of the tabernacle and fulfills the role of the high priest, so Jesus Christ is our Sabbath rest. It's not confined to a day; it's an ever-present reality.
So once again, like the tabernacle is kind of cool but Jesus so blows it away, and the high priest was so cool and yet Jesus blows it away.
We don't wait for a day. The rest that is found in God is always available to us. We're going to have some real talk here just as a family. Life is not going to slow down.
I'm kind of at the hinge point of life. I'm 49. I have a teenage son, a 26-year-old daughter, and two granddaughters ages 4 and 7.
I could easily make, and don’t want to make, this error and that is, "Okay, let me just get through this season and it'll slow down. I will relax in 20 years.” But let’s be really honest for a minute.
The chaos of our lives is not slowing down anytime soon. Don't you already get a sense of this? How many of you already sound something like this?
"If I could just get through this season, if I could just tie off this project, if I could just get this done," and then you get it done, and there's a whole other season waiting for you on the other side.
You're like, "I can't wait. I have this one day off. I can't wait to get to that one day. I'm going to breathe out on that day." We know the world is not like that.
You think the world is saying, "Oh, you know what? Let's just cancel everything because this sister/brother needs to breathe out"?
Nobody cares. It's wave after wave after wave, and sometimes it feels like it’s not going to end. It's why it's such good news that Jesus is our Sabbath rest amid the chaos of life.
The good news here is that Jesus is our Sabbath rest, that you and I have the opportunity to walk in centeredness, presence, and power anytime we choose to enter into the privilege of that.
No one was more centered than Jesus Christ. In fact, one of my favorite stories about Jesus… He's walking through the synagogue, and there are hundreds of people around him.
He stopped and said, "Who touched me?" His disciples are like, "Everyone. Like, 400 people did, Jesus. Why?"
He's like, "No, no. I felt power leave me. Someone touched me who had a need, who was desperate." Then this woman who had been sick for decades knew it was her and said, "I did, Lord."
Then there's this beautiful conversation around her healing. He was centered. He was aware of what was going on in that given moment.
So, what I want to do with our last few minutes together is to be really, really practical about how we can step into the privilege of His presence and power every day at any time.
I don't care if you're the president and CEO of "Giga-mega Industries." You have a drive to work. You have two minutes before lunch. You have a minute and a half on your way.
You have all this space. This doesn't require a seminary degree and nothing to do but study the Bible. This is presence and power made available to you. There are so many ways.
I like to lie in bed at night and recount how God has heard my prayers and answered them, and then I want to remind myself as I drift off to sleep that none of my behavior that day affected God's love for me.
The reason I do this is if I am up with my family late, or out late with ministry stuff and I don't get in until after midnight, then the godliest thing I know to do is to sleep in and not get up at 5:00.
Some of you are thinking, "I can't believe he said that. What is godlier than getting up early and getting in the Word?"
Well, according to the angel who spoke to Elijah, eating a good meal and getting some sleep. I am a terrible human being if I am exhausted and starving.
I am so in my flesh if I'm exhausted and starving. So sometimes the godliest thing you can do is get some rest and eat something before I start my day.
If I don’t start my day right off the bat digging into Him, is God disappointed? God's affections haven't been shaped like that. I'm cloaked in the righteousness of Christ.
What I missed out on is the privilege to walk more in that power and presence. His affection for me hasn't been affected. My awareness of that affection was affected.
That's why I'm telling you this is an invitation to join in this incredible privilege. It's not punitive and it's not law. We can even find rest in our time each week at CPCC.
We believe God supernaturally shapes us in this gathering of the saints and commitment to this imperfect group of people. We feel most comfortable here because of the imperfection of this place.
If you're new, we'll let you down soon. Okay? You're like, "This place is great." Give us time. Just give us a little bit of time. You're just new to the family.
We have weird uncles here just like you do in your family. So we're going to be serious about that. We're committed to CPCC, right?
We commit financially. We commit in our God given gifts. We commit to energy, thought, prayer, and life. We're committed, right. We're going to worship weekly. It’s a way to step in.
Once a week I fast from breakfast and lunch, so when I get really hungry on that day, it's a reminder to me that I have a hunger and a desire for God that's greater than a desire for food.
It just for a second reorients me. It's not legalistic. It reorients my heart, and the moment it doesn't do that I'm not going to do it anymore.
That is weekly. We try to have a family devotional every week. It's inconsistent and messy. Again, I just want to let you breathe a little bit as you cloak yourself in the righteousness of Christ and take advantage of the privilege of power and presence that's made available to you.
Once a year I have something called "Directed." It's a day that I don't turn on my phone. I don't open up my computer. I take my Bible and my journal and just try to press into the Lord all day.
As romantic as it might sound, there is no day that I do that's more difficult for me than that. It's like 11:00, and I've prayed for everyone, including every country I can think of, and I'm like…
"Okay, what are we doing the rest of the day, Lord?" Waiting on the Lord… I wish I could tell you that on the day every once in a while, an angel shows up and is like, "Hey, this way.
Jesus wanted me to tell you some stuff." That hasn't happened. It's exhausting to me. "I want to do something. Let me do something for you, Lord." This is His response every time.
He's like, "No, no. You need me. You don't need to do anything. I'm doing stuff. I'm just using you, dork. Get over here. What you need is me."
Over the last few years, God has used that to profoundly shape me, but every time I see it on the calendar there's this real mixture of "Oh." I know it's good for the heart, and I know it's going to be difficult.
I get worn out if I'm just sitting and thinking and praying. "Lord, help us." It's just hard for my personality. It's not a personality. It's hard for all of us. Why? Because our drift is toward self-reliance.
Stepping into His Sabbath, His rest, shapes us, and it's a reminder and an invitation into our privilege: the power and presence of God.
Not in the tabernacle, not through dead ritual, but through a living invitation to dwell in and with the Spirit of God. Think how this might mark us as a community of faith.
Here's what I would say. Husbands, look at me real quick. The best version of you that exists is one rooted and centered in a relationship with God through the Spirit.
You can have a long list of the things you want to do for your spouse, but if we're honest, do you know when you're at your best? When you've been in the presence of God.
Wives, you're at your best when you've been in the presence of God. You're the best parent, more generous, more alive, energetic, and filled with life when you've been in the presence of God.
To not enter this privilege is a foolish punt of our rights as children of God. If you're hearing this and moved by it, here's how I want to encourage you.
Don't go, "Oh, that's awesome. Starting tomorrow…" No, you'll burn yourself out. Here's what I want you to do.
Whatever way you’re already orienting your life around God right now, I want you to just add some little thing to it for a month. Don't add anything else. Just one little thing.
If you're like, "I'm better than that…" No, that's a drift toward self-reliance. I'm sure you are better than that…for about four weeks before you'd stop doing it altogether.
If you miss two days, God isn't like, "Really? You missed two days? Are you not aware of what's going on right now? So apparently my life isn't worth seven days. Apparently it's just worth five."
That's not how the Lord thinks. That's how you think, because you're trying to build your life on self-reliance rather than presence and power. Let's just try, as consistently as we can to be intentional.
Just some little tiny… "I'm going to pray on my drive to work for the activities of that day" or "Right before I go to lunch, I'm going to stop for a second."
Then after a month add something else, and after a month add something else. Here's the thing. Think about your life in terms of decades and not just seconds.
Everything in our modern day is trying to get you to think of life in 140 characters. That's not how God sees us or desires to shape us.
You don't have to, right now jam all of this into the world, as you know it. No, no. Just little steps over a long period of time produce a type of fruitfulness that's beyond our wildest imaginations right now.
Step into your privilege as sons and daughters of God. I know you're great and gifted and disciplined, but all of that's self-reliance.
The reason God is saying here, "If you don't honor the Sabbath, I'll put you to death," is because to not honor the Sabbath is to put yourself to death.
To step out of presence and power and into self-reliance will not produce the type of fruitfulness you want in your life.
Jesus says in John 15, "Apart from me you can do nothing." The good fruit that our hearts desire to bear, that we want our lives to produce, is found in abiding with Jesus, this invitation to walk into it.
You can do this. You drive to work. You have a Bible. You can orient your heart right before lunch. You can orient your heart on the drive home.
You can do this, and we would be a more vibrant and alive fellowship if we would give ourselves over to these things. Let me pray for us.
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