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The Gift of Sabbath: Week Two - Given for Re-Creation

Sermon  Sermon

"All who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant -- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer." - Isaiah 56:6-7

For six days a week we are busy toiling, shaping and changing the world. On the seventh day, we are called to refrain and to give ourselves over to be renewed, refreshed, even transformed.

Given for Re-Creation
Click on Rest, Re-Creation, Receptivity for graphics that can be used for this series.
Cheryl Mathison

We continue series on the Sabbath
Three weeks:  look at 3 distinct purposes given in the Sabbath gift

Last week

  • I talked about how most know Sabbath as 3rd commandment; think is duty/obligation
    long before the Sabbath given as a command it was given as a gift/changes everything
  • Then we looked at the first of three purposes: The physical and spiritual implications and benefits
  • I concluded by noting that while both require that we ceasing our labor and work
    Spiritual rest requires additionally that we
    Surrender whatever control we think we have over the world and
    put our ultimate trust in God and not in our own efforts  
    It Restores Proper Order

Today we will look at the second purpose given in the gift of Sabbath: Re-creation.
We begin by looking at the Genesis passage we used last week,

  • It established the truth that Sabbath as gift
  • It goes on to further reveal two important truths about Sabbath as given for Re-creation.

The Bible tells us that after six days God rested
So, let me ask you now:  What day of the week was it when God rested?
Saturday; the last day of the week; the seventh day.

Now, interject an observation
Seems to me we can classify population into two types of people:

  • There are those who understand and diligently live by what I will call the proper order of things: Namely the order that says that work comes first and is followed by play you know these people; a to do list prepared first thing on Saturday morning.  Been up most of the night the promise of some reward/play:  held out like a carrot.
  • Then undisciplined people who seem to operate never heard of such a life rhythm began Saturday morning by reading the Variety section of the newspaper leisurely plan a day of fun and adventure without regard to anyone's to do list!  Right? And you also know who you are...

Another observation: it seems to me that these two types of people are
Invariably drawn to one another in holy matrimony/marriage;
Not that I would know anything about that personally...I am just saying...
Here, in Genesis 2: 3 you can plainly see that that was established, dare I say intended, was a pattern, life rhythm 6 days of work followed by a day of rest.

Sounds an awful like: work followed by about you?
But, wait a say...we don't recognize Saturday as the Sabbath.
You are right...That change came about in the New Testament.

After Jesus died and was resurrected...when...on the first day of the week...or Sunday.
And ever since then, followers of Jesus have regarded/honored the first day of the week as the Sabbath.
An important principle at work here and I want to draw it to your attention.  Though I tell you, it pains me.  Do you notice that in the New Testament the order/life rhythm is turned around?

Think about it:
In the beginning, the pattern went like this: 6 days of work/day of rest.  But now, with Sunday being the first day of the week, it goes like this:  a day of rest/followed by six days of work.  You know what I call this?

Undisciplined/play before work people: not justice! I call it GRACE.
Because you see, when it comes to our relationship with God
We must understand that our work never earns anything
Our work, a response to what God has first done for us
And celebrating the Sabbath as the prelude to our work does just that...

Rest before work

  • A day to be equipped
  • prepared
  • readied
  • re-created
  • God is at work in us.  For whatever lies ahead...

What a contrast to: how Sunday sounds when we treat it as the last day:

  • A day to catch up
  • A day to do what didn't get done the rest of the week
  • A day to pick up, clean up, put away, and straighten up the mess from the previous six days!
    Are you with me?
    The gift of Sabbath; given for re-creation
    The first day of the week begins as a day of God at work in us...Day of Grace
    How absolutely wonderfully empowering.

The second thing
It tells us that God RESTED on the seventh day
Some people take that to mean he was finished; done creating
Doesn't say
Understand this:  that God rested/doesn't mean he walked away/washed his hands
In other words, God's work didn't end
In fact, point out to you because:
It is a fundamental principle of Christianity:  God didn't desert us
It is what distinguishes us from other belief systems
God continues to play an active role
God continues to be involved in the care, redemption, restoration, re-creation of all that he made
And you know...that includes you and me
Let's face it: we are works in progress

  • We are growing, changing beings
    In need of shaping, and re-shaping.
  • We become ragged around the edges, worn, frayed, tired
    And stand in need of re-creation.

Perhaps you see it in your relationships/mood/behavior/health
However it presents itself, that raggedness is what God remains at work to restore to recreate to resurrect.
It is as though God remains at work
Loves us out of what we have become
And loves us into what he made us to be
So, whatever is dying, dead, rotting?
In the gift of Sabbath we have the awesome promise that God is at work
To redeem, restore, resurrect, and re-create us.

Let us pray:  Lord, all time is yours.  Use this time, this day, which we have here set aside for you, to be a source of re-creation in our lives and through us, a source of re-creation in the lives of others in this world of yours, which you love so much and for which you sent your only son.  AMEN.

Sabbath: Week One - Rest

Sabbath: Week Three - Receptivity

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Adam CopelandAdam Copeland serves as director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders.

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