Jan 3rd, 2021
Hello and welcome to season 3 episode 11 of The Berean Manifesto; 10 minutes or so a week of faith, hope, and love for the modern Christian. I’m Pastor Bill of The Ekklesian House and with this our first episode of a new year we are going to start with what I consider the most important aspect of the health of a Christian. The Sabbath.
The Sabbath is a day of rest after six days of work. Keeping the Sabbath is the third or fourth of the ten commandments (depending on your flavor of Christianity) given to Moses by God in the book of Exodus. In chapter 20, God called the seventh day of every week “a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” He goes on to explain that since He made everything in six days and then rested on the seventh day that He had blessed the seventh day and declared it holy. God was very serious about this commandment and even told the Israelites to put a man to death for collecting firewood on the Sabbath. From that point on the priests made a point of creating their own laws dictating what could and couldn’t be done on the Sabbath.
God made have had a hand in the formation of some of these laws, but clearly not all of them. I’m going to recount to you an event recorded in Matthew 12:1-14, Luke 6:1-11, and Mark 3:1-6. I’ve combined these three accounts from scripture into one passage, if you are following along and hear a discrepancy then it is info taken from one of the other two locations in scripture.
...On the sabbath day Jesus and his disciples were passing through a grain field, and being hungry they picked some heads of grain, rubbed the grain off the stems between their palms, and ate the grain. When the Pharisees saw what they were doing they criticized, “Why are you and your disciples breaking Sabbath law?” Jesus answered them, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry: how he entered the house of God, and they ate the bread of the Presence – which is not lawful for him or for those with him to eat, but only for the priests? Or haven’t you read in the law that on Sabbath days the priest in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known the meaning of the saying, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice, you would have not condemned the innocent.’ For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Then they entered the synagogue where there was a man whose right hand was shriveled. The scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely, to see if He would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a charge against Him. But He knew their thoughts and told the man with the shriveled hand to stand up in front of everyone. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He replied “Answer me this: Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or to do evil to save a life or to destroy it? Who among you, if he had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath wouldn’t take hold of it and lift it out? A person is worth far more than a sheep; so it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath.” He searched their faces with anger, grieved at the hardness of their hearts and turning to the man said, “Stretch out your hand.” The man stretched his hand out and it was restored to the same condition as his other hand. The Pharisees, however, were already filled with rage and left seeking out the Herodians to plot with them on how they might kill Jesus...
The Sabbath was never about not working. It was about not working for self serving reasons that take your focus off of the Lord of the Sabbath. In the grain field the disciples had the Lord of the Sabbath with them. As do we. Hebrews 4:1-11 CSB says, “ Therefore, since the promise to enter his rest remains, let us beware that none of you be found to have fallen short.  For we also have received the good news just as they did. But the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith.  For we who have believed enter the rest, in keeping with what he has said, ‘So I swore in my anger, ‘They will not enter my rest,’ even though his works have been finished since the foundation of the world.  For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in this way: And on the seventh day God rested from all his works.  Again, in that passage he says, They will never enter my rest.  Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience,  he again specifies a certain day—today. He specified this speaking through David after such a long time: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’  For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.  Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people.  For the person who has entered his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from his.  Let us, then, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.”
Romans 8:1-4 CSB says, “ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,  because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.  What the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering,  in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Choosing to set apart a Sabbath day of rest after 6 days of work is an outward sign of your inward faith. It’s a weekly confession of your belief that there is more to life than the confines of your physical existence. That you look forward to a coming eternity with The Lord. The tone of Hebrews 4 suggests that anyone who isn’t observing a Sabbath day of rest after 6 days of work probably isn’t actually a Christian and is living a life of disobedience to The Spirit. That’s when we arrive at verse 12 of Hebrews 4 when the author then reminds everyone that you can’t hide your true intentions from God, “For the word of God is living and effective…” “…It is able to judge the thoughts and the intentions of the heart…” and that “No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of…” The Lord. You can lie to yourself, but not The Lord.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”