Rest Blesses Us

God created the Sabbath for us.
Learn that you don’t have to do to be.  –Dallas Willard
Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man, and the model and command that God gave about the Sabbath actually reveals His great love for us (Genesis 1, Mark 2). It’s a gift to us because God knew we would need it. He knows that we need to replenish. He doesn’t arbitrarily require it of us, but rather the Sabbath gives Him the space to work in us so that He can do great things through us. That is just part of the blessing because the Sabbath also sets us free from the bondage of our own efforts and our own pride, the idea that we can do all of this by...

In reality, the only thing we should be doing by ourselves is practicing solitude to be with Him. That is, we must practice time alone, out of contact with others, doing no work. Dallas Willard puts it this way: “We must not take our work with us… we must not try to get God to ‘do something’ to fill up our time. That will only throw us back into work. The command is: “Do no work.” Learn that we don’t have to do to be. Accept the grace of doing nothing. Stay with it until we stop squirming.” And incorporate silence at least a couple times a year. Silence means quietness, freedom from sounds except natural ones like breathing, bird songs and wind and water moving. It also means not talking. Silence is often where God speaks.

As we talked about earlier this week during this “Back to School” series, we’ve talked about Bible reading, prayer and journaling, all ways to develop a deeper relationship with Christ. But today we truly want to find rest in Christ through times of solitude and quiet, to commit to a Sabbath. To find a person who has made great progress in the spiritual life that did not have much time in solitude and silence is rare.

READ and THINK What does the Bible say?
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is looking back at the events that were recorded in Exodus as it happened. He recounts the Ten Commandments and is urging the Israelites to turn towards God and obey His laws.

 What does Moses re-affirm about the Sabbath?

Deuteronomy 5:12 (New Living Translation)
Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.

Mark’s Gospel is a simple and succinct yet vivid account of Jesus’ ministry, emphasizing more what Jesus did than what he said. It was written by John Mark who was one of the missionaries that accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their mission trips. The purpose of the Gospel of Mark is to show that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God who was sent to suffer and to serve in order to rescue and restore mankind.

Verse 27 will be familiar from Tuesday, but we’re taking it one step further today. How does what Jesus says reinforce that the Sabbath is a blessing to us? What does Jesus then ensure we know in the next verse?

Mark 2:27-28 (New Living Translation)
27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

The book of Hebrews boldly proclaims the superiority of Jesus Christ and Christianity over other religions. It also has practical instructions for following Jesus. One of the themes of Hebrews is that our Christian journey is not an easy one. By depending on Jesus for help, however, we can grow stronger and bring glory to God with our lives.

Who can enter his rest?

Hebrews 4:3 (New Living Translation)
For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,'” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world.

LIVE What will you do now? The idea of rest being a blessing to us comes both now in this life and in the life to come, as outlined in Hebrews. Does this change the way you view the Sabbath or ideas that you had? Why is it a blessing to see what it is today and for eternity?

How will you find solitude and silence this week, even if for a few minutes? In what way would this be a blessing to you? To the people around you?

Think of those people closest to you who have a rich and deep relationship with Christ. Is time alone with God part of what they do? How can that inspire you?

PRAY God, what do you want me to know and do?
Thank God for the gift of the Sabbath. Ask Him to help you find solitude and silence so that you can replenish and then be ready to do His work again.

Watch the VideoDigging Deeper with this week’s teaching pastor:

Click here to go deeper using the Life Group DVD by the teaching pastor or view the message, including bonus discussion questions.

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Jan Tanis
Jan Tanis

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