Big Idea: We should love God well by obeying His call to honor the work/rest cycle He created. We can love God by trusting in Him and by making Him, His Word, and His praise a weekly priority. We express love by fighting against the cultural trend to come to worship only when we feel like it rather than as an expression of our growing love for God. We also can honor the intent of Sabbath by fighting against modern slavery, one of the worst violations of the call to rest.
I. The command to rest
A. In the beginning
B. The scope: the whole household (Deuteronomy 5:14; Leviticus 25:1-7, 26:34-35)
C. The purpose (Leviticus 19:20; I Chronicles 23:31; Isaiah 1:12-13, 58:13-14; Deuteronomy 5:15)
D. The penalty: death (Exodus 35:12)
II. Is the Sabbath for Christians?
A. What did Jesus teach about the Sabbath? (Matthew 12:1-7; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 14; John 5:17)
B. The renewed spiritual purposes of Sabbath are binding.
C. Isn’t Sabbath supposed to be Saturday, not Sunday? So why do we worship on Sunday?
III. Why rest?
A. Because God said to.
B. Because we need it.
C. Because we need time to worship together.
D. Because it’s an act of trust.
E. Because it’s an expression of priority and a call to delight in the Lord.
F. Because rest is an act of justice.
IV. So How should I live?
B. Come regularly to worship.
C. Trust God.
D. Make God a priority and a delight.
E. Fight slavery.
1) How do you express creativity? Do you love to make anything in particular? Where do you think creativity comes from? Have you ever thought of Sabbath as resting from creating, as God did?
2) Have you ever had, or do you now have, a manual labor job? If so what was/is it? What does that work do to your body? What would happen to you if you worked seven days a week doing manual labor? Would a day of rest be a tyranny, or a welcome time to recuperate and prepare for the next week?
3) Have you ever thought of Sabbath as a time set aside to delight in the Lord? Have you delighted in the Lord recently? If so, share your experience. What do you think might happen to a believer who never sets aside time to delight in the Lord? How might that pattern affect their relationship with the Lord?
4) Did Jesus eliminate or set aside the Sabbath in his teachings? Why or why not? What was the essence of Jesus’ conflict with the religious leaders? Why did Jesus do so much healing on the Sabbath?
5) What were some of the exceptions to the Sabbath that Jesus pointed to? Why do you think Jesus pointed these out? What implications do these exceptions have for us as Christians today? (Matthew 12:1-7; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 14; John 5:17)
6) Is there a difference between resting and not working? How well do you rest? What activities restore your soul? Does God fit into that? Have you ever come back from vacation more tired than when you left? If so, what does that tell you about rest?
7) Research and observed behavior establish the fact that over the last 50 years church has come to matter less and less to most Americans. Does Sabbath theology speak into this trend? If so, how? Compare today’s activity schedules to those of your childhood; how many league soccer games were there on Sunday mornings when you were growing up?
8) Where do you see the work/rest cycle most often violated? Have you considered the modern problem of slavery in the context of Sabbath laws? Do slaves get a Sabbath rest?
What happens to the human heart when one works every day without rest? Can you see it as an act of love and justice to insist on rest?