Private Worship – Schedule a Time and Place
Like we did last week with private worship, this week we are going to plan out our sabbath practice. It may initially seem strange to be talking about a sabbath rest in a series on redemptive work and worship, but practicing a sabbath routine is one of the best ways to ensure we are not making an idol out of our work. We’ve talked a lot about the theology of the sabbath this year so I’m not going to recap all of that. The main point here is to develop the practice. Yet a couple of reminders are in order today.
- I don’t believe NT Christians are obligated to uphold the sabbath as a legal requirement. That said, I still think it is a good practice to maintain. We don’t need to be legalistic about it but think of it as a practice that is good for your soul, as Jesus said, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”
- Sabbath literally means “stop”. It is a day to stop from all of our work. It also is the Hebrew word for the number 7. The connection there is obvious then to resting on the seventh day.
- Remember the theology of the garden, how God rested. The humans were set up for the perfect, permanent 7th day rest experience until sin entered into creation, then their work became toilsome and difficult. The story of Scripture is the story of returning to that 7th day rest in an even better creation.
- Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me you who labor and are heaven laden and I will give you rest.” This is sabbath language that we are to find in Jesus.
So, to convince you that this is important, when we practice the Sabbath we are participating in a long standing practice for the people of God. We are looking back to the 7th day rest of the garden and looking ahead to the 7th day rest of the new creation, while still participating in this rest with Jesus. So our practice finds meaning in the past, present and future. It is a day to actively resist the temptation of idolizing work and the stuff that work brings, ie. money and possessions. It is a day a day to worship with our time. These are not small things. Today, my only aim is to convince you that taking a sabbath rest in important. Tomorrow we will begin exploring how to practice your sabbath rest.