Dluxe's World

Thursday, November 8

Not-so-black-and-white Sabbath

Our church is in the middle of a series on worship. This coming week, we'll be discussing the implications of the Sabbath on us as New Testament believers.

Last year, out ABF went through a series on the Ten Commandments and I had the opportunity to teach two weeks on the "Sabbath" command. In many ways, that time of preparation was one of the most challenging and rewarding times I've had in the Word. The command itself is straightforward, but it's implications are massive and rarely discussed in contemporary evangelicalism.

It is true that our righteousness was completed in the work of Christ on the Cross... Our standing before God is not based on our rigid adherence to the particulars of the Sabbath law. I want to make these points up front lest the ugly accusation of legalism come up. We are, quite literally, freed from strict obedience to the Law.

However....

We'd agree that how we spend our money as believers reflects something of our values. "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Similarly, the Sabbath command challenges us to examine the priorities we set on our time. If we value Christ, how does our life reflect that?

If I had a chance to take a day off and go watch a Delaware football game (Go Hens!), I would look forward to it with eager (indeed, rabid) anticipation. I'd work hard to clear my calendar of any potential distractions. Other appointments with family or friends would have to wait. I love the Hens, and so I wouldn't let anything get in the way of getting a chance to see a game.

Well, what about our time with God? And I don't mean to focus narrowly on Sunday mornings here... Do I keep portions of my day free from intrusion so I can devote the time to prayer and study? Do I grow impatient on Sunday because I need to get home for the game? From a strictly numerical angle, how much of my time per week is devoted to communion with my Savior versus work and play?

The quote that stuck with me last year is this from Piper:
"The reason that so many people feel it as a burden is partly that we have so much leisure, we don't feel the need for the sabbath… [B]ut more important, I think, is the fact that not many people really enjoy what God intended us to enjoy on the sabbath, namely, himself. Many professing Christians enjoy sports and television and secular books and magazines and recreation and hobbies and games far more than they enjoy direct interaction with God in his Word or in worship or in reading Christian books or in meditative strolls.

Therefore, inevitably people whose hearts are set more on the pleasures of the world than on the enjoyment of God will feel the sabbath command as a burden not a blessing… The measure of your love for God is the measure of the joy you get in focusing on him on the day of rest. For most people the sabbath command is really a demand to repent. It invites us to enjoy what we don't enjoy and therefore shows us the evil of hearts, and our need to repent and be changed."

May we be challenged by God's Word to make our practice line up with the words of devotion that easily slip from our lips. More than that, may God give us hearts that are awakened to who He is and that joyfully seek to draw closer to Christ...

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1 Comments:

  • Nice post! I'm struck by the nature of our eternal Sabbath: worshiping the Almighty, our Creator and Redeemer...forever!
    To neglect the privilege of that fellowship now for the trivial, for a bowl of lentils, shows our affections...
    yes we are called to repent...and then delight in Him.

    By Blogger Tim, at 1:44 PM, November 08, 2007  

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