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The Second Sunday After Pentecost
Series B
 

Option #1: "The Purpose of The Day of Rest"
Mark 2:23-28
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, M.Div.

Whenever the cameras pan over a Moslem city, you see the minarets. They are towers that broadcast the call to prayer four times each day. Some Moslem countries mix religion and politics and people have little freedom of religion. America has always had freedom of religion. We are free to worship or not to worship. So on what basis do we decide? And how do help our non-participating family or friends decide correctly? In his response to the law-oriented Pharisees, Jesus teaches us the purpose of The Day of Rest:

 I. Not to lay another guilt trip on us

    A. It was a capital crime in the OT to violate the Sabbath--Ex 31:15-17; Num 15:32-36; Isa 58:13-14

    B. Pharisees added to God’s law--Matt 23:23-39; Matt 11:28-30

    C. King David showed that laws (Ex 29:32-33) are made for humanity’s benefit, not for its harm (text, vv25-26). Jesus sets His people free from the law’s accusations and condemnation--Rom. 8:1.

 

II. The Day of the Rest in the New Testament is to give an opportunity for self-examination, meditation, and spiritual growth-- text, vv27-28

    A. Self-examination--1 Cor 11:28, 2 Cor 13:5, Ps 119:59

    B. Meditation--Josh 1:8ff; Ps 48:9, 77:12, 119:15-16, 27-28, 143:5-6

    C. Growth--1 Cor 3:6-9; Eph 4:11-16; 1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 3:17-18

Barnes Notes on the New Testament, Mark 2:28:

God ordained the Sabbath not only to be a type of that rest which remains for the people of God, but to be also a means of promoting the welfare of people in general. The ordinances of religion should be regulated according to their end, which is the honor of God, and the salvation of people. It is the property of the true religion to contain nothing in it but what is beneficial to people. Hereby God plainly shows that it is neither out of indigence or interest that he requires people to worship and obey him; but only out of goodness, and to make them happy. God prohibited work on the Sabbath day, lest servants should be oppressed by their masters, that the laboring beasts might have necessary rest, and that people might have a proper opportunity to attend upon his ordinances, and get their souls saved. To the Sabbath, under God, we owe much of what is requisite and necessary as well for the body as the soul.

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, "Grow up into him in all things":

We must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening. Why should it always be winter time in our hearts? We must have our seed time, it is true but, oh, for a spring time--yea, a summer season, which shall give promise of an early harvest. If we would ripen in grace, we must live near to Jesus--in his presence--ripened by the sunshine of his smiles. We must hold sweet communion with him. We must leave the distant view of his face and come near, as John did, and pillow our head on his breast; then shall we find ourselves advancing in holiness, in love, in faith, in hope--yea, in every precious gift. As the sun rises first on mountain-tops and gilds them with his light, and presents one of the most charming sights to the eye of the traveler; so is it one of the most delightful contemplations in the world to mark the glow of the Spirit’s light on the head of some saint who has grown in spiritual stature.

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Lamb's Message

Object: baby bottle, perhaps some jars of baby food, if available

 

"Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man."

Jesus lived 2,000 years ago in a world very different from ours and in a country far away from ours. A lot of things were different. They worshiped on Saturday, the seventh day, the last day of the week. We worship on Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday and because the Holy Spirit was given on Sunday.

In the Old Testament, you couldn’t work on the Sabbath Day; you couldn’t even pick up sticks or you would get in deep trouble. On one Sabbath Day, Jesus’ disciples were hungry, so as they were walking through a field of grain they picked kernels and ate them. The Pharisees said that this was wrong.

That’s when Jesus said something that many people today don’t understand. He said: "The Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath." What does this mean? It means that God tells us to worship because it is good for us. We need it. Here’s how Peter put it in one of his letters: "Like newborn babies, desire the pure milk of God’s Word, that you by it you may grow" (1 Peter 2:2).

Next to the weeds in the garden, I can’t think of anything that grows faster than a little baby. I have a friend who is 55 years old, older than I am, and his wife just had a baby. How is his little baby girl growing so fast? She gets fed with very good baby food--milk and food designed just for little babies to grow.

Our souls, our spiritual lives, grow when we are fed with God’s Word. That’s what Jesus means when he says that "The Sabbath (the day of worship) was made for man." It was designed for our good.

So I hope you won’t let silly things keep you away from God’s house. You can go have fun on the weekend; just find a place to worship where you are. If you have a friend over, bring your friend to church with you. We wouldn’t stop eating just because it’s the weekend when we want to have fun. So why should we stop feeding our souls?

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Option #2: "Readied for Worship!"
Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Rev. Kelly Bedard, M.Div.

 
(Based on Marva Dawn's Keeping the Sabbath Wholly)
 
Goal: that the Sabbath be reclaimed among Christians, not for legalistic purposes but for the irreplaceable benefits a weekly sabbath offers
 
Malady: spasms of activity: frantic work and frenzied leisure that fragment us instead of fulfilling us
 
Means: God-empowered ceasing, resting, embracing, and feasting
 
Notes:
 
1. Ceasing--not only from work but also from productivity, anxiety, worry, possessiveness, and so on.

2. Resting--of the body as well as the mind, emotions, and spirit--a wholistic rest.

3. Embracing--deliberately taking hold of Christian values, of our calling in life, of the wholeness God offers us.

4. Feasting--celebrating God and His goodness in individual and corporate worship as well as feasting with beauty, music, food, affection, and social interaction.

5. The following links suggests practical ways to keep the Sabbath holy: http://www.practicingourfaith.org/practicesabbath.html, http://www.npwl.org/connectc/sabbath.htm

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM