Series: Sabbath Rest; Faith
Sun am 1st April 2012 – Kobus Swart
Gen. 2:1-3; Gen. 3:17-19; Heb. 4:1-16; Eph. 2:10 (Ampl); Phil. 2:12-13; (Heb. 11:1)
In this life, with its pace and pressures, it is very difficult to sit at the feet of God in silence, getting your thoughts out of the way and presenting yourself before Him. Waiting on the Lord, getting into His presence, can only bring rest. The Sabbath day is a relationship between God and us.
The Sabbath day has nothing to do with a day on the calendar. Man was created on the 6th day, so man’s first day on earth was in the (7th) Sabbath rest of God. And that day has never ended. (Gen. 2:1-3). God rested in it because He had completed everything He had created. He sanctified that day, set it aside, made it a holy day and said “It is a sign between you and Me.” What does it mean “God rested”? It means He took pleasure in what He had created; He rested in what He had made.
God celebrated His finished works and He wants us to be part of that celebration. It didn’t take Adam and Eve long to forfeit the joy of living in His rest; the Fall came and they lost that rest. The curse says it all: To Adam God said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:17-19). That has become the lifestyle of man since they disconnected from the Sabbath rest.
In Christ provision has been made for us to reconnect with the Sabbath rest of God, but there are a few keys.
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. (Heb. 4:1-2). The word faith has become very cheap amongst Christians, but if we do not receive the good news of the gospel with faith, we will not enter His rest. For only those …who have believed enter that rest, (Heb. 4:3). Faith is the substance of things not seen, the proof of things invisible (Heb. 11:1). Faith is the key to enter into the Sabbath rest. Entering His rest means we disconnect with the curse that followed them who were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. The Sabbath, however, can still be ours TODAY. Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today”…Therefore, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” When the Word comes, assimilate it the very second as it reaches your ears. Faith comes by hearing, not by having heard! Today, this moment, this second, is the best to assimilate and say “yes” to it in your heart. For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
What does it mean to labour to enter His rest? It sounds like a contradiction: “word hard not to work”! Here is a key: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Most of us know the meaning of stress, tension, pressure, turmoil. If you probe that feeling you will find it is rooted in your soul. How do we labour to enter this rest? Allow the living proceeding Word of God to divide between your emotional soul and spirit. It is the emotions that go up and down in the stresses and pressures of life. Then the Word of God alone is not enough; you have to believe and obey it when it comes! (Heb. 4:1-16).
Here is another very important key – especially for those who have been recreated in Christ:
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live] (Eph. 2:10-Amplified). How do I work or labour in rest? Find out what the works are that God has beforehand prepared, so that you can walk in them. Connect with God’s master plan for your life. We must connect with the works God has prepared for us beforehand so that we can walk in them; then we will live in the rest of God. Before rushing into a career, find out what it is that God has prepared for you before you were even born and connect with that. It is never too late to connect with God’s master plan.
How do we proceed from here? So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). Work out your salvation that He has worked into you – finished works. We are recreated in Him; He has worked complete salvation into us, now we must work it out. The good news is that it is God who is at work in us to will and to do His good pleasure. Allow that power within to have more room.
Waiting on God will bring perspective; before your day starts, take time. Submit your daily schedule before Him.