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The Southgate Christian Fellowship

Message Centre

On Man’s first day
God went on holiday

And there’s no indication
He’s back at work.
Is this significant?

Whatever the work of creation entailed the fact is that after six days of activity God rested on the seventh - and that, according to Genesis was mankind’s first full day!

God’s rest did not begin and end in a single twenty-four hour period but is still going on. This does not mean that he has gone into a state of inactivity, but that the period of creation is over and everything was set for the world to function according to God’s plan (Genesis 1 & 2).
But then, man’s disobedience caused sin and with it, work (Genesis 3).

 

But, then came rest!

For the Jews, entrance into Canaan and possession of their land as their inheritance constituted entrance into their rest.

 

 But, what about us?

 The writer to the Hebrews says… therefore, since the promise of entering his (God's) rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it
(Hebrews 4:1).

For us then, our salvation in and through Jesus now and in the future constitutes our rest.

 

The Battle’s Over

But, what is the nature of God’s rest that we should enjoy? It is eternal life and peace with God now and for eternity.

 We do not need to wait for the next life to enjoy God’s rest and peace; we may have it daily now! Our daily rest in the Lord will not end with death, but will become an eternal rest in the place that Christ is preparing for us (John 14:1-4).

Was the act of creation an enormous spiritual battle? We don’t know, but God is at rest because he is at peace and in control of everything he does. That’s God’s offer to us because it’s the case that rest for the Christian isn’t so much physical as spiritual. It’s rest in the battles of life through benefitting from all that is ours ‘in Christ’.

The Jews’ entry into the Promised Land was God’s visual aid for us. As they obeyed God and lived his way they had peace from their physical enemies. Disobedience and rejection of God, however, caused the opposite and eventual captivity.

The picture’s clear.

In both cases, for the Jew and the Christian, the promise of rest is there, and in both cases it is sin that sends us ‘back to work’. For the Jews to enter the 'Land' they had to battle against the enemy, but Jesus has done the 'battling' for us - he destroyed sin and death through the Cross and destroyed the enemies power. 

Holy Days

Having said that, God resting on the seventh day triggered the concept of the Sabbath Day, days off, and holidays.

 The term holiday comes from ‘Holy Days’.

For the early Christians certain days, like Easter and Christmas, began to hold special significance, and all Sundays were considered to be especially holy.

We’ve lost the use of the term ‘Holy Days’, and the term ‘holiday’ has come to have the largely secular connotation it often carries today. Even so, as Christians, we need to appreciate the concept of ‘Holy Days’. In verse 9 of Hebrews chapter 4 the author used a different word for “rest” meaning “Sabbath rest”. This was probably echoing what Jesus said… "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

 

Time off

We were never meant to work seven days a week even though some do, and they suffer for it. As Charles Swindoll says, “There is absolutely nothing enviable or spiritual about a coronary or a nervous breakdown, nor is an ultra busy schedule necessarily the mark of a productive life”. The Mary/Martha syndrome that we have mentioned many times is a warning against getting stressed out with the battles of life and not taking timeout to be with Jesus.

 

So, happy ‘Holy Days’.

 

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