Warning Signs | Don't Fail to Enter Christ's Rest, Day 1
Exodus 31:12-17; Hebrews 4:8-13
Observing a Sabbath rest helps us keep work in its proper place, and it can make our six days of labor more productive.
Verse of the Day
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. Hebrews 4:1
Complete the following sentence: “I wish I had more time to...”
Based on the events of an average week, is rest something you value?
Why is it so hard for us to find time to rest?
What we do does not define us but sometimes work becomes our identity or our idol.
God created work for us to do, but He set clear boundaries for that work and makes it clear we should observe a Sabbath rest day to keep work in its proper place and not make it our idol.
Observing a Sabbath rest can also help make our six days of work more productive.
Read Exodus 31:12-17
And the Lord said to Moses, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord . Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” Exodus 31:12-17 ESV
What is the purpose of the Sabbath? What do you think it means to keep the Sabbath Day holy?
What do you find most challenging when you think about obeying this commandment?
Sabbath: The cease or to rest
Sabbath is the seventh day on the Hebrew calendar
Applied also to land every seven years
Established by God as a day of rest from work to focus on God
Sabbath rest is a promise of the ultimate rest God will accomplish for His people.
The Sabbath is supposed to be a holy day, in that it is set apart for God. We are called to spend an entire day resting from the day-to-day grind and focus on worshipping and growing in our relationship with God, and recognizing that He provides all that we truly need.
We so often feel like there is never enough time to get things done so it can be very challenging to put the work aside for a whole day to focus on God, but we need to remember if we take our Sabbath day as intended it can restore us and help us to be more productive in the coming six days of work.
Work helps to develop discipline and encourages us to contribute to society and God’s plan but it is not supposed to consume all of our time, bodies, minds and souls. We need time to rest, physically, emotionally and spiritually by spending dedicated time with God.
Why does rest matter to God? How did He demonstrate this for us?
How is practicing Sabbath rest an exercise in trust?
What do we communicate to God when we fail to obey this command?
God worked six days and rested the seventh which sets the example for us to take a day of rest from our work as well.
If God Himself sets the example for us, we should not place ourselves above His example.
When we reject His Sabbath rest we are essentially saying we don’t need to focus on Him, and giving an entire day in devotion to Him is not worth our time. Therefore, we are telling God He is not important enough in our lives to stop our work to worship and grow with Him.
We also tell God we don’t need or trust His provisions if we focus on work over focusing on Him.
Read Jesus’ words in Mark 2:27
And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 ESV
How should we live in response to this verse today?
We need to prioritize our Sabbath day and allow ourselves to rest in the provisions of our loving Heavenly Father, and spend that day honoring, glorifying and worshipping Him.
We should not be rejecting our Sabbath rest, which is a gift from God
In what ways do you feel like you are living on autopilot?
How do the habits and routines you’ve formed keep you from resting?
Why might our ability or inability to rest be more about what we believe than the commitments on our schedule?
Read Hebrews 4:8-13
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:8-13 ESV
Earlier in chapter 4, the writer of Hebrews wrote about the failure of the Israelites to enter into the promised land of God (see Heb. 4:6). Why did those people fail to enter the promised land? What does that failure have to do with our inability to rest today?
God has to command us to do things because we are not naturally inclined to do them, but He knows they are good for us.
When the Israelites failed to obey God, they were unable to enter His rest. We choose not to enter His rest when we live disobedient to His commands.
If God is not our #1 priority and focus and we are not living in obedience to the life He has called us to, then we will miss out on His rest and drift further away, becoming separated from Him.
What might an inability to rest because you over-commit yourself to activities show you about where you find your true significance?
How might an inability to rest influence the way you interact with other people?
We make time for what is truly important to us.
If we are not making the time for God that He commands us to, we are showing we don’t truly value Him.
When God is not our priority and most important in our lives, everything else is out of whack as well and we will fail to prioritize our lives based on God’s design for us. This can have costly effects on our relationships, job, health, overall life, and above all on our relationship with Him.
Your schedule is not the enemy of your rest. The enemy of rest is our failure to place God at His right place in our lives.
Prioritizing God and our Sabbath rest can help us prioritize our service to God and His calling for us.
Notice in this passage that rest isn’t a specific period of time, but an ongoing state of Sabbath. Does that mean we can even rest while we are working? How so?
When we are in Christ, we can live in a state of rest even when we are physically tired.
Our salvation enables this state because it transforms the way we work. We don’t do so to prove ourselves or to secure some kind of future; we do so as a celebration of what God has already done for us in Christ.
What is one practical way you can prioritize time in prayer and rest with God? What do you hope will happen as a result?
Allot time daily to rest with God, and commit to a Sabbath day. Praise God for this gift and rest in Him.