I recently came across these words from another Pastor and want to share them with you this morning. As I read them, try to make mental notes of anything that jumps out at you. Alright? Here we go:
The world now seems to operate according to the motto: ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ All sinners proceed on the assumption that there is no God whom men must fear and no judgment in which man must give an account. People make no secret of their sins; they even boast about them. As at the time of the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, sinners regard themselves as secure and carefree. They seek money, bigger houses, and other worldly pleasures. They dismiss as laughable those who witness to the truth of God’s anger and punishment. New movements continue to arise for the purpose of overturning Christian discipline and order, and for stirring up children against their parents, citizens against their government, students against their teachers, and the poor against the rich (God Grant It, by C.F.W. Walther, page 25-26).
Any phrases ringing in your ears? [Maybe:] People act as though there is no God? …Many chase after bigger and better? …Secretly shameful sins are now openly praised? …Christians mocked? …Rebels rage against government? …Christian discipline crumbles? (Something else?)
Believe it or not, these words come from a devotion written in 1850. It almost sounds as though this Pastor lives in our world today! Yet, Jesus warns you that this would happen. There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:1-5). As this world races to its end and as eternity marches another day closer, the devil, in his frenzied fits of rage, will fight to detract many from God forever.
That means there is still work to do. Understand, God is not telling you to go out and solve society’s troubles. Neither does he want you to point a smug, self-righteous finger at your neighbor or the stranger in the grocery store. Words like these strike home first. Reflect on your calling in life and consider the people God has placed in your life. Remember, Training Preserves Life. Remove what is harmful. Learn what is good. Follow what is right.
And she said that to me. A middle-aged woman, standing in my driveway, facing the parsonage garage-door. (The Ten Commandments are painted on it). Her eyes locked onto the Fourth Commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” She turned to me, “My kids need to pay attention to that.”
She’s right— but I wonder, has she removed what is harmful?
You see, children are not born with this innate sense of right and wrong. They are not these “blank slates” that can choose to love God or choose to disobey him. Scripture plainly says: Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5).
God’s Word shatters this idea that babies are born innocent, or that toddlers do not really understand the reason for their tirade, and that “kids will just be kids.” The sinful heart reveals itself with tirades and tantrums, with sass-back and disrespect. Toddlers understand the word: “No.” They cry because they do not want to hear it. Teenagers know drugs and drunkenness are wrong. So, they try to hide it from their parents. Even adults manipulate one another because they are selfish. God looks down on the world, sees every living soul, and concludes: All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:3). Not one elderly person. Not one kind parent. Not one newborn baby. Not even one.
That means someone must teach God’s ‘right’ and God’s ‘wrong.’ That means someone must teach when an action is ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ That is reason for God’s command: Fathers… (and we could include father-figures, mothers and mother-figures) [bring up your child] in the training and instruction of the Lord. The purpose is to remove the sin that harmful. Sometimes that means you (and I) have to start with yourself first. Remove the faulty thoughts that are harmful.
God lists one: Fathers, do not exasperate your children… ‘Exasperating’ means to behave in a way that brings out anger from your child. To make your child resentful because of your actions.
If you wonder why a child is disobedient, a good question to ask is: Are they learning from me? Your child will believe God’s commandments are optional if you do not chastise them for disrespect or cursing or fighting or losing self-control. Your child will think faith in Jesus as Savior is unnecessary if he sees you in worship, but you do not urge him to also worship. Your child might know you worship, but hurt when you insult them and berate behavior. Instead of looking around at others, pointing a finger at their wild lifestyle, you (and I) have to examine our hearts first because your heart turns aside. It can become corrupt. It does not do the good God demands. Left unchecked, it can lead the child in your life to resent God.
So, God sends Jesus to remove what is harmful, to remove the ravaging effects of sin in you (and me). Jesus removes what is harmful by remaining without sin. When his disciples panic on a stormy sea, he rescues them. Not just that, but he even corrects their doubting faith. When James and John foolishly ask Jesus to destroy nonbelievers, he does not insult: “You idiots!” Rather, he teaches them that God’s love demands patience. When the Eleven cower for their lives Easter evening, Jesus does not appear with, “Cursed are you! See my hands and feet? I’m alive and you will suffer!” Instead he breathes out, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).
Look at Jesus. See God treat him harshly on the cross. See Jesus carry your (and my) parental failures to the cross. See him rise and raise you forgiven. Jesus has removed harmful attitudes about parenting.
Jesus shows you how serious sin is. As you remember his work for you, you will remove harmful thinking. In its place, you will learn what is good.
What is good? To bring up [your child] in the training and instruction of the Lord. Who does this? You. Fathers and father-figures, God wants you to continually teach your child about Jesus. Parent-figures, God uses your roles and your relationships as ways to bring his Word to the ears and hearts of others.
He even tells you what to say. Instruct [them] in the Lord. That means, teach them what God teaches. Sometimes that learning includes, well, learning. The only way you will know what God calls ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ is to read what God calls ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ As a [grand]parent, make time for family devotions; make this part of your routine. Spend a few minutes after dinner or right before shutting off the lights at night. Read a chapter in one of the gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Summarize the one simple truth Jesus (1) teaches or (2) reveals about himself. Then say a short prayer together. God has placed you in the life of a child so that this child may know their Savior.
Not only do you instruct, but you also train in the Lord. When a child veers away from what God calls ‘right,’ call them back.
Some of you have adult children. You brought them to catechism class to learn the teachings of the Bible. Yet, it can happen that catechism class appears as a classroom lecture that does not touch the heart. Point out the catechism is not mindless information. Instead, it brings out key teachings of Scripture. The best way to drive this home is to share how something you learned from the catechism still comforts you. Speak of God’s promises when issues arise. “God’s in control over governments” (Psalm 2:1-6). “We need to pray for guidance in conflict” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). “God has given us our money, our home, and our food. He gets the credit” (Psalm 145:15-16). By doing this, you are connecting everyday life to the promises God has laid out in the Bible.
Perhaps teenagers live at home. It’s an exciting time to watch them mature and form decisions for their own personal future. Yet, remember: teenagers tend to feel a sense of freedom to do the things they did not experience with you. So, if God is a part of your life, you can be sure the devil will tempt them to try life without God. (That is part of the reason why 30% of those under age 30 no longer have a home church.) As a Christian father, share your faith with your teen. Open yourself up, expressing how God fills you with comfort, when you needed him most, and the confidence you hold now with him.
Training Preserves Life. Physical exercise increases physical health. In the same way, time in the Word and opportunities to connect faith to everyday life increases spiritual health. You learn what is good. As a result, you follow what is right.
Do you see the role you have, fathers and father-figures, [grand]parents and parent-figures? When you train a child, you are laying a groundwork for the child to follow.
That proves to be a blessing for all involved. God commands: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Understand, God is not saying, “Obey because I will be sad if you are not.” What makes this command “right” is that it comes from God and is beneficial. Obey your parents because they share the Word of God Almighty. Obey your parents because you belong to God. Obey your parents because out of love for God, you want to do what he commands.
Those who Honor your father and mother…[have] that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” If you respect your authorities, they will not arrest you, throw you into prison or execute you. If you obey your spiritual leaders, you will not bring spiritual harm upon your soul. If you obey your parents you will not be stressed out when talking. You may receive financial help. You will receive advice and guidance. You will enjoy ease of communication. Training Preserves Life. Follow what is right.
As this world races to its end and as eternity marches another day closer, the devil, in his frenzied fits of rage, will fight to detract many from God forever. That happens when the family unit breaks down. When parents fail to teach the next generation of their God. When parents do not discipline their child as God expects. When children disobey God and reject his leaders. You do not have to look far to see proof of this happening today.
Remember, God does not tell you to go out and solve the world’s troubles. He tells you to start at home. Take a good look at your family. Is there somewhere you can grow? … Somewhere you can spend time with the Word of life? … Somewhere discipline is needed? …Is there a place to spend more time in devotion?
The purpose of that Christian family is to have all those parts work together so that all may reach their heavenly home. The way to do that is through the Word. He give us parents (and parent-figures) to speak and children to hear. Reflect on your calling in life and consider the people God has placed in your life. Training Preserves Life. Remove what is harmful. Learn what is good. Follow what is right.
What is the answer to God’s question? What have you done? It’s very clear and understandable; it is not difficult to grasp. It has a very simple answer. What have you done?
Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day… Remember, this is their God! The One who creates this perfect paradise! He gives the word and earth roars into existence. Rivers slice through landscapes and fill up seas and oceans. Vegetation shoots up, producing all sorts of flowers and trees, every kind of fruit and food. Sun warms the air, moonlight illuminates the night, stars twinkle in the sky. Fish fill the seas, birds soar through the skies, animals roam the earth. Then God stoops down and holds out the keys to his creation and says: Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish and birds and creatures (Genesis 1:28).
Rule everything! Except for one tree, one untouchable tree: ‘the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’ (2:17). No, it does not possess magical powers. God is not holding back secret knowledge. Obeying this command demonstrates that Adam and Eve love God more than anything else. Because love for God accepts his wishes; it does not challenge him. It finds perfect contentment in doing whatever pleases God.
Now this. Hiding. Running away from the God who holds this open, unobstructed relationship with them!
The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
How does the man answer? “God, I was naked, so I hid! I had no clothes. That’s why I could not see you. It’s just not appropriate. Let me find something to put on.”
“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
“Hey, God, you know that woman you put here with me? Yeah, she picked the fruit. She put it into my hands. She made me eat it. She did the wrong!
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
How does the woman answer? “God, I can tell you what the serpent did. He lied to me. He said the fruit was beneficial— and he seemed trustworthy. He’s the one who told me to do wrong.”
Those are not the answers God is looking for, are they? You know, as well as I, Adam did not answer God’s question. Eve did not answer what God asked. What you find here is blameshifting. You find defending actions. You find justifying choices. You find minimizing consequences. You find ignoring commands. Do you realize what one thing is missing in all of those answers? Accountability. “The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accountability)
God simply says, “What did you do?” God does not ask Adam about Eve. He does not ask Eve about the serpent. He is not looking for excuses. He is not duped by their finger-pointing. God knows full well what they have done. He knows behind every action is a motive. That motive, when it does what God calls ‘wrong’ has rebelled. That motive comes from a heart which wars against God. Refusing to call disobedience ‘wrong,’ places you at war with God.
Take a look at these two people standing naked before the mighty Judge of the universe. Take a moment to realize these are your ancestors. Just like you have inherited the physical makeup of your parents, you have inherited this same rebelliousness from Adam and from Eve. And the same excuses they make remain the all-too-common excuses in our world today.
God defines marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-5). Yet, the world creates its own definition to allow men to marry men and women to marry women— and goes so far as to defend why this new definition is better than God’s. Their reason? “Well, nothing bad happens.” That completely dodges God’s command: You shall not.
Many list the reasons as to why marriage is no longer needed today: “Well, my parents soured my views on marriage…” “I don’t want to hurt my kids if I get divorced…” “We’re just not ready to commit…” “We don’t have the money…” God asks you a very simple question: Are you honoring the marriage bed? (Hebrews 13:4) ‘Yes’ or ‘No?’
Neither is divorce in God’s plan. Yet, out comes the defense:“I just don’t love him…” “She won’t listen to me…” “I love someone else…” “I’m tired of this marriage…” God cuts through the heart’s sidetracking and simply asks: Are you treating your marriage as the lifelong union it is, just as you swore to me? ‘Yes’ or ‘No?”
Your media fosters an atmosphere to gripe and complain and find nothing good in the blessings God showers on you. WNEM-5 airs a news segment where people can call in just to rant— even if it is against someone’s good intentions. News reports spit out insult after insult against God’s appointed leaders (Romans 13:1-2). Social media paves the way to gossip and gripe. Apologies are hard to come by. Defending slander is easier. God asks: Are you taking words and actions in the kindest possible way? ‘Yes’ or ‘No?’
What have you done? That’s God’s question. Understand, you can point a finger at your parents, but that does excuse you from abusing God’s gift of marriage. You can justify your conversations by saying, “Everyone does it!” but that does not make right your rebellion against what God clearly calls ‘wrong.’ You can defend your choices— even when those choices clearly contradict Scripture, but it does not undo the fact you fail to obey a holy and perfect God. Trying to direct attention onto someone else or pretending to ignore what you have done solves nothing. When it comes down to it, you are held accountable for what you have done. God’s crushing question is yours to answer.
You, as well as I, know the only correct answer to our actions. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge... Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love (Psalm 51:4, 1).
God’s response is to crush sin forever. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
God rolls up his sleeves and takes action by placing enmity for you. Did you catch that? God has mercy and does not live hostile to you. Instead, he places a wall of hostility between you and Satan—and he starts with your first parents.
I will put enmity between you... devil, and the woman… Eve. God promises to rescue from hell. He starts by calling Adam and Eve to trust that Jesus would do just that. Eve would carry the promise of the Savior. God’s promise created faith in her heart. No longer did she join the dark forces of the devil, but rather lived on the side of God, as his dear child.
As the centuries roll by, the promised Descendant is passed down from generation to generation, passed down from believer to believer. The entire time God putting up this barrier of hostility between Satan and those who belong to God. Father Abraham clings to the unseen promises of God, considering them as good as kept (Hebrews 11:11-12). Great King David looks forward to the coming Savior, One who would establish an eternal kingdom in the hearts of every believer (2 Samuel 7:16). The prophet Isaiah sees the virgin Mary give birth to a Son, calling him ‘Immanuel,’ because ‘God is with us’ (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
Eve’s promised offspring is passed down from generation to generation— and then, Jesus steps foot on earth. He does not ignore sin; he calls people to turn from their rebellious ways. He does not justify the lack of trust from his disciples; he rebukes them for doubting his Word. He does not defend the rejection from the religious leaders; he exposes their pride.
God exposes sin because he hates sin. He hates sin so much he condemns his only Son because of it. Nails bite Jesus’ hands and feet. Thorns sting his head. Spear pierces his side. The devil serpent bites Jesus and Jesus dies. But with that bite, the devil seals his own fate.
You see, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid the wages of your sin with his perfect life and death. Then, Jesus rises up Easter morning. Sits up on the stone slab. Removes the linens from his face and body. Folds them neatly, leaving them at the foot of his bed. Swings his legs over the edge and stomps down on the head of Satan. Jesus lives! It demonstrates that his life has removed sin’s wages forever. If he has paid the debt you owe, then it means you have life!
So, What is the Answer to God’s Crushing Question? For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
Now, there exists enmity between [the devil’s] seed and you. Through faith in Jesus as Savior, you stand opposed to Satan. God sees you on his side, no longer on the devil’s side. Sin’s crushing shame no longer hovers over you. You can approach the well again and again and receive the awesome refreshment of forgiveness. God has been merciful and he sent his only Son to be the sacrifice to make you at-one with God! You are forgiven! Live in peace!
Live opposed to Satan and his seed. That ‘seed’ does not refer to demons. Rather, it refers to those who live without faith, and therefore live against God’s commands. Be sure, the world will try to pull you to follow its god-less ways. The world will teach you to blameshift, to justify, and to defend. Even your own heart will wiggle and squirm in the hopes to deceive God and escape punishment.
Remember The Answer to God’s Crushing Question. God still comes to you (and me) with his Word, calling out to hearts which have wandered little too close to the enemy. His very Words cut straight to the heart of the matter. Have you wandered? ‘Yes’ or ‘No’? Love for God moves you to confess ‘wrong,’ as ‘wrong,’ and ‘evil,’ as ‘evil.’ Love for God begs, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
And he has. In sending the snake-Crusher. In sending the sin-Destroyer. In sending you to his side. Then, he puts into your hands the only weapon to strike down your enemy: His Word.
There you will find God has crushed Satan. There you will find God has conquered temptation. There you will find God has ended death. You have life—and life on his side. Stand strong against temptation—not by relying on yourself, but by spending time in the Word. See Jesus crucified and Jesus living as The Answer to God’s Crushing Question.
Here’s an all expense paid vacation to the Bahamas. In this envelope is your plane ticket, your hotel and dinner reservations, as well as spa reservations, fishing and scuba diving expeditions, and parasailing trips. Everything you need is right here. Take the envelope, travel to the right airport, hotel, restaurant, and activity center, claim your reservation, and enjoy the trip!
After all, it’s a vacation… And vacations allow a break from the everyday busy-ness of life. No pressing deadlines to haunt you. No exhausting trips to doctor appointments. No stressful child-sitting. No nerve-wracking phone-calls. Just let your mind wander. Let someone else care for you. Do what you want whenever you want. Daydream. Nap. Relax!
Now, you could take this envelope jam-packed with tickets and reservations. You could spend thousands (of your own dollars) on a plane. You could spend hours scouring the internet for the best hotel rooms. You could spend all week calling restaurants and charter boats and day spas. Even though I arranged the entire trip for you, you could try to make all the arrangements for yourself. Then you would be quite stressed, anxious, and exhausted during your entire vacation. In fact, it would not be much of a vacation at all, would it? You would be working to obtain a ‘rest’ that has already been given to you.
It would be foolish to work instead of rest. It is just as foolish to work when you could be Receiving Your Sabbath Rest from God. The time you spend with God— hearing his Word, reading devotions, gathering in worship— is a time where God gives you rest and God comes to you.
In the Old Testament God set aside a special day of rest called the ‘Sabbath Day. Remember, ‘Sabbath’ is a Hebrew word meaning: ‘rest’ or ‘cease from work.’ God instructs: Six days you shall labor and do all your work-- your field work, your construction jobs, running your restaurant, sitting at your work desk, doing tedious household chores and errands— but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a ‘day of rest’ (Deuteronomy 5:13-14). On the seventh day you stop your busy-ness. Why? So that you may have a clear, stress-free mind to recall, remember, and reflect on what God has done for you.
So, ancient Israel stopped working, and the clear mind (that comes from resting) allowed them to remember that they were once slaves in Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15). They could recall the sweat and heat, the aches and pains, the twenty-hour-a-day/seven-days-a-week-labor, the lack of personal freedom. Then they remembered how God pried them out of Egypt with ten plagues and led them into an entirely brand new way of life. As the nation remembered what God did, they could reflect how God did all this out of mercy. This recalling, remembering, and reflecting motivates thanks to their awesome God.
The Pharisees knew God commanded them to Remember Sabbath by keeping it holy (Deuteronomy 5:12). The way to demonstrate respect for the day is to not work.
Jesus’ disciples are walking through a grainfield on a Sabbath day. They’re snagging handfuls of wheat kernels, rubbing them together in their hands, cracking open the chewy husks, and snacking the soft grain. The Pharisees are watching this. In their book, plucking is the same as reaping— as though the disciples are swinging harvest sickles (or jumping into the John Deere to harvest wheat).
They rush up to Jesus, chiding, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” This plucking is not forbidden by God. In fact, God allowed people to walk through grainfields and take just enough to fill the stomach (Deuteronomy 23:25). It was the Pharisees who called this action ‘illegal.’ In fact, the Pharisees added extra layers to God’s commandments. When it came to the Sabbath Day, they added 39 classifications of forbidden work.
There’s a reason they did this. The Pharisees recognized their own sinfulness; they are not perfect. So, they add regulations that they could keep. Yes, they might not love God with all their heart, mind, and soul (Matthew 22:37), but they could obey their 39 different rules of approved work. They could sit in the synagogue for hours. They could put an end to their excessive laboring. They could stay out of the grainfields. Because they could keep their own manmade rules, they felt proud.
That pride soared even higher when they caught others breaking their rules. The Pharisees could not only (1) obey manmade rules, but (2) did something the majority could not. So, they point a finger at the disciples, calling them worse sinners than they. The Pharisees even imply that Jesus failed to be God’s approved Savior because he did not call the disciples’ actions wrong.
You see, the purpose for spending time with God is for God to give you rest. Stop to recall, remember, and reflect on the Savior who brings peace with God. Yet, the Pharisees did not want this spiritual rest. They wanted to work for God’s favor.
Inside each of us is that same workaholic heart. It can take something so beneficial like worship or personal devotions and twist it into something great you do to earn favor with God. It happens when you slip into bed Saturday night and wake up Sunday morning feeling as though worship is some enslaving command.“Well, I gotta go to church. It’s expected. I must do it. I can’t wait until it’s all over then I can get on with my day.” Instead of finding spiritual refreshment, worship becomes a chore.
Fingers points at those neglecting worship. “Well, Dan was baptized and confirmed here, but he hasn’t been to church after confirmation!” What’s the purpose behind that statement? Do you sincerely desire to call back someone neglecting the Word? Or, do you feel that God is happier with you because you came to ‘church’ and you showed up more often than Christmas and Easter service only? Has your worship attendance become some sort of track record you want God to reward?
Do you, like the Pharisees, create and follow manmade rules for worship? Like, kids must be quiet— and if your child is quieter, then you are a better parent. You must wear a suit & tie, a dress or slacks; you must wear a certain standard of clothing— and if you do, you are a more sincere Christian than others. You must sit still and follow along— and if you are actively engaged the entire time, then you had a good day. Do you brag about your Sunday School attendance as though you love God more than those who do not come? Are you holding up Bible class attendance and your daily devotions as badges of honor before God?
You see, you may not condemn people for crushing grain in their hands on the wrong day. Yet, inside each of us beats a heart which wants you to measure and compare yourself to others according to your own manmade rules so that you look morally superior
Do you want to know what Jesus says about that? The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. If you believe you are doing God some great service by worshipping, reading your Bible, and learning God’s Word, you are fooling yourself! The ‘rest’ you get with God is not some meritorious work. It never was (and is) meant for that purpose. To believe it is will rob you of ‘rest’ forever.
You are created first. Then, so that you enjoy peace with God, God gives you opportunities to find physical and spiritual rest. Receive Your Sabbath Rest. Did you catch it? Receive. Not something you earn. Rather, God gives you rest.
You receive rest as you spend time in God’s Word. God does not command you, living after the time of Jesus, to worship only on Saturday. You are free to set aside a specific day for worship (Colossians 2:16-17). You are allowed to work, if needed, on your worship day. Why? Because The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
The point of the Old Testament Sabbath Day is to spend time with God— and not just for one day, but daily time with God. As your Substitute he does what you (and I) have not.
Jesus is a Son born to the man, Joseph. Jesus has flesh and blood; he is a real, living human being! Since he is born of a woman, he is born under God’s law (Galatians 4:4). That means the Third Commandment is laid on Jesus. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8).
He makes worship his custom. Never does he skip worship because he’d rather be fishing. Never does he groan and gripe that time with God is some chore. Rather, Jesus delights spending time in the Word! He not only listens to God speak, the Word of God is on his lips He preaches to crowds. He teaches. He encourages with the Word. The Lord of the Sabbath dies for your (and my) abuse of the Sabbath. His blameless life satisfies God’s anger forever.
God keeps coming to you with that precious message: “Forgiven!” On Easter Sunday (Sunday!—the day on which you worship!) Jesus hands you eternal rest! Recall how he comes to set you free from guilt. Remember he paid the price with his life. Reflect that now you are set free from sin, set free from work, set free to live in peace! As you recall, remember, and reflect, praise and thanks will gush out.
That is the purpose for diving into God’s Word. It’s all about what God has done for you! As you better grasp how God has, in Jesus, truly forgiven you all your sins, you live a new kind of life. No longer is worship about you doing something for God. No longer are you fighting to look morally superior than others. Rather, you heart lives at rest knowing God has done all the work need to save you!... and to make you his!
Love for worship motivates you to call others to faithful worship. So, look around. Do you recall those who worshipped with you once, but have now grown a little slow? A brother? ...sister? A son? ...daughter? …grandchild? A friend? A neighbor? Why does it hurt you when people stay away from God’s house? Because they see no need to thank God for setting them free from death in hell. They ignore the only One who will give real joy and peace in life. You have experienced real rest in the forgiveness Jesus brings. That makes you qualified to share your experience with others. You may be related to those slow to worship. You may be a friend. You may be an acquaintance. So, pick up the phone and call them. Shoot a text message. Drive to their house. Hold up the real rest given in worship. Your love for the day of rest compels you to do so.
Love for God compels you to spend time with him. So, you carve out time to spend with God. You make daily devotions a priority. Either you read a page in the Meditations booklet. Or you find strength in a chapter of the Bible. Or you grow in Bible Class as you see what God is capable of doing for you. You Receive Your Sabbath Rest because God comes to you.
You could try to earn God’s favor by behaving a certain way. You could measure yourself to a little child. You could make sure to stand up first and speak the loudest. You could stare at your watch so that you do not miss out on devotion-time or Bible Class. You can live quite stressed, anxious, and exhausted trying to be good enough for God. But you would be foolish to work instead of rest.
God hands you his Word so that you may Receive Your Sabbath Rest. The time you spend with God— hearing his Word, reading devotions, gathering in worship— is a time where God gives you rest and God comes to you.