Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Vision (12/13/12): Lord also of the sabbath

Here are some notes to the concluding applications from last Sunday’s sermon from Luke 6:1-11:


What do we glean from the two Sabbaths in Luke 6:1-11?


1.       Jesus did not teach the abrogation of or doing away with the moral law of God, including the Sabbath.


Notice that Jesus did not in any way shape or form do away with the Sabbath.   In v. 6, in particular, even after his confrontation with judgmental Pharisees, observe how Jesus is back in the synagogue on the Sabbath.  This tells us that there are still Ten Commandments in the moral law of God.  God has ordained that in his universe one day in seven in to be given over to rest in him and worship of him.  It has been this way since the creation.  Human beings function best when one day in seven is given over to the God and the things of God.  The Sabbath is designed to give glory to God and blessing to man.  We ignore this aspect of God’s law to our peril.


There’s a bluegrass song by Ricky Skaggs called “A Simple Life” where the chorus says, “A simple life is the life for me, a man and a wife and a family, and the Lord up above he knows I’m trying to live a simple life in a difficult time.”  One of the verses says, “I work six days and I rest for one, ‘cause the old rat race ain’t never been won.” That song gets it right.


2.       Jesus taught the centrality of Biblical obedience to the law of God, including the fourth commandment.


The problem with the Pharisees was that in their zeal to keep the law they went beyond what was written and introduced extra-biblical, man-made rules. The danger is that we can do the same.  There is a warning against that in this passage.


3.       Jesus taught the positive rather than the negative aspects of obedience to God’s law, including the keeping of the sabbath (see especially v. 9).


Perhaps the best evaluative question to ask is not, “What must I avoid that is wrong?” but “What may I do that is right and pleasing to God?”


With regard to the Sabbath, we can hardly improve on the wisdom of the Puritan fathers who in the catechism ask, “How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?” and answer:


The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days, and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.


Notice, by the way, that the two exceptions:  necessity and mercy derive from our passage.  To eat is a necessity and so it is lawful to eat on the Sabbath and to do anything else that is necessary for life and well being.  To help another human being or creature as an act of mercy is likewise lawful on the Sabbath.


4.       Jesus declared himself to be equal with God.


We see this in the declaration of v. 5:  “And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”  Who created the world including the Sabbath as a creation ordinance?  The God of the Bible.  So what is Jesus saying when he declares that he is Lord also of the Sabbath?  He is declaring himself to be equal in essence, power, and glory with the Father.   He is the one who made men’s hands, and he is the one who can restore them when they are twisted and withered (vv. 6-10).  He is the one who made men’s hearts and men’s lives, and he can restore them when they are twisted and withered.


There are only two responses to that.  Either we believe and obey or we react with an irrational fury, a madness that drives us even further from him (v. 11).  How will you respond?


Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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