The Tremendous Ten: Time To Take A Break
The Tremendous Ten: Time To Take A Break
Opening Illustration: Running…But Not On The Sabbath
The crack of the starter gun echoed through the stadium on the hot Friday evening in July of 1924. Eric Liddell sprinted forward in his unusual running style, his head thrown back, his arms waving at his side, his feet barely touching the track as he ran. No one, not even Eric himself, thought he had a chance of winning the 400-meter race. But Eric was determined to do his best. Eric Liddell was Scotland's fastest sprinter. He was their hero. He had won every 100-meter race he had run since early in his running career. His quick speed earned him a spot on the 100-meter British Olympic team.
Eric Liddell was a great athlete but he was also a dedicated Christian. His most famous quote says
“I believe that God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast and when I run I feel his pleasure.”
A Day of Rest
However, Eric Liddell had announced to his country that he could not run in the Olympic 100-meter race because the finals were scheduled on a Sunday. Sunday was a day of worship and rest for Eric. He would not run even if he were his country's only hope of winning an Olympic gold medal. This made the Scottish people very upset with Eric. They wrote bad things about him in the newspaper. Some people even called him a traitor. But Eric stood firm. He had never run on Sunday and never would, not even for an Olympic gold medal.
With very little time remaining before the Olympics began, Eric trained and qualified for another race that was not scheduled on a Sunday. Eric knew his chance of winning the 400-meter race was slim because two of the runners in this race had set world record times. In addition, on the day of the race, Eric was assigned the worst lane. But a note in his pocket encouraged him. The team trainer had given it to him before he left his hotel room. It read, "He who honors Him, He (God) will honor." Liddell knew his decision not to run on Sunday honored God.
Going for the Gold
As Eric rounded the turn on the track where all the runners usually come together, he expected to see the world record holders ahead of him. But he was there alone. He threw his head back even more than usual and pumped his legs as fast as he could. Eric crossed the finish line first, winning the gold medal! He had also set a new world record! Eric received a hero's welcome when he returned home. The newspapers now tried to outdo each other praising him. But Liddell knew their praise would not last long. He would soon announce his plan to stop running and go to China to tell people about Jesus.
Liddell’s look at the Sabbath was certainly admirable. Potentially a bit legalistic. However, his decision to observe the Sabbath begs the question…is there value in resting?
Have You Found The Balance Between Running and Resting? Most Haven’t…
Now friends, we are now in week 5 of a ten week series concerning the ten commandments. Of all the commandments, I believe that I break the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy the most. I have always struggled with resting. I work all the time it seems. Sunday is not a day of rest for me. Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath day, is certainly not restful as my family runs from event to event, from game to game. I have weddings that I perform on Saturdays. During warmer weather, we play baseball. I wash cars and do yard work. “Well preacher, don’t you have an off day? Couldn’t you use that as a Sabbath day?” I could but I don’t. I go to the gym, take care of things around the house, pick up kids from school and go to more practices. As a father of three and a husband to one (one’s enough) I find myself never resting.
Friends, let me tell you, when it comes to law breakers I am at the top of the list. So are you. We live in a go go go society. We work hard. We don’t sleep long. We eat worse. So, when it comes to the Sabbath and keeping it holy, I am a law breaker. I am guilty. Case closed.
But it’s not all bad news this morning. Our salvation is not dependent on keeping the laws. We are not saved by keeping the commandments. That’s what Scripture says.
Galatians 2:16 NLT
Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law."
Listen to what Martin Luther had to say in 1518…
"It is impossible for a person not to be puffed up by his 'good works' unless he has first been deflated and destroyed by suffering and evil until he knows that he is worthless and that his works are not his but God's."
So, we are not saved by the commandments or the law, but the law is beneficial because it reveals our sin. I agree with Martin Luther, we are not saved by our works. Saying this, I believe that the practical application of observing the Sabbath is beneficial to all of us and I am going to start trying to find ways to observe it. Researching and studying this commandment has opened my eyes to value of resting. Let me share with you what I have learned and maybe we can all work on this aspect of our life.
Exodus 20:8-11 ESV
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Point: So What Does Sabbath Mean?
According To The Baptist Faith And Message
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Shabbat is primarily a day of rest and spiritual enrichment. The word "Shabbat" comes from the root Shin-Beit-Tav, meaning to cease, to end, or to rest.
If you don't take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You're doing too much, you're being too much in charge. You've got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you're not doing anything.
Why Is The Sabbath Important?
I. We Are Not Robots But We Need Rebooting
Genesis 1:27 ESV
So God created man in his own image,in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
II. We Are In Need of Relating
Illustration:Marry The Jerk
The wife and I were sitting around the breakfast table one lazy Sunday morning.
I said to her, “If I were to die suddenly, I want you to immediately sell all my stuff.”
“Now why would you want me to do something like that?” she asked.
“I figure that you would eventually remarry and I don’t want some other jerk using my stuff.”
She looked at me and said, “What makes you think I’d marry another jerk?”
And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
III. We Are In Need of Reflection
Illustration: Time For Reflection
In 1974 Colonel William Pogue became the first American to go on strike—in space. The astronaut was part of the last, and longest, manned mission aboard the Skylab space station. About halfway through the 84-day mission, Colonel Pogue and the other astronauts requested ground controllers adjust the work schedule for more rest. "We had been over-scheduled," Pogue said. "We were just hustling the whole day. The work could be tiresome and tedious, though the view as spectacular."
Ground control refused. The work was too important, they said, and time was limited. Some worried the astronauts' request was a sign of depression or physical illness. Pogue insisted neither was the case. They just wanted more time to look out the window and think, he said. Eventually the disagreement between the crew and the controllers became so intense the astronauts went on strike. Finally, a compromise was reached to give the crew more time to rest during the remaining six weeks of the flight. Pogue later wrote that having more time to look out the window at the sun and earth below also made him reflect more about himself, his crewmen, and their "human situation, instead of trying to operate like a machine."
Mark 1:35 NIV
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
IV. We Are In Need of Rest
Let’s be honest, keeping the Sabbath is really hard for us. We live in a culture that has a higher priority on work than rest. That is not a bad thing. After all, God worked 6 days and rested. So, God wants us to work. However, resting is important. There are many of us who have big difficult jobs. Some of us have schedules that are really hard to work around. Several of you do shift work and your nights are you days and visa versa. So, how can we observe the Sabbath? How can we reflect? How can we take the time to grow closer to God.
1. Take A Break From Computers
2. Take A Break From Calendars
Ecclesiastes 4:6 ESV
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
The Sabbath Gives People a Rest from Works!
The Good News For Us Law Breakers!
Jesus Has Already Kept The Sabbath PERFECTLY!
Romans 10:4 NLT
For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.
Remember The Sabbath and Rest!