For the Jews, the sabbath was the signpost pointing forward to God’s promised future.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV)
The sabbath was a day when human time and God’s time met – when the people set aside their tasks and sorrows, celebrating the original sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3) and looking forward to the great jubilee—the sabbath of sabbaths, the day in which they would finally be free!
“'The time has come,' he said. 'The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!'” Mark 1:15 (NIV)
Now we head to the New Testament in Mark 1:15 where we read Jesus announcing that what this signpost (the sabbath) had been pointing to has now arrived in the present. Jesus was announcing that the time was fulfilled, and God’s kingdom was arriving.
To participate in sabbath is not to rest from work of creation or to be lazy or to boost our sense of moral achievement. Because of what Jesus already did, it is an opportunity to celebrate God’s victory over satan, hell, and the grave!
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:18 (NIV)
To participate in sabbath today, we do it by celebrating, worshipping, praying, and studying God’s living and revealed word.
Here are some ways you can honor God on the Sabbath:
Celebrate Jesus’s victory over Satan! Celebrate that as believers in Jesus, our eternity is secure. After our life on earth, we get to spend eternity with our Creator, the place where we finally will be complete. Celebrate that we live in such a time as this to share the gospel and depopulate hell! Celebrate how much God loves you!
To celebrate Jesus’ victory over Satan, we first need to understand what that really means. If you didn't know exactly what it meant when I said, “Jesus’ victory over Satan” or that your “eternity is secure” as a believer, learning more is a great place to start. With more knowledge on what this fully means, it will be difficult not to naturally celebrate this at all times.
Other ways to practically celebrate would be to invite friends over for a bible study or share a meal with other believers. During this time, you can share how Jesus set you free personally, what you are thankful for, and take communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). To take communion is to remember how much we depend on Jesus and the saving benefits of His life, death, and resurrection. Again, if you still aren’t sure what communion even means, that’s okay—allow yourself to learn more!
You can go for a walk and enjoy fresh air, go to the park with your family or a friend, head to the Farmer’s Market, go to the lake, and relax in the sun. The list is endless. The key part is to do this knowing that Jesus is in control and working on our behalf. We can go to the Lord in prayer confidently leaving our burdens at His feet knowing that it’s all in His hands.
Worship is act of submission. It is to surrender our thoughts, our emotions—to relinquish any perceived control we think we have—and look to the all sovereign King. We worship God for WHO He is, not merely just what He can do for us.
Go to the Psalms for this and find a verse like the one below to posture your heart:
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalms 100:1-5 (NIV)
You can also choose a song of praise to fill your house, with words of worship directed towards our God! Some of my favorites are: "Worthy of it All / All of the Glory" by Upperroom or "Jubilee" by Maverick City Music. Pick a song that gets your eyes off yourself and onto God.
Spend time in prayer, sitting quietly before the Lord with no distraction. Bring your burdens, confess your sins, receive forgiveness, thank Him, praise Him, and spend time saying not a single word.
Study God’s Word
Open your Bible and invite the Holy Spirit into your study. Do not cease to remember that the Bible is the Word of God. Not just a mere book, good for a quick pep talk. Each word profitable for teaching and rebuking. Each word inspired and true. Go to your Bible with confidence that God will speak to you, for these words are His revealed will for your life.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
We do all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) and knowing that our King is on the throne now, tomorrow and forever. There does not seem to be one right way to do so as long as our heart is postured towards the One who should be the sole beat of our hearts. It is a day to remember and realign our lives around the only One who truly matters. A day to take our eyes off ourself and look to eternity.
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." Exodus 20:8 (NIV)
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