Who’s the Boss? | 07.09.23 | Oh No He Didn’t Pt.2
Thank you. Thank you, Drew, very much. Thank you all for that warm welcome. We’ll see if when I’m done you feel the same. But I’m happy to be up here with you, mostly happy to be up here with you. This is not my usual thing, but it is an exciting opportunity. So here’s what I’d like you to do for me today. I need you to think of your perfect place. All right? You’re going to take a minute and just think about that. Maybe it’s a place you’ve already been. Maybe it’s a place you’ve always wanted to go to. And I’m pretty sure when you’re thinking about that, you can think of some things that you want there with you. You can probably think about maybe it’s a book. Maybe it’s a special drink. Maybe it’s a certain person or a group of people that you want there with you. You got a place in mind? You thought of something? I bet you can also think of a few things that you don’t want there. One of those things I would expect is a large, looming list of commands, right? You have to do this. You have to do that. You have to do that. Or else, right? Maybe it’s somebody constantly following you, making sure that you’re following all the things on that list. Has anybody hoped? Oh, please. Oh, please. There’ll be somebody breathing down my neck, making sure I follow all the rules. Is that a longing in anyone’s heart? If so, our pastor staff is here from Monday to Thursday. Come in and talk to them. No. It’s pretty 50/50 if you want the place loud or quiet. I think if we asked everybody in the room, we’d be 50/50 on that. Maybe it’s a loud and raucous sporting event. Or maybe it’s a day at the library. I don’t know. Some are quiet where you can just be by yourself and think. I think the room’s going to be split 50/50 on that. But whatever it is, it’s a place that you want to be. And when you’re there, you want to belong there. Am I right? So let me show you a picture of where I grew up right here for a lot of people. A lot of people would say this is where they want to be. In the mountains, surrounded by pine trees, on a lake. This is where I grew up. But for me, I may have lived in paradise, but I didn’t get to just sit and dwell in paradise. I was working. From the age of 14, I lived on a — well, actually, from kindergarten, I lived on a church camp. My dad and my mom ran the camp. When I was 14, I was full-time staff working at this camp, life-guarding and mowing the grass and doing all kinds of things. And the way that it would work is that on Sunday afternoon, a group would come in anywhere from 50 to 150 people. And they would stay there and use all the things until Saturday morning. And then they would go home. And then we would clean up after them. And maybe we would get the afternoon to ourselves if the grass was cut short enough. And if there wasn’t any big project to do. And then the next day we’d wake up, we’d go to church, and we’d come back, and we would start the whole thing all over again. In the fall and in the winter season, I was still there. And I would go to school during the week, and groups would come in on the weekends and rent out the various buildings. While my friends were riding around town on their bikes, meeting up and getting into teenage mischief, my brothers and I were washing dishes for maybe 100 people, mopping the floors and vacuuming. And maybe we would get to lead worship around a campfire. So I knew how to work hard from a young age. Fast forward to my mid-20s, I got a part-time job as a fireman in Dixon. I had moved to Illinois at that point. And there I met a man who was a full-time firefighter, ran a small farm, and his own construction business. And I thought I knew how to work hard. This guy knew how to work hard, and he worked smart. And he was a godly man who diligently, doggedly, determinedly led his family. And he retaught me a number of Bible verses, such as, “The man who labors shall receive the greater reward,” or “The proverb, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty comes upon you like a robber.” So I knew how to work hard. And he took me under his wing, and he taught me how to work harder and longer than I ever had worked before. But also under his direction and under his unrelenting work-ahead mentality, I learned how to work too much. And it was a light week, was working over 60 hours a week at just that job. And I was burning out in the process. And to me now, a day is just a day. Holidays or birthdays are really no big deal. Every day is just another day, and there is work to do somewhere. And I don’t like taking holidays off, because it just means I get to work, I get less work done. That’s what I’m trying to say. I get less work done. Or I have to work more the day before and do a day and a half or two days worth of work so that I can have a holiday and then come back and do it again. And it breaks up my week. I hate going on vacations. I hate going on vacations, because I have to do two weeks of work before I go and take one week off and then come back to a week and a half, making up for the work I missed that unmistakably happens when there’s other people in the building. Stuff gets dirty again, right? So I got to come back and do another week of work that I missed on top of the week that I have when I come back. So I do not like going on vacations, and I don’t like taking days off. Which is why it’s time for me to stand here in front of all of you, my church family, and confess. My name is Danny, and I am a workaholic. Hi. Thank you. I have friends in this room. Thank you. But knowing that and being here is also why I’m very excited, and it is wonderful that I get to talk with all of you about the Sabbath. Sabbath, it’s a heavy word, right? I think we most often hear of it as something we’re doing wrong, or it’s something constraining and restrictive, something oppressive or controlling. It probably reminds you of that huge list of things that you didn’t want in your favorite place, right? Maybe your parents told you you had to do it one way and you didn’t want to do it that way. You wanted to do it left-handed. I don’t know. Whatever way you wanted to do it, it just didn’t fit what they wanted you to do, but they made you do it. And either way, a lot of people today have grown up thinking the Sabbath is a bad word, or at the very least at the punishment, like getting stuck in the corner for a time out, right? But I, the self-acclaimed workaholic of our staff, am here to tell you that Sabbath is good. Sabbath is good because it is a gift from God, and God is good. And we’re going to figure that out. We’re going to explore that today. If you brought your Bible, I’d encourage you to open it up now, or if you’d rather use the black seatback Bible that is under the seat in front of you, you can pull that out too. If you’re using that Bible, our Scripture today is on page 28 of the New Testament. If you look at page 28 of the Old Testament, it will make no sense. So please turn to the New Testament first and look up page 28, Mark chapter 2. We’re going to start in verse 23 and read to verse 28. All right. “One Sabbath, he was going through the grain fields, he being Jesus. As they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’ And he said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did when his companions were hungry and in need of food?’ He entered the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and he ate the bread of the presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat. And he gave some, David gave some to his companions. Then he, Jesus said to them, the Pharisees, ‘The Sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.'” This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. When I was a teenager, I encountered a lot of Christians who felt the Old Testament wasn’t necessary any longer. All those old rules and the angry God parts, we don’t need those anymore, right? Because we have the grace of the New Testament. And it was largely because of verses like this where it looks like Jesus is chucking out all the old rules. But if we look a little bit closer, we see that that’s not what is happening. That’s not true at all. We have to put in a little bit of effort to see it. The The real crux of the verse is, “Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the Sabbath.'” A more modern way to say that is that the Sabbath rest was made for people. People were not made for the Sabbath. We hear this and we want to rejoice. We We are set free from the stringent rules of bad religion, which tells us only if you jump through my hoops and dance my dance, then you’re accepted. Then you can come in. Then you can be one of us. And we want to tell ourselves and our judges and those oppressors, “I am free to do whatever I want. The Sabbath is for me. I am the one who is in control.” But that’s not what Jesus says. If we look at his next words, he says, “The Son of man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.” The Son of man was Jesus’ title for himself. He’s reminding us that he is in the lineage of David. He is the king that was expected to come and set things right and is also a reminder that he is God. He is Lord. He has been given authority. As we looked at chapter one of Mark, he has the authority and he’s continuing that authority. Even though the religious leaders of Jesus’ day had made the Sabbath a suffocating, stringent religious process, even to the point of limiting how many steps you can take in a day before it becomes work, Jesus makes it clear that the Sabbath still has value, has meaning, and has power, but it is underneath his authority. So I want you to know today, there is freedom in the Sabbath, but there is perhaps still a right way and a wrong way to do it. So we need to ask the very important question, what is Sabbath and why is it so important? We’re going to see throughout chapter two in the rest of the Gospel of Mark that people are telling Jesus, “You’re breaking the law,” and Jesus is saying, “I’m not breaking the law.” To figure out if he is or not and how we fit into the picture, we need to see what is the Sabbath and why is it important. So if you’re one who has been wishing that we would have more scripture in church, today’s your day. Thank you. Alright. If you’re not, don’t worry, we’re not going to exegete every single one of these verses, but we’re going to flip through them. I wanted to put this big slide up there. If you’re somebody who likes to write down notes and come back and look later, here’s your list. We’re going to power through these. We’re going to see that the Sabbath has not changed, nor has it disappeared throughout all of God’s commands. The Sabbath is the same thing as God is the same person, but he keeps trying to break through our thick heads and tell us why this is important. So we’re going to start at the very beginning, Genesis chapter two. This is what Sabbath is on the seventh day. God finished the work that he had done and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and howled it. He made it holy because on it, God rested from all the work he had done in creation. So that is the Sabbath. It’s a day of rest. God had created everything in all the world and he took a day off. God, who created the universe, who’s running the universe, he took a day off. I have never had a workload that intense, but God still took a day off. And he said, oh, this is good. This is really good. We got to tell everybody about this. And then he does when he finds the right man, he gets Moses up to the mountain and he gives him the 10 commandments. And one of those 10 commandments, one of those laws is this. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You shall not do any work. You, your son, your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it. He made it holy. This is a big, well-defined law, right? So you think when the rule is clearly spelled out, it’s easy to follow, right? But that didn’t happen because in the same book, we haven’t even gone on to another book and God is saying it again in chapter 31. That was in chapter 20. Now we’re in chapter 31. God says it again. You yourself are to speak to the Israelites. God is talking to Moses. He’s saying, I already told them they’re not doing it. You go down there. You tell them, maybe they’ll listen to you. You shall keep my Sabbaths for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations. Translation, it doesn’t end. There’s no cutoff date on the Sabbath. Given an order that you may know that I, the Lord sanctify you. We don’t achieve rest. I was always afraid of did I work enough? Did I do enough? Did I do a good enough job? Do I get my vacation? That’s not it. You don’t achieve salvation. I’m sorry to break the news. Eric has done a wonderful job of reminding me as I prepared for the sermon, said, Danny, you’re not good enough. To which I have to say, praise God, because God is good enough. It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do. God is good all the time. I, the Lord sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath because it is holy for you. It’s good for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. That’s intense. Whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people. Six days your work will be done, but on the seventh day you rest. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the Israelites shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It doesn’t end. It’s still here. It’s still a command. God is still in charge. All right? So it talks about in there, I’m sure you noticed it. Everyone who profanes it, everybody who thinks this is dumb, my son right now being four years old, he doesn’t like something, he crosses his arms, this is stupid. Anybody else? You have to take a day off. I don’t want to take a day off. That’s dumb. Whoever profanes it shall be put to death. Now the good news is Jesus came and took the punishment of sin. He took the punishment for our disobedience. He died on the cross to set us free from stringent rules that suffocate us. But that doesn’t mean that they stop being good. It just means God is that much greater. And as I was thinking about this, I was thinking about the more I work, the more I strive, and the more I try to achieve, and the more I get frustrated, and the more I say, “Well, I’ll feel better if I just do more, if I accomplish more, if I climb the ladder, if I do this, if I do that, there’s got to be something I’m missing. I got to do more. I got to achieve more. I got to have more. If I do more and more and more and more and more, I tell myself that the worse I feel, I don’t know about you. But for me, the food doesn’t taste as good. My relationship with my wife is not as good. My friendships fall away. I get more frustrated with everything I touch. Nothing works right because it’s death. It’s a living death. We’re not going back to the water to be refilled. We’re suffocating ourselves with accomplishment. So we may not get stoned for working on the Sabbath now. Somebody’s not going to come up and hit us with a rock. But to ourselves, it’s death. We move on. You see, everybody, the Sabbath frees us from death. But this rule wasn’t just for the people. It was also for the pastors. Did you know that? In the book of Leviticus, he tells the clergy, “Six days you work. Seventh day you don’t. It’s a holy day. You should not do any work. The Sabbath is the Lord’s. And this should be the same throughout all your settlements.” It doesn’t end. It’s still a command for everyone. The last reference I want us to look at, this is the last book of the law, the book of Deuteronomy. This is Moses’ farewell address. And there’s one more thing he wants the people to know about. And he wants to remind them, “Observe the Sabbath day. Keep it holy. The Lord your God commanded you to do this.” See, the law is still the same. Six days you work. Seventh day you don’t. But there’s a very important difference here that’s not in any of the other ones. “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. And the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” This is a reminder that we aren’t slaves anymore. There is freedom in the Sabbath. There is freedom and there is rest. You know, we confess every week when we gather here that we are slaves to sin. I don’t think anybody in this room has ever been a slave, an actual slave. We don’t know what that’s like. And yet, we are slaves to sin and we need the forgiveness of God to break the cycle. And we got to remember that even though this was command, we weren’t slaves in Egypt, but God did with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm set us free from sin and death. He took the punishment. So we don’t need to keep putting ourselves back under the whip of slavery. And believe it or not, there are more verses that we could look at, but we’re not going to. We’re going to stop there except for one more. And actually, when I read this chapter, Isaiah 58, I encourage you to go home and read that chapter, the whole chapter for yourself because I read that and I was crushed by it. I wanted to just preach entirely on that chapter, but I was reminded like, “No, Danny, you were asked to teach on this one, so use that one.” But I do want to give the very end. This is the high point of the verse. This is the why that we have been looking for. “If you refrain from trampling the Sabbath, from pursuing your own interest on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable, if we’ll change our minds, if we’ll be willing to step away from this six cycle carousel, from this broken escalator that’s not going in the right direction, but we keep walking against it and suffocating ourselves, if you will change your mind.” God says, “If you honor it not going your own ways, serving your own interests or pursuing your own affairs, then you shall take delight in the Lord. And I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth. I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Because God is good and He wants good things for you. And so He created a way for us to escape the hamster wheel that we jump on and run. And you know the faster a hamster runs on the wheel, doesn’t go anywhere, does it? It just has to run faster or it’s going to fall down. God’s inviting us to step off for a minute and catch our breath. This isn’t about putting on a new yoke of slavery. It’s to remember that we aren’t slaves anymore. God has liberated us from slavery and sin. So stop putting yourself under the whip. Your good and loving God has created a path out of the chaos and the pressure of life and it is called Sabbath rest. You can trust God. God is good. God is for you. He is not an overlord. He is not a slave master. He’s not vindictive. He’s not waiting for you to step out of line just so He can slap you back into line. He has gifted us Sabbath so that we can learn to trust Him because the world keeps on spinning. You notice that? It still keeps on spinning even though we step off the wheel. Hard work is good, but God is greater. Freedom is good, but without love it is powerless. God has given us freedom because He is both good and loving. God is still Lord and worthy of our worship and He has given us a way to do just that. I am not the Lord of the Sabbath and you are not the Lord of the Sabbath. We are not so powerful or almighty, wonderful, that we get to dismiss God’s commands or try to usurp His creation. So my challenge for us this week is to rest. Find a way to rest. If you can’t do a whole day, believe me, I get it. Maybe do an hour. When When you stop for one hour and think about how good God is and how much He loves you. I got some ways to help you do this. Number one, sit down. Just try that for a minute. Just sit down. Try not to stand up for an hour. “Well, I got to do something while I’m sitting, Danny. I can’t just sit.” I get it. I get it. Maybe try praying. Of course, you could try reading your Bible. Just throwing that out there. We could try that. Another thing you do, sit. Get a cup of coffee in your hands. Take a sip. Swallow that. Feel the warmth. Go down your throat to fill up your chest. You don’t like hot things? Okay, drink something cold. Take a sip. Feel the cool. Go down your throat. Spread across your chest. Maybe take a bite of ice cream. I love ice cream. Have you ever thought about the fact that when you put that ice cream in your mouth, you ever felt that explosion of joy? I was just like, “I love ice cream.” That’s taste. God created that taste ability in your life. Have you ever in all of your work created anything half as good as the ability to taste something? I have never achieved that. I’ve never achieved anything close to that. God, who loves you, created that ability to taste. God is good. God is so good. Maybe you need to really get up and do something. Okay, I got something for you. Maybe you like to work on your car. The oil needs change. The tires need polish. The car needs clean. Do that. Go do that. Think about the fact that somebody built that car, built all the pieces inside of it. You know God built you? He put all the pieces inside of you and he made them to work a certain way. He created the whole universe to interact with each other and build off of each other, good and bad. It’s all there. It’s all created by God. Can you think about that while you’re putting something together? A puzzle, a car, a model kit? I don’t know. Think about the way God created you. That is worship. That is worship if you let it be. So two things I’m going to end with right here. Number one, there is freedom in the Sabbath. I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again. There is freedom in the Sabbath. And because of that, we are not bound to one day out of the week. Israel was bound by the law to Saturday. Saturday was the seventh day of the week. That was the Sabbath from sundown Friday until sundown on Saturday. You don’t do anything. That was the law, but we live in freedom. So pick a day. Maybe you work on Saturdays. Maybe you work on Sundays. Okay. Pick a different day. Start with one hour. Take a rest because it’s good for you. It was made for you. Now, last thing, if you have trouble quieting your mind, this is the most wonderful method I ever learned of quieting my mind and my heart to study or to listen. This is from Psalm chapter 40. 46. I knew there was a six. Okay. Psalm 46. Be Be still and know that I am God. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Here’s the way to focus your mind. Do when to let down step by step. And I’m going to show you how to do that right here. Pray this with me. Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am. Be still and know. Be still. Amen.