SERMON SERIES | YEAR OF SABBATH-REST
24 JANUARY 2021 | TRADITIONAL SERVICE
Rev Chia Chin Nam
Scripture Passage: Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | The Lord invites us to find spiritual rest for our weary and burdened souls. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. Three pertinent questions:
Why is rest essential? – Physical rest improves cardiovascular health, encourages a positive mindset and improves workplace performance. Without physical rest, our bodies and minds cannot function properly. In the same way, without the spiritual rest that Jesus promises, our bodies and minds will be driven to exhaustion as we are inclined to do things in our own strength. Resting in Jesus is a lifeline that allows us to lay down all our worries at his feet, trusting him completely to meet all our needs.
It is important to find rest for our soul amidst an uncertain future. This rest is not a luxury, but rather a necessity for those who want to have growth and maturity. While leisure and amusement may be enjoyable, it only provides a momentary lift. It is a mistake to substitute God’s rest with leisure. There is a need for genuinely rested Christians, regularly refreshed by Sabbath-rest. With godly rest you will see how tough and resilient Christians can actually be (Gordon MacDonald). True rest is found in Christ alone, but it is our choice to walk in discipleship. (Phil 4:6-7, Jer 6:16)
What is the rest that Jesus promises? – The rest Jesus offers is not a rest from life, but a rest in life. He’s not inviting us to retire and take it easy, but to take up His yoke and face life courageously with Him by our side. We can take heart and find peace because Jesus has overcome the world (Jn 16:33). When we build a strong personal relationship with our lord Jesus, rest automatically follows. By His grace, He will remove our burdens and restore our confidence, joy and strength when we allow Him to carry us.
How can we walk in His path of rest? – Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy (Ex 20:8-10). The Sabbath is a day for the sake of life. It is not an interlude but the climax of living (Abraham Heschel). The Sabbath rest is not a means to an end; it is an end in itself (Rev Raymond Fong). We can rest in Christ and experience His grace in a refreshing way.
Four suggestions by Leonard Felder:
- Decide what you need to stop doing.
- Choose a few favourite activities that give you a sense of Sabbath joy.
- Use the blessings and prayers of the Sabbath.
- Take as much of the Sabbath feeling with you into the rest of the week.
By observing Sabbath rest, we trust God to take control of things. If our day of Sabbath rest brings rest, delight, enjoyment and a sense of holiness and sanctity, then we are on the right track.
(Sermon Notes By Denis Koh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Read Jeremiah 6:16. To what extent is this reality true for you? Why?
2. What burdens or concerns would you bring to Jesus today in exchange for His rest? Pray for one another.
3. Describe a picture that would capture Jesus’ promise of rest (Matthew 11:28). How would you live out this picture daily?
4. “The Sabbath is not an interlude but the climax of living” (Abraham Heschel). Discuss.
5. Do you have at least one day per week which you set aside for your Sabbath-Rest? If not, commit one day for your Sabbath-Rest.
6. Share personal practices that bring relaxation, enjoyment and sanctity to the Sabbath-Rest.