SERMON SERIES | YEAR OF SABBATH-REST
23/24 JANUARY 2021 | PRAYER & PRAISE SERVICEs
Ps Clement Ong
Scripture Passage: Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | What are we carrying today? Many things weigh us down, especially what is close to the heart with our concerns and burdens. Jesus’ invitation reminds us not to be anxious about anything, but to present our requests to God. The peace of God transcends all understanding and will guard our hearts and minds. Jesus offers us a Sabbath rest for our souls.
The best of us can fall into doubts in our faith journey, but our circumstances will not change who Jesus is. He is the Messiah who offers true rest for the wearied and heavy-laden because He has the authority and power. Jesus is our living hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure. It is upon this foundation of our God’s unchanging nature of love that we realize and understand the rest that God is inviting us to - the rest that allows God to transform our hearts and change the way we see our circumstances for His Glory alone. Are we trusting the Lord with our circumstances and burdens?
The three principles of REST in the holy rhythm of Rest, Reflect and Renew are:
1. Call to Stop! – There is a call to pause and rest, just as God rested after completing the work of creation in six days. We can find freedom from our constant labour. As his creation, we are made with rest in mind. Our physical, mental or spiritual being is not made to keep going. No matter how efficient or effective we might think, we are slowly being weighed down. We are labouring in a fallen world that is constantly telling us that we are not good enough. The world do not acknowledge God nor His Kingdom values. This call to stop allows the restoration of who we are in God and what He is doing in our lives.
2. Cease from Striving – When we cease from striving, God increases. We take breaks in different ways. Doing activities and sharing fellowship together help some of us focus back to God. However, we are limited emotionally and physically. When this happens, it pulls us away from God instead of lifting us up for Him. The emphasis in ceasing is “Cease to turn us back to God”. In striving to succeed, we become tempted by success and achievement. Our desire to increase is unknowingly destroying our soul. To experience the restoration, we have to cease striving. Psalms 51:12 pleads with God to “restore to me the joy of your salvation and to grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me”. That is what restoration means. Jesus said come to me and I will give you rest. I will cause you to cease. Just be still and know that I am God because He will be with us; in whichever valleys we are in. Intentionally pause and set aside time to meet the Lord, put aside everything to allow moments of silence for meditation or a worship song.
3. Commune with Christ – Matthew 11:29-30 talks about the yoke which represents bondage. Jesus is offering to commune with us through our toil and in our work. In our rest, He communes with us, journeys with us and carries us through those times. Jesus has already taken the heaviest yoke in our lives, the yoke of sin and death, that would weigh us down and separate us from Him. He did not promise to remove our yoke, but for us to take up His yoke in communion with him. When we are yoked with Christ, we are trust-falling into the hands of God. These steps of faith in our walk with Christ require us to walk totally with Him. If we are feeling the weight of the world, it may be because we are not yoked with Christ. Hebrews 12:2-3 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame”. That is the light yoke that Jesus calls us to put on that will give our soul rest.
Rest is the first movement of the holy rhythm of Rest, Reflect and Renew that Jesus has invited us to partake with Him. It is a journey of discipleship to experience Sabbath rest and to pause when the world says do not stop. Jesus has completed the hard work on the cross. It is finished. We do not need to strive or prove. What glory!
(Sermon Notes by Honey Vreugdewater)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. The Lord is sovereign and unchanging in His character. Are we trusting the Lord with our burdens in this midst of difficult circumstances? Share and commit each other to God in prayers.
2. There is a call to stop and cease from striving to begin the rhythm of Sabbath Rest. Reflect and share on the areas in our lives that hinders us to cease and allow God to increase.
3. Jesus invites us to commune with Him, to work and rest from a posture of trusting and surrendering to Him. Share your own journey of Sabbath Rest.
4. Discuss what might be some spiritual discipline practices that will inspire you to enter into rest and begin the Holy rhythm of Sabbath Rest. You may want to refer to pages 15 – 26 of our church’s Sabbath Rest Journal for examples of Spiritual Practices For Sabbath Rest.