SERMON SERIES | YEAR OF SABBATH-REST
Year Of Sabbath-Rest
16/17 JANUARY 2021 | TRADITIONAL AND PRAYER & PRAISE SERVICES
Rev Raymond Fong
Scripture Passage: Hebrews 4:9-11 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)
(Click on video below)
READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | The book of Hebrews was addressed to Jewish Christians who, in the midst of suffering and discouragement, were tempted to return to the old covenant. The book reminds readers of the supremacy of Christ, that He is the ultimate messenger, servant, high priest and sacrifice. The danger of turning away from Jesus will result in not entering the promised land.
But what is the rest referred to in Heb. 4:1? It is the rest of God:
- after creation (Gen. 2:2)
- as Joshua and the Israelites entered into the promised land (Num. 13-14)
- for David in his day (Ps. 95:7b-11)
- fulfilled in Christ (Heb. 4:1, 10-11)
The context of the scripture text is given in the preceding eight verses. The Israelites did not believe God and hence, forfeited God’s rest (vs. 1-2). God’s rest on the 7th day after the world’s creation (vs. 3-4) and the warning against disobedience (vs. 5-6) is followed by the promise of rest for all of us (vs. 8).
What is Sabbath-Rest?
- Posture of trust and surrender to Jesus – We rest in the completeness and completed work of Christ. Sabbath-Rest is a pause and ceasing from striving, for all our longings can be satisfied in Christ. How can we find rest when so much is demanded of us in daily life? Sabbath-Rest is not resting from work but working from rest. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Only Jesus can give us rest. A deeper relationship with Him is needed to truly experience this rest.
- Response of obedience – The Israelites perished due to their disobedience (vs.11). Likewise, if we choose to ignore the call to trust and surrender, we will face similar consequences. Perhaps, deep down, we do not really believe that we can entrust all to Jesus, in spite of what we may profess. God’s offer of rest through Jesus is open to us. We can make the choice, by His grace, to obey.
- Rhythm of disciplined pursuit – we need to make the Sabbath-Rest part of our rhythm of life. We need to be diligent, make an effort, and be intentional in pursuing this Sabbath-Rest. Set aside time and space to incorporate rest, reflection and renewal into our daily routines. As we pause, there is spiritual alignment with Christ when we recall God’s goodness and the completed work of Christ. This leads to divine peace as the Lord renews and refreshes us. This rhythm is developed through spiritual disciplines, God’s means of grace to us. They include meditation on scripture, prayer, worship, silence and solitude and examen.
Sabbath-Rest is not a means to an end. It is not a rest in preparation for more activity. Rather it is an end in itself. Sabbath-Rest is a journey of discipleship. We mature and grow in Christ-likeness even as we rest.
Will we make Sabbath-Rest our personal hope and vision for 2021?
(Sermon Notes by Angela Goh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. What is Sabbath-rest to you?
2. How does the fact that God rested on the 7th day after creation (Gen 2:2) encourage you to pause and rest?
3. Examine your heart. Is there unbelief or hardness of heart that hinders you from trusting in God and surrendering to him?
4. How can you develop a rhythm of Sabbath-rest through the practice of rest, reflect and renew? Share practical ideas.
5. What is one insight you have gleaned from the sermon? Is there anything God is prompting you to change? Pray for each other.