Lesson 3

The Sabbath - The Sign of Our Relationship With God

(Deuteronomy 5, Hebrews 4, Revelation 14)
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Introduction: Last week we started our series of three lessons on the Sabbath. We studied the issue of which day is the Sabbath and why it is important. We concluded that "to walk humbly with our God" means that we should just obey Him when He tells us what He expects. This week we further explore the idea of how the Sabbath reflects our relationship with God. Let's dive in!

  1. Release From the Slavery of Egypt

    1. Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15. This is another recitation of the 10 Commandments. To what does God key Sabbath-keeping in this text? (His rescue of the Israelites from Egypt.)

      1. Last week we looked at the critically important link between the Sabbath and Creation. Why would God link His Sabbath to rescuing the Israelites from Egypt?

      2. Does this text tend to show that the Sabbath was instituted at Sinai? That it is a "Jews only" command? (We know from our study last week that the Sabbath was instituted at Creation. However, this does link the Sabbath to the Jewish experience.)

      3. Do you see a common thread between Creation and the Exodus from Egypt? (Yes! In Creation, God gave us our life. In the rescue from Egypt, He gave His people their life back. The New Testament reinforces the tie between these two ideas. The Passover meal, which celebrated the rescue from Egypt, is also symbolic of the promise of the coming Savior - the Messiah. Jesus took the Passover meal and used it to institute the "Lord's Supper" ( Matthew 26:17-30) Thus, Jesus linked the rescue of His people from Egypt with His rescue of His people from their sin. In all of this we have God giving us life! The Sabbath is therefore a memorial to life for all His people - not just the Jews.)

    2. If the Sabbath is a memorial to God giving us life, how does Sabbath-keeping improve our relationship with God?

      1. What similarities do you see between the Sabbath and your birthday? (Both are a celebration of life. The birthday focuses on you. The Sabbath focuses on what God has done for you.)

  2. Release From the Slavery of Sin

    1. Read Hebrews 3:15-19. This text also refers to the Exodus from Egypt. Why were God's people not able to enter into the Promised land (Canaan) the first time they approached Canaan?(For a fuller account of this see Numbers 14.) ( Hebrews 3:19 says they could not enter because of unbelief.)

      1. Why does this text ( Hebrews 3:18)refer to Canaan as a rest? (They had come from slavery in Egypt, they had been in the wilderness heading towards Canaan, and so when they reached their destination you could say they were "at rest.")

    2. Let's read on. Read Hebrews 4:1-3. What promise of rest is the writer of Hebrews talking about here? God's people made it to Canaan long before this! (Hebrews is talking (v.2) about the gospel of Jesus. Rest is not simply hearing the gospel of Jesus, it is having faith in the gospel. Entering into God's rest is faith in Jesus.)

      1. Why does verse 3 refer to rest and the Creation of the world? (We know from last week that the "rest" of Creation is the Sabbath.)

      2. My favorite kinds of glues are those that require you to mix two different elements together before they work. What two elements does Hebrews advise we put together? (Verse 2 tells us that we must combine the gospel message with faith if we want the gospel to stick.)

    3. Read Hebrews 4:4-8. When does God call us to enter into the rest of faith in Jesus? (Verse 7--today!)

      1. When verse 8 speaks of "another day" what is it talking about? (There was the "day" of "rest" when God's people (under Joshua) entered into Canaan. But, we have a new "day" of "rest" when we entered (by faith) into belief in Jesus. This rest is the power of the gospel to save us from sin.)

      2. Notice that verse 4 specifically refers to the seventh-day Sabbath. Why do you think Hebrews links the Sabbath to this idea of gospel rest?

    4. Read Hebrews 4:9-11. Here the writer of Hebrews goes into much greater detail in linking the Sabbath to the gospel rest. What relationship is there between keeping Sabbath holy and accepting Jesus' invitation to enter into His rest? (The Sabbath symbolizes the "rest" that Jesus gives us when we believe in Him! The problem with the people who died in the wilderness is that they did not combine the message of a home in Canaan with faith. They did not believe in God's message and enter into Canaan. Because of their failure to act on the message, they died in the wilderness. God calls on us today to act on His gospel message by believing Him and entering into the rest of the weekly Sabbath.)

      1. Some argue, as mentioned last week, that Hebrews 4 is the basis for arguing that the weekly Sabbath no longer has any significance. Does your reading of these verses suggest this to you? (No! That seems to be such a forced interpretation. A careful study of this chapter shows that it re-emphasizes the importance of the weekly Sabbath and Sabbath keeping. There would be no reason for the writer of Hebrews to repeatedly link the Sabbath to gospel rest if he no longer thought it important. Instead, he takes the weekly institution and uses it as an illustration of faith in Jesus work for us.)

  3. Release From the Second Death

    1. Read Revelation 14:6-7. What is the most important part of this angel's message? If you were listening to this message, and had to pass it on to others, what part would you emphasize? (That "the hour" of God's final judgment is NOW! It has come)

      1. How does this angel describe God? (As the Creator.)

        1. Of all the ways the angel could describe God, why do you think it chooses this way? (The angel is a messenger from God. I don't think it chose the message. Instead, God is linking the idea (v.7) of fearing Him and giving Him glory to His act as the Creator.)

      2. If you knew the hour of God's judgment was here, and you were serious about wanting to give Him glory (v.7) because He is the Creator, how would you do it? (Keep the Sabbath!)

    2. Friend, God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He saves us from the slavery of sin, and He will save us from the final judgment. Will you celebrate what He has done for you by keeping the Sabbath holy? Will you show your belief in Him by entering into His weekly rest? It is a rest that He offers to each one of us!

  4. Next Week: Keeping the Sabbath Holy

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