Monday, February 09, 2009

Spiritual Disciplines:

Mark Driscoll has begun a series on work@

Sabbath & Work, Part 1

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. (Exodus 31:15)

He covers:


To Sabbath is to rest from one’s labor. The first Sabbath day was a Saturday: “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2). The first recorded command for humans to Sabbath is in Exodus 16:23, and the Sabbath is listed as the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:8–11.

Saturday or Sunday?

In regards to the day of the Sabbath, some have maintained that it should be celebrated on Saturday like the Hebrews did, the final day of their week. However, the early church abruptly changed the day of worship to Sunday to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from death (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1–2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1) on that first day of the new week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). Sunday remained a work day in the early church until Emperor Constantine instituted it as an official day of rest in AD 321. In America, there was a debate as to whether the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday or the Christian Sabbath of Sunday should be recognized and the compromise was to keep both, which is why we have two-day weekends.
The True Sabbath

Legalistic attempts have been made to rob the Sabbath of its worship and joy by carefully mandating what can and cannot be done. However, Jesus seemed to have intentionally lived in public view to serve as a contrary model of the Sabbath than that given by other legalistic teachers. For example, Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1–14, John 9:1–17), taught on the Sabbath (Mark 6:1–2), and promoted evangelism on the Sabbath (John 7:21–24). Jesus demonstrated that the Sabbath is not to be enforced legalistically, but that it exists for worshipful fun and rest. Furthermore, our true Sabbath is not in a day but ultimately in a saving relationship with Jesus where we can rest from trying to earn our salvation and rest in His finished work (Matthew 11:28–30; Romans 4:5; Colossians 2:16–17). Therefore, the Sabbath is not a law for believers to obey, but instead a grace to enjoy.

His conclusion of part one:

In conclusion, by setting aside a day, we are showing that we are a people who are set aside (holy) and who rest in Jesus. Worshiping is our primary objective and our weeks are purposefully ordered around worship. Then, our worshipful work can be rightly undertaken.
Part Two:


Work is laboring well as an act of worship that glorifies God. Subsequently, the father who goes to work, the mother who stays home to care for her young children like the woman in Proverbs 31, and the student who heads off to school are each called by God to labor in their work. Each has sacred tasks that God has appointed for them to capture as opportunities to worship Him.

Both the Old and New Testaments have much to say about work. For example:

  • The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work… (Genesis 2:15)
  • Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. (Exodus 31:15)
  • In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)
  • Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)
  • The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. (Proverbs 21:25)
  • So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work… (Ecclesiastes 3:22)
  • Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23–24)
  • If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
  • But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

The Scriptures are clear that God made us to work and that despite the curse which makes our work all the more difficult, it is good and honorable for us to labor as unto the Lord Jesus. Then, as we have examined, we can enjoy a restful Sabbath as God intends. Sadly, however, this sort of balanced lifestyle is sorely lacking in our culture.


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