The Rested Family
We are currently in a fun sermon series entitled, “Family Matters,” where we look at God’s design for family, including marriage, parenting, and more. You can listen to today’s sermon from Keith Welton by itself or watch our full service on YouTube.
We are going to talk about an important topic today: Rest. We are dependent creatures. We need to recharge. We need to rest!
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11 ESV)
This passage reminds us that there are boundaries with our time. The way we use our time is important to God. It means there are times it’s appropriate to do certain things and there are times it is not appropriate.
God’s word teaches us about sacred times and sacred space. The tabernacle was the holy place and the most holy place. God met with his people there. There are also sacred times, times to celebrate what God has done.
Different Types of Rest
- Special rest.
This text says we have occasions to rest that are out of the ordinary, where we might rest by having a party and invite friends and even those who are in difficult circumstances- foreigners and aliens.
- Daily rest.
Remember at creation God made the first day and then it was evening, and he stopped working:
God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Gen 1:5 ESV)
God rested in the evening. It’s a time for rest and leisure.
- Weekly rest.
Sabbath was one day a week, and it was to be devoted to God. But there is something that has to be done in order to rest on the seventh day. You have to get your work done on the other days. People who are not disciplined enough to rest on the sabbath are not disciplined to work the other day.
Work is 6 days. We were created to have dominion, to rule over parts of God’s world. He entrusts it to us.
People treat work like it is a punishment. “No don’t make me do the dishes!” “I have to go to work for you.” “I have to cook dinner for all the hooligans!” We have to see that work is a privilege.
Sometimes even grownups do that. We complain about how hard work is, how hard life is. God created us to serve him.
Psalm 8 talks about the wonder of dominion.
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psa 8:1 ESV)
“Dominion” can be as simple as
- clean your room
- take care of your pets
We want to make a lot of money or influence the world. But God calls us first to take care of what’s in front of us.
Ways to rest.
- Refrain from activity.
Sabbath means to stop. To cease. To rest. Times you get tired. We were not created to work all day every day.
Think how important it would be for the people in Bible times. They were an agrarian society. They might be working out in the fields all day, herding the cattle and going into the woods to find that lost sheep, fighting off the wolf and the lion.
If you ever feel tired and beaten down, find time to rest.
“This is the day on which the tired body rests from its appointed labor. On which the worn spirit finds opportunity for recuperation, an oasis in the desert of earthly cares. When we can escape for a moment from the treadmill toil of daily life, and at leisure from ourselves, refresh our souls in God.” -Warrfield
God cares about you. He is not a vengeful slave driver. He is a good heavenly father. He desires you rest.
How many people do you know work in fields all day? You know, one muscle many of us use a lot is our brain. We don’t do a whole lot of movement, but we are on screens thinking all day, thinking about how to write an email, how to do a task, how to craft a social media post. Even on off days we spend time working on these things. Sometimes we need to rest from mental work. Go for a walk. Talk with a friend. Turn off the screen and look at the world around you. Reset!
Chris Rock recently said “We say the world is addicted to opioids, no… the world is not addicted to opioids. The number one addiction in the world is attention.”
Do you ever rest from that? Just let things be. Just enjoy it for what it is. Be present where you are.
“Restless fingers reflect restless hearts” (Early 89).
Rest: do something different from what you normally do.
“A man who works with his mind should sabbath with his hands, a man who works with his hands should sabbath with his mind” (Early 142).
*You are more than what you accomplish.* You are more than what you do. You are more than your circumstances. You may not fix things. Adam was called to walk with God. That was more important than what he did. Can you rest when things are not going your way?
For me, resting is a realization that I am more than my ministry. It is about walking with God.
*Do we refrain from all activity? Do we stone someone who works?* Do we fast all day so mom can rest from preparing meals? Do we not have electricity and water on this day? Works of necessity are permitted.
Jesus’ disciples picked grain on the sabbath. They ran their hands down the wheat field as they went by and ate some, and the pharisees pointed to them and accused them of breaking the sabbath. That’s like picking the honey suckle vines and being accused of breaking the sabbath.
Many confessions of faith state that on sabbath, works of necessity are permitted. You can make food. You can turn on a light. If you need to go to the office, you can do that. There is freedom, but as Galatians says, we need to use it wisely.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13 ESV)
- Reflection. Look at what God is doing in your life
God called the dry land “earth,” and He called the gathering of the water “seas.” And God saw that it was good. (Gen 1:10 CSB)
- Restoration. Use the sabbath for building up and being built up.
We don’t merely need time sleeping all day. We need to be built up. We need to be strengthened. We are spiritual beings with spiritual needs. Drinking sand will not help us when we are thirsty. Eating air will not fix our hunger pains. Watching tv, bike riding, canoeing can all be restful and God meets us in that, but we also need to rest in him and find spiritual nourishment for our soul.
Samuel Terrien said, “it did not call for a withdrawal of activity but of renewal of vitality.”
Many people seek distraction. Social media. Tony Renke writes, “When life gets most demanding, we crave something else, anything else” (12 Ways, p. 44).
Distraction is a tool of the enemy. It keeps you from finding real solutions to problems. It keeps you from worshiping God and knowing him. One of the biggest things missing from parenting today is teaching kids the Bible’s teaching on the importance of the gathering church meetings.
Make it holy. This is the issue. We do live distinctly from the world and want to make every effort to honor God.
Swinnock’s principle was that “If thou wouldst thus leave thy heart with God on the Saturday night, thou shouldest find it with him in the Lord’s Day morning”.
Sabbath is a day different from others. Not just rest but devoted to God.
- Being together with the family of God.
One thing that can wear you down today is displacement. The feeling of being disconnected from others. You are present with your family, but everyone is on a device and no one is present with each other. Constantly distracted. We’re present everywhere and absolutely nowhere. You have no relationships to rest in, to confide in, and everyday is exactly the same. And kids do this because it is what they see their parents do, and even what they are told to do.
We should have sacred time and space. Be present with those around you, be present with God, be present with the community of faith. Be reminded you are not alone!
Making the day holy is a family matter. Kids, make it easy to go to church. Encourage your parents. Your parents need that time. Families, make this a priority. Your parents need that. You need it. This command is particularly for heads of household. Parents, notice that in this passage the one who observes the sabbath is a blessing to the people under their authority. If you are anxious and worried and unable to rest, you will pass that on to your kids. We can be so worried about making sure our kids know everything there is about certain things and yet we don’t let them see the place of rest. Restoration. Being in God’s word.
“On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.”
You are accountable for both you and your kids. Sobering!
The Source of Rest
Can you let things go? Can you put things away for a bit? Who are you going to disappoint? An inability to rest tells you who controls your life. Resting is an issue of the heart. It is an issue of what is going on.
Maybe you’re anxious to wake up and check the news. Anxious to see who called and who got back to you.
The ability to rest is an indicator of who your God is. Rest requires dependence. If you have nothing to depend on, or nothing adequate, you will have no rest.
Trying to sabbath makes clear the realization that we can’t get it all done.
Julian of Norwich says we can rest because in the end, “all shall be well” (Early, Common Rule, 153). She says: “But all will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well.”
Rules of life form habits. Unify your head and habits. Gets at your purpose, Who you are. Who you are becoming. Can’t believe truth without practicing truth.
“Only when your habits are constructed to match your worldview do you become someone who doesnt just know about God and neighbor but someone who actually loves God and neighbor.” (Earley, common rule, p16)
Rest in who you are. Rest in who your kids are. Love them. Enjoy where you are at.
Perhaps our inability to rest is because we have lost the wonder of who God. We have lost his incredible might, his incredible wisdom. That earth is hurling through the air at 65,000 miles per hour. A God who shut the mouths of lions and delivered his people by parting seas. A God who sent his Son to be born of a woman and die for our sins. Perhaps we have forgotten. Perhaps we are bored with God. If you are following the God of the Bible, I guarantee you, life will be anything but boring. You will find rest for your souls even though your life sails on stormy waters.
Perhaps we have simply been deceived by the lies of the world and bought into the belief that life is about having worldly possessions.
Jesus is the Lord of Rest.
“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Mat 12:8 NIV)
This is why the sabbath is not mentioned in the New Testament. It is called the Lord’s Day. Jesus changes the law. We don’t base our lives on obedience to law but in devotion to Jesus. He is our Savior. Our hearts are restless until the come to rest in him.
He is at work in our lives. There are going to be hard things, scary things, things that cause us anxiety, and we are going to have to feed our soul truth. We are going to have to reject wrong and sinful thoughts.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 ESV)
“Take my yoke.” A yoke is what connected cattle together. It is a symbol of servitude. Jesus is inviting all who are weary, burden, overwhelmed, to put his yoke on and find life. He doesn’t give rules for the sake of rules. He gives life. It is bondage that leads to life. Lose your life, and you find it.
“Learn from me.” Want rest? Come follow Jesus. That word for “learn” is “to be a disciple.” It requires leaving everything else behind.
A question that gets at the heart of a lot of anxiety is if you were to die today, what would happen? Would you go to heaven or hell?
Gospel. If you are resting in your own work. If you don’t have an understanding of how to be saved from the judgment of God you will be anxious. If you have hope in Jesus you can rest in all things.