The Seventh Day

Posted by on Jun 10, 2012

The Seventh Day

“The Seventh Day”

MP3 Version: “The Seventh Day

Scripture Text: Genesis 2:1-3

By Pastor Mike Withem
First Baptist Church
Ranson, West Virginia

Introduction:

A. (Illus.- A young boy asked me once, “Why did God rest on the seventh day? Was He tired?” The answer, of course, is, “NO, He was NOT tired!”)
1. I love Isa. 40:28, which asks the question, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” (Isa. 40:28)
2. According to this verse, even though God is “the Creator of the ends of the earth,” because He is “the everlasting God,” He does not “faint,” neither does He ever grow “weary.”
3. And so, “NO, God did NOT rest on the seventh day because He was tired.”

B. Actually, it was for OUR benefit that He rested on the seventh day, not HIS benefit.
1. In fact, Jesus clearly stated in Mark 2:27 that “…The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:” (Mark 2:27)
2. Jesus’s disciples had just been criticized by the Pharisees for plucking corn on the Sabbath, which, according to them, was not lawful.
3. Jesus said, “Don’t you remember how that when David was fleeing from Saul,…he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?” (Mark 2:26)
4. It was then that Jesus said, “…The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:” (Mark 2:27)
5. And so, clearly, it was for OUR benefit that God rested on the seventh day, and not HIS benefit.

C. Now this raises the question, “HOW does man benefit from the Sabbath?”
1. Someone says, “Man benefits as far as his HEALTH is concerned, because God knew that every man would need to rest at least one day a week.”
2. While there is some truth in that statement, I am convinced that this was secondary to God’s PRIMARY reason for setting aside (sanctifying) the Sabbath.
3. What was God’s primary reason?
4. God’s primary reason for setting aside the Sabbath was actually TWO-FOLD.
5. First of all, it was set aside to look BACK on God’s marvelous work of CREATION.
6. But it was also set aside to look FORWARD to God’s marvelous work of REDEMPTION.
7. In other words, to look forward to the CROSS, as well as the work that Jesus accomplished there!
8. You will see what I mean as we get further into today’s message.

D. Now as we think about the Seventh Day, I want to call your attention to three things. Notice, first of all, that on the Seventh Day,…

I. A Work Was Finished.

A. Notice again, Vrs. 1 of our text, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” (Gen. 2:1)
1. The word “finished” here is translated from a Hebrew word (kalah) which literally means “ended.”
2. In fact, in the following verse (Gen. 2:2), when it says, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made;” the exact same Hebrew word is used.
3. And so, when we get to day seven of the creation week, clearly, the work of creation was finished.

B. Not only was it finished, but it was PERFECT.
1. How do I know it was perfect?
2. Because a perfect God cannot create anything that is less than perfect.
3. Notice what Deut. 32:4 says about our God, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deut. 32:4)
4. The psalmist put it like this in Psa. 18:30, “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” (Psa. 18:30)
5. And so, not only was God’s work of creation finished, it was also perfect.
6. Of course, this is no longer the case.
7. Because of man’s sin, God’s once perfect creation is now “groaneth and travaileth in pain,” as it waits for it’s redemption. (Rom. 8:22)
8. And so, first of all, on the Seventh Day we notice a work that was finished.

C. Now I want you to listen to me very carefully.
1. Just like on the Seventh Day God declared His work of creation finished, there is another instance in the Bible where God declared a work to be finished.
2. Do you remember the words that Jesus spoke on the CROSS just before He “gave up the ghost”?
3. They are recorded in John 19:30, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:39)
4. What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”?
5. He simply meant that His atoning work on the cross was finished.
6. The PRICE had been paid.
7. The DEBT had been satisfied.
8. The CURSE of sin had been lifted.

D. I love Heb. 12:2, which says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
1. Did you notice that word “finisher”?
2. Jesus is not only the “author,” but also the “finisher” of our faith.
3. Do you realize what that means?
4. It means that every thing that needed to be done in order for sinful man to have an opportunity to be saved and to be restored to fellowship with God, it was ALL done by Jesus when He died on the cross for our sins.
5. Nothing more needs to be done!
6. It is finished!

E. And so, notice first of all, that a work was finished. Also notice that…

II. A Rest Was Entered.

A. Notice again Vrs. 2 of our text, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” (Gen. 2:2)
1. The word “rested” here is translated from a Hebrew word (shabath) that literally means “to cease or desist from exertion.”
2. Now let me point out again that God didn’t rest because He was tired.
3. In other words, it was not for His benefit that He rested, but rather for man’s benefit.
4. As I pointed out a moment ago, the Sabbath benefitted man in at least two ways.
5. First of all, it caused him to look BACK on God’s marvelous work of CREATION.
6. But it also caused him to look FORWARD to God’s marvelous work of REDEMPTION.

B. Now this raises a question, “What does the fact that God rested on the Seventh Day have to do with man’s redemption?”
1. It’s really very simple.
2. As God “rested on the seventh day from all his work (work of creation),” if we are going to benefit from the redemption that is offered in Christ, we TOO are going to have to REST FROM OUR LABOR.
3. In other words, we are going to have to “cease and desist” from trying to work our way to heaven.
4. Listen, there is absolutely no doubt that the vast majority of people today who hope to go to heaven, are trying work their way there (trying to earn by their own efforts the right to go to heaven).
5. (Illus.- I can prove this. Last Thursday evening we had five teams of surveyors out doing our Spark of Grace surveys. Question 5 on the survey asks, “How do you think a person get’s to heaven?” Let me share some of the answers that we got last Thursday evening. I took these directly from the surveys. One person said that you get to heaven “by doing good deeds.” Another person said “by praying every day.” Another person said “by living right.” Another person said “by being good.” Another person said “by serving God.” Another person said “by doing God’s work.” And this was just last Thursday!)
6. It is clear from the answers that these people gave that they are trying to work their way to heaven (earn by their own efforts the right to go to heaven).
7. Now here’s the point, these people, as well intentioned as they are, if they are going to benefit from the redemption that is offered in Christ, they are going to have to cease and desist from trying to work their way to heaven.

C. But that’s only part of the equation.
1. If we are going to benefit from the redemption that is offered in Christ (be saved), then not only must we rest from OUR LABORS, we must also rest in CHRIST.
2. In other words, we must stop trying to work our way to heaven, and instead trust in the finished work of Christ.
3. You see, JESUS is our SABBATH.
4. We don’t have time this morning, but I encourage you to go home, and sometime this week, do a careful study of Heb. 4:1-11.
5. The whole passage talks about Christ and how He is our rest (Sabbath).
6. Notice Vrs. 9-10, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Heb. 4:9-10)

D. (Illus.- I was talking with a Seventh Day Adventist one day and he said, “But you Baptists don’t observe the Sabbath!” I said, “Wait a minute, I’m a Baptist and I observe the Sabbath more than you do!” He asked, “What do you mean?” I said, “Jesus is my Sabbath, and by trusting in Him as my Savior, I observe the Sabbath seven days a week. You guys only observe the Sabbath on Saturdays, and that’s questionable!” It’s funny, but he didn’t want to talk about the Sabbath any more after that!)

E. And so, on the Seventh Day, not only was a work finished, but a rest was entered. Notice, finally, that on the Seventh Day…

III. A Blessing Was Bestowed.

A. Notice again Vrs. 3 of our text, “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Gen. 2:3)
1. The Hebrew word (barak) translated “blessed” here literally means “to bestow a benefit upon.”
2. In other words, God gave a place of prominence to the Seventh Day.

B. If you will stop and think about it, God has done the same thing for those who have ceased from their own labors and have rested in Christ.
1. Notice two verses in Ephesians.
2. First of all, Eph. 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3)
3. And then, also, Eph. 2:6, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Eph. 2:6)

C. What are these “spiritual blessings”?
1. Where do we start.
2. How about the blessing of forgiveness?
3. How about the blessing of justification?
4. How about the blessing of everlasting life?
5. How about the blessings of peace, joy and assurance?
6. And these are just SOME of the blessings that God has bestowed upon those who ceased from their labors and have rested (trusted) in Christ.

Conclusion:

A. WHAT have we learned about the Seventh Day? We’ve learned that on the Seventh Day…
1. A WORK WAS FINISHED.
2. A REST WAS ENTERED.
3. A BLESSING WAS BESTOWED.

B. What does this have to do with our redemption?
1. As God finished His work of creation, Christ finished His work of redemption.
2. As God rested from his work, in order to be redeemed, man must cease from his efforts to save himself and rest his faith in Christ.
3. As God blessed the Sabbath, God will also bless those who make Christ their Sabbath.

C. How about you, friend.
1. Have you made Christ your Sabbath?
2. Have you come to place where you have realized that all your efforts to save yourself are futile, and that trusting Christ is your only hope?
3. If not, won’t you consider trusting Christ today?
4. While it is true that you are a sinner, and while it is true that you do not deserve to go to heaven, it is also true that Christ died for all of your sins and that if you will trust completely in Him (make Him your Sabbath), He will save you today!
5. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Play