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A Day Like No Other

Beginnings: Genesis Against the World  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God rests not because He is tired, but because His work was completed.

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The Seventh Day of Creation is a Day Like No Other

I enjoy sleep. Do you? Its quite an odd thing when you think about it. You and I turn into helpless lumps with our mouths wide open for a recommended eight hour. We all know that, but did you know that:
12% of people dream in B&W only
1/3 of our lives are spent asleep
The record for going without sleep is 11 days, but this isn’t recommended as people have died from lack of sleep.
Sleep is a great equalizers. Everyone needs it.

God rests on the seventh day of creation.

Even though God does not sleep—nor does he need sleep—he rested on the seventh day. It is unlike all the other days, and this is evident for a few reasons: 1) there is no creation occuring on this day; 2) God blesses and makes the day holy; 3) there isn’t a corresponding day.

God rests

God rested. Verses 2 and 3 each state that God rested: Verse 2 says, “he rested … from all his work,” and verse 3 adds, “[he] rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” Why did God rest? Certainly not from fatigue. Omnipotence needs no rest because regardless of the amount of power that goes forth from him, his power is not depleted one whit. His omnipotent creating power is infinite. God did not need a breather. Actually the word “rest” means “to cease from.” God simply stopped his creating activity. In fact, though God rested (ceased his creating activity), he still worked. Jesus said exactly that when he healed a crippled man on the Sabbath: “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5:17). God rested from creating but works in sustaining the world by his power, governing it by his providence, and insuring the propagation of its creatures. In fact, if he stopped working, everything would dissolve into nothing.

God’s rest was one of deep pleasure and satisfaction at the fruit of his labor. This joyous rest of the Creator certainly extended to Adam and Eve in paradise as, in their state of innocence, they lived in blessed peace with their Creator. And this original rest was the beginning of a type of the rest that was lost at the fall but will be restored through redemption and its final consummation.

God blessed. God took such pleasure in the seventh day that he blessed it—“So God blessed the seventh day”—which means that he made it spiritually fruitful. We know that the two preceding blessings in the creation account, first on living creatures and then on Adam and Eve, bestowed fertility because in both instances God said, “Be fruitful and multiply” (1:22, 28). The meaning here is essentially the same but in the spiritual realm. “God’s blessing bestows on this special, holy, solemn day a power which makes it fruitful for human existence. The blessing gives the day, which is a day of rest, the power to stimulate, animate, enrich and give fullness to life.” The seventh day is one of perpetual spiritual spring—a day of multiplication and fruitfulness. This would become of great importance and benefit to God’s people.

God made it holy. So God ceased from his creation labors on the seventh day, pronounced it “blessed” (spiritually life-giving), and then “made it holy.” The seventh day was the first thing to be hallowed in Scripture. It was therefore elevated above the other days and set apart for God himself.

This blessed and holy day has no end. There is no morning and evening. It has existed from the completion of creation and still is. God still rests after the great event.

Why did God rest? It wasn’t because of fatigue. The word rest means “to cease from”. God ceased in creative action, but he words even to this day. says: “My Father is working until now, and I am working” when Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath.
My Father is working until now, and I am working

God’s rest was one of deep pleasure and satisfaction at the fruit of his labor. This joyous rest of the Creator certainly extended to Adam and Eve in paradise as, in their state of innocence, they lived in blessed peace with their Creator. And this original rest was the beginning of a type of the rest that was lost at the fall but will be restored through redemption and its final consummation.

R. Kent Hughes, Genesis: Beginning and Blessing, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 43.

God blessed

God blessed animals and Adam and Even, and yet he also blessed this day. The blessing to animals and humanity was one for fertility and life. The blessing of the seventh day is essentially the same, but with a spiritual emphasis. The blessing of rest is by which God stimulates, recharges, enriches, and gives fullness to life.

God made it holy

The seventh day is set apart and above all the other days. To make something holy is to set it apart for a specific use.

Sabbath Rest Throughout the Old Testament

For the Israelites, the seventh day, the Sabbath was one of complete rest. Work was forbidden.

8 “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.

The rest was a covenant sign and celebration.

Sabbath as a Covenant Sign

The Sabbath and its ritual observance became the preeminent sign of God’s covenant with Israel. After the tabernacle was built, the Sabbath was regarded as the sign of the covenant between God and his people: “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you” ’ ” (, ). And again, “The people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel” (31:16, 17a).
No other people had the Sabbath. None but Israel had this blessed law, enforced by the gracious threat of death should one fail to keep it. God meant them to be his people. So the Sabbath persisted through the centuries as a covenantal sign and grace for God’s people.
[1] R. Kent Hughes, Genesis: Beginning and Blessing, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 45.

Sabbath as a Celebration

To this day, Sabbath is —despite what we see as hard regulations
The Sabbath was also a day to remember and celebrate redemption. In Deuteronomy’s extended version of the Fourth Commandment, Moses adds, “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (5:15). In Egypt Israel had been cruelly overworked, even forced to make bricks without straw. And Pharaoh only let them go when God wrought his mighty deliverance at the Passover. With their redemption from Egypt came the rest that had not been theirs for hundreds of years. So on the Sabbath, as they rested, they were to reflect on their miraculous redemption.
These two versions of the Fourth Commandment give the twofold meaning of the seventh day for Israel: 1) the celebration of God as Creator, and 2) the celebration of God as Redeemer. The Sabbath’s purpose was to grace God’s people—to grace their bodies with the rest of the Genesis rhythm and to grace their souls with Heaven’s rhythm, providing Israel with respite from their labors so they could focus on God and gratefully celebrate him as their Creator and Redeemer.
[1] R. Kent Hughes, Genesis: Beginning and Blessing, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 44.

Christ, Our Sabbath

Present rest.

Since the “seventh day” has no closing refrain—no “And there was evening and there was morning”—the seventh day has no end and is eternal.
And this Sabbath rest is taken up in the New Testament and interpreted in the context of Jesus as one greater than Moses. The writer of Hebrews therefore speaks of “a Sabbath-rest for the people of God,” using Israel’s history to demonstrate that the rest can only be entered by faith (4:9; cf. vv. 1–11). And he warns, “For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened” (v. 2).
Mere intellectual belief will not bring rest to any soul. Acknowledging that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world will not bring rest. Trust in him is what gives rest to our souls. True faith is belief plus trust. When you truly trust in Christ as Savior, rest comes because the burden of your sins is lifted. You rest from your works. And because you are in Christ, you enter the Sabbath rest of God. You know that he is your Creator and Redeemer.
Everyone who has truly come to Christ has experienced that rest. All the impossible striving to gain salvation was then over. You rested in Christ, not in yourself. The burden of guilt was lifted. Your soul was light with rest.
And now as a believer the principle is: the more trust, the more rest.
Day and night this was his secret, “just to roll the burden on the Lord.” Frequently those who were wakeful in the little house at Chinkiang might hear, at two or three in the morning, the soft refrain of Mr. Taylor’s favorite hymn [”Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting”]. He had learned that for him, only one life was possible—just that blessed life of resting and rejoicing in the Lord under all circumstances, while He dealt with the difficulties, inward and outward, great and small.
It is possible to live a life as harried and busy as Hudson Taylor and yet be resting. Resting is trusting. Believer, you can have perpetual rest by resting in him.
The rest that the Scriptures offer is the rest that God entered when he finished creating the universe. The fact that in there is no morning or evening means that the seventh day continues even now. God’s rest began with the completion of the cosmos and continues on and on—and therefore is available to all his children. The question is: Are you resting in the joy of what Christ is?
So what should our rest look like?
Our week is reorganized around the resurrection, not the hope of future rest, because Jesus is our rest.

7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.

7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight

A true cease of earthly labors, and I need to grow in this:
7. As it is of the Law of nature, that in general a proportion of time by Gods appointment, be set apart for the Worship of God; so [page] by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandement, binding all men, in all Ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the World to the Resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week which is called the Lords day; and is to be continued to the end of the World, as the Christian sabbath; the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.
8. The Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employment, [page] and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the publick and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties8 of necessity and mercy.
W. J. McGlothlin, Baptist Confessions of Faith (Philadelphia; Boston; Chicago; St. Louis; Toronto: American Baptist Publication Society, 1911), 261.

The character of God’s rest is the ideal of all rests.

God’s rest is joyous.

tells us that at creation, “the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” They were echoing the “very good” of the Creator. And they were, of course, voicing the joy that he carried into his Sabbath rest.

God’s rest is satisfying.

His eternal satisfaction is understood from his multiple assertions that creation was “good.” When he smote his anvil the final time, sparking his final star a million million million light-years away, and put his final luminous touch on the firefly, he sat back in everlasting satisfaction.

God’s rest is a working rest.

God finished his great work and rested, but it was not a cessation from work. Rather it was a repose that came from completing a great work. God’s repose is full of active toil. God rests, and in his rest he keeps working, even now.
Fellow Christians, God does not offer us just any rest. He offers us his rest—the repose of his soul—divine rest. It is cosmic in its origination, as old as creation. And as such, a continuing Sabbath is available to all. It is the ideal rest, for it comes from our perfect, almighty God.

There is a now and a then to our rest.

Now, in Christ, we have entered and are entering our rest. Our experience of rest is proportionate to our trusting in him. A wholehearted trust brings his rest to our souls in all its divine, cosmic, and ideal dimensions, just as Hudson Taylor experienced.

There is a future rest.

But there is also a future rest in Heaven—the repose of soul in God’s rest, forever joyous, forever satisfied, and forever working. “ ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’ ” ().
Today Jesus—the Creator, Sustainer, and Goal of the universe, the Redeemer—says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” ().
Lord Sabaoth His name
From age to age the same.
Martin Luther
St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless ’til they find their rest in Thee.” He knew from experience that life apart from Christ is striving, that men and women will remain restless regardless of what they attain or obtain in this world. You will never find rest apart from redemption in Christ.
But when you come to him in faith as your Creator and Redeemer, you find a Sabbath rest for your soul—his own rest that he has enjoyed from creation. This same Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’ ” (). His Spirit will indwell you. You will find rest for your soul.
Will you come in faith, believing and trusting in him?
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