Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lesson 11: "The Sabbath"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
The Teachings of Jesus
Lesson 11: "The Sabbath"
The Sabbath is a revelation of Christ and a sign by which those who cherish it know that the Lord is the One who makes them righteous and sanctifies them. Christ is the Word and so all Bible teaching is the teaching of Jesus. His word is truth and life.
Only those who believe with the faith of Jesus can enter into His Sabbath. Israel could not enter because they would not believe: "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" but "we who have believed do enter that rest" (Heb. 3:8, 9; 4:3).
So it is that the Sabbath contains within it the creative power of God, the rest of God, the blessing of God, the presence of God, which makes holy, and the continuing indwelling presence of God, which sanctifies. Therefore we find that:
The Sabbath is a reminder of Christ's power as Creator: It is the reminder of His creative power manifested. It is a sign between Him and His people forever, "for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed" (Ex. 31:17).
We find in Christ the creative power of God: Creative power is the same as redemptive power, therefore redemption is creation--they are one and the same. The first thing that Jesus is to the sinner in this world is Creator (Redeemer), making the sinner a new creation. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17). "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). So the work of God in salvation is creation.
The Sabbath is Christ's rest: "For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works'" (Heb. 4:4). We have seen that only those who believe can enter His rest. God is Spirit so therefore His rest is a spiritual rest.
We find in Christ God's rest: "For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His" (Heb. 4:10). Rest is a gift, therefore it is written: "Come unto me, ... and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). Spiritual rest is only received by faith.
The Sabbath holds Christ's blessing: "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Gen. 2:3).
We find in Christ God's blessing: "God, having raised up his Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities" (Acts 3:26). And "God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). It is God who blesses us and turns us from our sins.
In the Sabbath is Christ's holiness: Only the presence of God can make anything holy. Moses, attracted by the sight of the bush burning yet not being consumed, turned aside "to see this great sight." "So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here am I.' Then He said, 'Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground'" (Ex. 3:4, 5). That place was made holy ground solely by the presence of Him in the bush, just as the presence of the Lord made holy the seventh day, the Sabbath, when He rested on it and in it from all His works.
We find in Jesus the presence of God that makes us holy: It is written: "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" (John 14:20). And "God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). It is the presence of Christ that makes holy, and His continuing presence sanctifies.
Elder Robert J. Wieland often remarked that: "Righteousness is the result of Christ's holiness meeting and conquering sin in our flesh." So we see that it is Christ in us that makes us righteous, and His righteousness is only received by His faith.
"The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isa. 32:17, 18). Herein is the Sabbath!
Ellen G. White wrote that the Sabbath points to Christ "as both the Creator and the Sanctifier." Moreover, "I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them ... (Ezek. 20:12). Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ's power to make us holy" (The Desire of Ages, p. 288).
The Sabbath has in it Christ's sanctification: He not only blessed the seventh day, but sanctified it that His presence might dwell in it. Christ's presence makes holy, but His continuing presence is what sanctifies.
All the above is what is found in Christ; for the Sabbath rest is the culmination of the everlasting covenant--of the gospel which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." The good news of the gospel is that all that is found in Christ is now your own experience because of Christ in you.
We find in Jesus God's abiding, indwelling presence which sanctifies us: For it is written: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23); and "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God" (1 John 4:15); "For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (2 Cor. 6:16).
So we see that the Sabbath stands as God's sign of a completed work. It is the sign of a completed work at creation and a sign of the completed work of His secondary creation, the cross.
Ellet J. Waggoner wrote: "The power it took to create the world and all things that are in it, the power that keeps all things in existence, is the power that saves those who trust in it. This is the power of the cross" (The Glad Tidings, p. 140).
But to be made just or righteous means that self must die. We cannot kill self, but there is good news here too: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
We know from the Sabbath that Christ's presence makes holy--which is to make righteous, and His continuing presence within completes the sanctification.
Waggoner commented that justification is the highest state man can have on earth, and that sanctification is nothing more than this same justification moving forward over time. Christ's righteousness brings rest. Christ's righteousness is Sabbath.
Sanctification is the completed work of Christ manifested in the individual. Rest follows completed work. Spiritual rest follows completed spiritual work. The image of Christ is completely formed in the believer so that when God looks at the believer He sees His reflection.
"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength'" (Isa. 30:15).
"So you see when God set up the Sabbath, he had set creation all before man to start with, and man could see God in creation. But, the Lord wanted to get nearer to man than that; man could study creation and find a knowledge about God. But God wanted him to have the knowledge of God. In creation he could know about Him; in the Sabbath he would know Him; because the Sabbath brings the living presence, the sanctifying presence, the hallowing presence, of Jesus Christ, to the man who observes it indeed" (A. T. Jones, 1893 General Conference Bulletin, pp. 136, 137).
Christ is the Sabbath and all that it is and means. When Christ's presence dwells within then we begin to know God and enter into His rest.
--Daniel Peters
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Raul Diaz