Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
If there's one thing that you want to engage in this spiritual warfare, and if there's one thing that you want to exert with every fiber you're being, it is to not live a life of strife under the law, but strive to this, to get into the grace of God and stay there in the rest of God. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series we've called Saver, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now, an audio album called Saver. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries, either a CD album or a digital download of these audio messages. So as you listen into today's messages, go deeper as we send you today's special offer.
Contact us at PastorAlan.org, that's PastorAlan.org, or call 877-544-4860, 877-544-4860. More on all of this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. And in God's eyes, making the giant Canis Majoris star, or creating 100 billion galaxies, or inventing the human genome, and weaving together strands of DNA in the most complex thing imaginable to the human mind, as glorious as all that was, he blessed the seventh day, and he said, this is what it's all about. But it's on that day in which we're not being productive, that we're relating to God and relating to one another, that relationship is the most dear thing.
It's the most glorious. A simple idea of a family being together, of a father blessing his child, on the Sabbath day was more beautiful in God's eyes than anything else that he had made. Charles Francis Adams, grandson of John Adams and son of John Quincy Adams, served as a Massachusetts State Senator, U.S. Congressman and Ambassador to Great Britain under Abraham Lincoln. He was very conscientious about keeping a daily journal, and he encouraged his children to keep a journal. Henry Brooks, the fourth of seven children, followed his advice and began journaling at a very young age. And a particular entry that was written when Brooks was eight years old has particular fascination to it, because the little eight-year-old boy wrote, following a day that he'd spent with his father, he wrote, went fishing with my father today, the most glorious day of my life. Well, the day was so glorious that Brooks continued to talk and write about that particular day for the next 30 years, and it was then much later that Brooks decided that, having remembered how his father was such a meticulous journal keeper as well, that he would consult his father's journal and see what he'd written on that same day.
And for that day's entry, the father had written, went fishing with my son, a day wasted. It's about your definition of what's glorious. Abraham Heschel, the Jewish author, said that the Sabbath is a palace in time. He wrote, the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals. Our holy of holies is a shrine that neither the Romans nor the Germans were able to burn, a shrine that even apostasy cannot obliterate, the Day of Atonement.
That there's something about the sacredness of time that God blessed, no one can take away. It's not a thing. There is no Hebrew word for thing. Doesn't exist.
Doesn't exist. Verses 2 and 3 of Genesis chapter 2 contain four Hebrew lines. The first three lines are parallel, and each contains seven words. And with the midpoint of each line comes the phrase, the seventh day.
Seven, seven, seven. And what's interesting is the cycle of seven days was not something that was known to any other ancient culture. And in many ways, it's not intuitive because the lunar calendar would lead you towards 30 or 31 days of a month, which is not divisible by seven. God just established this. And God's rest, the last day of creation, is humanity's first day. We were created and released into the world on the day of God's rest. In other words, God rested, and thus we can work. God was finished, and therefore we could subdue the earth.
And that's important when we come to Hebrews 4 in a little while. Notice that God didn't rest because He was weary. God does not grow tired. He rested because He was finished. And Jesus didn't sit down at the right hand of the Father because He's tired.
Symbolically, He's seated at the right hand of the Father because His work of salvation is finished. And all of creation is so marvelous, but the rhythm of life, God is saying, is not measured by how much you get done. It is measured by the rhythm of the Sabbath. The whole life of Israel revolved around Sabbath. It wasn't just a time of no work.
It was so much better than that. It was a time that nobody else worked, so nobody would bother you with wanting you to work. That's the problem. It's not that I have a problem taking some Sabbath. It's that nobody else is taking it, and so they all want to make you work, right? It's the expectation of the culture around you that you're going to be busy. And yet, in the life of Israel, the Sabbath was every single week the most delicious thing imaginable.
Children knew that they had their parents without their parents being distracted, and they could enjoy being a family. They knew this would be the day that we are going to have some good food. You might be poor and eat very scrawny stuff through the week, but you're going to find yourself a plump chicken for Sabbath one way or another. It was understood in the Hebrew families we don't fuss or fight on Sabbath day. You don't have an argument with your spouse on Sabbath. If someone brings it up and says, we're not going to talk about that today, sweetheart, we're going to do that tomorrow. It's not a day that you get on your children about their poor grades and try to fix it.
It's just a day in which you enjoy and revel and laugh and enjoy being together and enjoy the fellowship and you spend time with each other and you spend time with God and you just enjoy it. And fathers would bless their children. Every Sabbath, they'd come and lay their hands on their children.
They'd speak a positive future over their children. And they had this every single week. Every other day of creation, our text says there was morning and evening, and that was the day. But there's no mention of this on the seventh day.
It is as if God was saying, here it is, I'm resting, and it is perpetual. Humanity is released into the world out of the finished work of God, the rest of God, which leads us to Hebrews chapter four. Hebrews chapter four, the writer draws upon the image of Sabbath, not just from Genesis, though that background is there, but the picture of the place of rest, which was the promised land. And God had promised his people that they would take this land of Canaan, the promised land, and therefore they would enter into his rest. And using this image of the people who disobeyed God, did not believe that they could take the land, and so they turned back and wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until a generation died off, and then Joshua led them into the land.
But what he's saying is that that was just a shadow. It wasn't the real rest of which God is talking. The Hebrews 4, verse 6, since therefore it remains for some to enter it, speaking of that rest, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience.
Again, he appoints a certain day today. What he's saying here is that the rest of God, the place of rest, the real Sabbath is today. Verse 8, if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. He's saying even though Joshua led them into the promised land, that wasn't, ultimately, that was just a shadow.
That was just pointing to this day. So, verse 9, so then there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered into God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. When you enter into faith in Jesus Christ, what you enter into is the rest of God. A life instead of striving to measure up, a life instead of trying to perform in order to be loved, instead of working in order to be accepted, when you come through faith in Christ to God, you are made his heir of a promise.
That is yours. You are accepted in the beloved, and nothing can ever change that. And once you really see that, the strife in your life begins to lift.
That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. With so much worry about yesterday's failures and so much hurry getting ready for tomorrow's tasks, sometimes it's hard to focus on the moment that matters most, right? Now, in a hurried, worried season, God invites you into the present.
Modern-day life coaches call it mindfulness, but it isn't a new psychological program, and it isn't rooted in Eastern religion. Mindfulness, living in the present, is God's idea, and the Bible unveils the way. Pastor Alan Wright invites you to savor life each day. When you make your gift today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's eight messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Make your gift today and learn how to savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment, in the moment, every day of your life. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues.
Here once again is Alan Wright. It's interesting that at verse 11, the writer Hebrew says, let us therefore strive to enter that rest so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Isn't it wonderfully odd that we're exhorted to strive toward rest?
Isn't that an oxymoron? It is just to say if there's one thing that's worth working for, if there's one thing that's worth fighting for, it's Sabbath. If there's one thing that you want to engage in this spiritual warfare, if there's one thing that you want to exert with every fiber you're being, it is to not live a life of strife under the law, but strive to this, to get into the grace of God and stay there in the rest of God. It's odd to think of it, but in the Old Testament, the shadow of the Sabbath, and I call it a shadow because this Sabbath is a very real and a very good idea to have a day off, but it was a shadow because it's actually pointing to Jesus, of something richer and deeper than any kind of legalistic type of taking a Sabbath day. But in the life of Israel, as it is pictured for us, there was harsh punishment for those that would disobey the Sabbath. Isn't that odd? What kind of culture is that where people are disciplined and punished for working too much? How odd that would be in our time.
Can't even imagine. I had a teacher saying, now students, everybody made a hundred on this test, so obviously you have been studying far too much. All of you are suspended for just working too much. The coach doesn't go into the weight room and see the 300-pound offensive lineman lifting weights and say, now listen, quit all those bench presses. I'm tired of all this work.
You need to take more time. That's not the way of our culture. But in the Old Testament, this was the picture of the rhythm of life. It was so important that God said, this is a key. Keep the Sabbath. And all of this is expressing both the importance and urgency of what would come to pass in Christ Jesus, and that is, don't let your life get over into the flesh.
Don't let your life get over into law-based living. Don't let your life get over into strife, because you've been given the rest of Jesus Christ. And you can walk in it, and it becomes a rhythm of your life. The interesting thing was in the Old Testament, the Promised Land was called the place of rest, and yet it was the place where all the battles were fought.
Isn't that interesting? The land of rest was a battleground. And isn't it true that when the people turned back and wandered in the wilderness, they had plenty of leisure, but they didn't have rest? You can have leisure and have complete unrest.
You could sit right there on the beach and worry about everything in your life. And you're better off to be in the empowered life of the Holy Spirit in a Promised Land where you're having to take down Jericho and the Philistines than you are just wandering about with leisure on your hands and no empowerment from the Holy Spirit. This is why there have been too many people that have seemed to have everything in the world at their disposal have been utterly unhappy. The people didn't enter the Promised Land because they doubted God's promise. God said the land is yours, and they doubted that.
It looked like there were giants in the land. So instead of promise-based living, they retreated and wandered. Promise-based living is grace-based living. It is the faith life. Life of faith is simply this, to believe the promises of God.
And if you believe the promises of God, then you act on those promises. They had been delivered out of their bondage by grace, the blood of the Lamb over the door. And there wasn't their own blood.
It was the blood of a Lamb. And when they came to an impassable Red Sea, God miraculously opened up the Red Sea. They didn't open up their own way. God opened up the way, and then God swallowed up their enemy as well. And every step of the way, it's been God's grace showing them fulfillment after fulfillment of promise after promise. And that's what he wanted them to know so that when they came to the Promised Land that they would believe him and trust him and take the Promised Land. But instead, they became fearful, and in their flesh, they said, what if we fail?
And so they retreated. So where there's grace, there's faith. And instead, their faith became unbelief.
And next thing you know, they had unrest, though they had leisure. So all of this is to point to—this is the beautiful picture of the Scripture. In Genesis, God finished the work of creation, and he blessed the rest of the seventh day. And in that rest, he released the man and the woman to enjoy life together and to take delight in filling the earth and to live as his image bears on the earth. And what it means in Christ is that when you see the gospel and you understand that God has come in the person of Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin, anybody that trusts in Jesus, so that your sin is removed from you, and you are guiltless in the eyes of God, and therefore have no more shame about all the ways you don't measure up, then you are able to enter into the rest of God, you are able to enter into the rest of God, the Sabbath that is in Christ. In other words, it was all pointing to Jesus.
It's a very good idea to correct the busyness of life by rethinking the way we consider time and what's most important. It's very important to have a natural rhythm, but always from Genesis chapter two, all the way through the scripture, it was pointing to this person, Jesus. He is our Sabbath and whom we have rest. In Mark chapter two, Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. And then he added this shocking statement, for the son of man is Lord, even of the Sabbath. He just announced right there in Mark chapter two, he's the Lord. He announced in Luke chapter four, as he read the Isaiah scroll, that part of it was to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, which was Jubilee. And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down in the eyes of all the synagogue, were fixed on them.
And he began to say to them, today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. Jubilee is the 49th year. It is seven times seven years. It is seven times seven times seven. It is the Sabbath of Sabbath of Sabbath. It is when all the debts are canceled, the slaves are set free and all property goes back to its original owner.
It's Jubilee. He said in Matthew 11, come to me, all who labor and heavy laden, and I'll give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Take the yoke of grace rather than law and learn from me, for I'm gentle and lowly in heart, and you'll find rest for your souls. And all of this is possible because when Jesus hung on the cross, in John chapter 19, verse 30, we read, when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, it is finished. And he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Then it says, chapter two, God said, my creative work is finished and he rested, knowing that one day his only begotten son would suffocate on a cross, bearing the weight of the sin of the world and say, it is finished. And because it's finished, we can't do one single thing to save ourselves or to put ourselves in better standing with God. What's left for us to do is to rest in his grace and live our lives empowered by the Holy Spirit.
And that's the gospel. With so much worry about yesterday's failures and so much hurry getting ready for tomorrow's tasks, sometimes it's hard to focus on the moment that matters most right now. In a hurried, worried season, God invites you into the present.
Modern day life coaches call it mindfulness, but it isn't a new psychological program and it isn't rooted in Eastern religion. Mindfulness, living in the present is God's idea and the Bible unveils the way. Pastor Alan Wright invites you to savor life each day. When you make your gift today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's eight messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Make your gift today and learn how to savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment in the moment, every day of your life. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860, or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Alan, I don't know if you're like me, but in the thought of this teaching on rest and relax and the finished work of Christ, sometimes I feel like we're so overworked and so doing, and it's so built into our society that it's like, yeah, I need to rest, but I got to get some things done before I can rest. You know, I always laugh with my wife because, you know, in ancient Israel, they call the day before Sabbath, the day of preparation.
And the reason is that they would work hard to get all the food ready and everything. I mean, because it actually takes some work to rest. Well, what we're discovering is that there's an even greater spiritual principle when the writer of Hebrews talks about strive to enter the rest. Well, that's an oxymoron, but what I think we're being told is that there is a spiritual battle. And it is for law and strife to dominate our lives rather than the acknowledgement that Jesus' work is finished and we can really truly rest in it. So I think in the middle of this busy, wonderful season where we get about this time of year, Daniel, we get so, so caught up in the rush and there's a lot on the plate to do. You just stop and you just find moments and think much of what Jesus did for you. Think of his finished work and hear him say it is finished.
Yeah. And that's where I get little moments of Sabbath in the midst of it. If you only caught part of today's teaching, not only can you listen again online, but also get a daily email devotional that matches today's teaching delivered right to your email inbox free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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