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Finding Rest, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 3, 2022 9:00 am

Finding Rest, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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May 3, 2022 9:00 am

You know, Jesus promised that for all who came to him, he would give them rest. But in today’s society, where overworking is the new norm, most of us hear Jesus’ invitation as wishful thinking.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. The best way you can apply the Sabbath principle is taking one day off a week that you focus on rest, renewal, and relationships. Again, that is one day to be rather than to do. One day to focus on God, to focus on relationships, and just enjoy His creation. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D.

Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Yesterday on Summit Life, we began a new teaching series here on the program titled Rest and Distraction. You know, Jesus promised that for all who came to Him, He would give them rest. But in today's society, where overworking is the new normal, most of us simply hear Jesus' invitation as wishful thinking. So is it a nice sentiment from the Bible? Or can we truly experience this rest that Jesus promises? I know I'm looking for that answer, and you probably are too. Right now, let's rejoin pastor J.D.

Greer in Hebrews chapter 4. Hey, Christ, there's nothing I can do that makes you love me more, nothing I have done that makes you love me less. Going out and succeeding at my job and getting all the praise of people, that's not going to make you love me one bit more.

And if I fail today, it's not going to make you love me one bit less. And that leads me to phrase two, you are all I need for everlasting joy. God, if I've got your approval, if you're looking at me saying, that's my son, well done. If I'm walking in accordance to you, who cares what a bunch of no account earthlings think about me?

It means that I got something better. I've got an identity that I don't have to work for anymore because it was gifted to me in Christ. You see, the reason this is so personal and important to me is for such a long time, I found my identity in how good and successful my work was. The way I thought about myself was always in direct proportion to how good the sermon was I preached on Sunday. Which is why if I preached a bad sermon, Veronica could scrape me up off the floor on Monday morning with a spatula. Because I just felt terrible about my, because it's like I had 35 lonely minutes every weekend to stand up here and justify my existence.

Who am I kidding? 50, 55 lonely minutes up here to stand up here and justify my existence. Because up there I was proving my worth, if I can do this well, then I've got value and you should respect me. How I felt about myself was based on how well the church was doing. If we had a dip in attendance, I just felt like it felt terrible. I'd have a bad week if attendance was great. If we got a, you know, a surge in attendance, I just felt like I was confident and on top of the world. It led to constant pressures on me and constant worry and irrational fears. I've told you, looking back on it now, it just seems silly, but I used to drive into church on the weekend, you know, coming in to services and I would have this fear that I would show up and that would be the day, that would be the Sunday that all of you, all of you decided to go to another church.

And it would just be me in this big old room with Veronica sitting on the front row and she'd have in her headphones listening to Matt Chandler because she thinks he's funnier than I am anyway. And it just, that would be it. That'd be how this whole thing came crashing down. And so these irrational fears that I had, but it was because my identity was tied up into how well I performed. And here's what that meant. Even when I took a day off, my soul was not at rest. My soul was always anxious because my identity was built on the success, a success that I was responsible to obtain.

In fact, here's something, if you're writing things down, write this down, write this down. Apart from Christ, you will work even when you're resting. With Christ, you can rest even when you're working. Even when you take a day off, you take a month off and your soul is still going to be at work because you've got to establish your identity. You've got to obtain your success.

It all rests on you. And that means you can never really rest. But if you're in Christ, you can rest even when you're working because it's not on you, which leads me to number three.

Christ's my security. God had declared to Israel, if I rescued you and you were helpless slaves, well, surely I'll take care of you now that you're beloved sons. And yeah, you should take a day off and you should reflect on that.

You should reflect on on who I am to you now. Now in the early church, they shifted the Sabbath day from Saturday, the seventh day, to Sunday, the first day, and they called it the Lord's Day because Sunday was the day that Jesus had resurrected and they felt that that day best commemorated their salvation. Yet on that day, they were to reflect on the exact same things. If God, Paul said, did not spare his only son for us when we were his enemies, now that we're his children, won't he freely give us all things that we need? If God took care of my sin and slavery need, well, of course, he's going to take care of my day-to-day needs. So we see that the Sabbath was fulfilled in Christ.

Christ my righteousness, Christ my identity, Christ my security. But listen, just because the Sabbath was fulfilled in Christ, doesn't mean we stop practicing the principle of the Sabbath in our day-to-day lives. You see, I would say that a lot of overzealous theologians will kind of say, well, the Sabbath was fulfilled in Christ, so we don't need to practice it at all anymore. But God wrote it into creation.

It didn't make its first appearance at the law. God wrote it into creation, which means all people in every time period are to practice this principle of the rhythm of work and rest. In fact, if you will let me, okay, give me a little space here. What I want to do is show you that the Sabbath principle shows up, not just in one day a week that you take off, it shows up in multiple places in the Christian life where you're going to see the Sabbath principle come into play. Let me give you a handful of them. One day a week for rest, renewal, and relationships.

Let's start with the obvious one. The best way you can apply the Sabbath principle is taking one day off a week that you focus on rest, renewal, and relationships. Again, that is one day to be rather than to do. One day to focus on God, to focus on relationships, and just enjoy His creation.

Now, hear me here. It doesn't have to be on a Sunday. When the early church changed it from Saturday to Sunday, they were showing that it was not a particular day that was essential. For most of you, it should be on a Sunday, and I'll tell you why in a second. But the big point is it's at least one day a week where you cease from your labors and enjoy God and the gifts that He has given. Public worship should always be a part of it, which is why I say that for most of you it should be on a Sunday.

Public worship should always be a part of that because your relationship with God is central to your life, and if God is the point, and the provider, and the security, and all that, the best way to do is come together and be able to celebrate that. But it's also the day to be with your family, to be outdoors, to be rather than to do, and just to do things that you enjoy. And you say, well, I can't afford to take a day off.

I'm telling you, you can't afford not to. God promises to multiply the other six days. I'll give you one quick little almost silly example of this, but the first time I really sensed the promise and power in my life, I was a college student. I was a junior, and I never took a Sabbath. I mean, I made all the other Ten Commandments, but I did not take a Sabbath because I had to study, and I had to do well, and I got really convicted about it. The second semester of my junior year, I said, you know what? I'm just going to obey God in this, and for some reason, I had signed up that semester for an absurd number of classes.

It was like 21 hours, which is just crazy to do. 21 hours, heaviest load I'd ever had, and I said, I will not study on Sunday. I'm going to, that day is going to be for church.

It's going to be for reading good Christian books, and it's going to be for hanging out with some of my friends and enriching those relationships. At the end of that semester, after taking an insane amount of hours and cutting my productivity by one-seventh, I had the highest GPA that semester I did of any of my semesters of college, and I think God was just showing me, like, you can't out-give me. So you take one day a week that you offer to me, and watch how I multiply the others. That's the first one.

The second one here might surprise you, but just hear me out, okay? Tithing. I know you're like, why do you got tithing to everything? Just hang on. Here's why.

Hear me out. Tithing is an application of the Sabbath principle. Go back and read Deuteronomy 7 and 8, and you'll see where he ties these things together. Tithing means giving at least one, the first tenth of your income back to God. You don't do it because you got an extra 10% of your budget that you just can't figure out what to do with. You do it just like they took the Sabbath day off as a declaration that God is the provider, and ultimately you trust Him to make the ends meet, not yourself. That's why when people say to me, well, I can't afford to tithe, I say you can't afford not to. God said you obey me by giving me 10% you think you can't afford. You watch how I multiply the remaining 90%.

You know, I can't explain to you exactly how He does it. I can just tell you that for 29 years now, I have tithed faithfully on what God has given me, and I can tell you after 29 years, you cannot outgive God. And I'll say after being a pastor here for 18 years, I've heard story after story after story of people who just believed and trusted God and gave Him the first and the best and how not one time have I ever heard a story where somebody outgave God. It's just like with the six days principle, you do less than you can and God will multiply the rest. It is those times in my life where I have not obeyed that principle that I've gotten into financial trouble. Here's another one that might surprise you of a way you can apply the Sabbath principle.

You ready? Sleep. Let me take you to one of my favorite passages in all the Bible. In fact, I got it tattooed on my wrist, all right?

How about that? Psalm 127. Unless the Lord builds a house, who should build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for he gives to his beloved. Sleep. According to that Psalm, what is the sign that you are beloved by God? What is it? Sleep. Looking out here, I can see that several of you are beloved by God right at this very moment, okay? Sleep, the sign that you are beloved by God.

Well, here's the problem, though, with sleep. If I'm asleep, who's got the city? Who's building the house? Who's getting the crops?

Who's guarding the gate? Psalm 127 just kind of smiles sort of sweetly and says, well, God is. God intended sleep to be a time every day, like a daily Sabbath, where you lay down on your back horizontally and just declare to God with your posture, I'm not God. Because you don't ever have to lie down because you're never tired. Again, I'll try to be really transparent with you, so maybe this is helpful, but the more responsibility I get in life, the more trouble I seem to have sleeping. I tend to wake up about 3 to 3.30 in the morning worried. I wake up worried about who's watching the city, the city of my family, the city of this church, the city of whatever other responsibilities I have.

But see, here's what I've learned. God insists I lay down each night, kind of like a daily Sabbath, just to remind myself that I'm not him. And when I lay down to sleep, I am basically saying, God, I'm turning myself off, but it's okay because you never turn off, you stay on. And God, I'm going to sleep, but it's okay because you never sleep.

And there's lots to worry about. I'm not going to bed because there's nothing left to do. I'm not going to bed because there's nothing left to worry about. I'm going to bed because you told me to, because you said if I was beloved by you, I would sleep. And that means that if I'm sleeping, you must be taking care of everything else and you're handling it when I can. And I know when I wake up at 3.30, that is not a time that God has appointed me to be awake. That is a time when God has appointed me to be asleep because he's got the city.

And if he's got the city, I can rest because it's in his hands, not mine. We'll be right back with the rest of our teaching in just a moment. But I wanted to quickly share a little bit about our brand new resource this month. We've just begun this new teaching series titled Rest and Distraction.

And our gift to you this month is the perfect next step. Don't let the distractions of today destroy the peace and satisfaction that come from sitting and learning and resting at the feet of Jesus. To get started, we've created a book of devotionals for anyone who feels distracted or even disconnected at times. And in addition, we've got a set of 20 conversation cards to help kickstart faith-based conversations in your home. Keeping Jesus at the center of our conversations is definitely one way to experience his rest. So give us a call at 866-335-5220 or go online to and reserve your copy today. Now let's return for the conclusion of today's message. Here's Pastor JD. I was reading this article a while back. It wasn't written by a Christian, but it was a small business owner who was talking about his problem with sleep. And I'm like, okay, this is good.

Maybe I'll find some help here. And he said, I was waking up 2.30, 3 in the morning and I was always worried about what was happening in the business. He said, and then he says, I just hired these, they call them virtual assistants. Basically it's somebody, they're usually somewhere over in Asia that you can hire for a pretty good rate who that you can give tasks to do. And he said, so around 5.30, you email them the things that you need them to do and they work on them while you're asleep. And when you wake up the next morning, they have them all done and you can take them back up. He said, so I'd been given my virtual assistant.

I think she was in India. I've been giving her these things to do. And he said, but I thought the biggest pressure I have is I worry about all this stuff, you know, in the night. He said, so I just sent her an email one afternoon, 5.30.

I said, dear, you can call her name. I'm really worried about these five things. Would you please worry about them for the next 16 hours so that when I, you know, so I can know that you are. So he said, I got an email back the next morning from her, a real sweet email, about 8.30. It said, dear Mr. So-and-so, just want you to know, I stayed up all night last night worrying about these five things. And I've worried about them so that you could sleep and now I'm ready to give them back to you so that you can take them back over. He said, I don't know really how to explain it, but somehow just waking up in the middle of the night knowing that she was over there worrying about that just meant that I didn't have to.

Now, that's silly, I get that. But when I read that, I thought that is exactly what God has told me to do in Psalm 127. God said, you can go to sleep because I got it.

I got it for right now. I got the city and I can handle the city better than you anyway. So you can lay down and sleep and you can declare to me that I'll guard the city, I'll finish the house, I'll pay the bills, that's my job. Your job, JD's job, is just to be faithful. And after I've been faithful, I can lie down and sleep and just leave it in his hand. So y'all, let me give you one really practical application point for this sermon, you ready?

This might be your favorite sermon point I've ever given you at the Summit Church. Get more sleep, all right? Don't apply it right now, like wait an hour or two or whatever, but those who study these things say that the vast majority of us need to be getting more sleep, not less. They say that only one to 3% of the population is sleeping too much.

And those are called teenagers, by the way, okay? But everybody else just about is not getting enough sleep. In fact, let me give you a little historical context. Up until 1879, the average American slept 11 hours a night.

What happened in 1879? The light bulb, we invented the light bulb and that's when everything changed. So the point is, the idea of the sleep we're getting now, it's a historical anomaly when you compare it that that's just not how we're designed.

And I'd say most of us need to be thinking about how to declare more trust in God, not less and applying it in this. Our lack of sleep contributes to all kinds of health problems. It just showed that we're not designed like that. It makes us less efficient.

I don't have time to tell this, but I'm going to tell it anyway. I was watching this TED Talk and it was this neurologist explaining how the brain worked. And by the way, I'm not a neurologist, so I'll probably get some details here wrong.

I see Dr. Mike Havlin over there who's going to cringe when I tell this, but the basic point of this is correct, okay? Basically, the mind does not clear itself of waste the way that other parts of the body do because it doesn't have blood vessels all through it. So instead of, most cells give their waste to the blood vessel and takes it out, but the brain doesn't have that. So the brain releases an enzyme that carries the waste away.

But here's the catch, this TED Talk speaker said. The catch is it only releases that enzyme when you're asleep. So literally at the end of the day, when you feel like your mind is all gunked up and you can't think straight, that literally is true. Your mind is so full of waste because you haven't been to sleep because it hasn't carried it out. It just shows you that God does not design you to be on all the time. He designed you to turn off because God's mind never gets gunked up and God is always thinking clearly, but you got to lay on your back and declare, I'm not God. So sleep is a way that you apply this principle of rest and Sabbath. Here's a fourth one, daily Sabbath, daily Sabbath.

And here's what I mean by that. It means you have daily times that you unplug and you refocus yourself. Probably the most important of these is doing a morning quiet time. That's a time, it's the most important part of my day where I just kind of recenter myself on the gospel and on God and I talk with him about the day that's coming up. It means building times throughout your day to recenter yourself. I know of a pastor who asked his assistant to build a five minute space between each one of his meetings just so he can have some time to pray about the next meeting and to recenter his motives and his values. He would pause his day literally multiple times just to rest in Christ.

Sometimes it means just unplugging and letting your mind go to rest. How about this one, nap. So we're like, this really is the best sermon ever. Like I'm seeing men take notes that have never taken notes in a sermon before. A recent study found that a 30 minute nap three times a week will cut your heart attack risk by 40%. Other studies show that people who nap are actually more productive than people who don't. This is the greatest sermon ever.

I love that pastor. All right, here's the last one, yearly vacations, yearly vacations. Throughout the Bible, we see Jesus commanding his people to take time off to remind themselves that they're not the ones that are doing the work.

Give you a couple examples real quick on this. March 631, and because so many people were coming to Jesus and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, to the disciples, come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. What's interesting is that this phrase follows this one because so many people were coming. They weren't getting rest because all the work was done. There was still a line, big old line of people that needed stuff and Jesus said, okay, hold, stop. We got to go over here and rest because one, we weren't created to do this nonstop. And the most important thing for us is to get some rest and reconnect with our Father. Otherwise, the work we do for him is not really going to be any good anyway. Now, I realize he didn't, you know, he wouldn't take them on a vacation, but that's the principle of Sabbath and it's the principle of it.

Another one of my favorite examples, Acts 1. Jesus has just given the Great Commission to his disciples. Great Commission, take the gospel to every nation. Never had a larger assignment been given to a less capable group of people. Go preach the gospel to all these different languages.

Most of you only know one language. It's all on you. Now, the first assignment that I'm going to give you is do nothing. Wait.

Wait for the Holy Spirit. They waited for 10 days before they did a thing. I'm not trying to imply that that Jesus took them on vacation for 10 days, that they went to Barbados or anything like that.

They sat in a room. I get that. It wasn't vacation per se, but it's the principle of it because they step back and if nothing else, just reflected on the fact that this was God's work, not theirs. And they were his instruments.

They weren't the ones who had to own it and own all the responsibility for it. I see in that a principle that there are times that you and I disconnect so that we can reconnect with God, reconnect with others, and that becomes the source of our strength when we're actually in the fight, in the battle. By the way, when I say vacations, I know I'll lose some of you.

You're like, I can't afford a vacation. I mean time for you just to unplug and focus on relationships, relationship with God with others, a staycation, going to local parks, getting together and playing games with family and friends. Well, those again, those are just a handful of ways that I think you can put Sabbath rest into practice. You stop and you proclaim Christ as your identity, as your righteousness and your security. You see, this is what I think Jesus was talking about in Matthew 11. When Jesus said, come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, I'll give you rest. Take my yoke on you. Learn from me, for I'm gentle and lowly and hard and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. You see, at first, I think that statement sounds confusing to Jesus for two reasons.

One, his burden was the cross. How is that a light burden? And yoke, isn't yoke an instrument you use to work? That's like the last thing that tired people need is a yoke. They need a mattress. They need a pillow. They need a vacation.

Here's the key. Jesus was not offering them an escape from labor. He was offering new equipment in the labor. You ever seen a yoke? You got two places for two different heads. So the yoke that Jesus is offering for you.

So you go in one, who goes in the other one? Jesus does. And when you and somebody much stronger than you are carrying a heavy load, who ends up doing all the heavy lifting?

They do. What Jesus is offering to you is not just a temporary vacation that's just going to take you right back into the strain. He's offering you a whole new way to walk through strain and stress and all that. He's like, I'll carry the heavy load. I'm giving you a new set of equipment. I am offering you a chance for all of your stress and labor to be cast upon me. Because when you're walking with me, then I'm ultimately the one who takes responsibility for the success of everything that you're doing, whether it's your family, your job, your ministry, or whatever it is. See, here's kind of the catch, y'all.

The only way to experience this rest is to be fully surrendered to Jesus. You see, to be yoked up with him, you got to be going where he's going. You can't have one ox going that way and one ox going that way.

You got to go where he goes. The most tiring way to live is the way the vast majority of religious people live. And that is they're partially committed to Jesus. They got a list of things in their mind that they think good Christians do. It involves going to church. It involves giving some money.

It involves being nice. But they've never fully surrendered to Jesus. And so their religion just becomes a checklist that just makes them more tired because they never get the benefit that comes from knowing I walk day by day with Jesus and he bears the responsibility for all these relationships. He bears responsibility for all these tasks because I'm doing him at his bidding. Y'all, I cannot tell you how much rest I experience even on my most stressful days when I know that I'm just walking with Jesus and I get up out of the bed in the morning and I put my feet on the carpet. I'm like, this is the day that the Lord has made. And I strap that yoke on. I look over at Jesus. He's got the other side of it.

He gives me a wink. We go. What practical next steps from Pastor J.D.

Greer today. Here at Summit Life, we're always looking for ways to encourage you to grow your faith. So J.D., in addition to the obvious, what is this teaching series, Rest in Distraction, all about? You know, Jesus promised Molly that for all those who came to him, he would give them rest.

In this series, we're going to talk about those who are most mature in Christ or not those who are necessarily working the hardest for him, but those who are resting most in him. And to help remind you of that idea, to reinforce it, to help you live it out, we've got a new resource that is specifically designed for really families of all shapes and sizes or even if you live with a roommate, this is helpful. It's got 15 devotions specifically on rest, relationship and faith. But the best part is that it comes with this little set of conversation cards.

If you'll just go to J.D. Greer dot com, it'll allow us to start that relationship and get these into your hand. This set of two resources comes with our thanks when you donate today to support this ministry. Give and request devotions for the distracted family and your set of conversation cards when you call 866-335-5220.

Or you can request them both when you donate online at J.D. Greer dot com. I'm Molly Vidovich. Be sure to join us Wednesday as Pastor J.D.

teaches on good versus bad distractions. A very valuable distinction here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-23 17:36:47 / 2023-04-23 17:48:57 / 12

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