This message was preached by Ian Portwine at Word of Grace Church on February 5th, 2017. Ian is one of the elders at Emmanuel Church, Durham, UK. To listen/download the audio please click here.
Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
The seventh day comes after the first six days of creation. The 6 days of creation fall into two sets- Forming and Filling. There is a symmetry in the way God Forms and Fills the earth. First light and darkness were separated and sun, moon and stars were filled. The sky and waters were separated, and fish and birds were created to fill it. The dry land and sea were separated, and animals and man were created to fill it.
There is also poetry to it. It starts with, and God said... and then he declares that it is good. On day 7, he completed his work of creation. He then blessed the day and called it holy. We don’t see an ending to that day. There is no mention of the sun going down and a new day coming in on the 7th day. There is a debate on whether it is still the rest of God until today.
Day 7 is the day God was working towards. The two pillars of creation, the forming and the filling, hold up this day 7. God has been building for himself a temple of creation and then takes up residence, ceasing from the work of creation.
Isaiah 66:1-2- “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
In ancient times, if you ask where the gods lived, they would show a temple. All decisions come from a temple. He sits there in-charge of everything. It’s his proper place. He is now enthroned on high and there is no end to that day.
In creation, there is no mention of a Sabbath. The Jews were very keen on it. In the New testament, they change this Sabbath day from Saturday to a Sunday to signify the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Rest is not having a cup of chai. It is to enjoy what he has made. Human kind is the pinnacle of that creation. He continues to reign as Sovereign Lord. God is in charge of the world. We have the security that he knows everything and is carrying us through everything.
Q. What is the importance of Gathering together?
As people of the new covenant, we don’t have to come to church. So why must we come together?
1. God has blessed this day- There is a dynamic grace when we gather together in unity to worship
2. We are the body and if you’re not here, the body is incomplete. You have a blessing in being together.
3. Offering of time- it’s saying that im trusting in you, my life is about you. Recognising that he provides for all our needs.
4. Worship and discipleship
5. Sacraments- Augustine said, the sacraments are visible words of God. they are visible signs of what God has done on the inside. The Sacraments are Baptism and Breaking of Bread.
6. Mission- even as we pray together, we are affecting change.
Our working patterns, busyness of life, etc are making it difficult for us to meet together. But if you are struggling to make it to church frequently, remember everything that God has called us to.
Hebrews 4:9-11- “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience”
There is an invitation for this day. We don’t come to church to get our needs met, but to respond to God’s love and mercy. This is the God we worship.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.