July 4, 2021

Live by the Spirit: The Fourth Commandment

Scripture Reading: Genesis 2:1-3
Teaching Lesson: Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 103

In the Fourth Commandment God says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” After this God give us the reason for this commandment saying, “For in six  the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” To live within the rhythms of God’s grace as established in a seven-day week, is to flourish and find delight in this world that has become the Kingdom of God. In our reading from Genesis 2:1-3, we hear God’s Profession of Faith in the world and in us who bear his image. It’s all good. God
establishes the Sabbath as a fitting conclusion to the Creation account that began in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The opening words of our text say, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.” If we hear this account
of the Creation as a theological text (as it is) we learn the When, the Who, and the How of our origins:
1) When was the world made? The world was made in the beginning
2) Who made the world? God is the Creator
3) How did God make the world? God created the world by his powerful Word.

Questions:
Who is making Profession of Faith at Living Hope Church today?
What’s the first thing God create on Day 1? What’s the last thing he creates on Day 6?
What is not mentioned on Day 7 that was there on all the other days?
How is the creation of the world and all of us a “Gospel Word”?

All of this is gospel because God did not need us. However, out of sheer, undeserved grace, we believe God made the universe. In our understanding of our origins this means we learn the world is not an accident and neither are any of us. You matter to God. Your life in this world matters to the Creator of the universe. We have all been created in the image of God in order to represent the Creator on earth. In so far as we live our lives according to the God’s wisdom and
within the structures he has embedded into the Creation, we live for the glory of God. To that end we could say we were “made for Sabbath”. This means we were made and have been placed in this world to create “shalom”. That is, we are meant to be the ones who speak peace, hope, and reconciliation into a hurting world. “Sabbath” is a vision for life that desires to enter into God’s wholeness and peace. You will not understand your place in this world if you do not know the God who made you and this world. You will not have a proper view of the Kingdom of God unless you understand this Kingdom has been the goal of everything since the very beginning.

Questions:
What does the Heidelberg Catechism say about going to church?
What does the Heidelberg Catechism say we should “rest” from every day?

When God “rested” on the seventh day he didn’t “power down” and do nothing! In Genesis 2:1-3 “Rest” means God took “delight” in the Creation he had made. God rests because there is a satisfying, finished quality in his Creation. Sabbath is a “deep sense of divine satisfaction”. Genesis 2:1-3 is God’s Profession of Faith in the world and in us who bear his image. It’s all good. The gift of “rest” and “delight” is now given to us. More than that, when God delights in his Creation it says in Genesis 2:3, “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Questions:
In what way are we “blessed” and “made holy”? (See Ephesians 1:3-6)
How can we contribute to bring God’s “Shalom” to this world?

Conclusion:
Genesis 2:1-3 is God’s Profession of Faith in the world and in us who bear his image. It’s all good. From the beginning God has had a purpose for you in this world. In Jesus Christ you have been blessed and made holy by grace alone through faith alone. Sabbath reminds us of this gospel. Enter God’s delight and live your life for him. This is our profession of faith which is rooted in God’s love for us that was given before the creation of the world. Amen.