Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Aug 16, 2015 Sermon

“God’s Top Ten”
Exodus 20:1 – 17
Ted Jansen  August 16, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        What is one thing you remember about last week as we started the series on the Ten Commandments?  That there are 4 commandments about our relationship with God and 6 about our relationship with others.  That God communicated his Character in Exodus 20 before he communicated the commandments.  That we need to look and see what we put first in our lives.  Let’s take a look at the 3rd and 4th commandments today.  
 
2.)        Does it ever bother you when you hear people swearing?  Do you cringe when the Lord’s name is used in a way that is not uplifting?  How do we respond in a culture that does not care about the choice of words?  The third commandment tells us, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.”  (Exodus 20:7)
            The words we choose to use say something about the condition of our hearts.  It seems as if we have a loss of respect for God by the way we use God’s name.  When I hear someone say, “O my God” I think, “Oh my gosh,” was what you meant to say. 
The name for God in Hebrew is Yahweh and the Jewish people held this commandment in such a high regard that they chose to not use the name, “Yahweh,” for God in fear that they might misuse the name of the Lord.  Sometimes they would use the term “the Name” instead of the term in Hebrew, Yahweh.
It would be like saying that I want to talk to “your name” about something instead of using the words “John Smith.”  It seems awkward and impersonal but that is the way some responded to this command.    
Do people even stop and think about how they use the name of God in their conversation?  When we misuse we are devaluing the name of God.  We treat the name of God with respect and appreciation.      
 
3.)        How did you begin this day?  Did you begin this day thinking of all the things that you need to get done?   Things at work, things at home, errands to run, an appointment that you have to keep.  As you began this day were you tempted to miss worship so that you can get a start on your list?  Is worship something that you go to so you can check it off your list and then get on to the next thing?
            Or did you begin by thinking that the most important part of your day is the privilege to worship God with other disciples?  After worship you don’t have anything you have “to do.”  You were thinking about relaxing at home, writing some notes to some friends, taking a walk or a bike ride, getting some ice cream, and maybe even taking a nap.  You designed a slower restful, relaxed pace for Sunday.  How you view and live out your Sundays in light of the fourth commandment from Exodus 20.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”  What did that commandment mean to the people of Israel?  What does that commandment mean for our lives?  I want to give you a historical perspective and then a spiritual perspective on the Sabbath.
 
4.)        In Genesis 1, we read that God created the world in six days.  On the seventh day God rested from creating and blessed the day and made it holy. (Genesis 2:2,3). 
When the people of Israel had been set free from the Egyptians they needed food while in the wilderness.  God provided manna and told them that they could collect what they needed each day.  If they collected too much the extra would rot and smell.  So, they knew they should not collect more than they needed. 
On the sixth day they were to collect double the food for their needs because no manna would be provided on the seventh day.  This double portion, collected on the sixth day, did not smell or rot, unlike the other days because it was to be used for the Sabbath day.  When they went looking for manna on the seventh day they did not find any.   (Exodus 16:11 - 30)  God wanted them to rest on the Sabbath, it was a holy day.  The people had to prepare on the 6th day to be able to rest on the 7th day.      
            These daily and weekly moments that the Hebrews witnessed reminded them that God was present.  Sabbath keeping was to remind people of God’s presence and God’s plan for their lives.  Remembering God and resting was how to make the Sabbath Holy.
The original Sabbath was from Friday night until Saturday night.  In traditional Jewish homes there is a meal with prayers to begin Sabbath and a meal to end Sabbath with.  It is a time to remember God.    
 
5.)        Why do we have a different “Sabbath” day than years ago?  How can we keep the Sabbath?  I share these thoughts on those questions.   
God came into the world as a man; Jesus Christ, was crucified, buried, and on the third day rose from the dead.  We believe is alive today and that third day was Sunday.    
Jesus’ life was a demonstration of God’s redemptive love.  The early Christians gathered on Sunday, the first day of the week, the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, to remember the truth that Jesus is alive and God loves us.  Those early disciples of Jesus Christ, most of whom were Jewish, would observe both the Jewish Sabbath and the Sunday celebrations of Christ’s Resurrection. 
Various Jewish rabbi’s redefined what the Sabbath meant for the Jews and this was needed especially after the temple was destroyed in 70AD.  Constantine, a Christian Roman Emperor, in 321 AD made it official by law and decree in the Roman world.  Sunday would be the Sabbath day.  We have made Sunday a holy day since that time in history.  Sunday, as a holy day, has been losing its significance in our culture for years.  Sunday, is not necessarily a day when we don’t work and allow ourselves to rest.      
            I invite us to grasp the principle of the Sabbath in reminding us of God’s presence.  I want to suggest three W’s that symbolize ways we fail in our Sabbath keeping and three P’s that symbolize the ways we fulfill the Sabbath keeping.        
 
6.)        Work, Walmart, Worry
a.)        Work.  The Sabbath principle that we seek to model is that God for six days created the world and then rested on the seventh.  God chose to work six days instead of spread work over seven days. Why do we try to do what God chose not to?  We are to stop doing housework, office work, vocational work, etc.  We have to prepare and work for six days and then not “do” anything so we can rest and consider God’s presence in our lives and world.    
You might ask me how I live out the Sabbath?  This day is not a restful day for me, but generally the hardest day of the week.  How do I rest, and take time for Sabbath?  I seek to apply the Sabbath principle on other days. 
The Sabbath principle reminds us that God has given each of us the ability to work with our hands, hearts, minds, etc. and when we rest from that work we have the time to thank God for what we have been given.  When we let work go we take the emphasis off of ourselves and back on to God.  If you can do it on another day, do it.    
We fail at Sabbath keeping when we work seven days a week. 
b.)        Walmart.  I use this term because it begins with W and symbolizes all the stores that are open and available on Sunday.  We can shop for our needs on six out of the seven days, can’t we?    If you say “no” to shopping on Sunday think about what you could say “yes” to.  The Israelites were told not to gather food on the Sabbath, it would not be available.  God would provide their needs on six days.  We fail to keep the Sabbath when we shop seven days a week.  
c.)        Worry.  I read a quote that said, “Worry, in its extreme form, is atheism.”  When you worry you believe that God does not exist in your world and you have to be “concerned” with everything.  Things that worry you need to be avoided.  Do your finances concern you?  Are you worried about your health?  Does worry make you write lists for the coming week?  What area of life do you remove God from as you worry?
We fail to keep the Sabbath when we focus on things that give us worry.  We need to take care of things in our lives on six days but we need to let concerns go on the Sabbath and not worry.     
 
7.)        Pray, Pause, Play
a.)        Pray.  We worship every week to be reminded that God is alive.  We need to hear singing and we need to sing.  We need to hear prayers and we need to pray.  We need to read the scripture and hear it being read.  We need to see other believers and others need to see us.  We need to be reminded that the Lord loves us and we need to remind others of the Lord’s love.  We worship and have our living relationship with God Almighty renewed when we pray on the Sabbath.  Prayer makes the Sabbath holy.  
b.)        Pause.  We need to put our lives on pause.  We pause to look around, to look at God’s creation, to look at other people, to enjoy the presence of God. 
How can you best pause your life?  A pause is not a moment of silence in a worship service but it is larger moments of time in the week, or on a Sunday. 
Elijah was trying to listen to God and in the midst of the fire, the earthquake and the roaring wind he could not hear the voice of God. Elijah had to get still and there came “a gentle whisper.”   (1 Kings 19:12) The gentle whisper was the voice of God.  Pausing allows us to hear the gentle whisper of God.  That is one way we keep the Sabbath. 
c.)        Play.  Each of us needs a sense of playfulness in our lives.  Playfulness comes when we allow God’s grace, love, forgiveness, joy, peace, and wonder fill our hearts.  Play can look like a dance, it can look like a laugh, it can look like a smile, it can look like a hug, it can look like a skip, it can look like a life set free. 
            There was a TV program on PBS called “Hoop Dreams.”   It was about the stories of two young guys on basketball teams hoping to make the NBA.  One guy said that he lost his playfulness for the game.  The pressure became greater than his enjoyment of playing the game.  Guess what happened?  His game suffered.  He lost the joy.   
                We need play in our lives as we keep the Sabbath. 
 
8.)        I want to offer you 3 minutes of “Sabbath time.” I want each of us to listen to a short guided prayer time, then be quiet for 1 minute, then I want us to smile, laugh, nod our head, shake your hands, move in a fun way.