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The Gift of the Fourth Commandment

May 1, 2016 Preacher: Series: How We Are Designed to Live: The Work - Sabbath Balance

Scripture: Exodus 20:8–11, Exodus 31:12–18, Deuteronomy 5:12–15

Key Truth: The Sabbath serves to regularly remind us that we are image bearers in a covenant relationship with God who have been set apart through redemption as His chosen people.




Q: How does our culture view ceasing, resting, and taking time to appreciate our work?

“By referring to the Sabbath as ‘the market day for the soul’, the Puritans remind us that God gave us this day above all other days to conduct spiritual commerce. The purpose of the Fourth Commandment is to free us from our daily business so that we may do business with Him on ‘the market day of the soul’.”

Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., The Lord’s Day


The Sabbath as a Reminder of Our Image Bearing:

Exodus 20:8-11

“…the Creator prescribes his pattern of working and resting for us because we are made in his image and this is our proper functioning procedure. It is ours because it was his. Our calling is to live out his pattern, to make his example the way we order our lives, to reflect what we are- beings created in the image of God.”

J.A. Motyer, The Message of Exodus

Q: Have you experienced the blessing of the work-Sabbath balance as an image bearer?



The Sabbath as a Covenant Sign to Be Kept Forever:

Exodus 31:12-18

“…(the Sabbath command) called God’s people to march to the beat of a different drum, as a mark of submission to their covenant overlord. It was a sign of their liberation from bondage (for slaves are not in control of their schedule) but also a sign of their distinctiveness from other nations who had not been similarly redeemed. To profane the Sabbath was thus to abandon an essential element of their distinctiveness as the people of the Lord and to attempt, in effect, to “become like the nations around us.” It is to refuse to follow the example that God himself set in Genesis 2:1-4”

Iain M. Duguid, Commenting on Exodus 31:16-17 in Ezekiel: The NIV Application Commentary

Q: Who do you look most like based on how you order and spend your days? Who or what is your lord based on how you order and spend your days?



The Sabbath as Redemptive Command:

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

“God portrays the Sabbath day as a reenactment of emancipation from slavery. It reminds us how he delivered his people from a condition in which they were not human beings, but simply units of capacity in Pharaoh’s brick production system. Anyone who cannot obey God’s command to observe the Sabbath is a slave, even a self-imposed one.”

Timothy Keller with Katherine Leary Alsdorf, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work

Q: How does the Sabbath help to deliver and restore you for God’s glory?


These 3 texts teach us that the Sabbath:

- reminds us that we are image bearers for the glory of our Creator God

- is a sign of our covenant relationship with God and set apartness as His chosen people

- commands us to live in freedom in the redemption accomplished by God alone

“(The 4th Commandment) provides us with three themes to remember on the day of rest, all of which indicate our dependence on God. We are creatures of our Creator God, and therefore dependent on him for our life. We are participators in that tradition which goes back in history to the Exodus, when God revealed to his people his activity in human history by liberating his chosen people. We are reborn through our identification with the risen Christ, who may work in us a new creation, recalling the first creation (Exod. 20:11) and the creation of the people of Israel (Deut. 5:15).”

Peter C. Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy

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