Resting in Christ

Scripture: Matthew 11:28, Luke 14:1-6, John 5:9-16
Date: 05/07/2016 
Lesson: 6
'This week, as we continue our study of Matthew, we will look at a few of the Sabbath controversies and see in the life of Jesus a manifestation of what it means to keep the Sabbath."
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Good morning, friends. Welcome again to Sabbath school study hour. A very warm welcome to our extended Bible study class across the country and around the world - we're delighted that you're studying the Bible with us today. Also to the members here at Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church and those who are visiting, a very warm welcome to you as well. We've been studying through the book of Matthew as our study together.

Today we find ourselves on lesson #6 entitled resting in Christ. Now, for our friends who are joining us, if you don't have a copy of the lesson quarterly that we're studying together, you can get today's study by going to the Amazing Facts website - just and you can download lesson #6, resting in Christ. We have a free offer we'd like to let you know about, as well. It's called the rest of your life: everything you need to know about the Sabbath and all you'll need to do to receive this free offer is give us a call. The number is 866-788-3966 - that's 866-788-3966 - and you can ask for offer #813.

Again, it's a wonderful magazine called the rest of your life and we'll be happy to send that to anybody who calls and asks. Well, before we get to our study this morning, I'd like to invite our song leaders to come forward and they're going to be leading us in a song of praise before we get to our study of God's Word. Thank you, Pastor Ross. This morning we're going to be singing about Jesus, our priceless treasure - hymn #431 - we'll sing all three verses. Come, let us sing of homeland, down by the crystal sea; wonderful land where Jesus buildeth a mansion for me.

Over yonder, down by the crystal sea, over yonder, there's where I long to be, no more sorrow, toil, grief, nor care, in the homeland bright and fair, over, over there. Water of life there floweth, fruit in abundant store; citizens of that country hunger and thirst nevermore. Over yonder, down by the crystal sea, over yonder, there's where I long to be, no more sorrow, toil, grief, nor care, in the homeland bright and fair, over, over there. Come go with me to homeland, Jesus invites you there; help spread the invitation, tell it to men everywhere. Over yonder, down by the crystal sea, over yonder, there's where I long to be, no more sorrow, toil, grief, nor care, in the homeland bright and fair, over, over there.

I am so looking forward to that day when we will be in heaven with Jesus forever. And that is why we sing. At this time, Pastor Ross will come up and have our morning prayer. Amen. Well, before we get started with our study today, let's just bow our heads and have a word of prayer.

Dear Father in Heaven, once again, we are grateful for the opportunity to gather together and open up the Bible and study this very important part of Scripture talking about Jesus and his teachings. So Lord, we ask that once again you be with us. Guide our hearts and minds for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross and I want to thank our musicians and our singers.

Morning everyone. Morning. How are you? Fine. You look okay. (Laughter) I think that Pastor Ross mentioned that our lesson today is on resting in Christ.

This is an ideal time to tell you again about the offer. We have a free offer for those that call in. It's called the rest of your life. It is a new sharing magazine by Amazing Facts that goes through the Sabbath subject from bow to stern. It really is a - in a very beautiful way - it's kind of a premium gift.

But if you call the number on the screen there - it's -788-3966 - we'll send you one of these. I want you to look it over, study it, and then share it with somebody and we'll get the message out. It goes along with the lesson today that is talking about resting in Christ and dealing, in particular, with some of the miracles that Jesus did related to the Sabbath day and some of those Sabbath disputes that you find throughout the new testament. And we have a memory verse. The memory verse is from Matthew chapter 11, verse 28 and here it's from the niv.

Are you ready? Matthew 11:28, "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Now, I'm always a little conflicted when we memorize verses in various translations because then when you say it together as a congregation, everyone's reading from their various translations and it sounds a little bit like babel. Because we all know it as 'come unto me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.' But it is - heavy laden means burden, so that really is accurate. And what we're doing today is our mission, it's going to be from Matthew 11:20 through Matthew 12:14 and so that's, sort of, our assignment. You'll see that we'll be reading through some of these things today. And so, why don't you turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter and we're going to start reading with verse 20 and there's a lot of lessons here that are available.

And it says he began to rebuke the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. Now someone, in a moment, is going to read Luke 11:32 - okay, you'll have that emma? So Jesus is rebuking these cities where he had done so many of his mighty works. And it says in verse 21, "woe to you, chorazin! Woe to you, bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in tyre and sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." Now does the old testament have prophecies that talk about the destruction of tyre and sidon? They do. You can read about that in Ezekiel. Tyre is - was the capital of the phoenicians and who went up and spent some time working with the city of tyre? You know when Elijah was hiding out with that widow - I know that doesn't sound right, but you know what I'm talking about? When they were hunting for his life and he lived in the widow's home upstairs - she lived up in the north.

And Jesus, the only time that Jesus went on a missionary trip, he went up to the region of tyre and he preached there. And remember, this woman said, 'oh, my daughter is possessed by a devil, please come and heal her.' And he said, 'I'm sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. You're not an Israelite, you're a sidonian or a phoenician.' And she said, 'oh, but even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the children's plates.' And so it's interesting that both Elijah and Jesus went to the same region and, in both cases, they did a miracle for a woman that was up there. But, later, judgment came to tyre and it was foretold. It's one of the great prophecies that tyre - big city - almost impenetrable fortress - that it would be destroyed and scraped level with the ground.

And this is what alexander the great did. The capital of the city was sort of on an island off of the coast and alexander destroyed the city that was on the mainland, pushing all the rubble off into the sea to build a causeway so his soldiers could attack the island and conquer it. They did that combined with ships and they destroyed it. It was judged because of their sins. You've probably read in the Bible where it talks about the King of tyre.

And you can read in Ezekiel 28, it's really a prophecy about the devil, but it says, 'thus says the Lord, to the King of tyre.' It talks about his pride - and so they were judged. And Jesus said, 'if the miracles that had been done in bethsaida and capernaum had been done in tyre, it would still have existed - they would have repented like the city of nineveh repented. And so he's saying, 'you've had tremendous opportunity.' - "They would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." Which is what happens in Jonah 3, verse 6. "But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for tyre and sidon in the day of judgment than for you." Why would it be more tolerable? Because to whom much is given, much is required and the sidonians and the people of tyre, they didn't have the opportunities that the people had there around Galilee, to hear the preaching of Jesus. And he goes on and says, "and you, capernaum," - where did Peter live? Peter lived in capernaum, right there on the sea of Galilee - "and you, capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to hades;" - king James says, 'hell'.

Now, why did he say that? 'You're exalted to heaven' - was capernaum in the mountains - a high city? No, it's down by the sea. Why did it say "capernaum, who are exalted to heaven"? Why do you think he says that? A couple of reasons. One is, they were very prosperous in the time of Christ. And the other reason is they had - they're exalted because they had been honored by heaven to have The Son of God spend the major part of his ministry in Galilee and capernaum. 'To Galilee in the land of the gentiles who sat in darkness, a great light has come.

' And so Jesus, though born in Bethlehem, though reared in nazareth, they called capernaum his city. You remember we studied this a few weeks ago, because that's where the bulk of his ministry was. And so, they were exalted to heaven. They had this great opportunity, but most of them did not repent. And he said, 'you will be brought down to hades.

' Now, what does he mean by that? When you say 'hades' in the Bible - hades is - it's a Greek place of torment. It was the lower dark regions in Greek mythology. It's a word that is used when you translate from Hebrew - Jesus said it in Hebrew, but when you translate it into Greek they used the word 'hades' because it also meant the grave and it also meant a destruction. It meant darkness. It meant desolation.

And so, hades is often translated and people always think that it means the place of burning from Greek mythology. No, you've got to look at what the Hebrew was that they were translating into Greek. Does the Lord send entire cities to hades? You know, it's interesting, God saves individuals. We find cases of that in the Bible, right? One by one. God saves families and families can be judged.

We can think of families that were saved. Peter said to the Philippian jailer, 'repent and be baptized. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you'll be saved.' And later that day he and his household were saved. We can think of whole families that were lost. God saved some of lot's family out of sodom and the family of achan was stoned and burned.

We can think of where the Lord destroyed towns - individuals, families - a town is composed of many families. Are there cities that were saved? What happened to nineveh when they repented? Are there cities that were destroyed? So, in the judgment, does God judge cities? What about nations? Can God save a nation? Can he destroy a nation? And then, God saves worlds and he destroys worlds. And so, when the Lord says that this city is going to be judged more severely than that city, is it really cities that are judged? Does the Lord judge municipalities? Does the Lord judge political parties? I mean, how do you punish a political party? Isn't it really individuals that are in those cities and in those villages and towns and families? And so, he wasn't saying everybody in capernaum was going to be going down to hell, he was saying that the town of capernaum that had been so honored and so prosperous, was going to be desolate. And it was later desolated in war. And so he was foretelling a judgment that would come.

You "will be brought down to hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in sodom, it would have reMained until this day." Alright, go ahead, read for us Luke 11:32, please. "The men of nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here." So there again you've got an example where he's comparing nineveh that repented - a pagan city - at the preaching of Jonah, and here you've got Jesus who is - he's like Jonah in many ways. What are some of the ways Jesus and Jonah are similar? Jesus was not a wayward prophet that ran from the word of the Lord, but was Jesus asleep in a boat during a storm? Was Jonah asleep in a boat during a storm? The Bible says 'Jonah went to nineveh, an exceeding great city of three days' journey and he entered the city a day's journey' - that's three and a half days - 'and he preached in forty days it would be destroyed.' Jesus preached three and a half years to his own people and said, 'this generation will not pass away until there's not one stone left upon another in the temple. Forty years later it was destroyed. So that was the sign of Jonah.

Did they cast lots for Jonah? Did they cast lots for Jesus? Did they wake up Jonah and say, 'pray that we do not perish'? Did the disciples wake up Jesus and say, 'pray that we do not perish'? Did they sacrifice Jonah so that they could have peace and then the water was calm? Did Jesus speak and then the water was calm? There are some similarities there. But the whole city of nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and here a greater than Jonah - Jesus - was preaching to his own people and they would not repent. It's interesting how many times in the Bible that the pagans and the gentiles are commended by Jesus for their listening and their faith. But the church - you know, everything God says about Israel when he condemns them, it's really a lesson for us as a church - when we've got so much truth, are not responsive sometimes. You see what he's saying? Alright, moving right along.

And then you can see - he talks about - if you go to the next passage here - he talks about the relationship. So after he talks about the judgment, he said, 'if the mighty works were done in sodom that had been done in you, it would have reMained to this day.' Boy, what a condemnation. the Lord says to capernaum, 'if sodom and gomorrah had seen the miracles - if you can name the most wicked cities you can think of, biblically, what cities would you pick? Jesus said if sodom and gomorrah had heard and seen the miracles and heard the sermons that you have heard and seen, they would have repented. And so, because there wasn't a revival of repentance, generally speaking, in capernaum, from the preaching of Jesus, he said, 'there's a great judgment.' Now, after he makes that statement, you go to verse 25 in Matthew 11 it says, "at that time Jesus answered and said," - he pauses this scathing judgment and he says, - "'I thank you, father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.'" Who were the wise and prudent? They had believers, they had jews, they had people who had been in the faith for years, they had synagogues in capernaum, and the ones who ended up believing were the gentiles and the fishermen and the babes - the ones who didn't claim to have that great knowledge. And so Christ was here saying, now, not everybody in capernaum is going to be destroyed.

There are people who have had child-like faith that are going to believe. And so he makes sure and inserts that - "even so, father," - verse 26 of Matthew 11 - "for so it seemed good in your sight. All things have been delivered to me by my father, and no one knows The Son except The Father. Nor does anyone know The Father except The Son, and the one to whom The Son wills to reveal him." So then he puts an appeal in there. He said, 'do you want to be one of those who is ready in that judgment? The Father has sent me his son to reveal God to you.

' So he - he's even making an appeal. And then, finally, he closes off that appeal with the great appeal of the Bible. You know, you get two principal statements in Matthew. The whole Gospel is summed up in these two principal statements. One is called 'the great invitation' - and that's what we're about to read - Matthew chapter 11:28, and if you want to remember the other one, it's Matthew 28, verses 18 and 19.

So you've got Matthew 11:28 and Matthew 28, verses 18 and 19, and there you have 'the great commission. In the great invitation he's saying, 'come to me.' This is the vertical relationship - love for God - two great commandments - love the Lord - great invitation - come to me - the great commission - go for me. One is love for God. The other one is love for your fellow man. They're both in Matthew.

And so, here we're about to read the great invitation. "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden," - who would that be? That'd be everybody - just the burdens of life. You know, I remember when I was young and I had to do homework and I remember thinking what a burden my life was when I had to remember all those words for the spelling test. And, to me, it seemed so hard. And it's still hard.

I am so thankful for spell check because it raises my perceived iq when I communicate so much more. Of course, you've got to be very careful though because I depend now on this talking/typing software because I still type with two fingers. I can type but it's really embarrassing. And so I sometimes talk and it types. You've got to be very careful.

You read those things over before you click 'send'. And even on my phone I'll text somebody a message and I'll click the little microphone - I'll talk my text and then click 'send' and I look later at what I sent and, oh, it just sounded really garbled. It'll say some really funny things. I know whenever I use the word 'prophetic' it translates prosthetic. It just can't get prophetic.

There's not a lot of people using that software that are saying prophetic and so it messes that up. Anyway, how did I get on that? Oh, it was such a burden when I was doing spelling tests. And then you get into high school and think, 'now life is really a burden. The tests are getting harder.' I just talked to my son in college. He said, 'I wish I was a kid again back in school.

' Because now he's doing college-level work and he said, 'boy, I thought I wanted to grow up - that life would be easier.' - He said, 'college is really hard.' I said, 'put on your seat belt, it gets worse as you're an adult.' Our burdens seem to increase as time goes by, you know? And then you get married and you think, 'oh man, life can be tough. I've got to support a wife.' And then you have kids. Then you have grand kids. Well that's good, yeah. And then, yeah, after you kick all the kids out the grand kids aren't so bad.

That's right. When they become self-funding that's nice. But there are burdens in life. You have health problems when you get older. And you, you know, you just say, 'oh, yeah, I would like peace and rest.

' And Jesus says, 'come unto me' or 'seek me' and I will give you that rest. "Take my yoke upon you" - now, you notice he doesn't say there are no burdens in life? Because the very context of how he's saying you get the rest is in the context of a burden. You yoke animals who are plowing and the Lord has a harvest for us to work in. So he's not saying there's nothing to do. There are burdens in life.

He says, "my burden is light." It is so much easier when you have joy doing work. I always like to point back to that story in the Bible when the two disciples on the road to emmaus in the Gospel of Luke chapter 24. Their hearts were broken and they were going downhill. It was a sunny day but they were going downhill sad because they thought Jesus was dead. After they found out Jesus was alive - they walked seven miles downhill - after they found out Jesus was alive and the sun had gone down, he appeared to them at the dinner there - they now went uphill seven miles in the dark - going uphill - much harder in the dark going uphill - but they were so happy.

They're still working. It's even harder work, but they're happy. They were joyful. It made it easy because they knew Jesus was alive. And that's really the two roads in life.

You've got one road, you don't know the Lord, you're going downhill, you're sad, you're heading to emmaus - that means hot water - just heading to hot water from the city of God. The other one you're going to the city of God but you're happy because Jesus is alive and with you. And, so when we know Christ, our burden is light - if you know that Jesus is with you, amen? "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me," - do you notice it's a learning process? - 'For I am gentle. I am meek and lowly.' - You don't have to be striving to be the best - "I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

" We talked about this a few weeks ago when we did a message. Is it easier to be saved or lost? The way of the wicked is hard but the Bible says Jesus says, 'my burden is easy - my yoke is easy. My burden is light.' Now, I want you to notice something here: when you look in the book of Joshua 14:15 it says that when they fought with the Lord, they conquered their enemies and the land had rest from war. Joshua 21:44 - it says, 'and the Lord was with them and he gave them rest.' You look in Judges 3 when they repented, it tells us 'and the land had rest forty years.' Look in Judges chapter , verse 30, "and the land had rest for eighty years." Judges 5:31 - at one time they cast off the moabites. The other time they cast off - they turned to the Lord.

They sought the Lord. They cast off the midianites, in the book of Judges, "so the land had rest for forty years." It's interesting, have you ever noticed, going through the book of Judges, that whenever a judge came in and turned the people back to the Lord after being oppressed by their enemies, they had rest in derivatives of 20, 40, 80. Is that just a coincidence? Usually that represented a generation - forty years - and so it's often 40 or 80 - two generations they had rest. David reigned forty years. Saul reigned forty years.

Solomon reigned forty years. Moses spent forty years in Egypt, forty years in the wilderness, forty years bringing people from Egypt through the wilderness. There's all these interesting generations you find in the Bible. But notice, it says the land had rest, the land had rest, the land had rest, the land had rest. Now I want to read you - what was Jesus quoting, possibly, when he said the great invitation? I think Jesus was alluding to a reference of Scripture - you may want to look this up - 2 Chronicles - you know, there are some great passages in 2 Chronicles.

You've got that one that says, 'if my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray' - great promises. 2 Chronicles 14 and look at verse 4, "he commanded judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. He removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of judah, and the Kingdom was quiet under him. And he built fortified cities in judah, for the land had rest;" - what did the land have? Rest. Why'd they have rest? Seek the God of their fathers.

Alright? The land had rest. Keep reading. "He had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest. Therefore he said to judah, 'let us build these cities and make walls around them, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have sought the Lord...we have sought him, and he has given us rest on every side.' So they built and prospered." They're working but they're resting. Why are they resting? Because they sought the Lord.

What does Jesus say? 'Come unto me.' 'You will search for me and you will find me when you search for me with all your heart.' You want rest? Seek the Lord. Amen. While he may be found. Call upon him while he is near. When they sought the Lord, God delivered them from their enemies.

Who's our enemy? Satan. The devil. You've got the temptations that make us restless. And then they had that rest. They built and they prospered and so - and this was often the case under good Kings like asa and jehoshophat and josiah - when they sought the Lord they had rest from their enemies.

Now I don't want to take this first day too far, but the other ones'll go quicker. So turn with me to Hebrews 4, talking about - whole lesson is about rest - turn to Hebrews chapter 4. If you don't understand this principle, you're not going to understand Hebrews 4. Hebrews 4 is talking about the ultimate rest and that's the key of our lesson. If you go to verse 3 - Hebrews , verse 3 - "for we who have believed do enter that rest, as he has said: 'so I swore in my wrath, 'they shall not enter my rest,''" now what Paul is doing - Paul wrote Hebrews - what he's doing here - he's quoting from a psalm of David in psalm 95.

And it said, 'I've sworn to them they will not enter my rest.' The people of God did not enter the real rest because of unbelief. Whenever they stop believing the Lord and seeking the Lord, they lost their peace and their rest. Although the works were finished from the foundation of the world, for he had spoken in a certain place of the seventh day - 'and God rested on the seventh day from his works' - from all his works. And again, in this place, 'they shall not enter my rest.' Again, he's referring to psalm 95:11 - 'since therefore it remains that some must enter it and those to whom it was first preached' - the people of Israel did not enter because of disobedience and unbelief. Again, he designates a certain day, saying in David - he says 'in David' - he means in the Psalms - he speaks - this is the book of Hebrews and so Paul is writing like 'you're good jews and you know the Bible.

' He's assuming you know the Psalms. He's assuming you know Genesis. He's not quoting all these verbatim because he's teaching a point about rest. In David he says, 'today, after such a long time, it has been said, 'today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.' - That's the same psalm - psalm 95:11 - and 7 and 8 - 'for if Joshua had given them rest' - now, didn't we just read that as they followed Joshua through the promised land and they defeated the enemies, that the land had rest. Paul is saying that's not the ultimate rest because the children of Israel later were told, 'they will not enter my rest because of unbelief.

' King David - who lives first, Joshua or David? Joshua. He's saying, 'if Joshua had given them the rest that they were talking about, then why does king David say they're not going to enter because of unbelief? David is prophesying that God's people would never enter the ultimate rest because of unbelief if they did not accept the Messiah, the second Joshua, whose name was Jesus. You get what he's saying? And then the key to the whole thing is Hebrews 4:11, "let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience." What is that rest that we are to labor to enter? Doesn't it sound strange to you to labor to enter rest? We do it every week. Don't you work during the week and maybe even a little extra work on Friday so that you don't have to work on Sabbath? How much bread do they normally gather five days a week? Enough for that day. How much bread did they gather on the sixth day? They had to labor harder so they wouldn't have to gather on the seventh day.

So does it make sense you might labor harder to rest more? So what is the labor that Paul is talking about that we might enter the rest? 'Seek the Lord while he may be found; call after him while he is near.' It's talking about what it says - they sought the Lord like - 2 Chronicles - because they sought the Lord he gave them rest. Seeking the Lord requires some effort. You can seek the Lord in prayer. You can seek the Lord in study. You can seek the Lord through witness, but we need to search for him with all our heart - and that's when you finally find the rest.

It's worth finding. And I - how many of you find sometimes it's a little stressful just before the sun goes down? As you're rip-snorting around trying to get everything together, you - you pick up the pace a little bit? Am I the only one? But then finally you set it all aside, you turn on the music - Sabbath music - you have prayer and you go, (breathes deeply). Was it worth it? You ever go on a vacation? You have to, you know, rush to the airport, and you've got to do all this packing and scheduling and checking in - and finally you get out there on the beach and you sit back in the lounge chair and you watch the waves roll in and you go, 'ah, had to work to enter that rest.' So what is the rest that we work to enter? It's not just a literal Sabbath day. The Sabbath is an actual sign of that. It's the daily rest in Christ.

Do you only want to come to Jesus and have rest one day a week, or do you want to have rest seven days a week? He says, 'hook up to me. You'll be laboring and you'll find rest.' He's talking about rest in labor. So it's not talking about keeping the Sabbath, it's talking about a rest that goes 24/7/365. Isn't that the kind of rest you want? Rest for your soul. Okay, I wore that out pretty well.

Now we're talking about unrest over a rest day. We're going back now to Matthew, except we're going to chapter . And it says, "at that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the heads of grain and to eat. And when the pharisees saw it, they said to him, 'look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!'" Was it their field or someone else's field? So the pharisees are upset because they're stealing.

Is that why they're upset? Alright, someone, in a moment is going to read Exodus 34, verse . You'll have that? Okay. Let me share what the law of Moses said. I'll read Deuteronomy 23:25, "when you come into your neighbor's standing grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not use a sickle on your neighbor's standing grain." First thing, they were not supposed to transverse a field. Fields often were surrounded by roads.

And so, as they walked by the field - I remember one time I was hitchhiking. I was very hungry and I was walking by a field of corn. Have you ever eaten raw corn out of the - it's not bad. You won't die. You're all so used to eating it cooked - let me just tell you, you won't die.

It's pretty good. It sometimes tastes a little starchy and you've got to watch for worms. It depends on if it's corn they're growing for cows or for human consumption - you don't know sometimes until you bite into it. But it's okay, you know, biblically that's legal. But you don't go walking off through a person's field with a bucket.

If you walk by your neighbor's apple tree - we've got a neighbor, he's a member of our church, actually, and he's got a fig tree and a pomelo tree that hangs over our fence. Now, I don't mind because my trees hang over his fence too. Mine don't produce any fruit though, they're just pine needles, sorry. But we know them well and they have no problem with my reaching up to the branches that are hanging over the fence - and I glean. Nothing wrong with that.

So that's not why the pharisees were upset. Why were they upset? Read for us Exodus 34:21. "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest." So a farmer - there's some things a farmer can do on the Sabbath day. Is it okay for a farmer to milk his goats and cows if they need milking? Yes. It's actually cruel if you don't because it makes them very uncomfortable and you've got to milk them at regular times seven days a week.

But were they to harvest their fields? Some things had to be done. Even if there had been rain and now it was the perfect day for harvesting, but it's the Sabbath, you don't harvest. Even if bad weather was coming, if you didn't get stuff out of the field in time, you might - your crop might be damaged - God said, 'even if you risk losing your crop, you do not harvest' - because that involves serious work - 'you do not harvest on the Sabbath.' So what the disciples were doing when they walked through the field on the Sabbath is, obviously, they were harvesting. And so it really made the scribes and the pharisees upset and they said, 'they're doing that which is not lawful. They are harvesting.

' Now, is that what the law was saying? If you pick an apple - if you're walking by - down the road - on your way to church and you haven't had any breakfast Sabbath morning and there's an apple tree and it's got this limb with a red delicious hanging down over the road and you reach up and take it and that's your breakfast on the way to church, are you harvesting apples? Wouldn't you have to kind of pick it up off the counter and eat it too? Isn't that legalism? That's what they were doing. And, you know, what they do - we don't see this in this culture because we don't grow grain, but back then they'd have the standing wheat or the rye, depending on what kind of grain it was, and they would pluck the heads - they usually let them dry a little bit - they'd rub them in their hands - that would separate the chaff - they'd blow - they might go like this a couple times and blow it. It's basically, it's kind of - they call that threshing - so they get rid of all the chaff and they'd pop the kernels in their mouths. They were so hungry they were just eating raw wheat. It won't hurt you, it's good.

It's seeds. And they said, 'you're harvesting and you're threshing and that's a sin. You're breaking the Sabbath.' That's legalism, and Jesus was telling them that. And then he uses some illustrations to prove that. Well, let me give you one more verse first.

Leviticus 19:9 and 10 - I told you about this but I didn't give you the verse. "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest." - That means you don't go over it a second time. They call that the gleanings. If something's ripened late you just leave it - "and you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God." Other places it says, 'for the stranger and the poor.' So it was permissible for the strangers and the poor to be able to eat these things even on the Sabbath day, if it was their meal and they're eating it right out of the field. They're not doing like Ruth did, where she's going and gathering it and getting shocks.

They were just eating it. There was nothing wrong with that. But they had become so legalistic that, in the time of Christ, they had measured off how far they thought you could walk on the Sabbath day - it was about 4,000 - 4,000 feet, yeah - Sabbath day's journey. And they said you cannot carry a handkerchief in your pocket because it was a burden. They never knew, you know, where to draw the line, so they said, 'don't carry anything or it's a burden.

' Well, what if you've got hayfever and you need a handkerchief? They said, 'well, sew it to your clothes and then it becomes part of your clothing and you can blow your nose in it then.' I mean, they just had all these laws that were man-made laws and so, Jesus, in all of the disputes - don't forget what I'm going to say: you're going to see that Christ had as many disputes on the subject of the Sabbath with the religious leaders, as any other doctrine, but never was it a dispute regarding whether or not you should keep the Sabbath, it was always a dispute regarding how to keep the Sabbath. And so, some people say, 'well, because there were these disputes that were legalism, we shouldn't keep the Sabbath at all.' No, he was just talking about their legalism. They also had legalism about honor your father and mother. It doesn't mean we can break that commandment. And so, we're to just, basically, you know, use practical sense in these things.

Look in the rest of this chapter. Go to - I'm in chapter 12 - and he then, after the pharisees say, 'look, they're doing that which is not lawful - verse 3 of chapter 12 - "but he said to them, 'have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?'" Now, do you know the story that Christ was talking about here? It's when - in the days of David - let me read it to you. Go to 1 Samuel chapter 21, verse 4. And someone, in a moment, is going to read Mark 2, verse 27. Juan, you'll have that? I think you read 28 too - in a moment.

Samuel 21:4, "and the priest answered David and said, 'there is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread,'" - I'd better give you the background to the story. David has found out Saul is trying to kill him. He hoped it was going to go well but he got word from jonathan - dad - jonathan, the prince said, 'my father has a price on your head. You better get out and get out fast.' And Saul even sent someone to David's house to kill him in his bed, but he had gone out the window and put a statue in his bed. Don't ask me what David had a statue in his house for.

And they'd covered it with a blanket to look like it was him in the bed. And Michael, his wife, tried to lie for him to save him. So he's running for his life and, in running, he goes by where the ark is protected under a tent - the old tabernacle is there - and he says to the priest, 'I'm on a mission' - David kind of lies - he says, 'I'm on an urgent mission of the king.' Now David is always thinking that king, you know? He said, 'I'm on a mission of the King' - the King of heaven - 'urgent mission. Do you have any food?' David had some of his soldiers with him that later grew into the mighty men. He said, 'the only thing we have here is the day-old holy bread and you're not supposed to eat that because you're not a priest.

' And he said, 'but if you - if, you know, if you're holy - if you guys have been behaving yourselves, then we'll let you eat it.' And David said, 'truly' - "then David answered the priest, and said to him, 'truly, women have been kept from us about three days.'" You know, when there was a special Sabbath and God spoke to the people, it said that they had to wash their clothes and stay away from their wives. And that was something that they did during a time of fasting. Paul talks about that in 1 Corinthians 7 too. And David says, 'no, we've been on a mission of the King for three days now.' And he said, 'okay, the bread is holy, even though it was consecrated in the vessel this day.' "So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread" - so this is the day-old showbread. It was already - they put the new bread in its place when it was taken away.

Technically, they were not supposed to eat that, just The Sons of aaron were supposed to eat it. But Jesus is saying to the scribes and pharisees, 'if it's an emergency.' You know, if a kid was in a church and you see him climbing on a cross - a wooden cross - with Jesus on the cross, you'd say, that's very disrespectful, don't do that.' But if that cross was floating in the ocean and the child was drowning, would you say, 'you can't hang on to the only thing floating' - which was a wooden piece of cross? It's - you're just being practical. And so that's what Jesus - David and his men were hungry. There was nothing to eat. He's on an urgent mission.

They said, 'okay, it's an emergency.' Do you know the religious leaders did allow healing on the Sabbath, but it needed to be an emergency and that takes us off into our next one we'll get to in a moment. Go ahead, read for us, Mark chapter 2, verses 27 and 28. "And he said to them, 'the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.' Therefore, The Son of man is also Lord of the Sabbath." Now, when he tells this story - when you read this experience in Matthew, it doesn't include that verse. At the end of the experience in Mark it says, 'the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.' I'm glad that verse is in here because some people think the Sabbath was made for jews. Have you heard that before? The Sabbath was a covenant just for jews? Here, Jesus said that it was made for man.

That word there, I believe, in the Greek is 'anthropos' and it means 'mankind'. It's a very strong argument that the Sabbath was made for everybody. But at the same time - and the Sabbath was made after man, you see, and it was made to be a blessing to man. Man was not created to suddenly serve the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made to serve man. And Jesus, in Matthew, he says it, 'have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath day the priests in the temple' - now I'm in Matthew - back in Matthew :5 - "or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?" What does Jesus mean that the priests profaned the Sabbath? What do you think he means by that? They work.

Now, normally, if a man was building a fire on the Sabbath day - they weren't supposed to do that. You could have a fire - many people misunderstand that. I've heard - I remember reading a book by jimmy swaggart years ago, when he was saying how impossible it is to keep the Sabbath, and he made it sound like God had a bad idea. He said, 'whenever you drive to church - you're not supposed to kindle a fire on the Sabbath and every time that your sparkplugs fire in your car, you are kindling a fire. It's impossible to keep the Sabbath.

' You know, God didn't tell them they couldn't have a fire. He didn't tell them they had to sit and shiver all through the Sabbath, he told them, 'don't kindle a fire.' How do we start fires today? Turn a switch - you've got an automatic thing that goes, 'click, click, click' until the gas stove lights. Or you light a match - how did they kindle a fire in Bible times? It's like, you know, you're rubbing sticks together. I mean, it was pretty labor intensive to kindle a fire and they were out gathering the wood. He said, 'don't gather wood.

' A man was stoned for doing that. If they had wood gathered and a fire going, they could put wood on the fire. They could keep a fire going on the Sabbath. There was nothing that said they had to be cold. They just weren't to kindle it.

That's the act of starting a fire. Do you see the difference? So, with that in mind, did the priests have to keep the fire going in the sanctuary on the Sabbath? That fire was never to go out. They were putting wood on the fire. Were there sacrifices on the Sabbath? They had special sacrifices just for the Sabbath. That means that you've got to - sacrifice the lamb, drain the blood, sprinkle the blood, skin the lamb, burn the lamb, haul the water to the laver for the washing - and in passover, you know how busy those priests were on the Sabbath during the passover in the sanctuary? That's why Jesus said they're profaning it.

What he meant is they're working, but they are blameless. How much blame did they have? None. Zero. Why? Because they're doing something that was involved in an act of worship. And, you know, we've really studied this out here at our church because, on the Sabbath day - well, many churches, you know, when you have a fellowship dinner, there's a certain amount of work.

We do as much as possible before. Matter of fact, at our church, we just heat things up. We don't actually even have a lot of cooking going on. Sometimes chairs need to be moved by deacons because one function is done and another function is beginning and you're going from the dinner into the afternoon study or whatever it is and there's practical things - you do as much as you can ahead of time, but there are things that need to be done and there's a great section on this in the book Desire of Ages where she says, 'that which is done on the Sabbath day to make possible worship for others is holy.' And so, what she's talking about - it's in the chapter where Jesus defends the disciples who are rubbing the grain in their hands. And so, pastors sometimes are busy on the Sabbath.

And I've been on the Sabbath day in some countries where we baptized hundreds of people and my back began to hurt. I was heavy laden but it was a blessing. I mean, isn't it okay to do that on the Sabbath day? And so there's practical things that need to be done and it's part of the worship experience. And Jesus said use common sense, okay? Anyway, alright, what am I forgetting here? Alright, healing on the Sabbath. Wow, I'm running out of time.

Matthew 12:9, "now when he had departed from there, he went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked him, saying, 'is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?'" - And they wanted to accuse him. "Then he said to them, 'what man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it?'" - He makes it really hard for them to answer. He said he didn't have a lot of sheep - he's got one sheep.

I mean, if he had a lot of sheep he might say, 'I'll come back for that one after sundown.' But it's his only sheep. "And if it falls into a pit...will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep?" Are there variations of value in God's kingdom? Are people more valuable than sheep - question? What does humanism teach today? There's almost no difference between a whale and a human, that people will hug a tree and die to save the trees and they think, 'well, we've all evolved from mother nature and we're all - there's nothing more, you know, the porpoises and the mosquitos, if you're a dedicated buddhist it's all life is life and - the Bible teaches a very different world view. There are variations of value in life. Humans are the crowning act of creation. We are worth more than sheep.

If I'm driving down the road, heaven forbid I hit a deer. It happened once, I felt terrible. A little deer scampered out into the road - it was in a city, too, of all things - and it died. I felt terrible. I felt worse than if I had hit a squirrel.

I came on an accident one time when somebody wrecked their car because they were avoiding a squirrel in a road. And I thought, 'run over that squirrel! It's just a cute rat is all it is.' (Laughter) don't wreck your car for a squirrel. But I'd feel worse if I ran over a squirrel than when a mosquito splats on my windshield. They're all dying, but isn't a squirrel worth more than a mosquito? Are you with me? There are variations. Matter of fact, if I hit a mosquito, I don't care about that.

I care about my windshield. You know, there's - there's variations of value and Jesus is saying, 'look, you care about your sheep on the Sabbath, of how much more value is it to heal a person? And he talked - he had that woman who was bent over for 18 years and he raised her up. It's interesting, in the book of Mark, when this story happens, you read in Mark chapter 3 - same story, where he had the man with the withered hand - he heals him in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He tells him, 'step forward' - he does it in front of everybody and he says he looks around and he's angry with them by the hardness of their hearts. He waited for someone to say, 'of course this man is worth more than a sheep.

' Nobody said anything because they were afraid of the priests. They were afraid to just say what was common sense - and Mark adds that point. In capernaum - in Mark - same experience - he does this and then he heals a demoniac on the Sabbath day. Comes home from church on the Sabbath day in capernaum, he raises up Peter's mother who is sick, on the Sabbath day, and it says she got up and she served them. So is there service on the Sabbath? She got up and, I guess, helped feed them their Sabbath meal.

But you'll notice, if you read Mark 1:21-34, it's all happening on the Sabbath day. And so - and that one, actually, was Mark 1:29. You want to read that for us really quick? "Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and andrew with James and John. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever and they told him about her at once. So he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up and immediately the fever left her and she served them.

" What does a woman represent in biblical analogies? Not every time, but many times? I think that there's a lesson in here that he healed her that she might serve him. Why does God save us? Why did he deliver Israel? He told pharaoh 'that they may serve me.' And it's interesting that God saves us - and even on the Sabbath day - that we might serve him. On the Sabbath day she got up and ministered to them then. Well, there are many healings in the Bible. Jesus never said there was anything wrong with healing on the Sabbath.

I know one friend that had a terrible toothache on Sabbath and he was a Sabbath keeper. And he called the dentist who was a Sabbath keeper. And the dentist said, 'I'll meet you right now.' Any of you ever had a terrible toothache? It's just throbbing pain. And the dentist said, 'look, you shouldn't suffer like that. No problem.

I'll come - I'll meet you at the office. Get over there right now.' And the dentist, he was late going to his Sabbath school - met this person at the office. He says, 'I'll do something for you now. I can't do the whole procedure you need until my staff is here, but this'll take away the pain.' Took care of him. Took away the pain.

Made an appointment for Monday. And they felt much better. Isn't that what Jesus would do? Yeah, just being practical. Anyway, I hope we learned something today. I want to remind you that we do have this really neat study magazine - sharing magazine - on the Sabbath truth.

It's called the rest of your life - sort of a play on words. We'll send you a free copy - 866-788-3966 - call the number on your screen and ask for offer #813 when you call. That helps them when they answer the phone. Read it and share it with a friend. God bless you, friends.

Thank you. And we'll study His Word together again next week. Friends, one of the amazing things that you'll often in the south pacific islands, like here on fiji, is the vai vai plant. Now, in north America, if you want to build a fence you've got to get fence posts and then you put the wooden fence posts in the ground and then after a few years they're going to rot and break off, unless they're specially treated. But here, they've got these trees - the vai vai tree - they can cut them right out of the woods, they'll take a stick, they stick it in the ground, and because they have so much rain and precipitation, it begins to sprout and turns into a living fence post.

It makes up its mind that it's going to flourish wherever you stick it, which is a good lesson for you and me. So you might wonder sometimes if you've got a purpose in life. You might feel like you're growing sort of sporadically in every direction, and then along comes this person who cuts you down and carries you off, he sticks you in the ground but you look back and say, 'there was a plan. There was a purpose.' God knows how to teach us how to prosper where he plants us. You might wonder why the Lord has put you where he has in life, but you can put down roots and you can grow and you can serve a great purpose for God.

You know, it's like God says in Jeremiah chapter 29, 'I know the plans that I've got for you to give you a future.' God has a purpose for your life, friends, and he can help you to prosper and grow wherever you're planted. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed.


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