The RESToration of Life

The RESToration of Life

Date: 03/24/2016 
What are the health benefits of keeping Sabbath?
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Good evening, friends, and welcome again to this very special prophecy series called "The Last Day of Prophecy." This is a seven-part series, and we've been working our way through the series, dealing with some very important Bible truths. I'd like to welcome those here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thank you again for coming out and joining us this evening. And also our friends who are watching around the country and across the world, thank you for being a part of this extended Bible study. I'd like to greet some of those who are watching as far away as China, and Africa, and all over the place. I know these folks in Australia that's participating, New Zealand. We're delighted that you're part of this series. For more information about the study resources, take a look at our website. It's called lastdayofprophecy.com. You can download the sermon outlines. Also, you can upload a photo of your group where you're gathering together, and we'll try and share some of those pictures as we go through the series.

Now, we have a theme song that we have been singing through this program. I hope you're learning it by now, a song that, well, it's got a catchy tune. You'll be singing it all day long, but it's the words that really carry a message. And that's the message that we really want to leave with you, Jesus will come on time. I'd like to invite Charles to come join me here. And friends, let's stand as we sing this beautiful song, "Jesus Will Come on Time."

Okay, you brought your voices, and our own evangelist wrote these words to the song, even Doug Batchelor. Now, you ready to sing? Let's see what you got.

♪ ♪ Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, He will come on time

♪ ♪ And doubters may mock and scoffers mock

♪ ♪ Babbling without rhyme or reason

♪ ♪ His promises are true, He will remember you

♪ ♪ The clock of prophecy will chime

♪ ♪ Up Jacob's ladder we will climb

♪ ♪ In brilliant glory so sublime, our God will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, Jesus will come on time

That's very nice, now.

♪ Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, He will come on time

♪ ♪ He's never wrong, it won't be long

♪ ♪ 'Til we ascend in joy and glory

♪ ♪ Be sober, watch, and pray

♪ ♪ He may be on His way

♪ ♪ 'Cause the clock of prophecy will chime

♪ ♪ Up Jacob's ladder we will climb

♪ ♪ In brilliant glory so sublime, our God will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, Jesus will come on time

You're all going nice and warmed up now. Let's go through it again, see? Sing.

♪ ♪ Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, He will come on time

♪ ♪ Doubters may talk and scoffers mock

♪ ♪ Babbling without rhyme or reason

♪ ♪ His promises are true, He will remember you

♪ ♪ The clock of prophecy will chime

♪ ♪ Up Jacob's ladder we will climb

♪ ♪ In brilliant glory so sublime, our God will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ And Jesus will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, He will come on time

♪ ♪ And He's never wrong, it won't be long

♪ ♪ 'Til we ascend in joy and glory

♪ ♪ Be sober, watch, and pray

Why?

♪ ♪ He may be on His way

♪ ♪ Now, the clock of prophecy will chime

♪ ♪ Up Jacob's ladder we will climb

♪ ♪ In brilliant glory so sublime, our God will come on time

♪ ♪ Yes, Jesus will come on time

What did you say?

♪ ♪Jesus will come on time

Do you mean it?

♪ ♪ Jesus will come on time

Please remain standing.

Amen, thank you, thank you. Our opening prayer this evening is going to be brought to us by Pastor Ryan Ashlock.

Let's pray. Our Father in heaven, mighty God, Lord, You are so good. We thank You for Your mercy to us. We thank You for Jesus, our Savior. We thank You for the Bible and the truths that You have revealed to us. We've been learning some wonderful things here each night. And once again, we are grateful to be here. We ask a blessing upon Pastor Doug as he preaches. And be with each person here and in all of the locations around the world that are joining us, that we would be attentive listeners, that we would understand the truth that You have for us. And may You receive all the honor and glory, in Jesus' name, amen.

Amen, thank you so much, Pastor Ryan. Please be seated, friends. I'd like to invite Pastor Doug to come join me here on stage. And we'd like in a special way to just greet our friends who are joining us all over the world, participating in this series. You know, Pastor Doug, we got an email from somebody who's watching. I guess there's more, but we have one person in particular watching in China participating in the program.

Just today got an email from someone, they said, "We," and we can't tell you what their name is because of some of the issues there.

It's not Mr. We, is it?

It's Mr. Who. I can't tell you the name. And they said, "Watching in China. Signal's coming through very clear from North Carolina." So, that's always exciting.

Okay, we do have some pictures of folks that have sent in their little pictures of groups. We have some meeting, looks like Kernersville, North Carolina. That's a good size group.

Amen. And then another one in Shelbyville, Indiana. We actually had several that came in, and we just didn't give our truck enough time to put these programs into the presentation, but we know there are groups all over the country.

That's right, we've got groups, they send in pictures from just a living room, and they have it packed with people. And they're participating, some are in churches, some are in halls and auditoriums. So, friends, keep sending in those pictures, and we'll try to get a few more of them up tomorrow evening.

Amen. Thank you so much, Pastor Ross. Well, we're so glad to see each of you here this evening. And we've just been having such a blessed time here in North Carolina. And looking forward to the next few days together. We have some very important subjects. Tomorrow, we're going to be talking about history's holy hoax. And you won't want to miss that. Going to be talking about Satan's mark and God's seal Sabbath morning. And then a war over worship on Saturday evening. And we'd invite you who are watching at home, and others, we know entire churches are going to be coming together. And we look forward to seeing you.

Tonight's presentation is actually a new one for me to be doing in this way. And it's called "The Restoration of Life," "The Restoration of Life." Now, we've been learning a lot about the Sabbath truth, and how this very prominent subject through Scripture has been neglected by much of Christianity. I know a pastor friend, he said, "Brother Doug, you're making a big deal about the Sabbath day." And he said, "You worship God on the Sabbath day," he said, "but I worship God every day." I said, "Well, no, I worship God every day also. "It's not just about worship. He said you're supposed to rest." I said, "If you rest every day, you're not holy, you're lazy." And so, it's a different thing we're talking about here. Yes, we believe we should worship God every day, amen?

So, what does it mean to keep the Sabbath holy? You know, some of you know the incredible story of missionary Christian Olympic athlete Eric Liddell. And they made a movie about a big event in his life. He was a dedicated Christian, but he was also a very fast runner. And he was chosen by his native country to run in the Olympics in Paris in 1924. He was supposed to run the 100-meter event. But then, after he got there and the training began, he realized that there was going to be some final time trials that would be conducted on Sunday. He said, "Well, I can't participate." They said, "Well, why not?" He said, "That's the Sabbath." And they said, "Well, this is just once, and it's the Olympics." He said, "I'm sorry, it's God, and I can't do it." And it sent their country and their team into great consternation and overdrive to persuade him just this one time to violate his convictions, and to run on what he understood to be the Sabbath, Sunday. He said, "I can't do it." He said, "What profit is it if I gain the whole world and I lose my soul?" He said, "It's a commandment of God. Not even once, I won't do it."

And they even got church leaders to go to him and say, "Oh, God will understand." He said, "Well, that's what you say, "but the Bible says it's a holy day, and I'm not going to compromise." What if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had said, "We're just going to bow down once for political peace"? What if Daniel said, "I'm just going to shut my windows now. "I'm not going to pray with my windows open and create a spectacle"? God's looking for people in the last days that will not compromise their faith. Well, that Sunday, he went to church while they were doing the time trials. And someone got an idea, they said, "Well, Eric, we hate to waste your talent. Maybe you can run the 400-meter event." Said, "Well, I'm not a distance runner. It's a sprint, it's the 100-meter." And they said, "We have an opening, "and none of the trials and the race are not on Sunday. Will you try it?" Said, "Well, perhaps God's opening a door." He didn't do very well in the trials, in the time trials.

But when the day of the actual race came, and he said, "This is all in God's hands," they fired the gun, and he took off and he ran, and it said it looked like he was possessed by the Holy Spirit. He went flying around the track, and he ran with this very unique style with his head back. And it's like he wasn't even looking at the track. And he finished several lengths ahead of everybody else, and he broke the world record. Someone later showed him that quote, "They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. "They will mount up with wings like eagles. "They'll run and they'll not be weary. And they'll walk and they'll not faint." About 20 years later, he was serving as a missionary in Japan when World War II broke out. And he died of typhoid in a prison of war camp. I expect to see him in the kingdom because he lived up to his convictions. And God needs more people today that will stand up for that commandment.

Now, while I would respectfully disagree with Eric about which day it is, the principle about keeping the Sabbath holy has been lost sight of. And it's just as important as those other commandments that say do not lie, do not commit adultery, do not steal. It must be important to God; he wrote it. So, what does it mean, and how do we keep the Sabbath holy? It's the restoration of life that we're talking about. Let's look at this study, friends, and I think you'll be pleased and learn a lot as we study together.

First question tonight, how has God asked us to honor the Sabbath day? Now, I know some of us have reviewed this verse, but we're going to go over it again here. It says in Exodus 20, this is in the Ten Commandments, verse 8 through 10, "Remember," for one thing remember. You don't start remembering on Friday afternoon. You start remembering all through the week. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. "Six days you should labor and do all of your work, "but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. "In it you shall do no work, "you, or your son, or your daughter, "or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your gates." And it says that's because in 6 days, God made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all that is in them.

So, why did God ask us-- and this is our next question. Why does God ask us to honor the Sabbath day? It's to be a blessing. It's a day he blessed. The Sabbath was made for man. Those blessings are to be for you. He wants you to be blessed. It's a blessed rest. We sure need it. It says, "Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and He hallowed it." When He hallowed it, that means He made it holy. And we'll talk more about that in a moment. But I want you to just understand it's for our good. Look at Deuteronomy 5:29. This is a verse you don't hear people repeat very often, but it's great. The Lord is speaking here, speaking to Moses. And he says, "Oh." You ever heard God say, "Oh"? "Oh, that there was such a heart in them that they would fear me and always keep all of My--" How many commandments? "All of My commandments always, that it might be well with them and their children forever!" God wants it to be well with us and our children. And so, it's meant to be a blessing. He wants it to be well with us, and He wants it to be well with us forever. That's called everlasting life.

So, what are some of the particular blessings and reasons that it's a good idea to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy? First of all, we need physical rest and refreshment. I think everybody knows the Sabbath command, but here's another one in Exodus 23. It says here, "Six days you shall work, do your work, "and on the seventh day you will rest, "that your ox and your donkey may rest, and that your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed." Now, that word isn't in Exodus chapter 20 or in Genesis chapter 2, but it's the idea of it's a time of refreshing. You probably heard the expression before, "If you keep the bow strung all the time, it loses its power." And you know, I read some facts about sleep. Do you know 17 hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.05%? It's estimated that fatigue is involved in one out of six fatal road accidents. It's almost--alcohol is the number-one killer on the road. One of the others right near it is fatigue. People are tired, and they're working hard. I think my dear wife got pulled over once for erratic driving, and she said, "I was just tired." She had to work on persuading the policeman. She was coming from wine country. They thought she had stopped at a tasting booth, but I can promise you she doesn't drink. But--and policeman was worried. He said, "Well, if you're tired, pull over and get some rest." Because they know that it can be just as dangerous.

Just a little amazing fact. You know what the record is for the longest a person has stayed awake without sleep? Eighteen days, twenty-one hours, forty minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinate-- they drank a lot of coffee, and they did give them breaks every now and then for the bathroom. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech, and memory and concentration lapse. Well, what do you think? I mean, 18 days. But some people are experiencing those effects in a smaller degree every week because they're never resting.

You know, I understand years ago, the military was trying to find out what would be the best system for soldiers to work on. Because when you're in the military, they just say go, go, go, you know? You want to--they want to extract the maximum amount of productivity from the soldiers. And they tried to put them on a 10-day week. And they all just began to unravel. And then they thought, "Well, maybe if we have 2 half-days every 5 days." And that didn't work. And after a number of tests with different groups that they chose, they said, "You know, it seems like the body has a rhythm," like you got the circadian rhythm, but it's a weekly rhythm every 7 days. They say every 7 months, all the cells in your body are renewed. That's interesting. So, God maybe knew what He was doing in saying the seventh day is the Sabbath. So, one reason is so you can have refreshment. Another reason is spiritual regeneration.

Now, this next verse we're going to read a couple times tonight because I'm going to draw different things out of it. So, there's a spiritual refreshment that happens. Isaiah 58, verse 13 and 14, "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath--" When you turn away your foot, that means when you trample something. It's a sign of disrespect. "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, "from doing your pleasure on My holy day, "and call the Sabbath a delight, "the holy day of the Lord honorable, "and you'll honor Him, "not doing your own ways or finding your own pleasure, or speaking your own words," here's what happens. "Then you will delight yourself in the Lord." God wants you to have that delight. "And I'll cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth." There is actually a spiritual refreshment.

You know, God promises, He says, "I bless the day." He didn't bless it because He was exhausted from creation, because God never slumbers or sleeps. He blessed it for us, amen? So, there's a spiritual renewal that happens, something you can't explain. And in our family, when the Sabbath approaches and we pray together, we say, "Lord, help us to receive the blessing that you promised in this day." How do you get any biblical blessing? By faith, you point to His Word, and you claim it, and it becomes real. There are people all around the world every Sabbath that miss a blessing, why? They don't know it's there, and they just pass it up. God wants you to claim it.

See, obedience is an expression of our love for God. It's about a relationship. Now, this would be-- maybe I should have put this at the beginning because the whole purpose behind the Sabbath is a love relationship. See, God made man on the sixth day, and He made woman on the sixth day, and everything was created. You know, first He made the environment, and then He made the creatures. And then He made a day for relationships. And God would come, and walk and talk in the Garden. The Lord planted the garden with Adam and Eve, and it was the greatest rejoicing for Him. And this love relationship between the creation and the Creator was to be nourished, and between family. So, the Sabbath is a time where we're supposed to come together and worship. It's love relationships horizontally, it's our love relationship vertically that is refreshed and restored. And so, that's a principle that we'll explain. Jesus said, "If you love me," do what? "Keep My commandments." The reason to do it is because you love God. A few more verses on that. 1 John 2, verse 4 and 5, "He who says, 'I know Him,' "and does not keep His commandments, "is a liar, and the truth is not in him. "And the truth is not in him. "But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him."

And again, you can see where it-- oh, this is our next question rather. Did God intend for only Jews to observe the Sabbath? Well, how many of you are related to Adam and Eve? Not only that, all of us are related to Noah too, if you want to get down to it. The Bible says the Sabbath was made for man, Mark chapter 2, verse 27. It doesn't say the Sabbath was made for Jews. It means made for humanity is the word there in Greek. It's talking about everybody. And so, it's something God made after the 6 days of creation for the human race. And there you have it in Genesis chapter 2, right at the beginning of the Bible, "Thus the heavens and the earth, "and all the host of them, were finished. "And on the seventh day God ended His work "which He had done, and the Lord blessed the seventh day. "He rested on the seventh day "from all His work which He had done. He blessed the seventh day and He sanctified it." He made it holy. And what God did in creating that day, in sanctifying that day, He does in us in recreating us and sanctifying us.

God can make things holy, can't He? Can He make us holy? He can because in it, He rested from his work, which God created and made. God didn't rest because He was tired. He rested as an example for humanity. Why was Jesus baptized? Because He needed His sin washed away, or as an example for you and me? An example. And this is also why God rested. Because we were made in His image as an example for us. And the Bible says, one more verse that shows this is not just for Jews, it says, "And from one Sabbath to another," shall how many? "'All flesh come and worship before me,' says the Lord." It's a time when not just Jews--I've heard a lot, "Oh, that was the Sabbath of the Jews, and then we have the Sabbath of the Gentiles." You don't find that teaching anywhere in the Bible that it's just for one people. Why would Jews need to rest differently than everybody else? Or why would it be that they need the Sabbath rest, and no one else does? That wouldn't make any sense.

You know, in a document from early Christian antiquity, it says, "The ancient Christians were very careful "in the observation of Saturday, "or what we call the seventh day of the week. "It is plain in all the Oriental churches, "and the greatest part of the world, "observed the Sabbath as a festival. "Athanasius likewise tells us "that they held religious assemblies on the Sabbath, "not because they were infected with Judaism, "but to worship Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, Epiphanius says at the same time." This is written in the book "Antiquity of the Christian Church," and it goes way back to the time of the early church fathers. So, the idea that the early Christians were not keeping the Sabbath, that's not supported historically. They all kept the same day.

So, what does it mean to keep something holy? Remember the Sabbath day to do what? Keep it holy. You know, not everything is holy. And we call this, what's it say? What does that mean, holy? Holy means to honor and to dedicate to righteous use, to keep something sacred and deserving of reverence, not to profane it. It means it's set aside. When Karen and I took vows, they call that holy--? It is, it's holy matrimony. I just--well, no, I just remember hearing a kid say he called it holy monotony. I guess he didn't know what matrimony was. Honest, that wasn't in my notes, it just came to me. It's called--why is it called holy? Because while before you're married, you might have other boyfriends and girlfriends, but when you get married, there is a special setting aside. It's for a special relationship. And there's something special about the Sabbath. It's set aside as holy. It means to honor and to dedicate. 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 15 and 16, here he says, "But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all of your conduct." That would be partly remembering that which is holy. "In all of your conduct, because it's written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.'" And he's quoting there from the book of Leviticus. God is holy. He made us in His image. All have sinned. He wants--the whole purpose of the plan of salvation is to restore us to that holiness.

And again, now this is-- you know, if you forget everything in the message, this is important. God is calling us to holiness. People think the supreme purpose of life is our happiness. Actually, the purpose of our life is holiness. In holiness, you find happiness. In surrendering to God's will and living as you are His property is where you're going to find the greatest fulfillment. Hebrews 12:14, "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness," notice this, "without which no one will see the Lord." Do you want to see the Lord? Who is going to see the Lord? Without holiness. Jesus said, "Blessed are the," what? The pure in heart, they will see God. And so, is this an important subject? And so, when God says your holy people, I've got a holy day, and we say, "Ah," if you're serious about being holy, then you shouldn't kick aside something God tells us to remember, amen? And again, another verse, 2 Timothy 1:8 and 9. "By the power of God, He has saved us and called us to a holy life."

Jesus doesn't save us in our sin, He saves us from our sin. Now, we come to Him with our sin, but then He washes us and He teaches us a new way of living. It's called sanctification. Now, this is one that some people are interested to know. I meet people all the time. I have a lot of friends that go to church Sunday every week. And they've seen my TV broadcasts. And they come to me, and they say, "Brother Doug." It's almost like they're afraid their friends are going to find out. "I want you to know I agree with you on the Sabbath. "I keep the Sabbath at home. "So, I go to church on Sunday "because that's where my family is, and that's where I grew up. But I know you're right, and I keep the Sabbath at home." I say, "Well, that's wonderful. I'm glad you're persuaded," but I'm thinking to myself part of Sabbath keeping is convening. Look at what it says here. Is it necessary to go to church on the Sabbath? And I use the word "church." They didn't use that word in the Old Testament. But you can read here in Leviticus 23:3, it says, "Six days work shall be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation."

Now, what's a convocation? Yes, in the Hebrew, it means the same thing as the translation. It means an assembly, a coming together. You ever gone to a convention? That's a convocation. That means people convene. They come together. I actually heard a pastor point one time to a verse where it said, "Let everyone abide in his tent on the Sabbath." It says you're supposed to stay at home in your tent. I said, "That's not what it's talking about. Moses said that because someone was going out gathering wood on the Sabbath to build a fire." He said, "Do not go out of the camp looking for firewood." That's all he was talking about. It's called a holy convocation. Let me give you a few more verses. How about Jesus for an example? "Then they went to Capernaum, "and immediately on the Sabbath day He entered the synagogue and He taught." As His custom was, the Bible says, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and He stood up to read the Scriptures.

I'm going to give you that verse again in a moment. They gathered together. Here's one I just found this year. I've read this for years and it never occurred to me. Some of you know the story where there was this godly Shunammite woman. Doesn't tell us her name, calls her the Shunammite woman. She was a friend of Elisha the prophet. And Elisha blessed her. She was barren. She had a miracle baby boy. But her boy was out in the field one day, and he had sun stroke or something, but he died. Husband didn't know, and she said to her husband, "I'm going to go see Elisha." And the husband didn't know why. She was going to ask Elisha to do a miracle for her son. And he said, "Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon or the Sabbath." Now, what's implied in that verse? He wouldn't have been surprised if she went to hear Elisha preach on the Sabbath, but why are you going to him today? It's not the Sabbath. So, they used to come together on the Sabbath and read the Word, and study the Scriptures.

And that brings us to our next thought. What are some good things to do on the Sabbath day? Now, if people say, "Pastor Doug, "it says don't do any work. What am I supposed to do, just sit on my hands all day long?" And people struggle. The Sabbath is meant to be a blessing. And Jesus said it's for doing good. What are some good things? Well, first of all, worship God. You worship God every day, but especially on the Sabbath. Some of you remember when it says in Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 6 and 7, after Deuteronomy 5, He gives the Ten Commandments again. You know that. Moses then says in Deuteronomy 6, "And these words, that I command you this day, "shall be in your heart. "You shall teach them diligently to your children when you lay down and when you rise." It says, "You'll talk of them when you sit in your house, "when you walk by the way, when you lay down, and when you rise up." When you lie down is the evening. When you rise up is the morning.

In our family, all our kids now are gone off to college or grown up, but we always had morning and evening worship. If dad was out working, or if I was at a board meeting, mom would lead. In the morning, we have our own individual prayer time, but we have family prayer. We'd read a devotional or something, but especially Sabbath when the sun goes down, what a great time to pray, and sing together, and welcome the Sabbath. So, it's a good time for family worship. What else do you do? Read good books. Here's a Scripture, Luke 4:16. Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, and He stood up to read. And what do you think He was reading? Well, that day, He was reading Isaiah 61. It tells us what He was reading. He was reading the Bible. And so, that's a great time to get together and study the Word. And again, you can read where it says in Acts 13:27, "The prophets which are read every Sabbath." And so, reading the Word of God, reading good Christian material will inspire you.

You are the sum total today of what you have taken into your mind over the course of your life. If you want to be strong spiritually, you need to feed your soul. If - we are surrounded in a culture right now where we are constantly hearing about sin, and compromise, and wickedness. That is going to have an effect on you spiritually. You are what you eat, physically and spiritually. Man doesn't live by bread alone, but by what? Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. And if we are feeding more on the provender of the devil in the world with our culture, which is-- let's face it, friends, our culture is pretty corrupt today. If that's the food that we're taking in, it is going to affect us spiritually. In the computer world, they say garbage in, garbage out. And so, it depends on what you're programming. That's what you're going to get. We need to be feeding our minds with spiritual truths, and it has a transforming effect on our lives, amen? So read, read to your family and your kids.

Another good thing to do on the Sabbath is giving in a special way. And you can read there it says in 1 Chronicles 16:29, "Give to the Lord the glory due His name. "Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!" And so, if we come together to worship God in a special way, and hear the proclamation of the Word, and have a Bible study together, it's a good idea when you come before a king to bring a gift. And if there's a good time to bring offerings and tithes, the Sabbath would be that time. Now, some people say, "Well, but you know, we shouldn't be doing anything with money." And of course, Jesus, you can read where He blessed this woman who brought her meager offering to the temple that day. It's not how much you give. It's just you give your heart. He blessed her for 2 cents because it's what she had. So, we ought to come and honor him in that way.

Another wonderful thing to do on the Sabbath, rest. It's a day for some physical rest. Do you know that your body does not heal unless it's resting? Strength doesn't happen during activity, it happens during rest. When you exercise, you're actually wearing your muscles. When you stop and you rest, the muscles then grow. They're growing during the rest time. It's during the time of rest when your brain-- have you ever noticed you take a 15-minute nap, and your IQ goes up right after that? It's incredible. Thomas Edison, he thought sleep was a waste of time. He lived on 15-minute naps. He actually had this habit where, when he was working on an experiment, he would lay on a board just about that wide, very uncomfortable. That's only about, you know, 2 by 12, between 2 sawhorses, about 3 feet off the ground, and he held ball bearings in each hand. And underneath his hand, he had pie pans, metal pie pans. And he found that when he got tired enough to lose his grip on the ball bearings, they would fall and hit the pans, and he'd wake up. And he said somewhere between the time those ball bearings left his hands and they hit the pie pan, he got rested. Your brain is something like a computer. It does something when you fall asleep where it reboots, and things get clear. Now, of course, there's some of you, you say, "I take a short nap and I'm fuzzy the rest of the day." I'm not that way. If I take my nap, I'm a lot sharper. It makes a big difference. Even if you just lay down and close your eyes for a little while. He said, "Come aside," Jesus said this to the disciples. "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place," place in the wilderness, "and rest a while."

Notice it was nice to get out in nature on the Sabbath day. And again, Acts chapter 16, verse 13, "And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city," get out into the country, "to a riverside, where prayer was commonly made." Do you know what that tells us about the Sabbath? A time to go out in country and to pray. And it says, "We sat down and we spoke to the women who met there." Paul said, "We gave them a Bible study." One of them had the name Lydia. She was converted by that Bible study there by the river on the Sabbath day, and she became one of the leaders to a home troop-- a home church, rather, there in that town.

So, just as a quick summary, now I'm not covering everything here, what are some things you could do that are wonderful on the Sabbath that would be within the realm of holy? Well, you can listen to or play inspirational music, sing. Do you know God sings? Bible says in Zephaniah He will rejoice over you with singing. The reason you sing is because God sings, because we're made in His image. There's one of the Psalms, I think it's Psalm 92, it says, "A psalm for the Sabbath." That means singing is a good thing to do, right? Visit the sick, or the elderly, or prisoners. We have some friends, they have a prison ministry. The only day they can really get in is on Saturday, and they take some of their time and they go visit, and they give Bible studies.

Invite some visitor over to your home for a meal, get to know people. Share literature. You might go out in your neighborhood, and just knock on doors, and give them some books or some literature. Memorize Scripture. And you might play Scripture games with the kids because you fortify your mind with the truth of God's Word, it'll help you stand through the final conflict. Give a Bible study. Take a Bible study. Get out in nature. Take a nap. But you don't want to sleep the whole day away.

Now, there's two extremes when we talk about the Sabbath, and I always pray that God will help me to stay in the middle of the road. You know, the Bible talks about that boy that was brought to Jesus by his father, and the boy was demon possessed. And he said, "The devil is trying to destroy my son by throwing him in the fire and in the water," two opposites. The devil doesn't care if you fall off the left side of the road or the right side of the road. And when it comes to the Sabbath truth, you've got people who you would call legalistic. And they had them in Jesus' day. And then you have people that would maybe be on the other side, and I don't mean to point to this group, and call them liberals. And so, you get two extremes.

Some people just disregard, they profane the Sabbath. And others are so stringent that they make it a burden. And Jesus had to deal with this. Christ had a number of Sabbath conflicts that are written in the gospels, but you'll notice He never said they shouldn't keep it. He told them how to keep it. They had put a bunch of manmade rules on the Sabbath. For instance, the Bible talks about a Sabbath day's journey. How long can you hike before it turns from a pleasant walk into work? And so, the Pharisees went through all their calculations, and they came up with what they thought that distance would be. And they ended up--they got a ball of yarn and they said, "If you're going to go somewhere on Sabbath, you better measure it off first." And they'd unroll this kite string between houses and say, "Oh, you get to-- I'm only 10 feet away, "but it's beyond a Sabbath's journey, sorry, I can't make it," and they'd go back.

Or they said, "What becomes a burden?" You're not supposed to carry a burden. What's a burden? And so, they said, "Well, if you carry a handkerchief, "technically it's a burden. "But if you sew it to your collar "and you just blow your nose in it, then it's part of your clothes." It's just, you know, kind of fanatical lunacy, legalistic lunacy. And so, there's that side of it. But you know, if you don't have some guidelines, you end up falling on the other side of the road, where nothing matters anymore, and no one has any idea how to keep it holy. Because as soon as you talk about the particulars of how to keep a day holy, you'll be accused of legalism. And you can just count on that. So, there's two extremes.

I'll do my best to try and give you Scripture. Am I giving you Bible for these different principles, friends? What activities should be avoided on the Sabbath? Well, there's no particular order here, but I started with what you call unnecessary cooking. Now, this comes from when God would rain manna down from heaven for them. Six days a week, he gave them manna. He said, "If you try to keep the manna overnight every other day, it's going to breed worms and stink, except Friday," or the sixth day, "gather twice as much "because I'll work a miracle on your manna. "And it will be fresh Sabbath morning so you don't have to go out and gather it." And God said in Exodus 16:23, "This is what the Lord has said: "tomorrow is a solemn Sabbath rest. "Therefore, bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil," so that they wouldn't have to do it.

Now, what does that mean? Does God want us to eat just, you know, microwave food? No, just the idea of the Sabbath is to get everything done in advance so you can have quality time with God. Does that make sense? And so, any heavy cooking or baking, you can get that done. Praise God for time bake ovens. Karen will make something Friday afternoon, she'll stick it in the oven, she'll put it on time bake, and the oven stays in a dormant phase. And then it comes on sometime 9 o'clock or whatever the casserole might be, whatever the setting is. We get home, and it goes ding, and it's done. Or the smoke alarm is going off, but something's happening. She almost made the smoke alarm go off last night with popcorn in our room. So, but you understand the principle? That doesn't mean that you need to eat a soggy salad. There's some things that obviously are more practical, where you might want to, you know, put your salad dressing on and do things like that. But the idea, it's a principle. Once you know the principle, you'll know what to do. Get everything done that you can in advance so that you have as much relaxed, rested time.

You might think I'm a fanatic, but on Sabbath-- or on Friday, as I'm getting ready for the Sabbath, I look in the closet and say, "What am I going to wear tomorrow? Do I have a shirt? Are my shoes shined?" I shine my shoes, learned in military school. And so, I shine my shoes, I get them all ready. I say, "Okay, you know, got it." So, I don't have to--I'm not scrambling around before I go to church, saying, "Oh, what am I going to wear?" It just creates stress. You want to have peace in the home, amen? And so, you prepare.

And if you--if you're only going to see someone you love in a special way once a week, if you're going to have quality time with them once a week and you get this date, you would invest some time in planning so it's special. Try it sometime. If you're dating your girlfriend and, when you go out to dinner, you're taking--or your wife. Coming from the front gallery. And you're taking phone calls, and you're surfing the Internet, and you're doing all these things while you're out at a nice restaurant, how is that received? That doesn't go over very well. Talk to me, communicate with me, quality time. "Oh, but I got this work to do." You should have got it done first. It's all about love. Does that make sense? This is what the Lord's telling us.

What about shopping? Well, you can read in the Bible, Nehemiah 10:31, "If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grains "to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath." It's not a day for buying and selling. In our family, we get the groceries, I fill the cars with gas Thursday or Friday. We get it all out of the way. We don't go to stores. You know one reason? It says you're supposed to rest your manservant and your maidservant. I'm not going to hire other people to work for me in some-- now, someone's going to say, "Pastor Doug, do you use your phone on Sabbath?" Yeah. "Do you know there's people working in the phone company?" I said, "I can't control that." But I don't have to go to the gas station, I don't have to go to a restaurant and hire someone to cook my food for me. If I would remember the Sabbath and plan, I'll cook my own food so I'm not responsible. The hotel where I'm staying, I usually put out the "do not disturb" sign, let that maid take my day off for my room. And I usually got everything I need. And so, just let people rest. Plan ahead. No, you're not going to the mall, and you're looking at all those specials, and thinking about Jesus. Probably not. So, the idea is, you know, you're doing things that are not holy.

What about entertainment? People watching "American Idol" on Saturday. No, that doesn't-- just even "idol" and "Sabbath" don't go together, do they? Watching "The Bachelor." The only bachelor you should be watching is Pastor Batchelor on Sabbath, amen? Now, we have Christian television, and we praise the Lord 3ABN is working with us on this program. Twenty-four hours a day, they're broadcasting. So, if you've got Christian programming on, and that's like reading the Bible, it's spiritual information, that's a good thing. Your eyes need a Sabbath. And some--you know, even in Wall Street, they're talking about taking a technology Sabbath because they see that the people are getting burnt out being constantly accessible through their email and their laptops. And it's draining, and it's affecting families. "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, "from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and you call the Sabbath a delight," notice what he says, "the holy of the Lord honorable, and you'll honor Him."

Why are we doing it? Honoring God. "Not doing your own ways, or finding your own pleasure, or speaking your own words." I find, you know, I even try to control what I'm thinking about. And it's not always easy because, if you're a workaholic like me, you know, I walk around the house and I'm thinking, "Oh, I got to fix that. It's Sabbath. No, don't think about that now." And you'll see people will be in the church, you know, and they're saying, "Oh yeah, I got to put this new addition on my garage, and I got to fix--" They shouldn't be talking about that kind of stuff on Sabbath. Talk about spiritual things. It's almost like you wish the Sabbath was over so you could fix your garage. And so, the Lord says it's a day that's sacred.

And you know what? It's something you need to invest time in thinking about it, but I believe God is worth it. I think God is worth honoring that way. "Thus says the Lord, 'take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden,'" Jeremiah 17:21, "on the Sabbath day. "Nor bring it by the gates of Jerusalem. "Nor carry burdens out of your house on the Sabbath day, "or do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers." I don't even have time to read you all the Scriptures that talk about this. Six days you should work, but on the seventh, what about farming? You shall rest in plowing time and harvest.

But what about if you got to milk cows and goats? Well, of course you got to do that. Jesus said, you know, if you got an ox or donkey that falls in the ditch, you take care of them too. I heard a story about one man years ago that he had a banana plantation in Central America. He was a Sabbath keeper. And they have seasons when they bring all their bananas down to the dock, and they put them on what we call banana boats. They really are banana boats. Because they got to get-- bananas have a short lifespan, you know that. They got to get them directly to port. And it turns out that a storm was coming in, and all the ships were coming in Friday to get loaded. But in order for this man to do it-- they were coming in Saturday. He was going to have to work not only Friday, but on the Sabbath. And he said, "I can't do that." His neighbors said, "You're going to miss the season. Your crop is going to fail. You're going to go broke." Says, "God will understand you got to work." Said, "I can't do it. I'm not going to do it. "It's the Sabbath. God said no harvesting, no reaping."

And so, they all-- all his neighbors that were not Sabbath-keepers they harvested their bananas and they took them down to the dock, and all the ships left port trying to beat this storm. Well, after the storm came and went out, this other ship came limping in because its engine had died en route. And they said, "We're here to buy bananas." And all the other farmers said, "Well, we sold. There's no bananas left." He said, "I'll pay 20% more. Does anyone have any bananas left?" Didn't want to go back empty. So, this guy ended up getting doubly blessed by honoring-- God will bless you.

You may get tested. Some people say, "If I keep the Sabbath, I'll lose my job." Some people have lost their lives for keeping God's commandments. Is there any type of work permitted on the Sabbath? Yes, of course. Jesus answered, and He said to them, "My father has been working until now, and I have been working." God is constantly sustaining life on the Sabbath. He said, "What man is there among you "who has an ox or a sheep, "and if it should fall into the pit or the ditch on the Sabbath, will not lay ahold of it and lift it out?" You're driving back from the meetings tonight-- of course, this isn't the Sabbath. But if it was on the Sabbath, and you see a car broken down, they need a jump, and you can say, "I would jump your battery, but you know, it's the Sabbath, I can't." No, of course you--that's the ox in the ditch illustration. But if you've got an ox that keeps falling in the ditch every week, you got to get rid of that ox or fill the ditch. Some people have got the ox and the ditch excuse all the time. There's usually something wrong. "Of how much more value than is a man than a sheep? Therefore it's lawful to do good on the Sabbath day."

Now, I've just got a few minutes, but I can talk about something briefly. What about the Sabbath and marriage? I'm talking about marital intimacy. I'm telling you this, Pastor Ross and I do a live Bible radio program every Sunday. We get this question a lot, so I thought we'll just deal with it very simply. First of all, there is a time when you might want to fast from food, which it's good to eat. Is it okay to eat food on the Sabbath? Did God intend for you to enjoy food? Everything pleasant to the eyes was in the Garden. God made these things a pleasure. But you might fast physically from food, and there's a time to fast maybe from intimacy by agreement. When the Ten Commandments were given, Moses said in Exodus 19:14, "He went down from the mountain to the people "and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, 'Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives.'" Now, you understand what that means. Now, this was 3 days of fasting and preparation for God meeting with them. But that didn't mean that you can't have relationships on the Sabbath. For instance, you can read in 1 Corinthians 7, verse 5, "Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, "that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; "and then come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

What day of the week did God make Adam? What day of the week did he make Eve? After Adam, right? Do you know God made things in order of their complexity? It's true. And then what was the last thing that God says after he makes man and woman? He says, "Be fruitful and multiply." So, what day was their honeymoon? Can you imagine God saying, "Adam and Eve, it's the Sabbath. Now, don't touch each other." You know, the Bible says the marriage bed is undefiled. And so, this is the way I understand it. Now, if people feel differently, if a couple says, "We want to give ourselves to prayer and fasting," and they agree together, the Bible says that's fine too. But some people think because of our culture, or maybe the way they've been taught-- in the Jewish mind, intimacy within marriage was a blessing. There was nothing to--it was holy and it was honorable. Anyway, just wanted to mention that.

"Have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath," and this is the words of Jesus, "and are blameless?" That means there is good work that is done in a church. Are deacons sometimes busy on the Sabbath? They got to carry the offering, sometimes they count the offering and they store it, sometimes chairs are being moved. You do as much as you can in advance, but sometimes there's necessary things that the group may worship. The priests in the temple would keep the fire burning. There were sacrifices, and they keep the oil in the lamp, and they kept the lamp. There's things to do. And Jesus said they're holy even though they need to break the Sabbath technically. Jesus said if a boy on the eighth day, it lands on the Sabbath and he needs to be circumcised, he's circumcised. And you see, so the Lord was very practical about this.

Are there practical benefits to Sabbath keeping? Yes. Stress relief, we talked about that already. Here's a National Geographic study. Did you hear about this? The secrets of living longer, they had this blue zone study. In the end, the study reached a stunning conclusion. The average Seventh-day Adventist lived 4 to 10 years longer than the average Californian. That makes the Adventists one of the nation's most convincing cultures of longevity. And they say that's due to some lifestyle differences, including Sabbath keeping, that reduces their stress, which is one of the biggest killers. I think I shared with you earlier that the Golden Gate Bridge, my mother-in-law has got a cross-section of the cable. They wanted to get the strongest geometric formation for that cable. It's six cables that surround a central one, making seven. And if our days surround the Sabbath, it gives you a strength.

We're talking, friends, about a blessing to give you long life, a higher IQ, that you'll be blessed, that you'll feel better, better for your families. Stress is linked to six of the leading causes of death in the United States: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. So much is stress-related.

Does one commandment matter? I'm just going to have to rush through this. It does. You know, in Numbers chapter 15, it talks about a man that was gathering sticks on the Sabbath. And they brought him to Moses and said, "What do we do?" Moses said, "Take him out of the camp and stone him." Now, by the way, the same thing for adultery and some other offenses. So, it was important to God. I'm not recommending we do that today. We're in a theocracy, I'm just saying--or we're in a democracy. That was a theocracy.

So, you know, I'd like to just hasten to the end here real quick. I want to tell you a story about a friend. Some of you maybe have heard of Desmond Doss. Desmond Doss was the only conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was actually a friend of mine because he married a gal that attended a church where I pastored. He was ridiculed by his friends because he said he didn't want to carry a rifle, and he would not work on Sabbath unless it was an emergency. He was made a medic. They gave him such a hard time for years in the military.

But finally, during one of the fiercest battles of the war in Okinawa, 12,000 Americans died in that battle. Desmond Doss as a medic, he single-handedly brought 75 men down when they had been wounded up on this escarpment. He brought them down. And every time he went up, he was under a hail of bullets. Another time, he jumped on a hand grenade to save some buddies that were in a hole, and he lost several toes. He somehow survived the war. I understand Mel Gibson is making a movie about his life called "Hacksaw Ridge" that's coming out later this year.

But Desmond Doss was a real hero. But he would not work on the Sabbath unless it was an emergency, and God honored him. And everybody during the war, they thought that he was bulletproof because they all wanted to be with him, because he had been shot at so many times, and somehow he managed to survive. Because he had a daily relationship with the Lord, he read his Bible every day, and he loved the Lord, and the Lord blessed him.

And you know what, friends? He wants you to have that blessing. He wants you to have that experience. Now, some people say, "Well, Pastor Doug, "I'm not sure about the Sabbath "because my spirit is telling me that it's not important. My spirit is telling me it's another day." The Spirit of God is never going to tell you something different than the Word of God. And you might question what spirit is talking to you. The Word of God and the Spirit of God go together, and God's Word is extremely clear that He's blessed the day for you to receive this blessing, friends. He wants you to enjoy it. Says, "You keep it holy, and honor it, "and He'll make you ride upon the high places of the earth, and He will bless you." Would you like to experience that blessing, friends? Amen? Seek, taste and see that the Lord is good.

Father in Heaven, please bless all of these people, Lord. Help us to experience that recreation in our hearts, and get a new beginning. Bless us, Lord. Help us make whatever practical changes we need to honor Your holy day, that we might be renewed in Your image. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

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