Sermon delivered February 18, 2006 by Stephen Bohr

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New King James Version NKJV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

God's Everlasting Sign

(RealAudio Version available)

Sabbath is a real blessing. It is an oasis in the desert of this life.

I would like to invite you to turn in your Bibles with me to the book of Genesis. Genesis 1:1, 2. As we read this verse, I would like for you to notice that there were three problems that existed in this world at creation. Three problems which God had to resolve. And then there is an additional one that we gather as we read the story in Genesis 1. It says In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and then it says the earth was without form [that is a disorderly state] and void [that means empty] and darkness [this is number three] was on the face of the deep. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Three problems. The world was in a disorderly state. It was empty. And there was darkness. As we examine the story of creation, we also notice that the earth was lifeless. There was not life on the planet. God proceeded to resolved these problems. He proceeded to dissipate the darkness, to bring about order, to fill the earth. And to bring about life. And the Bible tells us that God, actually this is the Father, through the instrumentality of Jesus, created this world in six days.

The world was absolutely gorgeous. The world was absolutely beautiful and perfect. I would like us to read Genesis 1:31-2:1. There are some very important details there about the conclusion of the creation and let's read it carefully. It says, Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. At this time He had already created Adam and Eve. He had created everything. So it says then that God saw everything He had made and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth and all the host of them were finished.

I want you to notice here that Jesus, as the instrument of His father, finished His work on the sixth day of the week. Now you notice that I underlined the fact that God saw what He had made. What He had made. And that it was very good. Now we all know that according to the Genesis account, Jesus rested on the seventh day. Let's read it in Genesis 2:2, 3On the seventh day God ended His work which He had done and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Very interesting.

Did you notice there all of the references to God doing this? God ended His work, which He had done and He rested on the seventh-day from all His work, which He had done. Interesting. What we are being told here is that God had worked the six days and that He is the one that is resting on the seventh day. Now if you read Isaiah 40:28, you will notice that Bible tells us that God does not get tired. God does not get weary. It says, Have you not known, have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

Now the big question is, why would God rest on the seventh day from all of the work which he had done, if God does not get tired? If God does not get weary? Obviously the Sabbath had a deeper reason of being than physical rest. Now I want you to notice that it was God who rested. You know, we usually think of Adam and Eve resting with God, and I believe that is true, but you will notice in the fourth commandment that the commandment says that in six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. And then it gives a reason. It says the reason why God told us to keep the Sabbath, to work six and rest the seventh, is because God at creation worked six and rested on the seventh. Which means that God could not make that command to us to work six and rest the seventh until God had finished resting on the seventh day. I don't know if you are catching my point.

In other words, God had to work six and rest the seventh and at the end of the seventh day, after he rested, then he could command man to work six and to rest the seventh, following His example. I would like to read a statement from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 47 where Ellen White caught this very, very important point. Speaking about the conclusion of the creation week, the work itself, Ellen White says this: "All was perfect, worthy of its divine author. And He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory." And you know, I had read this statement dozens of times and I missed this very important concept which I am going to read now. "After resting upon the seventh day," did you catch that? "After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it or set it apart as a day of rest for man." So God rested on the seventh day and at the end of the seventh day, it says that God sanctified it and set it apart as a day of rest for man. And then she says this: "Following the example of the creator [could man have followed the example of the creator if God had blessed the seventh day at the beginning of the seventh day? No.] man was to rest upon this sacred day. That as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God's great work of creation, and that as he should behold the evidence of God's wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his maker."

Now there are some very interesting things that are happening here. We are told that God is resting from His works. There is no reference to man resting at all, because man had not worked. God had rested from His works. You are saying, "Well, didn't man rest also, since man had already been created the sixth day, right?" Have you ever read where Ellen White says that God rested on the seventh-day to give man an example of what the Sabbath rest is all about? You see, on the seventh day, man rested with God, but in a very unique way. God came down to the garden and God showed man how to rest. In other words He gave Adam and Eve the scenic tour of the garden. He showed him how the Sabbath was supposed to be kept. And then after the Sabbath day was over, after God had modeled how the seventh day is supposed to be kept, then God at the conclusion of His Sabbath day, said to Adam and Eve, from now on, you are going to start working six days and you are going to rest the seventh day, as you have seen Me model the rest on your first on planet earth.

You know, it is interesting, the Bible also indicates that Adam and Eve were not tired when they rested with God on that first Sabbath. Because they hadn't worked. So you find at creation week that God is resting from His work even though He wasn't tired. And you find man following the example of the creator, who is modeling the observance of the Sabbath, and his first day is a day of rest. And He is resting even though man is not tired. So you have a God who is not tired and you have a man and woman who is not tired, and they are resting on the Sabbath. What is taking place is that God is showing Adam and Eve how the Sabbath is supposed to be kept. He is showing them the garden and all of the wonderful things He had made and says, "Starting now at the conclusion the sixth day, now you are going to work six and then the seventh day. I want you to keep the Sabbath as I have showed you how to keep the Sabbath. This is the reason why we are told in Mark 2:27 that the Sabbath was made for man. This is the reason why in the fourth commandment is because God worked six days and rested the seventh. Therefore God says, "you work six days and rest the seventh as I showed you how to rest your first full day on planet earth." Let me ask you, how much work did Adam and Eve do in creation? That is why we find this emphasis. It says God ended His work which He had made. Adam and Eve did not do any of the work of creation week. God did all of the week. And then God tells Adam and Eve, "Everything that I made, everything that I worked for, I am now giving to you. You didn't work for it, you didn't do anything to earn it, I simply made it and I made it for you. So what we are going to do is we are going to rest and we are going to enjoy what I made for you . I am going to show you how to rest before you start working. I am going to show you how to rest in what I have created."

And then sin came into the world. And the original plan was wrecked. The four things that we noticed at creation: Order, Filling, Light, and Life came to a great degree to an end, spiritually. Now the life of man was in disorder. The lives of human beings were empty. Instead of spiritual light, there was spiritual darkness. And instead of light and life came death.

It was necessary somehow to restore that which had been lost. In order to restore what had been lost, it was necessary for someone to live a perfect life and to suffer death. And the reason for this is because the Law demands a perfect life. And if we don't give the Law a perfect life, the result is death. And everyone on earth had sinned. No one could offer the law a perfect life, and the sin of man had to be paid for. And so we are told that the Word that created this world at the beginning became flesh and came to this world to restore that which had been lost.(John 1:1-10) To bring about order again, spiritually speaking. To fill the lives of human beings, to bring light out of darkness and to bring life instead of death. So Jesus came to this earth to restore that which had been lost.

It is interesting to notice as we examine the Gospels that terminology that is used to describe the work that Jesus did on this earth, because basically He came to live a perfect life and to suffer death. To live a perfect life that He could offer the life in our place, to suffer the death that law demands in our place so that could be restored as we were at the beginning. It is interesting to notice how the New Testament speaks about this work that Jesus performed. Notice John 4:34, Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work" I thought He finished His work at creation. It says that He finished His work at creation. But now Jesus is saying that my food is to do the will of Him that sent me and to finish His work. Notice John 5:36. Jesus is speaking about John the Baptist: But I have a greater witness than John's, for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the very works that I do bear witness of me that that father has sent me. Notice that Jesus is coming to finish His father's works. But He had already finished His father's works at creation.

It gets even more interesting when you go to John 17:4. Here Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane. He is praying to His father. And it says there in John 17:4, Jesus speaking to His father, I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work which You have given me to do. Interesting. "I have finished the work which you have given me to do."

And then when Jesus is hanging on the cross, John 19:30, we find these very interesting words of Jesus, crying out to his Father. It says So when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said "It is finished." And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. What had Jesus finished? He had finished the father's works. But this time it was not the works of creation, it was the works of redemption. He had lived a perfect life. And at that moment He was suffering death. He had finished what was necessary for us to be restored to our original condition.

Now here is the question. Which day of the week did Jesus finish His works at creation? At the sixth day. Which day of the week did Jesus finish His work of redemption? It was on the sixth day of the week that Jesus, hanging on the cross says, "It is finished. I have made the provision for a new creation. For man to be restored to his original condition." In fact it says in Luke 23 that that day was the preparation and that the Sabbath drew near. And then what did Jesus do on the seventh day? The Bible tells us that the whole seventh day, the whole 24 hours, the Lord Jesus rested in the tomb on the Sabbath.

You see what Jesus did at creation, He did at redemption. He worked six days, finished the sixth day, rested on the seventh day from His works. In redemption Jesus worked out our salvation by living a perfect life and by dying in my place, in our place, he finished his works on the sixth day, and in the tomb he rested on the seventh day.

How much did we do to redeem ourselves? Did we live the perfect life? No. Did we suffer The Death? No. Jesus did. He is the one who did it. He is the one who finished the work, just like at creation.

And by the way this is the reason why in Ephesians 2:8-10 we find these very significant words: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works lest anyone should boast." In redemption we rest in Jesus before we work, because He did all of the works. Just like at creation we rest in His works of creation even though we did not work. We begin with rest, and then we work. Not of works, lest anyone should boast. And by the way, do you know that redemption is actually a new creation? 2 Corinthians 5:17 says this: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new.

So the Sabbath is not only a sign of creation; the Sabbath is also a sign of redemption. Yet how many of us stop to think about the reason we come to church on Sabbath? How many of us actually stop to think about God's marvelous works of creation which He gave us for free? The marvelous works of redemption which Jesus gives us for free?

But you know the Sabbath is not only a sign of creation and redemption. The Sabbath is also the sign of the final restoration. The Bible tells us that in the end time, right before the second coming of Jesus, seven devastating plagues are going to reverse creation. In fact we are told in the book of Jeremiah 4:23 that Jeremiah beheld the earth and, lo, it was without and form and void, and he looked at the heavens and they had no light. In other words the planet will return to the condition that it was in before creation, in a disorderly state, empty with darkness, with no life on planet earth.

This necessitates Jesus doing once again the work of creation. I want you to notice Revelation 21:4-6. Did you notice that it says in Genesis that on the sixth day Jesus, or God, finished His works? On the cross we are told that on the sixth day Jesus finished His works of redemption? Now let's notice the final restoration. Revelation 21:4-6, And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death nor sorrow nor crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed. Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." And verse six is critically important; And He said to me, "It is finished." Finished. Or done. So when He makes all things new, is he going to say once again, "It is finished"?

Now who is going to make everything new? Are we going to have any part in it? No. Did we have any part in redemption? No. Did we have any part in creation? No. God gave the gift to Adam and Even though they didn't work. In redemption Jesus gives us His gift though we didn't work. At the end He is going to make all things new and He is going to say, "It is done." Now here is the question. Now what will be the sign that He is finished when He makes the new heavens and the new earth? Isaiah 66:22, 23, our scripture reading: So as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath from another, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the Lord.

I would like to share with you that I believe that when Jesus creates this world again, he is going to create it in six days. You say, how do you know that? Because the seventh day is going to be the commemoration of the new creation, so it must mean that there are six days before this. Now there is one difference between creation and the restoration, and that is that at creation Adam and Eve were not around. They did not see God create anything. Because when they appeared on the scene everything had been created. In fact we find in scripture that even when God created Eve he put Adam to sleep. So Adam didn't see the creation of Eve. Adam and Eve did not see anything created the first six days. They had to accept the fact that God was the creator because He said so. And the Sabbath, the first Sabbath, God showed them. He said, "I made everything for you." And they had to accept that by faith. But you know, when Jesus restores everything, He recreates everything, we will be present. We will be alive. Can you imagine being there and seeing Jesus say "Let there be light. Let there be the firmament. Let the earth produce trees and flowers and plants. Let the sun moon and stars occupy their places " because they have been thrown out of orbit at the second coming of Jesus at he voice of God. "Let the water be filled with fish. Let the air be filled with birds. Let the earth produce living creatures." We will be there, watching it. Spectators. Then Jesus will say, "Let's rest in what I have done. You haven't done anything. I have done it all. It is my gift to you." And from that point on, we will work six and we will rest on the seventh in commemoration of the new creation. And thus the Sabbath is a threefold sign. An everlasting sign from Eden to Eden. It is a sign of creation. It is a sign of redemption. And it is a sign of the final restoration.

Now somebody might say, and I will say this in closing, "Yes, but the Bible indicates that in the earth made new there will not be a weekly cycle, because it says there will not be any sun or moon." Let's read that verse carefully. Revelation 21:23. Sometimes we just don't read things as carefully as we should. It says there, "The city had no need." The city had no need of the sun or the moon. It doesn't say the city doesn't have a sun or moon, or that the earth doesn't have a sun or moon. It says the city has no need for the sun or moon to shine because the glory of God illuminated it. In other words, to make the sun and moon shine in the city would be like turning on a flashlight at noon. The light of the flashlight is quite eclipsed, although the flashlight exists. I pray to the Lord that as we observe the Sabbath we really think about what the Sabbath means. It means that Jesus is so wonderful because He made us when we blew it, He redeemed us. And very, very soon He will restore us as it was in the beginning.

Hymn of Praise: #12, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
Scripture: Isaiah 66:22, 23
Hymn of Response: #86, How Great Thou Art

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