sermon delivered July 13, 1996

Pastor Don Gettys of McDonald Road SDA Church, McDonald, TN.

God Serves Dessert

Life is so short. I like dessert first. There is nothing finer than to pick up a slab of warm homemade apple pie, and fully enjoy that wonderful smell in your nose and the scrumptious taste in your mouth. But most times I am not lucky enough to eat it first. I must wait for my dessert.

In Spiritual realms, God likes to serve dessert. Every day we may sample some of it. But it seems that God saves back His very best. At the end of the week comes the finest most delightful extras from God's storehouse of blessings. That end of the week dessert, is the Sabbath. It is the icing on the many layered cake which is what we call the week.

ISAIAH 58:13--...If you call the Sabbath a DELIGHT...14--...then you will find your JOY in the LORD. I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth and to FEAST on the inheritance of your father Jacob.---(Eternal life in Heaven)

If you really get into true Sabbathkeeping, you will find yourself immersed in such a fullness of Joy and Happiness that is hard to imagine. You will be as happy as a butterfly in a garden full of flowers and sunshine.

The first full day of Adam and Eve's honeymoon was a Sabbath! Sabbathkeepers have been honeymooning with God ever since. MARK 2:27-28---"The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath." This is a special day created for the benefit of human beings.

(1)---One ingredient of Sabbath Dessert is REST!

Life today is at an ever increasing fast pace. We live just before the year 2000. We have beepers, cell phones, answering machines, faxes, etc, etc. It seems that there is no time to stop the busy hustle of life. Wherever we are something is beeping for our attention. Human beings need time to rest and draw aside to recharge.

The need is critical. In 1969 for instance the average man in America worked 2,955 hours per year in the work place and the home. The 1969 wife and full time homemaker worked 2,465 hours per year at home. The total of both combined was 5,420 hours per year. Today it is 6588 hours! That total has increased alarmingly. That same family is now putting in 6,588 hours! More than 50% of all workers now work more than a 9-5 job Monday through Friday.

This is close to 1200 hours extra work per year which is an extra half a worker! But there is no extra half person! The net result is that there is less free time. Families do not have time to spend together. Weekends that used to be spent in worship and family time are now used for busy people to catch up on all the household work they used to be able to do during the week. There is no time to rest or catch up.

God saw that need long in advance. God invented one day a week to solve the problem of stress & Strain & hubbub.

One day off every week to relax and rest and enjoy! A Gift of time from God! Now isn't that wonderful? That is great news for overworked people. A day to clear the mind and think. A day to worship God. A day to rest. A day of Joy.

It is a well known fact that Seventh Day Adventists live longer. Adventist men here live almost 9 to 10 years longer than the average American man. WHY?? I think one of the main factors is the equation of Rest. Taking one entire 24 hour day off! Spending time with God and with the family.

Hebrews 4:11--Let us make every effort to enter that REST.

Go to church and Sabbath School every week. After church have a nice "Sunday Dinner" type meal. The family together. In the afternoon get out into God's beautiful nature. If you want to go camping, why not worship God first? THEN- leave from Church and go to the mountains that God created. Spend time with other Christian friends. Take time to Rest.

Exodus 23:12 "Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, so that your ox and your donkey may have RELIEF, and your home- born slave and the resident alien may be REFRESHED." NRSV Did you catch those two words??? .......RELIEF ...... REFRESHMENT

Jesus came to restore the true beauty of Sabbath Keeping!

    Let me suggest some practical things you can do to enhance this special time.
  1. --Don't confuse rest with leisure activities such as playing sports or watching TV.
  2. --Set aside the daily drudgery. The day will not amount to much if you neglect this. Do not do the laundry, or cook huge meals or shop. Plan all through the week for the Sabbath. Get your homework done. Leave your briefcase at the office. Stock up on groceries and gas on Friday. Think of Sabbath as Vacation time from the mundane grind of life.
  3. --Rest! Relax. Let the Sabbath refresh you. Get the most you can out of the wonderful Sabbath hours.

Cyndie and I were married in the Pioneer Memorial SDA Church in Berrien Springs. At our reception in the Lake Union Conference office we had just cut the cake. I fed her a piece and it was her turn to feed me. Over a 150 people were standing there watching.

It was a fair sized piece that my new wife had in her fingers. I opened my mouth to receive it. My wife put it all the way into my mouth. As I closed my mouth to eat the cake I felt that a piece of cardboard had somehow gotten cut when they cut the cake and so as not to embarrass my new wife I decided to bite through it and discard it later. So I bit down. It was not cardboard! It was her finger! She screamed! I opened my mouth quick and she took her finger out. (I guess you could call cake finger food!)

From that moment on I knew she would try to add all she possibly could to life. She fills every pan to the brim. She gets all she can out of every day. That is exactly what we should attempt to do with the special Sabbath hours.

On Sabbath join the assembly of the people of God who are on their way to heaven. "The Faith of most Christians will WAVER if they constantly neglect to meet together....." 4T106 Come and Participate, pray, give offerings, fellowship and worship. Invite someone over for lunch. Some folk you know and some you do not. Serve some famous delicacy you reserve just for Sabbaths. Spend time with your family.

If you don't clear the agenda for the Sabbath, then going to church and Sabbath School will just add two more activities to an already busy schedule. You won't rest; you will fall into bed exhausted on Saturday night just like you do every other night. Try to enter into Gods true rest.

Luke 4:16--- It was Jesus custom to go to church on the Sabbath day. There Jesus worshiped His Father and found strength.

Sabbathkeeping is good for your health! Did you know that the risk of Fatal heart diseases is almost twice as high for the person who does not attend church? In other words, the man who attends church a minimum of 1X per Week has half the risk of Fatal Heart Diseases. (Dr. George W. Comstock-John Hopkins University-----a study done for the Presbyterian Ministers Life Insurance Company)

This same study found that the regular church goer avoids a whole bagful of dire ailments and disasters. Cirrhosis of the liver, TB, cancer of the cervix, chronic bronchitis, and fatal one car accidents and suicides.

There is a grand mystery about the Sabbath. Somehow this special time, offers a kind of refreshment and renewal that physical rest alone cannot account for. Enter into God's special Sabbath Rest, You will be refreshed. Enjoy the gift of one whole day off!

But the Sabbath is more than just a gift of rest. It is also a


Ezekiel 20:20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a SIGN between us, Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.

Our understanding of Bible Prophecy and especially Revelation 13 indicates that soon all the world will be forced to worship the beast. This forced worship will be the mark of the beast. The opposite of the mark of the beast will be the seal and sign of God. Here in Ezekiel God says that Sabbath observance will be the SIGN or Mark of His people.

When you observe the Bible Sabbath you wear the sign of God. You are marked by God as one of His own.

One day a rancher went out on the range. He found a critter as fat and sleek as any calf he owned. But this nice calf was unbranded! The burning iron had never marked its hide. The rancher thought: You are a lucky calf. You have never known the fright of the Lariat that snatches you from your feet. You have never been held down against your will and suffered from that red hot iron as it burns a permanent mark of ownership into your very flesh.

Just then the rancher had another thought.... I wonder if this unbranded calf, feeding alone on a lonesome hillside is as lucky as I first thought. No rancher cares if he should die of thirst. If he is lost no one will search. No one will miss him if he is stranded in the cold howling winter storms. No one will come to his rescue when the pack of starving wolves come to get him.

It seems to me that the sheep is blest that knows the shepherd's crook. The truly happy sheep, are each safe in His hand because they wear the Master's brand. -Don I. Smith

Sabbath keeping is the Mark of God's people. Praise Him for that mark. Observe His holy time proudly. Enter into God's Sabbath rest faithfully. Experience the feeling of belonging to the great Shepherd. Know that You belong to Him and He ever watches over you to care for you and to save you.

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