Made For Rest
Passage: Exodus 20:8–20:11
Community Group Questions: Exodus 20:8-11 "Made For Rest"
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This study guide will focus in on the fourth commandment, but take time as a group to read Exodus 20:1-17 aloud, and then work through the following questions:
- We live in a fast-paced, modern culture where most people feel pressured by the “tyranny of the urgent.” We’re extremely busy with pressing deadlines and appointments and we always seem to be running through life. In your opinion, why is it so challenging to find rest and balance in our world today? Do you think Christians do better than the secular world in maintaining a sense of rest in their lives? Why or why not?
- What is your background regarding the Sabbath command? Did you grow up in a faith tradition that saw rest and worship on Sundays as a proper application of the Sabbath command to our Christian lives? What was your experience?
- In its original context as given to Israel, the Sabbath was a day to “stop” (the word Sabbath means to “cease” or “stop”). Every 7th day of the week, all of Israel should cease from their normal labor and consecrate the day as “holy” unto God by worshiping him. Notice, that everyone was to be included in this rest (see vs. 10). Notice as well, that this commandment was rooted in the creation account, where God rested on the 7th day, after creating the universe (see vs. 11, and Genesis 2:1-3). How does a day of rest put us in touch with our “createdness,” as well as remind us of our Creator? In your opinion, would practicing a day of rest and worship make us more “in tune” with our finite, creatureliness?
- Another reason for the Sabbath command is that it was designed to remind the Israelites of their redemption from slavery in Egypt. Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15, where Moses repeats the 10 commandments with some slight variations. According to this passage, why should the Sabbath remind Israel of their redemption from Egypt? For Christians today, how does a day of rest and worship relate to our remembrance of our salvation through Christ?
- Christians through the centuries have debated precisely how the Sabbath command should be applied to our lives, but one thing is clear: because Christ came not to “abolish” but to “fulfill” the Old Testament commands (see Matt. 5:27), Christians must apply the Sabbath in a “Christ-transformed” way. The New Testament gives us many clues about how to do this. As we look at the person, work, and teaching of Jesus, we discover that he healed on the Sabbath and declared himself to be the “Lord of the Sabbath” (see Mark 2:18-3:6). He also offered to give the “soul-rest” that every person truly needs (Matt. 11:28-30). Hebrews 4:9 tells us that the Sabbath finds ultimate fulfillment in the fact that now, through Jesus Christ, we can “rest from our works” and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation! In your opinion, how is saving faith in Jesus and lot like “resting”? Do you find yourself “resting” in Christ, moment by moment, in your relationship with God? What things keep you from resting your full identity in him?
- Though salvation through Christ is the ultimate application for the Sabbath, Christians from the earliest days applied this command by worshiping and resting on Sundays. The New Testament makes clear that they moved their day of worship from the Sabbath (the 7th day - Saturday) to the “Lord’s Day” (the 1st day – Sundays) in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see John 20:19, Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:2, Rev. 1:10). The principle of resting, which is rooted in creation (Exodus 20:8-11) seems to apply as well, not in a legalistic way, but in principle. In other words, Christians might rightly apply the spirit of the Sabbath to their lives by resting from their normal work and gathering for corporate worship each Sunday. In your life, have you ever made an intentional effort to “rest” on Sundays, along with your habits of worship? What would a day of true “rest” look like for you and your family, if you really practiced it? What things hold you back from practicing rest on Sundays? How would a weekly commitment to worship and rest transform your life?
- How could this community group encourage each other when it comes to resting and worshiping each week on the Lord’s Day?
Prayer suggestion: Thank Jesus for the rest that he supplies us through his life, death, and resurrection for us! Ask God for wisdom and help in applying Sabbath-rest to our lives on a weekly basis as we worship and rest on the Lord’s Day.