October 9, 2016
For many people in the world, Sundays are special. Tired people look forward to sleeping in. Active people take trips or enjoy the great outdoors. If you’re into sports, Sundays mean quality time in front of the flat screen. If you’re a busy parent, it’s the day to go shopping or do some work around the house. Sundays are often a hang out day for friends and a gathering day for families. And for students and employees, Sundays are basically unpleasant reminders of Mondays. For better or for worse, Sundays are indeed a special day of the week.
But for believers in Christ, Sundays are even more special. Because every first day of the week, we do this. We worship. We eat lunch together. We fellowship with one another. Every first day of the week, we turn on the sound system, we receive a benediction, we play with cute babies, and we catch up with one another. Every first day of the week, we do church.
And the question is: why?
There are a lot of different reasons why people go to church. Some people go because that’s all they’ve known on Sundays. Others go because their parents make them go. Some people go to church because they want to socialize or hook up. Others go to church because they feel like it’s the right thing to do. Some people go because they are looking for answers or for a purpose in life. Others go because they seek encouragement or an experience. People go to church for all kinds of reasons.
This morning, I would like to offer a more rich and robust reason for coming to church on Sundays. It’s a simple but monumental reason - one that I hope you will treasure in your hearts as you wait for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In today’s reading of Genesis 1 and 2, we hear about how God created man - male and female - in his image. And we hear about how God rested on the seventh day after having finished all of his creation. These are two basic facts. God created us in his image. And God rested on the seventh day. But what do these two basic facts mean?
When God made man in his image, he meant for Adam and Eve to reflect the pattern of God and follow after him. Just as God created and filled the earth, so Adam was to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Just as God had dominion and rule over everything, so Adam was to have dominion and rule over everything on the earth. That’s basically what it means to be made in the image of God.
But there’s one more thing. God didn’t just create man in his image. He also rested on the seventh day. When God rested on the seventh day, he meant for Adam and Eve to reflect his pattern and follow after him. Just as God worked and then rested, so Adam was to work and then rest. Just as the seventh day was blessed and holy, so the goal of Adam’s rest was to be blessed and holy.
This is huge. This is the fundamental purpose of mankind. And this is the fundamental purpose of you. The ultimate goal of humanity was to enter into a rest which God himself had entered. You and I were meant for this end.
Sadly, we know how well Adam followed after God as his image. Adam sinned against God. He failed in his work. He broke the terms of God’s covenant relationship. He did not achieve the eternal rest. He never reached the goal that he was created for. And all of humanity fell with him.
But after this cosmic failure, God promised that another person would come and not sin. Another person who would not fail in his work. Another person who would keep the terms of God’s covenant relationship. Another person who would achieve the eternal rest. That person was and is the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
For us, Jesus suffered and died so that we would be forgiven and absolved from all punishment for our sins. And for us, Jesus lived a perfect and righteous life so that we would have the credit of earning heaven - nothing less than the very eternal rest that Adam failed to achieve. This is what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did for us. He did for us what we were created to do. And he got for us what we were created to get. Praise the Lord!
And that brings us to Sundays. When we do church on Sundays, let us realize what we are doing. Each Sunday, we are looking forward to entering the rest and exaltation that God has promised us in Christ. Each Sunday, we are celebrating the coming kingdom of God in the new heavens and the new earth. Each Sunday, we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit to have faith and hope in our glorious future. Each Sunday, we are refocusing our hearts and minds to see the big picture and reorient our lives to fall in line with God’s grand history of redemption. Each Sunday, we are being reminded and encouraged that there is an end to sin and suffering and death. Each Sunday, we are renewing the joy of salvation and letting go of the joys of this world. And we do all of this on Sundays, the first day of the week, and not on Saturdays, the seventh day of the week, because Jesus Christ resurrected on the first day of the week.
Brothers and sisters, this is why Sundays are important. This is why we want you to be here every Sunday. If you miss a Sunday, I’m not going to be mad at you. I will just be sad for you. Because there is a richer and more robust reason for coming to church on Sundays.
Let us therefore keep the Sabbath holy. More than that, let us be inspired to keep the Sabbath holy. Don’t just keep the Sabbath holy because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t just keep the Sabbath holy because you’red tired and you need a break in the week. Don’t just keep the Sabbath holy because you want to look like a good Christian or because your pastor told you so. Instead, keep the Sabbath holy because it’s a celebration of one of the most basic points of the gospel that we love so much. Keep the Sabbath holy because each first day of the week is like an oasis in the desert of life in this world. Keep the Sabbath holy because Jesus Christ can come back this week. Keep the Sabbath holy because one day there will be no such thing as Mondays.