Free eBooklet

February 29, 2012

Terri Jorgensen over in Willow Creek alerted me to this free ebooklet (PDF, discount taken at checkout) by Phil Ryken. It discusses work and rest and fits nicely with what we talked about last Sunday in regards to the law. Ryken uses a New Testament hermeneutic when thinking about how the Sabbath should look in our lives. Here’s an excerpt:

At this point many Christians still want to know what they can and cannot do on the Sabbath. Can I watch TV? Can I play frisbee? Can I go to a restaurant? Can I catch a flight back home? Can I play Monopoly, or do I have to stick to Bible trivia games? The danger in making universal applications is that we are prone to Pharisaism, so it is easy for us to slip back into legalism. In keeping the fourth commandment there is room for Christian freedom, the wise exercise of godly judgment. For example, even the Puritans recognized that there were times when it might be appropriate or even necessary to dine at a public inn.

However, when we start asking these kinds of questions, it is usually because we want to know what we can get away with. We want to know how far we can go without actually breaking the fourth commandment. But if we are looking for a loophole in the Lord’s Day, then we are missing the whole point of the fourth commandment, God is calling us away from our own business to transact the most important business of all, which is to glorify Him in our worship. And when we try to make as much room as we can for our own pleasures, then we miss the greatest pleasure of all, which is fellowship with the living God.

Our problem is that we find it so hard to take genuine delight in the sanctified pleasures of God. Dare I say it? God bores us. We are willing to spend some of our time worshiping Him, but then we feel like we need a break, and so we go right back to the world’s lesser pleasures. But the more we learn to delight in God, the more willing we are to keep His day holy. And then we discover that we are able to answer the questions that once seemed so vexing: Can I take a job that will require me to work on Sundays? Is it okay for me to catch up on my work? Should we let our kids play Little League on Sunday? Is it a good day for watching commercials? Most of the practical applications are easy when we want to honor the Lord on His day. The strain and struggle come when we want to use it to do our own thing.

Dr. Robert Rayburn once told the story of a man who was approached by a beggar on the street. The man reached into his pocket to see what he had. Finding seven dollars and feeling somewhat sorry for the beggar, he held out six bills and said, “Here you go.” Not only did the beggar take the six dollars, but with his other hand he struck his benefactor across the face and grabbed the seventh dollar, too. What do you think of the beggar? Don’t you think he was a scoundrel? Then what do you think of a sinner, saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, who insists on taking seven days a week—or even six and a half— for himself?



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