FREEDOM IN FOLLOWING

Reflect

Genesis 1:26,27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man

Roman 6:1-7 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death?

4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.

2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.

Exodus 9:6 So the Lord did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died.

John 5:7-16 ‘The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”

8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.

10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”

12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.

14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

Discuss

What surprises you from the Bible verses?

What do they teach you about people?

What do they teach you about God?

Is there a command to obey?

Who do I need to share this message with?

Study Notes

Of all the Ten Commandments, only the fourth begins with a verb “remember.” It’s not “Remember, you shall not steal,” or “Remember, you shall not covet.” There is only “Remember the Sabbath day . . .”

The idea of “remembering” presupposes history, presupposes that something happened in the past that we need to, remember. When we remember, we make connections with the past. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” marks a straight line back to the Creation week itself.

It’s obvious that, as human beings, we are radically different from any other creature on the planet. Regardless of how much DNA we share with some other animals, the comparisons are limited. Contrary to popular mythology, we are not advanced apes or more highly evolved versions of some primeval primate.

As humans made in the image of God, we are unique among all that God created on this world. In Genesis 1:26, the biblical narrative recounts the creation of human beings. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’ ” (NKJV). Genesis 1:27 continues: 

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (NKJV).

Realising that God created our world also reminds us of our responsibility to care for creation. We were to “have dominion” over creation. Having dominion does not give humanity permission to exploit the earth, but to rule as God’s regents.

When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, He instructed them to “tend and keep it” (Gen. 2:15, NKJV). Adam was given the privilege of naming all the animals (Gen. 2:19, 20) and they were instructed by God to preserve their natural surroundings.

God’s Sabbath is a constant reminder of our origins, our liberation, our destiny, and our responsibility to the outcast and marginalized.

When Moses restates the Sabbath command to a new generation about to enter the Promised Land, he begins, “ ‘ “Observe the Sabbath day” ’ ” and concludes with “ ‘ “and remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” ’ ” (Deut. 5:12, 15, NKJV).

The Sabbath is a sign of deliverance and freedom. The Israelites were held in bondage to the Egyptians for centuries. Miraculously, God delivered them.

They did not deliver themselves.

God delivered them by His “mighty hand.” The Sabbath is a reminder of the power of God to deliver us out of any situation.

In fact, the Sabbath is so important that instead of our coming to it, it comes to us, every week and without exception, a perpetual reminder of who we are, who made us, what He is doing for us, and what He will ultimately do for us when He makes new heavens and a new earth.

A holy God invites His human covenant partners to consider the rhythm that governs what really counts—the saving relationship between the Creator and Redeemer and His wayward creation.

Every week, and with the force and authority that comes from God, we are commanded to enter into the rest that we have been freely given in Christ Jesus, who is “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2, NKJV).

How can the Sabbath become even more meaningful for you?

List at least three specific things you can do to bless others on the Sabbath.

 “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” 

Matthew 11:28.

FINDING FREEDOM IN REST