“Rest and God’s Purpose”
Scripture: Genesis 1:26-2:3
Everybody deep down inside experiences restlessness on some level. This is true because God made us for rest but we live in a fallen world where rest constantly eludes us. One of the reasons we can’t find rest is that we often misuse it. We think rest is simply doing nothing. But God rested and established the pattern for us so that we could rest by delighting in his creation.
When God created mankind, he created us in his image. This means we are created to mimic God and reflect his likeness. In creation God formed the world and then he filled the world. He exercised dominion over creation and then he populated it. Now made in his image, we are called to do the same. In the cultural mandate God calls us to exercise dominion over the earth and then to be fruitful and multiply in order to fill the earth. This means we also image God when we follow his pattern of resting. To work and to rest are equally godly and neither is a curse. This means when we don’t rest properly, we are violating the image of God!
Some people refuse to rest when they overwork whether in jobs or in studies. Others refuse to rest socially or relationally when they overextend themselves by filling their schedules. But just because we have a lot of time to ourselves doesn’t mean we are resting either. We may be doing restful things but missing the purpose of God’s rest which is to rejoice and delight in God’s “very good” creation. God institutes the seventh day to enjoy his creation and he calls us to do the same when we rest.
For Christians, the gospel gives us a better reason to rest and rejoice. We have the assurance of 2 Corinthians 5:17 that tells us “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Because of the sin that we’re born with, everybody single person is kept from experiencing God and his rest. But God introduced the solution. He sent Jesus to die for our sins so that we could be made a new creation through faith in Jesus. Christians should approach the Christian Sabbath with more resolve to rest by rejoicing in God and his new creation in our lives.
Group Discussion Questions
- Share something you found either interesting, memorable, convicting, confusing or challenging about the passage/sermon.
- What kind of rest do you think you most need in this season? Physical? Spiritual? Emotional? What kinds of things do feel you need rest from? What are the causes of your restlessness?
- In your experience has Sunday typically been a restful day for you? What contributes to that or takes away from it?
- What are some things you are doing or can do in the future to make sure you are properly resting by rejoicing in God’s new creation work in your life? What new rhythms or traditions can you consider implementing?