We read in many places in the Bible about “rest”, or “Sabbath rest”. But what do these terms really mean, and how do we attain rest? John Alley begins this message with Isaiah 58:13-14, which speaks of the importance of not breaking the Sabbath. John goes on to explain that in Old Testament times keeping the Sabbath was a sign of the Covenant. Under the New Covenant, however, even though we are not saved by keeping the Law, nevertheless the principles set out in the Old Covenant are valuable to us. The sign of the New Covenant, says John, is the resurrection of Christ – Christ died, Christ rose and Christ is coming again. And so will we who keep His Covenant. John continues to teach of the benefits of keeping the principles that have been set out for us in Scripture, and then examines passages from Hebrews and from Revelation, which not only emphasise the meaningful nature of the Lord’s Day, but also present symbolic picture of the person of Christ. The rich symbolism, including the illustration of the two-edged sword which issues from the mouth of Christ are spoken of in some detail by John, who then goes on to warn against those things which prevent us from attaining to the Sabbath rest that Christ offers. These include unbelief, disobedience and failure to rest from our own works. John explains how criticism of others is actually a failure to rest from our own works. The call of Christ, says John, is that we yield to His mercies – to come to the cross, to seek His face, and to surrender everything to Him.
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