Monday, September 5, 2011

How to Enjoy "Labor Day" everyday

Hebrews 4:10  For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

Where did the U.S Holiday Labor day begin?
According to reliable sources, the holiday we know as "Labor Day" occured on September 5, 1882.  The reason why this day was commemorated was to note the economic and beneficial contributions of all workers in all areas of life.  On this day, people enjoy the fruits of those labors - picnics, BBQ's and relaxation. 

What is the Christian's labor day, and when?
However the Bible details for us how everyday for the Christian is a labor day.  How?  In the passage above, the fundamental thought of the Christian walk is presented - Rest.  When by God's grace I enter in relationship with Christ through faith, I cease relying upon my own efforts to achieve favor with God - and choose to fully rely upon the labor that Christ did on my behalf through His cross and resurrection. 

What the Bible means by "rest"
Now the writer here takes us back to the open chapters of Genesis, where God "rested" from His creative work.  When the Bible says God rested, that does not mean God was tired.  That phrase "rested" means God took His seat upon His throne, and that the reign of God was established over all He made.  Everything was at peace, in harmony.  If anything, God went from creating to that of conserving, preserving His creation. 

Thus for the Christian, when the choice is made everyday to enjoy the rest of God, that means that there is delight over the reign of God in your life.  A Christian who aims to rest in Christ everyday will be marked by harmony in their heart because of the assurance of God preserving their salvation. (please compare Philippians 1:6)  To rest in what Christ has labored for does not mean I do nothing, rather it means enjoying, delighting and drawing nourishment from Christ by means of scripture and prayer. 

As you enjoy labor day, remember this...
You can always tell when labor day is occuring in your neighborhood: the smell of cooked food, the parades, families gathering together and the simple pleasure of enjoyment of the fruits of hard work.  As a Christian, your life and mine ought to be characterized by the sweet aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14), the clear demonstration of His glory (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) and a peaceful heart that has found its rest in His labor (Philippians 3:8-9). 

Glory of the New Testament - Christian Life and New Covenant

What is the aim of missions?  Missions aims not at just making converts, but making disciples.  A disciple was not only someone who believed what His Master - The Rabbi - Taught, but also aimed to be like the Rabbi.  The Disciple aims to be like the Rabbi - His Lord - in order to model the life of the Master before others, who then too will want to speak, act and know like the Rabbi.  This is where we come to our next theme: The Christian life.


One of my favorite texts in the New Testament is 2 Peter 1:4-11.  The Christian life is about escaping the corruption of this world, partaking of the life of God and then living the faith life.  We live by growing onward and upward in Christ.  The Christian life is summarized excellently by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:  Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  Paul in this text gives the purpose for trials, the inward working of the Holy Spirit, the goal of His work and the command not to lose heart. 

So then how is the Christian life made possible?  This is where we come to the next theme...

The New testament's backbone is the gospel, its skeletal structure - missions, and its heart - The new Covenant.  The New Covenant is spoken of in the Old Testament by Jeremiah and Ezekiel as they predict what will be the future work of restoring the nation of Israel at Christ's return.  As much as those passages point to that yet future reality, the New Testament also speaks of the New Covenant's blessings having their inauguration in the church. 

New Testament texts such as 1 Corinthians 11, 2 Corinthians 5:15-21 and Hebrews 9 reaffirm the New Covenant reality operating in the church.  Think of the following phrases as defining New Covenant - or New Testament Christianity: Onward and Upward; Inward and outward; Going and telling.  The first phrase refers to our progression in spiritual growth, the second speaks of the Spirit's work inside working to affect our outside and the third details our role in missions. 

This New Covenant reality is made possible by the ministry of Jesus Christ and is brought to life by the Holy Spirit.  Truly it is this theme which prepares us for the last two themes in our study of the Glorious New Testament - Second coming and Eternity, which we will look at in tomorrow's blog.  May the Lord richly bless you dear reader.