This Ain’t That #2

Before we jump in this week, I want to say a couple of things that I did not mention last week. So, first off, who is this series for? These videos are intended to speak mostly to those who grew up in a religious system and are now seeking the truths of God not bound by religious culture, especially those who have found that Torah or, “the law” is still valid, applicable, and yes even profitable for believers today. If you are new to imitating Yeshua’s way of living the Torah as your lifestyle of worship of the King, many mindsets that you brought over from Christianity will make this walk incredibly difficult if we don’t get them sorted out. Most of you watching this have some sort of religious background, whether catholic or protestant, conservative or liberal, christian or Jewish. In this series, we are going to be contrasting some mindsets that we all may have, or still do see as normal and right, with some opposing ideas from Scripture. One point I want to make is that, listen, I grew up in conservative evangelical Christianity so that will be my reference point. I am going to be saying things like “In the church we believed, but” or “in the church we taught, but” or “Christianity teaches this, but” and I want to be very clear that my intent is not to divide us from nor offend any of our Christian brothers or sisters who are actively seeking and doing their best to serve the Father. But there are some mindsets that those of us who grew up in church hold to that are simply not in line with God’s heart and are actually directly contradictory to His Words. There are ideas being propagated by preachers, teachers, evangelists, and “prophets” that are creating a false sense of hope and when that falsity is realized and people’s lives begin to fall apart, many, many sadly turn away from Yeshua and the Father. This series is not about encouraging you to simply be comfortable and stay in the frustration, confusion, and indecisiveness where you currently live. Listen, we ALL think and act in ways that Messiah never thought nor acted and if He is the mark we aim to imitate, we have to deal with some of these hard issues. The reputation of our King is at stake. Let’s jump in.

So the first “This Ain’t That” that we are going to tackle is “the Sabbath” vs Sunday, but we’re not going to spend any time proving why Saturday is the Sabbath and why it is still a blessing and our responsibility to keep and guard the sabbath, there is plenty of info online and it’s incredibly clear in Scripture, but I want to address some other things surrounding the sabbath that I think are important and if you’re coming from a traditional Christian background I want to tackle some mindsets that may make the Sabbath a difficult thing to grasp. Let’s look at some ways “This” (the Sabbath) “Ain’t That” (sunday worship).

Alright, let’s set a baseline. In Deuteronomy 30 God says, “For this command which I am commanding you today, it is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. “It is not in the heavens, to say, ‘Who shall ascend into the heavens for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it? “Nor is it beyond the sea, to say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, and cause us to hear it, so that we do it? “For the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart – to do it. So straight off the jump I want to remind you that if keeping the sabbath seems like a burden, seems like it’s difficult when God clearly said it is not, it’s not the sabbath that’s the problem…it’s us. There is something in us that God is wanting to change so that we can think like He does. This is part of the “dying to flesh”. Fun, right?

So how is the Sabbath not like traditional sunday worship? In this video, I want to address one glaring difference that many struggle with in hopes that we can gain a better understanding and practice of keeping the sabbath. Gen. 1 tells us that the day actually begins at sunset. In God’s calendar, a “day” is from sunset to sunset. Exodus 31 and Leviticus 23, (among other places) are where we find the instructions of the Sabbath Day. Sunday worship isn’t really a “day”. Let’s be honest. If you’ve gone to church on a sunday, had a worship experience, heard a message, maybe even participated in a sunday school or discipleship class, you’ve basically honored the day of worship. This Ain’t That! God’s instruction to us is that we would dedicate a “DAY” to Him, not a part of a day. When we begin to celebrate the Sabbath, our tendency is to treat it like what we’ve done our whole lives in church. If you have a Sabbath fellowship to attend, simply going to the Sabbath meeting and doing your religious duty is not keeping the Shabbat. Congregational meeting is a part of the Sabbath, but not the whole of the Sabbath.

See, the Sabbath doesn’t start when service starts and it doesn’t end when service ends. If your congregation or fellowship meets on Friday evenings, you don’t have all of saturday to do what you want just because you’ve already met on Friday evening, you still have a whole day to “shabbat”, to rest. Likewise, if your fellowship meets on saturday, it’s not just enough to carve out of your saturday enough time to go to fellowship then take the rest of the day to do what you want. If that’s how we’re keeping the sabbath, all we’ve really done is moved sunday church to saturday.

You know how it goes…”if I can just make it to church” or “it’s sunday so we have to go to church”. Or we get all dressed up and geared up emotionally and mentally for sunday worship so we can put our best face on and then when it’s over, we go back to whoever we were. We tend to think that just because we enter a building on sunday that we are honoring God and will get His blessing. The keeping of the sabbath is not about simply entering a building, but it is a segment of space in time where we get to rest in Him and turn our hearts away from what we want to Him and what He desires. It’s SO important that we understand this. What did you go to church for? For some, it was rest. For some it was encouragement, hope, joy, relationship and belonging. I’m not downplaying these things as they’re all very important. But in keeping the sabbath, we shouldn’t have to put on a pretty face in order to walk into the building. We shouldn’t have to strive to get to the building in hopes of finding a breath of life and hope. The sabbath doesn’t begin when the first notes of worship are struck or the first song is sung. When you walk into your sabbath meeting, you should have already been “shabbatting” since sunset. You shouldn’t have to be encouraged to worship or to pray or to participate in the service. You should have been worshipping and praying since Friday evening. There is such a huge weight on ministers in churches because of the pressure to coax people into worship. Pastors are leaving the ministry in droves because of the weight of having to cause people to be excited about God. The Sabbath should be teaching us that it is our responsibility to meet with the King, not the pastor’s responsibility to bring the King to us. It’s not the teacher’s responsibility to tell you how to think or what to believe and grow your relationship with the Father. Then, when we come together for our sabbath convocation, it is full of joy, peace, and hope, because we are all of the same mind…we are in God’s rhythm because we have taken it upon ourselves to honor His timing and prepare for the King. So ask yourself, is this a mindset that I need to look at in my life? Would an adjustment here help me understand the blessing of the Father’s sabbath better?

Here’s another way “This Ain’t That”. Exodus 31:13 tells us ‘My Sabbaths you are to guard, by all means, for it is a SIGN between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I, ????, am setting you apart. Was (or is) sunday church simply an addition to your life, something you didn’t really bother with except when it was sunday? Or was it maybe something that really didn’t affect the rest of your week? Were you simply committed to an institution? In Exodus 31, Abba tells us that the Sabbath, in contrast to the way many approach sunday worship, is a SIGN, not simply something we do because of religious guilt or cultural expectations, but that it tells everyone who we are and whose we are because we are acknowledging the day that HE set apart. I like to think of the sabbaths and feasts of the LORD as His heartbeat in time. Every seven days the heart of God is beating and calling for us to meet with Him. If we believe God’s words, that the Sabbath is a SIGN, then our entire lives should revolve around the shabbat. If He were to look over the earth to find His children, would the sign we’re carrying identify us as His? It shouldn’t be something that sneaks up on us guys. Again, if your fellowship meeting on shabbat, while important, is the main way you keep the sabbath, then you’re honestly not understanding the heart of the sabbath instruction and you aren’t getting the true blessing of rest that He has for you. Is the sabbath just a meeting you attend? Or do you carry it as a sign that you’re His? If you find yourself struggling with the sabbath in this way, it may be that you need to address this mindset.

The sabbath is not sunday church guys. And if we don’t correct this mindset we will continue to be frustrated and empty just like many of us were in traditional Christianity. I pray you find the heart of the Father’s sabbath rest and begin to rely on Him for the blessing that only comes from honoring His ways.

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