Please fill out the form below to get in touch with us.
The Jasper Centre
Kent, ME1 2LD
It sounds counter-intuitive but all fruitfulness in the kingdom of God must flow from rest.
How is that possible?
Firstly it’s through knowing our starting position in Christ. The Bible teaches that there is ‘a Sabbath rest for the people of God’ and that whoever enters God’s rest ‘has also rested from his works as God did from his’ (Hebrews 4v9). In other words salvation is ultimately about entering into what God has done through Jesus. Jesus himself said ‘come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11v28)
Jesus has done the heavy lifting in terms of overcoming sin, Satan and death on the cross, providing for all we need, and is now seated at the right hand of God (Ephesians 1v20). We too are described as seated with him ‘in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6v2) in a position of victory.
However, this is in contrast to our earthly condition, which at times is filled with difficulty, trial, stress, grief and sickness. We don’t always perceive the reality of our position in Christ when our gaze is consumed with our earthly condition.
We appear to be in two places at once!
Secondly, action is required to enter into the ‘rest’ of God and live in the good of our position day-to-day. It is not automatic. It is all by the grace of God (Ephesians 2v8) but just like a vine branch bears fruit as the life flows from vine, so too does the Christian bear fruit as they abide (go on living) in Christ. Jesus taught ‘whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15v5).
In practice this means that we need to know our identity in Jesus, to have confidence in our position in the heavenly realms as well as knowing the actions required to continue abiding in him, receiving his grace and bearing fruit from that position of rest.
The book of Ephesians is in two halves, with the first three chapters outlining the glory of Jesus, our position and identity in him and then the last three chapters highlighting practical actions, or ways we fight to abide, in the light of that. These include moral purity (5v3-7), good speech (4v25-29), humility (4v2), submissiveness (5v21) and fighting in prayer (6v10-18). This latter half of Ephesians is burdensome and difficult without knowing the first half.
The Sabbath rest of God mentioned earlier draws its imagery from the Sabbath day of rest he created for people (Exodus 20v10) and this was based on God himself who it says rested on the seventh day of creation (Genesis 2v2). This was a pattern based in creation that teaches us we also need to take regular time off. To reflect on and enjoy what we have done, to consider the week ahead, to maintain physical and emotional health, to spend time with friends and family and to celebrate and worship the Lord.
So with all this in mind it leads us to ask questions in our DNA groups such as:
The maturing disciple works hard to adopt healthy RHYTHMs of rest, is disciplined and obedient to Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit and ultimately yields fruit from a place of rest.#rest