Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hebrews Christ Above All Resting In Christ Text: Hebrews 4

Hebrews Christ Above All

Resting In Christ

Text: Hebrews 4

Key Verse: Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 

Introduction:  I know we have some fisherman and fisherwomen in our church. So I dedicate this restful description to them.  “Fishing is a chance to wash one's soul with pure air, with the ripple of the stream and the shimmer of the sun on the blue waters. It brings meekness, and inspiration from the glory and wonder of nature, the quieting of hate and the lift of the spirit. And it brings rejoicing that one does not have to decide a thing until next week. An Assyrian tablet of 200 BC says, ‘The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing.’”-  you know who wrote that? Herbert Hoover, the most hated president of the 20th Century.

                While traveling down the interstate it is a welcome sight to see the sign that says, "Rest Area Ahead." Wouldn't it be great if during our day to day living, traveling life's highway we could look up and see a sign that said, "Life Side Rest Area.?"  A place where we could go to recuperate and prepare for the rest of the journey.  No I’m not talking about taking a nap, thought that is pretty nice too. I’m talking about something spiritual, something scriptural, a place that is offered to you as a Christian, and we find our directions to this Life Side Rest Area in the 4th chapter of Hebrews.

The Monition of  Rest.  Hebrews 4:1-10

1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it]. 3  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this [place] again, If they shall enter into my rest.  6  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:  7  Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  8  For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.  9  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  10  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.
His Rest

A Warning about Rest vs 1-3

Example of those who missed God's Rest Hebrews 3:16-19
Unbelief in God's promise caused them to miss it.
The Promise of  Rest vs 4-9
A rest remains because of the failure of those first offered, because of  God's open invitation, and because of God's promise.
The Definition of  Rest vs 10
God on the Sabbath Day rested from His labor,  He no longer is creating the Universe, yet the Universe continues to exist by that sustaining power of  God.
Our rest must be the same, God gives to us through the gift of His son and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit all that is needed to sustain us in His work. Why doesn't it feel that way?  I am missing the rest of God!

Leaving Labor

We miss God's Rest because just like the Israelites we don't believe. We don’t believe that when God says “There remaineth a rest for the people of God that he is talking about us or that he is talking about today? Our problem is one of faith not fatigue.

In our life of faith, we haven’t learned to cease from our own labors, as God ceased from His. We are still trying to do God’s work my way instead of God’s way. I’m trying to witness in my own strength, instead of resting in God, I’m trying to tithe, trying to forgive, trying to read my Bible, trying to pray in my own strength instead of resting. My Christian life become as hectic and stress filled as my work life, or family life. Well of course if is you’re doing them all the same way. Instead of rest you’ve nothing but labor.

Trying to continue in my own power is denying God's promise. I haven’t ceased from my own labors. I’m stilling struggling in my own strength and power.
So then rest, God’s rest, is still working and stiving but not in my power but in God's power. 
Cannot the God who sustains the universe also sustain me?      
Illustration:  Hezekiah and Sennacherib 2 Chron 32:8 & 2 Kings 19:35-37
2Chorn 32:8  With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

2 Kings 19:35 ¶  And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 36  So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
God slays 145,000 of the Assyrian army because the people rested themselves on God’s power and promises.

Transition: How then can I move into this rest?  How can I know when I am in the area of disbelief and am missing this rest?  Look at verses 11-13

The Measure of Rest   Hebrews 4:11-13 

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.  12  For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  13  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Exhortation to enter rest vs 11

Labor means to be diligent, to strive
“The word diligence indicates universal earnestness in accomplishing, promoting or striving after anything” – Thayer.
It does not mean that we work in our own power for that would be the antithesis of rest. It means that we are ever diligent, ever watchful, ever on guard against unbelief and apathy in relationship to God’s promises.

Paul goes on to tell us how we can overcome our unbelief?

God's word measures us, it reveals us to ourselves 12-13
It pierces to the dividing point of  soul and spirit, joints and marrow, examines us our life from the inside out.
It is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.  It examines us spiritually, mentally and physically.
Who needs this measuring, this spiritual roadmap of our faith in God?  Not God, for he knows all about us.  This information is for us, we need this spiritual stress test so that we do not we miss His rest though our unbelief.
God's word, the living two-edged sword, then is the means by which we can measure rest. It has the ability to show and then cut out the unbelief from our lives.

 Illustration: Knute Rockne’s Cutting Column

 During the days that Knute Rockne was coaching Notre Dame, a sports columnist in a South Bend newspaper earned the reputation of being the meanest, most cutting writer in the country. The anonymous writer, who knew Notre Dame well, wrote about the team's weaknesses. He pointed out the mistakes of individual players. He told about those who were lazy, about those who broke training and didn't discipline themselves. Of course, this column made the players roaring mad. The truth hurt and players complained to Rockne. He listened with sympathy but said he could not stop the writer. He advised that the only way the players could do so was to go out and play the game so well that they would prove him wrong. Later it became known that the writer of the column was Knute Rockne himself. As coach of the team he was best acquainted with their weaknesses. The critical column was his ingenuous device to develop a better team.

Transition: Finally look at the last thing you must understand if you are truly going to Enter Into His Rest.

The Means of Rest  Hebrews 4:14-16

14  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


Jesus is our means of Rest

He is our High Priest, our intercessor with God, Paul is telling the Hebrews, don't abandon him but hold strongly to your profession. Your profession is what you believe, it is your statement of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Tempted like they were yet without sin. Never giving in to the temptation.
The Hebrews if they hold strongly to their profession, if will learn to rest on the promises and power of God, then they can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace in time of need.
To come boldly means to come without fear or pretense. It literally means as a man walking into a friends home. That friend is God, that really is a powerful friend.
And that friend’s home is the Throne of  Grace.  It is not a throne of judgment or reprisal for past sin and failure, but a throne of  love which I don't deserve but nevertheless is there for me by faith, it is a place of rest when this world and its sin and pain have worn me down.


Gathering Grace:  What I am called to do.

Look to your high priest Jesus Christ and then hold fast to him.  Be diligent in your relationship with Jesus so that it deepens, lengthens and grows.
Jesus was tempted, tested and tried in every aspect of human life yet he never failed, never lost, never sinned.  Jesus knows our weakness now we must know His strength, Jesus knows our defeats now we must know His victory, Jesus knows our sin now we must know His salvation.
The key is a fast firm relationship with Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior and then coming boldly to the throne of mercy.  I must ask, I must claim, I must reach out and accept God's promise of rest.  Not a passive automatic event but an action of my own surrender before Jesus Christ to find his rest, time after time.

Matthew 11:28-29  Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30  For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

What more can be said or asked?  Here is the personal invitation of Jesus himself, to rest from our labors by yoking, being joined together with him and in that close relationship, learning of him. There He promises, will we find rest to our souls.
The work does not stop, but now Jesus is pulling the weight with us.  The creator of the universe has stooped down to shoulder my burdens, cares problems and pain.
The Bible tells us that God laid on His Son the sins of the world when he hung on the cross and still he rose from the grave and ascended up into heaven. What burden of mine can Jesus not carry?

Illustration: Jesus and the return of the seventy: Joy!

Luke 10:17-21 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.  And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.  In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.


Let's sum all this up for it is too important to be trusted to only one telling.
                1.  First I must realize that God has promised rest to his children.
                2.  I will miss that rest even as his child if I do not believe God and His promises.
                3.  Only through the written word, the Bible, can unbelief be removed from my life.
                4.  Therefore I must learn to depend completely on Jesus in all areas of my life.
                5.  And when I am overwhelmed I must go to the throne of grace to seek help and ther I will find rest.

Dwelling in Beulah Land. By C. Miles Davis (also wrote In the Garden)

Isaiah 62:4  Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah (the one I delight in), and thy land Beulah (married) : for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling.
Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand.
Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling.
None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.

I’m living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky.
I’m drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry.
O yes! I’m feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply,
For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.

Far below the storm of doubt upon the world is beating.
Sons of men in battle long the enemy withstand.
Safe am I within the castle of God’s Word retreating.
Nothing then can reach me—’tis Beulah Land.

Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me;
I am safely sheltered here, protected by God’s hand.
Here the sun is always shining, here there’s naught can harm me.
I am safe forever in Beulah Land.

Viewing here the works of God, I sink in contemplation.
Hearing now His bless├Ęd voice, I see the way He planned.
Dwelling in the Spirit here I learn of full salvation.
Gladly I will tarry in Beulah Land.

    God has provided a way to find rest.  That "rest" is yours if you are willing to come and take the yoke of fellowship with Jesus Christ.  If you need rest from the burden of sin or recuperation in your service to God, come this morning to the throne of Grace and find your rest.

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