Resting In The Lord
Text: Hebrews 4Video Link
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Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.Introduction: Listen to this phrase, “There remain therefore a rest to the people of God.” Listen once more, this time not just to a phrase but to a promise, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” I find myself taking deeper and greater comfort in hearing Hebrews 4:9 more and more especially this after this past year and also the older I get. I find a deeping need to believe in, to hope for, to know that there is a rest, a time of peace, a place of comfort, a refuge that I can retreat to, in order to recharge my soul. I need to hear, time and time again, “There remains a rest for the people of God.”
Go with me to Hebrews 4
I believe Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, no he didn’t sign it because his name attached to it would have caused its message to be resisted by some of the Jewish Christians, or easier to find and be destroyed by others, so it was not added or perhaps it was removed before being copied and passed on. Either way or even if it was written by someone else, ultimately it was inspired by the Holy Spirit moving upon the author and God’s Word was the result.
The purpose for its writing is not nearly as hard to decipher as its author. Hebrews was written to encourage Jewish Christians to remain true to the faith and faithful in their service to the true Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
This is done by showing that Jesus was the fullest revelation of God as well as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and that the grace of Christianity was superior to the legalism of Judaism as it was practiced in the 1st Century. It also was a book about promise and hope. It is those themes that we find in Hebrews 4 the chapter that holds out to the struggling, persecuted, besieged Hebrew believers the promise of God’s Rest.
Entering Into 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.
The Warning 1-3
Chapter 4 begins with a warning about missing God’s rest vs 1-3. “let us fear, lest any of you should seem to come short of it.”
This warning follows the example of those who had gone before them and who had missed God's Rest Hebrews 3:16-19 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
This is the warning, but unbelief in God's promise caused those who came out of Egypt with Moses to miss God’s rest in the Promised land.
The Promise of Rest vs 4-9
We are told that God’s rest for his people remains. It is still waiting for any of God’s own to find the entrance and like weary travelers step through a door into a place of peace, comfort, and rest. God’s rest remains because long after the Exodus , in Psalm 95:7 God is still inviting his people to His promise of rest.,“7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice” Today, if we will hear could be the day we enter into His rest.
The Past, Present and Future Rest for God’s People
God’s Rest - Past was when God created the world and then on the seventh day rested. In vs. 4 “and God did rest the seventh day, from all his works”
God’s Rest – Present. Next the rest of God was promised to all who believe and trust in God, a rest for this lifetime, this present struggle. We see it in vs 7. Today if ye will hear his voice.
God’s Rest – Future. Then vs 9 tells us there is still a rest to come. There remains a rest to the people of God. This is the final rest, the rest of eternity, the rest of heaven and glory. The world for rest here, Sabbatism, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, literally it means a keeping sabbath, an eternal, everlasting Sabbath. The ultimate rest of God.
The Definition of Rest vs 10
We are told in vs. 10 what it means to enter God’s rest, “Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”
God on the original Sabbath Day rested from His labor. He is no longer creating the Universe, yet the Universe continues to exist by that sustaining power of God.
Our rest in God must be the same. We must believe that God gives to us through the gift of His son and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit all that is needed to save us and to sustain us in His work. This is salvation followed by submission to His service.
Transition: and yet too many times, It just doesn’t feel that way? Why I am I as a believer, a person of God, missing the rest of God?
The reason we miss God's Rest is because just like the Israelites who missed the promised land, we don't believe the promise of God.
In order to enter into rest, I must leave my own work behind, I must cease from my own labors, as God ceased from His. Continuing in my own power is denying God's promise.
Rest then is dwelling in God's power and promises alone. I must face the question, Cannot the God who sustains the universe also sustain me? Do I believe that, or will I miss rest in this present time, because of my inability to fully trust His promise of rest?
Illustration: Hezekiah and God’s people versus Sennacherib 2 Chron 32:8 & 2 Kings 19:35-37
God slays 145,000 of the Assyrian army because the people rested themselves on God’s power and promises.
2 Chorn 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.
So important is this truth in the life of the Hebrew believers of Paul’s time and equally important in our time, the Paul continues with an exhortation in vs 11.
Exhortation to 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.
God’s Exhortation to rest vs 11
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.
The word translated labor here 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. The exhortation is for us to be ever diligent, ever watchful, ever on guard against unbelief, ignorance, or apathy in relationship to God’s promises.
Paul now goes on to tell us how we can be diligent in our entering into that rest. How we can know where we stand and how to overcome our unbelief.
God's Revealation Of Us 12-13
Hebrews 4:12-13 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.
The way we measure our faith, our walk with God our own heart is through God’s Word. 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 lets us see ourselves through the eyes of God.
God's word, the living two-edged sword, is the means by which we can measure our unbelief, our faith, our relationship with God and see if we are at rest in Him.
Illustration: Out of Gas in Carlsbad, New Mexico
Once while on the way back from a trip to Arizona, LeeOra and I decided to detour off Interstate 10 and go on a sidetrip to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We drove way out in the desert and got there very late at night. I had the great idea to simply sleep in the car and wait until morning when the caverns opened and then take the tour. LeeOra wasn’t too keen on the idea if I remember back then but we had no money for a motel and she was a submissive and patient wife even if I wasn’t a very wise husband. We drove to the outskirts of Carlsbad, New Mexico looking for a place to pull off and wait till sunrise. In the process of driving around the cottonfields and backroads I forgot to check my gas gauge. Like I said I wasn’t a very wise husband. Suddenly I heard the old Pinto we owned coasting to a stop on the side of a dirt road about 2 or 3 miles outside of town. Instead of sleeping that night I trudge back into town, listening to the call of coyotes and walking through miles of dark farm roads and plowed field to get gas for my car. I ran out of gas and put my family in jeopardy, because I didn’t take the time to stop, to find what I needed to continue our journey.
We miss God’s rest in the same way, we just keep driving instead of resting. We keep going in our own plans and ideas instead of turning to God’s word and letting Him show me in His Word where I am and where I should be. That’s right the Bible is God’s GPS for the soul. You better be paying attention to what it says.
In the summation of this passage of rest, the scriptures exalt in the person of Jesus Christ, our great high priest. He is the means of rest today and forever.
Exultation 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.
God’s Son Our Means of Rest
Paul tells the struggling Hebrew Christians, in vs. 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.” Jesus is our great high priest, our intercessor with God, the one who presents us before God’s throne of grace and intercedes there on our behalf. Therefore, we must not abandon our faith in Him but hold strongly to your profession of Him as Messiah, Lord and Savior.
He was tempted just like they were, yet He was without sin, he did not fail. He never gave into the temptation.
We and the Hebrews, by holding fast, can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain the mercy, the grace, the power, the strength they need in the midst of trial, turmoil and torment.
Coming boldly means to come without fear or pretense. It literally means “as a man walking into a friend’s home.” That friend’s home is the throne room of God. For those who believe, those who hold fast to Jesus Christ, it is not a throne of judgment or reprisal for past sin and failure, but a throne of love, of hope, of succor. There I will find grace to help in time of need.
What is the final thing I must do to exult in the rest of God?
As Paul said, Look to your high priest Jesus Christ and then hold fast to him.
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 full salvation.
The key is a fast, firm relationship with Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior though that I can come boldly to the throne of mercy.
You know another place in scripture where I find great comfort in the promise of rest? It’s in Matthew 11:28-30 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. 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 by being joined together with Him and in that close relationship, to fully know who He is. There He promises, we will find rest, soul satisfying rest.
Here is the wonderful message of God’s Rest in Hebrews 4.
First understand that God has promised rest to his people.
Second, know that we can miss that rest through unbelief.
Therefore, thirdly, I must turn to God’s Word and let it show my unbelief and cut it from my life.
Finally, Hold fast to Jesus, Christ as my Lord and Savior, because though Him I can boldly enter the presence of God and there find grace to help in time of need.
It is so common for Christians to wear out, burn out and
walk out, but before that happens to you, remember God has provided a
rest. It is yours if will believe, it is
yours if you will take the yoke of Jesus Christ. If you need rest from the burden of sin or
recuperation in your service to God, the come this morning to the throne of
Grace and find rest.
Song: "Near to the Heart of God"
There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of God, A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God, A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of full release, Near to the heart of God, A place where all is joy and peace, Near to the heart of God.
O Jesus blest redeemer, sent from the heart of God, Hold us who wait before thee near to the heart of God.