Faithlife Sermons

Ready, Set, Rest

Hebrews: Jesus is Greater 2022-2023  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


Technology has been a game changer in our world in many respects and it has been a positive thing for billions of people. We know that with advances in technology, we are able to treat diseases and cancers that we used to not be able to treat. We know that with advances in technology, we are able to travel faster than ever before with planes connecting virtually the whole world. We know that with advances in technology, we are able to communicate with loved ones located all around the globe.
One thing that technology hasn’t been able to figure out to this point, though, is a cure for our fundamental need for rest. Phones need to be charged. Planes need to be refueled. We all have to slow down at times because without rest, things don’t work properly.
If you look in the dictionary at the definition for rest, you find five different answers.
Rest can be defined as ceasing from action as you simply stop doing something that you are doing such as sitting down in a chair after a long day of work.
Rest can also be defined as being free from something that worries you. This is Psalm 46:10 type rest as we are to simply be still and rest in God’s grace as it washes over our doubt, guilt, and fear.
Rest can be defined as lying down or grounded. We know that with Jesus Christ, we are at rest in the sense that we aren’t tossed by the wind of false doctrine, but we are grounded in His Word and at rest.
Rest can also be defined as confidence and trust. You are at rest as a Christian because you know that God is watching over you and He is trustworthy.
Rest can finally be defined as lean on something. As a Christian, you rest and lean on the finished work of Jesus Christ. While you and I might fall, whenever we lean on Him, we don’t have to worry about anything because He is stable.
We know that we need rest in our life and in the book of Hebrews, rest is a topic of great concern in chapter 4. We left off in Hebrews 3 back in November and one of the things that we learned in Hebrews 3 is the importance of encouragement as well as the importance of genuine belief in Jesus Christ. Gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ matters as we fulfill Hebrews 3:13 which says this
Hebrews 3:13 CSB
13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.
We need one another in this life to remind ourselves and others about the importance of finding true, lasting rest in Jesus Christ and not buying into the lie that says that we can find rest, satisfaction, and lasting identity in something this world has to offer. Rest isn’t reached by us doing more or us doing less - the Bible teaches that rest has a name and His name is Jesus. This morning we’ll look at how we can truly rest in a world that seems to get busier by the day, the person who provides us with rest, and the importance of resting from our works today.
Hebrews 4:1–10 CSB
1 Therefore, since the promise to enter his rest remains, let us beware that none of you be found to have fallen short. 2 For we also have received the good news just as they did. But the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith. 3 For we who have believed enter the rest, in keeping with what he has said, So I swore in my anger, “They will not enter my rest,” even though his works have been finished since the foundation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in this way: And on the seventh day God rested from all his works. 5 Again, in that passage he says, They will never enter my rest. 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience, 7 he again specifies a certain day—today. He specified this speaking through David after such a long time: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. 10 For the person who has entered his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from his.
Today if you hear His voice… do not harden your hearts. Aren’t you thankful that we serve a patient and merciful God who still seeks and saves lost sinners? Let’s give Him thanks for that reality today.

We Must Rest in Jesus Through Faith (1-2)

What is the therefore doing in verse 1? Hebrews 3:7-19 finds its conclusion in chapter 4. In chapter 3, the preacher was addressing the danger of unbelief… the danger of having heard the good news but failing to respond to God’s message and entering His rest. Some did not enter God’s rest, they fell short, and the reason why in chapter 3 was because of unbelief. What exactly is this talking about? Go back with me in time to Moses and the Israelites coming out of Egyptian slavery. They have crossed the Red Sea. They have received the 10 commandments. God has provided every single time for these people. He has provided physically as they have survived attacks from their enemies and received food that literally fell from the sky. God has provided for them spiritually as He gave them the law. God has provided for them financially as they are bringing back valuable resources from Egypt. God has provided and God is providing. Yet… we know that as the Israelites arrive at the edge of the Promised Land, they send the 12 spies over to scout the land out and the spies return saying that its hopeless because there are giants in the land!
Let’s back up here. God caused the Nile River to turn into blood. He brought about plagues in Egypt that harmed the Egyptians but not the Israelites. He parted the Red Sea. He fed them food from above. He guided them with a pillar of fire. He enabled water to come out of a rock. And they draw the line with giants in the land that GOD PROMISED THEM? What’s going on here? How foolish! They fell short of the mark. They demonstrated in that decision that they didn’t have true, genuine faith in God. There was a promise to enter the rest, the promised land, yet they fell short. Why does the preacher of Hebrews bring up this point over and over in these 2 chapters? To highlight the fact that it is human nature to fall up short of the mark.
That’s not the most positive message to hear, but think about it. We all make mistakes. We don’t always get a 100% on the exams that life throws our way and if we’re being honest, we don’t always even pass those exams in the first place. It’s easy to point out the fact that other people fall short of the mark, but as we think about our own walk we quickly remember that we do too. This warning to fear being in this boat should be in our minds to some extent and Paul talks about this back in Philippians 2 as we find this
Philippians 2:12 CSB
12 Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
This shouldn’t lead to paralyzing fear in our lives… we’re called to live a faith-filled live, not a fear-filled one. Fear Flourishes where Faith Falls. We shouldn’t live a life of fear every single day where we’re questioning if we’ve fallen short or not responded correctly - there’s grace found in Jesus Christ and He holds you, not the other way around! But as we think about salvation, that is a serious subject that should cause us to beware and make sure that we’ve placed our faith in Him as His Word commands. One pastor put it like this years ago and I’m sure you can relate. He was growing up and his mom and dad would always tell him to not go and play in the street. As any young boy would do he asked his parents, “Why should I not play in the street?” Because it’s dangerous - because that car that’s driving could hurt or even kill you or your brothers and sisters. We want you to be afraid of running into the street because there’s danger. Did any of you ever have that talk from mom and dad? I had that stern talking to a time or two, or fifteen! We understand why - the road is dangerous… but did this mean that you would be afraid of the road whenever you were playing with your friends inside your house? What about in the back yard? What about at the park? Church? Of course not! Most of the time you don’t even think about how dangerous and fearful it is to play in the street - only whenever a ball rolled down the driveway near the road and you saw a car coming were you reminded of that fear.
This is how it is with the danger of unbelief. This isn’t something that should always be on our minds as Christians. We don’t live with this ever present danger. We only fear whenever something tempts us to run out into the road and then the fear of unbelief sends us running towards our God and His faithful promises. So yes, there is a fear associated with falling short of the mark and not trusting in Jesus, but that fear doesn’t have to consume us. But why is that the case? What two words are found at the conclusion of verse 2?
In Faith
Faith in Jesus is reasonable. It’s not blind. It’s not a random shot in the dark. It isn’t luck. It is based on historical facts and a present reality and the actual presence of God being with us through His Holy Spirit. How does faith exactly work? Where do we find it? Where does it start? Some confuse faith with knowledge and verse 2 warns against that. The Israelites in the Old Testament knew God’s power. They experienced it before their very eyes… but they lacked faith to trust in God’s promise whenever push came to shove. Likewise, the preacher of Hebrews says that “we also have received the good news…” this means that this church heard the full Gospel message. The Greek verb there is called a perfect passive participle meaning that they didn’t just hear one message that kind of talked about the Gospel. They didn’t just come to VBS one day and hear about Jesus being born as a baby. These people are without excuse because they’ve heard the full Gospel message. They’ve received it and heard it. This is good news! But the warning is this: the good news becomes bad news if you reject it.
Simply coming to church and hearing the good news isn’t enough. Simply reading your Bible isn’t enough. Nothing we do can be enough. We need the Holy Spirit to help us see our need to respond to our sinfulness and God’s holiness. We must believe and have faith in Jesus - that is when the good news truly becomes good news as Christ saves you and gives you a new heart. Simply ask yourself this question today: Do I have saving faith in Jesus Christ? Not do I know all of the miracles that He did, not do I have perfect attendance in my Sunday school class, not do I have John 3:16 memorized, do I have saving faith in Jesus? Has He delivered me from the Kingdom of darkness into His Kingdom of light? Has He changed me? Has He saved me? We all fall short and we all will without the saving work of Christ on our behalf. We must guard against unbelief and encourage others as well to simply enter the rest that Jesus provides.
If Christ has done this work in your life, then you should rejoice and your life should be marked by a spiritual rest that characterizes followers of Jesus Christ historically and today as well. This is what the rest of this text dives into

We Must Rest in Jesus Today (3-10)

Whenever something is repeated in our life, it is probably because it’s either significant or because someone paid a lot of money to get their commercial or slogan mentioned over and over again. Think of some of the things that we repeat to others around us. Whenever you have a child, repetition becomes a part of your life. I’m not just talking about first time obedience or you got in trouble, I’m talking about hearing the same message over and over for a long period of time too! Gabriel loves going to Master Donuts on Monday morning to help me get the staff donuts for staff meeting and every time I get him out of the car, I remind him of our family rule in the parking lot, “We hold hands in the parking lot.” I’ve told Gabriel this for over a year, multiple times a week, and I tell it to him multiple times before I get him out of his car seat… but what do you think Gabriel wants to do just about every single time we get to the donut shop? Ditch my hand and run inside by himself! Why do I remind Gabriel of the rule? For one, because the parking lot is dangerous to a 2 year old but also because sometimes, he remembers and does what he’s supposed to do.
There are lots of things in the Bible that are repeated. Think of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, aren’t there 4 different accounts of some of the things that Jesus did? There’s repetition. Think of Paul’s letters, Paul says the same thing to 8 different churches in slightly different ways. There’s repetition. Look at the Old Testament as Israel failed God and God would give them over to their enemies and after a period of time deliver them for His glory… there’s repetition. Look with me in Isaiah 6 as we see another example of repetition
Isaiah 6:2–3 CSB
2 Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth.
In heaven there is repetition as well as these creatures are constantly saying that God is holy, holy, holy. What does that repetition mean? In Hebrew if you say something one time it means that you mean it. If you say something two times it means that you are really emphasizing it in order to make a point… but if you say something three times it means that you’re taking it to the superlative degree, whenever we see this repetition in Isaiah 6, it means that God is the most holy that holy could possibly be. Repetition matters for several reasons, for one it emphasizes important things but for two we’re also just prone to forget things. Look with me in Hebrews 4:3, there’s a quotation of Psalm 95:11 here as the preacher shares that God said that these people will not enter His rest. Who are these people? Those who do not believe. What do we find in Hebrews 4:5? The same thing! What about in Hebrews 3:11? If you harden your hearts, you will not enter His rest. In Hebrews 3:15 we see a brief quotation of this same passage in Psalm 95. What is going on here? We see a lot of repetition and this is purposeful and we cannot afford to miss it!
There is a rest for God’s people but you will not enter it if you don’t have faith in Him. There are many who believe in a universal victory for every human being and that everyone is good and everyone wins in the end - the book of Hebrews cuts the head off of that teaching. There are some who God has said will not enter His rest because they have hardened their hearts. They are lost - this must force us to figure out where we are at today.
God gave the Israelites a promise - the land was theirs for the taking… and they didn’t believe in God’s promise. Whenever we fail to believe in God’s Word and promises, there is a consequence. They disobeyed God and they missed what God desired for them. Why is this included here in Hebrews? For one, these are Jewish Christians who would have been familiar with the Exodus story and the Wilderness Wandering generation. This would have served as a warning for them to not be like them and die in the desert but to enter by faith into what God has in store for them. This message is repeated over and over because we need to realize how serious the consequence of unbelief is. This is the problem that people have in our world today… Everyone wants to go to heaven, but they don’t want Jesus to be there when they get there. You think I’m kidding but I’m not! We want it our way and we want to make the rules the way that makes the most sense to us… but that’s not how it works! People want a crown but they don’t want a cross and this is what Jesus said we must have if we’re going to follow Him in Luke 9:23. Some people get so close to Jesus but they don’t genuinely have faith in Him. Get this, you can come to church and get right next to Jesus, but that does you the same amount of good as being right next to Noah’s Ark but not getting on the Ark when the rain started falling - you know that right? The Israelites on the edge of the promised land walked by sight and not by faith and this led to many of them not entering God’s rest. We live in a world that is much the same… people walk by sight and not by faith. So how do we fix it?
We remember what our God has done. The preacher of Hebrews goes all the way back to creation here in this passage, look at verse 4. After God created the world, what did God do on the 7th day? He rested. Did God rest because He was sleepy? Did He rest because He needed to physically or mentally? No! He rested to demonstrate a pattern for His people, and many argue a connection between verse 4 and 7 here. God rested and there remains an opportunity for US to enter His rest today.
Not only do we remember what our God has done, but second, we respond to what our God has done, unlike the generation of Israelites who ignored God’s mighty work. We respond like the generation that Joshua led into the promised land and we walk by faith and not by sight, even when things might not completely make sense - we trust in our God.
One of the problems that many people have with trusting in Jesus is that they think that they have more time. High school students, college students, young adults, middle age adults, senior adults, so many people believe this lie that tells them that they have more time and that they can worry about these type of things later on after they’ve done the things that they want to do first. From tragedy to conflicts, we know that we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow… that’s why the word “today” appears so often in this chapter. When should we do business with Jesus? Today. When should we respond to what God has done for us in sending Jesus to take our place on the cross? Not tomorrow, not after lunch, not after the Chiefs game, not another minute… Now!
By God’s grace we experience a lot of good things in this life. The people of Israel experienced a season of blessing in the promised land as they entered it under Joshua’s leadership… but God’s promise wasn’t just about a plot of land. Canaan wasn’t God’s end goal - holiness was. The Israelites continued to fall short in the promised land. They still sinned. They still disobeyed God, even in the land of rest and milk and honey. David in Psalm 95 still talked about how there remained a rest for God’s people. Where can we find this rest? Not in a place but in a person… Crossing the Jordan River didn’t lead the people to ultimate peace and rest - only Jesus can cross the sea of sin and death and take us home. Joshua led his people into the land but Jesus leads His people into eternal rest.
This world isn’t our home - we’re just passing right on through. But while we’re here, God has a purpose for us. God has created us in His image to know Him and to make Him known. To glorify Him with all that we say, think, and do. Knowing full and well that God has something better in store for us than we could ever fully understand ourselves. Look at verse 10 for this incredible reminder
Hebrews 4:10 CSB
10 For the person who has entered his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from his.
Here’s what we must do, church. If you want to find rest in this life, you have to realize that you can’t find it yourself. You can’t earn it. You can’t deserve it. You can’t work hard enough to one day kick your feet back on the couch so to speak. It doesn’t work that way. We must rest from our works and trust fully in the finished work of Jesus Christ in our place. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t things for us to do… Ephesians 2:10 says that we are created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. Our obedience and works do not save us - but a lack of obedience and a lack of works demonstrate a problem in the life of someone who claims to know Christ. So many look to Matthew 7:1 when it comes to this and they say that we cannot judge someone for what they do and what they do not do. You and I cannot play God and we cannot know the salvation story of another person - but look at what comes after this in Matthew 7:16
Matthew 7:16 CSB
16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
Consider this today friend: What fruit are you producing? Today are you at rest or are you restless whenever you think about where you’re at and what your future looks like? Are you working out of fear or are you working due to faith? Are you depending on your works to save you or do you trust completely in what Christ has already done? If you have responded to Christ’s work in faith, then friend live out Hebrews 3:13 and encourage those around you to do the same. Encourage your Church family to trust in Jesus completely. But if you haven’t responded to what Jesus has done, if you are not at rest, if you’re still at war with God, then friend hear this: Today there is hope and that hope has a name and His name is Jesus! Today my prayer is that you’d realize that there is something greater out there. There is a greater peace. There is a greater hope. Don’t trust in your own strength - trust in the work of Jesus. Follow the greater Joshua - the greater deliverer - the greater conqueror - the greater Savior… Follow Jesus today

How Can We Enter God’s Rest?

Receiving God’s Word
Before you can be changed by Jesus, you must know who Jesus is and what He has done for you! We must hear and receive the Good News before we can do anything else. If you’re a Christian this morning, you have a responsibility to tell others about the saving power of Jesus Christ so that they can hear the Good News and begin to understand their need for Jesus. If you’re not a Christian this morning, don’t be like these people 2,000 years ago who hear the good news and hardened their hearts. Hear what the Bible says but don’t just be a hearer… 2nd, we enter the rest by
Responding to God’s Word
It’s not enough to hear the Good News and never do anything with it. Robby Gallaty was sharing with his congregation a week or two ago on this very point. So many would say that we have downloaded Jesus to the hard drive of our head… but some would say that you do not know Jesus in the intimacy of your heart. Knowledge matters because we’re called to grow in our understanding of God’s Word - as we grow we should become more like Jesus… but simply knowing Bible facts or coming to a church service doesn’t make us a Christian. We must respond to what the Word of God says! If you have heard the good news, you are called to repent of your old ways and believe in Christ as Lord and follow after Him daily. Have you responded to God’s Word today? If not, why not do so today?
Relying on God’s Word
If you have responded to God’s Word - if you have saving faith in Christ as Lord - then you know what is awaiting you! You know that you have rested from your works and entered God’s rest through the finished work of Jesus. You know that you are in Christ and that your victory is assured because of the blood. Nothing can take that eternal rest away from you as that is signed, sealed, and secured for eternity. But there is a temptation that seeks to rob us of that rest in our day to day living and that comes from our sinful heart and our spiritual enemy. See, there are situations that we go through in this life that make us question the truthfulness of God’s Word. Is God really good if He let this happen? Why would God allow me to suffer like this? When will God come through and give me the wisdom that I’m praying for? Whenever we question the truthfulness of God and His Word we quickly spiral from rest to restlessness. What is the solution? Remember Hebrews 4:1-2. God made a promise to His people to give them rest. Rest is not in a place, it’s in a person, and His name is Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, friend, you can experience a downpayment of rest today in the middle of your storms. You can experience joy in the middle of sadness. You can experience peace during your problems. How? By responding to God’s Word in faith. By trusting that He who has called you is faithful and that He always comes through on His promises.
Rest is hard because we’re a busy society that simply goes and goes and goes and whenever we stop we feel like something is wrong! Taking a nap, talking to a friend, and trying to unplug help us relax for a period of time… these things are important and we need breaks and friends and to get away at times but these things only work for in the short term. Our forever rest isn’t found in hitting a financial benchmark. It’s not found in making the honor roll. It’s not found in having more friends or the dream job or the nice car. Rest is found by grace, through faith, in Christ alone. There is no other way to have peace with God than through His Son, Jesus Christ. Do you have that peace today?
Matthew 11:28 CSB
28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Listen to the Words of Jesus and find rest in His work in your place on Calvary… do not harden your heart today, there is room at the cross for you! Take a breath - ready, set, rest in Jesus!
Related Media
Related Sermons