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Hebrews 4

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So before we pick up in Chapter 4 lets take a moment to review and get our minds engaged.
Who are this letters intended readers?
What is the problem the writer is addressing?
What is the message of Ch 1? Jesus is God’s ultimate messenger & Jesus is better than the prophets & the angels.
Ch 2? Warning to not neglect “so great a salvation”. Jesus Christ became fully human.
Ch 3? Be faithful as Jesus is faithful. Beware of an evil heart of unbelief and a hardened heart.
What are some ways our heart can became hardened?
Some harden their hearts by relapsing into their old indifference.
Some harden their hearts by unbelief.
Some harden their hearts by asking for more signs.
Some harden their hearts by presuming upon the mercy of God.
Some harden their hearts by ignoring God’s voice.
Some harden their hearts through the deceitfulness of sin.

Entering God’s Rest

Let’s begin by reading 3: 16-19 and then 4: 1 - 16
Here we continue with the quotation of and the idea of entering into God’s rest.
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
This section again begins with therefore telling us that what he is about to say is built on the points he had just made.
What do you think is meant by “His rest” and how do we enter it?
What ever is meant, and we will deal with that in a moment, the writer warns us to ”fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”
First lets deal with the idea of His Rest.
An old puritan commentator describes it like this:
· Rest means peace with God.
· Rest means freedom from a servile, bondage-like spirit in the worship and service of God.
· Rest means deliverance from the burden of Mosaic observance.
· Rest means the freedom of worship according to the gospel.
· Rest means the rest that God Himself enjoys.
How does one fall short of His Rest?
One commentator sees the idea of falling short as an illusion to the ancient Grecian games. As it doesn’t matter how much you lose the race by. If you lose you lose. Close doesn’t matter.
Peter tells us: -12
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
He continues: For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
Do you ever wonder why two people can hear the same message and with one hearing God’s voice and another getting nothing out of it?
Salvation is a work of God in a receptive heart. It is a God thing as I like to call it. But without faith it doesn’t work. Jesus told the parable of the soils only the good soil produced fruit. The great news is that God has given to each a “measure of faith” and it only takes a tiny “mustard seed” faith to move mountains.
For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ ” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.
In this section the writer is explaining that this “rest” is available to all believers and proving his case through scripture.
So swore in My wrath: This quote from demonstrates that God has a rest available to us. This rest is after the pattern of God’s own rest on the seventh day from all His works, as described in the quote from .
Why do you think God rested on the seventh day, He certainly wasn’t tired?
There remains therefore a rest for the people of God: All this together proves the point that there is a rest for the people of God. This is a rest that is spiritual, yet patterned after the rest provided through Joshua.
The mention of Joshua reminds us that the name “Jesus” is the same as “Joshua.” The second Joshua will finish what the first Joshua left unfinished. Jesus is greater than both Moses and the second Joshua.
This rest is in a person – in Jesus Christ, not so much in doctrines and ideas. If you meet a troubled, crying child and try to comfort him and give him rest using ideas and logic, it won’t do much good. But when mommy comes, the child is happy again.
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
Entering this rest means no longer needing to work. The idea isn’t that there is no longer any place for doing good works. The idea is that there is no longer any place for works as a basis for our own righteousness.

The Word of God

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
Be diligent to enter that rest: The rest is there, but God does not force it upon us. We must enter that rest. Clearly, the rest is entered by faith; but it takes diligent faith. This shows us that faith is not passive; it takes diligence to trust in, rely on, and cling to Jesus and His work for us.
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience: If we are not diligent to enter that rest, the result can be a disaster. We may fall according to the same example of disobedience. We may fall, even as the children of Israel did in the wilderness.
We are warned over and over to “be not deceived”. Self deception is a kind of willing blind spot. The Word of God is a mirror that reveals the truth about us.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
For the word of God: God’s Word diagnoses the condition of man with a surgeon’s precision. It lays open our heart and discerns our spiritual health.
Living and powerful: When the word of God exposes our weakness and unbelief like this, it demonstrates its inherent power, sharpness, and accuracy. It bears constant reminding that as we submit ourselves to the word of God, we do it for far, far more than intellectual knowledge or to learn Bible facts. We do it for the ministry of the Word, because God meets us in His Word and the Holy Spirit works powerfully through the word of God. This spiritual work of God’s Word goes far beyond the basic educational value of learning the Bible.
i. God’s Word brings true health, fruitfulness, prosperity and success to what we do ().
ii. The Word of God has healing power and the power to deliver from oppression (, , ).
iii. God’s Word cleans us. If we take heed according to God’s word, our way will be cleansed (, , ).
iv. The Word of God, hidden in our hearts, keeps us from sin ().
v. God’s Word is a counselor. When we delight in God’s word, it becomes a rich source of counsel and guidance for us ().
vi. God’s Word is a source of strength ().
vii. God’s Word imparts life. It is a continual source of life ( and ).
viii. God’s Word is a source of illumination and guidance. When God’s word comes in, light comes in. It makes the simple wise and understanding ( and ).
ix. God’s Word gives peace to those who love it. They are secure, standing in a safe place ().
x. When the Word of God is heard and understood, it bears fruit ().
xi. The Word of God has inherent power and authority against demonic powers ().
xii. Jesus Himself – His eternal person – is described as the Word. When we are into the word of God, we are into Jesus ().
xiii. Hearing God’s Word is essential to eternal life. One cannot pass from death into life unless they hear the Word of God (, , ).
xiv. Abiding – living in – God’s Word is evidence of true discipleship ().
xv. God’s Word is the means to sanctification ().
xvi. The Holy Spirit can work with great power as the Word of God is preached ().
xvii. Hearing God’s Word builds faith ().
xviii. Holding fast to the Word of God gives assurance of salvation ().
xix. The faithful handling of the Word of God gives the ministers of the word a clear conscience. They know that they did all they could before God ( and ).
xx. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. It is equipment for spiritual battle, especially in the idea of an offensive weapon ().
xxi. The Word of God comes with the power of the Holy Spirit, with “much assurance” ().
xxii. The Word of God works effectively in those who believe ().
xxiii. The Word of God sanctifies the very food we eat! ().
xxiv. The Word of God is not dead; it is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword. The Word of God can probe us like a surgeon’s expert scalpel, cutting away what needs to be cut and keeping what needs to be kept ().
xxv. The Word of God is the Christian’s source of spiritual growth ( and ).
Sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow:
Often people wonder how a preacher’s message can be so relevant to their life. They sometimes honestly wonder if the preacher has inside information about their life. But it isn’t necessarily the preacher at all. It is the sharpness of the Word of God, delivering the message in just the right place.
“A sword with two edges has no blunt side: it cuts both this way and that. The revelation of God given us in Holy Scripture is edge all over. It is alive in every part, and in every part keen to cut the conscience, and wound the heart. Depend upon it, there is not a superfluous verse in the Bible, nor a chapter which is useless.” (Spurgeon)
Even to the division of soul and spirit: The writer to the Hebrews makes a distinction between soul and spirit, indicating that a division can be made between them.
What is the difference between soul and spirit?
“The New Testament use of pneuma for the human spirit focuses on the spiritual aspect of man, i.e. his life in relation to God, whereas psycherefers to man’s life irrespective of his spiritual experience, i.e. his life in relation to himself, his emotions and thought. There is a strong antithesis between the two in the theology of Paul.” (Guthrie)
That there is some distinction between soul and spirit is obvious in passages like and . Passages like and show that the terms are sometimes both used to generally refer to the inner man.
All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account:
Naked reminds us of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and how God saw their nakedness. They could not hide from God and neither can we.
1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 ​​You know my sitting down and my rising up;
​​You understand my thought afar off.
3 ​​You comprehend my path and my lying down,
​​And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 ​​For there is not a word on my tongue,
​​But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 ​​You have hedged me behind and before,
​​And laid Your hand upon me.
6 ​​Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
​​It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 ​​Where can I go from Your Spirit?
​​Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 ​​If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
​​If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 ​​If I take the wings of the morning,
​​And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 ​​Even there Your hand shall lead me,
​​And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 ​​If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[fn] on me,”
​​Even the night shall be light about me;
12 ​​Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
​​But the night shines as the day;
​​The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

5 Our Great High Priest, Jesus

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus the Son of God is like no other High Priest. He passed through the heavens and was tempted but without sin.
To the ancient Greeks, the primary attribute of God was apatheia, the essential inability to feel anything at all. Jesus isn’t like that. He knows and He feels what we go through. The ancient Greek word translated sympathize literally means “to suffer along with.”

Come boldly to the Throne of Grace

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Let us therefore come boldly: Because we have a High Priest who is both omnipotent and compassionate, we can come boldly to His throne. Discouraging us from this access is a central strategy of Satan. The devil sometimes wants us to consider Jesus as unapproachable – perhaps encouraging us to come by Mary or by the saints instead of Jesus. Sometimes the devil wants us to think of Jesus as being powerless to help, not as one who sits on a throne in heaven.
Boldly does not mean proudly, arrogantly, or with presumption.
· Boldly means we may come constantly.
· Boldly means we may come without reservation.
· Boldly means we can come freely, without fancy words.
· Boldly means we can come with confidence.
· Boldly means we should come with persistence.
Ancient Jewish Rabbis taught that God had two thrones, one of mercy and one of judgment. They said this because they knew that God was both merciful and just, but they could not reconcile these two attributes of God. They thought that perhaps God had two thrones to display the two aspects of His character. On one throne He showed judgment and on the other throne mercy. But here, in light of the finished work of Jesus, we see mercy and judgment reconciled into one throne of grace.
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