"GET INTO GOD'S REST"
(A Series on Hebrews)
Westgate Chapel 10/28/01a.m. Hebrews 4:1-13
PROPOSITION: The frantic frenzy of trying to find some peace and happiness in life can only be solved by not falling short of God's rest, by going on into that rest by faith, and by not trying to fake the rest found only in Christ Jesus.
- HAVE you ever envied those who live a simpler life? Ever wanted to change places with them?
- WHEN we lived in Iowa, we would occasionally drive down to Kalona, where the Amish live, without tractors, televisions, cars or telephones.......there is ten years of frustration in your life right there.
- THINGS were so peaceful in Kalona........horse drawn buggies......children playing in farm yards......women working together.......everything peaceful and quiet.
- IT is one of the benefits of a rural setting.
- EVERY Labor Day weekend, we would drive to Dayton, Iowa and spend the weekend on the farm with Rita's Aunt and Uncle....it was so quiet and relaxing!
- NOW, uncle Oris had a good friend, Lee Benson, who owned a Chevrolet dealership in Gowrie, Iowa......a thriving metropolis of 237 people.
- ON Friday morning, we would always go over to Lee's....to drink coffee with his cronies and kick a tire or two.
- DO you know how sometimes, something happens and you just laugh and laugh on the inside....but can't show it on the outside? Well, that happened to me one Friday morning, over at Lee's showroom with about 4 or 5 farmer friends, eating donuts, drinking coffee.....and leaning over the bed of a new pickup....staring at the shiny paint in those little grooves in the metal bottom.......noone saying a word....everything quiet and relaxing, except ever so often one of the farmers would shift the weight on his feet and let out a "Yyyyup!"
- NOW, that's rest and relaxation that you don't find in the big city.
- WHAT ever happened to the days when, in the evening, you could find families all sitting on the front porch....on a swing or in an old rocking chair?
- IT is like we are all in a race...but no one can find the finish line.
- I THINK that it is more than just the pace of life in big city, America.
- I BELIEVE that the further away from God we get, either as individuals, or as a society, the madder our race to find some peace and rest.
- WE get in a race to reach some unattainable pinnacle of success in our career, or in acquisitions, or in a special relationship, or in status, or in achievement, or in popularity........hoping to find rest when we get there.
- THERE is a frantic frenzy beneath the surface of life in America.......everyone is driven, in search of peace, happiness and some rest.
- BUT EVERYBODY is worn out trying.
- EVERYBODY is tired and they don't even know why.
- IT is because they are looking in the wrong places for rest and peace.
- WHAT is rest?
- REST means to cease from your labor.
- THERE is only one true place of rest. You can find it in Hebrews 4.
- REST is being in perfect harmony with God.
- IN spiritual terms it means that Jesus has done everything for you that needs to be done....and that you cannot add one thing to His work on your behalf.....so you trust in Him.
- ALL the fulfillment you need is found in Jesus Christ.
* You don't need to strive to prove that you are a success......a real man or a real woman...........Jesus did it already for you.
* You don't need to prove you are worth something........Jesus already took care of that when He valued you so much that He gave His life for you.
* There is no need to frantically search for purpose in life......Jesus already fulfilled the purpose of mankind, doing the Father's will......and lets you share in that glory.
* You don't have to prove to everyone that you are perfect.........Jesus was perfect, in every sense of the word, and He gives that to you too.
- SO, you see, all your striving can stop. All your human effort can stop. The mad rush to nowhere is over.
- THERE is rest in Jesus Christ.
- IN fact, it is not just a rest from the striving here on earth...but, more importantly, it is rest from hostility with God....for eternity.
- THE ultimate of God's rest will be experienced at the end of time.....when your salvation and mine will be eternally sealed by the grace of God.
- EVERY day we are getting closer to that final consummation of our rest.
- BUT until that day, the writer of Hebrews has a message for those of us who are;
* Full of anger and inner hostility.
* Besieged by fear and anxiety.
* Consumed by working, striving to prove yourself.......by taking your life and future into your own hands.
* Discontented....extremely disatisfied with life.
* Full of despair....given up all hope.
* Eaten up by grief over some loss.
ii. so don't fall short of god's rest
- AND to all of us he writes in Hebrews 4:1,
"Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it."
- DON'T spend your whole life, trying to find some degree of rest and peace....only to come to the end of your life and discover that you have fallen short.
- THE writer, then, takes us back to the history of Israel in verses 2-5.......and tells us how they fell short of the rest that God promised them in Canaan.
- ONLY it was an even deeper rest than just that to be found in an earthly land.....it was a rest of trust in God that He was really drawing Israel to experience.
* WHEN they needed deliverance from Pharaoh......it was not Moses' argumentation that won their freedom......it was the power of God and Pharaohs hard heart.
* WHEN they were faced with the impossible Red Sea, and Pharaohs army out to destroy them.....it was not Israel's military might that won the victory......it was the power of God, working through Moses' faith.
* WHEN it was thirst for water that almost annihilated Israel....it was not a well dug by Moses that satisfied them....it was water out of a rock, in the desert that quenched their thirst.
* WHEN they were hungry, with no crops in sight......it was God that provided manna and quail.
* WHEN it was guidance that they needed....it was not the navigational expertise of Moses that got them through.......it was a divine cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night.
* WHEN the enemy came in like a flood, and the Amalekite army threatened to overpower Israel....it was not Joshua's charismatic personality or military expertise that won the victory....but when Moses, Aaron and Hur, lifted their hands in prayer, up on the hill overlooking the battlefield, the victory was won.
- DOESN'T it seem, to you, that with this kind of proof of the sufficiency of God, that when the chips were down, that Israel should have rested in the power of God.
- BUT, in spite of all the miracle power around them, when they got to the Jordan, and heard the reports of the opposition in Canaan land.......they all panicked.......all 2 million of them.
- AND after all they had been through to get them that far.....they were filled with unbelief and did not enter God's rest.
- THEY all died, except for two (Joshua and Caleb who believed), right there in the desert, wandering around aimlessly for forty years.
- BECAUSE they did not combine hearing the word of the Lord, with faith.....with simple trust in Him.
- HERE is God's Word to America........."Don't fall short of His rest."
- IT is His word to you this morning.....besieged with fears and doubts and anger and striving and discontent......don't arrive at your Jordan and, because of unbelief in your heart, fall short of God's rest.
- IT is a stern warning. It is directed to us all this morning. It can mean either the "rest" of salvation in Christ for the unbeliever.....or the "rest" of complete trust for the believer.
- DON'T take His warning lightly.
iii. SO go on into god's rest
- NEXT, in verses 6-11, I hear the Spirit calling, that we are "go on into God's rest."
- IT all hinges on trust....on simple faith.
- IT was unbelief that kept Israel out of Canaan, at first.
- UNBELIEF is the opposite of rest.
- UNBELIEF is what fosters anger, striving, discontent, despair and fear in us.
- SO it is faith that will bring us into God's rest.....trust that He is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.
- THE writer says, in verses 6&7,
"It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.'"
- THERE is that word, "Today", again.
- THE Holy Spirit likes that word....."Today."
- "TOMORROW" is the devil's tool to get you to put off forever, what needs to happen in your heart today.
- NOW is the time....this is the day to enter into God's rest and salvation....today!
- VERSE 10 says that it is not through our own works that we enter God's rest....it is only by faith in Jesus' completed work.
- BUT then verse 11 says that we are to "make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one fall away by following (Israel's) example of disobedience."
- SO, go on in today. Lay aside all disobedience to God's word, and make every effort, through faith, to enter God's rest.
- LAY aside all anger, all hatred, and discontent, and despair, and fear........those are the fruits of disobedience......and go on in....TODAY!
iv. so don't try and fake god's rest
- HERE is the last point about God's rest.
- I THINK it is kind of humorous.
- IT is found in verses 12&13........God says, "Don't try and fake being in His rest."......after all it is far too serious a matter to fake......and He knows everything anyhow, so you cannot get away with it.
- LET'S read it together,
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."
- YOU cannot fool yourself, concerning whether or not you are in God's rest.....because the Word of God is,
* Alive and active......if you let it in.
* Sharp to separate those things of the world from those things of God in your life.
- ALSO, you cannot fool God........NOTHING is hidden from His eyes.
- SO, why wait....and why try and hide......Just get up from where you are this morning......and enter God's rest.
- THIS is the day to receive, by faith, the finished work of Jesus for you.....and you can enter His rest.
- THE rest you can enjoy NOW.....in this life.
- AND the rest you will enjoy for eternity...in His presence.
THE SAVIOR IS WAITING
The Savior is waiting to enter your heart
Why don't you let Him come in?
There's nothing in this world to keep you apart
What is your answer to Him?
Time after time He has waited before
And now He is waiting again
To see if you're willing to open the door
O how He wants to come in.