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Hebrews - Part 4 - Accepting God's Rest

Study of Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:00
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In Hebrews 4 we see the spiritual rest that God offers his followers. Are we going to accept His offer and partake of that rest.

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ACCEPTING GOD’S REST Given April 25, 2020 WARNING 2: FEAR – LEST YOU MISS GOD’S REST • As we go through Hebrews 4 I would encourage you to open a Bible and follow along with my message today. • This passage discusses the promise of God’s rest, but it is also is accompanied by a warning let we miss out on God’s rest. HEB 4:1 1Therefore, 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.  • Chapter 4 begins with a Warning to be careful lest you come short of God’s rest. What is God’s rest? • What is the rest that is offered us in God? • Vs 4-9 give us some idea what this rest is all about. ◦ Rest does not mean inactivity. As many of us view rest, relaxation. ◦ God has not been inactive since creation; He has been very active. ◦ He has been administering the universe and working out the salvation of man JN 5:17 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” • Therefore, when the Bible speaks of rest for us as believers, it does not mean a state or life of inactivity. ◦ It does not mean that the believer sits and lies around or goes about relaxing and doing whatever he wants. ◦ It does not mean that the believer is freed from duty and responsibility. ◦ The believer’s rest means something far more meaningful and hopeful, than that. • A couple of points regarding the rest that God speaks about. ◦ There is the rest of satisfaction and pleasure with one’s life and the work God is doing through us. ◦ There is the rest of deliverance and of salvation. This is the rest of the promised land which far exceeds the land of Canaan. ◦ There is the rest of a new day, of another day that shall be far better than this day—a day that will bring perfection and eternal life to the God’s people. REV 14:13 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” • No matter what happens in this world with death or pandemics we know 100% guaranteed God will deliver us if not in this life but in the life to come we will be given a new Spiritual body. HEB 4:2 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.  • WARNING: The warning given here is we can fall short of receiving God’s rest if we ignore it. • God’s rest was preached to Israel—loudly and clearly. • There was no excuse, for Israel knew about the glorious news of God’s rest: • Israel was delivered from Eqypt, they were sustained and cared for in the wilderness but many still refused to accept the rest of Canaan that was offered. • This gospel—the glorious message of God’s rest—was preached to Israel, and it has been preached to us. ◦ But note the warning: the Word did not profit Israel. ◦ Why? ◦ Because Israel did not mix the Word with faith. ◦ They did not believe in the Word of God. JN 3:36 6 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. HEB 4:3 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. • WARNING: We can come short of God’s rest because God has declared that unbelievers will not enter His rest. ◦ This verse is clear: the person who believes enters God’s rest, but the person who does not believe does not enter. ◦ And the tragic fact is conclusive: ▪ God has sworn that the unbeliever will not enter His rest. ▪ The unbeliever has no hope, nothing to look forward to in this life except trials, sufferings, emptiness, loneliness, disease, accidents, temptations, and death—a life without permanent meaning, significance, and purpose. ▪ He has nothing to look forward to in the future life. ▪ God has said: • The person who does not believe in His Son, accept Jesus as their personal Savior and who does not accept the eternal rest, deliverance, and salvation given to us in Jesus Christ—will not enter into His rest. JN 3:18 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. HEB 4:4-6 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”  5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,  • WARNING: As believers we need to accept the rest that God is offering us. ◦ God’s rest is real ◦ The gospel of God’s rest is not a fabrication, ◦ The rest of God offers us exists Here are a few proofs God’s rest is a sure thing for us as believers. 1.) The fact that God rested after creation proves that there is a rest for God’s people ◦ God labored and worked in creating the world and then He rested. ◦ He stood back and looked over His work and experienced the deepest sense of satisfaction and completion. ◦ For us in Christ we can have this same sense of rest and satisfaction as we yield to God and allow him to work in us. 2.) God’s promise to Israel of the promised land (Canaan rest) is proof that there is a rest for God’s people (vs. 5–6). ◦ God’s promise cannot fail. ◦ There was a rest for the people of Israel and they did not enter it. ◦ But note: the fact that God’s rest existed and that He promised it to believers means that some must enter His rest. ◦ God’s eternal rest does not exist to remain empty and to be void of people. ◦ Some must enter the Canaan rest of heaven. ◦ Since Israel did not enter, the only conclusion that can be drawn is this: ▪ God’s rest still exists. ▪ Believers can still enter God’s rest. HEB 4:7-10 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “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 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;  10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 3.) God’s promise of a new day to David proves that there is a rest for God’s people (v. 7) ◦ As verse 7 says, it was a long time after Israel’s entrance into Canaan when the Holy Spirit spoke through David saying, “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts,” but enter God’s rest. ◦ God’s rest still existed in the days of David; ◦ Therefore, the physical land of Canaan could not have been the rest promised to Israel. ◦ This promise of a rest was given 500 years after Israel entered Canaan. ◦ God’s rest is ◦ Joshua did provide some rest to Israel, but it was not the complete fulfillment of God’s promise. ◦ God’s rest is spiritual and eternal, the spiritual confidence and security of peace and life, both now and forever. ◦ So brethren there remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God. 4.) The rest of Jesus Christ from all His work proves that there is a rest for God’s people (v. 10). ◦ This verse can equally apply to man and Christ. Most commentators apply it to man saying … ▪ when man enters God’s rest, he no longer struggles through all the trials and temptations of life. ▪ He conquers and triumphs over them. ◦ The author of Hebrews is proving that there is a rest for God’s people. ◦ And there is no greater proof than the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ after His work upon earth. ▪ When He accomplished the work of redemption and salvation, He entered His rest, the rest of the promised land of heaven—to abide in its glory and magnificence forever. ▪ It is the rest of Jesus Christ, His resurrection into God’s eternal rest, that proves above all else that there is a rest for God’s people. MATT 11:29-30 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ◦ God never intended us to be straddled under the burdens we so often want to carry. ▪ Burden of sorrow in the loss of a loved one (evident in COVID-19 times ▪ The burden of fear of getting sick catching the pandemic, health stresses ▪ The burden of losing a job, financial stress, relational stresses, stresses of loneliness, isolation, of conflicts. ▪ Give our burdens to him and let Jesus carry them and HE WILL GIVE US REST FOR OUR SOULS. HEB 4:11 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. First, a person must labor to enter God’s rest, be diligent to obey God’s instructions to us. ◦ The word “labor” comes from the Greek word (spoudazzo) which means to endeavor, give all diligence, be zealous, strive eagerly, exert one’s self, and make haste. ◦ I can’t help but think of the words given in Matthew MATT 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. ◦ There is no place for sleepiness or laziness, complacency or lethargy. ◦ Have you ever tried to paddle upstream in a river. I have. ▪ When you stop to take it easy or rest you go backwards. ▪ When you cease to exert effort you go backwards ▪ When you take a rest in the canoe, have a nap you may drift backward maybe through the rapids or over a waterfall. ◦ Unless a person labors with all diligence, we will fall as Israel did. ◦ And remember Israel’s experience: ▪ the people would labor for a while and then fall back for awhile; labor again and then fall back again. Israel lived an up and down life, and the nation was not allowed to enter God’s rest. ◦ There is no place for inconsistency, no place for living an up and down life—not in God’s rest. ◦ Diligence requires laboring every day – it is absolutely essential. LK 13:24 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. • What does society tell us. Go with the flow don’t rock the boat. • Paul talks about the Christian race we run. I COR 9:25 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  HEB 4:12 12 For the word of God is alive 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.  • The key to striving and being zealous is in obeying God is using the Word of God. God’s Word is full of Promise and Help for Us as Believers • God’s Word promises rest to those who believe. ◦ And note: His Word of promise is not a lifeless text in book form. It is not just paper and ink. ◦ God’s Words recorded in the Holy Bible are living promises – they bring life and lead to eternal life. ◦ The Word of God is powerful, active and alive that energizes the heart of a believer. • It discerns a proud attitude from a humble spirit. • It discerns a sinful attitude from a righteous spirit. • It discerns a rebellious attitude from an obedient spirit. • It discerns an unbelieving heart from a believing spirit. • The Word of God “discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.” ◦ “The Word of God is able to penetrate into the furthermost recesses of a person’s spiritual being, sifting out and analyzing the thoughts and intents of the heart” I am not going to turn to the following verses but they highlight how the WORD OF GOD IS POWERFUL AND LIVING ▪ Eph 6:17 – The word of God is the piercing sword of the Spirit. • Arouses awareness of ones thoughts and motives. ▪ Js 1:22-25 – The word of God is a reflecting mirror of Life • It reflects and exposes the type of person we are. ▪ Lk 24:32 – The word of God is the burning fire of Conviction. • Burns and consumes the heart the conscience of man ▪ Jer 23:29 – The word of God is like a pounding hammer • It crushes the hardness of man’s heart ▪ I Pet 2:23 – The word of God reproduces seed of a new birth • Mankind is spiritually born again by hearing and believing the Word ▪ I Pet 2:2-3 – The word of God is nourishing food to believers. • A believer grow and lives and is built up through the study of the Word. ▪ Ps 119:105 -The word of God is guiding light of the believer • God’s word will guide and direct our path and choices in life ▪ Jn 17:17– Word of God is the cleansing water of sanctification. • His word lead to truth. ▪ II Tim 2:15 – The word of God is the measuring instrument by which we receive approval from God. ◦ Hence we see why regularly studying the word of God is so important for believers, it is the key to the change that God wants in us. II TIM 3:16 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  Continuing in Hebrew Verse 13 of Hebrews 4 goes on to say HEB 4:13 13 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. • In the end no matter how hard, nothing is hidden from God. • He knows if we believe in Him and His promise of eternal rest or not. • He knows if we are making a false profession or if we are truly following Christ. • In the end we may fool our fellow man into believing we are true followers of the way buy we cannot fool God. • HIDE AND SEEK: Nothing can be hidden from God. He knows about everyone everywhere, and everything about us is wide open to his all-seeing eyes. God sees all we do and knows all we think. Even when we are unaware of his presence, he is there. When we try to hide from him, he sees us. We can have no secrets from God. Can your Christian life stand the test? Is your faith living and real? LK 12:2 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. HEB 4:14-15 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  • Jesus Christ is our Supreme High Priest he is sympathetic and compassionate ◦ I will be focusing on this subject in my message next week. ◦ Jesus Christ is not only our great High Priest but he is also the “Son of God” ◦ He came to make it possible for us to live in the very presence of God Himself. ▪ How can He do this? ▪ Because He is the Son of God. ▪ As the Son of God He has the power to save us to the uttermost—to make us acceptable to God. ▪ When we are presented to God though Christ he see us as cleansed and perfect. ▪ No other human high priest could do this. In Jesus we have a High Priest who empathizes for us, feels for us. • It means to sympathize and feel with a person to the point that the hurt and pain are actually felt within one’s own heart. • The idea is that Jesus Christ actually suffers when we suffer. • He knows and suffers right along with us when we … • become sick • suffer trials • face temptations • fall into sin • have an accident • feel lonely • sense emptiness • lack purpose • lose a loved one • are stricken with suffering • lack money • are hungry • lack clothes • suffer persecution • face death • Name the trial or pain, temptation, or suffering—name the infirmity or weakness—name any and all human experiences—Jesus Christ actually sympathizes and feels with us. • Verse 15 tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way yet he did not sin. JN 14:1,18 1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. • Thanks to him living a sinless life we can have life and our sins forgiven. • He bore all our sins and yet did not sin. I PET 2:22 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” HEB 4:16 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. • As believers we can approach the throne of God the seat of power, authority, honor, glory reverence and respect. • God will extend mercy and grace to his followers ESPECIALLY IN OUR HOUR OF NEED. ◦ But how could God, who sits upon the majestic and glorious throne of the universe, be so gracious to man? ▪ How could God care for man, care for a creature who is such a small part of so vast a universe? ▪ Care for a creature who has cursed, denied, ignored, and rebelled against the Sovereign Lord of the universe? ▪ Because of Christ Jesus. ◦ Christ is there in the throne room of God, and He is seated there as the Savior of the world, as the Ideal and Perfect Man who sacrificed His life for the sins of the world. ▪ He is there pleading our case before God. God listens to the Son who is our Intercessor our High Priest. ▪ He has turned the throne of God from a throne of judgment into a throne of grace. ◦ Therefore, “let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” We have the right, so let us do it. ▪ Let us approach God through Jesus Christ, and God will do whatever we ask through Christ. ▪ He will help us in our hour of need. ▪ God’s throne is now a throne of grace; it is now opened up for any person to approach, no matter how bad and terrible a life he or she has lived. (all because of Jesus Christ) I JN 4:17 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. • Through Jesus God will forgive our sins; He will have mercy upon us. ◦ As believers we must come to the throne of grace and ask for mercy. ◦ We must acknowledge that mercy comes only through Christ Jesus, our great High Priest. ◦ He and He alone knows our need for mercy; ◦ He and He alone bore our sins and paid our penalty and condemnation. ◦ He and He alone can represent us before God. TITUS 3:5 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, I COR 10:1313 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. PHIL 4:13 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. BOLDLY: Prayer is our approach to God, and we are to come “boldly.” Some Christians approach God meekly with heads hung low, afraid to ask him to meet their needs. Others pray flippantly, giving little thought to what they say. Come with reverence because he is your King. But also come with bold assurance because he is your Father, Friend, and Counselor CLOSING PRAYER
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