Faithlife Sermons

The Promise Of Rest

Hebrews: A Story Worth Sharing  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Good morning guys!
I am so excited for you to be here today and for choosing to make this commitment.
What a journey it has been for your family to get to this day and look a this precious, handsome little boy.
Today is a special day because as parents, you are choosing to dedicate your lives to ensure that Cypress has the opportunity to know God personally.
As we begin, I want to remind you this morning of some of the responsibilities that God has given you.
Train up your Cypress in the ways of God.
Be an example of Christian living both inside and outside the home.
Provide for, protect, and nurture your him.
Make them a part of your family, sharing with him your love, your time, and your life.
Teach Cypress to love the same Jesus that you love … and to serve, obey and honor Him with all his heart.
I want to remind you that you are not alone in this responsibility.
God, your Heavenly Father, is always with you to provide you with the strength, encouragement, love, and wisdom you need.
All you have to do is go to Him, and He will provide all that you need.
This morning, we are not dedicating Cypress, as much as we are dedicating Jake and Mattie.
You are here today to publicly say that you want to raise Cypress in a Christ-honoring home … and are asking God’s blessing on your ministry as Christian parents.
LISTEN carefully, as I ask you several questions.
In answering these questions, you are making promises to GOD.
NOT to me … NOT to Cypress … BUT … to GOD.
If you are willing then reply by saying “We do” to the following promises:
Parents respond with “I do”
Do you pledge, as followers of Christ, that you will raise Cypress in a home that emphasizes the importance of a personal, growing relationship with God?
Do you promise to teach him the truth of the gospel and pray for the day that he chooses to believe that truth for himself?
Do you promise to show him God’s love to the best of your ability?
Church, there is a great role that we are to play in Cypress, Jake, and Mattie’s lives as well.
We are called to join them in this great responsibility by loving them well.
Please listen carefully to the promises that you are making to God and to this sweet family.
TGP Membership respond with “We will”
Do you pledge, as their brothers and sisters in Christ, that you will role-model the importance of a personal, growing relationship with God?
Do you promise to help Jake and Mattie teach Cypress the truth of the gospel and pray for the day that he chooses to believe that truth for himself?
Do you promise to show them God’s love to the best of your ability?
Now Bethany, as our Next Gen Minister, has some things to share with you.
(certificate and bibles)
Life Group and extended family, would you come up and join us as we pray over this family?
Let’s pray together.
God, as we stand before you today, we are promising you, Cypress, Jake, and Mattie, that we will do all that we can in providing an environment in which Cypress can know you. Father, we are completely aware that we are incapable of accomplishing this great task without your Holy Spirit. We ask that you would guide all of us in sharing your love with Cypress. We are so thankful that you have brought this beautiful family into our body. Jake and Mattie have faithfully walked with you and today we ask that you give them the strength to continue. We ask that you would give them wisdom and compassion as they journey through parenthood. God show them your love daily and give them the tools they need to share that same love with Cypress. Father, bless this family and their extended family with a love for one another that can only come from you. We love them so much and we know you do too. In Jesus' name, we pray, amen.

The Promise Of Rest

Isn’t incredible to celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promises this morning?
It is no accident that today we are going to be talking about God’s promises and the faithfulness of his people.
I have been anticipating this message today because it is one that we all need.
Today we will be encouraged to daily step out in faith so that we can live in the presence of God and enjoy His promises.
Last week we finished up chapter three in which the author is encouraging the church to not make the same mistake that Israel did.
We saw that their disobedience prevented them from inheriting the promised land.
Rather than trusting God who had delivered them, provided for them, and guided them, they chose to trust the opinions of men.
We have talked about this before, but it bears repeating again because we saw it last week and will see it again this week.
Our response to God and his direction has a major impact on our lives.
If we choose to walk in disobedience, there are consequences.
We saw last week that Israel lost the promised land because they were not faithful in trusting God.
We are about to see that the author is making a direct correlation of this lesson for the church, which still stands for us today.
Conversation with the elders this week:
God has been speaking that we are still struggling with understanding our call as believers.
We have grown up in a culture where there are professional ministers.
Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Youth Ministers, Children’s Ministers, etc.
Our culture has lost the understanding of what it truly means to be a FOLLOWER of Christ.
Each and every FOLLOWER is called to do just that, to personally follow Jesus moment by moment.
That means that all of us are called to care for one another, serve one another, to be disciple-makers, to lead in meeting needs.
The term that is used to describe this is the “priesthood of believers”.
All of us are called to fulfill the roles that, for generations, have been delegated to a select few that the church paid to do it.
It is important for us to discuss this today because as we read these next two verses, I want all of us to understand the weight of what is being said.
Often we look at the needs around us and assume that someone else will handle them.
We are quick to assume that it is not our “call” or responsibility rather than considering if God has revealed the need to us because he wants us to do it.
We, like Israel, see needs around us and think they are far too great for us to accomplish.
The basketball goal fiasco on Monday.
I had no clue how we were going to get it done, but God did.
He went around me and used Craig Glasscock to complete what He was doing.
We often find ourselves in places where we are without hope unless God intervenes.
And just like Israel, we are put in those situations to learn to lean on God, not ourselves.
Nearly all of the things that we are called to do are too much for us to handle.
God does that so that we can step out in faith and obey.
It requires us to trust God to do what He says he will do.
God always finishes what he starts.
This is what we see happen with Israel.
God sends the spies out to see the promised land and report back to Israel how amazing it is.
However, they also see the literally, big, men that are currently occupying that land.
Rather than trusting God to fulfill His Promise.
The God that destroyed the greatest army in the known world.
The God that provided for their every need while in the wilderness.
The God that lead them by a cloud in the day and fire by night.
They ignored that same God and refuse to go in out of fear.
They allow their fear to lead them to disobey.
This also happens in our lives.
But rather than fearing death by our enemies, we fear having to die to ourselves.
God tells us to do something that we think is impossible.
And like Israel, we see that task looming over us.
The directive to die to ourselves seems like it will be too costly.
Rather than trusting God, we choose to disobey.
We are not alone in this struggle and God is speaking directly to that this morning.
Hear this encouragement from the author of Hebrews.
Hebrews 4:1–2 ESV
1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
Right off the bat, we need to recognize that he is pointing back to the testimony of Israel that he shared in chapter three.
Israel’s failure to follow God into the promised rest.
Even though so many disobeyed then and still do today, God’s word has not changed.
You would think that because of our disobedience, the opportunity for rest would be gone, but it is not.
The promise of rest still stands.
What is God’s Rest?
Some theologians believe that it is referring to the day of rest, a sabbath.
Some believe that is the final rest when Christ returns to the earth.
I think it is both.
God has given his rest to those before us, he gives us rest on the sabbath, and he will provide rest when Christ returns.
For Israel, the promised rest was a place of belonging.
A land that was promised to Abraham.
A long-standing promise...
It was a place “flowing with milk and honey”.
A place of freedom from slavery.
For us, it is a restored relationship with God that allows us to abide in him and know what He is doing in our lives.
A place of belonging among fellow believers, that loves one another.
Freedom from the law and death.
The ability to lean on God to lead us through life.
God‘s promise of rest is available to us today and it will be available to future generations.
Yet it was and is necessary for all of us to receive this warning.
There is a possibility of not reaching that rest.
There is the very real possibility that many who have heard the message of Christ, will choose to ignore it and they will not enter the rest that God has provided.
The message that came to Israel and that came to us is the same.
Israel disobeyed God and as a result, the entire generation forfeited the promised rest.
It is necessary for us to hear that warning because so many before us have forfeited the promises of God.
Hearing is not enough, we must also respond in faith if we are to enter into his rest.
Hebrews Hebrews 4:1–2

The difference between the “hearers” of the desert and of the true Christian community lies not in the word preached, which for both was a word of promise, but in the type of listening performed by each group.

This is good!
When we compare Israel’s failure to walk with God with the early church, the difference is their faithful obedience.
Joshua and Caleb were the only ones from that generation that were able to enter the promised land because they were faithful and encouraged Israel to be.
The early church experienced the promises of God because they were faithful in following Christ's example to die to themselves and live for one another.
We have the same opportunity to follow God.
I was talking to a friend at work this week and he was considering the total sum of his life witching the context of his job.
He was wondering what it would all add up to and what it was worth.
He wanted to know what value his work had in the world as a whole.
This is a question that all of us should consider.
The author of Hebrews is reminding the church that God had long ago promised rest.
God created us to be in a relationship with himself and that relationship is the rest.
Some do not benefit because they do not walk with faith.
Our world doesn’t need more examples of unfaithfulness because it is filled with it.
Yet, here is a group of people, a church, who know God, know how to hear His voice, and know, by experience, the goodness that comes from obedience.
Today we see such a great example of faith from Mattie and Jake.
God said they would have Cypress and they believed.
Even when Mattie faced health issues during the pregnancy, they held on, with faith, to the word that God had spoken.
Today, we get to celebrate, not only this precious little boy, but the faith of these two incredible parents, and that God keeps his word.
The world needs stories like these.
They need to hear of God’s promises for all people.
They need to know that God loves them no matter what.
They need to hear that when God speaks a word it will happen.
And every one of us has stories that testify to that end.
What we must ask ourselves is how did I respond to God last week and how will I respond this week?
Hebrews 4:2 NLT
2 For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.
How will you respond to God’s word?
Will you be like Israel and trust your perception of the world?
Or, Will you be like Joshua and Caleb, and even though you see the giants, choose to step out in faith, trusting God?
As you look at the things troubles that are looming in your lives, remember and be encouraged that God is faithful.
As you hear God calling you to die to yourself and serve others, remember that His promised rest is found through obedience.
God wants the absolute best for all of us, but that is found through following him, not yourself.
Today, as you spend the day celebrating the fathers in your life, remember that this time of rest is the fulfillment of God’s promise for his people.
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