God’s Rest

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October 20, 2019

God’s Rest

Preacher:
Passage: Hebrews 4
Service Type:
Hebrews 3-4

It is possible for a person to be saved and destined for heaven and yet lead a miserable, defeated life here below. I believe that this exact description is why Hebrews 3-4 is written for us today. The Bible is clear that there are two distinct possibilities of Christian experience: defeat or victory. Consider a couple of passages that relate this in the Pauline epistles:

Romans 8:5-8

1 Corinthians 15:57-58

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

The book of Hebrews addresses that there is a maturity that should be attained in the believer’s life and this must be pursued. Consider later in the book of Hebrews 5:12. Christ spoke of this to the disciples when He was preparing to die on the cross and then ascend to heaven (John 15:11;16:24).

Introduction

Rest is something that seems to be lacking today. With all the technological advantages, we seem to have put more into our schedule. We run from work, to children’s events, to school events, to extra vacation events, to shopping events and on and on the events seem to go. Over the last few years, we have tried to look at that with our church calendar in mind. We have shortened different events and then moved some events to combine and create some aspect of rest in the schedule. The concept of rest is something that this world searches for and longs for, but can truly only be found in the person of Jesus Christ. Remember this is the point of the book of Hebrews. There is so much turmoil, anxiety and discord, but Christ offers a better solution. Let’s consider this aspect of rest this evening.

This word rest is found 11 times in chapter 3 and 4 so obviously it is something that God wants us to think and understand. We need to come into God’s rest for our lives as a believer.

An Explanation of the Rests

Past Present Future
God’s Sabbath Rest

Submission Rest, 4:11 Heaven, 4:9
Israel’s Canaan Rest
Salvation Rest, 4:1-6, 10

God’s past rest and future promised rest are not dependent on anything that man can do or is to do. They rest on Christ’s finished work and Christ’s work which He is doing now – according to John 14. The second rest is a rest of service and the peace of victory; it is a present possibility and depends upon our labor and our faithfulness. This rest can be lost – “lest any of you should seem to come short of it.”

An exhortation to Enter into Rest

Let us Take Heed

Hebrews 3:12 (Listening) - This is a quote from Psalms 95:5-12

In this passage, the author indicates that there is a heart issue. This issue of the heart if not resolved will keep you from experiencing the rest that God wants for you here on this earth.

You see a progression of your heart in this passage.

How to gain a Hardened heart:

  • Erring heart of Ignoring
  • Evil heart of Unbelieving
  • How does this happen?
    • Instead of praising, they were pouting.
    • Instead of worshiping the one true God, they worshiped other gods.
    • Instead of looking ahead to the promised land, they looked back to Egypt.
    • Instead of being thankful for God’s provision, protection and power, they provoked and grieved God.

Let us Fear

Hebrews 4:1 (Looking)

John Gill on this passage: “Let us therefore fear,.... Not with a fear of wrath and damnation; nor with a fear of diffidence and distrust of the power, grace, and goodness of God; but with a cautious fear, a godly jealousy, a careful circumspection, and watchfulness.”
Albert Barnes: “The kind of “fear” which is recommended here is what leads to caution and care. A man who is in danger of losing his life or health should be watchful; a seaman that is in danger of running on a lee-shore should be on his guard. So we who have the offer of heaven, and who yet are in danger of losing it, should take all possible precautions lest we fail of it.”

The practical side of this: Hebrews 12

  • Look outwardly, Hebrews 12:1
  • Look upwardly, Hebrews 12:2-4
  • Look inwardly, Hebrews 12:5-15

Let us Labor (Laboring)

  • Put in the work that needs to be done in order to gain the rest.
  • Spy out the Land
    • Conquer the Land
    • Put God first
    • Listen to God’s Voice

Conclusion

Unbelief is a besetting sin. It is interesting that in chapter 3, we see a tie to faith.
Hebrews 3:14
Hebrews 11:1

Both reference a title deed; something that you can lay your hands on. It is proof of ownership. The word has the idea of something that under girds.
It is one thing to trust God for salvation and quite another to surrender your will and life for daily guidance and service. The O.T. speaks of this often.
Psalm 16:9; Psalm 37:7
Rest in the Lord - Margin, “Be silent to the Lord.” The Hebrew word means to be mute, silent, still: Job_29:21; Lev_10:3; Lam_3:28. Hence, to be silent to anyone; that is, to listen to him in silence; and the idea in the phrase here, ““be silent to Jehovah,”” is that of waiting in silent patience or confidence for his interposition; or, in other words, of leaving the whole matter with him without being anxious as to the result.

Psalm 116:7
Psalm 132:14
This rest is available for the believer in this life also, but it is attained by exercising the muscle of faith. Faith is something that must be developed in this life. How does this tie in? Hebrews 3:19.
Unbelief is opposite of Faith. We must become a people of faith that can rest in the Lord’s way of operating.

Rest in the Lord and see Him do the work that is necessary.

It may not be on the mountain’s height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me;
But if by a still, small voice He calls
To paths I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine,
I’ll go where You want me to go.

Refrain:
I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
O'er mountain or plain or sea;
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.

There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth’s harvest fields so wide,
Where I may labor thru life’s short day
For Jesus the Crucified;
So, trusting my all unto Thy care--
I know Thou lovest me
I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
I’ll be what You want me to be. [Refrain]

 

Turn in your Bibles to Hebrews chapter three and four, Hebrews chapter three and four. And we will be looking at the parenthetical warning that starts in Hebrews chapter three and verse seven, some say it stops in verse 11 of chapter four and some say 16. All right. So you can debate that on your own, but it is either 11 or 16. They kind of go together and it is a warning. This morning we kind of reviewed some of the ideas. Remember that there is a couple of things going on when you study a book. And so it is good to keep that in mind always when you are going through the book. And one of the main themes of the book of Hebrews is that Christ is superior. Christ is better. I believe it is written to Christians. There is some that disagree, but I tend to believe that the book of Hebrews was written to a Hebrew people that were saved. And that is why even I think for some of us that live here in the 21st century, and we grew up in America, most of us or at least a lot of us grew up going to church. So we grew up in a Baptist scenario or grew up with a Baptist background. So some of the things in the book of Hebrews, go back to the Old Testament and to the Old Testament law or the Jewish law. So for a Jewish person reading it, that was saved out of Judaism, it was right there. The priesthood, that was not something unknown. In fact, I was thinking about it this afternoon. It is either in Hebrews 9 or 10 that there is a reference to an offering called the red heifer. And I can remember when I was studying that I was like, so what is the big deal about that?

Well, you go to the Old Testament under the Jewish law and there is a lot of pages and pages that you can research just on that. Well for a Jewish person that is reading this, when they see that automatically all of that is there because they have that knowledge. And so keeping that in mind when you are studying a book is helpful because then you know the perspective that the author is trying to help in understanding these things. But then another thing that we said this morning was that there is five warning passages. And I thought I would show you something interesting about the warning passages. So one of the warning passages is found in chapter two. All right, chapter two and verse one, two and three. So what is interesting about a warning passage that it is kind of a parenthetical phrase, written within the book. Okay? So those of you that know English, I am sorry to bring that up on a Sunday evening, but those of you that know a little bit of English, I mean it is kind of inserted right in the middle of a context.

So remember chapter one is talking about Jesus Christ is better than angels. So you get to the end of chapter one and then here is the parenthetical warning in verse one, two, and three. And it says we need to give the more earnest heed. Don't let anything slip. The word spoken by angels was steadfast. So sometimes within the warning it is referencing around it. But this is what is interesting when you are studying these parenthetical warnings. Look at verse 13 and 14 of chapter one, "But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? So skip down and go right to verse four and it says, "God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost,..."

So in those warnings, you can almost pull it out and the flow is still there. That is what is interesting about the parenthetical warnings through the book of Hebrews. Thought I would point that out to you as we start out. I think it is interesting in studying books because those types of things help you. It is a knowledge in scripture that I think is good for us to know. So we are going to be looking at chapter three, starting in verse seven. Then we will end in verse 11 of chapter four where it tells us, "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest..." Eleven different times the idea of rest is mentioned in chapter three and chapter four, so, this idea must be important. That in this warning in this parenthetical warning that is put right into this book of Hebrews. God must want us to understand a little bit about his rest. It must be important. And it is not just talking about sleep. You are like finally, something practical at church. You know, I have tried "my pillow," I have tried all the new sheets that are coming out, that I think three or four presidents use. You know, I have tried these different things and now finally at church we are going to talk about sleep. Nope. You do that, a lot of you do that every Sunday morning and Sunday night. So you get plenty of rest at church. But we are going to talk about a rest, that I believe, is found in the context here. Rest is something or peace is something that is important. A peace here on this earth, and that is what I believe this is talking about. I am going contrary to some commentators, some commentators believe that this is just talking about heaven, but I do not believe that and I will try to show that to you. It is possible, and this is why I think it is possible. I think the purpose of the book of Hebrews is written to Christians. Christians that are saved and he is trying to tell them that Christ's way is better.

And so what was Judaism wrapped up in? Ceremonial law, and works, and doing good. Now all of that is important. I think we should do good, but that is not a requirement for me to gain, to gain rank, or gain happiness, or gain some good with God. No. My position with God is settled. My position is settled. But what we have to do then is find here on this earth, God's idea of rest. Is it possible then for a person to be saved, destined for heaven and yet lead a miserable, defeated life here on this earth. I think all of us know, yes, that is true. We have met some people this way. I have met people and I have gone through and as far as I can tell, they are saved. They know it. They can give me everything. They can point to a time that they trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and yet they are miserable. I mean there is no happiness. There is no joy. There is no rest in this life. And I think scripture bears this out as far as to be factual. Romans chapter eight talks about this. In Romans chapter eight and verse five it says, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

Now Romans chapter eight is written to believers. The book of Romans is written to the Romans in the church of Rome. So he is talking to believers and guess what they had done? They had started in grace, they had started and been forgiven of that sin, but then they were living after the flesh. That is in Romans chapter six and seven. And then in chapter eight he is saying, hey, wait a minute. You know what? That flesh does not do you any good, and yet what happens to us? Even Paul said that in Romans chapter seven, that which I want to do, I do not do it. Remember the confusing passage that basically, you think Paul is schizophrenic, right? You are like, hey, you know, I am not sure what he is. Well here in this passage here, in Romans chapter eight, it is telling us they that are in the flesh cannot please God. So in essence, there are people that are saved and are living in the flesh and we are not pleasing God. All right.

In first Corinthians chapter 15, Paul again, is doing a discussion and he is talking about the resurrection. He gets towards the end of first Corinthians chapter 15, and he says, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." Why is he writing that you need to be steadfast? Because there is a tendency to not be steadfast. That is why he is encouraging you to be steadfast, unmovable in the work of the Lord. Why? Because there is a tendency in our life to be drawn away by this flesh.

So I know I am presenting it and I am hoping that you are not arguing in your mind saying, wait a minute. You know what? I do not think that a Christian can live in the flesh. The Bible bears out that a Christian can live in the flesh and that does not please God at all. That is wilderness wandering. That is what I call it, wilderness wandering. That is not restful. In II Corinthians 10:3, it says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh." It tells us what our warfare is and it tells us to cast down imaginations and every high thing. And it tells us that we are walking in this flesh, but we should not. We do not war and we should not live after this flesh. We need to be in battle against this flesh. The book of Hebrews addresses this concept a few times.

Turn to Hebrews chapter five. Hebrews chapter five. This is another parenthetical phrase. What is interesting is the parenthetical phrase starts in chapter five and verse 12 and it goes all the way through chapter six. So let me give you that little teaching tool again. So, in verses 9, 10 and 11, notice what the context is. It is talking about Christ being a high priest. After what? After the order of Melchisedec in verse 10, and then the parenthetical phrase, our warning starts up in verse 11. So if you pick up at the other end of the warning, it is chapter seven and verse one. So remember its talking about Melchisedec. So this is what is interesting about these warnings. So notice it is talking about Christ being after the order of Melchisedec. Look at chapter seven and verse one, "For this Melchisedec, King of Salem..." See how you can kind of pull those out, right? And you see how it continues that same thought. So this is a warning passage and this is addressed throughout the book of Hebrews. Notice what he is telling them in Hebrews 5:12, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses (notice the next word) exercised..." All right, in Greek it is the word gimnasio, which kind of references and goes back to this time era of the Olympic games. And they would know, right what he is talking about. An Olympian would go to a gym and if they were in the Olympics, they would basically commit to 10 months of strenuous exercise. And he is telling them that they should be full aged, but he said instead they are babies. So that is the idea that is written.

That is why I believe the book of Hebrews is written to Christians because what is he saying? You have been saved and you have been saved out of Judaism. Christ is a better high priest. He is a better Savior. You have a better salvation. But here on this earth, this is going back to chapter three and four, there is a better life here on this earth,-- but it is through Christ. It is through Christ. Rest is something I think that is lacking today. You know, with all the technological advantages, we seem to have more in our schedule, not less. We have more irritations. We run from work to children events, to school events, to extra vacation events, to shopping events, and on and on the events go. And we have looked at that even as our church calendar. We have tried to move some things so that hey, this seems to work better at this time than this time. Why? Because it just seems like the concept of rest is something that even this world longs for. But according to the text tonight, it only can be found in Jesus Christ. This word rest, as I mentioned, is found 11 times in chapter three and four. So it is obvious that it is something that God wants us to consider. We want to consider God's rest. Heavenly father, I pray that you would help this evening give us wisdom and guidance, clarity of thought. And Lord, I pray that you would as always do that which I cannot do. And that is speak to hearts. We ask and claim power in Jesus name. Amen.

So first I want to just quickly look at an explanation of rest. There are three rests normally referred to in the Bible. Okay. And so you have a past rest as far as a believer, you have a past rest and that is salvation. And so what do I mean by past? Salvation is something that I really can not work or labor or do anything. Is that proven in scripture? Well, it is proven in fact, we are there in Hebrews, but if you go back to Titus 3:5 it says, "Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Also in Colossians 2:10 the Bible says, "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" And Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." You also can find this in John 17:4 Jesus says, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." And then two chapters later in John 19 on the cross, Christ said, it is finished. So what did Christ do? He finished the work. So in my salvation, I can rest in his salvation. I have nothing to do with it. All right, then it is not by works of righteousness. What I have to do is believe in His finished work and I can rest in His salvation. So that is a past rest.

There is a future rest. Oh, where is the future, rest in heaven. All right. And I have nothing to do with that. Christ told me that. In John chapter 14:1 he says, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." So my future rest, I am not responsible for anything there. All right. My rest in salvation, my rest in eternity in heaven, guess what? God in Christ is doing, all of it. I have nothing to do with it. Okay? All I do is trust in Christ and His shed blood. And I trust that He is preparing a place for me. That is the rest I can have.

But then in our parenthetical warning in Hebrews chapter three, I believe this is a present rest. So let's look at that. In Hebrews 3:7 it says, "Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if you will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, (notice it says) in the day of temptation (where?) in the wilderness." So again, what is the context of the whole book? It is written to Jewish people, I believe, that have come out of Judaism. So when he says to them, hey, don't be like your forefathers that were in the wilderness. Right away where are they going? They are going to the wilderness wandering, aren't they? That is in the wilderness. And this is referencing two different times that the children of Israel, basically they spurned God, they tempted the Lord. In fact, it is used both times in Exodus and in Numbers. Both times it was when the children of Israel were wandering and they were lacking water. Remember when they were lacking water? In fact, the one is called Meribah. The Hebrew behind that is bitterness. So guess what the children of Israel provoked God in the wilderness, provoked him. And that is what this is referencing. So it is saying, "Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works (How many years?) forty years." So this is the wilderness wandering. And then notice what he says, "Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today." And he continues on with this idea.

So there is a rest. I believe that this present rest and this is where some commentators, if you do a study on this, you are going to find that we disagree. Okay? Most of them reference this as heaven and because it is the wilderness wandering and then it is referencing going into the promised land. I have never, in my study of scripture, I have never believed that the promised land is a picture of heaven. I believe the promised land is a picture of the abundant life. And so what I believe what this is saying is my past rest--salvation, my future rest--in heaven, it is set. But here on this earth, guess what I have to do Hebrews 4:11, "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest..." I can not do anything to enter into heaven. There is no labor that you can do on your own to get into heaven. That is Titus 3:5 saying, "Not by works of righteousness, but guess what I have to do on this earth-- labor. I must labor to stay in God's rest. Now you say, wait a minute, that that sounds a little bit like works salvation. I am not talking about works salvation, I am talking about working to have an abundant life. And sitting here tonight, there are some folks that you have no peace. You have no joy. It has been taken away. You are like David in the Old Testament and some of it, we talked about this morning, right in the middle of this passage. In Hebrews 3:13, you have let the deceitfullness of sin come in, and that sin has stolen away that restfulness, that peace, that joy that comes by having Christ, the superior one be in charge.

And so you are in the wilderness wandering again. Your carcass is there in that wilderness and you are just wandering around. And so this evening I looked at it and I saw three exhortations in the text here. If you want to we can call it a salad. All right? It is the Hebrew salad or the Jewish salad. Why? Because all of them start with 'lettuce' (let us), all right. So for the Jewish salad, we are going to start in chapter three and verse 12. Notice first of all, oh, I guess that one is not a lettuce. "Take, heed brethern, lest there be in any of you an evil heart..." The other two are lettuce. All right? "Take heed, brethern, lest there be in any of you an evil heart..". So the first one is, let us take heed. Let us take heed. That is listening, listening.

This is a quote. This whole section is a quote from Psalm 95. So if you have your Bibles, turn to Psalm 95. And what is interesting is that Psalm 95, was never really attributed to David, but the author here attributes it to David. So David, believe it or not, is the author of Psalm 95? Psalm 95, when the Bible says that somebody is the author normally that means it is. So Psalm 95:7-11, this is an exact quotation found in Hebrews chapter three. So look at what it says. In the beginning of Psalm 95. It is talking about coming to God because he is so great. It is talking about coming before His presence. Look at verse three, "For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods." The sea is His, He made it. Look at verse six, "O come let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker." Then in verse seven through 11 is quoted almost exactly in Hebrews chapter three. Notice what it says, "For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if you will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest." So an exact quotation found in Hebrews chapter three and then it tells us in verse 12 take heed brethren, take heed.

So what is that telling you? Listen--listen, we need to be a people that listens and right in that text of the next verse it says, "But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. This is what happens and this is what we have to be careful of. One way that you do not have God's rest is when you shut out the voice of God in your life. So the Bible is saying you are not restful. You are not in Canaan land today. You are not experiencing what God wants you. Yes, you have been saved. And I have met many people that are saved, but they have stopped there. They are not victorious in their Christian walk. They are not moving on into maturity. And why is that? Because they stop listening. So let's take heed and listen. Listen, we need to be people that listen when you shut down the voice of the Holy Spirit that is found in verse seven, when you shut down the word of God, when you shut down the authority that is in your life, guess what starts happening? You are heading towards a hard heart. That is what is going to happen. You are gonna, we mentioned this this morning. It talks about two different hearts in this passage. It talks about an erring heart and it talks about an evil heart. An erring heart starts when you ignore God's pathway. And what is err? It is false hood. And some of you, what you have done as you shut down listening to God's voice, and you started listening to all kinds of falsehoods. Where are falsehoods? Oh, you are getting your instruction on your family, on your marriage, from the internet or from your friends. Hey, just throwing it out there, having some marriage problems. What should I do? You are going to hear a whole bunch of malarkey. That is what you are going to hear. Yeah. You know what you need to do. Yeah. You just need, I think you just need to separate for awhile. I just think you should murder him. I think you are going to have all kinds of ridiculous statements. Guess what? Why is that happening? Because you are shutting down the things that God has placed in your life that you should not listen to. It amazes me some of the ridiculous things that Christians listen to. And the Bible is saying, that is why you do not have rest. Some of you do not have rest. Why? Because you forgot to take heed.

Secondly, notice in chapter four, this is a 'lettuce' in the Jerusalem salad. Okay, chapter four in verse one, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." This was interesting, all right. If you do not know John Gill, John Gill wrote up a pretty well known commentary back in the early 1800s. John Gill was Spurgeon's pastor at one time, or he pastored the church that he came to. So John Gill said this about let us fear, "Let us therefore fear not with the fear of wrath and damnation, nor with a fear of diffidence and distrust of the power of grace and goodness of God, but with a cautious fear, a godly jealousy, a careful circumspection and watchfulness." Albert Barnes said exactly the same thing, he said when you look at the verbiage behind it, it seems to indicate it is not a fear that you are looking of being scared. It is a fear of carefulness, of looking out, kind of the idea of being sober and being vigilant, of being circumspect. So what I looked at is when I thought of that as far as this passage, so the lettuce take heed is talking about listening. The let us fear in essence is saying, I need to be looking. And it made me consider a passage later in the book of Hebrews. Turn to Hebrews chapter 12, and in Hebrews chapter 11, 12 and 13 are the practical applications of all of chapters one through 10. But in chapter 12 notice the author addresses three different people that you should be looking to. Number one is found in verse one, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about..." So we are looking out, we are looking outward, I am looking outward. I am looking outward at what others have done with their life, others in the life of faith. I have a whole chapter, a hall of faith, heroes of the faith in chapter 11 like Abraham and Moses, Moses and Abel and Joseph and others that stepped out in faith. They may not have done everything perfect, but they went for that life of rest here on this earth.

So the Bible is saying, look, look outward. Look at others around you. Look at verse two looking unto Jesus, look upward, look upward. It is telling us that, guess what you can do? When we are trying to let us fear, let us be careful that we are going to miss out. You know what I should be doing? I should be looking out there and I can see others that are falling in this area. I can see others that are being successful. Then I also can look and study the life of Christ. What does the life of Christ teach me? Right here it says, he is the "author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Does that sound like rest? It does actually, doesn't it? He is restful on the cross. So you know what that seems to indicate to me, your circumstances do not determine your state of rest. And some of you tonight your circumstances determine everything about you. That is why even as a college student, we automatically knew when you got up late. We automatically know when your roommate is Mr. or Miss Jerkville. We know that, why, because nobody knows what I have to deal with. There is no rest. Why? Because your circumstances dictate everything about your state of rest. Actually with Christ, when you study the life of Christ, his rest was not determined, by what was happening around him. And that is what we should be thinking about.

And actually then, so not only do I look outward and upward, but then in verse five and on, it tells us to look inward. Look what it says in verse five, "And ye have forgotten the exhortation..." What? "...despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If you endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" So guess what? When I am experiencing things that seem to say, wait a minute, this does not seem restful or peaceful, all it seems is like a bunch of heartache, a bunch of problems in my life. You know what is happening? You are heading back to the wilderness area. And why is it, because your mouth is sounding like a bunch of children of Israelites that kind of gripe, and complain, and murmur. That is what is happening. And guess why they murmured. Remember the two passages that are specifically referenced here in Hebrews chapter three. The two passages are both dealing with water and they both, what is interesting, is both of them Mirabah and Meribah, God named those. He gave those names to them and both of them have the underlying idea that there is bitterness. And guess what with the children of Israel bitterness grew into their life and came into their life because they said God is not taking care of us. And they wandered around without having God's rest. And they missed going into the promised land because some of it was they became bitter that God was not providing for them. And some of you here, a problem comes into your life. The doctors says this type of illness or this financial problem comes in and automatically it takes your rest away. You become, or you go to the place of Mara or Meribah and you become bitter and you are not in God's rest. Why? Because you say God is not taking care of me.

God is saying, in Hebrews chapter three, you know what? Take a lesson from the children of Israel. They forgot something. What did they forget? Let us take heed. That is found, way back in our text in chapter three and verse 12, take heed brethren, take heed, listen. Then in chapter four in verse one, "Let us therefore fear..." Look, look, let us fear. Have a godly vision. See it in God's perspective. God did not forget you. God is still taking care of you. I know sometimes, we get this idea, we are like, oh, look at America, it is so bad. And I would agree it is pretty bad. But guess what? There were people that had it worse. Have you read history. All right. Just less than a hundred years ago, there were Christians that lived under Hitler. Oh wow. Yeah, it takes your argument away, doesn't it? And a few hundred years before that, there were Christians that lost their life for the sake of the gospel. And have read their statements. I have read their reports, and they were blessing God, praising God. What happened in their circumstance? They found God's rest. They found God's rest. So what do we have to do? Take heed, listen. Fear, that is let us fear, looking.

And then thirdly, notice in chapter four verse 11, our last command. "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest..." That is why I believe that this rest is talking about Canaan land and it is referencing the children of Israel going into the promised land. Okay? It is referencing that. And so what did they have to do? They had to, they had to work to get into that promised land. And that is why I do not believe it references heaven. I do not have to work to get into heaven, but in this life, I have to work at my spiritual life. There are cities that have to be conquered in Canaan land, right? There is work that has to be done. And so I must do that--labor, laboring. I am listening, I am looking and I am laboring. And if you want to be in God's rest here on this earth at this present time, if you want to have what John 10 says. In John 10 Jesus Christ was talking to his disciples and what did he say? I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. An abundant life is possible. Wait a minute, he was talking to Peter, he was talking to John, he was talking to some of these of the other ones? And guess what happened to them? They lost their life. Wait a minute. How was that abundant? It is. It is abundant when we are in God's rest.

And some of us do not experience the rest that God has for us because you step out of God's way. You stepped out of God's word. You stepped God out of God's leading. And here in this passage it is saying, let us labor. Unbelief, notice in chapter three, in verse 19 notice what it says here. "So we see that they could not enter in because of (what?) unbelief. So what keeps you out of that promised land? I believe it is a lack of faith. What is interesting in chapter three in verse 14, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." So remember, we are in the book of Hebrews and then it starts tieing things together. So that word confidence, it is found later in the book of Hebrews, you know where it is found? Hebrews 11 and verse one the same word, confidence is found later where it defines, guess what? Faith. So that word confidence is the idea in the Roman times it was a title deed. Okay, so a title deed, we know this, it is something that you have that is proof that you own this piece of property. I can hold it up and say, wait a minute, I have got a title deed this is proof. So here in chapter three in verse 14 it says, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast..."--the confidence.

Okay, Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance..." That word substance is the same word as confidence, it is a title deed. You know what he is saying? You want to enter into rest? What do you have to have? Faith. It is believing that God in His providence, God in His mercy, God in His will is bringing whatever into your life and it is for His purpose and His glory. We have a hard time with that. Us sitting right here, we have a hard time. What are you talking about? You know what? Everything is supposed to be good. Everything is supposed to be peachy. Alright tell that to the Chinese that are getting killed. Tell that to the other missionaries that are around this world. You know America, we have this little bubble. We live in this little bubble that basically only if things are going well, God is blessing me. If anything bad happens to me, God must not like me. Tell me that does not cross your mind. We we have that mentality, and yet is that through scripture? No, it is not. So align your thinking. Listen to the word of God and align your thinking up to the word of God and then look out and fear.

Let's be careful that we do not miss out on God's rest for us and let's labor at it, labor at it. Let's work because that is what it takes because if you are not careful, guess what happens? If you are not careful, you go back and you become like the children of Israel, and you start crabbing and you become bitter because God did not take care of me. Oh yes, he is taking care of you. You can trust him. You can rely on him. This idea of God's rest is something that is found in the Bible often. In Psalms 16:9, the Bible says, "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope." Psalm 37:7, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass." No, I do not have to get bent out of shape about somebody else's wickedness. I am not going to do it. Not going to get bent out of shape. Why? God says rest in the Lord. Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way.

Did you read that in the paper? Did you hear about George Soros? I really do not care about that old man. So what that he is a multi-billionaire, fine. If he lives the happiest life in this world, guess what I believe pretty strongly. His day in hell, he will lift up his eyes, someday. I do not have to fret. I do not have to get all bent out of shape. With some of us, what happens is, you have lost that piece and that rest. Why? Because your rest is determined by circumstances, by a state of being here, by what is happening around you. My bank account, my car, my house, it is not resting. Remember the context, now we come back because remember this is a parenthetical phrase. So let's pick up again in verse 12, because the warning has stopped and it picks up again and it says, guess what? The word of God it is quick. What is it? It is alive. It is powerful. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. And then in verse 13 there is nothing hid from Him. So guess what? Those people that you are fretting about. There is nothing hid from Him. Everything is open, and then in verse 14 and 15 and 16 he says, guess what? You are not resting, so go to Him. That is your high priest--and guess what you will find? You will find grace to help in time of need.

This evening, I think there are some folks that your rest has been in a lot of other things instead of He that is superior and better, and that is Christ. Christ is better. He is better than your little social media hub that I am going to get therapy from. Yeah. Yeah. That is why you are a little depressed. Yeah. I would be depressed too reading all that nonsense. All right, maybe it is some book. Oh, they recommended this book. It is some psychologist who is a freak of nature and you are going to get help from him. Oh, maybe I am going to get help from my pills. Yeah. For a little bit of time. All right. Then all of us will start noticing you are twitching.

We try to get rest from everything else, but that which is superior--and that is Christ. Christ offers us that rest. But some of it is, I think it is chapter four in verse 11, that kinda hurts us with that because guess what? The rest on this earth you have to labor for. It takes some work. You know what is easy to do, to be lazy spiritually. And some sitting here tonight, you are, you have been very lazy spiritually. You have been a sluggard, and what is that? You put a lot more energy into your work, physical work. You put a lot more energy into your physical endeavors than you do into your spiritual life. And you wonder why your spiritual life is pretty lame. Do you know why? Because it takes some labor. Determine to get into God's rest. Now what does that mean? We are listening. We are looking, and we are laboring.

 

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