Summary: # 7 in a series on Hebrews. This sermons gives the ABC’s of rest.
A Study of the Book of Hebrews
Jesus is Better
Sermon # 7
“Entering Into Rest!”
According to Charles Swindoll, “Two of the top prescribed medications in America are Valium and Tagamet. The former is a muscle relaxant to help people deal with stress. The latter stops the flow of hydro-chloric acid to ease a churning stomach plagued with ulcers. If pharmaceuticals are any barometer to where our culture is at emotionally, we’re the most uptight, stressed-out, anxiety-ridden culture on the face of the earth. Why?
Because we’ve never learned how to rest. Probably because we’ve never under-stood what it really means to rest. We tend to equate rest with sleeping in on a rainy morning…with basking on the beach, while pouring sunscreen and poring over a best-seller… with an afternoon snooze on the couch to the soothing TV background music of marching bands and half-time activities.
But the “rest” that Hebrews describes is quite different. We don’t have to take off work to obtain it. Nor do we need to drive to the beach. Or spend any money. It is available all day, every day. And it’s as close as a prayer!” [Charles Swindoll. The Preeminent Person of Christ. A Study of Hebrews 1-10. (Fullerton, Calif.: Insight for Living, 1989) p. 64]
The people of Israel were so close to entering into God’s rest, they literally stood on the banks of the Jordan looking over into the Promised Land. It was not that they did not understand what God had promised. They just would not believe God. Instead of being filled with faith, they became filled with fear and they did not enter in!
Just as the land of promise stood before the children of Israel so the promise of God’s rest stand before us, but entering in is not automatic.
This morning I want to share with you the ABC’s of Rest.
First, The Availability of Rest (v. 1)
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”
What is this rest that is being offered?
The word “rest” translates a compound word (kata + pausis) and means “to cease, or to stop something.” Applied to God’s rest, it means no more self-labor as far as salvation is concerned. It means the end of trying to please God by our own feeble efforts. God’s perfect rest is a rest in free grace.
The Canaan rest for Israel became an illustration of the spiritual rest available to Christians. This rest is seen in two aspects.
First, when we come to Christ by faith we find salvation rest. It is what Jesus was talking about when he said in Matt 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It is the rest of knowing that your sins are forgiven, that the load of your guilt has been lifted and that you have a home in heaven. It is the consciousness that you now belong to Christ!
Secondly, when we yield to Christ and learn to obey Him and submit ourselves completely to Him we enjoy submission rest (11:29-30). The first is “peace with God” (Romans 5:1) the second is the “peace of God” (Phil 4:6-8). “It is by believing that we enter into rest and it by obeying God by faith and surrendering to His will that His rest enters us!” (Warren Wiersbe. Be Confident. (Wheaton, Victor Books, 1982) p. 43)
No more shifting from one thing to another and never finding satisfaction in anything.
Not only the Availability of Rest but...
Secondly, The Basis of Rest (vv. 2-7)
There are two obligations that we must understand if we are to obtain this promised rest.
• It Requires Faith
Verse two tells us, “For indeed the gospel (literally good news) 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.” Although the good news about God’s rest was preached to Israel it did not do them any good because they failed to believe it. Just as those who have yet to come to real faith in Christ may be associated with the church in some way but have never really committed themselves to Christ.
But the Apostle Paul defines saving faith
in 1 Thess 2:13, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”
Verse three continues with, “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. (4) 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”;