Summary: This is a consideration of the great rest that is coming in glory
1. Title: God’s Plans For Retirement
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, July 23, 2006, in the series “Nothing Better Than The Best”
-for the people to understand the meaning of “rest” in Jesus Christ and how we cannot fully appreciate rest until we’re in heaven; to understand the rest we’re looking forward to as a motivation for our faithfulness right now.
-for the people to feel encouraged that, no matter how tired we may feel now, we have a rest that’s on the way
-for the people to work with the rest in mind; to not allow Satan to sidetrack them because there is a great plan at work here: hard work followed by real rest
5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to look forward to the rest we’re promised in Jesus and to be motivated to faithfulness and hard work now because of the promise of that rest
6. Type: textual
7. Dominant Thought: God’s people are looking forward to a great rest that is yet to be fulfilled
Intro: We’re about to embark on something that you may not have planned on this morning. That’s OK. Everyone ends up making some changes that they hadn’t counted on. It’s just that you thought it was safe to come here this morning and do this. Well, just when you thought it was safe and sane to walk into worship hour at VHCC, we get Hebrews 4, which tells me that what we’re about to do isn’t safe.
So, reading from the new paraphrase – “The Great News for Post-modern Man”: The word of God is quiet and comfortable. More cushiony than any La-Z-Boy Chair, it calms the inner person right down to his toes; it takes you away from life’s troubles and hides you away where everything is safe, glossing over the things inside you that you’d rather not think about…
Oh, wait - that’s not what it says, is it? What does your Bible say about itself in Heb. 4:12-13? It says that what you’re about to do isn’t for the fainthearted. It says you’re about to pick up a loaded weapon.
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.
Why do we need to exercise great care? Because God’s word is living and active. Because this word that we’re about to look at today isn’t just a history review. It reaches into our lives. It’s a step into our current attitudes and into our futures. In fact, God knows our hearts. He hasn’t just written about them. The thoroughness of this book, the power of this book, the captivating nature of this book, is to the point where we’re absolutely in His hands – naked and vulnerable – in all of this. That’s what the words used here mean: “Naked” and with “our necks at someone else’s mercy.” Sounds like someone on the operating table, doesn’t it?; someone totally at the mercy of the knife-wielding surgeon.
So, what do you say we get up on the operating table for surgery today, and without the benefit of anesthetic?
There’s a sure way to boost attendance – we can advertise that everyone who comes next Sunday will get a free appendectomy, or tonsillectomy or whatever removable parts you may still have attached – all the while doing our best to make sure that during it you won’t go to sleep. Wouldn’t that raise a crowd? Probably not!
When we open this book, we’ve got to have an attitude that says the pew you’re sitting in this morning smacks more of a dentist’s chair than an easy chair; that we’re here, because we need to be, to work and to be worked on by a double-edged cutting tool, not to hold up a score card at the end and say, “That was a nice talk, Preacher.”
Yes, I take this time seriously – 2nd to the Lord’s Supper, in fact – and I’m asking you to take it just as seriously with me whether that was in your plans or not. Put away the shopping list. Stop passing notes. Take care of restroom breaks now. Ask the person next to you to poke you if you doze off. Open your Bible. Get ready to take notes. And let’s pray together that the Divine Author of this unsafe sword will help me swing it the right way this morning.
We’re interested in rest. At least, as a nation, we are because