Summary: Be cause of Jesus we can find rest in the midst of toil, trouble, and conflict.
Laboring to enter into that Rest
I. Need For Rest
In The Twenty Four Hour Society, Martin Moore-Ede says our most notorious industrial accidents in recent years—Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the fatal navigational error of Korean Air Lines 007—all occurred in the middle of the night. When the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian A300 airbus killing all 290 people aboard, fatigue-stressed operators in the high-tech Combat Information Center on the carrier misinterpreted radar data and repeatedly told their captain the jet was descending as if to attack when in fact the airliner remained on a normal flight path. In the Challenger space shuttle disaster, key NASA officials made the ill-fated decision to go ahead with the launch after working 20 hours straight and getting only two to three hours of sleep the night before. Their error in judgment cost the lives of seven astronauts and nearly killed the U.S. space program.
1. We ignore our need for rest and renewal at the peril of others and ourselves.
2. Lack of spiritual rest is no less important of our souls
II. Most of us go running from one thing to another without ever slowing down. We don’t just have tasks, we multitask.
Heb 4:11 KJV
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest,
III. Laboring to Rest, that sounds like a paradox, or a contradiction?
Warren Wiersbe once said, “The ability to calm your soul and wait before God is one of the most difficult things in the Christian life.
Our old nature is restless...the world around us is frantically in a hurry.
IV. Rest has several meanings
A. Rest signifies a secure habitation with God.
It is applied to God as resting in His love among His people (Zeph 3:17,
B. Rest has the following figurative meanings: to lean, or trust in (2 Chron 32:8);
C. It is the sense of security and peace that flows from a right relation with God, the Father, through obedience to his Son, the Messiah, and membership in his kingdom.
1. Matt 11:29-30 NIV
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."
2. Anapausis (an-ap-au-sis)
"Cessation, refreshment, rest" (ana, "up," pauo, "to make to cease"), the constant word in the Sept. for the Sabbath "rest," is used in Matt 11:29; here the contrast seems to be to the burdens imposed by the Pharisees.
Christ’s "rest" is not a "rest" from work, but in work, "not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections — of will, heart, imagination, conscience — because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development"
D. Rest in God means, "Being with the one who comforts you”
1. "A place to hide from your enemies."
2. "A place to run to for safety."
3. There’s a song in the hymnal that goes like this:
a. "There is a place of quiet rest. Near to the heart of God. A place where sin cannot molest. Near to the heart of God."
b. That’s what the writer of Hebrews 4 is talking about. A place where we can rest from the hard work of living a holy life in an unholy world.
c. The hard work of trying to battle our own sinful impulses.
d. The hard work of trying to be what God created us to be.
V. Heb 4:9 NIV
There remains, then, a Sabbath — rest for the people of God;
"a Sabbath-keeping," is used in Heb 4:9, RV, "a sabbath rest," KJV marg., "a keeping of a sabbath" (akin to sabbatizo, "to keep the Sabbath," used, e. g., in Ex 16:30, not in the NT); here the sabbath-keeping is the perpetual sabbath "rest" to be enjoyed uninterruptedly by believers in their fellowship with the Father and the Son, in contrast to the weekly Sabbath under the Law.
Because this sabbath "rest" is the "rest" of God Himself, 4:10, its full fruition is yet future, though believers now enter into it. In whatever way they enter into divine "rest," that which they enjoy is involved in an enduring relation with God.
VI. REST IS PRODUCTIVE, TOO
The story is told of two men who had the tiring job of clearing a field of trees. The contract called for them to be paid per tree.
Bill wanted the day to be profitable, so he grunted and sweated, swinging the axe relentlessly. Ed, on the other hand, seemed to be working about half as fast. He even took a rest and sat off to the side for a few minutes. Bill kept chopping away until every muscle and tendon in his body was screaming.