1. Could there be any more appropriate and applicable study for 20th century American believers than that of the rest of God? Our lives are hectic and demanding. We have taken upon ourselves daily schedules that our parents -- when they were at our place in their lives -- would have found hard to believe. We are the first generation of Americans in which more than 50% of married couples both work full-time jobs. We spend more time getting to and from our jobs and we work longer hours than did our parents. We own more stuff than our parents did, and the cost of upkeep and monthly credit payments for our material possessions take a heavy financial and emotional toll. In spite of our incomes we save less money ( at least on a percentage basis ) than our parents did, and so we worry more about job security, our children's education, and our own retirement years. We move more often than our parents did, cleaning, re-decorating and mowing the lawns of ever larger homes. My kids are involved in more evening and weekend activities in one school year than I was in our entire childhood and adolescence! With so much to do and so many places for so many of us to get to, we have come to point that a family of five feels the "need" for three or even four vehicles! With all we have we still feel the constant pressure to have more: a new car for commuting, a second-hand car for our teenager, new living room furniture, a new patio set, a "move-up" house in a better neighborhood, and, of course, a new job which will pay more money so we can keep up with all these new "needs." And we feel the need to move fast -- we're not getting any younger, y'know! We meet with financial planners who plot out the years left for us until we enter retirement, and we know that we have to really crank it up now -- or we won't have enough money and stuff which will enable us to properly enjoy our golden years.

2. For some of us, it is not a hunger for more things that is so tiring. It is rather that we are weary emotionally. Our relationships are wearing us out! Difficulties with our spouses, our children, our co-workers or employers, even our aged parents all conspire to sap our strength, instill within us grave concerns about the future and anxiety about the present day.

Whether we suffer from "h __ __ __ __ sickness" or "w __ __ __ __ sickness," we are tired. And so we are drawn quite naturally to this idea of rest from God.

B. TEXT: Hebrews 4:9-16

1. Another look at the "r __ __ __ of God" ( v.9-11 )

a. That rest is still available to believers.

(1) As we said last week, it is the "p __ __ __ __ of God, which passes all understanding."

ref: Isaiah 26:3

John 14:27

Philippians 4:4-7

(2) Believers do not have to wait for the next life to experience this rest. It is available here and now. It is God's desire that we experience it d __ __ __ __.

b. Believers must l __ __ __ __ to enter that rest (v. 11 ).

(1) I cannot enter into the rest of God until I rest from my own labours in the flesh.

(2) I have done that once in my life: at the moment of my s __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.

ref: Ephesians 2:8-9

(3) In order to enter God's daily rest, I must commit myself to that "task" daily. Task? Another task? Yes! The act of "putting off" the world and "putting on" Christ must engage my m __ __ __, my h __ __ __ __, and my w __ __ __. This requires serious effort!

ref: Colossians 3:5:17

Luke 9:23-24 ( NLT )

Then { Jesus } said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put away your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.

c. We must not mistake the "rest of God" for the good feeling we get after a difficult trial passes. God wants us to experience His peace and rest in the very midst of all that our lives bring to us. Entering into God's rest is willingly abiding the ultimate purpose He has for my life, today and every day.

(1) "In the condition of rest, the faithful believer experiences the exhilaration of creativity and productivity; stress and anxiety are minimized; joy lifts the spirit above the waves of normal frustrations and a holy purpose stimulates a vitality that is not overwhelmed by difficulties. Serenity and laughter are the marks of being in the place of rest. The rest of God is not cessation from activity, but a peace within the toil." - Louis H. Evans, Jr.: Hebrews ( Volume 10, The Communicator's Commentary )

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