Summary: #3 in "Let Us" Series
"LET US ENTER HIS REST!"
TEXT: Hebrews 4:1-13
INTRO: We live in a very harried world today! The word "rest" is almost missing from our vocabulary! I hear all the time people talking about trying to get some "rest". The frantic lifestyle we live today has crept into the spiritual
realm also, we can have frantic activity spiritually and fail to enter into God’s
rest! It is possible to acknowledge God and fail to enter into His rest, it happened to Israel in the wilderness, and it can happen to us today too.
The only way to enter God’s rest is through faith in His Word and obedience to
that Word...failure to obey God’s word will leave us unrested! Even in our modern age this has been noted, listen to the words of J.I. Packer;
ILLUS: J. I. Packer said, "Certainty about the great issues of the Christian faith and conduct is lacking all along the line. The outside observer sees us staggering on from gimmick to gimmick and stunt to stunt like so many drunks in a fog, not knowing at all where we are or which way we should be going. Preaching is hazy; heads are muddled; hearts fret; doubts drain strength; uncertainty paralyzes action.... Unlike the first Christians who in three centuries won the Roman world, and those later Christians who pioneered the Reformation, and the Puritan awakening and the Evangelical revival, and the great missionary movement of the last century, we lack certainty. Why is this? We blame the external pressures of modern secularism, but this is like Eve blaming the serpent. The real truth is that we have grieved the Spirit... we stand under divine judgment. For two generations our churches have suffered from a famine of hearing the words of the Lord." That’s a tragic truth.
We are living in a time when we blame everything around us for our restlessness and losses, but it may be time that we examine the real reason
for our lack of rest...our own avoidance of obedience to God’s Word!
PROP SENT: The Bible teaches us that we can fail to enter into God’s rest if we fail
to obey His word, that the lack of obedience is a lack of faith...which leads to a
lack of rest!
I. A RESTFUL LIFE! 4:1-10
A. Rewards 4:1
1. God has always promised a "rest" to those who want it!
a. Even in the Old Testament there was a rest in God possible, unfortunately, as the preceding verses indicate, Israel failed to find
this "rest" of God’s!
b. How tragic that they missed the most important "rest" God had to offer.
2. But this "rest" remains for anyone today who might want it!
a. It is not a physical rest that God is speaking of here, it is a spiritual
b. This promise has been available for a long time, and will continue to
be available until Jesus comes back again.
3. For those who want "rest", it is available, and the writer will describe here
how we go about finding it.
a. God’s rest comes from faith in God’s Word...which leads to obedience!
b. notice the end of chapter 3:19... "So we see that they (Israel) were not able to enter, because of their unbelief." (which led to their disobedience - there is a direct connection between REAL faith and obedience!)
ILLUS: William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth Colony of pilgrims, insisted, "Those who believe in the Holy Scriptures are bound to observe its teachings. Those who do not are to be bound by its consequences." -- Larry Burkett, What Ever Happened to the American Dream, p. 43.
4. The rewards are great, the consequences for failure to obey are also great!
a. Those who call themselves "Christians" but fail to live according to God’s Word will not enter God’s rest!
b. Israel’s sufferings were the result of their own disobedience and lack of
faith in God’s Word even though God was present in the very midst of
their camp by the fire by night and the cloud by day!
c. God’s rest is available, but only through faith and obedience to His Word!
B. Reckless! 4:2-10
1. The messages from God can be of no value if they are not received by faith...and receiving them by faith implies obedience to that Word!
a. disobedience is a form of unbelief!
b. This was Israel’s constant problem in the desert, they heard God’s Word
through His servant Moses, but they did not have enough faith in it to
obey it, hence the consequences that they never entered into God’s rest!
2. Israel loved the miracles and the displays of God’s power, but they did not obey God’s Word and thus they forfeited the most important rest God had