Bring children up front and do “Take a Day of Rest” from Sermons 4 Kids.
So far in Hebrews we have talked about how Christianity is better than Judaism, and how Christ is better than angels and Moses. In these verses we talk about rest, a better rest.
From ch. 3 and 4 we know that the first generation of Israelites never entered the rest of the Promised Land because of unbelief. However, we know from the OT that Joshua lead the next generations into Canaan and they conquered the land. In one sense they entered into rest. Joshua 23:1 says that the LORD gave Israel rest from all their enemies around them.
The writer of Hebrews continues to quote from Psalm 95. He does this to show that Canaan was not the promised “rest.” It was just a shadow, a type of the “rest” promised. When Psalm 95 was written, the “rest” of the Promised Land was their possession but David seems to indicate that there is another promised rest unfulfilled in his day. The writer of Hebrews makes this plain by vs. 8- For if Joshua (Jesus in KJ, not correct) had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.
The OT system did not give “rest.” In contrast to rest it was the opposite, a burden. When the question of Gentile Christians needing to follow the Law of Moses was brought up, Peter said in Acts 15:10: Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
Thesis: Three main points this morning: 1) What is “my rest?” 2) This rest is a pattern of what our life on earth may become. 3) A future fulfillment of what our life in heaven shall be.
What is “my rest?”
Under “my” we need to talk about two “rest’s”. God’s and then Christ’s “rest.”
Hebrews 4:4 refers to Genesis. Genesis 1:31-2:3: God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
The Law of Moses had the Israelites observe the Sabbath Day and it was patterned after what the Lord did on Creation. Exodus 20:8-11: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Sabbath means to cease. They were to cease from their labors and worship the Lord.
God made Sabbath binding upon the Israelites as a sign of the Old Covenant. Exodus 31:16-17: The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.
We can understand mankind resting, but God. Why would he need to rest? God was not tired and needing rest in the human sense. God admired his creation and was proud of a job well done. He had fully accomplished his purpose in Creation. We can imagine God as saying, “This creation of mine is all that I meant it to be- finished and perfect. It is done.”
Christ in the same way as God (they are one) has entered into His rest. Vs. 10- He has ceased from His own works, as God did from His- His finished work of redemption.
John 19:30: When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus Christ has been sacrificed and proves redemption for all mankind. He has gone up on high and entered the Most Holy Place in heaven. Hebrews 9:12: He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
Christ our Lord has entered his rest- the same as God’s rest after Creation.
This rest is a pattern of what our life on earth may become.
When we have made Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Plan of salvation, we rest in Christ.
Vs. 3- Now we who believed enter that rest.
Vs. 10- Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work. When we know we have salvation then we no longer rely upon our righteous works. Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. When we come to Christ by faith, we find salvation rest.
When we obey Him by faith and submit to his will for our lives, we enjoy submission rest. Matthew 11:29-30: 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
One of the reasons that it is good to observe a Sabbath (a ceasing) is because it reminds us that we are not in the CEO chair of the world. All of us act like God, but we’re not God. When we take time to rest and worship, we are saying, “God is in control and I am not.” We’ve heard the “State of the Union” but do we wonder about the “State of the World?” The “State of the World” is fine- because He’s Got the whole world in his hands.
A big problem in our society is thinking that it all rests upon us and we have to work like mad
The NT changes several things about the Sabbath. However, it is wise to observe a time of rest and worship. A couple of years ago Roman Catholic Cardinal John O’ Connor took on Little League baseball because many altar boys were missing Sunday services. He wanted them to stop having games on Sunday. Oh, the firestorm it started. The issue played out on the pages of the New York Times, where parents let the archbishop know exactly what they thought. R. Albert Mohler Jr gave this commentary: “The erosion of Sunday observance is the result of a decline of Christian conviction. A loss of faith preceded the encroachment of the little leagues. If enough parents refused to let their children play on Sundays, the leagues would have to adjust. Committed Christians know Sunday is the Lord’s Day- the day set aside for the worship of God. The Lord’s Day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and looks back to his atoning death as savior. A secular society has no use for a day of worship. The problem is a lot bigger than the archbishop thinks.”
You and I have been conditioned by a can-do, fast paced, adrenaline addicted, workaholic, bigger is better, pull yourself up by the bootstrap, self-made society, to believe the lie that everything that occurs in our life is the product of our own good intentions and hard work.
until we take the focus off of ourselves and place it squarely and completely upon our redeemer, we shall not find the peace and the provision fighting the battles of this life .
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.”
A future fulfillment of what our life in heaven shall be
We are getting ready for heaven here. Through Jesus Christ, when our life is over here, we will have a complete fulfillment of the “rest” in the next life.
Revelation 14:13-14: Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
Yes, finally we will have rest from the Curse. Revelation 22 says there will be no more curse. What is the curse? It is found in Genesis 3 on the punishment of the man. Work is hard, back breaking and frustrating. In heaven this will be no more. No more weeds, thorns, thistles. No more by the sweat of our brow. Work will be as it was in the Garden, satisfying and fulfilling.
Not an earthly rest where we might get away for a while at a beautiful place where we live like kings like a vacation. Some rest there but it is not lasting like heaven. Revelation 22:5: And they will reign for ever and ever. We will live like kings and queens up there.
Suns have their spots, skies have their clouds, and Christians have their sorrows and sufferings. Revelation 21:4: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away
On this earth we are growing and striving and becoming. Philippians 1:6: he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. On that day, we will be changed and will change no more. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Here we have doubts and fears. There faith will become sight. 1 John 3:2: But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
No more persecution and no more sin. Revelation 21:27: Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Most importantly we will enjoy sweet communion with our Lord there. Revelation 21:3: Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
Hell is just the opposite. No rest, no peace, no satisfaction.