Sermons

Summary: God has promised a rest for His people

“REST FOR GOD’S PEOPLE”

Hebrews 4:1-10

July 20, 2008

Pastor John L. Harper

Warden Assembly of God

I am deeply indebted to Andrew Murray for his main points

Introduction:

Swindoll quote

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. Why?

Because we’ve never learned how to rest. Probably because we’ve never under-stood what it really means to rest. We tend to equate rest with sleeping in on a rainy morning…with basking on the beach, while pouring sunscreen and poring over a best-seller… with an afternoon snooze on the couch to the soothing TV background music of marching bands and half-time activities.

But the “rest” that Hebrews describes is quite different. We don’t have to take off work to obtain it. Nor do we need to drive to the beach. Or spend any money. It is available all day, every day. And it’s as close as a prayer!” [Charles Swindoll. The Preeminent Person of Christ. A Study of Hebrews 1-10. (Fullerton, Calif.: Insight for Living, 1989) p. 64]

A Beleaguered Mother

A few years ago a mother sent the following note to the attendance secretary of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, N.Y.:

Please excuse the absence of my daughter. She has been suffering from a severe head cold. Since she has been home, she has consumed 18 doughnuts, three quart containers of orange juice, a half-gallon of cranberry juice, four two-liter bottles of Diet Coke, about 30 Pop-Tarts and all of the family’s Christmas candy canes. MTV has been blasting incessantly. I had to extend my credit with Nynex due to the volume of her telephone calls. The house is knee-deep in used Kleenex. Today, FedEx delivered seven Chia Pets and four boxes containing the Clapper she ordered from the Home Shopping Channel. With the thermostat set at 78 degrees, I need extra fuel delivery, and the wallpaper has peeled off the bathroom wall as a result of her hourly "therapeutic" sauna baths. Our cat is in a state of shock from being repeatedly bombarded with Hall’s mentholated cough drops. Although she is not exactly 100 percent yet, she will attend school today. Please do not send her home unless she lapses into a coma. I need a break.

I. THE REST OF FAITH (vs. 1-3)

A. This rest is promised

B. This rest can be missed

1. The Bears at Yellowstone Park

ILLUS: If you’ve ever been to Yellowstone National Park, you were probably given a piece of paper by a ranger at the park entrance. On it in big letters was the warning "Do Not Feed the Bears." You no sooner drive into the heart of the park, however, than you see people feeding the bears. When I first saw this I asked a ranger about it. "Sir," he answered, "you have only a small part of the picture." He described how the park service personnel in the fall and winter have to carry away the bodies of dead bears -- bears who have lost their ability to fend for food. That’s what’s happening to us. -- Howard Hendricks

2. This promise did not profit them

3. This promise was not mixed with faith

4. “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.”

C. This rest can be entered

Application: Are you prepared to enter the rest of God?

II. THE REST OF GOD (vs. 4-8)

A. God rested when His work was done

1. Our work is not done, but God gives us glimpses of our final rest.

2. God gave us the example to rest from our labor.

a. True rest is from God

Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

b. True rest prepares us to work more diligently

B. God’s rest is forfeited by disobedience

1. J.I. Packer quote

“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!”

2. Not listening to His voice

3. Not having a tender heart

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