Summary: A sermon on Hebrews 4:1-11 on rest (Outline and some material taken from Maclaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture called, "Entrance into God’s Rest" on Hebrews 4:9-10)
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.