Summary: An Overview of Hebrews Chapter Four
¬¬¬¬The Christians’ Rest
Hebrews Chapter Four
1. In chapter three the writer of Hebrews made the argument that Christ is better than Moses.
a. He has showed why Christ faith is superior to that in which Moses had.
b. The author established that Christ position is superior to Moses.
c. He pushed the house of God onto a greater faith.
i. He encouraged then to remember their confession of Christ
ii. He warned them to beware of unbelief.
2. In chapter four the writer continues in this vein.
a. He will show that the reward of the Christian is greater than the reward of the ancient Israelites.
b. He will show the power of Christ word.
c. He will show why Christ priesthood is better.
I. The Prize v. 1-11
a. Heavenly rest v. 1-5.
One Sunday, a minister preached a sermon about heaven. Next morning, as he was going to town, he met one of his wealthy members. This man stopped the preacher and said, "Pastor, you preached a good sermon on heaven, but you didn’t tell me where heaven is." "Ah," said the preacher, "I am glad of the opportunity this morning. I have just returned from the hilltop up there. In that cottage there is a member of our church. She is a widow with two little children. She is sick in one bed and her two children are sick in the other bed. She doesn’t have anything in the house-no coal, no bread, no meat, and no milk. If you buy a few groceries and go there yourself and say, ’My sister, I have brought these provisions in the name of the Lord Jesus,’ ask for a Bible, read the Twenty-third Psalm, and then go down on your knees and pray-if you don’t see heaven before you get through, I’ll pay the bill." The next morning the man said, "Pastor, I saw heaven and spent fifteen minutes there. There’s no bill for you to pay."
i. They are told to fear.
1. “let us therefore fear”
a. A proper fear of God is one of awe and reverence.
(28) Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
(29) For our God is a consuming fire.
b. The Christian doesn’t need to fear anyone but God.
(6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
c. Paul is reminding these Hebrew Christians of the consequences of apostasy.
2. The “promise being left us of entering into his rest”
a. Paul mentions the word “rest,” which he takes from Psalms 95:11
(11) Unto whom I swore in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
b. The word “rest” in the Greek κατάπαυσις (katapausis) means abode.
c. When God promised rest to the ancient Israelites he meant more than just a land promise.
3. “seem to come short of it”
i. The word “seem” δοκέω (dokeo) can also mean think or judge, which gives the reader a since of impending punishment for coming “short of the rest.”
ii. They are told to listen.
1. “for unto us was the gospel preached as well as unto them”
a. “Us” includes Paul and his readers.
b. “Them” refers to the ancient Israelites who came out of Egypt.
c. “the gospel preached” was the message of a coming rest.
2. “did not profit them”
a. Both Paul’s readers and the ancient Israelites have the same message.
b. Both groups are expected to respond to the message.
c. The Israelites did not act upon the promise and therefore it “did not profit them.”
3. “not being mixed with faith”
a. God’s people were expected to act on what they heard.
(17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
b. This is the first time Paul uses the word “faith” in the book of Hebrews.
c. This word will be used over thirty times before the letter is finished.
iii. They are told to believe.
1. “For we which have believed do enter into rest.”
a. This is a claim that believers will enter into rest.
b. These believers had not obtained the rest yet, but could obtain it through a process of continual belief.
c. It was something that the believers could come short of (v. 1)
d. They were to make every effort they could to accomplish the reward of rest (v. 11)
Dag Hammarskjold once wrote: "When the morning’s freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly nothing will go quite as you wish-it is then that you must not hesitate." He was unwilling to give up; he refused to quit!