March 1, 2022
Entering God’s Rest – Hebrews 4:1-11
Listen to last week’s sermon: Entering God’s Rest from Hebrews 4:1-11
Read Hebrews 4:1-11
On February 27, 2022, Pastor Eric shared with his congregation that many people today are in search of rest. It is their desire to find a place where they can find peace and relaxation, and escape from the chaos of everyday life. If you are tired, weary, exhausted, and mentally and emotionally drained, then this sermon is for you. His message today reminds us that God desires everyone to enter and experience His rest. Pastor Eric then defined God’s rest, how to enter it, and what prevents us from doing so.
Read Hebrews 4:3-4 and Genesis 2:2
What does the Bible say about God’s rest?
God’s rest is composed of three parts: the past, the present, and the future.
The above verses refer to the past.
God rested on the seventh day, not because He was tired, but because His work was complete. Several chapters later, God established the seventh day, the Sabbath, as a commandment for His people through Moses.
Read Exodus 31:14
The Sabbath is a day set apart from all other days. This day was designed to be one of rest for God’s people; a day of ceasing to work. Notice that God said, “…it is a holy day for you.”
Read Luke 13:10-17
A woman was plagued with a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. This condition rendered her incapable of standing up straight. However, even though Jesus healed her, the synagogue’s leader was outraged that He had done so on the Sabbath.
Read John 9:1-9
In this passage, Jesus healed a man who had been blind since birth. Yet, the Pharisees centered their attention exclusively on the fact that He healed him on the Sabbath.
Read Mark 2:27
In the words of Jesus,
The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is for us to enjoy. The Sabbath was a gift from God to mankind; however, religious authorities imposed layer upon layer of rules regarding the Sabbath in order to prevent the Jews from violating God’s commandment. These rules became exceedingly burdensome for God’s people.
In reviewing the past, it becomes apparent that God created the Sabbath for the benefit of mankind.
There is also a futuristic component: In the Bible, God’s rest is referred to as a promised land which He has long promised His people.
Read Joshua 1:13
The region of Canaan, God’s gift to Israel, was described as a land flowing with milk and honey: fertile, prosperous, and bountiful. It was the Lord’s promise that the Israelites would find rest when they entered this promised land. However, due to their lack of faith, an entire generation perished in the desert.
The Promised Land, which God had promised the Jews, may seem out of reach to us, but we must bear in mind that it is only a glimpse of what is yet to come. Truthfully, God has a Promised Land for each and every one of us.
Read Revelation 14:13
It is evident from this passage, which gives us a glimpse into the future, that one day all of our lifetime efforts to serve the Lord in this world will cease and we will enter God’s rest. At that time, we will reap the rewards of our labours.
We, as Christians, are also able to experience God’s rest in the present – right here and right now.
Several aspects of the Sabbath are symbolic of Jesus Christ’s arrival as the promised Messiah, who would provide eternal rest for His people. The Jews in the Old Testament were continually striving to earn their salvation by trying to make themselves acceptable to God.
As someone once said,
Their labors included trying to obey a myriad of do’s and don’ts of the ceremonial law, the Temple law, the civil law, and so on.
Read Hebrews 10:12
Upon Jesus’ voluntary offering of Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin, He became our Sabbath. The Sabbath is no longer found in a day, but in a person. Christ is the only source of true rest, not Saturday or Sunday. Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins has removed the requirement for believers to observe the Sabbath.
On Sunday, the first day of the week on the Jewish calendar, the apostles and early Christians would gather together as a church. This was the day on which Jesus rose from the dead, hence the name ‘Lord’s Day’. Nowhere in the New Testament is the Lord’s Day referred to as the Sabbath.
According to Hebrews 4:
1 – The promise of entering God’s rest still stands.
The people of Israel who initially received God’s promise were not permitted to enter the Promised Land. The book of Hebrews states that even though they did not enter God’s rest, the promise was not revoked. It still stands.
As noted by Leon Morris, a prominent theologian,
The purposes of God are not frustrated because Israel of old disobeyed him and failed to enter the rest he had promised to his people. If ancient Israel did not enter God’s rest, someone else will, namely Christians. This is not replacement theology. This is simply to say that God’s purposes were not canceled because they did not enter it. They remained, so thus, his promise.
This is amazing news for us today.
The Greek word ‘anapausis’, translated as ‘rest’ in Hebrews 4, refers to actively calming one’s soul. It speaks of serenity, peace, and tranquility. A sense of order is evident. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that God’s rest is equivalent to God’s peace.
As Ed Jarrett explains,
God’s rest is a state, or place, where God rules and manages his creation, free from the chaos and disorder brought about by sin and rebellion. All who will rest from their own work of bringing their own life under control can enter into God’s rest.
The promise holds true for you and me. The rest of God is available to us.
Read Hebrews 4:1 and 4:11
Given the above verses, unbelief may prevent us from experiencing God’s rest; therefore, in order to enter that rest, we must have faith.
2 – There’s a warning not to come short of God’s rest.
Read Hebrews 2:1 and 3:8
It is important to pay attention to the warnings contained in the Bible. It warns us against hardening our hearts. Upon hearing God’s voice, we are expected to listen and obey.
3 – Unbelief is what keeps us from God’s rest.
Read Hebrews 3:19 and 4:2-3
Unbelief prevents us from experiencing the peace that only comes from God, since our actions are determined by our beliefs. Obedience begins with faith. And faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the Word of God.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11
We should pray for each other and build each other up.
Those who have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour were led in prayer by Pastor Eric.
Jesus invites you to receive His spiritual rest today. Will you accept His offer?
Read Matthew 11:28