The Book of Hebrews #14 chapter 4:1-13 pt. 2
The Book of Hebrews
Entering into God’s Rest, #2
Hebrews 4:1-13
 
Last week we began a study of God’s rest.  It is the subject of Hebrews 4:1-13.  I want to read the verses, give us a quick review, and then finish up the study.
 
Hebrews 4:1-13
 
Last week we looked at The Availability of Rest.  The whole though of God’s rest centers on the Promised Land and the Israelite’s failure to enter in to it.  But just because they didn’t doesn’t mean we can’t.  There is a rest that is available for the people of God.  That’s what we see in verse 1.
 
Well if it is available, how do we get it?  Verses 2-7 cover that and that is what we called The Basis of Rest.  There are three things involved.  Entering into God’s rest requires personal faith, divine decree and immediate action.  We respond to what God initiates and we are to do it quickly because “Today is the day of salvation”.
 
Now tonight, let’s look at
 
3. The Nature of Rest
 
The rest that the Spirit is speaking of is not the actual physical rest of Canaan.  If it were, then what Joshua did would have been sufficient.  After all, he got them into Canaan.  But that wasn’t “God’s rest”.  However, it was a picture of it.
 
Verse 8
 
Even Joshua knew this wasn’t all there was to it because he talked about another day coming.  They got in the land, but they still didn’t experience the fullness of God’s rest.
 
Verse 9
 
Now if the Israelites entered into the Promised Land, but it wasn’t God’s rest, then why wasn’t it?  And what is, if not that?  I think what he’s talking about here is the difference between the physical and the spiritual.  It wasn’t a physical rest; it is a spiritual rest and in order to have spiritual rest, you have to have someone providing it Who was greater than Moses of Joshua.
 
Now there is a certain sense in which we enjoy it physically, but the fullness of God's rest is future.   So the kind of rest that He's talking about is not Canaan, if that were the case Joshua would have given them that but he spoke of another day, another coming rest.
 
Notice the “remaining rest” is for “the people of God." And the term “people of God” is a general term meaning anybody who knows God.  But I think the writer is focusing that on his Hebrew hearers.
And what he's saying is there is salvation for Israel.
 
Remember, he is presenting the superiority of Jesus to Moses and he turns that corner in
 
verse 10
 
Now in this verse a different word for “rest” is used from what he has been saying and the word here refers to the full and final kind of rest.
 
And there is where we discover the nature of rest.  , It's spiritual. It includes everybody and it's promised to Israel and I believe that God's not through with Israel until they come into rest.
 
And verse 10 is simply remaining us that it is still in the future.  John is instructed in Revelation 14:13 to write, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord "Yea, said the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors."
 
That’s what we are seeing here in verse 10.  There is coming a day when we “rest from our labors”.  We cease from everything and enter into the presence of Jesus Christ.
 
Now it’s interesting to me that the word rest used here in verse 10 is the word to describe a Sabbath rest.  And it takes us all the way back to the creation when God rested on the seventh day.  Why did He rest?  Because He was through.  He had finished the work.  It was over and He rested.
 
And one of these days, we’ll be through.  We will finish the work and it will all be over and we ill enter our Sabbath rest also.
 
So we’ve seen the availability of rest, the basis of rest and the nature of rest.
 
Lastly, we see
 
 
4. The Urgency of Rest
 
Verse 11
 
Now there is a clarification that needs to be made regarding that verse or you will wind up with bad theology.
 
The KJV uses the word “labor”; let us labor to enter that rest.  And when we think about labor, we think about work.  Therefore, this verse is teaching us we must work for our salvation, right?
 
See the danger?
 
The idea is not that of working to earn salvation, but that of being diligent to secure salvation.  Seeking God’s rest is a priority.  Salvation isn’t something you mess around with and play around with.  If you do, you just might wind up like the Israelites did when they missed the Promised Land.
 
Some were listening the this letter and even though they were right at the brink of salvation, they were in danger of not believing in Jesus and turning around and dying in the wilderness.  And the warning is, “Don’t do that!  At all costs, with all urgency, with absolute diligence, make sure you do everything you can to enter into God’s rest.”
 
God is not to be trifled with and he makes that clear in
 
verse 12
 
 
That's a great verse and we use it for many things. But very seldom do we consider it in the context it was written.
 
Let me tell you what it means in the context. He is saying you better give diligence to enter into God's rest because the word of God is living and powerful and it will pierce right down in the most inner part of your heart to see if you're really real or not.
 
You may say, “Well, I believe and I confess Jesus Christ”, but if you've expressed a genuine, saving faith based upon real repentance of sin, then when judgment comes the Word of God will cut you wide open and it will reveal the hypocrisy and the sham of your profession to Christ.
 
The word of God is alive and when God says something, He means it. The word of the Bible knows the condition of your heart and it will tell you whether your profession to Christ is a real one or a sham.
 
That’s what this verse is about.  We often take this verse and we use it to say, Isn't the word of God wonderful?  It's an instrument of salvation. it's a tool of comfort to the soul and a source of joy and a source of food and I agree with all that.
 
But don’t miss the point that right here in this verse we are being told the word of God is a source of terror because that sword that penetrates in and cuts your innermost being and lays bare the thoughts and the intents of the heart reveals the truth about our profession of faith.
 
And by the way, the word for sword here is not describing a big, broad blade, but rather an incisive dagger that can make an accurate cut in the accurate place. And we are being told that God's word is penetrating and accurate and like a knife that can go in and thrust itself through the joints and the marrow and pinpoint the exact place it needs to get to and do it with accuracy.
 
And it is a discerner.  It analyzes the facts.  IT critiques the motives.  God moves in and begins to sift out and analyze a man's insides. He determines what His thoughts and intentions.  He lays bare the inside of man. And if He sees unbelief then the piercing sword becomes a judging sword.
 
And according to verse 13, no one escapes that examination.
 
Verse 13
 
Everything is open and naked before Him.
 
That phrase, “open to the eyes of Him” is extremely interesting.  There are two thoughts involved in that phrase.
 
First, there is a connection with wrestling.  IT is describing a choke hold, getting your adversary by the throat in such a way that he can't move. And what it's saying is we can't run from God forever because there comes a time when God grabs us by the throat and holds us face to face. Sooner or later we face God.
 
 
The second use of the word was used in reference to a criminal.
 
When a criminal was under judgment they would strap a dagger around him with the point under his chin.  No one would stand before his accusers and refuse to face them.  You would face your accusers face to face. And that's the picture that is provided here.
 
And what we are being told is, God has made a rest available through the finished work of Jesus Christ.  And through personal faith, divine decree and immediate action, you can get in on it.  It will give you comfort and strength and hope now, and one day, you will enter a spiritual rest that is unlike anything anyone has ever experienced on earth.
 
But you better do all you can to get in on it, because if you don’t one of these day, you will stand in a face-to-face encounter with the living God.  And all of your life will be opened before Him.  There He will put a choke hold on you and the very sword of God will lift your chin to a face to face confrontation with God.
 
Don't you ever think for a minute that you're going to live your life the way you want to live it and God's not going to know and you can go your way and never face God.
 
You’ll either enjoy the presence of God in His eternal rest or you’ll face the living God to answer for your rejection of His Son.
 
Let’s pray

 

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