RADIATE JESUS! Rest

Gregory C. Magruder  Parkview Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL 04/24/16
 
Rest
Hebrews 4:1-13
 
INTRODUCTION: In Hebrews 3, the author implores us to move on with God and fulfill our destiny in Christ. There is a very real danger that we can drift away from God’s call and stray from his mission. We must make the commitment to move on with God. The writer says, “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it” (Hebrews 4:1). The Israelites failed to enter God’s rest. We need to press on and enter God’s rest. So what is this rest? What is the writer talking about? What kind of rest should we pursue? The writer defines God’s rest and gives us the way to enter it in Hebrews 4:1-13.
 
GOD’S REST EXISTS (1-9).
 
*We are called to fulfill God’s destiny for our lives. This destiny is described as God’s rest (4:1; 3:11). Continuing the theme of Psalm 95, the author uses the word rest (katapousis) which means “to give rest.”  “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it” (Hebrews 4:1).
 
*Three illustrations of rest in the Bible are used to provide the meaning of the word:
  • The rest of God after his work of creation. “For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works” (4:4)
  • The rest promised to the people of Israel when they entered the Promised Land (Canaan). “And again in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest’” (4:5).
  • The rest promised by David (Psalm 95) of a future rest for God’s people under the leadership of Jesus. “For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God (4:8-9).
 
*The people of God need to enter into a day of rest, the Sabbath rest.
 
GOD’S DAY MOTIVATES (3-11).
 
*God’s day describes when God rested from his creative work and made the seventh day holy. This day was called the Sabbath. “For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works” (4:4)
*God’s Sabbath day did not mean God ceased from activity. He changed his type of work. He moved from creation to redemption (Gen. 3:15).  Jesus knew this and healed on the Sabbath. “So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working’” (John 5:16-17).
 
*In verse 9, the author coins a new word for “rest” (sabbatismos from the verb “to keep the Sabbath”). God’s people are to enter that rest Today. They are to fulfill their destiny by joining God in his work of salvation. “Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,  God again set a certain day, calling it “Today”… There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God” (4:6-9).
 
*The Christian’s spiritual mission is to fulfill God’s destiny for us and God’s work of redemption for the world. We will rest from our own work and self interests and become partners with God in his work. “[For] anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience” (4:10-11).
 
*The author uses the allegorical method to define the Christian mission as rest. There have been several attempts to explain what rest and the journey of the people of God means in the Book of Hebrews. Notice the comparisons and contrasts of the journey:
  • Chaos à Creation à Rest (original meaning in Genesis)
  • Egypt à  Wilderness à Promised Land (Old Testament type)
  • Salvation à Life’s Struggles à Heaven (traditional meaning)
  • Call à Obedience/Disobedience à Destiny (Hebrew 3-4 view)
  • Salvation à Carnal Living à Spirit-filled Life (1 Cor. 2-3 view)
  • Grace à Works/Self-Dependence à Faith (Hebrews 3-4  view)
 
*The people of God are to move from disobedience to obedience to fulfill God’s plan of redemption for the world.
 
GOD’S WORD ENABLES (11-13).
 
*God’s Word reveals our secret sins and empowers us to do God’s will. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit… it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare...” (Hebrews 4:12-13).