Do Not Neglect God’s Rest
7 April 2019 AM – Hebrews 4:1-16 – Heb19 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Very likely, you know what it is like to find a special deal on something that you really need but by the time you got to the store the special was over and you missed the deal. That can be very disappointing!
In a much greater way, God warns us in Hebrews 4 that we must not neglect God’s special offer of eternal rest. When you die or when Jesus comes to take Christians to heaven, His special offer to you will be eternally over. Do not let Satan deceive you into thinking that you have plenty of time or that you will get a second chance later. That is a lie!
Transition: The apostle here leaves us with four urgent challenges regarding His rest, each identified by the phrase “Let us”.
1. Let us fear coming short of God’s rest, v.1-10
a. Many in Israel lacked faith, v.1-8
1) This ought to put fear in your heart if you have not yet truly believed on Christ for salvation, v.1. Missing heaven is no small matter. Hell is eternal and terrible beyond comprehension.
2) They missed God’s rest because of unbelief, v.2.
3) True believers have entered God’s rest, v.3.
4) God’s rest was not just the Promised Land of Canaan. He spoke of another day, v.7-8. Note: Jesus refers to Joshua who led Israel into the Promised Land.
b. God has an eternal rest for His people, v.9-10
1) This life is full of stress and fatigue, but God has prepared a restful eternal home in heaven for every true believer.
2) God rested or ceased from His work of creation on the seventh day. Those who enter God’s heavenly rest cease from their work. In heaven, we will forever feel fully rested! Amen!
2. Let us labour to enter God’s rest, v.11-13
a. Do not fall short because of unbelief, v.11
1) The word translated “labour” means 1. to hasten, make haste 2. to exert one’s self, endeavour, give diligence. Thayer
2) If you have not yet believed on Christ, you must hasten and give diligence to this. It is extremely important. To delay may be fatal.
3) You will stand before God on Judgment Day and give account to Him. If you lack faith in Christ’s atonement for your sins, you will fall before the Lord guilty and with no hope. You will have no cunning lawyer to find a loophole and help you escape.
b. You cannot fool God, v.12-13
1) My friend, God knows you better than you know yourself. You cannot hide your sinful character from God.
2) I believe that the word of God (v.12) speaks both of Jesus Christ – God’s living Word and the Bible – God’s written word. Note His qualities…
a) He is quick or living.
b) He is powerful
c) His word is sharper than any twoedged sword
d) His word pierces the soul and spirit to the joints and marrow. This means it identifies sin and convicts.
e) He discerns the thoughts and intents of your heart.
f) He sees you clearly (v.13). Nothing can hide you from God. (Jeremiah 23:24) “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Psalms 44:21) “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.”
3) When you stand before God, He will know all that you have ever done. He has all the facts. Above all, He will know if you have placed your faith in Him for salvation.
4) Hasten to enter into God’s rest NOW. Do not delay. Without faith in Him, you will miss heaven and go to hell.
3. Let us hold fast our profession, v.14-15
a. Jesus is our High Priest, so take hold!
1) Remember, the OT high priest was the bridge between man and God. Now Jesus is the ultimate bridge between God and us.
a) He came to earth, became a human, died for our sins, and rose again to complete our salvation.
b) He is now passed into the heavens. He is seated at the right hand of the Father.
c) He longs to be your bridge to heaven, but you must place your faith in Him.
2) The apostle urges us to hold fast our profession. The words translated hold fast literally mean to take hold of. It is not enough to know about Christ. Nor is it enough to call yourself a Christian.
a) If you were thirsty and I offered you a glass of water, you may know the refreshing quality of water, but you would not experience it until you took hold of it and drank it.
b) The same is true of God’s promised rest in heaven. Knowing about it will do you no good if you do not take hold of it by faith.
b. Sinless Jesus understands our weakness.
1) Perhaps some of those first century readers were not convinced that Jesus was truly God’s Messiah High Priest who could totally forgive their sin and give them rest. Can he truly grasp my sinful suffering?
2) The apostle assures us in v.15 that Jesus is not a high priest that cannot truly understand our feelings of infirmities. In other words, yes, he truly understands. He can really know the temptations we have faced. How is that possible?
3) He was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin. He faced the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life while He walked on this earth. The devil used his most powerful influences to get Christ to sin, yet He never sinned.
4) Jesus not only know ALL the sins you have done, but He also understands every temptation you have faced. He bled, died and rose again for every one of your sins. He urges you to place your faith in Him now as your Saviour rather than standing before Him later as your Judge.
5) Do not just claim to be a Christian, take hold of that profession in reality by placing your faith in Christ.
4. Let us boldly obtain mercy and grace, v.16
a. Seek His forgiveness with confidence.
1) God’s invitation for us to come boldly to His throne of grace means that we can come to His throne with fearless confidence and with cheerful courage.
2) The word therefore explains how this is possible by pointing us back to the previous verses. As our divine High Priest, Christ understands our temptations and He offered the ultimate sacrifice of Himself for our sins. Jesus paid it all!
3) While in context, this verse offers unbelievers confident access to God’s saving forgiveness, it has a secondary application to Christians. When we sin, we also can come boldly to God for forgiveness. We are assured of this in (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
b. Christ offers you mercy and grace
1) You CAN obtain or receive God’s mercy. God’s mercy is His goodness in providing salvation to men by Christ’s atonement. If you trust Him, He will be merciful. God is also merciful to Christians who confess their sins.
2) You CAN also receive God’s grace for help in time of need. This refers literally to seasonable help; help just right for every season or situation. This especially applies to believers, as we frequently need God’s grace or divine help during the temptations and trials of life.
Conclusion: God’s offer of salvation is for a limited time only. Death or the rapture could end His offer to you today. Are you positive that you have placed your faith in Him and received His offer of eternal rest? If not, do so today.
Christian friend, if you need God’s forgiveness, He is understanding, merciful and full of grace. Go with confidence to His throne and receive His mercy and grace.
Song: Amazing Grace – 236