— How we Enter into God’s Rest

1 The Problem

  • In Hebrews chapters 3 & 4 we are called to enter God’s rest:
    1. Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.
  • Can you see the problem? How can it be “rest” and making every “effort” at the same time?

Matthew 7

  1. “In everything treat others as you would want them to treat you...
  2. Enter through the narrow gate... the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life and there are few who find it.”
  • But Matthew 11…
  1. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  2. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me
    for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
  3. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Labour is often spoken of highly:

  • 1 Cor 3:6-8
    1. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase... 8Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labour.
  • 1 Cor 15:58
    1. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
  • Col 1:28-29
    1. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29To this end I also labour, striving according to his working which works in me mightily.

2. Hebrews 3 & 4

  • As we go through, note what is the opposite to rest and what is the same as rest:
  • First we see the Promised Land pictured as “rest”
  • and the refusal of the Israelites to go into it as “failing to enter the rest”
  • Then the writer explains that the Promised Land was only a picture of the rest we can enter

3 The Solution

  • It seems that the rest that we are to enter is not about lying around doing nothing
    • What is it then? Cease from worry, anxiety, restlessness, stressed-out
    • Surrender all our worries to God
  • I often need this message preached to me!
  • It is not about what we are doing, but how and why we are doing it
    • There is a saying “Let go and let God”
      • If wrongly understood, this leads to careless, passive laziness and fatalism
      • But that is not how it was originally meant to be understood
        • the “letting go” is not passive, but dynamic submission to God’s leading
  • The same task can be stressful or “resting” if we “let go” in this way
  • Stop doing any labour intended to earn God’s favour
    • Our work is all because he loves us, not to make him love us

3 The Solution cont’d

  • It is all about our attitude See notes below
  • There are two ways we can fail to enter this rest:
  1. not resting from our “own works” — “the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works” 4:10
  2. no effort to submit to Jesus — “Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest 4:11
  • Even the work we do is actually Jesus living in us:
    • Gal 2:20 “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
    • Eph 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.”

Three ways:

image of three ways to respond

Answer is 2 parts: passive and active

  • passively: we stop trying to secure our own future by schemes and self-effort
    • we are content with the “Eden” that Christ offers us, with his “promised land”
    • we believe that what he offers us is the best possible world
  • actively: Jesus says “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me... For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
    • there is a yoke
  • actively: we follow the command to “take up our cross” in the strength that Christ supplies
    • “except the seed fall into the ground and die”
  • we follow the path of submissive obedience, because of love, not to earn anything
    • laying down our lives as Jesus did
    • trusting that God will raise us up as he did Jesus

Example of this kind of “resting trust”

image of an underground “sump” in a cave

4. The Application

  • Are you searching for an Eden, a harbour, a safe resting place?
    • One of my best images from childhood was sitting in the back of the car with my brother & sister, setting off on a journey to our vacation. Nothing to worry about.
  • Are you anxious?
    • Are you performance driven?
    • Are you highly goal orientated?
    • Do you have stressed out days?
    • Ask yourself this question:
    • “In order to reach the place where I can rest and be satisfied with myself I must first...”
      • “...get that promotion at work”
      • “...get enough money saved up for retirement”
      • “ the world’s best supermom”
      • “...find a wife/husband”
      • “...get my life totally straightened out”
    • You need to repent for these things.
      • I confess I am often anxious and I need to see it is sin, it is a hard heart of unbelief
    • On the other hand, are you failing to enter Christ’s rest because you can’t be bothered?
      • You don’t see the need
      • Too much effort
      • life is ok
      • The writer warns us that these people perished in the desert, and so will we perish
      • But don’t respond with your own effort
  • Do you need to respond now
    • confess your failure to truly enter in
    • ask for his strength and his gift of faith

Updated on 2010-06-12 by Andrew Fountain