— How we Enter into God’s Rest
1 The Problem
- In Hebrews chapters 3 & 4 we are called to enter God’s rest:
- 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?
- There is a similar problem in...
- “In everything treat others as you would want them to treat you...
- 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.”
- “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
- 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.
- For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Labour is often spoken of highly:
- 1 Cor 3:6-8
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- and numerous other verses
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
- They didn’t enter because of the giants in the land
- They didn’t trust God or believe his promises
- In v.4 the writer introduces a second picture of rest, the Garden of Eden
- God created the world in 6 days, then stopped to enjoy the paradise
- Adam could have stayed in Eden, but failed to trust God and was thrown out
- v.5-8 the writer explains that this was a picture for us, because long after the wilderness, in Ps 95, God still asking them to enter his rest:
- Now the author introduces a third picture of our rest, the Sabbath
- The need for faith to keep the Sabbath in an agricultural society
- The key in all three pictures is God’s provision
- God’s provision of the promised land, and strength to take them in
- God’s provision of all Adam could need in Eden
- God’s provision for all their physical needs on the 7th day of the week, & the 7th year
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:
- not resting from our “own works” — “the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works” 4:10
- 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.”
- It is all about our attitude
- example of sitting in a dentist’s chair (torture?)
- My Grandfather used to make rugs, —as relaxation. Some people do it as work.
- My brother-in-law was partner in his own printing company for many years
- didn’t work out financially
- now he does exactly the same job for another company
- which do you think has less stress?
- Therefore, it is not about what we do, but our attitude
- Are we trying to reach some performance goal?
- This is very dangerous—God has not set us one
- He wants us to labour out of love
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.”
- 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”
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”
- “...be 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