Hebrews 4:1-11 (KJV) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
God offers a “rest” to His people. This is the main thought of this text. Eight times the word “rest” is used (the Greek κατάπαυσις katapausis), which means “a state of rest or relaxation of mind as well as body”. The Bible speaks of three different rests in this text.
1 There Is The Immediate “Rest” Of The Gospel CALL. We read in …
Hebrews 4:33 For we which have believed do enter into rest…
God offers a “rest” to those who will believe on Him. God offers a rest to whosoever will receive His Gospel. God is the Gospel. God offers us Himself in His Gospel. When the Prophet Moses was told to lead Israel out of Egypt that precious man told the Lord:
Exodus 33:15-16 (KJV) …. If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. 16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? …
What God offers in the Gospel is His continuing presence. God told Moses
Exodus 33:14 (KJV) …. My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
God promises an immediate rest to those who believe in Him. Look at our text for a moment. God says “for we which HAVE believed DO enter into rest”. Look at the tenses of those verbs. When we HAVE believed (past tense) we DO enter into rest. When you come to the Lord and receive Him as Savior and God He promises:
Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) …. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
God makes a promise to those who come to Him by faith. He says “I PROMISE I will never leave you”. God promises to never leave His Child. When the bad things come and the creaks in the night God has promised.
Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 ESV Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. 8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
The God Who put the sun in space and this third rock from the sun called the earth, this God Who made both Heaven and Earth has said “I will neither LEAVE nor FORSAKE you”. God’s people hear this promise and live on that promise.
Isaiah 41:10-13 ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
What God offers in His Gospel is Himself. God says “come to Me, believe in Me, trust in Me, and I will give you rest”. This was the promise that God made to His Israel. He said “go into the Land – I will be with you”. But Israel would not go. Israel heard the promise of God, but failed to trust Him. We read …
Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached DID NOT PROFIT THEM, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
The Promises of God, His glorious Gospel, is absolutely useless if it is mixed with FAITH. FAITH in God’s character is what saves. God told His people “go into the land, I am with you”. The people sent spies into the land. When the spies returned they gave an evil report. Joshua and Caleb trusted God, but the other spies did not. We read:
Numbers 13:28-33 (KJV) Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. 30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
Why did Israel lose the blessing. Because they heard the Promise of God that “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and hearing that Promise mixed the promise with FEAR, not with FAITH.
The lost allow EMOTIONS – wayward emotions – to get in their way. The Gospel promises of God cannot be secured if they are not mixed with faith. NOT FEELING, but FAITH. Faith in God. Faith that God is truthful and able.
You can hear the Gospel. You can hear that Jesus Christ died for your sins so that He can bring us to God. That’s what the Gospel is. Hear it!
1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. …..
Jesus died for your sins, to cover your sins. See Him yonder on that Cross. He did not die JUST to bring you to Heaven. Certainly He will bring you to Heaven, but it is not JUST to bring you to Heaven. Jesus died to bring Heaven to YOU. He died so that we can have a moment by moment relationship with God. God is the Gospel. God offers you Himself in the Gospel. God says:
Matthew 11:28-29 (KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
You cannot enter the Gospel Rest by FEELING, but by FAITH. You trust God and believe His Word. Israel did not do that, and lost the Presence of God. And losing Him you lose EVERYTHING. Do not lose Him. Receive Him. Believe Him. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him!
2 There Is A Weekly Rest The Gospel COMMANDS. We read:
Hebrews 4:4 For He (God) spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
When God created the earth and all that is in it He set aside a day of rest. This is what the Jew called a Sabbath. God “rested” on that day not because He was tired (for God does not get weary) but because the work was complete. God commanded the Sabbath to His people Israel.
Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
God gave a Sabbath to mankind that we might take one day and remember the Lord and all His blessings. The seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God. God rested one day in seven, and asked those who believed in Him to rest one day in seven. The Sabbath was a remembrance, a time to remind ourselves that God is in control, and that God has created all things complete.
Israel kept the Sabbath as a time to rest and together to worship the Lord. When our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the grave on the First Day of the week …
Mark 16:9 (KJV) Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene …
the early Church began to meet not on the Jewish Sabbath but on the “Lord’s Day” or the first day of the week. Why?
- The first Gospel sermon preached on the Resurrected Jesus was preached BY the Resurrected Jesus on Sunday. Right after Christ’s resurrection that Sunday two men headed down the Road to Emmaus. As they mourned over the death of Jesus a third Man joined them (for He shall never leave nor forsake His people). He listened to them moan and groan for a while until finally He – the Resurrected Jesus – spoke up, saying …
Luke 24:25-32 (KJV) ….. O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
It is in the Breaking of Bread that they saw Jesus. We worship as the early Church worshiped, on Sunday. When Jesus revealed Himself to these two disciples they ran back to Jerusalem, back to where the disciples were hiding.
- The Resurrected Jesus Appeared To The Disciples All On That Sunday. We read:
Luke 24:36-39 (KJV) … And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. 38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
We come together on Sunday because our Lord fulfilled His promise on Sunday. Jesus defeated death for us. Jesus beat the devil for us. Jesus is with His people. Jesus is with His people. It is on Sunday that Jesus appeared to doubting Thomas and said (John 20:26-27)
… Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
Oh, do not be without faith! Without faith you cannot please God. Without faith you will never have His Presence. Feelings come and go. Doubts and depression may, like dark clouds, blow over your lives. Have faith Thomas. Believe in Him Who is your Lord and your God. As Pastor John MacArthur said:
“… on that Sunday, as I said, He pledged to them that they would have the power of the Holy Spirit. The great new covenant had been ratified. Forgiveness of sins for all sinners of all ages who came to God was accomplished. What a day. What a day. And it was a Sunday, and prior to that, Sunday had absolutely no significance, none. But from that day on, Sunday took on a completely different meaning. Sundays would never be the same again. Sunday became new covenant resurrection day in their minds because God had chosen that day. If the seventh day was designed by God for delighting in Him as Creator, and then having been corrupted by the fall, if the seventh day was also designed by God to put fear in the heart because of the violation of His holy law, here was another day. This was not a day to celebrate creation or to celebrate sin, or the sinfulness of sin, this was a day to celebrate salvation. Resurrection was the dawning of a new day, and so the new covenant has a new day. The sabbath is gone, and the new day has come, and it is the day of celebration of the work of Christ.
When the early Church gathered in the Upper Room to pray, it was on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, that Pentecost came. According to Leviticus 23:16 the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost occurred 50 days after the Sabbath preceding the Feast of First Fruits. The first Gospel message preached after the resurrection of Christ was preached on Sunday by Christ.
- The Second Gospel Message Preached After The Resurrection Of Christ Was Preached By Peter On The Day Of Pentecost. It Was Sunday Again. The Church has since that day held its services on Sunday. We partake of the Lord’s Table on Sunday, not on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was part of the Law, a Law that told us to rest and contemplate the Lord. The Lord’s Day is a new Day, a resurrection Day, a Day of Promise, a Day when God has promised to be with His Children forever. The Apostle said:
Acts 20:7 (KJV)7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
Many of you will be glad that I am not Paul, for he preached on the First Day of the week until MIDNIGHT. He preached Christ, and the disciples “broke bread”. The Lord’s Table was observed. Collections were taken for the ministry on the First Day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:2).
We who are His come together in a weekly rest. This is the Lord’s Day. Those Who are His come together to worship Him, to break Bread, to remember what our Jesus did for us.
3 There Is An Eternal COVENANT Which God Makes With Those Who Believe. We read:
Hebrews 4:9-10 (KJV) There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The text tells us “there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God”. God has promised Heaven to His Children, His people who have come to Him by faith.
It is a glorious rest, a time when we shall not only be in the Presence of the Father forever, but will see our God with every sense.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
There is an eternal rest coming, but only for those who are the people of God. For those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior, and who follow Him, they will find the Promised and Eternal Land. The Beulah Land. Will the so called Nominal Christian die and go to Heaven? What did Jesus say?
1 John 5:4-5 (KJV) 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Revelation 2:7 (KJV) 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 3:5 (KJV) 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Revelation 21:7 (KJV) 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
We who are saved are called to have an overcoming faith in an overcoming Lord. The Lord’s Table that we take today commemorates the death of Christ, a death He died for us. His body was broken for us. His Blood was shed for us. He established this Table as a memorial of His sacrifice, and a reminder that He is Risen and we are His.
Forever. By. Faith.
May God touch your hearts by His Spirit.