- Sermon Notes
Find Your Rest in God
One of the greatest promises found in the Bible is when God said to Moses and the people of Israel in Exodus 33, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” This meant so much to Moses that he responded, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us from this place.”
The presence of God meant more than anything to Moses. It’s as though he was saying, “I do not want that land You promised unless You are with us in it.” God said the land of Israel would be flowing with milk and honey. Moses was saying, “I don’t want the blessings of the milk or the blessings of honey unless you are with us in it.”
But what does it mean when God says, “and I will give you rest”? That word contains some of the deepest spiritual promises God has ever given.
What does it mean to rest? It means to cease striving, to cease from self-effort and self-reliance. It means to rely on what God has done and will do in your behalf. It has everything to do with faith. When you find your rest in God, you will know what it means to have faith. And when it comes to your relationship to God, faith is everything. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
In Hebrews 4, the writer reminds them of Israel’s famous failures. They tested God in the wilderness and hardened their hearts. It was lack of faith. It was a turning point in the history of Israel, and it wasn’t good.
Because of that lack of faith, because they hardened their hearts and wouldn’t trust by taking God at His word, that entire generation died in the wilderness. They did not enter the land God had promised them.
But more than that, they did not enter His rest. The promise of rest is the promise not just of eternal life, it has everything to do with the victorious life God intends for you right here and right now.
I .When God Speaks Soften Your Heart
- Verse 7 - God says to us today, just like David said to his generation, just like God said to Israel in the desert, “If you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”
- Jesus gave a parable that in the same way that he farmer sows the seed and it lands on different types of soils, God sends His word and it lands on different types of hearts.
- Those with hard hearts cannot receive the word of God and it bears no fruit.
- When Israel was captive in Egypt, God heard their cries and sent Moses to confront Pharaoh, “Jehovah, the God of Israel, says to you, ‘Let my people go.’”
Exodus 5:2, But Pharaoh said, “Who is Jehovah that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”
- But Israel did know the Lord, they were His chosen people. He revealed Himself to them. He spoke through Moses, he delivered Israel with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. He destroyed the armies of Egypt and delivered Israel through the Red Sea.
- God did a miracle every day by providing manna in the desert. And though it tasted like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, it was healthy and nutritious.
- But they hardened their hearts and grumbled against God, “Why did we ever leave Egypt? We remember the fish which we used to eat in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leaks and the onions and garlic.But now our appetite is gone.There is nothing at all except this manna.”
- They hardened their hearts and would not hear His voice. To teach them a lesson, God gave them what they wanted, He gave them quail, but He gave them so much it was running out their nostrils…
- The lesson for you and for me is the same…
Hebrews 2:1-4, We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it… How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard it, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
- God’s promises are nothing short of amazing, but those promises are for those who hear what God says and believe what God says is true.
Hebrews 4:2, Indeed, we have had good news preached to us, just as they did also, but the word they heard did not profit them because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
- Hardness of heart and lack of faith will keep you from the promises of God. But He wants you to have faith and keeps reaching out to you. He pursues you.He keeps knocking on the door of your heart, he keeps calling out your name, but don’t miss out on the promises of God because of unbelief.
B.Jesus is the Sabbath rest
- The idea of rest goes all the way back to creation.Hebrews 4:4, “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.”
- It was also a sign of the covenant between God and Israel.
Exodus 31:16-17, “The sons of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to celebrate the Sabbath throughout the generations as a perpetual covenant.It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever.”
- Even today in Israel the Shabbat, the Sabbath, is honored.
- But it’s more than that, it was also a symbol of resting in the Promised Land of Israel, the land God swore to give the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.They had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years, they then struggled in the desert 40 more years.God promised them the land and He promised them Himself, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
- But it’s more than that… Verse 8 – For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day after that, for there still remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
- The Sabbath rest that God promises us is resting in His Son, His only begotten Son.Rest in the work that God did through Jesus.It’s not your works that brings you to relationship with God, it’s resting on the work God did through Jesus.Every day is a Sabbath rest when you’re resting in Jesus.
Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Mark 2:28, “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
C. .Faith rests and relies on God, not on self
- Verse 10 – For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
- Resting from your own works means that you’ve given up on self-reliance and self-sufficiency.Instead, you rely on the sufficiency of Christ.
Philippians 4:11-13, I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going the hungry, of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- This is Paul’s spiritual secret.Few, if any, have been as spiritually effective as Paul, what a great lesson for all of us.
- Hudson Taylor, famous missionary to China who became powerfully effective in Christ also had a spiritual secret… We are made powerful and effective not by our striving, but by our resting –not resting in your own self-sufficiency, resting in Him, relying on His promise to abide with you…
II. God Sent His Word in Power
- There are many ways to learn in this life.You can learn from your own mistakes, or you can learn from the mistakes of others.
1 Corinthians 10:11-12, Now these things happened to Israel as an example, and they were written for our instruction… Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
- Verse 11 – do not follow the same example of disobedience as Israel…
A. Be diligent to enter that rest
- When Jesus was on the cross, before He breathed His last, He lifted His eyes to heaven, and said, “Tetelestai! It is finished!”
- In other words, it is accomplished; He has done it all. Your part is believing.
John 6:28-29, Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom God has sent.”
- Your relationship to God is not based on the works you do; it’s based on whether you rest in Him. It’s based on whether you trust in His work which He did for you. He sacrificed Himself and suffered that day by taking your sins on Himself.
- It is finished; it is completed. The only question that remains is whether you will enter that rest.
B. God’s word is living and active
- Verse 12 – For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
- He said earlier in verse 2 that the word they heard did not profit them because it was not united by faith and those who heard it.
- Be sure that you hear it, be sure that you receive it, because God sent it.It is sharper than any two-edged sword and able to judge the very thoughts and intentions of the heart… And there is no creature hidden from His sight, all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Isaiah 55:11, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
C. Draw near with confidence to the throne of grace
- Hebrews 4:16 - Draw near with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
- When you enter that rest, you not only rest in God’s work for your salvation, you also rest in that relationship. You draw near to Him with confidence that you may find help in time of need.
Psalm 121:1-2, I will lift up my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from?My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 42:5, Why so downcast, O my soul?Why have you become so disturbed within me?Put your hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him.
- God has given you the promise of rest. Is there anxiety, turmoil, unrest in your soul? Enter His rest, trust that God works all things for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.
- It’s difficult for many people to grasp the concept that we can draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, but that’s what it means to enter His rest. It means that you are resting in His work in you and for you. He is the one who has invited you to draw near with confidence; take Him at His word.
Psalm 71:1, 5, In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be ashamed… For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.
Illus – One on one, David never had a chance against Goliath. You might say, “I thought it was one-on-one, was someone else there?” That’s the point exactly; yes, God was there.
1 Samuel 17:45-46, Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have just taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands… that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”
Hebrews 4:7-16 NASB