- Sermon Notes
Find Rest for Your Soul
Hebrews 3:14 -4:16
The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish believers in Christ. Many believe it was written to the church in Jerusalem, the birthplace of Christianity,
but now a church that was struggling. Many were being drawn back into Judaism, back to the ways of the Old Testament, back to the laws of Moses.
This book was written to accomplish three important things in these Jewish believers. First, to show them the supremacy of Christ over all things. He is
greater than all the angels, he is greater than Moses, he is the fulfillment of all that is in the Old Testament and whereas God used to speak in the
Old Testament through the prophets, God now speaks through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Secondly, he writes to warn them of the dangers of unbelief. We’ll see some of that in the verses we are studying today in chapter 4.
And finally, he writes to strengthen their faith; to draw them back into a place of completely trusting in the word that God sent through His Son. We find
some of the greatest verses on faith in the book of Hebrews in the entire Bible.
In chapters 3 and 4, he reminds them of one of Israel’s famous failures when they tested God in the wilderness and hardened their hearts with a 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 into the land God had promised them.
But more than that, they did not enter into His rest. The meaning and significance of God’s rest is extremely important. It’s a major theme that runs through
the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It’s absolutely critical that we understand what that means because the promise of rest is the promise
of not just of eternal life, it has everything to do with the victorious life God intends for us right here and right now.
I. Soften Your Heart when He Speaks
- Long ago, God spoke through the prophets in many portions and in many ways. Hebrews 1:1. But in these last days, God speaks through His Son.
- When Israel was held captive in Egypt, God heard their cries and sent Moses to confront Pharaoh to release the people of Israel from slavery, but Pharaoh’s
response has become classic…
Exodus 5:2, But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord 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, and He began to reveal Himself not only through the prophet Moses, He revealed Himself through
all the plagues against Egypt, and through miraculously delivering Israel through the Red Sea.
- God did a miracle for them every day by providing manna for them in the desert. And though it tasted like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, it was healthy and
- But they grumbled against God, saying, “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 in the onions and garlic…”
- 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…
Numbers 11:19-20, “You shall eat, not one day, not two days, nor five days, nor 10 days, nor 20 days, but a whole month, until it comes out your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’”
- Instead of learning from what happened, they hardened their hearts. That is the lesson the writer of Hebrews wants us to remember…
- That’s the lesson from chapter 3, God speaks through His Son, and when you hear His voice, take care not to have an unbelieving heart.
Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
- The point is that it’s not just anyone who is speaking to you, God is speaking through His Son. It’s one thing to ignore a solicitor knocking on the
door, but when the God of the universe sends His Son with a message from His heart, that’s another thing altogether. That demands a response.
- When Jesus was in the midst of a storm with the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, He spoke to the storm, “Peace, be still!” The wind and the waves obeyed
His voice, should we not do the same?
- Jesus gave a parable about a master who was giving a big dinner and invited many. God gives an invitation and expects that we accept it…
Luke 14:16 -24 The invitation… God expects a response.
- There’s a difference between a reason and an excuse.
Illus- “The reason I can’t help you move your heavy furniture is because I’m flat on my back with a ruptured disc,” that is in fact a good reason.
- An excuse on the other hand is unacceptable to God.
Romans 1:20-21, For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks…
- Apparently, by the way, excuses aren’t limited to humans…
Illus – Koko, the guerrilla, is famous for mastering more than 1000 signs of American sign language to communicate to researchers. One day they discovered a steel sink in her enclosure torn from its mornings. When confronted, she pointed to her pet kitten and signed, “Cat did it.”
B. Do not follow their example of disobedience
- One of the reasons why it’s important to study the Old Testament is because we can learn a lot from God’s dealings with Israel. These things were written
for our instruction.
1 Corinthians 10:5, 11, Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness… Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
- They tested God in the wilderness, he wrote. How did they put God to the test? By insisting that God move at their command. It happened at the
waters of Meribah. The people were thirsty, but instead of trusting that God was able to provide for them as He had done so many times before,
they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” Or, in other words, they wanted God to prove that he was God.
- As Jesus was beginning His ministry, He spent 40 days fasting and praying in the desert. When those days had ended He became hungry and the devil
came to Him, tempting Him.
- About one point, he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “Since You are the Son of God, throw
Yourself down from here, for it is written, “He will command His angels concerning You to guard You.”
Luke 4:12, Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
- The enemy was asking Jesus to put Himself in a perilous situation so that God would be forced into saving Him, that God might move at His command.
- People tempt God when they insist that God respond to their command in order for God to “prove” that He is God…
Illus – Is God able to heal? Then take a step off this pinnacle and stop taking your insulin. But in so doing have we not asked God to move at our command?
- Do not have unbelieving hearts, he wrote, do not follow their example, because, “They always go astray in their heart, and they do not know My
ways,” says the Lord.
II. By Faith Enter His Rest
- The significance of rest has been around since the earliest days of creation. God ‘rested’ on the seventh day and so Israel was given a command
to rest on the seventh day.
- But what many do not realize is that the concept of ‘rest’ has a much deeper and significant meaning.
- Sabbath rest is a picture of something far greater, just as much of the Old Testament law is a picture of something far greater.
Colossians 2:16-17, No one is to act as your judge in regard to …a Sabbath day – which is a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
- Do you want to camp in the shadow of the house or live in the house itself? There’s a big difference between the shadow and the reality of the
A. Be diligent to enter that rest
- Hebrews 1:3; when He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… Jesus completed His work and sat
down at the right hand of the Father.
- When Jesus was on the cross, just before He breathed His last, He lifted His eyes to heaven, and said, “Tetelestai! It is finished.”
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 He has sent.”
- Your relationship to God is not based on the works that 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 all your sins on Himself.
- It is finished; it is completed. The only question that remains is whether you will enter into that rest.
B. 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 into 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 might find help in time of need.
Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
- There is a Scripture that is commonly misunderstood and misapplied. The problem is that they only use the first part and forget the most important
Philippians 2:12-13, Work out your salvation with fear and trembling… for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
- God is at work in you, to will and to work for His good pleasure; that is a principle of faith. God is for you and when He works in you, He is working for you, to help in time of need.
- God has given you the promise of rest. Is there anxiety, turmoil, unrest in your soul? Enter into 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
into 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; God was there.
1 Samuel 17:45-46, Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and the javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have 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 3:14-4:16 NASB
14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,
15 while it is said,
Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those
who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “Theyshall not enter My rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those
who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David
after so long a time just as has been said before,
the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so
that no one will fall, throughfollowing the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged
sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore
let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.