<< Previous | Index | Next >>
                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                     The Rest That Remains (4:1-11)

INTRODUCTION

1. In chapter three of "The Epistle To The Hebrews", we saw...
   a. A comparison of Christ to Moses
   b. How the comparison led to a warning based upon the example of
      Israel in the wilderness

2. Appealing to the example of Israel's fall in the wilderness is a
   natural one...
   a. For despite Moses' leadership, most died in the wilderness and
      did not enter the promised land for lack of faith
   b. Now under Christ's leadership, we face a similar danger of
      falling short of our "promise" through a lack of faith - He 3:
      14-15; 4:1

3. Chapter four continues the warning with a focus on the promised
   "rest" which awaits the faithful Christian...
   a. This promised "rest" is actually one of several "rests" found in
      the Scriptures
   b. It is a "rest" that Moses and Joshua did not provide, which is
      just another reason why the Hebrew Christian should not forsake
      Jesus and return to Judaism
   c. It is "The Rest That Remains" for the people of God today!

4. In this lesson, we shall address two questions...
   a. What is "The Rest That Remains"?
   b. What essential elements are necessary to enter "The Rest That
      Remains"?

[Let's begin, then, with the first question...]

I. WHAT IS "THE REST THAT REMAINS"?

   A. IT IS NOT IS THE "CANAAN" REST...
      1. This "rest" is alluded to in Deut 3:20; 12:9-10; Josh 1:13-15
      2. This "rest" was given as God promised - Josh 21:43-45
      3. But in chapter four "His rest" (or "My rest", "God's rest") is
         clearly delineated from that which Joshua provided - He 4:8
         a. Long after Joshua died, the passage in Ps 95:7-8 was
            written
         b. The word "Today...", indicates that the Spirit was warning
            the Israelites who had long before received the "Canaan"
            rest
      -- So Joshua provided the "Canaan" rest, but there is still "The
         Rest That Remains"!

   B. IT IS NOT THE "SABBATH" REST...
      1. It is natural to think of the Sabbath day when one hears or
         reads the word "rest"
         a. When first introduced to the nation of Israel, it was
            spoken of as "the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD"
            - Exo 16:23
         b. This was the seventh day rest, patterned after God's own
            rest following the creation - Gen 2:2
         c. It was encoded into the Law given on tablets of stone - cf.
            Exo 20:8-11
      2. But the Sabbath as a day of rest was given only to the nation
         of Israel
         a. It was not given to the nation's fathers (i.e., ancestors
            such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) - Deut 5:2-22; Neh 9:13-14
         b. It was given to Israel as a weekly remembrance of their
            deliverance from Egypt - Deut 5:12-15
         c. The only Gentiles ever commanded to keep the Sabbath were
            those living among the Israelites in Canaan ("your stranger
            who is within your gates")
      3. The Sabbath day, like the rest of the Old Law, has been done
         away
         a. It was nailed to the cross - cf. Ep 2:14-15; Col 2:14
         b. Those in Christ have died to the Old Law, having been
            delivered from it that they may now serve Christ - Ro 7:4,6
         c. As part of "the ministry of death" (the Old Testament), it
            has been replaced by "the ministry of the Spirit" (the New
            Testament) - 2Co 3:5-8,11
         d. It is now a matter of indifference to God, left to one's
            individual conscience, and not to be bound on anyone - cf.
            Ro 14:4-6; Col 2:16-17
      4. Finally, the argument regarding Joshua can also be made
         regarding Moses...
         a. Long after Moses provided the "Sabbath" rest, Ps 95:7-8 was
            written
         b. Indicating that there was still another "rest" to come
      -- While Moses provided the "Sabbath" rest, there is still "The
         Rest That Remains"!

   C. IT IS "GOD'S REST"...
      1. Through this section of Scripture there are repeated
         references to:
         a. "My rest" - He 3:11; 4:3,5 cf. Ps 95:7-11
         b. "His rest" - He 3:18; 4:1
            1) Which those who fell in the wilderness did not enter
               - He 3:18
            2) Which Christians today have a promise of entering - He
               4:1
      2. It is a rest that God entered upon the completion of His
         creation - He 4:4,10
      3. It is a rest that Joshua (and Moses) did not provide...
      4. God's rest is one in which...
         a. We must be diligent not to come short of it - He 4:1,11
         b. One who has "entered His rest" has "ceased from his works"
            - He 4:10
      -- "God's rest" is the "heavenly rest" of which we read in the
         book of Revelation...

         "Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write:
         'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'
         ""Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their
         labors, and their works follow them."" (Re 14:13)

["The Rest That Remains" in this passage is therefore "God's Rest",
and in particular that "heavenly rest" one enters in which they cease
from the labors.

Now if we wish to one day enter this "rest", some things are
necessary...]

II. WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS TO ENTER "GOD'S REST"?

   A. THE WORD OF GOD...
      1. Note that both the Israelites and we today have had "the
         gospel" preached unto us - He 4:2
         a. The "gospel" (i.e., good news) proclaimed unto the
            Israelites pertained to the promises of Canaan
         b. The "gospel" proclaimed unto us pertains to the blessings
            we have in Christ
      2. The Word of God is essential for at least two reasons:
         a. Without it we would not even know about our promised rest!
         b. Without it we would not know how to receive our promised
            rest!
      3. Thus the Word of God (i.e., the gospel) is truly God's power
         to save - cf. Ro 1:16-17
         a. For it tells us of God's salvation in Christ
         b. And how we might receive that wonderful salvation
      -- But as we proceed, we learn that the Word of God alone is not
         sufficient...

   B. MIXED WITH FAITH...
      1. The Word of God did not profit many in Israel because they did
         not receive it with faith - He 4:2
      2. As powerful as the Word of God may be (cf. He 4:12), it's
         power in our lives is hindered unless we accept it with faith!
         a. Of course, the Word is designed to create and nurture faith
            to a point - Ro 10:17; Jn 20:30-31
         b. But unless our hearts are good and noble, the Word will not
            find the proper soil needed to produce its intended fruit
            - cf. Lk 8:15
      -- Without faith, then, the promise of God's rest will not be
         experienced by us!

   C. FEAR AND DILIGENCE...
      1. The Hebrew writer stressed both of these essential elements
         a. "let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short..."
            - He 4:1
         b. "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest
            anyone fall..." - He 4:11
      2. Fear (awesome reverence) has an important place in the life of
         the Christian
         a. Jesus taught us Whom to fear - Mt 10:28
         b. Paul taught that "fear and trembling" should accompany our
            efforts to serve God - Php 2:12
      3. Diligence (strenuous effort) likewise is important - 2Pe 1:
         5,10
         a. We must be diligent to grow in Christ-like character
         b. We must be diligent to "make your calling and election
            sure"
      -- The need for such fear and diligence is understandable only if
         the possibility of falling short is very real!

CONCLUSION

1. "The Rest That Remains" is indeed a wonderful blessing...
   a. It is "God's rest", therefore a "heavenly rest"
   b. It is a rest in which one has "ceased from his work as God did
      from His" - He 4:10
   -- It is the rest of which John heard a voice from heaven speak in
      Re 14:13

2. But we have seen how disobedience led many Israelites to fall short
   of their "Canaan rest"...
   a. Though they collectively as the nation of Israel were God's
      "elect", predestined to receive the promises made to Abraham (cf.
      Gen 12:1-3)
   b. But individually, they failed to make their "calling and election
      sure"
      1) They had the "gospel" spoken to them
      2) But they did not receive it with faith
      3) And so they did not have the fear and diligence necessary to
         persevere!

3. Brethren, what about us today?
   a. If we are "in Christ"...
      1) We are blessed to be God's "elect" in a collective sense as
         Christ's body, the church
      2) We are predestined as such to receive the wonderful blessings
         of salvation in Christ, including the "heavenly rest" that
         awaits us
   b. Yet individually we must still make our "calling and election
      sure"...
      1) Are we receiving the Word mixed with faith?
      2) Do we have that proper sense of fear?
      3) Are we diligent in our efforts to remain faithful and
         steadfast?
   -- Only then can we have the assurance of entering into "The Rest
      That Remains"!

May the words of the writer to the Hebrews sink deep into our hearts...

   "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall
   according to the same example of disobedience." - Hebrews 4:11
<< Previous | Index | Next >>


Home Page
Have A Bible Question? | Want A Free Bible Study Course? | Looking For A Church Near You?
Want To Talk With Someone By Phone? | Want To Discuss The Bible By Email?
Search The Outlines

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

eXTReMe Tracker