Perfect Rest

The Strength of a Christian at Rest

Hebrews 4


DATE: 9 Dec, 2001  AM          PLACE: BBC Blarney


I.         Introduction (Ps 55:6)


A.      I’m taking a break from our study in Revelation of the seven churches, and turning our attention to the time of year we are in

B.       Some call it:


1.        The “festive” season

2.        The Christmas season

3.        Time for family

4.        Holiday season


C.       But for most people, it is the stressful season


1.        Stressed spelled backwards is desserts!

2.        Evidently, people have this month all backwards


D.      Many people are like David here, wishing:


1.        To be somewhere else

2.        To be doing something else

3.        To be thinking about anything else, except Christmas

4.        It’s because of worry, bad memories, over-expectations, over-work, being easily offended, and generally, just never learning what it means to have REST!


E.       Contrast Psalm 55:6 with


1.        Psalm 119:165

2.        Psalm 127:2

3.        Psalm 3:5; 4:8

4.        Eccl 5:12

5.        Mark 4:37,38

6.        What makes the difference? This is something to keep folks!

7.        Isa 26:3 – “Perfect peace!”


II.       Message – Perfect Peace (Heb 4)


A.      A Right Kind of Worry – Let’s Fear Some things (Heb 4:1)


1.        Worry about missing out on God’s special promises to His people


a.       He makes some promises that are ONLY for HIS people: Heaven, Peace, and Rest, Rewards in heaven, Wisdom

b.       Every person needs to worry about missing out on all God promises

c.       To receive those promises, become one of His people – by faith!


2.        Worry about coming short of all that God has for you


a.       It’s not important to just be one of God’s children. It’s just as important being all that you can be as His child - potential

b.       This “coming short” is the same as


1)       An athlete, not having enough body-weight to compete

2)       A runner, not having a fast enough run to qualify

3)       A driver, not having enough speed to qualify

4)       An investor not having enough money to participate in a stock option

5)       And employee not having enough time on the job to have a pension yet!


c.       A Christian “comes short” when they:


1)       Settle for where they are at in their own spiritual growth

2)       Only want to go “so far” and then no more – as with the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manassah – as in:


a)       Only reading a bit of the Bible, and not all

b)       Only coming on Sunday mornings, and not in the evening


3)       Never step out by faith, and live in obedience to Christ’s word all they way


B.       The Right Ingredient – Faith (Heb 4:2)


1.        Notice how throughout history, people have been getting the same Gospel


a.       That God is there

b.       That mankind is separated from God

c.       That God cares:


1)       Send prophets in OT, and missionaries in the NT

2)       Gave us a Bible

3)       Provided a sacrifice

4)       Sent His Son to be the final sacrifice


2.        But not everyone applies that Gospel – doesn’t believe it fully – if a person did, they would:


a.       Repent of their sinfulness, and get saved like Jesus says to be

b.       Not be ashamed of Jesus, and be a witness

c.       Grow – be determined to walk closer to Jesus, and follow more than ever


3.        The key is mixing the word of God with faith


a.       The folks in the OT HAD the words of God almighty spoken to them

b.       But it made no difference because they didn’t mix it with faith


1)       They believed in Egypt

2)       They held on to traditions

3)       They missed the good old days of the past – held on to history

4)       They only saw the problems of their life, and not the lamb


c.       Everyone in this room has the same potential


C.       The Right Kind of Rest (Heb 4:3-10) We need to focus on obtaining only ONE kind of rest – God’s kind


1.        There are different kinds of rest


a.       Day-off kind of rest

b.       A weary kind of rest – just goes to sleep as soon as you kit the pillow

c.       A fake kind of rest – like Jonah in the ship

d.       Drug induced kind of rest – so many today


2.        Then there is the Lord’s kind of rest


a.       Matt 11:28,29

b.       Isa 11:10


3.        You see, GOD has a rest that he offers unto the people of God - The world is like a tumble dryer – no rest, no peace

4.        God offers us:


a.       An ability to rest from your labours, and struggles, and worries

b.       An ability to fight through prayer and trust instead of with sword and dagger, and tongue


5.        Two examples are given:


a.       God at Creation (Heb 4:3,4)


1)       After 6 days of working, HE rested – what a thought!

2)       He was setting an example – He wasn’t tired folks! Didn’t wear Him out

3)       That’s why God established the Sabbath – to show the people what rest is, and what they were missing if they didn’t have it


b.       Israel in the wilderness, on their way to the promised Land (Heb 4:5-10)


1)       Had been given liberty from bondage – salvation

2)       But had not experienced any REST yet

3)       The same is sadly true for so many Christians – free from sin’s punishment, but not free from:


a)       Sin’s Past – still haunts them, and dominates them

b)       Sin’s Power – still able to crumble them


4)       God wanted Israel to get into the promised land

5)       Do you realise what awaited them there?


a)       A place of rest AND a place of battle

b)       How could it be BOTH?


(i)       Without the Lord it would have only been a place of battle, and lots of loss, and NO rest

(ii)     With the Lord, it was to be a place of victories, and rest, because it is the LORD who would be doing the fighting


c)       A place of permanence


6)       That’s just what the Christian life is!


a)       Yes there are LOTS of battles

b)       But more importantly, there is GREAT REST in the soul

c)       And there is permanence – hallelujah!


6.        So, what holds people back – who are those who do not enter into this kind of rest?


a.       The unsaved – those who never left Egypt (Isa 48:22)

b.       The complainers – see only troubles, and all the reasons why not go forward

c.       The stragglers – hesitant – have trouble breaking the habit of living in the stress


D.      The Right Kind of Effort Needed (Heb 4:11-16) – main point


1.        Notice two key words here


a.       LABOUR – you have to work at this!

b.       ENTER – not something we are born with, nor even born again with. You have to re-orient your life like a ship to enter into THIS port


2.        These are the things we all need to work at


a.       At conquering our unbelief – that there really IS a reason to be full of joy, and victorious over the sins in our lives – it will stop you dead in your tracks (Cf 3:19)

b.       At resisting the hardening of our hearts (Heb 4:7) – must be resisted


1)       Like in a marriage

2)       Like in a church

3)       The same heat will either melt, or harden – it depends upon the material being heated


a)       If butter, it will melt

b)       If clay, it will harden

c)       Keep your heart as butter!


c.       Submitting to God’s word


1)       From the first to the last chapter, make that Book’s message be for YOU, and be God’s commands to YOU!

2)       Let God’s word surgically alter your heart – like a cosmetic surgeon, but only, on the heart

3)       Do you know why people HATE that Book? Because it tells on us all! It knows not only WHAT we do that’s wicked, but it tells everyone WHY – the intentions of our hearts – very personal!


3.        Hold fast to Jesus – He Himself is your own victory!


a.       Churches have introduced OTHER saviours, and other hopes, and other mediators (Mary, Buddha, angels) – things people cling to

b.       Christians, God’s people are to cling only to Jesus


1)       HE is THE high priest

2)       HE arose from the dead, and then passed up into heaven itself

3)       HE is touched with all the feelings of our troubles


c.       I guarantee you there is NOBODY in heaven who cares as much about you as Jesus


4.        Stay at the throne of grace – all day, every day (Heb 4:16)!


a.       Starts really, right here – come before God’s throne

b.       That’s how you obtain EVERYTHING you need

c.       All through your day, go boldly, confidently to that throne, and get what you need for every hour, and every trial, and every need, and every strength –

d.       I think he has enough to spare

e.       Casting all your care upon him, and collecting all your need in return

f.        That’s when you will be at rest


III.     Conclusion


A.      We need to fix our worrier – get afraid of:

1.        Missing out on all of God’s promises

2.        Coming short of what we can be for the Lord

B.       We need to start mixing all our faith into this Book – instead in the TV

C.       We need to focus on obtaining only ONE kind of rest – God’s kind

1.        An ability to rest from your labours, and struggles, and worries

2.        An ability to fight through prayer and trust instead of with sword and dagger, and tongue

D.      We need to put our efforts into obtaining that kind of rest

1.        Conquer our unbelief

2.        Resist the hardening of our hearts (Heb 4:7) – must be resisted

3.        Submitting to God’s word

4.        Hold fast to Jesus – He Himself is your own victory!

5.        Stay at the throne of grace – all day, every day (Heb 4:16)!