Faith’s Perfect Rest

Everyone Needs a Faith That is ABLE to Rest

Hebrews 3, 4


July 13, 2014 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (2nd Corinthians 4:16)


A.    Poem - Oh the Rest that Only Faith Can Give


Oh the rest that only faith can give,

where once, only fear held sway.

But when faith firmly steps into view,

the heart, with confidence, can say,

“My God is near, He never fails;

He loves, and takes care of His own.”

So though my heart may struggle now,

I CAN rest, because I trust, that God is still on His throne!

Some people turn to prescription pills,

or to pints of beer and ale.

But there is something about God’s perfect rest –

It never has been for sale!

It’s found in trusting God’s great care,

as His word makes abundantly clear;

That even though dark may be the path,

I can rest as He always still, bids me cheer.

So along the way, both up and down,

with nothing down here to see;

I know there yet is a higher ground;

So I will trust, AND rest, until, that day with Him I’ll be!


B.      “Rest”


1.      Most people don’t have it – don’t know how to do it

2.      Stay up late every night, trying to get tired enough to go to sleep

3.      Wake up exhausted

4.      Drink coffee’s, tea’s, Cokes, Red Bulls all day long

5.      Can’t concentrate, are worn out, tired all the time

6.      They just never rest!


C.    Let me give you a Biblical prescription for perfect rest! The ability to be renewed and refreshed, day after day, after day!


II.    Background (Hebrews 4:9)


A.    There is a rest for the people of God.


1.      There always has been a rest for God’s people, that others would kill to have

2.      It is not sleep, but the ABILITY to sleep because we know we have nothing to worry about

3.      It is the sense that everything is okay, or will be okay, because you are no longer trusting people, and no longer trusting your best efforts, but you are trusting a perfect Saviour!


B.     To help us understand perfect rest, God uses the example of the nation of Israel coming out of slavery in Egypt

C.    They had everything going for them


1.      They were freed from 400 years of bondage, without a fight

2.      They were rich beyond measure with the wealth of Egypt just handed to them as they left (these slaves ended up with more than all the Egyptians)

3.      They sang like there was no tomorrow

4.      And they headed off to a place called The Promised Land


D.    But along that way, they lost their rest.


1.      They began to complain, murmur and gripe in the heat.

2.      They doubted God in the troubles

3.      And they blamed Moses for everything going wrong – it is always good to blame someone isn’t? Ah, no!

4.      They were not lost. They were not on their own. God never stopped taking care of them

5.      What had happened was, they had lost their ability to rest in their trust in God!

6.      And it was killing them – literally!


E.     NOT trusting God causes a lot of damage – has a high price - it leaves everything up to you and me – and believe me, we only know how to make things worse

F.     There are TWO rests that every believer needs


1.      One they experienced at salvation – when we were made free from the punishment of our sins (Matthew 11:28-30)

2.      Another one they need to enter into every day – we need to experience it

3.      Now, The most important rest is our rest in Christ


a.       Those Israelites had such joy and rejoicing when they were made free

b.      And we had such rest from fear and from all the work we laboured at trying to be good and do what our slave owner (Satan) demanded!


4.      But, until we reach heaven, there is another rest to experience, daily, moment by moment


a.       It is an ability to wait on God, and be at rest, and rejoice, even though you may be:


1)      Lacking what you need at the moment

2)      Going through a desert

3)      Surrounded by enemies

4)      Taking a long time to get through it all


b.      An ability to face the devil head on, and be at rest about it (1Peter 5:8,9) by FAITH!

c.       It takes a bit of effort (Heb 4:10,11), but it is nothing like the efforts we used to put out trying to calm down under pressure!


G.    A Couple of Examples of Perfect Rest


1.      Jesus Asleep in a Deadly Storm (Mark 4:35-40)

2.      Peter walking on deep water (Matthew 14:23-31) – he was at rest at first!!!

3.      Paul about to be beheaded in Rome by Caesar (2Timothy 4:5-7)

4.      Peter sleeping just before HIS own beheading (Acts 12:1-6) WHAT??? ASLEEP?

5.      They ALL had PERFECT Rest! It feels so unnatural, because it is NOT natural!


H.    Don’t be like the Israelites who never experienced God’s Rest!


1.      Not that they were not saved by the very same blood of the lamb as we are, but that they just never stopped complaining, griping, whinging, giving up, blaming, getting angry, provoking God’s anger, and so on!

2.      If you are constantly struggling with any of that, then YOU need this message!

3.      Take a test and see what you do at home and at work:


a.       Praise God, or pout and complain about things?

b.      Find faults, or find reasons to be thankful?

c.       Look forward to seeing Jesus, or to who is going to win a world cup soccer match?


4.      Whether you need this or not, I just know that I NEED IT!


III. Message - A Biblical Prescription for Perfect Rest


A.    Hear His Voice (3:7)


1.      Just LISTEN to Him!


a.       So many voices, so many sounds, so much static

b.      If they are not surrounded by so many voices, they are busy talking to themselves

c.       No wonder no one can hear God

d.      Listen… If Jesus can calm a deadly storm, He can calm your heart as well!

e.       But you have GOT to be listening to HIS voice!


2.      And, THIS Book is the voice of God – it may not look like much, but it is what you need!


a.       Now, if you have no time for it – to just LISTEN to it – then you have no hope of ever experiencing God’s perfect peace, no hope of real rest.

b.      You will keep turning to Doctors and counsellors, and stimulants and depressants, and like Israel, never experience faith’s rest!

c.       You will stay grumpy and angry and frustrated and miserable


3.      THIS Book is where faith’s perfect rest starts


a.       Perfect rest is NOT something that is already in you – like the Taoists believe

b.      Perfect rest is found IN THIS BOOK!

c.       It is something that GOD has to put into you – one word at a rime!

d.      It comes from GOD speaking INTO you


1)      Speaking into your storms, into your valleys

2)      Guiding you, telling you what you should do, and what He is going to do


e.       Learn to listen to the words of THIS Book, as if you are listening to His voice speaking directly to you!

f.       That is THE only way to read this Bible for your benefit


4.      Why does this work?


1)      Because Rest comes by Faith (believing God), and such Faith cometh by HEARING, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

2)      It begins with how much time you take to listen to what God is saying!

3)      Because there is NO rest without a trusting faith in the God who Created you, and loves you, and wants you to just follow Him

4)      The more rest you need, will require more time reading this Book, and learning what God has committed Himself to you to do!

5)      There are NO shortcuts!


B.     Harden Not Your Heart (3:8-12)


1.      What hardens a heart?


a.       Sin does – all that TV watching, time spent only on yourself

b.      Hardening of the heart also just happens naturally – you don’t have to do anything to end up with a hard, bitter heart – and that ought to scare every one of you!

c.       Not believing God, will harden your heart

d.      And not obeying God (departing from the living God, thinking you know a better way)


2.      This is a serious warning! This warning is repeated over and over (3:8, 13, 15; 4:7)

3.      Evidently, there is an epidemic of hard hearts amongst God’s people


a.       Not just in the people around us

b.      But amongst us!


4.      I know it is true here!


a.       No joy in some of you

b.      No amens in a long time!

c.       No commitment to God’s people, and to God’s kingdom

d.      Only thinking of yourselves, and your “issues” with life

e.       The problem is not lack of money or lack of time for God

f.       It is lack of an interested heart!


1)      Your sin has hardened you

2)      Your laziness has hardened you

3)      Your own fears have hardened you


g.      This church ought to be MORE ON FIRE FOR GOD than it was just last year! If our hearts were soft!

h.      Shame on us all!


C.     Exhort One Another, TODAY (3:13; 10:25)


1.      That means…


a.       Encourage each other – rally each other to the finish line

b.      Push each other – pull each other on - like you would if we all were in a race, or climbing a hill

c.       Keep each other in prayer


2.      Don’t let anything get to the point where you are a hindrance, instead of a helper!


a.       Make it YOUR life’s purpose to keep people IN the Christian race

b.      Every time you stay home to watch some stupid TV show on a Sunday or Wednesday evening, you discourage others who have made the sacrifice to be with God’s people and learn more of this Bible!

c.       Just you coming / joining up with others, makes this church excited & on fire for souls!

d.      You think staying home so you can rest (in front of your TV) will give you rest? It may for a little while, but in the end, it will wear you down

e.       But putting the Lord Jesus FIRST will result in you being recharged like only getting faith can do!


D.    Stay the Course – finish the journey – to the end (3:17-19). You rest as you go forward. Quitters never rest... because they are always running!


1.      Have you noticed how many people START well, but don’t finish at all?


a.       Some of you used to be so excited about learning new memory verses, about learning how to win a soul to Christ, about discipleship, about getting a chance to preach

b.      Some of you used to sit up front, with your family, and now you have moved further and further back


2.      Hey folks, stay the course – finish the journey we all started by faith!


a.       A godly, life, lived according to what THIS Book says will be blessed

b.      There is rest in a life lived right

c.       But you have got to STAY the course folks!


3.      You started by faith – finish by faith (Acts 20:24; 2Tim 4:7)


E.     Just Believe God (Heb 3:19)


1.      Oh the rest that only faith can give!


a.       Not just faith in anything – not things you make up in your own head

b.      But faith, a trust in what God has promised you in His word!


2.      How many times did Jesus say, “O ye of little faith”…


a.       “Where is your faith?”

b.      “If ye had faith…”

c.       “How is it that ye have no faith?”

d.      What was He saying? Why aren’t you believing what I am promising you?


3.      Who is the one making the promises?  It is the Almighty God, the Creator of this Universe! And every promise of God is backed up by His perfect character – He cannot fail!

4.      Don’t just HAVE faith, but mix everything you hear in this Bible, WITH faith (4:2)


a.       God says, I will never leave thee

b.      Read and meditate on Isaiah 41:10-13

c.       And the next time you lack something, ask your heavenly Father for it – trusting He will take good care of you!

d.      Next time you are struggling with anything, believe that God knows, and is making a way through, just for you

e.       Mix every bill, every problem, every trial, every sorrow, with faith in the God who promised to bring you through – He is ONLY good – Only doeth wondrous things!

f.       You have GOT to start believing that!


5.      I don’t have to know exactly what to do – I don’t have to do everything just right (and I will fail)!

6.      But I Do have to trust God… that is, if I want to be at REST!


F.      Fear Coming Short of His Perfect Rest (Heb 4:1)


1.      You have to WANT the rest that God offers you


a.       Maybe you WANT to stay cranky, and mean, and sour, and hard-hearted

b.      But then again, maybe you now realise that if you stay that way, there is a price – God will make it so you never ever experience such amazing peace and rest! No matter how much you try one day! It is a spiritual law that you keep hardening yourself and that’s it


2.      God let those Israelites travel around in circles for 40 years! They never got in!


a.       They didn’t WANT to trust their God…

b.      Didn’t really believe He could get them through the desert, into the Promised Land

c.       So they never entered His rest!


3.      Folks, trusting God is VERY important!


a.       You can’t get into heaven as an atheist – no faith in the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

b.      You have got to decide that God promises eternal life, to any and all who will just believe Him!

c.       And you will never rest if you don’t start taking rest seriously, and wanting a better rest – a perfect rest


IV. Invitation - Will YOU believe God?


A.    Don’t be like the Israelites who never experienced God’s Rest!


1.      They experienced salvation – when we were made free from the punishment of our sins

2.      But they never experienced the perfect peace, because you are trusting God


B.     If you Fear Coming Short of His Perfect Rest, then…


1.      Start Listening to His Voice, every day – not Neil Prenderville

2.      Allow God to Break Your HARD Heart – confess any sin

3.      Exhort Each Another, TODAY – make sure everyone is staying in the race

4.      Stay the Course Yourself – finish the journey – to the end

5.      Just Believe God – that He will do what He has promised


a.       That He knows all about you

b.      That He loves you absolutely, as you are

c.       That He knows you could never be good enough for heaven, so he made a way through His Son, Jesus Christ, taking YOUR place on a cross, 2000 years ago

d.      And all He asks is that you trust Jesus Christ to be enough – to be all you will ever need, to be forgiven, and made ready for God’s presence in heaven!

e.       And that He will get you through everything you will ever face – if you only will trust Him!