Jesus: Our Rest

Jesus: Our Rest

Jesus, Our Rest.

Some three and a half thousand years ago approximately two million people were where delivered from the most tyrannical empire in the world at that time. 

This empire was officially the first antisemitic people of history, they subjugated and enslaved a body of people who were originally invited to live the country and were originally given the best of the land. But not long after another king arose who did know Joseph, and the people were enslaved.

For some four hundred years they were given to bondage, forced to serve a ruler who had his own interest at heart. They were treated as foreigners and every means was devised by the king to limit their population growth. 

They increased their burdens beyond the levels of tolerance, they had them build treasure Cities for the empire, and yet the more they afflicted them the more they multiplied until finally the Egyptian King tried to directly limit the growth of their families by ordering every male child born to be killed by the midwives.

But the midwives disobeyed the commandment of the king, they feared God and kept the male children alive and God “made them houses” (Exo 1:21).

The excavations of the land of Egypt in the region where the this occurred revealed a subjugated semitic people group who’s male population had an average age of less than 35 years. 

But the people grew in number, nonetheless.

Their bondage however seemed to have no end in sight, there seemed to be no hope set before them. Almost forgotten was the God of their father Israel, and multitudes of Jacob embraced the gods of the land.

But God heard the cry of the people, and a goodly child was born that would be placed in an ark of bulrushes, placed along the brink of the river.

Not until the ark was opened did the babe within begin to weep, and soon the mother who set the child adrift would be summoned and employed for the raising of this unlikely prince of Egypt.

Named by his adoptive mother, Moses would one day be used by God to usher his “son out of Egypt” (Hos 11:1). He would climb the mount of God and bring down the Law of liberty to the peculiar people of God. A people set apart, a people that will dwell alone and would not be reckoned among the nations (Num 23:9). 

God will not find iniquity in Jacob (Num 23:21), and the people will find their rest in God.

Now, free from the servitude of Egypt, free from the bondage of a vile and tyrannical ruler, they are free to serve the Lord and to enjoy him forever. God would give to them a law, a law that will prove to be the greatest and most wise law humanity has ever and will ever have.

The New Testament refers to it as “The Law of Liberty”, (James 1:25 & 2:12), an interesting phrase. Those who attend to the Law are free to live a blessed life, and so would agree Moses;

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” (Deut 30:15)

A COMMANDMENT OF REST

Imbedded within that Law of Liberty is found a commandment of Rest

How interesting. As I am not aware of a single soul who does not like the idea of taking a rest, it is curious to see that God has taken one of his ten eternal laws for mankind to give to man that which he effectively works all his life to one day look forward to, REST.

It’s the fourth commandment in the Bible and, just in case you don’t believe that Gods people could be so instructed to do that which they so naturally desire to do, turn to Exodus 20 and listen to God speaking directly to the people from the mountain of God;

Exodus 20:8–11 

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Did you see that? What a curious thing. Both before and after that are commandments that seem rather much more difficult to attend to;

  1. Have no other gods to worship 
  2. Have no graven images
  3. Do not take the Lords name in vain
  4. Sabbath
  5. Honour mum and dad
  6. Don’t kill
  7. Don’t commit adultery
  8. Don’t steal
  9. Don’t lie
  10. Don’t lust

Each of these others seem to be so difficult compared to “take a rest once a week” don’t you think?

Seriously, tell me who doesn’t want to put their feet up every now and again?

Each of these other laws seem to be genuinely difficult. Well ok, the 6th commandment is not common among man, but Jesus equated hating a person without cause as murder and we have all done that, even if only in traffic!

“I command you to take a rest once a week”…

Truly, it hardly seems to be a serious command at all when so many of us would enjoy resting more than working.

I would actually sooner think that commanding us to have to WORK six days every week to be fitting as a LAW against our nature…?

Why a ‘COMMAND’ to rest?

On the surface this does seem to me to be a command more strange than the other nine.

I just believe there must be another more important purpose for this one that we might otherwise be missing.

What does this “rest” truly represent?

Hebrews 4:1–10 

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard itFor we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Pray

Beloved, my eternal hope this morning is to simplify this passage  to you in four very fast and short points that some of you might you might truly rejoice in the “Rest” you have entered in, and that others may resolve to enter his rest.

There are elements to this passage that I will not dive into to its deepest depth, but there are those in plain sight that are for the greatest rejoicing to the soul.

I want to tell you this morning;

  • What the “rest” is NOT.
  • What the “Rest” is.
  • Who will NOT enter His Rest
  • Who Will / Has entered his Rest.

I pray that it is a blessing for you.

What The “Rest” Is Not

The Rest spoken of in this passage IS NOT a seventh day abstinence of work.

Though there are allusions to ‘The seventh day”, even a cursory glance at the context of the passage tells you this is not what is being specifically addressed, in fact we get the very distinct impression that even “The Seventh Day” was looking to some OTHER rest vastly more significant.

When we think about Jesus Christ we often miss some of the most wonderful and blessed elements of who he is and all he has done. Of what he has provided for those who trust him, of what he came to do, of whom he came to seek, of life he came to give.

We find an appearance of Christ that, seen too often, becomes more cliché than credible, more a platitude than profound.

Images of a man on a cross or walking the streets of Jerusalem doing good deeds, healing the sick, recovering sight to the blind, strengthening the lame, casting out devils and raising the dead.

We do not see “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16), but a simple and humble man who is well able to answer the lawyers of the land and rebuke the money changers of his fathers house. 

We see him change water into wine and walk on the waves of the sea, we see him feed a throng of thousands with “five loves and two fishes” (Mat 14:17), and we see him call the water and wind to his bidding.

YET We don’t see him as our strength and refuge, as a very present help in time of trouble (Ps 46:1), not while we see him prostrate before God his father as he petitions the cup be passed from him in bloody sweat. 

We don’t see the King of kings and Lord of Lords when we read of a crown of thorns, we see rather a man poorly treated and unjustly condemned, brutally nailed and lifted up as a spectacle.

When we think about Jesus Christ we often miss some of the most wonderful and blessed elements of who he is and all he has done.

So too do we often miss the significance of Old Testament foreshadows of Jesus Christ, our REST.

I desired so greatly to spend some time talking about Jesus, I wanted so much to tell you of my Saviour, to tell you of all I can; and all I can, could never do justice to all his is. Yet, as I thought of my Lord, as I thought of my King; What could it be that I might first share of him to the joy and comfort of us all but, his “REST”?

With all that we know of Jesus, how many see him as the very one for whom the REST of God on the seventh day of creation, was to figure?

What the “REST” in this passage is NOT, is anything resembling a temporary respite of our responsibilities.

What The Rest Is

In short, the rest spoken of in this passage of the Bible, is Jesus Christ, it is “His rest”.

Heb 4:4-10

 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

The book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrew Christians who had made for themselves the determination to return to the works of the Law for the healing of the sin of their souls.

They were born again, they were indeed sinners saved, the trusted in Christ, they had seen their Saviour and by faith were translated from death to life eternal, BUT they began soon to struggle with sin.

Unlike before, sin has a sharpness to it that was never noticed before their conversion to Christ. Before you and I believed the Gospel of peace, we would sin with knowledge and yet without conscience, there was never a prick in our side and if there was it was often too soon dulled to be less than a prod.

Then we fled from the Law of God, desiring none of it as Gentiles, but not so with the Hebrews, they lived by the Law of God, lived in the Law of God and worked to keep the Law of God for the sake of salvation. While we gentiles ran from it, the Hebrews worked in it.

They were generations trained to be sensible to sin, while we gentiles were by nature trained toward ignorance of sin. 

And so, the Hebrews now, with hearts so changed, with desires to live faithfully with all their heart, found themselves yet again struggle with the sin that once condemned them, have turned BACK to the works of the Law rather than the REST OF THEIR REDEEMER.

And so the apostle turns their minds to remember the purpose of that FIRST rest, shadowed in that fourth commandment, signified in our Saviours serenity. 

 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into hisrest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

There are no more works to enter into, Christ had undertaken all the fullness and requirement of the Law. He was not only the fulfillment of the Law itself through his perfect obedience to it, but through the sacrifice of his body he became the propitiation for our sins, and therefore ANY and ALL work has come to a close. 

PROPITIATION

I need to explain this strange word, for it is important to have ITS understanding BEFORE we can understand WHY we no longer need to WORK to attain Gods favour and therein conclude the explanation of ‘What The Rest Is’.

Turn to 

1 John 4:9–11 

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 

What is seen in the text is that the complete and total manifestation of the love of God toward us is that he sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  That he so loved us he sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

What is recognised is that this “Propitiation” is directly related to our ability to “Live through him”.

Sin has condemned us all, there are none righteous no not one of us, all of us have done evil, there is none good, no not one (Rom 3:10-12). Solomon wrote, 

Ecclesiastes 7:20 

20 … there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. 

Isaiah wrote, 

Isaiah 53:6 

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

WHAT? I need to read that directly…..Isaiah 53:4-6

We don’t need some Bible thumping preacher to tell us we are sinners. We don’t need a bell to ring the tenth time we sin in a day to remind is of our sin, we don’t need the fine to come in the mail to condemn us of our driving priveledge violation, WE HAVE A CONCIENCE THAT CONTINUES TO BEAR WITNESS AGAINST US….

BUT…..

The LORD hath lain on him the iniquity of us all (Isa 53:6b)

God…hath sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 Jn 4:10b)

The WORK IS DONE!

Do you recall what Christ had done AFTER he rose from the dead and ascended to the father? He “sat down at the right hand of God”, and what does that signify?

The work is done, “it is finished” 

Hebrews 10:10–14 H

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 

Now, that we might consider some of the precursors of Christ as a direct comparison of that which is old, turn with me to Exodus 16:25-30

Exodus 16:25–30 

25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. 26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day,which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. 27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. 28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. 

John 6:31–36 

31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 

Each day were they to eat the provision God had given them to sustain their lives. On the Sabbath day they would have a perpetual reminder of the REST God would provide to them, by the doubling of that bread that fell from heaven.

God rested the seventh day from all his works in the time of his creation, and the direct link as to WHY GOD CHOSE to rest is given is here in Hebrews 4:9-10

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Christ is the TRUE Bread from heaven.

Christ is the TRUE REST from all our works

The foreshadows of scripture representing Jesus Christ abounds, and these are but two of them.

Who Will Not Enter His Rest

There is but one, and only one thing that will prevent a man or woman from entering into Jesus Rest. 

It is not the greatness of our sin, there is no sin so severe as to disqualify a single soul from salvation. 

Far too many people think so highly of themselves as to believe that God has died for everyone else but not for them. I do thank my dear sister Juliet for highlighting that point in her testimony. So many think this way too. They believe their sin and their wretched heart is “too far gone” to save, but this is not true. It is not the severity nor the standard “run of the mill” sins that stop you entering into his REST.

It is Unbeleif!

Heb 4:6

Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

God had provided a rest, a rest that would be made available through Christ and Christ alone. Through no other person on earth would that rest be made available, only through him whose blood testifies to the sin of every man and has the precious flow to wash clean the sin of all who enter into his rest.

The only ones who CANNOT enter in are those who will not believe.

God has made this rest available through Jesus Christ, and therefore it is certain that some will enter therein, but NOT all.

But it is not JUST people today who will not enter in, the Bible goes back to history to tell of the people who GOD brought out from the terror of Pharoah as the prime representatives of UNBELEIF.

Turn back one chapter to;

Hebrews 3:7–13 

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin

When I think about it today, when I think of how simple God had made the way, I wonder that within that simplicity he did not also make a difficulty. But then how could it be difficult if all one need do is believe God at his word?

I heard last week that Powerball had a jack pot of some ridiculous amount of money. And I have NO doubt millions of people gave away some of their hard earned money believing it was possible for them to WIN the Jackpot by Chance.

Yet here we have God telling you by promise that IF you will ONLY believe Jesus Christ became a propitiation for you sins, that he died for you, you would enter into his eternal rest.

They say “you cant take it with you when you die”, and that is true if you hit one or a thousand Jackpots of flammable fortunes.

The only ones who WILL NOT Enter In to His Rest are those who think this eternal Jackpot is false. 

Who Will Enter His Rest

Heb 4:7

Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Simply put, the rest of Jesus Christ is for all who believe. 

These have no ceased from their work, for there can be no work to better gain eternal life that that which Christ had given. The greatest gift we are given is eternal life simply to those who choose to believe that God sent his Son into the world, to die for the world that put him on the cross.

O think of it will you!

Has it yet escaped you? Please just one last word to those of you yet to believe it. Don’t you see this as incredible? Here you have the testimony of so many people who would rather chose to die than deny Christ and yet you sit with folded arms in unbelief?

Jesus died for the very people that put him on the Cross.

While he was there, he prayed God might yet forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing.

All hwo believe the Gospel will enter into his rest, all who trust God ast his word will enter into his rest, all you will humble themselves, all who fear judgement for sin, who fear death as the “wages of sin”, all of these who cry out to God to save them, these and these only will enter into his rest.

But the opportunity is not open for long….

Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts

The power ball jackpot closed. Any who tried to get a ticket after the doors were shut, where shut out with no opportunity to gain the vain prize of vanity fair.

he limiteth a certain day

You have NO guarantee tomorrow you will feel as convicted to turn to Christ as you do right now.

There are some here today that have a stirring in their hearts, a deep seeded desire to come to Christ, to pray God might save them, but are in two minds what to do and think to put it off.

The Devils greatest deception is to make you think there is still time;

Don’t do it now” says the deceiver, think about it tomorrow. “Sleeeep on it!”

But what if you wake in eternity?

To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts

REST IN HIS REST

To you who now have his rest to abide in, Jesus is your REST. Please understand, you have nothing more to do to gain eternal life, nor to gain joyful peace but to know that he has given you rest.

For temporal sin, Jesus says his Grace is sufficient.

For temporal food, he is the bread of life.

For temporal fears, he is our sabbath, he is our REST.

REST IN HIS REST.

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