Entering God’s Rest
- In chapter 4 we can see a warning to the Jews who have given up their beliefs in Judaism and started turning towards Christianity.
- These Judaism Jews had really not committed themselves to Christ.
- They were Jews who were facing persecution and social pressure of Judaizers, and the love of their own sin, and thinking of going back to Judaism.
- Hebrews 4:1…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.
- There have always been people that lie since Adam and Eve’s son…Cain.
- People intend on doing the right thing and never follow through. Believing in God and then decide that He doesn’t exist. Leave catholosism to follow Jesus and then go back to the Catholic Church.
- They never make a real commitment. They are never really true believers.
- Note the word of God in Hebrews 3:7…Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8) Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9) 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.
- Many people do not get it. You cannot say you believe in God and then live how you want to.
- You cannot claim to have made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not follow His commandments. As Jesus said numberous times… “If you love me you will…what? “…keep my commandments.”
I. First the Warnings
A) Harden not your hearts
- Hebrews 3:8…Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: Don’t be like those in Moses day.
- Hebrews 3:13…But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Warn each other of the consequences of sin when they have done wrong… warn them TODAY.
- Hebrews 3:15…While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. If you hear the voice of God speaking to you, or feel the Holy Spirit convicting you of sin… do not “harden your hearts (ignore it)”
- In looking back to that generation of Moses’ people and Moses himself, we see that they failed to have faith in God that he would provide for them.
- 40 years in the wilderness of complaining and disbelief. They were never going to see the promised land of Canaan.
- They never entered into “the haven of rest.”
- So as we move to chapter 4 of Hebrews, let us realize that the ultimate warning here of Paul to the Hebrew church is… Do not do as the people of Moses did … stopped believing, stopped having faith in God, and stopped their worship which stopped their “entering into rest.”
- If I may, we need to remember that God judges us according to our hearts. What does the Bible say about our hearts? Jeremiah 17:9…The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
- The message in chapter 4 is for unbelievers. Those hanging by a thread.
- The message in chapter 4 is also for the believers in that they need to be busy trying to convert people to Jesus Christ and to present the gospel n such a way that they get off the fence and into the field of harvest.
B) The “Key” to rest
- The “key” to rest is believing in God, His Son and the Holy Spirit.
- For us as New Testament Christians, believing in God is not enough…John 3:17… For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- Jesus said inMatthew 11:28…Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
- PLEASE KNOW…this is not only a “physical rest,” but more importantly a “spiritual rest.”
- Rest here in Hebrews is also that of what David talked about in Psalm 95:10… Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11) Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
- It’s not so much as to what they did… it’s why they did it. A result of their heart’s condition. They “do err” meaning they have made an error or mistake or sinned.
- A result of sin in our life leads to “unrest.”
- When we sin, the devil likes to hold that over us and remind us of how horribly sinful we are and ruin our joy as a Christian who is secure in Jesus Christ.
II. Witnessing God’s Working
A) Seeing His miraculous work
- In Numbers 14:22a…Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness,
- Stop right here… many of us who have become saved have witnessed God’s working in our lives, seen His handiwork, seen His miracles, seen His blessings, seen evidence in other people’s lives. We KNOW He is God and we KNOW that He is powerful. We KNOW that only He can save us.
- We are “witness” to the facts, evidenced in our lives and therefore we believe the Word of God and take it as a book of truth.
- The unsaved do not see it, have not witnessed it and therefore are not resting in the Lord.
B) Ignoring what we have witnessed
- Entering DANGER… Look at verse 22b…and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
- Ex.14:10-12…When things looked bad (Pharaoh drawing near) they were wishing that they had not left Egypt. Not wanting to follow the will of God.
- Ex.15:22-24…murmured (complained) to Moses of bitter water. How many times do we complain about things that do not go right? How many times do we complain about something we receive good or bad.
- Ex. 16:1-3…Complained about hunger looking back to Egypt when they had full bellies. They did not appreciate what God had given them. They were unthankful, and ungrateful.
- Ex.16:19, 20…Moses commanded them to not leave any leftover manna for the next day. They didn’t listen to Moses and the manna bred worms not allowing them to eat what they saved. God gave to the church pastors to warn them of failure in listening to the advice of God. Rebellion leads to ruination.
- Ex. 16:27-30…God told them not to go out on the Sabbath day to gather manna. Some went anyway. Not honoring the Lord’s Day. God rested on the seventh day of creation and has asked man to do the same thing.
- Ex. 17:1-4…Israel is complaining of no water. Complaining that God is not providing as He said He would.
- Ex. 32:1-35…Moses goes up the mountain to receive the 10 Commandments and the Israelites made a golden calf.
- They were not patient to wait on the Lords commandments. They corrupted themselves. They did what they thought was right.
- Num. 11:1-3…They started to create their own gods to worship. They failed in worship of the true God of Abraham.
- Num. 11:4-34…They became a “stiffnecked people” (vrs.9). The term “stiffnecked” means that they were unwilling to change their ways.
- Num. 14:3…A stronger army faced them in taking the land (Canaan) promised them and they feared dying at the hand of strangers. Lack of faith in God giving to them what He has promised them.
- These 10 things were what caused some of the Israelites failure to “enter the haven of rest.”
- These 10 things are what also cause us failure to enter the haven of God’s rest.
- There is a song that I recall singing “Standing on the promises.” To stand on God’s promises we are trusting completely for His guidance, blessing, protection, provisions, and etc. Many of us are just “Standing on the premises.”
C) Facing God’s judgment
- May I also remind you that the number 10 stands for “judgment.”
- After 10 times of Israel’s sins against God…He was ready to judge Israel.
- Look at God’s judgment…Numbers 14:12…I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.
- Pestilence…Strike the people with a contagious and often fatal disease.
- Disinherit…not allow them to inherit Canaan (the promised land) the pleasures of God, the haven of rest.
- Make of thee a greater nation…Destroy Israel and make a better people that are willing and obedient to God.
- Note what Moses does in Numbers 14:19… Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
- Who does Moses remind us of here in the New Testament age? Jesus Christ!
- Moses being the mediator between God and Israel in His judgment towards their evil deeds.
- Jesus being our mediator between God and our evil deeds.
- Note verse 23) Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
- God always gives us punishment for our sin. Not always is it lethal.
- What about you today? Have you entered into God’s haven of rest?