“Enter Into His Rest”

29 Jul

This particular post marks the first in a series of sermons I have delivered on Sundays since March 10, 2013. The Lord called me to preach with one verse: “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:16). This verse burned inside of me with a call I cannot and do not want to deny. My call to pastor came around the same time with one verse: “If you love me, then feed my sheep.” (John 21:17). I will never forget the evening this verse struck me and stuck with me in a permanent fashion. It has been about five years since those transformational days of Christ calling me to pastor and preach, though I had the unquenchable longing to pastor and preach even as early as middle school. This journey of responding to Christ’s call, “Follow me,” has sustained only through God’s grace: His grace which eradicates our sin, His grace which empowers us to live with His Righteousness inside of us, His grace which “keeps us from stumbling and presents us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” (Jude 1:24)

On our “launch” Sunday, I preached on John 10 and Hebrews 3-4, concerning the vitality of hearing God’s voice, being called by name, and being baptized in the Holy Spirit. For this post, I will cover Hebrews 3-4 on rest.

Hebrews 3:6 “Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope [firm to the end].” We are God’s house, we are a walking Temple of the Holy Spirit. That is why it does not matter whether we worship on the mountain at Jerusalem or Samaria. John 4:20-21 “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say in Jerusalem is where people ought to worship. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…(23) But the hour is coming , and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.”

Let us continue on in Hebrews 3:7-9. “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years…” We do not want to be like that generation, of whom it is said, “They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known my ways.” A vital key to unlock the door of entering his rest is listening to God and knowing His heart. Hebrews 3:19 says, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” The other key is faith, for “it is impossible to please God without faith.” Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” How gracious that a treasure of our reward in believing God is the gift of entering into His rest.

Hebrews 4:1, “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” If you are going to choose to fear something, then fear this: have you yet entered His desirable rest? Is this Holy Scripture advising you to remain in fear? No! “Perfect love casts out all fear (for fear has to do with punishment).” Allow His Perfect Love, Jesus Christ, to extinguish your fear with the gift of receiving and entering His rest. Hebrews 4:2, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” Notice how crucial it is to mix what we hear with the element of faith! Brothers and sisters, drink deep right now the gift of the faith of Christ which is in you! Hebrews 4:3, “For we who have believed do enter that rest…” Hebrews 4:4, “For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place, ‘They shall not enter my rest.'” Notice that if you take these verses out of context, one might go away discouraged. Let us rightly divide the word of God, take the whole of biblical counsel and thereby learn of the good news of God’s grace: Hebrews 4:6, “Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, (7) again He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said: ‘Today if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.’ (8) For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. (9) There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. (10) For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Praise God for this scripture! Let us thank God even now for giving us this revelation of rest!

I pray for all those who read this, that even now, while it is still called “Today,” you would enter His rest with newness of heart, for He gave you a completely new heart through Christ’s work on the cross so that your work may cease. Enter His rest with thanksgiving and praise, enter His rest with abandoned worship in holiness and gratitude, enter His rest with a new identity as a child of God, the righteousness of God; enter His rest with abiding faith and communion with Christ: Hebrews 4:11, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience…(14) Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Amen.

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