A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God 4 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. As I write this message (a little while after having preached it), the stock market has taken a serious downward turn. This is resting in Him, or we might even say, abiding in Him (see John 15:1-14). 12 Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. But if physical rest is important to our physical well being, spiritual rest is even more important to our spiritual well being. Which of these does Paul cite as the reason Israel could not enter God’s rest? They refused to trust the God who had, again and again, worked miracles to save them. The ancient Israelites, along with those who lived in the days of the psalmist, had the promise of rest, a rest which could only be attained by faith. Unbelief leads to a hardened heart, which leads to rebellion and divine discipline. 33 But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25-33). 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-16). This “rest” must be more than merely entering Canaan because Joshua did lead the second generation of Israelites into the Promised Land, and yet many years later the psalmist spoke of a rest that was still available, a greater rest. When I was in college, I worked on the night maintenance crew. On one particular Friday night, one of the members of our work crew wasn’t to be found, so we decided to search the building to find him. For the Christian, there is not only the rest of salvation, but the day-to-day rest of dependence upon God for living the Christian life. God can rest from His works, not only because He has completed his creation of humans and a perfect world for them to live in, but because he has created the perfect Emergency Rescue—the sacrifice of Christ, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. Hebrews 4:4, Genesis 2:2. And, tragically, because they would not allow God to free them from themselves, they could not enter the Sabbath rest. Topic and guest posted here on Wednesday, link and passcode provided on Sabbath morning. But Hebrews 4 assures the Jewish readers that the Sabbath rest remains. Then there was the “rest” to which the psalmist referred in Psalm 95 that was available in his time (“today”). Hebrews 4 is the key to the rest of Hebrews. The “rest” we are talking about is not the kind that you find a couple of weeks in the summer, in a hammock, or in bed. Fancy drinking dirty water out of a trough that a donkey’s been at! This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed. Sleeping on the job is not “rest.”, I fear there are some Christians who may be “sleeping on the job.” If so, this message will not provide any comfort for them. They also identified with the older generation by repeating their sins. But, although the ancient Israelites “kept” the Sabbath, he tells us, they did not enter into the Sabbath rest (Heb. 4:10, Titus 3:5-6). 2 For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. And they raised golden goblets of rich red wine to their lips and said ‘Ugh! 13 But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception (Hebrews 3:12-13). 17). In summary, Hebrews 4 is not exhorting us to keep a weekly Sabbath, but to enter the rest of God by having faith in Christ. It is available on the Internet at: www.netbible.org. 20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 2 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the NET Bible. The warning was against failing to enter God’s rest, due to unbelief, hardness of heart, and disobedience. 3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. AT publishes in a number of formats: daily on the Web, via Facebook and Twitter; weekly via Email; monthly via PDF; and quarterly in a print journal. The one who has entered God’s rest has set aside striving in the flesh, and has trusted in the work God has finished, in Christ (4:7-10). 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. In the Old Testament, the Law gave instruction about the Sabbath Rest. And that way was the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ: 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. The second is the superiority of the rest which Jesus has achieved to the “rest” which Israel, under the leadership of Moses, did not attain (indeed, a rest to which Moses himself did not attain). Like the dwarfs, the Israelites failed to enter God’s Sabbath rest because of their unbelief. My Christian friend, are you resting in what Christ has done for you? Order the book here or order it directly from Amazon using this link. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. The Book of Hebrews begins with the declaration that while God has spoken in various ways through the Old Testament prophets, He has now spoken fully and finally in His Son (Hebrews 1:1-4). 4:7). Trying to frighten us.They do it with a machine of some kind. Praise God the answer immediately follows: 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! They did not “rest from their works, as God did from His.” (Heb. But, Paul goes on, something else happened on that day. Hebrews 4 refers to the Israelites previously "not entering their rest" (verses 11, 5) and also that we should "make every effort to enter into that rest." 95; Ex. The author wants his readers to know that there is still a rest available to us, but there is likewise a danger of failing to enter this rest, for the same reasons that earlier generations failed. It requires not only initial faith on our part, but on-going faith. 26 Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. that today you would listen as he speaks! English Standard Version So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, ... Hebrews 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. After urging us to ask our doctor about the usefulness of a certain medication, they go on to list all of the possible side effects. Hebrews 4 looks both backward and forward—backward to Creation and forward to the final Sabbath rest. 25 God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. And so as we come to chapter 4, we find that it is tightly related to chapter 3. Trust in Jesus. 1 The symbolic rest of God. We should learn how to interpret and apply Scripture from the Scriptures. Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken afterward about another day. While the “good news” that the ancient Israelites received was not the full-blown gospel that we have heard, it was nevertheless good news that did them no good because they failed to believe it and act upon it. Paul proclaims that this Sabbath rest has always existed—has always been available to anyone who was willing (Heb. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in with those who heard it in faith. Hebrews 4:9, NASB: "Consequently, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God." Yes, they know God rested on the Sabbath day. But the writer to the Hebrews also wants us to realize that our faith and Christian walk is not a solo proposition but a choir event. There are foam mattresses with a memory (probably better than mine) and a plethora of others. And, as you need to gather every Sabbath, be encouraged by this sign God has given us of the certainty of the coming of His kingdom rest. 24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:23-25). It was the rule, and not the exception. Israel’s unbelief and disobedience was a persistent practice. 1 Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. Click the cover below to learn how you can receive, There’s a vulnerability of love for God […], A new year gives us a new start. Chapter 3 ended with the warning that it was unbelief that kept the people of Israel from entering into the promised land and the rest God had promised there. 2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. None of them. Their greatest sin was not sexual immorality or idolatry or overt rebellion against God. The prison in their minds—a prison of distrust of the One trying to help them and refusal to depend on anyone outside themselves—was so strong they could not break free. For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That rest was not merely the rest of possessing the Promised Land, but a great rest, a “sabbath rest.” The source of this rest is God, who after having completed the work of creation, rested on the seventh day. 3 Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in with those who heard it in faith4 (Hebrews 4:2, NET Bible; emphasis mine). The sacrificial system on earth is finished, replaced by the perfect Sacrifice in Heaven. A shadow or type suggests a fulfillment by Jesus that passes away. This makes the weekly Sabbath a metaphor of the Genesis “rest” of God, as was the Canaan rest. God’s creation was finished. It is a weekly “sign between me and you, that I am the Lord who sanctifies you” (Ex. The third key is to understand how our author interpreted and applied the lessons of Psalm 95 to his day. But it wasn’t much use. The Son is characterized by a seven-fold description (verses 1-4), which is then buttressed by citations from Old Testament texts (verses 5-14). 26 This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness (Romans 3:19-26). This is not the kind of “rest” we will be talking about in this lesson. 6 For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. This must be a different rest because the readers are now dwelling in the Promised Land, and “rest” is still being offered. In our last lesson, we saw how the author of Hebrews warned us about failure to enter God’s rest, due to unbelief, a hardened heart, and disobedience. Jewish Christians also faced relentless pressure from their own Jewish community to abandon the “heretical” beliefs of the Christian faith and return to the fold of Judaism. 17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. There is the “rest” of entering the land of Canaan, which the first generation of Israelites failed to attain. in 1971. The Sabbath to come is none other than the Sabbath that God has enjoyed since He finished creation (v. 5). Happy New Year: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives, Near to the Heart of God: A Study of the Book of Hebrews. For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith (CSB, emphasis mine). And then there are the sleeping pills that we “can ask our doctor about to see if they are right for us.”. The ‘rest’ of Hebrews 4 clearly refers to the Kingdom of God. But how can one be guilty of the sins of a bygone generation? Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the dwarfs’ knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each dwarf had a goblet of good wine in his right hand. What was the sin of the Israelites which caused God to pronounce this inexorable judgment? This is not the kind of “rest” we will be talking about in this lesson. If only 5% of those who take a pill have their hair fall out, then I conclude that it probably won’t happen to me, especially if the pill will fulfill all the promises that are made concerning its benefits. Just as the psalmist could seize upon the term “today” and apply it to his readers, so God has fixed a “today” for us, the same “today” as was offered in the psalms. This is the edited manuscript of Lesson 9 in the series, Near to the Heart of God – A Study of the Book of Hebrews, prepared by Robert L. Deffinbaugh on September 7, 2008.  In Hebrews 3:7-4:16 we learn about the connection between believing/obeying the Gospel and rest/confidence. Tonight we continue our series of the Book of Hebrews, and we come to chapter 4. The thread which unifies chapter 1 is that the Son is superior to the angels. The writer to the Hebrews begins his discussion of God’s rest in chapter 3, where he references the Israelites wandering in the desert. As Paul puts it, they “hardened their hearts” against God’s love (Heb. The purpose of Hebrews 4 is much broader, more profound than merely maintaining theological orthodoxy. This is also why he expects the saints to gather regularly to encourage one another and to watch for those who are drifting: 12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God. It is our Sabbath, and the Day of entering it is coming. Q. ‘They will not let us help them. Furthermore, it enabled Him to become a faithful and merciful high priest. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Is the author of Hebrews saying this as well? Community is not a term that is found in our text, or even in the Book of Hebrews. That means the weekly Sabbath rest (along with the other rest commands in the Law of Moses) is a lesser expression—a shadow—of the true “rest” symbolically inaugurated at the seventh day of creation. 14 You are the light of the world. Hebrews 4:9, NLT: "So there is a special rest … It is the message of salvation to which we are exhorted to give much more careful attention (2:1-4). These are areas in which God desires to lead us to rest, rather than leave us to trust in futile works of the flesh. 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. In giving them the land of Canaan, God had promised them that He would go before them and defeat all their enemies in order that they could live securely (Deuteronomy 12:9–10). It was to these people that Hebrews was written. Hebrews 4:8-9 (New International Version) 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. The “rest” into which we enter is God’s rest, God’s Sabbath rest, such as we find in Genesis 2:2 – the rest God entered after He had finished His work of creation. God’s Word is the Father’s full and final revelation through the Son, the crowning conclusion to previous revelations through the prophets (1:1-4). This is introduced in 3:1-6. No Christian even considered the possibility of another day supplanting the true Sabbath until centuries later. We haven’t let anyone take us in. First, there is an urgency regarding the offer of rest. The NET Bible remains somewhat neutral by rendering the verse literally, allowing the reader to go either way. The Jewish Christians were suffering. How different this was from what the Jewish religious leaders did: 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. So God again ordains a certain day, “Today,” speaking through David after so long a time, as in the words quoted before, “O, that today you would listen as he speaks! So we have two ways of understanding this verse, due to a measure of ambiguity in the Greek text. We have this hope as an anchor of the soul. Although the pastor meant well, he missed the point of Sabbath rest, it is not one day a week set aside to rest from our labors; the Sabbath Rest is Jesus. 3 With the exception of Joshua and Caleb. Yes, there remains a Sabbath for the people of God , a greater "rest" from attempting to please God based on our own merits (Heb. The first six verses of chapter 3 set out the argument and provide three examples of the superiority of the Son. We are not presented here with something that will be ours only when we 'get to heaven'. The purpose of the law was to demonstrate to men that they could never save themselves, but must be saved some other way. Which raises the question whether there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. Hebrews 4 delves deep into the rich spiritual significance of the Sabbath, far beyond the first century Jewish obsession with prohibited behavior, surface understandings and rote rituals. If so, this is a strong argument against doing so. Sabbath observance each week, he incorporated a dayto rest from our works in the rest of God. It still lies ahead. But God was leading them forward into a new phase of His work on earth—God’s new thing. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! This superior rest is the focus of verses 7-19. Now we come to a controversial statement: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9 Hebrews 4:9There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.American King James Version×). Nowhere in the text is it equated with the seventh day of creation, nor is there any grammatical or contextual data suggesting any such equation. (Hebrews 3:7, citing Psalm 95:7b). (Romans 7:15-24). They believe they are still captive in a dark and filthy stable. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. We need to believe in God’s Word: 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 3:8). But they cannot recognize they are free. This kind of faith is encouraged and stimulated by our association with others who share the same faith (4:2). It will resemble the rest of the sabbath, both in its employments and enjoyments. The first is those “key terms,” which are found in Psalm 95 and to which our author repeatedly refers. This is the rest some failed to enter, but which remains available to us today, a rest received by faith (4:3-6). But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception (Hebrews 3:13). How could one ever please God by the works of the law? Well, the warning certainly becomes more personal with the rendering of the NIV. When the author of Psalm 95 said, “today,” he was somehow keeping the offer made to the first generation current. It is very possible that the concept of “community” is referred to in verse 2 of chapter 4: For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. Does debt affect giving in modern times in light of the Israelite tithe and slaves? The NET Bible provides us with the most literal translation of verse 8. We will then return to last week’s lesson and the text of Hebrews 3:1-19, which is the basis for our text. Psalm 95:11 (quoted in Hebrews 4:3) implies that Joshua could not have given the people “real rest” since “through David” God speaks about the rest he will give on another day (Heb. 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