Hebrews – Msg #23 “On Entering Rest”

Heb 4:1-16  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.  (2)  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 it.  (3)  For 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.  (4)  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.  (5)  And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.  (6)  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:  (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.  (8)  For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.  (9)  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.  (11)  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.  (12)  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  (13)  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.  (14)  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  (15)  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  (16)  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

The concept of the rest of God is a recurring theme in Hebrews and involves Christ himself, representing a transition from old to new creation, liberation from our own works, and a joining of man and God. Rest represents living in the presence of God where Christ supplies all our needs and we work supernaturally enabled by the grace of Christ. The high priestly ministry of Christ brings believers into rest, which is the satisfaction of one’s conscience, daily renewal, and believing in Christ’s words. Rest comes from faith and laboring to enter rest is the labor of faith. Ultimately, finding rest in Christ and participating in His work, rejoicing in the hope of God’s glory, presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, and believing in His word brings us rest.

I. The Rest of God in Hebrews 4

  • A. The priests’ constant work in the holiest (Hebrews 9:6-7)
    • 1. Lack of access to the finished work of Christ
    • 2. The priests under the law (Hebrews 7:11)
      • a. Imperfect conscience (Hebrews 9:9)
      • b. Sin consciousness, fear, condemnation
      • c. Dead works (Hebrews 6:1)
  • B. The outer tabernacle and sacrifices (Hebrews 9:8-9)
    • 1. Inability to cleanse the conscience
  • C. The rest of God as Christ Himself (Hebrews 4:9-10)
    • 1. Transition from old to new creation
    • 2. Liberation from self-consciousness and fear (Romans 8:15)

II. Sabbath Rest and the Presence of God

  • A. God as the source of all needs (Philippians 4:19)
  • B. Supernatural work through Christ’s grace (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • C. Presenting oneself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)
  • D. Confidence in acceptance through Christ (Ephesians 1:6)

III. Entering God’s Presence through Christ’s Flesh (Hebrews 10:19-20)

  • A. Misconceptions about being crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20)
  • B. The importance of faith and profession (Hebrews 10:23)
  • C. The washing of the water of the word (Ephesians 5:26)

IV. Justification and Discipline in Christianity

  • A. Peace with God through faith in Christ (Romans 5:1)
  • B. Discipline as training, not punishment (Hebrews 12:7)
  • C. Entering God’s rest and avoiding unbelief (Hebrews 4:11)

V. Rest through Faith in God’s Word (Hebrews 4:2)

  • A. The rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9)
  • B. Faith as the key to entering rest (Hebrews 4:3)
  • C. Laboring to enter rest and believing the gospel (Hebrews 4:11)

VI. The High Priestly Ministry of Christ and Rest (Hebrews 4:14-15)

  • A. Satisfaction of the conscience
  • B. Daily renewal and present faith (2 Corinthians 4:16)
  • C. Discerning thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)

VII. Holding onto the Profession of Faith (Hebrews 10:23)

  • A. Understanding the gospel
  • B. Jesus as our high priest (Hebrews 4:14)
  • C. Boldly approaching the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16)
  • D. Rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2)

VIII. Serving God without Fear and Bondage

  • A. Finding rest in Christ (Matthew 11:28)
  • B. Identifying with Christ daily (Galatians 2:20)
  • C. Upcoming subscription and membership forums

Topics for further study:

  • The concept of rest in the Christian faith
  • The role of Christ as our altar and high priest
  • The difference between working for God and entering rest in Him
  • The importance of faith in entering rest
  • The significance of the veil in the Old Testament and its relevance to the concept of rest in Christ
  • The danger of unbelief and the importance of holding onto the profession of faith
  • The power of the word of God in discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Test Your Understanding:

  1. What is rest according to the text?
  2. How do we present ourselves on the altar?
  3. What is the high priestly ministry of Christ?
  4. What is the importance of entering rest every day?
  5. What is the argument made in the text about entering rest?
  6. What is the labor we need to do to enter rest?
  7. What is the role of the high priest in our weaknesses and intercession?
  8. What is the danger of falling after the same example of unbelief?

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