Forward in Faith #6
Responding to His Voice
In Jesus Christ, our writer has shown us the Greatest Voice of God bringing us Good News from God’s own mouth. Then we see Jesus as the Greatest Angel, God’s Servant and Messenger. We have seen him as the Greatest Man and the Greatest Leader of the Final Exodus into Rest.
This brings us to the 2nd Exhortation, the 2nd Sermon in this book. With all that our writer has already told them, he implores them to respond. It is the responsibility of the Father through the Spirit to draw people to Christ. But scripture is also clear that each individual is responsible before God with how they respond to the truth, the gift of the Grace of God offered through Christ. And it is also the responsibility of every preacher of the Gospel to challenge people to respond to the message of Christ. Week in week out, I share the gospel with you. Each week my goal is simple, to ask you “what will you do with Jesus Christ?”
I was watching a movie, “Flight of the Phoenix”, on TV the other day. One of the characters said “everyone needs someone to love or something to hope for. If you don’t have that, you just need something to do.”
Well, a lot of people are busy doing stuff to fill the void because they don’t have real love or real hope. We have presented to you someone you can love and set your hopes on. His name is Jesus. You can come to him, or you can just stay busy doing stuff.
Listen to our preacher in scripture today as he challenges us to stop doing and start believing; stop trying and start trusting.
Enter in - to Rest
“Rest” – Our writer uses this Old Testament Concept of Rest to speak to us
In the Old Testament they knew 3 “rests” …
The Sabbath Rest, Canaan’s Rest, and Heaven’s Rest
Our writer points out that there is something to be learned for the one who follows Christ, born again Believers.
The Sabbath rest is a picture of our salvation where we cease from working and rest in the work done by Christ
Canaan’s rest is NOT a picture of heaven, though some songs and poems would lead us that way. Canaan is a picture of the Victorious Christian Life through a Submissive Rest
And what still awaits us is a Future rest in Heaven and Eternity this is also a Sabbath rest but it is a KEEPING of the Sabbath 4:9 says there remains a “rest”, sabbatismos. That word is only used here in all the New Testament. The day comes when we won’t have to by Faith enter into the rest of Salvation. And, we won’t have to, by Faith, Live in the Victory of the Submissive Life but we will cease from every action of entering in.
If you have never received Christ as Savior and Lord, we are offering you Jesus to enter into his Rest … the word used in all of these references to “rest”, except the reference to Heaven, is katapausis – a putting to rest; calming of winds, a resting place
We offer you the opportunity for Jesus to be a resting place, a calming of the winds of judgment putting you at rest with God.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, born from above, then I’m calling you to enter into the Victorious life of a disciple of Christ as we surrender in Submission to his will and his ways and Enter in to the katapausis – rest of living by faith.
It is found in following Jesus
So, … will you enter in?
1. You Have Heard
V7 says “Today If you hear his voice”
The writer points to the children of Israel, who failed to enter Canaan’s rest.
Was it because they had no evidence of what God could do for them? Had they not heard?
It was foretold as God had told Abraham that a time would come when his family would leave Canaan but that they would return. He had passed that down because Joseph still believed because when he died he made them promise to carry his bones back to the land of promise. They knew the stories but perhaps after 400 years they thought that he was not able. We can’t blame them, can we? They didn’t know God was able … did they? Had they heard?
Oh Yeah, God had displayed his power in 10 plagues that showed his power over every aspect of creation, life, and death.
God had parted the Red Sea. He had opened the ground and swallowed those who questioned his authority.
In Provision, he had fed them with manna and quail every day on the journey.
In protection, God had defeated enemies who came against them.
They HAD heard, they had considered the Voice of God
And so have each of us.
There is not one of us that haven’t heard God’s Voice through the General Revelation of Nature, Special Revelation of faithful preaching or a personal witness or his Word.
You HAVE heard that God will save you
You HAVE heard that there is a victorious life
And according to our text then …
2. You Should Believe v12
V12 says “see to it that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart …” and then he defines “unbelieving” that “turns away from God …”
Most people that you meet will believe there is a God
Most people you meet believe there is a Heaven and they even want to go there
The problem is that many will turn away from God, reject Jesus Christ and try to make it their own way.
V12 says – “see to it” – blepo – discern, discern, consider, contemplate, look at, weigh carefully
“Unbelieving heart” – apistia ap-is-tee-ah faithless; want of faith, unbelief; weakness of faith
You SHOULD believe …
You should do what you KNOW is right within you and turn away from what you know is wrong …
God has given you an intellect, to recognize right when you see it
God has moved on your heart so you have heard the truth
Faith is the vehicle by which we enter into the Grace provided by Christ and Offered by God
A Faithless heart is what keeps you without Christ from entering into the Rest of Salvation
A Faithless heart is what keeps a carnal Christian from living in Submissive Rest a life of Victory
V16 – who were they who heard and rebelled? …
V17 with whom was he angry?
V18 to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?
v19 we see they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief
The REST is not what is lacking …
What is LACKING … is our ability to ENTER in
Not “ABLE” – dunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources or state of mind
The point is that God’s REST is there, and powerful for eternal life and victorious living
But we are NOT Able to enter into it without Faith.
Look at 4:2 for we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not COMBINE it with faith
V3 says now we who have believed enter that rest …
You SHOULD believe … is the vehicle by which we enter in
The “message” logos –
Must be “combined” – sugkerannumi
soong-ker-an-noo-mee - to mix together, commingle, to unite
With “faith” – pistis – conviction of the truth of anything, belief
Then it has “VALUE” – opheleo o-fel-eh-o to assist, be useful or advantageous
Jesus Has Lived
Jesus has Died
Jesus has Risen from the dead
Jesus is seated at the right Hand of the Father
He promises us victorious living
You have Heard
But we must Believe, that it is true and true for you
3. You Need Encouragement v13
Recognizing that belief is the vehicle by which we enter in …
We should “ENCOURAGE One another daily”
What can you and I do to aid those struggling in the process to respond to the word?
“encourage” – parakaleo – to call to one’s side; speak to; admonish, exhort, beg; strengthen, instruct
Encourage one another
What hardens people?
Sin’s Deceitfulness – v13
Sin lies to us.
Sin is the language of satan and every word is a lie; Jesus called him “The Father of Lies” and says “there is no truth IN Him”
And when we know unbelievers caught up in sin, they believe that they are doing the right thing going the right way
Don’t give up on those close to you.
Keep sharing Jesus with them.
Keep telling them the stories of God’s faithfulness in your life
Tell them how he changed you, set you free, gave you new life.
When? TODAY … which today?
Every Today … “as long as it is called Today”
Why? Because sin is a deceiver, a liar, a trickster, a giver of false direction
Lisa and I were in Cancun last summer and we went to a Market we had not been to before. In the midst of shopping we got turned around and couldn’t find our way back to a store where we had bought some things and left them behind.
So after trying to find our way back, I started asking for directions
I know men, yes I asked for directions but we were under a time crunch
Four different people looked at us, heard where we wanted to go … and straight forwardly gave us directions and pointed with a very obvious sense of “knowing” exactly what they were doing.
But every one of them was CLUELESS and were leading us in the WRONG direction.
One was a police officer and two were taxi drivers and they didn’t know they way to a place within the block where we were. But all of them misled us, deceived us into believing they were sending us the right way.
The more I got the wrong directions the less I wanted to go on … but there was something waiting for me that I wanted and needed and had been paid for …
Sin deceives us
The byproduct is a hardened heart and the more we are deceived
The less likely we are to believe
Heb 4:11 says therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience
4. There Is Evidence v14
Hebrews 4:12 says - the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
There is evidence in the Word of God
For you who have never entered into the Rest of Christ’s Salvation, when you have heard the Word of God preached it penetrates right to your very core, and deep within you, even when you argue with it, you know that it is true
You have read the evidence of what faith combined with the truth
You have seen it in the lives of others and you know it is true …
As a born again believer in Christ, struggling with living the submissive life of faith, you HAVE lived it in the past
You walked in the confidence of faith you had at first … but perhaps you have been sidetracked by sin, deceit, or discouragement
Our writer points to the unbelieving who failed to enter in to Rest
And the Believers who entered Rest
We have the evidence of the benefits of entering in and the evidence of the consequence of those who won’t believe
Those who enter in experience the blessing of rest
Those who don’t believe die in the disbelief
You have Heard
You Should Believe
You Need Encouragement
There IS Evidence
5. Enter In v4:1
Chapter four begins … THEREFORE …
Because of everything else I have said …
Our Writer has made his case
I have made my case …
Because of the example I have laid out to you
And More importantly Because
the PROMISE of Entering his Rest STILL STANDS
Oh don’t you know this is a moot point IF the opportunity is gone.
Don’t you hate getting a lecture about missing out on something?
Parents we are real good at “beating a dead horse”. Oh we do it because we are trying to teach a lesson for the future.
Coaches and Parents, and I am both, like to spend a lot of talking about what COULD have happened when the opportunity is GONE.
But if the opportunity is gone, then what’s the point?
But the Promise Still Stands!
Another Translation says
“The Promise Remains”
What is the Promise? That there is REST Available
It Remains – kataleipo – leave behind, to reserve, leave remaining
The opportunity for entering the Gracious Salvation that God offers in Jesus is still available as long as it is today
The opportunity as a Christian to live in victory is still available
SO … we have to respond-
By Faith we need to Enter In to the Rest Offered
A. Be Careful
2:1 said Pay More Careful Attention – and 4:1 says “Be Careful”
The word … here though is more than telling us to take care … it is MORE urgent than that
The NLT says “tremble with fear”
The HCSB says “fear”
It’s the word phobeo – to put to flight, to flee, to fear, be afraid
This is serious business for the born again, entering rest is the key to living a life of power and victory over the daily power of sin
For the unbeliever entering rest is the key to eternal life or eternal death
So yes, be afraid, be truly afraid
Pay careful attention
B. Don’t Fall Short
There is only ONE way to NOT Fall Short … or should I say to STOP Falling Short
Notice that it says … be fearful … “that none of you has been FOUND to have fallen Short”
We were watching Amazing Race Last week … and two guys ran their part of the race … they got to the finish for the day in FIRST … but there was a problem … did you see it? They didn’t have their Passports. They were FOUND to have FALLEN SHORT … and they were eliminated from the RACE … even though they thought they finished
Some people are going to come to the end of life and be FOUND SHORT … because they haven’t entered into the Rest Jesus Offers in Salvation
Some of you AS believers get into a spiritual challenge and you are FOUND SHORT because you are fighting in your OWN Power … and it is NEVER ENOUGH … you have Enter In to Faithful Victorious Living
Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God”
We all come up short … it’s the same word HERE as in Romans 3:23
Come short – hustereo hoos-ter-eh-o behind, come late or tardily, to fail to reach the goal, fall short of the end
The only way to keep from Coming Short is in the Greatest Voice, Greatest Messenger, Greatest Man, Greatest Leader Jesus Christ!
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus
We fall short
A way has been provided in Jesus and the
C. The Value / Treasure is in Faith
Salvation is found in no one else but Jesus - Peter preached it in Acts 4:12
The Rest of Salvation is found in Jesus, he is the one that brings us the rest of the way where we fall short. And we enter in through Faith in the Act of Grace offered at the Cross
The Victorious Life of Righteousness is found in Jesus Christ … Paul wrote in Romans 1:17
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “the righteous will live by faith.”
Without Grace there is no OPPORTUNITY to enter in
Without Faith we CANNOT enter in to the Grace offered
Does this somehow mean I have room to boast? NO, Of course not
Rom 3:27 where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? … on that of faith … a man is justified by faith …”
It’s all Jesus
And For you the offer still stands
You have Heard
There is Evidence
You are being Encouraged
You Should Believe
And Enter In
Never given your heart to Christ …? Enter In
Struggling to TRY and Be Good IN Christ …? Enter In
How? Through Faith that Acts in Obedience
Paul says “I am Crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ in me and the Life I now live I live by faith in the one who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20
Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and follow me” Luke 9:23
Entering in to Salvation
Entering in to Submissive Victorious Living …
Is found in dying to your way and following Jesus
It is found in the act of Faith that says YES LORD …
It is when we say “not I but Christ”
If you hear his voice
Do not Harden Your Heart
Don’t be deceived by the sin that lies in you
Turn to Him