The Promise of Rest
TEXT: Hebrews 4:1-11
ETS: God promises rest to the believer.
ESS: The believer must choose to avail himself of the rest God has promised.
OSS: Christians will yield themselves totally to the Lord Jesus Christ.
PQ: How can I have rest?
TOPIC: “The Promise of Rest”
SERIES: “Oh, What a Savior!”
Some men remind me of a poor immigrant who was discovered walking on the tracks of a railroad in New Jersey. On his back he carried a huge bulk and as he trudged on, worn and weary, he resembled Bunyan's pilgrim with his burden. In passing a station an agent ordered him off the track, reminding him that he was liable to arrest for trespassing. The man demurred and produced a railroad ticket good for passage from Jersey City to Scranton. The agent looked at him in amazement and asked why he was walking when he might ride. The stranger replied that he thought the ticket gave him only the privilege of walking over the road. His right was explained to him and the tired man with delight boarded the first train for his destination. Surely the angels must look with wonderment at the thousands who trudge along, anxious and careworn, bearing life's burdens without divine help and future hope, for every soul carries in the conscience the ticket of divine promise: "Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee" (Job 22:21).
I. THE PROMISE OF REST (v.1a).
A. God has given a promise.
1. God’s promise is definite.
2. God’s promise is sure.
a. God will faithfully bring His promises to pass.
B. God has promised rest for His children.
1. κατάπαυσις = 1 a putting to rest. 1a calming of the winds. 2 a resting place. 2a metaph. the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells, and of which he has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partakers after the toils and trials of life on earth are ended.
2. He has promised a rest from the cares of this life for eternity.( Hebrews 10:23; Titus 1:2).
3. He has promised rest in the storm of this life (John 14:27; Matthew 11:28).
C. Everything that is needed to fulfill the promise of rest is completed (v.3b)
1. γίνομαι = to be made, finished.
2. He has made a prepared place for believers (John 14:3).
3. He has completed the work needed to get you to that prepared place (John 19:30).
4. He has completed the work to give you rest now (Romans 10:4 ; Hebrews 10:14;
Hebrews 2:14-15 ).
II. THE PROBLEM THAT PREVENTS REST (vs. 1b-3,6-7)
A. It is possible to miss God’s promise (v.1b).
1. ὑστερέω = to come late or too tardily. To be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end.
a. Some people live their whole lives without
entering the rest God wants to give them.
2. God offers rest but will not force it upon you.
B. Ignoring God’s Word will cause us to miss God’s promise (v.2).
1. Hearing God’s Word must be mixed with acting in faith on it (James 2:20, 26).
2. Neglecting to follow up on what God says is dangerous (Heb. 2:3).
C. Unbelief of God’s Word is the problem that will cause us to miss our rest (v.6-7).
1. Unbelief leads to a hard heart.
a. ἀπείθεια = obstinacy, obstinate opposition to the divine will.
II. THE PLAN FOR ENTERING REST (vs. 10-11)
A. Quit trying to work to earn your rest (v. 10).
1. You must cease attempting to work your way to heaven (Romans 3:20, 28; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
B. Let your work be aimed at absolute faith in God (v.11).
1. It is time to get busy in pursuing His rest.
(1) Learning about Him.
a. Through study of His Word.
b. Through serious a prayer life.
c. Through steadfast obedience.
Peter Eldersveld tells of a rich Christian who had a large company of employees, and many of them owed him money. He was constantly trying to teach them something about Christianity, and one day he hit upon a plan. He posted a notice for his employees to see that said, "All those who will come to my office between eleven and twelve o'clock on Thursday morning to present an honest statement of their debts will have them canceled at once." The debtors read the notice with a great deal of skepticism, and on Thursday morning, although they gathered in the street in front of his office, not one of them went to the door. Instead they gossiped and complained about their employer, and ridiculed the notice he had posted. They said it didn't make sense.
But finally, at 11:45, one man jumped forward, dashed up the steps into the office, and presented his statement. "Why are you here?" the rich man asked him. "Because you promised to cancel the debts of all those who would come as you instructed," the other replied. "And do you believe the promise?" "Yes, I do." "Why do you believe it?" persisted the employer. "Because, although it was too much for me to understand, I know that you are a good man who would not deceive anyone." The rich man took the bill and marked it "Paid in full," at which time the poor man, overcome, cried out, "I knew it! I told them so! They said it couldn't be true, and now I'm going out to show them." "Wait," said his benefactor, "it's not quite twelve o'clock. The others are not entitled to any special proof of my sincerity." When the clock struck twelve, the forgiven debtor ran out waving his receipt in the face of his fellows. With a mad rush they made for the door, but it was too late. The door was locked.