Jesus is Greater: Session 10- Rest

Jesus is Greater:  Session 10- Rest
February 5, 2023

Jesus is Greater: Session 10- Rest

Passage: Hebrews 4:1-11
Service Type:

Series: Jesus is Greater
Title: Rest
Scripture: Hebrews 4:1-11
Subject: Rest
Central Theme:  Experiencing God’s Rest
Objective Statement:  You can experience transformation through the rest that only God can give.  Here are three keys to experiencing God’s rest.
Keywords: Key.

You need to know what God’s rest is.
You need to know how to access God’s rest.
You need to pursue God’s rest.


I have some questions that may get a little personal this morning so bear with me.
Are you ready- Here we go
How many of you are nappers?
How many of you are night owls?
How many of you are morning people?
My wife and I have different sleeping patterns.
I can literally sleep anywhere. It doesn’t take me long to fall asleep and apparently I’m loud.
We all have our patterns when it comes to sleeping and rest.


As human beings we are not very good at rest.
We either do too much resting, or we do not do enough.
Have you ever felt like you were working very hard and getting nowhere?
It would be bad to work very hard and to find out that you had gone in the wrong direction.
I believe that there are a lot of parents that are pushing their kids to be successful and will find that they have discipled their children into being successful at the wrong things.
We rush around life trying to fill it with activity, experiences, wealth, and fun.
It is in our declaration of independence which speaks of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
It isn’t necessarily wrong, but those things themselves will not satisfy.
When you think about the word “rest” here are some similar words:
Peace, Calm, Comfort, Composure, Refreshment, Recreation, Relief, Tranquility
Here are some of the antonyms- the opposite of rest:
Anxiety, Burden, Busyness, Worry, Stress, Distress, Noise, Angst, Disturbance
If I were to ask you which list most describes your life, which one would it be?
If I were to ask you which list most describes your spiritual life, which one would it be?

"You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." -Augustine of Hippo

This quote expresses a truth about the pursuit of happiness that so many people embark on without thought of God?
Like the man on the life raft surrounded by water, so many find themselves trying to drink the salt water and getting no satisfaction for their thirst. “Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink”.
So many people long to be satisfied by money, drink, and drugs, and sex. So many try to be satisfied even with religious activity and find themselves still longing and unsatisfied.
Solomon expressed it this way: “Vanity, Vanity, all is vanity.”
It was felt by the Samaritan woman when Jesus said to her:

John 4:13-15

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

Today’s text uses the word “rest” 9 times between verse 1-13.
So, I have entitled todays sermon simply, with one word:
When we get to these verses in Hebrews 4, we find ourselves in the middle of an exposition or a commentary by the author of Hebrews on Psalm 95.
He has been giving us a warning using an illustration that is talked about in the book of Numbers in the Old Testament and referred to in Psalm 95 as well by David who wrote the Psalm.
The illustration that is brought up is the children of Israel themselves as they left the land of Egypt, went through the wilderness, and came to the edge of the promised land.
The promised land is referred to by the Psalmist as what God called “my rest”
The rest that I am talking about today is not dealing specifically with physical rest although the concept I express can impact our physical lives.
We’re talking about God’s Rest- and how it can be a place of transformation and victory for the child of God.
Do you want to get to heaven and stand before God without regretting how you invested your time, in your relationships with others, and in your relationship with him?

You can experience transformation through the rest that only God can give.  Here are three keys to experiencing God’s transforming rest.
Key #1- You need to know what God’s rest is.
Rest at Creation (v.4)
Hebrews 4:4

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.

When God created the world He did it in 6 days.
On the 7th day the Bible tells us He rested.
The jews called this the Sabbath. It was to be a day of rest.
It is a command in the 10 commandments.
God gave man work to do before the fall, but His relationship with man was characterized by intimacy with man. He walked with man in the cool of the day.
He gave Him one law- one command. Eat of any tree of the garden, but if you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will surely die.
He asked man to trust Him.
Adam did not trust God.
Eve was tempted by the serpent. He told her that God could not be trusted.  He told her that God only said that command because He knew that they would be as gods knowing good and evil.  He said that Adam and Eve would not surely die.
Eve believed the serpent over God.
Adam took of the fruit and did eat.
In that moment they realized their own sinfulness. They realized shame.  The saw that they were naked.  They hid themselves from God.
Fellowship between God and man was broken.
And interestingly, one of the consequences of this sin is that there was now toil in work.
Look at what God told Adam.

Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Toil in work was now his.
Distance between God and man came to be.
There was a break in their relationship. Sin separated men from God.
Just a few verses later we see that God drove man out of the garden.
Our relationship with God was broken. It was not characterized by intimacy, rest, or closeness. It was broken because of sin.

Rest at Canaan (v.5-8)
Hebrews 4:5-8

5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

Here the author is pointing out the connection between these words for rest.
God talked about rest after creation. It was the 7th day rest.
He talks about it again in Psalm 95 speaking about going into Canaan.

6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Why would David warn his reader in Psalm 95 about not entering rest?
The children of Israel did not enter into the promised land the first time they approached it. Why not?  Unbelief!
The author is saying something about David bringing this up again years later.

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.

He says that David is referencing the Canaan rest that was to be experienced by the children of Israel.
But David is saying to enter his rest today. He is saying “listen to God’s voice today”.  Don’t harden your hearts today.  Believe God!
The author of Hebrews is making the point that the rest that God is offering to them is not just a land and a freedom of bondage from Egypt.
If it was just Joshua getting them into Canaan, then David would not have spoken about another day- another rest.
The Hebrew name Joshua, and the New Testament name for Jesus are the same name. Verse 8 is referring to Joshua, the one who eventually took them into the promised land.
Remember that we are trying to see how this word rest is being used.

God rested after He created the world, and man’s relationship to him in this creation rest was intimacy with Him. When they sinned toil, brokenness, a lack of intimacy with God, and death came to be.
There was a Canaan rest. God called them going into His promised land “entering His rest”.  There is a connection though between this word rest and something else.

Rest by Salvation (v.10)
Hebrews 4:1-2
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.

There is a way to miss this “rest”.
Do not believe the good news that is preached to you.
The children of Israel, in Numbers 13 and 14, were preached to by Moses, Caleb and Joshua. Their message was that God could deliver them into this land.  God was giving them the land and they did not have to be afraid.
They did not believe Joshua and Caleb. They did not believe Moses.  They did not believe God.
Because they did not, God said “I will not let them enter my rest”.
This did not mean that all of them that did not go into Canaan because of unbelief were unsaved.
That is not the point.
There was a rest that they did not experience because they did not believe God.
There is a rest that we experience when we do believe God. Look at verse 10.

Hebrews 4:10

10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

When you are saved, you stop depending on your own works to make you right with God.
You believe God, and God counts it as righteousness.
To rest is to cease from labour, and this is what he is saying.
So this idea of rest includes salvation, but I believe it means more than that. Why?  There is another part of this idea of rest.

Rest through Sanctification (v.11)
Hebrews 4:11

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The Bible makes it very clear that we do not get to heaven based on our own good works.
We do not get saved based on our works.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9:

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We are not saved by works. We are saved through faith.
But we are saved for good works. Look at the next verse:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

After we get saved, we are God’s to work on. We are his poiema- his masterpiece- his work of art.  He is working on us.
That’s why the writer of Hebrews says, “So let us labor…”. Read it again:

Hebrews 4:11

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Work to enter rest?
This isn’t talking about work to enter salvation. It’s talking about laboring to enter God’s rest.
A good way of thinking of this word “labour” in verse 11 is to “give diligence to”.
Stay focused on this.
Pay attention to this.
Make this the bullseye of your walk with the Lord.
Now remember the question I’m trying to answer- What is this concept of the word “rest” here? What exactly is God’s rest?

It’s not just the day that the children of Israel took so seriously.
It’s not just the expression that referred to them being in Canaan.
It includes salvation but isn’t just referring to salvation.
It has something to do with being made more like Jesus.
It is something that we are to labor towards. You can’t have God’s rest without being saved, but you can be saved and not be experiencing God’s rest.  So, what is it?  Let’s put all this together.

Rest Defined
“God’s Rest- A settled and spiritual state of being that includes being right with God, close to God, walking with God, and living out His will in your life in a way that brings Him glory and you joy despite your circumstances.  It includes salvation by necessity and is the pathway to a growing spiritual maturity.”

What was lost in the garden- the ability to walk with God and enjoy a thriving fellowship with him- has been made possible by Salvation. But just because you are saved doesn’t mean you have this thriving fellowship with God.  You have access to God.  He comes to live inside of you.
When we spend time with Him, and rest in Him, and fellowship with Him, we experience His rest!
It’s not about external circumstances. It is about an internal peace with God.
How do we get there?

Key #2- You need to know how to access God’s rest.

How do we access God’s rest? By Faith. (v.1-2, 11)

Hebrews 4:1-2

1 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.

By faith!
We are saved by faith. We are sanctified by faith.
If you are not saved, get saved! Your heart will be restless until you find rest in Him.
If you are saved but trying to get your satisfaction from the world- stop!!!
Your heart will be restless until you find your rest in Him.
Some of the most defeated and discouraged people I have met are people who are saved but are living a defeated Christian life. They can’t enjoy their sin because the Holy Spirit is convicting them of their sin.  They do not have the joy of God because that is a fruit that the Spirit produces, and they are grieving the Holy Spirit with their life.
That’s why the writer of Hebrews says in verse 11.

Hebrews 4:11

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Warren Weirsbe, a great preacher and commentator of the past, said this about this rest:

“The Canaan rest for Israel is a picture of the spiritual rest we find in Christ when we surrender to Him. When we come to Christ by faith, we find salvation rest (Mat 11:28). When we yield and learn of Him and obey Him by faith, we enjoy submission rest (Mat 11:29-30). The first is “peace with God” (Rom 5:1); the second is the “peace of God” (Php 4:6-8). It is by believing that we enter into rest(Heb 4:3); it is by obeying God by faith and surrendering to His will that the rest enters into us”
Warren Wiersbe

This concept of “rest” is all over the Word of God. When we “rest” in God He transforms us!
Check out what Jesus told His disciples in John 15.

John 15:1-5 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

And just a few verses later:

John 15:7-11 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Remain.  Abide.
When you do, God will produce fruit in your life. He will help you to obey. He will change you from the inside out.  And then verse 11 happens- “that my (Jesus) joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
This is what we get to watch happen in people’s lives:

People come to a service, and they hear the Word preached, and for the first time they choose to believe God for salvation and they are saved. They are changed.
We see people get into a Sunday School class, and the Word of God and the people of God begins to impact them. They belong and then they believe.
We see people get into discipleship and they take in God’s Word on a more daily basis and they experience God growing them. Slowly and surely there are changes that they begin to see.  The things that used to satisfy them don’t anymore.  They begin to have an appetite for things they never knew they would have a hunger for.

Here’s another:

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Notice when He says “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” that it is in a passive voice.
Who is doing the transforming? We don’t transform ourselves.  God transforms us.
How? By the renewing of your mind.
You know that that is? Rest!
When you spend time with God hearing from His Word, He changes your thinking. He changes your values.  He changes your desires.  His Spirit interacts with His word and changes you.
You work to stay close to Jesus and to hear from Him. He works in you to transform you.
You believe. He transforms.
You live by faith. He does the rest.

Key #3- You need to pursue God’s rest.
When is the time to pursue God’s rest?  To Day
Hebrews 4:7-9
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.


Isaiah 55:6-8
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

It’s a simple invitation that Jesus is making.
Quit trying to get satisfaction on your own.
Pursuing happiness in things, or people, or power...even ministry alone…it won’t satisfy.

Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

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