Enter God’s Rest: Don’t Get Heart Hard.

God’s Promise Of Present And Eternal Rest For His People

Hebrews 4:1-13

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. 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. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
12 For 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. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER

As we look at God’s Eternal Life Covenant With You and Me, it is important to remember some VERY important ideas:

  1. God really does want to have The Eternal Life Covenant With You and Me, which He spoke to us about through Jesus himself, and not lesser persons or entities.
  2. To benefit we absolutely MUST pay attention to what God is offering us, through Jesus and his sacrificial offering of himself, in this book we call The Book of Hebrews. And God uses this book to tie the Old Testament and New Testament together.  Without this joining of the two, we cannot even begin to comprehend the wonderful truths contained in God’s glorious Eternal Live Covenant With You & Me.
  3. The Great ONE makes this covenantal relationship possible.  It is a relationship that is real and possible, and it’s not fulfilled in us keeping a bunch of religious tenants.
  4. God has a warning for us:  Just as unbelief kept the Israelis from entering the promised land, you nor I need to think we will enter into God’s covenant, if we do not truly believe. We need not think we will enter into God’s Heavenly home, if we do not trust Jesus to be the ONLY Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Anyone who actually believes otherwise, is fooling themselves.  Jesus even said this in John 14:16 where he said, “I am THE way, THE Truth and The Life and no one comes to the Father without coming through me.” We were separated from God by sin. a great uncrossable chasm existed between God and humanity, and God built a bridge back to him, through Christ.  All other bridges you make take are bridges to NOwhere. If you choose NOT to believe this, you are acting like those who did NOT believe God in the Old Testament.  So, they missed out on God’s rest.

The Gospel Preached: Believe It Or Not

   The first few verses of this section of Hebrews reminds us that the people of God had the opportunity to rest in God’s grace and live, but they failed to do so because they chose NOT to believe what God had promised.  It reminds us that, because of their unbelief, God told them they would NEVER enter into His rest; but now The Holy Spirit pivots to speak with you by quoting David.  “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.

This reveals an important truth: Each time an individual doesn’t listen to the wooing of God’s Holy Spirit calling them to Christ Jesus, something happens to their hearts.  The heart be comes harder with each rejection.  It’s kind of like the first time I ever swung an axe, I ended up with huge blisters on my hands. Eventually, however, the blisters disappeared and my hands resisted the connection with the axe handle.  Soon, my hands were oblivious to any pain, and I could swing the axe all day.  Rejecting God’s love, mercy and grace is toxic. As God calls you to be forgiven, cleansed and transformed, rejecting him will eventually make you so hard you will not be interested … to your eternal hellacious demise. So, if you still feel God calling you respond,  I recommend praying Psalm 51. It is your choice to believe it or not.  I appeal to you to believe it.

Image result for A Picture of resting In Christ
His Rest Still Remains

Now, the Old Testament references were to Joshua’s time, but the appeal is to you today: Just as God rested from His labors on the sabbath, during the creation era, even so God is offering you the opportunity to quit working so hard to keep a bunch of rules, and simply give your life up to Him, through faith in Jesus, and then you will rest.  And as we will see later in this book, you will rest in Christ as one who is redeemed or forgiven of every single sin because of the shedding of Jesus blood. You will indeed be holy in God’s sight because Jesus sacrificed his body to make you holy and set you apart for His Kingdom’s work. You will also see how He makes you perfect in His sight and transforms you.  Finally, you will see how He has established  and continues to establish a relationship with you. But not if you harden your heart and refuse.

Jesus once said to you and me, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn about me, for I am meek (totally yielded to God the Father) and lowly, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28-29) He lived a sinless life for you and me that he might take away the sins of the world … that he might take away your and my sins.  He sacrificed his body and shed his blood as he was crucified on the Cross. He did that so that you could rest eternally in him. He conquered hell, death and the grave as he arose victoriously out of the grace to deliver you and me from bondage to sin and death.

You Have Heard The Invitation

     Matthew 11:28-29 above is the invitation you now hear.  Please listen to the Hebrew writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit quoting David, don’t harden your heart.  If you are unsure that your sins are forgiven by God.  If you do not rest in the Lord today, and are continually striving to find a way to have peace with God, then the only striving you should do, says the Hebrew writer, is to strive to enter into God’s rest.  You do this by acknowledging you have sinned, and you want forgiveness for your sins.  Turn from your sins (repent of sinful living), and turn to Christ Jesus, BELIEVE in him and receive him as your Savior and Lord.  If you don’t know what to pray, I recommend praying Psalm 51.  I know  God will hear you. Enter into God’s rest today.

Chaplain McGowen


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