Hebrews 4:1-11 God’s Rest-A Different Sabbath

Backdrop: In Mark 2:27 Jesus stated that the Sabbath was made for man. This giveaways to the letter verses the intent. The Sabbath is much more than the observance of a day. It is a broader and more encompassing picture of our relationship with the Lord and not entering into that relationship is cause for alarm. We are suggesting here a New Testament intent and the true meaning of the Sabbath, which is resting in God’s grace, trusting Him, not ourselves. The Old Testament rest of the Promise Land as well as the weekly Sabbath given to Israel is only an inferior shadow of the true offered rest of God. This teaching in no way lessons the importance of being a functioning part of a local church body.

Past Rest
V.1-2: 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. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. The fear of being indifferent toward God’s grace/provision/calling. God is so good this occurs only when we despise His promises(earthly and eternal). God indented to lead the Israelites through the wilderness to the promise land. Stated he would go before them and defeat their enemies(Believers Authority-the enemy lost his angelic power when he rebelled against God and lost his earthly authority at the cross of Jesus-The enemy can no longer use sin against us-once we confess and get in agreement with God/Jesus. Also, Jesus had to become a man(a perfect sacrifice) to use/exercise the earthly authority given to us. This coupled with the words of victory he spoke, has disarmed the enemy. But they through unbelief/heart hardness did not enter into the rest offered. It will be no more profitable to us then it was to them if we do not believe. Their minds/spirits had de-evolved due to Egyptian bondage(perhaps could be the media or others for us), and therefore could not enter a state of spiritual faith/trust. One cannot derive comfort from a promise if he does not believe it as a pledge of God‘s faithfulness and goodness(as Joshua and Caleb did). If believed, it requires a response, while the promise is still valid. Delay hardens the heart. We must prepare now for a day when stable and unconditional faith will be needed.

For Today
V.3-9: 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. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; Seeing New Testament Spiritual application. In the same way God wants us to not just come out of bondage and drudged through life, but wants us to have victory, joy, and peace. We have peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost; are saved from the guilt and power of sin; and thus enjoy an inward rest. Proves is for today(v.3). Also quotes David in(Psalms 95:11) which was long after(400 yr) they had entered the promise land. There still exists a Spiritual rest for God’s people(who believe toady) after the physical fulfillment. Proclaims(v.8) that Joshua did not fulfill the promise. There remains(v.9)-present tense, offered now(Heb 11:39-40). The Sabbath-rest is a sign and a pledge of the promised life of rest. Most have not entered into this greater relationship with God with a profound and victorious rest-lost art of Christianity.

And Final
V.10-11: for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Cease from works as God did from His. If we are laboring or striving to have relationship with God, trying to get His to do something, or live holy in order to have God move in our lives, then we are trusting in our works and not resting from them the way God did from His work on the 7th day. We are rejecting His finished work. This turmoil is not resting in the fact that God had supplied everything we need. In Genesis 1:27 God created man at the end of creation when everything was already provided and created for man (food, temperature, etc). If man was created first he would have had to tread water and then dodge trees. Still, this offered rest does not our void our authority(make every effort-v.10), there are spiritual laws/implication regarding what we feed or sow into to and receive(TV vs. the Word for example). If we do the thing we do not want to(pray, read the word, be thankful, act well), and deny the self (thoughts, emotions, actions), this will keep the heart focused on, esteem/value God, His words, His glory, and the completion of Christ’s finished work. These things produce/give way to the peace/rest of God(Heb12:2-devalue shame, value joy set before us). Parish(v.11)-fall from the grace of God, from the Gospel and its blessings, and everlastingly(rejecting the promise). If under a constant state of probation then a greater chance of shipwrecking one’s faith. If fall, the good news is we can still have a confident expectation of good because of Christ and His blood(Heb 10:22-23). This diversion from being sin and self focused also enables us to perceive/pursue/go out to accomplish God’s kingdom plan.

Conclusion: Some have made statements like “Christianity is the easiest and hardest faith” and “most churches are still living under the law without realizing it”(really aren’t resting/believing in the completed work). It feeds our flesh and pride to do some penance in order to feel we deserve it. This concept of a present and future rest exemplifies the goodness of God and aids us in our Christian affairs and responsibilities(God‘s love is our go to home base. His grace acts as a safety net that allows the courage to set out on the high wire of the Christian existence. No one is their “right” mind would use that net as a trampoline as an excuse for fun). It is difficult but necessary to deny self and totally trust and understand God‘s work in us.
*Scripture verses from the TNIV Study Bible.

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