The topic I have chosen to explore today is called “To find Rest in God”, and the passage we are looking at is Hebrews 4:1-11.
The reason I chose this topic is because I am personally experiencing the rest of God in my heart since last couple of months and thought it would be of great benefit to all of you, especially in a difficult time as this.
What I mean by “rest” in God is not the physical rest we experience in our body but the spiritual rest we experience when we are in the perfect will of God where we are experiencing His joy and peace regardless of the situation we are in.
To not be at rest would mean a lot of things, let me highlight some of it here…
- When we are constantly & regularly gripped with fear and anxiety in our hearts when we look at out present situation or when we think about our future, we could say that our hearts are not at rest.
- When we are constantly living a guilt driven life because of our sinful acts, which then causes us to become ineffective in our pursuit and purposes of God, we could say that our hearts are not at rest.
- When we are constantly having feelings of hopelessness, loneliness and depression, where we end up hiding from God and from others, we could say that our hearts are not at rest.
I believe the passage from Hebrews 4:1-11 give us the wonderful view of this rest, it warns us as well us brings to light the reasons why we fail to enter God’s rest.
Verse 1 begins with the affirmation that “the promise of entering His rest still stands”, which means that as children to enter the rest of God is not a far thing, it is not an impossible state to achieve.
Isn’t it encouraging to know that even after our human heart sinned against God in the garden of Eden, where we disobeyed his commandments and chose to be god over our own life displaying pride and rebellioness, our loving Father still pursued us and through the life, death and ressurection of His son Jesus Christ opens a way for us enter His rest.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”.
The Rest of God therefore, is a state, or place, where God rules in our heart through his son Jesus, frees from the chaos and disorder brought about by sin and rebellion. Also giving us rest from our own self-efforts of bringing our own life in control, but instead allowing our hearts to totally trust and depend on God for everything.
The possiblity of entering God’s perfect rest, made possible through Jesus is the greatest expression His mercy, His grace and His Love for sinful people like us.
But sadly, even though the door is open for us we still fail to enter the rest of God. In verse 6 Paul speaks of people who have “formerly received the good news but still fail to enter into rest”. Could that be us?
How sad it is when even though knowing that entering God’s rest is a possibility we stay away from that rest because of our hardened hearts.
Hebrews 4:1 the second part Paul says “let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to enter the rest of God”
In verse 11 Pauls writes “let us strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall due to disobedience”
In Hebrews 3:8-11 tells us of how God reacted in the Old Testament when his people hardened theirs hearts.
Thank God that he does not react the way he reacted in the olden times, but because of Jesus His heart towards us is softened and merciful, accepting us with all our failures and mistakes. And therefore, the greatest stumbling block for us today is not that God is angry with us and have shut the door on our face, but rather it is our hardened hearts that is the reason why we fail to enter God’s rest.
Here’s are two reasons how our hardened hearts stop us from entering God’s rest …
1. Through disbelief
In verse 2 & 3 Paul writes “2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,'” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
Friends, the number one reason why we fail to enter God’s rest is disbelief.
Disbelief in God’s provison for all our needs through His son Jesus Christ
Disbelief that our future isn’t safe and secure in the hands of our loving Father who knows the end from the beginning, which is why we allow our hearts to be gripped with fear and anxiety when things dont go our way.
Disbelief that through the life, death and ressurection of Christ we are no more slaves to our sinful passions but rather are slaves to righteousness and that there is a place where we can expereince total freedom from such desires.
Disbelief that God is near us to always comfort, protect, consoul, emphatize when we experience feeling of hopelessness and loneliness on our hearts.
It was disbelief in the hearts of the Isaralite’s, when they spend their time and energy complaining, grumbling and seeking their own pleasures that kept them from entering the promised land, the place of rest in God.
To rest in God is not just a choice we have but it is a command, to be obeyed and perfected every single day of our lives. Sabbath rest is a command from God – to do nothing, no work, no pressure … but a total surrender to God.
How many of us would confidently take such a rest without worrying about tommorrow, without looking at the laptop, without looking at the screen for satisfaction… but only look to God with an unwavering faith in Him.
If you think its impossible for you to take out such a day in a week, then you need to ask a very important question. Are you resting in God or on your self.
2. Through disobedience
Verse 6 Paul writes “Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience”
The second way in which our hardened hearts stop us from entering God’s rest is through disobedience.
Here I’m not talking about the disobedience that happens unknowingly, but the disobedience of the heart where we knowlingly, with our full concience rebel and do exactly the opposite of what God commanded not to do in the scriptures.
The decisions we made with relationship choices.
The decisions we make with the kind of job we chose.
The decisione we make to keep company with the kind of friends.
The decisions we make to spend out time during the day.
The decisions we make in moving places.
The decisions we make to stay away from having Godly fellowsip.
The decisions we make in chosing what to listen.
Our disobedince in not paying attention to God when he is speaking to us through scrpitures, through sermons like these, through family & friends.
Our disobedeince in not repenting our sins when the Holy Spirt convicts out heart.
Our disobedeince in pursuing the world and its pleasure instead of pursuing God.
Our disobedeince of filling our minds with ungodly content when instead we should be filling our minds with godly things.
Brothers & sisters, disobedeince will always keep us from entering the rest of God. Therefore, let us watch our lives in light of the scriptures.
Therefore, let us strive to enter that rest and not allow out hardened hearts to disbelief or disobey God who is gracious, merciful and loving towards us.