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EIGHT ELEMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN’S REST
Victor M. Eskew
A. The section begins and ends with “let us” exhortations.
1. Let us therefore fear… (Heb. 4:1).
2. Let us labour therefore… (Heb. 4:11).
B. The word “rest” is the key word in this text.
1. It is used nine (9) times in this section (Heb. 4:1, 3(2), 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11).
1) Strong (2663): reposing down, that is, (by Hebraism) abode
2) Thayer: a resting place, metaphysically 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.
1) Strong (4520): the repose of Christianity (as a type of heaven)
2) Thayer: the blessed rest from toils and troubles looked for in the age to come by the true worshippers of Christ and for Christians
C. There are three rests mentioned in this section:
1. God’s resting on the seventh day (Heb. 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.
2. The rest of Canaan (Heb. 4:8)
For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
3. The heavenly rest for the Christian (Heb. 4:9)
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
D. Some important facts about our rest:
1. It involves fear (Heb. 4:1).
2. It is promised (Heb. 4:1).
3. It is “his,” God’s, rest (Heb. 4:1).
4. One can come short of the rest (Heb. 4:1).
5. It involves belief (Heb. 4:3).
6. It remains to be entered into (Heb. 4:6, 9).
7. When one rests, he ceases from his works (Heb. 4:10).
8. One must labor to enter into rest (Heb. 4:11).
i. THE EXHORTATION (Heb. 4:1-2)
ii. THE EXAMPLES (Heb. 4:3-10)
iii. THE EFFORT (Heb. 4:11)
I. REST INVOLVES FEAR (Heb. 4:1)
II. REST INVOLVES A PROMISE (Heb. 4:1)
III. THE REST IS GOD’S REST (Heb. 4:1)
IV. ONE CAN FALL SHORT OF THE REST (Heb. 4:1)
V. REST INVOLVES BELIEF (Heb. 4:3)
VI. THE REST REMAINS TO BE ENTERED INTO (Heb. 4;6, 9)
Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein…There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God.
A. There have been previous rests:
1. God rested on the seventh day of the Creation week.
2. Canaan was a rest given to the Jews by Joshua.
B. But a rest remains. It is the rest of heaven.
1. Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
2. II Thessalonians 1:6-7a
Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us…
3. Revelation 14:13
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
C. A contrast (Rev. 14:11)
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
VII. REST INVOLVES A CEASING FROM LABOR (Heb. 4:10)
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his works, as God did from his.
1. Strong (2664): to settle down…to (cause to) desist
2. Thayer: to make quiet, to cause to be at rest, to grant rest, to lead to a quiet abode, to still, restrain, to cause (one striving to do something) to desist, to rest, take rest
B. The Christian life is intended to be a life of work.
1. Our Savior came to work the works of him that sent me (John 9:4).
2. Three verses:
a. I Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
b. Philippians 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.
c. Titus 2:14
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
3. If we labor here, we get to rest there. In Luke 16:25, we get a slight picture of this rest.
But Abraham said, Son remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, but thou art tormented.
VIII. WE MUST LABOR TO ENTER INTO REST (Heb. 4:11)
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest…
1. Strong (4704): to use speed, that is, to make effort, be prompt or earnest
2. Thayer: to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence
B. “Heaven is never obtained but by diligence; and no one enters there who does not earnestly desire it, and who does not make a sincere effort to reach it” (Barnes, e-sword).
C. Paul summed up his labors in three statements (II Tim. 4:7).
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
D. NOTE: We do enter into rest through faith, but not by faith only. There must be labor attached to it.
A. We are on this side of the rest that remains.
B. We can still enter therein.
C. Only the ignorant or the foolish would refrain from laboring to enter in.