The Meaning of Rest

By Joe Boot / March 3, 2013

Series Hebrews and the High Priesthood

Context Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic Culture

Scripture Hebrews 4:1-5

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Scripture:  Hebrews 4:1-5

Sermon Notes:

  1. We must not be complacent about entering God's rest.
  2. The promise and the sanction (penalty) still stand, so we are to live in godly fear.
  3. The Hebrews were familiar with the Exodus account of God's deliverance of Israel to enter God's rest in the land of Canaan.
  4. Like Israel, in our distress we say, “If God does not meet our demands, let us go back to Egypt” (Num. 14:1-4).
  5. It does not matter how many times God delivers and provides for us, we still complain due to our lack of faith.
  6. We have had the gospel preached to us, just like Israel had.
  7. The same gospel was preached under both testaments.
  8. Israel did not profit from the gospel because they lived in unbelief; to live by faith means faithfulness to God and a right response to God, not merely assent to a set of propositions.
  9. Like the recipients of Hebrews, we have no excuse.
  10. There are connoisseurs of sermons: people who are hearers of teaching, but who do not put it into practice under the authority of a local church.
  11. He who watches Israel does not sleep;  the rest of God is a rest of completion and victory, not of weariness.
  12. We rest celebrating the accomplished atonement and the fullness of our salvation: sins forgiven, debts paid, death defeated, and the new creation is at work in our lives.
  13. The rest in Hebrews is a theological and moral fact; it is not an absence of work. True rest is only re-entered through Christ;  we are re-established in the dominion mandate to rule and subdue, doing God's will, bringing all thought and life under the reign of Christ and His government.
  14. By obedience we enter His rest; by disobedience we forfeit His rest.  So we enter the rest of God by doing His works.
  15. God's garden is the world.  If we are disobedient, it will be left uncultivated and our generation may forfeit the blessing.
  16. To neglect the calling of God upon us is to perish in the wilderness (Heb. 10:36-39).
  17. We are among those who press on and are saved. 
  18. The Christian calling is to joyfully do God's will.  We are not to endlessly mourn or introspect our past sins.
  19. We are to alter the present and future by repentance and faith.
  20. We are to rest in God's Sabbaths because He is in control.
  21. Sabbath rest presupposes work.  As we work under God in the preceding six days, we enabled to enjoy a holy rest.
  22. The Christian Sabbath is resurrection Sunday and it represents the creation of a new people in Christ.
  23. The pseudo-rest of the leisure society leads to boredom and self-destructive diversions.
  24. Sabbath is made for man;  the gift of rest is the day for dominion man to rejoice in Christ and His work.
  25. If we do not rest and give the land its rest, God will take the land away, giving it rest (Lev. 26:43).
  26. Rest in Christ's work and go out and work in terms of His rest.

Application Questions:

  1. What is the rest of God?  How can we be sure of entering it?
  2. How is the rest of God forfeited by disobedience?
  3. What does it mean to live by faith?  What is the work of God's rest?
  4. What is the attitude we should have about doing God's work?
  5. How are our work and God's rest related?
  6. How is the muzzled, state-approved church in China similar to the Canadian church?
  7. What is the significance of the Christian Sabbath? 
  8. How can the principle of entering God's rest be applied to our lives this week?

Sermon Notes