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True Sabbath Rest

This past Sunday we deviated away from John’s gospel to take an extended look at the concept of Sabbath. We are an exhausted people who ironically are fighting and rejecting the offer of God’s rest in Sabbath. But what we saw in Hebrews 4, is that the Sabbath reminds us that the primary endeavor for the believer is not to work for Christ, but instead to rest in Christ. 

1. A Biblical Understanding of Sabbath and Rest:
We began by looking at a few different texts to give us a framework and understanding by which we should be examining Sabbath. In Genesis 2, we see that God is the author, creator, and sustainer of life. Given this, we can rest because God is the one who creates and sustains life, not us. In Exodus 20, we see that God is the provider and the point of our life. We rest because God is the one ultimately provides, not us. Finally, in Deuteronomy 5, we see that God is the Savior of our life. We rest because God is the one who saves us, so we rest in that.

Turning then to Hebrews 4, we saw three distinct items around true Sabbath rest.

2. God Offers us True Rest: v.1-2
In the first two verses, we see that there is good news for the people of God. That good news is that God’s offer of rest still stands today! It’s still available today. But to enter into this rest requires a trust in God and what He has said. The failure of Israel to enter into God’s rest was tied to the fact that they didn’t trust God and what He had already said. We have to ask ourselves, am I trusting God and what He has said? Am I willing to take God at His word, even if what I see looks different than what He has said?

3. The Nature of God’s Rest: v.3-5
Then we see that the author of Hebrews is helping us to understand the nature of God’s rest. Here we see two aspects around the nature of God’s rest. One, we can enjoy the rest that God enjoys. This is a shocking truth! Consider the rest that God enjoys: He’s never worried, fearful, fretful, tired, fatigued or weary. The one who never needs rest enjoys the deepest rest and is saying to us, you can have that rest! We also see that this rest brings with it a sense of completion. Unlike so much of life that remains in a constant state of being unfinished, the nature of the rest offered to us is to rest in the finished work of Jesus and not in the unfinished mess of our lives.

4. The Culmination of God’s Rest: v.6-10
In the final few verses, we see the culmination of God’s rest. We see here that we miss out on God’s rest if we choose disobedience or a hardened heart. In response to that, we are pointed to a better rest in Jesus. How is it that Jesus gives us rest? Here were the 6 items that we discussed last Sunday.

I rest because Jesus is my righteousness: Jesus is who makes me right with God. I don’t have (nor could I) work or toil to be restored to God. I rest in the fact that Jesus has already done this on my behalf. He is the righteousness I could never be!

I rest because Jesus is my identity: I rest because I am a son or a daughter of God. This is my primary identity. You’re not who the world tells you that you are, you are who God tells you who you are: a son or daughter of His. Consider the alternative. To prove or maintain my identity, which is utterly exhausting. I rest because Jesus is my identity. 

I rest because Jesus is my security: Our security doesn’t rise and fall with us being good, it is fixed in the finished work of Jesus. I rest because this is unchanging and Jesus is my security. 

I rest because Jesus is my purpose: Most of our lives, are comprised of simple, ordinary and mundane items. While we would like to think that life is full of these grandiose moments, the reality is it’s more often composed of doing the dishes, going to work, or sharing a meal with people. But if Jesus is my purpose, then even the mundane becomes meaningful. I don’t have to be famous, I just have to be faithful. I don’t have to be great, I just have to be grateful to God. I don’t have to be special, I just have to be sanctified. 

I rest because Jesus is my hope: Unlike other things we place our hope in, Jesus will never disappoint, come up short or underwhelm. I rest because Jesus is my hope.

I rest because Jesus is my future: Finally, we rest because Jesus is our future. There are plenty of people who are terrified of their future and the uncertainty that comes with it. Admittedly, I have no idea what the future holds, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Because even if the remainder of our earthly lives are the worst possible human existence, we still have in front of us all of eternity to spend in the unmediated presence of God. I rest because Jesus is my future. 

Loved one, my hope and prayer is that you are finding rest in Jesus this week. Find your rest in Him!

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