Hebrews 4:1-13

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Have you had a long week? Maybe it’s been a long year and you feel like you’ve been just kind of wandering around going from issue to issue, putting out fires. Maybe you feel like life is a rat race and you are concerned that you’ll never truly have peace. Maybe you think it will always be this way. Well, thousands of years ago a nation wandered around in the wilderness. The Israelites had dishonored God and provoked Him. This generation was told they would not enter into the land that God had promised to the land of Israel but that they would die and their descendants would have the land. Last week we saw that the author of the book of Hebrews calls his readers back to that history to show warn them about the consequences of unbelief and to avoid it. Today we continue digging into the meat of this book in chapter 4 verses 1-13. This is a continuation of previous passage and not a hard break for a new idea. It is a continuation that takes us:

From warning to promise.

Hebrews 4:1–13 HCSB
Therefore, while the promise to enter His rest remains, let us fear that none of you should miss it. For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith (for we who have believed enter the rest), in keeping with what He has said: So I swore in My anger, they will not enter My rest. And yet His works have been finished since the foundation of the world, for somewhere He has spoken about the seventh day in this way: And on the seventh day God rested from all His works. Again, in that passage He says, They will never enter My rest. Since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience, again, He specifies a certain day—today—speaking through David after such a long time, as previously stated: 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. Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered His rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from His. Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience. For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
The author here transitions from delivering a warning to talking about God’s people entering into God’s rest. IN the previous section the words of the psalm cut sharply in the warning…
Hebrews
The author here transitions from delivering a warning to talking about God’s people entering into God’s rest. IN the previous section the words of the psalm cut sharply in the warning…
A warning based on the generation of Israelites who wandered around in the wilderness and provoked God’s anger and as a result perished. But now, the author takes thats that psalm and draws from it a promise that is supposed to give his hearers some hope.
Israel’s disobedience serves as a warning to fear God lest the present generation also fail to enter God’s rest.
He continues his discussion of (see ) and quotes from to explain the meaning of “rest,” which is still accessible to God’s people (, ).
There are two Greek words we should just mention because the word rest can conjure up different ideas.
katapausis is a state of cessation of work or activity, a state of rest or a place of rest.
sabbatismos is not a synonym but explains what takes place in God’s resting place, namely, an eternal, festive sabbath celebration.
When it says God rested on the 7th day: He ceased his creative work. He was resting from his work.
When we read in v. 4 that ‘On the seventh day God66 rested from all his work’ (), we are to understand that he began his rest then. That God is not said to have completed his rest and resumed his work of creation implies that his rest continues.
And, as we have moved from warning to the promise of this rest we find that the author wants us to know that:
The Genesis text is now used to show that this ‘rest existed before as well as after the time of the exodus’
And, as we have moved from warning to the promise of this rest we find that the author wants us to know that:

Jesus is superior and provides a superior rest.

The best of the best - this connects with what we know the theme of Hebrews to be. Jesus is superior.
entering into his rest For the wilderness generation, rest was more than just a theological metaphor. It represented an end to the wandering that characterized their life after the exodus—finding peace. Once God’s people had already entered into Canaan (), the promise of rest still remained (see ).
“Rest” for the wilderness generation referred to the promised land, Canaan. In Canaan, the Israelites would be secure from enemies () and would no longer have to wander.
appear to fall short The wilderness generation experienced miracles, but most of them still chose to be unfaithful to God and the leadership He had appointed (see note on ).
The author of Hebrews is worried that Christians will make the same mistakes—turning away from God despite His previous work in their lives—and consequently not experience the grace He offers.
faith The Greek word used here, pistis, entails believing in the promises of God. People who do not trust God’s promises, who reject that which they have not yet experienced, are excluded from the benefits of those promises.
Joshua Became the Israelites’ leader after Moses died (). Joshua led the conquest of the promised land, which represented rest for God’s people ().
caused them to rest Suggests that the Israelites’ rest after settling in the promised land was not ultimate or final. The concept of rest is an analogy for future salvation.
This promise is still open and should encourage us to endure.

The Word exposes us for who we really are.

- Living and active:
This recalls the description of God in . The word of God is able to examine and judge those who hear it. It will accomplish its purpose ().
- double-edged sword:
A weapon of warfare. The word of God can penetrate the immaterial and the material—meaning the whole person.
- naked - exposed to God Himself
- naked -
The idea here is that all things are open to examination by God. Exposure to the word of God means exposure to God Himself.
- laid bare-
synonymous with previous term or have a complementary sense of being helpless

The Gospel sets us free to enter God’s rest.

The rest the Israelites were promised at the promised land wasn’t final.
We can understand the concept of rest as an analogy for future salvation.
There was another rest for them to look forward to. There is a rest for us to look forward to.
We can rest from our work and rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Application to change how we live

Trust the Gospel
Fear God (v.1)
the ot use of “fear” often indicates awe or reverence. To fear God is to express loyalty to Him and faithfulness to His covenant. Those who fear God exhibit trust in Him and obedience to His commandments. According to the ot, those who fear God obtain God’s protection, wisdom, and blessing.
Proper fear of the Lord is a response to His holiness.
the ot use of “fear” often indicates awe or reverence. To fear God is to express loyalty to Him and faithfulness to His covenant. Those who fear God exhibit trust in Him and obedience to His commandments. According to the ot, those who fear God obtain God’s protection, wisdom, and blessing.
It moves us to : Obedience, Loyalty and faithfulness
A response to His holiness
2. Take heed: to the sad history of Israel and the important lesson it teaches.
3. Keep trusting the promise. (Live a Godly life) Give diligence, the opposite of drifting
Loyalty and faithfulness
Verse 11 is not talking about works based salvation.
This exhortation is directed at believers whose lives should be characterized by perseverance (). Those who enter God’s rest will participate in the great Sabbath celebration at God’s throne, upon Jesus’ return (12:22–24).
Persevere in your faith. Stand firm in what you believe and trust the Gospel… Trust Jesus till the very end, even as hanging on for dear life… sometimes that’s all we can do...
Do things that build your affections for Christ. (Don’t do those that steal affection away and may cause drifting from the promise)
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