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Entering the Perfect Sabbath Rest (Hebrews Sermon 15 of 74)

Entering the Perfect Sabbath Rest (Hebrews Sermon 15 of 74)

January 23, 2011 | Andy Davis
Hebrews 4:6-11
Walk by Faith

The “Sabbath Rest” is Infinitely Beyond the Sabbath

Hebrews 4:9. "There remains then a Sabbath rest for the people of God." Hebrews 4 speaks of a timeless Sabbath rest for the people of God, and it commands us to labor to enter that rest, in verse 11. How then do we do this, how do we enter the rest that Hebrews 4 is talking about? For many of you, when you hear of the Sabbath, or a Sabbath rest, you have images of the Jews, perhaps from Fiddler on the Roof, as the sun would go down on Friday, and how the women would prepare the Passover or the Sabbath meal with the candles and with prayers and Jewish singing.

Or perhaps, some of you think of the Puritan strictness on the Sabbath, how they were strict Sabbatarians, it was said. A strictness that many felt went beyond the delights of corporate worship into sheer legalism, though, I think that could be and should be debated. And the Puritans in the 17th century fought against the Book of Sports, a declaration issued by King James I in 1617 in which he listed out sports that were permissible on Sundays. By the way, football was not mentioned. The Puritans were for the most part strict Sabbatarians so it's said; restricting all their activities on Sundays to religious observances and to acts of mercy. So maybe that's what pops in your mind when you think of the Sabbath.

Or again, maybe you remember the struggle of Eric Liddell, the Scottish missionary, who was also an Olympic athlete, whose life is portrayed in the movie Chariots of Fire, and how he upbraided with some little boys that were playing soccer on Sunday and he said, "Sabbath's not the day for playing football, is it?" And those words came back to challenge him when he realized that he would have to run on Sunday in order to win the Olympic medal that he'd trained for all those years and his commitments on the Sabbath would not permit him to run on the Sunday. And you know the story, if you've seen the movie.

But I want to say to you that the Sabbath rest of Hebrews 4 is something infinitely beyond all of these meditations. It soars infinitely beyond all earthly shadows and types and pictures. All human observances of the Sabbath, that's what we're discussing in Hebrews 4. No, the Sabbath rest of Hebrews 4 is the perfection, the completion of Christ's saving work for us. The final perfection of it awaits our resurrection from the dead, into a glorious body free from all death, and mourning, and crying, and pain. Free from temptations. Free from weariness, free from all evil, living in a perfect world, at peace and at rest radiated with the open clear displays of the glory of God.

The new heavens and the new earth, that is the Sabbath rest in view in Hebrews 4. This is the Sabbath rest that Jesus bought for us through His blood shed on the cross. So the author begins, that the concept is something that still remains, if you look in verse 6. It's something that still stands over us all, it still remains that some will enter that rest, and that those who formally had the Gospel preached to them, did not go in because of their disobedience. So these are the things that still remain in front of us, those that do enter in and those that don't enter in through unbelief and disobedience, but it still remains.

Rest is the Unifying Theme of Hebrews 3-4

Now, the unifying kind of cohesive theme of Hebrews 3 and 4 is the author's extended meditation on David's exhortation in Psalms Psalm 95. The centerpiece of that exhortation is today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. Yes, but what is God saying as He speaks? What message is God speaking that we should not be hardening our hearts from? The topic according to the author, the topic of God's address is His rest. That God is speaking to us concerning His rest. And so the author in Hebrews 4, 1-5 focuses on God's rest. Look at verse 1 again, "Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it." Or let us fear. A gain, in verse 3, "Now, we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, 'So I declared an oath in my anger, they shall never enter my rest.'" And in verses 4-5, "For somewhere, He has spoken about the seventh day in these words, 'and on the seventh day God rested from all his work.' And again, in the passage, above, he says, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" So the unifying theme then is God's invitation to His people to enter his rest.

This is the topic the author is picking up again here in Hebrews 4:6-11. Main idea then is, that there is a perfect eternal heavenly rest to which God is calling His people to through faith in Christ. Now, there are earthly experiences or foretastes of that final rest. The weekly Sabbath, and the conquest of the promised land are in view in particular here. Foretastes. But they are merely types or shadows of the final reality. They pre-figure that perfect rest. It's like a woman who is cooking a wonderful meal and the husband comes and sticks his finger in the pot and puts it on his tongue. Ought not to do that, but it's a foretaste, the meal hasn't come yet. And so, we have actually through the Holy Spirit, many foretastes, but we've not entered the rest yet. And so verse 9 says, there still remains or there remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. And then with that an imperative or command in verse 11, "Let us therefore make every effort" or let us labor to enter that rest. So it portrays the people of God as still at work, still needing to work.

The author proves that neither the Sabbath rest under Moses nor the promised land rest under Joshua fulfilled the rest that God is inviting us to enter. The focus of our time today then is the Sabbath rest of God, not the imperfect Sabbath rest of the Law of Moses. Nor the imperfect rest of the Jews entering the Promised Land under Joshua, but rather that perfect final rest which is the goal of our faith in Jesus.

II. Imperfect Pictures of God’s Rest: Creation, Sinai, and the Promised Land

So what does it mean then to enter that rest? Now, there are two different ways of understanding this passage. I didn't realize that until yesterday. So there's going to be another sermon on this passage next week, because I couldn't bear to throw out this morning sermon entirely. And there's good things in it, but I believe I was convicted by the Spirit that I had somewhat missed the point. Somewhat.

What is the point? Well, there are two different ways of looking at entering the rest. First of all, we enter the rest through faith in Jesus. So that it can be said of us in Romans 5:1, "Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." So that we are already at rest with God, and God at rest with us through Jesus.

Those are true biblical themes but that's not what the author has in mind here. That's not the rest he's talking about here. He's talking about something that, not a single person on the face of the Earth has entered yet. None of us has entered the rest he has in mind here. It still remains for you to enter the rest, you haven't entered it yet. It's in the future, and therefore, in verse 11, you need to make every effort to enter that rest. So it really talks about the nature of your life from this point until you finally die and do enter the rest that the author has in mind. And so that clarity actually didn't come to me until yesterday, and so I'm going to preach more clearly on that next week. But what I want to say is, in the meantime, through our faith in Christ, we can have and ought to have as many foretastes of that rest as we can have in this world, and it's beneficial. And so that's the kind of two-part outline of this Sunday's and next Sunday's.

So how then can we enter into God's rest by faith today, in a foretaste sort of sense? Well, coming to realize that we will never enter that rest while we live here on earth. And that therefore much in line of the whole flow of the book of Hebrews, is we are being commanded in Hebrews 4 to run a race with endurance here because we haven't finished yet. And we'll get to that later, and that image in Chapter 12. But that's what the author's been saying all along. You're not there yet, dear people, you've not finished yet dear friends. You've still got some laboring to do.

Now, what I've come to understand is that there's a kind of work and a kind of labor that Jesus frees us from immediately, as soon as you come to faith in Jesus. And we'll talk about that this week. But then there are some other kinds of laborings that you must bear with until you at last walk through that door in heaven. And you must do it, and that's the press of the passage okay? So I hope that's as clear to you now, as it's I hope been clear to me and we'll talk more about it next week.  

We have first these imperfect pictures of God's final Sabbath rest, and that is creation, Sinai and the promised land. The original kind of mention of the Sabbath rest, or the resting of God happens as you know, at the beginning of creation, in Genesis 1. God creates the universe, the Heavens and the Earth, He creates the universe, and the world He makes in six days.

In Genesis 2:1-3, it says, "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array and by the seventh day, God had finished the work that He had been doing, so on the seventh day, He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done."

The Significance of God’s Rest

So what is the significance of this statement that God rested on the seventh day? Well, you get the sense of God deeply and richly satisfied by what His hands had made. He's declared that it's all very good, and He's satisfied with the labors of His hands, and He finishes those labors, that category of works that He intended to do. So it's a cessation from labors. He's ceasing from His work, the work of creation. Nothing could be added. And so God blessed that seventh day and set it apart as holy. Friends, that seventh day rest is a picture of our future rest in heaven.

It's a picture of it when all our labors will be finished. Perfect and complete, nothing more to add to them. And so God in His finishing of physical creation at that point, blesses the seventh day and sets it apart as holy. The perfection of God's rest is that He was satisfied with what he was intending to do at that particular time. But there is also an imperfection of the rest, because God knew perfectly well that all of redemptive history lay in front of Him at that point.

Jesus said, "My Father is always at His work, to this very day and I too am working." What's the nature of that work? The nature of the work that God was doing was saving sinners from His wrath and bringing them into His perfect rest. That's what redemptive history is about. And so when God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, still in front of Him in redemptive history was the fall of Adam into sin and with him the entire human race.

And the wickedness of the human race at the time of Noah, when and when every single thoughts and inclination of the hearts of men was only evil all the time, and Noah alone and his family found grace in the eyes of God, and God wiped out the world with the flood; that was still in the future. And the call of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the Promised Land and to receive it only as a promise, something that was still ahead of him, and he died without receiving that promise, but that was still in the future, when God rested on the seventh day.

And so also, the development of the 12 tribes of Israel, and their bondage in Egypt and all of their labors, still in the future. And then the deliverance under Moses, the passage through the Red Sea was in the future at that point. And the coming to Sinai and the entrance into the promised land, and then the wretched cycle of sin of the Israelites which they had already done before they even entered the Promised Land, and so they have to wait 40 years to enter. And then in the Book of Judges, they just began immediately going after the gods of the peoples and the cycle of wickedness and sin, until, finally, they're evicted from the Promised Land. Been warned again and again by the prophets, but they still wouldn't heed God and they were evicted from the Promised Land, all of that was still in the future. And so also the restoration under the time of Ezra, Nehemiah, and the coming of Jesus, born of a virgin, born in the fullness of time.

And his sinless life, and his rejection by His own people, the Jews, how they rejected Him. He came to His own and His own did not receive Him. And His bloody death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into Heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit in the day of Pentecost, and the explosive movement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth going on now for 20 centuries, all of that was in the future when God rested. And He knew that, He knew all of that story.

And so God's work was imperfect, because there was still more work to be done. And so therefore the seventh day rest was merely a picture of a future rest that was going to come. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, but He knew that the whole story was yet to come. The perfect rest could not come until Christ brought it about both in His death on the cross and through His constant intercessory ministry as our high priest at the right hand of God, and by His sending of His Holy Spirit to convict the elect, and bring them into the kingdom. Through that work alone, the preservation work, redemption accomplished and applied, right to the end; only then would it all be perfect.

The Sabbath Rest Commanded at Sinai

We see also the imperfect type or picture of the Sabbath rest, commanded at Sinai. Now, the concept of the Sabbath as a weekly observance precedes the 10 commandments. It existed in the mind of God, but it was not in the habits of the people. They had been slaves in Egypt, seven days a week, they were slaves. They were making bricks, by that time they were making bricks without straw. Laboring, the sweat, blood, and tears, that that life of bondage called from them. And they're just working seven days a week, day after day, after day, after day, after day, after day until you died in bondage. That's what their lives were like for four generations, they'd been there. And there was no distinction one day from another.

But when God called them out and by the power of His miracles, and through the Red Sea crossing, and they come into the desert, God provided manna for them, the bread from heaven to eat. And He began teaching them about the Sabbath. The cyclical observance, a once a week observance through the patterns of the giving of the manna. And so the manna was coming down like rain like bread from heaven, and they were to collect it in baskets off the ground. And they were told very clearly to only collect enough for one day. Don't take any more for tomorrow, I will provide for you tomorrow.

So that's somewhat in Jesus' mind, when He says, "Give us this day, our daily bread." But some Israelites really just didn't listen to instructions. Perhaps you teachers have had pupils like that, they just didn't listen. Some parents, perhaps from time to time your children have not listened to instructions. Perhaps that's even characterized you from time to time. But some of these Jews went out and they took some extra amount. Not merely for a midnight snack, mind you, but this was for tomorrow so they'd have enough for tomorrow. But what did they find? The stuff that they left over was wriggling with maggots the next day, it was foul and unusable.

God rebuked them for their disobedience. But he made an exception in preparation for the Sabbath. And He said in preparation for the Sabbath you are to collect twice as much manna, collect two days' worth. And the people found the next day that it wasn't covered with maggots, God did a once-a-week miracle for them to preserve that extra manna and they would eat enough, and they would not go out and collect. Although some of them didn't, wouldn't you know, they would go out on the seventh day, and they did try to look, and there was none on the ground. But God was already teaching them a certain rhythm, a seven-day cycle in which there would be six days of laboring and serving, and then on the seventh day they would rest, they would cease.

And this was in preparation for this to be codified, to be established in the law of Moses, in the fourth commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day," At Sinai, God commanded them, "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord, your God. On it, you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your man-servant or maid-servant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day." And therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. And so in this commandment, God was being gracious to the Israelites and setting up a weekly reminder, I believe, of that future final, eternal rest that we will enjoy with Christ in Heaven. He was teaching them about that.

Now, in one sense, the Sabbath regulation was backward-looking, for in six days, the Lord your God made the heavens and the earth. But in a very mysterious, and at that point, very shadowy way, it was forward-looking too, to a time when all of their labors would be done, finished. And God really intended that they keep this because the Sabbath law came with a penalty, and if you did not obey it, you would be put to death. He very much meant, He intended that this be a part of their lives. And so when a Sabbath breaker was found who was out collecting firewood, the word came for this Sabbath breaker to be put to death, and so he was.

Now, the Sabbath regulation was seen to be a time of self-denial, interestingly. Leviticus 16:29. "You must deny ourselves and not do any work." Interesting. Deny yourselves and not do any work. Well the self-denial means from just give up your earthly ambitions for a day, don't try to achieve more in this world than in this life, in this day. Deny yourself, focus on God. That's really what it's about. Again, in Leviticus 16:31, It is a sabbath of rest. You must deny yourselves. It was also called sacred to the Lord, and a day of holy assembly. Leviticus 23:3, "There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly." You are not to do any work, wherever you live. It is a sabbath to the Lord." And so, a time for the people of God to gather and to meet together and to focus on God and to worship Him.

Sadly, the Jews regularly disobeyed the Sabbath regulations, they sinned, as we already mentioned the man gathering the firewood. Or in Jeremiah's day, they're carrying loads through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath. The time of Nehemiah doing the same thing. And He went out as the governor and said, "If you continue to camp outside the gates, I'm going to lay hands on you." And that's not for ordination. He was going to arrest them if they continue to do this, but they just were constantly wandering into worldly business and ambitions and materialism, and prosperity rather than taking that day to rest and focus on God. Now, all of this Sinai regulation, the fourth commandment, was man-centered in it's purpose. Jesus came to instruct us about the Sabbath and teach us. He designated first and foremost, Himself to be king over the sabbath. Which would be sheer arrogance, if you weren't God. But he said "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." In other words, the way I define the sabbath is the true and right definition, of it. And he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

The God-Ordained Sabbath a Delight

It's for your benefit for our benefit. It was not made to be a burden, a crushing burden, but rather a delight. And so it says in Isaiah 58: 13-14, "If you call the Sabbath a delight, and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please, or speaking idle words then you will find your joy in the Lord." It's to wean us from earthly things and to have us focus on God. And nothing but God, that day. Now the Sabbath regulation was right for legalism. Legalism with the Sabbath tends to focus on you what you must not do. What you are forbidden from doing. But they call the Sabbath. A delight approach, focuses and what you may do, you may focus on God, you may release the world for a day, and you may meet with the brothers and sisters and pray together, and worship, and have a foretaste of God that day. That's what you may do.

Well the legalistic Sabbath was a crushing burden by the time Jesus came to free us from it, His poor disciples and I mean that literally, they were poor, going through the grain fields on a Sabbath they hadn't had anything to eat, in the Law of Moses provided for poor people to just pick heads of grain that were standing and eat them immediately. They couldn't bring baskets in the field, but they could eat their fill, Just in the fields. It was their form of welfare, really. And so His disciples are standing there doing it and the Sabbath police, the Pharisees said," Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath." Wasn't that they were stealing they knew that, that was fine, but it was they were harvesting. They were harvesting on the Sabbath. Jesus had to deal with this all the time. I actually think... If you read through it, do some statistical analyses, you'll find that you did an overwhelming number of His healing on the Sabbath. He did it on purpose. Is there someone I can heal today on the Sabbath? So He finds a man paralyzed by that that pool in John 5, and He heals Him on the Sabbath, and the Sabbath police find him and he's carrying his mat.

It's un-lawful for you to carry your mat. Not asking how were you healed and what does it signify? But it's unlawful for you to be carrying your mat. But Jesus was Lord of the Sabbath, and more than that, He's more than just Lord of the Sabbath, friends, He is the Sabbath rest. He is our Sabbath rest, both now and forever, He is the Sabbath rest.

A Shadowy Picture of Rest Under Joshua

And the third shadowy picture is the rest under Joshua. The coming into the promised land. It was spoken of as a kind of rest before they even enter the Promised Land, under Joshua, it says in Deuteronomy 12:10, "But you'll across the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you, as an inheritance and He will give you rest, from all your enemies around you. So that you will live in safety.” So there's that word rest. And after they entered the Promised Land and had begun in a large part, had conquered it and settled it in Joshua 21:44, it says "The Lord gave them rest on every side as he had sworn to their fore fathers."

He mentions in Deuteronomy 8 the rich blessings of that land of rest. "The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land. A land with streams and pools of water. With springs flowing in the valleys and hills, a land with wheat and barley. Vines, and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey, a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing, a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills and when you have eaten, and are satisfied then praise the Lord your God for the good land, He has given you." He especially focuses on when you eat from vineyards you didn't plant. And when you gather in harvest that you did not labor for. When you sit at tables you didn't build, and when you eat meals that were laid out by somebody else, but now you get to sit there and eat them, then praise the Lord for the good land He's giving you.

That is such a picture of our heavenly enjoyments, we're going to get out there and we're going to sit at banquet table with Jesus. And He paid at all, what did we do? And we're going to sit and eat His food and we're going to celebrate. And so the conquest of the promised land is a mere shadowy foretaste of our crossing the river of death, and entering into our final resting place with God. But it was merely temporary friends. The author says, Joshua did not give them the rest that David wrote about, because David wrote about this rest long after they had entered the Promised Land, and if Joshua had given them rest then David wouldn't have spoken later about another day, another time. Joshua's rest was not permanent. For the possession of the promised land was conditional, it was a conditional covenant, they had to obey the laws of Moses, to hold on to the Promised Land, and they could not do it. The Old Covenant did not transform their hearts, the Old Covenant did not take out the heart of stone and give the heart of flesh. The Old Covenant merely said, "Do this and you will live." And so it was not the final rest but merely a picture.

II. There Remains a Perfect Sabbath-Rest

And so, dear friends, there remains still a Sabbath rest for the people of God. It remained in David's day. It remained in Ezra's and Nehemiah's day, it remained in Jesus' day, it remained in the days of the apostles, it remained in the days of the reformers, and it remains still today, and it will remain as long as Jesus tarries, there still remains for us a Sabbath rest. "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." And along with that comes the warning. "I swore on oath in my anger. They shall never enter my rest." And so the implied command or invitation however you like to understand it, please all my people enter my rest. God is still inviting you through the Gospel now, to enter His rest, again verse one, "Therefore since the promise of entering is rest still stands. Let us be careful that His fear that none of you be found to a fallen short of it."

And so in every generation, God stands with His arms extended and He invites His people. He invites them and says, "There remains for you today a Sabbath rest for the people of God. There remains the Sabbath rest." And this Sabbath rest, is heaven. He is not talking about a meticulous careful Sabbath regulation. He's not talking about that. And so if you are hoping that I would answer the age-old Christian question, "Are we still to keep the Sabbath?" I will not. I have preached about that in Colossians. Get it up on the website and listen to it. I've been through all that, but that's not what this text is about anyway. That's just a shadow in a type. The Sabbath rest that He's talking about here is heaven through Jesus Christ.

Christ’s Perfect Work at the Cross

And so when Jesus stands there in Matthew 11, and says, "Come unto Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest, take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy. And my burden is light." He is talking about the Sabbath rest of Hebrews four. And Jesus is the door way for the sheep, He is the way to enter. And it is through Jesus that we come into our Sabbath rest, as though we're in this long corridor. And there's that door, and we have to finish walking through this corridor and we will step through the door. But Jesus is the corner, He's the door and he's the rest. And He says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, and no one..." What? "Comes to the father, except through me, you know the way to the place where I'm going." That sounds like a journey to me friends. It sounds like there's a race to be run dear friends, and Jesus is the race and He is the finish line and He's the reward on the other side.

So I want to plead with you. It says in verse six that some are going in and some aren't. Some are going in and some through unbelief and disobedience are not going to enter that rest. And I pray this morning that there would be someone here who has not yet come to faith in Christ, so I could plead with you to do so. That you could know justifying faith right now that you can know that God is at peace with you through the blood of Jesus right now. You can know that, that all your sins will be forgiven it could be that soon you might die you don't know how much longer you're going to live. What are you waiting for? Jesus shed His blood for you. He is pleading with you to come to enter through Him, to find rest for your souls. Complete forgiveness for all of your sins and I'm pleading with you, and His place through the spirit that you would do so. I'm begging with you, don't put it off.

Jesus finished His works, Amen. Jesus works are finished. He said in John 17:4, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do." And the ultimate perfection of that work was on the cross when He shed His blood for sinners like you and me, and when he finished, he said. "It is finished." It is finished. Or you could translate it, "It is perfect." You can't add anything to it, it's perfect, it's done, it's finished. And He completed His work. And so therefore in verse 10 of our chapter here, anyone who enters God's rest, also rests from His own work, just as God did from His. And so we're going to step into Jesus' finished work. And I tell you there's a category of works that Jesus frees you from for the rest of your life, you're done with it for the rest of your life and you can enter that immediately if you're Christian, you've already entered that rest.

But then next week I'll tell you there's a category of labors you are not free from yet. And you need to still work out your salvation with fear and trembling. That's next week. But now, you can be freed from a variety of works, you can be freed from wicked and sinful works that lead to death. Hebrews 9:14 speaks of works that lead to death. You can be freed from those works immediately, from idolatry, freed from the works of your hands, worshipping the works of your hands. The thing about the Sabbath regulation is it enabled you to look at your idols. And say, "I can't live for the things I make, for the money I make, or the stuff that I can experience here on earth, I'm living for heaven." It's a benefit. You're freed from wicked labors, you're freed from the labor of slander, you're free from the labor and the work of gossip, you're free from the work of lust and covetousness and greed, you're free from all of those works, the works of idolatry. And you're free from empty religious works that don't get you any closer to God at all, but the God repudiate because they're not done by faith in Christ. You're free from religiosity, you're free from justification by works, isn't that beautiful? By the works of the law, no flesh will be justified. You're free from that now. Your standing doesn't depend on the works of your hands.

You are accepted in Jesus by faith. As it says in Romans 4, "To the one who does not work, but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited in his righteousness." You're free then from religious works that you're trying to use to pay for your disobedience, you're free, from that friends. And you're free from frustration in the labor of your hands. As the book of Ecclesiastes says "Vanity of vanities," or, "meaningless, meaningless… everything is meaningless." "What does man gain from all of his labors and toils under the sun?" If you're a Christian, you're free from that mindset, forever, Amen. You can wash the dishes to the glory of God. You can make beds of the glory of God, you can train children in the glory of God, you can go to that job tomorrow to the glory of God, you can type a memo to the glory of God, you can answer a phone call to the glory of God. And everything you do by faith for the glory of God will be waiting for you on Judgment Day, reward able by grace. You are freed from wrestling with the ground and it producing only thorns and thistles for you in that sense.

There is a sense you're not free from that curse. We'll talk about that next week. But you are freed from the ultimate meaningless-ness of life. Your work then has always been the same. What must we do to work the works of God, it's always the same. This is the work of God, that you believe in the one He Has sent. So labor to enter God's rest by faith, even today, have done with these works that you're freed from forever. Have done with wicked works, and religious works and meaningless works and justifying works, have done with all that, and stand in the peace that is yours and God.

Now next we're going to talk about meditation on the heavenly life. And I'm going to share with you some insights from a Puritan pastor who wrote a 677 page treatise on Hebrews 4:9. And you're going to get all of it next week, no you're not, I'm sorry.

Run Your Race With Endurance

Hebrews 4:9. "There remains then a Sabbath rest for the people of God." Richard Baxter, thought that was worth almost 700 pages. I was interested in that. I knew of the Saints Everlasting Rest. I've heard of it but I never read it. I looked at it I said, "Oh, that's the text I'm working on this week. What a surprise? What a surprise how long it is?" And as I read it I said, "What a surprise, I've missed the point." The point is run your race with endurance, and we'll talk about that next week, close with me in prayer.

Father, we thank you for the insights that come from the Word of God, and Lord we look forward to the saints everlasting rest not pulses of rest coming in and out of rest coming in and out of a sense of peace, and then back at it again. Oh God, we yearn for the day when we're free at last from the battle itself. And Lord I pray that as we meditate on that this week, and as we prepare to hear more from Hebrews 4 next week, Oh Lord enable us I pray, to be ready to answer that final rest through faith in Christ. I pray that we wouldn't Imitate those who through disobedience and unbelief refuse the gospel. And Father, I pray again for any lost person here. Oh, God, I pray that now in the hearing of the gospel they will have been saved, that they will be ready to die even now, so that they can have eternal life, in Jesus name, Amen.

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