LABOUR TO REST
Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Obtaining entrance into the eternal kingdom of God is not so casual a thing as religionists in this day imagine! Listen to these words of our Lord. Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
So just what does that word “Labour” imply? It certainly cannot mean that instantaneous regeneration is a product of the religious efforts of man! Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
The sinner, being dead in trespasses and sins; (Ephesians 2:1), cannot give himself spiritual, eternal life! But as the above verses of Ephesians 2:9,10 show, even though it is not “of” works, it most certainly is “unto” good works! In the natural birth, the child is totally passive in his conception and birth. But then, having the gift of life, he must learn to conduct himself properly, and to develop and mature that life.
And so it is in the new, spiritual birth! The apostle urges the professed believers in Corinth to remain stedfast to the end in their expression of faith. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
For it is the finish line, not the starting gate which determines that which is a genuine birth! Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
The gospel net draws in a lot of bad fish as well as good! Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, The sea always represents the masses of humanity. And the disciples were instructed that they would be fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19).
And the gospel is designed to be preached to every creature. (Mark 16:15). But the bare preached word does not, of itself save anyone! That was what the apostle was impressing on these Hebrew believers. Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
The exercise of the gift of faith from those granted spiritual life in Christ is essential to the manifestation of God’s salvation! This is how God’s electing love is finally manifest. Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Those whom he shall glorify in eternity are those whom he justified by faith on earth. And those he justified on earth were granted an effectual, sovereign call of the Holy Spirit with the gospel. And those whom he called, like Lazarus from the dead, were those whom he had predestinated to be spiritually formed into the image of his Son. And those whom he predestinated are those he foreknew in eternal election.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Therefore our word, “labour” is the same Greek word translated, “I will endeavor” in 2 Peter 1:15. It is translated, “be diligent” in 2 Peter 3:14. It is a requirement to work out that which God alone has worked in! Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
This is the only way one can make sure of his calling by the Spirit and his election before time! 2 Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
For the Lord Jesus Christ is our sabbath rest. Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
The Apostle Paul spoke of his labor to enter into the rest for the soul, found only in Christ alone. He had to empty himself of all preconceived religious concepts. Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
And there are two motivations for steadfastness which the apostle gives us in our Hebrew passage. The one is a look back at those who were not stedfast, and therefore did not enter into their rest in Canaan. Exodus 12:37,38 gives us the number that left the starting gate. That is, they left Egypt with Moses. Exodus 12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
Numbers 14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, 30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
There were 600,000, besides children who left Egypt, but only two of that group that actually entered the promised rest of Canaan. Does that give you a different perspective on the broad and narrow ways? Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The other motivation for steadfastness is found in verses twelve and thirteen of our context. It is the word for us today which reveals him with whom we have to do. The word for those 600,00 was spoken by prophets. But our word was spoken to us by the Son of God! See Hebrews 1:1-2. Also consider these instructions from the Apostle Peter. 2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
We are told in verses twelve and thirteen of our context of Hebrews four that our word is like a sharp, two edged sword from the Lord’s mouth (Isaiah 49:1,2; Revelation 1:16; 2:12,16; 19:15,21.), which severs the spiritual man from the soul man! Therefore the true gospel not being preached today, modern christendom is predominately carried on by the angel of light (Satan), ruling through the affections and emotions of the unregenerate human soul! Most of the motivation therefore is by guilt and pity, rather than by spirit and truth! John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Religion’s missionaries of our day are armed more with slide projectors than with the preaching of the gospel! For there is more success in getting financial aid for them by showing a slide of a skinny little child with a fly on his nose, and a swollen belly, than there is in sharing a true call of God by the preaching of the gospel.
And can you imaging the Apostle Paul demanding that “X” amount of dollars be raised, before he would leave home to go to a ‘mission field’? Where would be the faith in that? God have mercy!
Also in verses twelve and thirteen of our context we find that this living, spiritual word of our day reveals the intents of the heart! It will uncover the secret unbeliever, making all things naked and open unto the eyes of him with who we have to do. This is why the image of the Lord Jesus as appeared to John on Patmos had eyes as a flame of fire; (Revelation 1:14).
In Hebrews 4:6 we read that “some must” enter into the kingdom of God. So why should not it be you, dear Reader? Christ receiveth sinful men! Matthew 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him. Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
And also in Hebrews 4:9 we read, There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. This spiritual and eternal rest belongs to the people of God. So why should you not be among them? Surely you are not content with just being a religionist, practicing a form of godliness! You have everything provided for you. You just need to cry out to the Lord God for faith to savingly believe in, and rely on the completed word of his Son for your justification! Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 22, 2017