Saturday, November 02, 2013

Christ Our Rest

Heb.4: Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
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.

Websters: REST - freedom from activity or labor;
a place for resting or lodging; peace of mind or spirit

All of us know what the word rest means. All of us have taken a rest and have found a particular place to rest. Have you ever reposed upon a hammock or fell asleep in a small boat while fishing on a quiet lake? Have you nestled into an easy chair and begin reading a book but quickly your eyes close? Have you even gone into a deep sleep to the sound of a hard but quiet rain providing a comforting background sound? Have you ever reclined against a tree in a forest and feel quietly asleep? Yes, we all know what it is to find a place for rest as well as a rest for our minds and bodies.

Those are just some of the examples of earthly rest which is vital to our mental, emotional, and bodily health. But the word for rest in this portion of Hebrews comes from the word Sabbath. God rested from creation on the seventh day and that became the Sabbath. The Israelites observed the Sabbath as part of the Mosaic Law, but as in all of the Old Testament the Sabbath was a shadow of what and in this case Who was to come. I realize many keep Saturday as the New Testament Sabbath however they have completely missed the purpose for the Old Testament Sabbath as well as the essence of Christ as the New Testament Sabbath.

Watch the news and listen to the endless speeches and mindless political maneuvers and you will find no rest in the systems of this world. But the rest we have in Christ is a miracle of the Spirit. No one who has not been redeemed can even understand the concept to say nothing of the experience. In redemption we rest completely and without mixture in the finished labor of Christ in His brutal sacrifice and glorious resurrection. Not one human work regardless of how noble it may seem can be added to what is already finished and done. The sacrifice is perfect and has been accepted as such by God the Father. There is nothing left to do and any attempt to add or subtract renders that sacrifice as compromised and ineffectual because when any human work or religious ceremony or Old Testament law is added it now becomes your sacrifice and not His. And that always leads to death.

So in salvation we rest completely in Christ and in none of us. But it does not end there. We have entered into His rest and now we must live in that same rest. How many professing believers are running to and fro attempting to change this and change that? How many are consumed with worry and fret about the economy or political leaders or the state of the country? That is not living in His rest. His rest is spiritual. It is a mystery. It is a miracle. And His rest flows with living water and satiates our being.

Col.3: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

You see His rest is not temporal nor does it grow weaker or stronger due to what is happening all around us. His rest is fathomless and calms the soul and feeds the spirit. Our labor for Jesus and our obedience is a labor of love and an obedience found in His wonderful rest. His commandments are not grievous, his yoke is easy, and His burden is light. How many of our unbelieving friends have wondered silently or even out loud about how we enjoy any fun because we do run in the same “excess of riot” that once defined us? You see, how can they know? You and I did not know what the riches of Christ were before He changed us. And once we were striving and working and scheming to find something that wasn’t even there.

But now, thanks to His matchless grace, we have ceased from those selfish and useless labors and now we walk and speak and labor in a divine rest completely unknown to the natural man. It is quite remarkable, and yes, miraculous when we understand who he has made us, where we are going, and even that our lives are secured in Him and we are not even of this world anymore. So a farmer works hard in his fields because he needs food to eat. His labor is a great strain and he worries over his crops. He hopes he will see a great harvest every year but it all depends upon how smart he is about the planting season and how much sweat he is willing to expend to see his investment bring forth a great harvest.

But one day a lawyer comes to his home and informs him that an unknown uncle has died and left many millions to this farmer. He is exceedingly rich overnight. His bank account is full to bursting. But the very next day his neighbor sees this same famer up early and working in his fields. Why would he do that, you may ask. Well you see he is no longer laboring for survival or because he seeks prosperity. It is now a labor of love.
II Cor.4: 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 

And so when Christ redeems us and changes our lives we still hold down jobs and we do things for the gospel kingdom. But it is now a labor of love and our work is not only sweet in His sight, but it is done in the power of His Spirit and even affords us rest that the world knows not of. We now can work very hard and yet still receive a spiritual rest that takes us high above this temporal world.

Is.40: 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

What a magnificent promise! And it is Christ through the power of the Spirit who brings it all into reality. It is Christ who we serve, and it is Christ who is our rest. No longer do we need a Sabbath day for now we walk inside a Sabbath Savior! This is the rest that was promised to all who would believe in and follow Jesus. And one day we will leave this temporal world and enter fully into a rest which will have no end. And yes, it will be Jesus whose presence that will cover the great throng of blood washed saints.

But be assured of this. None of it can be traced back to what we have done. All of it; every single moment of it; has been provided fully by Christ and His sacrifice. Halleluiah!


Cherie c. said...

With tears of great joy, I rest in my Lord this day. A rest so sought after. A peace indescribable.

Thank you Pastor Rick for these words of joy. How good it is and such a blessing to know that we can rest body, soul and mind in Jesus our risen Savior.

I am convicted of trying to do what I can to be pleasing when Jesus did it already. That is where the joy so many look to rob from you when one speaks of joy. We are to take seriously our faith, but be joyful in all things especially our Lord.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Very strong and correct commentary.

Reine Gnade