Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest. Articulating the gospel one word at a time odnimslovom.org | 2012
Thegospel can be articulated as “entering God’s rest.”
Genesis 2-4 Hebrews 3 Hebrews 4 Matthew 11:28 The gospel was preached at Creation, in the Curse, through Cain’s punishment, to the Israelites in the desert and on the Cross. Jesus came to restore the rest that was lost in Eden. Jesus’ rest is not only a promise for Heaven in the future, but the definition of Christian life Today. Defining the gospel as entering into God’s rest comprehensively ties together all meanings of the good news of God expressed in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
The curse of God on this world can be defined as restlessness. Adam and Eve were forbidden from entering into God’s rest. • Genesis 4:12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. The problem in Cain’s heart was restlessness. Cain’s offering demonstrated an attempt to appease God or win God’s favor upon Cain’s own work. “Bless my work!” is the cry of Cain. In contrast Abel’s offering demonstrated God’s ownership of all things. “You are LORD!” is the cry of Abel. I contend it is also the cry of the gospel. • Genesis 4:14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me. The source of much pain and agony is our speech. Our human tongue is full of restlessness. • James 3:7-8 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
God’s rest is not laziness Ecclesiastes 10:18 If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks. God’s rest is not idle notions Colossians 2:18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. God’s rest is not “busybodiness” 2 Thessalonians 3:11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.
There is a small rest that comes from working hard: a sense of accomplishment. Such a sense is not wrong, but it is not the gospel that frees us from the curse of restlessness. Accomplishing our goals, whether church goals or life goals, does not bring us into God’s rest. The Pharisees’ goals prevented them from entering into God’s rest even though Jesus Himself was right in front of them. • John 11:47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs.”
Elijah was full of zeal for God. Zeal is acceptable. • Galatians 4:18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. However, at the end of working hard, Elijah had no rest. He did many good things for God. Yet he was so restless that he wanted God to take his life. • 1 Kings 19:3-5 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a days journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat."
God’s council to Elijah is God’s council to Christians who live by a sense of accomplishment instead of by the gospel of entering into God’s rest. • 1 Kings 19:12-18 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." 15 The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."
Hebrews 3 expounds on God’s message given through Moses and the Israelites. Hebrews 3 articulates the meaning of God’s declaration: “They shall never enter my rest.” in Psalm 95. Why was God so angry with the Israelites that not even Moses or any of that generation would enter into God’s rest? Why did Moses and others enter into God’s rest in Heaven?
Jesus is worthy of greater honor than Moses. A shocking statement that reverberates through Judaism. Moses was faithful, Jesus is faithful. Moses was faithful in God’s house, Jesus is faithful as the Son over God’s house. Moses was built by God, Jesus is God, the builder of everything. Moses pointed to rest, Jesus is our rest.
God is angry primarily when we do not know His ways: Psalms 95:10 For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.” Our ways are not God’s ways: Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God’s ways are the ways of impartial justice: Malachi 2:9 So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law. We can easily mistake God’s ways as unjust: Ezekiel 18:29 Yet the house of Israel says, The way of the Lord is not just. Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?
The most excellent way is love. The last verse of 1 Corinthians 12 and the first verse of 1 Corinthians 13: • But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. • If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. Jesus said that love is the greatest commandment: • Mark 12:28-31 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."
Hebrews 4 declares that the promise of entering God’s rest still stands. Hebrews 4 further articulates the meaning of God’s declaration: “They shall never enter my rest.” and “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” in Psalm 95. How can anyone enter into God’s rest?
God’s promise of entering His rest is still open: • 1Therefore, 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. God’s gospel was proclaimed to the Israelites, and this is the same gospel proclaimed through Jesus to us: • 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.[a]
The Christian life is a life of day by day, hour by hour trust in the promises of God to help us and guide us and take care of us and forgive us and bring us into a future of holiness and joy that will satisfy our hearts infinitely more than if we forsake him and put our trust in ourselves or in the promises of this world. And that day by day, hour by hour trust in Gods promises is not automatic. It is the result of daily diligence and its the result of proper fear. John Piper http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/be-diligent-to-enter-gods- rest
The object of our faith is Jesus: Hebrews 4:14-16 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Matt Chandler wrote in his new book “The Explicit Gospel”: “For some reason--namely our depravity--we have a tendency to think that the cross saves us from past sin, but after we are saved, we have to take over and clean ourselves up. This sort of thinking is devastating to the soul. We call this the assumed gospel, and it flourishes when well-meaning teachers, leaders and preachers set out to see lives first and foremost conformed to a pattern of behavior (religion) and not transformed by the Holy Spirits power (gospel).” http://benjamintoh.posterous.com/practical-gospel-living-phil-219-30
Matthew 11:25-30 25 At that time Jesus said,“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. 27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
God values rest. • Genesis 2:3 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 curse of sin is restlessness. • Genesis 4:12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. God’s redemptive plan can be articulated as “enter God’s rest today”.
“Letus, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:11