04 Hebrews Homiletics: Hebrews 4

Aim: You are invited “Today” to join the people of God and have eternal, Holy rest

I. The invitation is open again today to enter eternal Sabbath rest w/ God

1. Rest promise still stand, don’t fall short
2. We and the exodused both have heard the good news – they lacked faith & obedience
3-5. God rests from creation work, believers joint that rest, disobedient don’t
6a. There are some still to enter rest
6b-8. The exodused  didn’t enter w/ Joshua. New invitation from God through David – Enter Today.
9. Offer remains: Sabbath rest for people of God
10. Enter God’s rest = rest from work
11. Make every effort to enter rest, not perish like the exodused.

Truths:

  1. Some will enter Sabbath rest
  2. Some will not because of unbelief and disobedience

Applications:

  1. Who do I know who has not heard the good news like I have?  Today is the day to tell them!
  2. How have I heard God’s voice today?  How have I witnessed his “good news” today?
  3. Do I want rest? (BTW: The answer is yes!)  If so, what is my strategy for receiving that rest?  Do I try to earn it?  Do I blindly hope it will just appear?  Or, am I putting my  efforts into obedience and belief – not to earn rest, but out of love and respect for the one who created rest and paid the price for entrance for me?

II. We all must give an account to the Word of God: Alive, active, sees & knows all, is the Judge.

12-13. Must give account to Word of God: Alive, active, penetrated body/soul/spirit, judges through/attitudes, sees all.

Truths:

  1. All will be judged by the Word of God
  2. Nothing is hidden from the Word of God
  3. The Word of God is Alive
  4. The Word of God is Active

Applications:

  1. Am I preparing for my “eternity” review?  Am I prepared to give an account to the Word of God?
  2. Do I treat the Word of God as “then and there” or as “here and now”?
  3. Do I read and pray the Word of God as something Alive and Active?
  4. How has the Word of God penetrated my body/spirit/soul – is it evident to others?

III. Approach the Throne with confidence and receive blessings because of your empathetic Great High Priest (GHP), Jesus

14. Hold firm to faith – Jesus = GHP in Heaven
15. Jesus can empathize – Tempted but no sin
16. Approach with confidence => receive mercy, find grace = help in time of need

Truths:

  1. Jesus is our GHP
  2. Jesus was tempted but did not sin
  3. Hold firm to faith
  4. Approach Throne with confidence

Applications:

  1. Do I approach the Throne of God with confidence?  Am I confident in my prayers?  Am I confident in being welcomed?
  2. I will take time today to recognize the many ways I have received God’s mercy, God’s grace and God’s help in times of need through Jesus – And I will say thank you!!!
  3. In times of need – my own and others – is my first action to approach the throne of God with confidence to receive His mercy and grace?

Summary Statement:

All will be judged by the Word of God – Believers can have confidence in an eternal Sabbath rest with Jesus.

Additional Comments:

Is it too late to become a Christian?  I think some people may think that way.  They didn’t grow up in the church or they did and had a bad experience or fell away.  Faith didn’t take for them.  Or maybe they’ve done things they don’t want to confess, they don’t believe there is anyway they could forgive themselves, much less receive forgiveness from “God”.  Some look at the wrath God poured out on the disobedient and unfaithful and decide they don’t want any part of “that kind of God” who directed the killing of entire groups of people, including their men, women, children and livestock. Some see the evil in the world, the Hitlers and Sadams and the terrorists and child abusers and murders and they haven’t seen enough of God’s wrath in action.

All of that looks to the past. For example, this chapter specifically addresses one such event from the past – the exodus.  Jeremiah 31 helps shed further light on this from God’s perspective.  God made a covenant with these people.  He would bring them out of bondage.  They would be His people and He would be their God.  Jer 31:32 tells us that God viewed this covenant as a marriage.  “I was a husband to them”.  But they rejected God and broke the covenant.  What would you see as being the right response to an adulterous spouse who rejects their vows and promises and rejects their spouse?  God did the only just thing – he became angry and denied them participation in His holy rest.

But that anger and rejection of those people of that day does not mean the door is closed.  The writer of Hebrews explains the words of the Psalm that the invitation is open Today. It is not that the past is not important, but we are not tied to the past – Today is Today.

Through Christ, God created a new covenant.  This is also prophesied in Jer 31, “I will forgive their sin and their iniquity I will remember no more.”  Christ’s suffering and death was payment of all for all.  It is sufficient to cover every sin ever committed or that will ever be committed.

The accounting we must give on judgement day starts with the selection of 1 of 2 boxes on the one question entrance exam.  Do you choose to be judged based on your works or base on the work of Jesus?  The invitation to chose is offered today.  As long as today is today you can choose.  But, don’t be fooled – every day is not today, and on that final day, the choice will not be offered on that day.

Choose this day whom you will serve.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

The key questions are (1) do you want rest or not and (2) are you prepared to give an account to the Word of God?

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