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GOD OFFERS YOU ETERNAL REST

 

READ IN THE BIBLE (Matthew 11:28, 29; Hebrews 4:9)

 

After a hard day at work, whether our activity is mental or physical, most of us look forward to being able to rest.  It says in, (Ecclesiastes 5:12) “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet”.  What can be sweeter than to lay our head on a pillow and enjoy a restful sleep after a busy day?  The physical rest of sleep is absolutely essential to the well being of our bodies.  A healthful rest will recharge our body.  During rest, tissues are revitalized and restored.  Our mental and physical efficiency is improved.  We cannot cheat on sleep for very long without sacrificing our health.  Some people suffer from “sleep deprivation” and as a result they encounter many health problems.  Sleep deprivation is actually used as a form of torture to break ones will.  WE NEED PHYSICAL REST FOR OUR BODY.  YOU know this to be true.  Physical rest is necessary to be healthy, and without it we would soon die.  Did YOU also know that YOU NEED SPIRITUAL REST FOR YOUR SOUL?  Did YOU know that “GOD OFFERS YOU ETERNAL REST” and unless you receive this gift you will just as surely die, but it will be an eternal death?  The Bible, the Word of God, has a lot to say about mans need of spiritual rest.  This is a rest that God alone can provide.  There are “FOUR RESTS’” in the Bible, the Word of God that we want to consider in this message.  They set forth Biblical truth regarding the gospel and God’s salvation for sinful man.  These “FOUR RESTS” include the following:

 

1. THE REST OF CREATION (Genesis 2:2)

2. THE REST OF CANAAN (Hebrews 3:7-19)

3. THE REST OF CONVERSION (Matthew 11:28, 29)

4. THE REST OF CHRIST (GOD’S ETERNAL REST) (Hebrews 4:9)

 

Let’s consider first of all;

 

1. THE REST OF CREATION (Genesis 2:2)

We read in, (Genesis 2:2, 3) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He made; and He RESTED on the seventh day from all His work which He had made”.  “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had RESTED from all His work which God created and made”.  We read in Genesis, “In six days, the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day”: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day, and hallowed it”.  After labor comes rest. THE REST OF CREATION refers to God’s cessation from His creative labor.  It says in the New Testament, in (Hebrews 4:4), (quoting Genesis 2:2), “And God did rest the seventh day from all His works”.  God’s rest, however, was soon disturbed by the entrance of sin into the world.  Our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God’s commandment and as a result fell into sin.  God’s perfect creation was blighted, His rest shattered, the earth cursed, man ruined, his relationship with God destroyed, and death passed upon all men.  We read in, (Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that ALL HAVE SINNED”.  Dear reader, have YOU acknowledged your sinful condition before a holy God?  It says in, (Psalm 14:1) “There is none that doeth good”.  It says in, (1 Kings 8:46) “For there is no man that sinneth not”.  It says in, (Ecclesiastes 7:20) “There is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good and sinneth not”.  We read in, (Romans 3:9-23) of the universality of sin.  It says in these verses, “Jews and Gentiles, they are ALL under sin”.  “There is none righteous, no not one”.  “There is none that doeth good, no not one”.  “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  “All the world is guilty (subject to the judgment of God) before God”.  Dear reader, you can see from these scriptures in God’s Word, YOU are not excluded but YOU are included as a guilty sinner before a holy God.  God will bring the unsaved sinner into future judgment.  We read in, (Romans 6:23) ‘The wages of sin is death”.  We read in, (Hebrews 9:27) “It is appointed unto men once to die, but AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT”.  There is conscience existence after death.  YOU have an appointment with God, to stand before His judgment seat.  Are YOU ready to meet God?  God says in His Word that endless punishment will be the portion of all who ultimately leave this world unsaved.  God’s “great white throne” judgment of the unsaved is recorded in, (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).  We read in, (20:15) “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”.  (21:8) “The unbelieving, etc, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death”.  THIS WILL BE THE ETERNAL PORTION OF ALL WHO REFUSE GOD’S OFFER OF ETERNAL REST.  Two options are before YOU.  It is either eternal rest in heaven or eternal anguish and suffering in the “lake of fire”.  

 

Because sin came into the world, God’s rest was disturbed.  In order to deal with sin a new activity of divine labor was started.  It would be of a far more toilsome character than the bringing of worlds and creatures into existence.  The Lord Jesus Christ made mention of the Divine activity of both He and His Father when He was here on the earth.  He said, (John 5:17) “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work”. After the Lord’s resurrection He issued His great commission to His own.  He said to them, (Mark 16:15) “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.  Then it says in, (Mark 16:20) “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following”.  We see then, during this present dispensation of grace, the Lord is working along with His own servants.  God is not resting, instead He is presently working and therefore God’s eternal rest is still future. But, all who believe will have a foretaste of God’s eternal rest even now.  In order to enter into God’s rest a person must believe God.  They must believe His Word, the Bible.  They must believe in and receive His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior.  They must believe the gospel.  It is all about “believing”.  God’s dealing with the nation of Israel is an example of this.  This leads us to;

 

2. THE REST OF CANAAN (Hebrews 3:7-19)

The nation of Israel was in bondage in Egypt for four hundred years.  When the time came, God lead the people out through Moses.  We read in, (Acts 7:36) “He (God) brought them (Israel) out (of Egypt), after that He had showed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years”.  It is recorded in, (Hebrews 3:7-11), the first generation of Israelites failed to reach the promise land of Canaan because of unbelief.  God was grieved for forty years because of the conduct of the people.  He said to them, (Hebrews 3:8) “Harden not your hearts”.  He said of them, (Hebrews 3:10) “I was grieved with that generation, and said, they do always err in their heart; and have not known my ways”.  It means the people had “wandering hearts”.  God gave them a warning, recorded in, (Hebrews 3:12) “Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God”.  Notice from these scriptures the 3-fold heart condition of the people.  They had “hardened hearts”.  They had “wandering hearts” and they had “unbelieving hearts”.  They needed a “spiritual triple by pass surgery”.  Because of their heart condition, they could not enter into THE REST OF CANAAN.  It says in, (Hebrews 3:19) “THEY COULD NOT ENTER IN BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF.  In (Hebrews 3:12-19) we have a practical application and a warning to the first generation of professing Christians not to follow their evil example.  It is an abiding principal that unbelief will keep you from God’s promised eternal rest.  We read in, (Hebrews 3:18, 19) “And to whom sware He (God) that they should not enter into His rest, was it not to them that believed not?  “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”.  There was divine retribution for their sin of unbelief and disobedience.  It was unbelief that kept the people from God’s rest in Canaan.  It will be unbelief that will keep YOU from God’s eternal rest in heaven.  Dear reader, what is YOUR heart condition?  Do YOU suffer from a “hardened heart”, a “wandering heart”, and an “unbelieving heart”?  The message from God to every person is found in, (Hebrews 3:7, 8) “TO DAY IF YE WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS”.  You can have a foretaste of God’s eternal rest even now.  God offers this rest to any and all who will receive it.  This leads us to;

 

3. THE REST OF CONVERSION (Matthew 11:28, 29)

There is no spiritual rest for any who will not believe the gospel and as a result remain in their sins separated from God.  Unless the gospel message is believed, a person will never experience the rest of soul that only God can give.  We read in, (Isaiah 57:20) “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest”.  A sinful life is a life of unrest.  It affects every part of a persons being, body, soul and spirit.  The sin that plunged mankind into sin was that of unbelief and disobedience.  Unbelief and disobedience are mans great sins today.  Because of this man is separated from God and being separated he can never really have God’s rest.  We read in, (Isaiah 59:2) “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you, that He will not hear”.  The sinners distance from God is not only due to their sin, but also because of God’s anger against sin.  We read in, (Psalm 7:11) “God is angry with the wicked every day”.  There is good news however, and that is YOU can be reconciled to God through repentance of your sins and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Outside of salvation in Christ, mans state of sinfulness cuts him off from relationship with God and thus he can never have the “rest of God”.  Here in (Matthew 11:28, 29) we have a most wonderful invitation to the unsaved who are in a condition of unrest.  The Lord Jesus Christ says here, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. Notice three significant things from this scripture.  We have;

·        The Saviors Invitation.  The Lord Jesus says, “Come unto ME”.  Here is His gracious invitation to the burdened sinner.  This invitation to the sinner was offered based on the Savior’s work on the cross which He was soon to accomplish.  Since Calvary, this invitation has continued to be offered and will be offered until the Lord returns to take those who are His own to heaven.  We read in, (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.  We are told in, (1 Timothy 1:15) “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.  In love God gave His Son and in love God gave Him up to the cross.  The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, came into this world.  He lived a perfect life which brought joy and delight to the Father’s heart.  God’s voice was heard from heaven on a number of occasions when He said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”.  We are told that the Savior was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.  When the time came for Him to be delivered up, it says of Him in, (Isaiah 53:7) “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth”. He was a silent sufferer.  “When He was reviled He reviled not again.  When He suffered He threatened not”.  He suffered at the hands of wicked and sinful men.  They spit in His face.  We read of the Savior that He said, (Isaiah 50:6) “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting”.  He was reviled, reproached and rejected.  He was blindfolded, buffeted and beaten.  We read of Him that, (Isaiah 52:14) “His visage was so marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men”.  Because of the beating He received and the blows that rained down upon Him, His countenance or appearance was so degraded and disfigured that He was no longer recognizable.  A Roman scourge (whip) laid open His back as a plowed field.  They pressed a crown of thorns upon His brow and gave Him a purple robe to mock His kingship.  When they had done all these things unto Him they led Him out to the place called Calvary and there they crucified Him.   There on the cross, (1 Peter 3:18) “Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”.  There on the cross a great sacrifice was made when He bore our sins in His own body on the tree.  He went under the wrath and judgment of a holy and righteous God when God made His soul an offering for sin.  At the end of those three dark hours on the cross He cried out, “It is finished”.  He finished the work that God gave Him to do.  On the third day He rose again, out from among the dead, signifying that God was satisfied with the work of His beloved Son.  A great salvation has now been made available for all who will accept the invitation and come.  The Savior says, “Come”.  Will YOU come that YOU might be saved?  The Lord says in. (John 6:37) “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”. HOW DO YOU COME TO HIM?  You come just as you are.  There are no hard conditions.  He says nothing of works that you must do first.  There is no deservingness of His gifts to be established.  You come just as you are, with all your sins.  The hymn writer wrote of this when he said;

Just as I am, without one plea

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidst me come to Thee’

O Lamb of God, I come

 

Just as I am, and waiting not

To rid my soul of one dark blot

To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,

O Lamb of God I come

 

HOW DO YOU COME TO HIM?  You come to Him by believing in Him.  (Acts 16:31) “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”.    You come to Him by receiving Him as your own personal Savior.  (John 1:12) “As many as received Him, to them gave He power (the right or authority) to become the sons of God”.  You come to Him by accepting the free gift of eternal life.  (Romans 6:23) “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.  Notice to whom you are to come.  He says “Come unto Me”.  The Lord Jesus Christ MUST be your object of faith”.  It is not enough to have faith.  You must have faith in the right person.  You cannot be saved by placing your faith in your church, a creed or a clergyman.  Your faith must be in Christ and Christ alone for salvation. 

·        The Savior’s Qualification is the next significant thing that we notice from this invitation.  It is to, “All ye that labor and are heavy laden”.  You can never truly come to the Savior or even have a desire to come to the Savior unless you feel the burden and weight of your sin.  The awareness of this burden comes when the Spirit of God brings conviction upon a person when they hear the gospel.  (See John 16:8-11).  This leads to repentance (a change of mind about sin) followed by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for those who get saved.  Only those who are aware they are lost can be saved.  Dear reader, have YOU ever experienced the heavy burden of your sins?

·        The Savior’s Salvation is the result of coming to Him.  For all who do He says, I will give you rest”.  Here is the “gift of rest” promised to all who come to the Savior for salvation.  It is a gift, unearned and unmerited on your part.  This is the “rest of salvation” that comes to a person when they realized they are saved.  Saved for heaven and saved from hell.  This is the “rest of conscience” that follows the realization that the penalty of one’s sins has been paid once for all and that God will not demand payment twice.

 

Another REST is mentioned in (Matthew 11:29) where the Lord says, “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”.  Here is the “discovery of rest”.  This is the “rest of heart” that the believer in Christ will find as they serve the Lord after salvation. A yoke is a neck harness for two and it refers to the Savior and the believer going on in life and service together. 

 

The “REST OF CONVERSION” that we have just considered is a foretaste of an eternal rest yet to come.  This is the fourth “rest” we want to consider which we have called;

 

4. THE REST OF CHRIST (GOD’S ETERNAL REST) (Hebrews 4:9) 

We read of this rest in, (Hebrews 4:9) “There remaineth therefore a REST to the people of God”.  The Greek word for “rest” here is “sabbatismos” which is related to our English word “Sabbath”.  It refers to God’s eternal Sabbath, God’s eternal rest.  It is the eternal rest which will be enjoyed by all who have been saved, by all who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.  This is a rest that “yet remains”.  It is a future rest which will be enjoyed when the believer’s labors down here have ceased.  Notice that this “rest” is promised to “the people of God”.  Dear reader, are YOU included among the people of God?  We read in, (1 Peter 2:10) “Which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy”.  The “people of God” have obtained mercy, i.e., they have been saved by the mercy and grace of God.  Those who are NOT the people of God have NOT obtained mercy.  They have either not heard the gospel or they have heard it and by willful disobedience have rejected God’s offer of mercy through the gospel. 

 

Dear reader, have YOU accepted God’s offer of mercy through the gospel?  Are YOU numbered among the people of God?  If YOU remain unsaved, it will not be because God does not love YOU or because God’s Son did not die for YOU, but, it will be because YOU have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.  You are traveling the “Highway of Life”.  Now that YOU have read this message, YOU have come to the “crossroads”.  The “crossroads” are a place where a decision has to be made.  Which way will YOU go?  Will YOU believe the gospel message, God’s “good news” that, “Christ died for YOUR sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures”?  (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).  Or will you continue to procrastinate and reject the Savior and God’s free gift of salvation?  To do so, is to go in the wrong direction and remain on the broad way to eternal destruction. 

 

I urge YOU to take advantage of this present time while you can and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as YOUR personal Savior.  Please give this matter your most serious attention.  Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.

 

Christian Messenger