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Presentation 06. The immediate context of this passage is one of warning. The writer at the end of ch.3 has held up the example of Israels failure to.

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 06. The immediate context of this passage is one of warning. The writer at the end of ch.3 has held up the example of Israels failure to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 06


3 The immediate context of this passage is one of warning. The writer at the end of ch.3 has held up the example of Israels failure to persevere in faith and obedience. As a result they failed to enter into the promised land - their rest. The implication was that his readers too, could miss out on Gods best. We have noted that: 1.Experiencing Gods power is no guarantee of perseverance. 2. Hearing Gods word is no guarantee either. In order to understand the argument in ch.4 we need to remind ourselves that the writer uses the word rest in 3 different ways; Introduction

4 Presentation 06 First, the promised land; after bondage in Egypt and wilderness wandering the land of Canaan was a rest for the people of God. Secondly, the rest of God. When God rested from creation after six days, his rest was marked by his enjoyment of creation. God calls upon us to enjoy salvation and its fullness This rest is a present experience for the Christian cf. Matt 11v28 I will give you rest. This rest can only be enjoyed and entered into by faith. Unbelief can keep us out of the enjoyment of our salvation. Thirdly, the rest of heaven: the eternal rest, the heavenly goal of the people of God. Introduction

5 Presentation 06 There are a number of steps in the writers argument which we need to follow: 1. The promise of the rest of God for his people still remains v1. The danger is that they fail to reach it. The writers point is that the door of entry is still open for in the language of Ps. 95 it is still today- a day of opportunity and responsibility. His readers are encouraged to fear the possibility of failure to enter because of the great danger of complacency which they were exhibiting. The Unfolding Argument

6 Presentation 06 2. The Israelites long ago failed to enter into their rest [i.e. Canaan]. They did not trust God to bring them through the difficulties that lay ahead and therefore did not enjoy the rest which could have been theirs.v2. [cf. Num. ch13-14.] The writer shows that his readers have the same starting point as did the Israelites in the wilderness, v2 is literally we also have been evangelised as they were. The promise and Gods ability to fulfil it was the same in both cases. A withdrawal of trust was the cause of Israels downfall it could also be the cause of the downfall of his readers. It is no use saying we possess a glorious message of salvation and have access to marvellous truths about God, if that message is not mixed with faith it is of no personal value. The Unfolding Argument

7 Presentation 06 3. Although Israel failed to enter their rest, a rest for believing men and women still remains. The idea of an on-going eternal rest may have as its background the Rabbinical idea based on the creation story of Gen. 1 and 2. Of each day of creation there is mention of morning and evening. But no mention is made of evening on the 7th day. The rabbis taught that the day of Gods rest had no ending. The rest of God was forever and therefore was one into which his people could enter. This rest of faith is something we enter the moment we profess faith in Christ. The verb tense used suggests that this rest is a process, a pilgrimage, entered into and increasingly enjoyed through the exercise of faith and reaching its consummation and fullness in heaven. The Unfolding Argument

8 Presentation 06 4. The day came when, under Joshua, Israel entered her rest [the promised land]. It might be thought that the promise of rest for the people of God was thereby fulfilled. But the picture of the land of Canaan as the rest for Gods pilgrim people was intended to do no more than foreshadow a greater rest, just as the O.T. sacrifices foreshadowed a greater sacrifice. The writer shows that the land was no more than a foreshadowing of the rest God intended for his people by quoting the Psalmist writing some hundreds of years after Israel had taken possession of the land. While they were actually living in Canaan he was still appealing to them to enter into their rest. Therefore more than the land is in view. The Unfolding Argument

9 Presentation 06 5. The conclusion which is drawn from this argument is that there still remains a rest, now called in v 9 a Sabbath rest for Gods people. To finally enter Gods rest means to cease from ones labours just as God did from his. Cf. Rev. 14.13. The everlasting rest of the people of God does not imply eternal inactivity. The labours from which God rested were the labours of creation- but he continues to be active in providence, judgement and grace. The labours from which the people of God rest in their heavenly Sabbath are their toiling, trials and tribulations. This affords opportunity for the eternity of the people of God to be marked by joyful service and unclouded worship. The Sabbath rest of Gods people is described in Rev 7.9ff.... The Unfolding Argument

10 Presentation 06 It is the Christians hope of heaven which encourages him to persevere. Thomas Bliney in the early days of the Reformation wrote: When a sailor goes on board his ship and launches out into the stormy sea, he is tossed to and fro by the waves but the hope of reaching a peaceful haven makes him bear the danger. My voyage is beginning but whatever storms I shall feel I shall soon reach my port. The Unfolding Argument

11 Presentation 06 In a passage which speaks about rest, does it not seem incongruous that the writer speaks in v11 about making every effort to enter it? The verb translated strive means, to make haste, to be in earnest, to concentrate ones energies on the achievement of a goal. The author is concerned that a zealous spirit rather than the spirit of indifference and unconcern should mark the behaviour of his readers. This rest of which he speaks is not a trifle but something which requires seriousness of application if it is to be enjoyed. The Unfolding Argument

12 Presentation 06 There is only one alternative to entering rest and that is exclusion from it. You will notice that again that the writer identifies himself with his readers cf v1 let us be careful/fear and again in v11let us make every effort. There is a great deal of wisdom in the teacher standing not above but beside his pupils and saying this is a lesson I need, this is a warning which I need to take seriously. I am not invulnerable. The Unfolding Argument

13 Presentation 06 Disobedience is the fruit of unbelief And the rebellious disobedience of Israel was as a result of wilful stubborn unrelenting unbelief. Think of Jesus warning to his disciples in Jn. 15 the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine. He was talking of a faith relationship with himself. The life that does not abide in Jesus, that does not exercise faith in him is unblessed and unfruitful and capable of doing nothing. Like a worthless branch, it is pruned and is thrown into the fire to be burned. The fruitful obedient rest of faith is set over against the fruitless, disobedient separation of unbelief. The pruning hook separates the unfruitful disobedient branches. The Unfolding Argument

14 Presentation 06 Now there is a logical connection between v11 and v12. The conjunction for, at the beginning of v12 while in the original manuscripts is omitted from some translations. The writer is saying that the disobedience mentioned in v11 involves disobedience to the revealed Word of God. But we cannot disobey this word lightly! Notice that the word of God is first of all living and active. Its effectiveness is derived from its source - the source of this Word is God himself. The essential characteristic of Gods Word is its vitality and dynamism cf. Is. 55v11. Gods Word is creative Gen. 1v3 and regenerating 2 Cor. 4v6. The Unfolding Argument

15 Presentation 06 But Gods word is also sharper than any two edged sword. In other words, in terms of its quality of penetration it is keener than any weapon made by man. It never fails to cut. It does not have a blunt edge. The two sharp edges of Gods word have been described as its saving and judging manner. cf Jn. 6v63 but with reference to those who reject Jesus cf. Jn. 12v48. The piercing characteristic of Gods Word is such that it penetrates to the depth of mans being. A number of writers have ingenious interpretations for the division of soul and spirit and joints and marrow. The Unfolding Argument

16 Presentation 06 The author however is not concerned to provide a lesson in psychology or anatomy, rather he is looking for graphic language to describe the depth of penetration that comes with Gods Word. In Acts 2.37 we find that the apostles were surprised by the scale of the response to the word. There is nothing so deeply hidden in the heart of man that the word cannot track down and penetrate! The Unfolding Argument

17 Presentation 06 The Word penetrates mans innermost being as his critic or judge, passing judgement on his thoughts and the intentions of his heart. Sometimes when we have questioned our children's motives for a particular course of behaviour, they reply, How can you tell what I am thinking, you have no way of knowing what is going on inside me. Now that is true the best we can come up with is a guess, it might be a good guess but it is only a guess. Gods Word doesnt guess, it reaches the most inaccessible parts of our being, laying bare our most deeply concealed motives. We may be able to fool or confuse the lie detectors made by man but Gods Word is not confused or side-tracked. The Unfolding Argument

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