Hebrews; Chapter 4
LABORING TO ENTER INTO HIS REST!
Hebrews 4:11-16) [GNB] Let us, then, do our best to receive that rest, so that no one of us will fail as they did because of their lack of faith.
[KJV] Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
[GW] So we must make every effort to enter that place of rest. Then no one will be lost by following the example of those who refused to obey.
NOTE: The Greek word translated “labour” in this passage is spoudazo (spoo-dad’-zo). This verb is used 11 times in the New Testament. In the KJV it’s rendered “endeavor” 3 times; “do diligence” 2 times; “be diligent” 2 times; “give diligence” 1 time; “be forward” 1 time; “labour” 1 time; and “study” 1 time.
Other translations render it:
“let us be eager [or, diligent]” [ALT]; “give diligence” [ASV]; “have a strong desire” [BBE]; “do our best” [CEV] [GNB]; “make every effort” [GW]; “exert ourselves” [LITV]; and “keep at it” [MSG].
NOTE: We are to make every effort to rest in God.
Hebrews 4:12) [GNB] The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.
[BBE] For the word of God is living and full of power, and is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through and making a division even of the soul and the spirit, the bones and the muscles, and quick to see the thoughts and purposes of the heart.
[CEV] What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.
[AMP] For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
[MSG] God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.
NOTE: A sword will cut through just about anything on the inside of your body, except bone. A sword sharpened on both sides of the blade will do even more damage. But God’s Word is far sharper than anything forged by man. It will pierce through muscle and bone, and pass through all flesh to soul and spirit.
ANOTHER NOTE: A surgeon will use his/her scalpel to cut through parts of your body until he/she sees the part they need to see in order to do a successful surgery. Our God cuts deeper! He cuts through all flesh, without harming that flesh, until He sees the real person, until He see who we really are.
Hebrews 4:13) [GNB] There is nothing that can be hid from God; everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to him that we must all give an account of ourselves.
[BBE] And there is nothing made which is not completely clear to him; there is nothing covered, but all things are open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
[NIV] Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
[NLT] Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.
QUESTION: Can we hide anything from God? How about our thoughts? How about the very intention of our actions?
QUESTION: What are verses 12 & 13 doing in this discussion of “entering into His rest”?
QUESTION: Is there anything in verses 12 & 13 that make you think about resting?
QUESTION: Once again, in review of last week’s study, exactly what is this “entering into His rest”?
Hebrews 4:10) [GNB] For those who receive that rest which God promised will rest from their own work, just as God rested from his.
Concerning “will rest from their own work,”
“a. He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works: Entering this rest means no longer needing to work. The idea isn’t that there is no longer any place for doing good works. The idea is that there is no longer any place for works as a basis for our own righteousness.
b. Ceased from his works as God did from His: This cessation from works as a basis for righteousness fulfills our ‘Sabbath rest.’ God rested from His works on the original Sabbath of Genesis 2:2 because the work was finished. We cease from self-justifying works because the work is finished by Jesus on the cross” [Guzik].
“Before we were saved, we may have tried to work for our salvation. When we realized that Christ had finished the work at Calvary, we abandoned our own worthless efforts and trusted the risen Redeemer” [BBC].
“No longer depends on the observance of Mosaic rites and ceremonies for his justification and final happiness. He rests from all these works of the law as fully as God has rested from his works of creation” [Clarke].
ANSWER: Verses 12 & 13 tell us why we need to rest!
EXPLANATION: What good does it do trying with all our might to earn God’s approval when He sees every time we fail, every time we do the right thing for the wrong motive? We can’t earn God’s approval! Jesus did that for us at Calvary! This is the sense in which we must “rest from” our “own work.” We must quick living in the reality of trying to be saved, and start living in the reality of being saved, saved by the grace of God!
Hebrews 4:14) [GNB] Let us, then, hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we have a great High Priest who has gone into the very presence of God—Jesus, the Son of God.
QUESTION: What’s the context tell us is the reason that we should “hold firmly to the faith we profess”?
ANSWER: Because the Word of God pierces through all that is flesh into the very essence of who we genuinely are, because we can’t hide anything from Him, not our thoughts or the intentions behind all that we say, do, or think, we need to “hold firmly to the faith we possess.” In other words, we can’t impress God with our actions because He knows our every failure, our every blemish, so we need to cling to that faith that tells us that God did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He has placed us in right standing with Him, a Holy God.
Hebrews 4:15) [GNB] Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.
[CEV] Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin!
[MSG] We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but the sin.
QUESTION: Why can Jesus understand the weakness of our flesh?
QUESTION: How do many Christians who feel like they’ve conquered something you struggle with act?
QUESTION: What should keep us from that attitude?
Hebrews 4:16) [GNB] Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.
QUESTION: Why should we have confidence to approach God’s throne?
QUESTION: What will we discover when we approach Him?
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church