Rest

As we’ve all been adapting and changing to this temporarily augmented way of life because of the Coronavirus pandemic, many people will have been working harder, longer, and in stranger ways than ever before.

We set off sprinting into this pandemic, but we seem to have accepted that it isn’t going away anytime soon so we’ve slowed to marathon pace. Along the way, it’s now important that we pause and rest appropriately if we want to keep going.

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Hebrews 4.9-10

Our enemy wants to keep us busy, distracted, stressed, and full of thoughts that are ultimately not about things that are good, noble, right, and pure (Philippians 4.8). He wants you bogged-down in the nitty-gritty of the here and now and everything that could go wrong, certainly not resting.

But, we really do need to rest! Lots of folks think about resting as going to the beach, doing nothing, firing up Netflix and kicking back on the couch to find out just how many tigers a man needs to keep. Maybe your idea of rest is different; maybe you rest by exercising, spending time with friends and family, sharing a meal, the list could go on and on…

We can have true rest from stress, anxiety, worries and weariness, and from our great accuser through one place and One person only: through Jesus

Hebrews 3 and 4 develops this idea that Jesus Himself is our rest, and the key to us understanding this is to understand what Jesus Himself said!

Jesus declared Himself as Lord of the sabbath in Matthew 12.8, and in Mark 2.27 said that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. 

In Hebrews we read of how a relationship with Jesus frees us from the works-based righteousness that being under a law demands. Jesus has done all of the work needed to satisfy the righteous requirements of God (John 19.28-30), and because of this, we can rest easy. There is no longer an incessant need to work, to earn, to strive for righteousness, to bear your own burdens and work them away, to occupy our every waking moment with thoughts of being good enough or accepted.

We can rest, we can recharge, and we can regroup and not worry that we are not fulfilling laws and expectations by doing so.

Jesus serves as our Sabbath rest in the sense that He provides freedom from living under the works of the law. Instead, His sacrifice has paid the price for our salvation in full. We accept salvation as His free gift, entering into His rest both now as well as in eternity in His presence. 

No pandemic or earthly circumstances will every change this, so whilst it might be tempting to work a bit longer, a bit harder, or a bit more because your situation has changed, never forget that the rest you have in Jesus is real and ready. The stress, anxiety, and burnout that comes from overworking yourself to try and get on top of your earthly circumstances will only increase the harder you try. 

So today rest, recharge, refocus, and remember that this is all possible through Jesus.

Who Do I Follow?

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we finished our study of the book of Hebrews and answered the question ‘Who do I follow?

As Christians, ultimately, we follow Jesus because He is greater than anything we’ve compared Him to in Hebrews;

Angels, prophets, the law, Moses, the tabernacle, the temple, 

our trials, temptations, tribulations, 

our pressures, persecutions, ourselves, 

He is greater than the earthly leaders in our lives, He is greater than anything; always was, always is, and always will be (13.8).

Who do I follow?

Yes, look to the leaders in your life, look to the leaders in your faith life and consider where their faith is taking them. Take confidence from seeing where their faith is taking them, the outcome of their faith, but even more than this, take confidence from what you know to be true about Jesus.

Look to who they follow – who is leading your leaders?

Godly leaders lead people to Jesus, and Godly leaders are following Jesus. 

We’ve come full circle with Hebrews, haven’t we? Many people are there to be followed, many people have spoken into your lives, but, it started with this truth, and we will end with this truth,

1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Hebrews 1.1-2

Our Leader to follow, greater than anything the world has to offer, so sure, so steadfast, so true, so faithful, so loving, so much belonging, so much identity, so much greater than

If you are not following Jesus, there is no better time than right now.

Belonging

As a Christian, as a believer in Jesus, where do I belong?

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we looked at Hebrews 13.1-6, and said that as believers in Jesus we belong to each other (vv.1-4), and ultimately this is possible because we belong to Him (vv.5-6). 

We belong to each other, to the Christian family, to those who have the same key interest and insight as you. That is possible because, by faith in His faithfulness, we belong to Jesus.

He has said that there is never any chance that He will leave or forsake us (v.5). In the original language of the New Testament, this is written in the most emphatic way possible. Our belonging is sure, our belonging is permanent as it rests in Him and not on us. It looks like this…

33.013

Simply, we belong to Him and because of that, to each other.

Listen & Obey

There is a scene in the movie Finding Nemo where his Dad is telling him to stay close and to stay with him, and Nemo neither listens nor obeys. The result is that Nemo is taken away from his Dad, his friends, his environment, everything he knows, and this could have all been avoided if he had listened and obeyed. 

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we had an all-age service and read Hebrews 12.25-29,

25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

In the context of a family service, we talked about how the Bible teaches us that to listen and obey our parents is a good thing,

Ephesians 6.1Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.

Colossians 3.20 – Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord.

Here in Hebrews, they are being taught the same lesson – listen and obey.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking.

For the Hebrews then, previously if they didn’t listen to and obey the law, there were consequences. Now we know that Jesus is much greater than the law, don’t we. So if there were consequences for not listening to the law, how much more should we listen to and obey Jesus?

Hebrews 12 finishes with a powerful message about God – 

He has given us a kingdom which cannot be shaken, something that can never be taken away from us.

He had spoken earlier to the Israelites at the giving of the Law through Moses. Those people had refused God’s message on earth and tried to do their own thing. Those that did not listen and obey and did not escape, like Nemo. 

For us now, God is still speaking, at many times in many ways He spoke before, now it is all through the person and work of Jesus, that is what we need to listen to and that is what we need to obey.

He is so much greater than Nemo’s Dad, isn’t He, so much greater than laws and rules and regs, all of Hebrews has shown us how much greater He is than anything ever! 

Surely we must listen and obey Him.

Be Bold

Our faith calls for us to be bold (Hebrews 10.19, 2 Timothy 1.7). So, what do we do with our boldness?

First, you take your boldness to church, to others. You exercise your boldness with others who are filled with the same boldness; with others, for others, to edify others, to equip others, to reach others.

We boldly look out for one another, everyone looks out for each other. You will be looked after when you are actively part of a community, and you can only look after people when you are actively involved. 

We boldly look past the past, we don’t dwell on it with rose tinted glasses. We see it for what it was, an attractive but empty promise that could never deliver. We boldly look past the past and boldly break away from it.

We boldly look to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, whose blood speaks a better word; forgiveness, reconciliation, acceptance, and salvation. We boldly live the life we were made to live, that we were redeemed to live, and that we were destined to live. 

Be bold enough to leave behind your former ways, and be bold enough to admit that, do you know what, I can’t do this alone

Be bold enough to repent and to come to Him and ask for forgiveness.

Be bold enough to submit your life to His Lordship.

Be bold enough to follow where He leads. 

Take your faith and be bold.


Taken from a message preached at Saar Fellowship through Hebrews 12.12-24. Listen to it – and all our messages – here!