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Hebrews Chapter 4

Memory verses for this week:  2 Cor 1:7  And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.  

Introduction:  In Chapter 3, Paul explained to the Hebrews that Christ was much greater than Moses.   While Moses was a great man, he was a servant in the house.  Jesus Christ created the house, which all believers make up.  The master of the house is much greater than the servant.   We discussed how that when we are saved, there is a given rest to the child of God.  We continue on that topic in Chapter 4 as we begin discussing the future rest.

I.  A Future Rest

Heb 4:1  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

Heb 4:2  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

As we mentioned in last week’s lesson, many of the Jews did not enter into the land of Canaan because of unbelief.  Paul warns here about coming up short of the rest mentioned in this verse.   This rest is not what we talked about last week when we first come to know Jesus as Savior, but this speaks of a future rest that comes at the end of our days.   Verse one begins with “Let us therefore fear”…. The Word of God says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge …” (Prov. 1:7). That is the kind of fear you and I are to have.  It would be a real tragedy to live your life and then not experience that rest when you died.  Paul goes on to explain how that most everyone had heard the gospel preached and knew of the coming rest, but they refused to accept it due to unbelief.   Just knowing that Jesus was the Messiah and knowing that the child of the Lord will have a future rest does not guarantee you that rest.   It takes experiencing salvation and finding Jesus as your own Lord and Savior.  Many have the gospel preached to them, and find there is heaven to gain and a hell to shun, but they just never come to Jesus in faith but stay in their unbelief.   It says at the end of verse 2 that we must have faith to come to know Jesus as Savior and experience this future rest.  

As I prepare this lesson in September of 2001, I was so happy last weekend when I found out that my son Devin’s wife, Traci, came to the Lord and was saved.   The reason for my joy is because of several reasons.   First, look what it has done for Traci.   Now she can have a life of joy and know that when she dies she will enter heaven.  For my son, this greatly enhances the chances of the success of their marriage as they will now be in church and centering their lives around Jesus.   And for my 2 year old granddaughter Tori, it gives her the opportunity to be raised in church and learn the important things in life from the Bible.  Things that will not change as the years go by.    And most of all, it means that she too will most likely come to know Jesus as her Savior.   The old saying that “the family that prays together stays together” is very true.   Putting Christ first in our lives is the most important thing we can do. 

II.  A Present Rest

Heb 4:3  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Heb 4:4  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

Heb 4:5  And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

We spoke of how we have a present given rest when we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.   Jesus promises to give rest to all who come to Him.  The lost have no rest.

Matthew 11:28   Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Isaiah 57:20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

God set the example for us to rest when he created earth and the universe, and then rested on the seventh day.   God does not tire and had no need to rest, but he did it to show us how that we are to rest after six days of labor.

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 

Heb 4:6  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Heb 4:7  Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Heb 4:8  For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

We see that the rest spoken of here is a future rest.  In the Psalms, it says “If they enter into my rest” pointing to a future rest.

Psa 95:10  Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:

Psa 95:11  Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

We know this was a future rest, and certainly not referring to coming into Canaan land.  They had long since reached Canaan, though those who did not believe God on this promise did not come into the final rest either.   If Joshua had given them rest, it would not have been worded such pointing to the future.  Joshua did lead the people into a certain rest when they entered into Canaan, but there were still battles and problems there.   Jesus leads us to our final rest in Heaven, where there will be no more pains and heartaches.  No more battles to fight in heaven.   Jesus gives us an immediate rest as our Savior, and then an eternal rest when we die.


III.  A Future Rest for All Who Have the Present Rest

Heb 4:9  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Heb 4:10  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Heb 4:11  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Verse 9 says there remaineth a rest to the people of God.  Praise the Lord for that promise.  We can see what that rest looks like if we look in Revelation.

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 

Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

J. Vernon McGee had some good points about coming to our rest in Christ.

I think the supreme satisfaction that can come to a child of God is that he is in the will of God, doing the work of God, and trusting and just resting in Him. That is the glorious place to which God wants you and me to come. Mary came to that place. She sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha was back yonder in the kitchen with those pots and pans. Martha wanted to serve Christ, but she just didn’t know what real rest was. She probably decided she was going to bake something and reached for a pan. It was not big enough and she was going to put it back and get a bigger one, but she dropped it on the floor. What a time she had with those pots and pans! She was really worn to a frazzle and finally lost her temper. But Mary was just sitting at Jesus’ feet, doing nothing—she had already done her work. We need to learn to find our satisfaction sitting at Jesus’ feet.

“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” Someone will say, “Do I have to labor to enter into rest?” Yes, my friend. This is sort of like the Irishman who said he intended to have peace in his home even if he had to fight for it. Fighting for peace? Yes! I wish America had learned that lesson. May I say to you, you must win a war before you can have peace. You have to have a victory before you can have peace. He says here, “Let us labor in order to rest.” After all, when you have worked at something and come to the end of the day and sit down, isn’t there a satisfaction in what you have done? Oh, today, we need to lay hold of God! To lay hold of God in prayer, and in faith, and to be used of Him. Oh, my Christian friend, let us labor toward that end.

“Lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” The only thing in the world that can rob you of that rest is unbelief. Ever since I retired from the pastorate my prayer has been, “Oh, God, help me to trust You.” I was a pastor for forty years, and very frankly, I look back and have to say that I wish I had trusted Him more. Many times I was so fearful and unbelieving. So today I want to simply lean back and trust Him. How wonderful He is! He is worthy of our trust  .[1]

IV.  The Written and Living Word

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Heb 4:13  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

An important thing to remember is that God’s word is the standard of judgment, both today and forever.  It is not our knowledge of the Word that sets the standard.   Verse 12 speaks of the written Word of God.   We have many today who claim to be ‘Biblical Scholars’ who stand and attempt to pretend to know more about the Word of God than those who penned the Words.  They want us to look to them for a ‘better rendering’ of the scriptures.  To that, I think we all need to shun this false teaching.  God said what he meant, and meant what he said.    Verse 12 points out how powerful the Word of God truly is.   It is so powerful… like a sword with 2 edges, able to divide the soul and the spirit… the joints and the marrow.  When you divide soul and spirit, you are talking about the two parts of inward man.  God’s Word gets down to where we live.   When you witness to someone about Christ, it is good to tell what Jesus did for you.  But never fail to quote scripture.   What we say may go out of that person’s thoughts the moment we walk away, but not God’s Word.  It cuts and divides, and it hurts inside when you are lost.   And that is exactly what it takes to bring a sinner to the knowledge of Christ, that they by faith may believe and be saved.

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


Isa 55:7  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isa 55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isa 55:10  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

Isa 55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Verse 13 speaks of the Living Word which is Jesus Christ.   We know this has reference to Christ because of the personal pronouns used.

John 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.

John 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

V.  Our Great High Priest

Heb 4:14  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Christ’s Priesthood was not fashioned after Aaron’s Priesthood, but rather was patterned after Melchisedec.     Prophet, Priest, and King.  We have no record of Melchisedec’s family.   Jesus had no beginning, and has no end as a part of the eternal Godhead.

Heb 5:5  So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

Heb 5:6  As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.


Heb 7:1  For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

Heb 7:2  To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

Heb 7:3  Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.


Heb 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Heb 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Thank the Lord that today we don’t have to come to an earthly priest today with animals to sacrifice for our sin.   In our mid-week study of the tabernacle, we have found that only certain ones could do certain jobs in the Old Testament times.   Only the High Priest entered into the inner most compartment of the tabernacle called the ‘holy of holies’.   And he only went in one time a year.  He first offered a sin offering for his own sins, and then brought an offering for the sins of the people.   There was no place for him to be seated in the inner most chamber, since his work never ended.   The blood offered was an atonement for Israel’s sins, but it never took away one sin.   However, when Jesus took His own blood, the perfect sin offering, and offered it on the perfect mercy seat in heaven, he finished the work forever.  His one offering is the total sacrifice ever needed for sin.

Heb 10:1  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Heb 10:2  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Heb 10:3  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

Heb 10:4  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Heb 10:5  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

Heb 10:6  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

Heb 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

Heb 10:8  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Heb 10:9  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Heb 10:10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Heb 10:11  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

Heb 10:12  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Heb 10:13  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

The priesthood of the heavenly sanctuary is a priesthood that is far superior to the priesthood of Aaron.  It was due to the more excellent character of the priest himself which was Christ.   The offering of Jesus Christ was the greatest sacrifice and it was done once for all for our sins. 

Our Lord was appointed to fulfill three offices.

1.  The office of a prophet – He did this while here on earth

2.  The office of a priest  -  This He is doing today.

3.  The office of a king – This He will do when he comes after the tribulation.

As our great high priest, he is not one who is untouched by our feeling of suffering.   He was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin.  We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace to find help in time of need.

Satan tempted our Lord, but He responded to each suggestion of evil by the Word of God.  Satan even started quoting scripture to try and make Jesus fail.

Mat 4:1  Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Mat 4:2  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

Mat 4:3  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Mat 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Mat 4:5  Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

Mat 4:6  And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Mat 4:7  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Mat 4:8  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

Mat 4:9  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Mat 4:10  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Mat 4:11  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. 



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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