ARE YOU ANXIOUS
ABOUT MANY THINGS?
HOW THINGS WILL TURN OUT?
IS YOUR BODY LANGUAGE
TELLING YOU A HEART IDOL
IS AT WORK?
THEN THIS WEEK IS FOR YOU
HEBREWS 4 IS A HARD NUT TO CRACK
BUT OH THE RICHES WHEN YOU DO!
FOR HOW WE NEED TO LEARN THE SECRET
OF LIVING THE SABBATH REST
YOU WHO ARE STILL WITH US AND WILL PERSEVERE
WILL BE SO BLESSED!
I’m excited about the real help available to you this week. In my own life, I am living more of the Sabbath rest of Hebrews 4. There are two layers of rest — there is the cessation of work, and we are commanded to keep the Sabbath, who like God, worked six days and then rested. We will mess up our health and lives if we neglect the Sabbath Rest and never cease working. God designed us so that we need rest.
THE DEEPER SABBATH REST
But we all know it is possible to cease from work and yet not rest, because we are anxious. God is calling us to deeper Sabbath rest, one rooted in how we apply the Gospel to our daily lives. Do we really believe that we are loved in good times and in bad so that we can surrender to Him, the way a baby trusts a father so that he can surrender his little body and sleep?
THE GRAND ADVENTURE OF TRUSTING GOD
Why can we trust Him? It’s the Gospel — He loves us enough to die for us. We must repeat this to ourselves when we face stress and surrender our bodies, minds, and hearts to Him. He will do what is best –even if it might not seem like it at the time. I think specifically of several of you facing great stress and pray this lesson is of real help.
Let me give you a few examples from my life from the last two weeks where I experienced this deeper rest — and then I want to hear from you.
- When I spoke in Nebraska, I could tell right away from my peripheral vision that there was technical trouble with the visual presentation, which is always my nightmare. But I knew I’d done all I could — and that God was in control. I did ask God to keep me calm and to keep David calm as he scurried to fix it. (My daughter Anne said, “Mom — I thought you didn’t know because you were so calm!”) When the first video wouldn’t work, I was able to tell the women:”Please pray. We’ve had lots of spiritual warfare with Idol Lies. But God is in control — and He only gives Satan enough rope to hang himself.” A minute later it started working and the women cheered. Am I disappointed that the first fifteen minutes were not good, that the women were uncomfortable because of tech troubles? Yes. But I also know He has a plan and He did show Himself strong. And I rest in that.
- My septic tank motor broke this week, I was expecting guests who are in ministry, and I couldn’t reach my plumber. I feared my guests would be anything but blessed! I felt my body tensing up –saw that red flag. So instead of listening to my soul, I talked to my soul — for I know God loves me. I love the little chorus “He gave His life — what more could He do? Oh how He loves you…” God did give me peace, and in the nick of time, got the pump running again and it was a simple fix.
- I received a very angry letter from a relative a few days ago. I made the stupid mistake of making a cryptic political comment about misplaced hope on our family Facebook page that she took personally. It brought up memories to her of other things she didn’t like about me and she listed them. I admit, the letter hurt. But I was wrong — and I longed to humble myself and give her a genuine apology. And though I always struggle at first to forgive, it is always the gospel that reminds me how wrong I am to withhold forgiveness. Am I at peace with this relative? Not yet, but though that is troubling, I also am experiencing His peace and I do have real hope for reconciliation in the future. So I leave it there, and rest on my Father’s broad chest.
- I learned this week that I need to have surgery to remove my gall bladder this Tuesday. I had prayed they would be able to get me in soon both because of pain and upcoming speaking. They called and gave me Tuesday — the anniversary of Steve’s death. I could be very anxious, but indeed I am speaking to my soul, and I am in His hands. He loves me and I rest in that. That’s the Gospel truth that gives me the deeper Sabbath rest.
- Slowly — I’m learning to live the Sabbath rest. Every day — I long to live this secret — this secret I’m so eager to share.
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. Can you share an everyday example of surrendering to God in the last two weeks and experiencing His peace? Or not surrendering and experiencing continued anxiety or pain?
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
Begin memorizing Hebrews 4:15-16. There is great assurance and comfort here.
3. As vital background, Read Numbers 14:1-23
A. Describe the unbelief of the Israelites and how they treated Moses and Aaron.
B. Yet Moses still interceded for them — what did he pray and how did God respond?
This helps you understand that the section you are about to read in Hebrews should not cause you to leap to the conclusion that the Israelites were not saved from the penalty of sin. God forgave them. But they never entered “the deeper rest” that comes from trusting God in hard times, and God did take their lives as an example to us. Do not misinterpret this coming passage to imply we can lose our salvation. But we may indeed be saved from the penalty of sin and not experience the deeper rest He longs for us to know.
4. Read Hebrews 3:16-19 and answer:
A. Who heard the good news of the promised land but rebelled? Describe what their lives were like for forty years and how they died.
B. Numbers tells us that God forgave them — yet they lived miserable lives. What kept them from experiencing peace and joy?
C. Do you feel you are entering into the grand adventure of trusting Him? If so, how?
5. Read Hebrews 4:1-3
A. Now the author is talking in the present to us. How can you see that from verses 1 and 2?
B. Challenge question (and important) Do you see the word “gospel” or “good news” in verse 2? Describe a stressful situation you are facing and now explain how the gospel could help you face it and relax in your Father’s arms.
6. Read Hebrews 4:4-10
Now the author goes back to creation and how God rested on the 7th Day. Now, as Keller explains, God doesn’t get physically weary as we do — so what is He resting from? What it means, is that “He was satisfied with what He was doing — He said it was good.” That is what it means to go to the deeper rest. You must be satisfied because you have done what God wants you to do and then you surrender to Him the results. This word “satisfied” is also used in Isaiah 53:11 of Jesus — he was in anguish on the cross, but he was satisfied, for He won our salvation.*(How beautiful is this?)
In the same way, we must get rid of the “eternal murmur” of self-reproach. We are so often unhappy with who we are because we do not believe the gospel. Or we do not trust Him enough, after we have done our best, and repented of what we did poorly, to rest in His arms.
A. What did it mean that God rested, if not resting His body? (This is important — read above again if you are unsure.)
B. Meditate on Hebrews 4:9-10 for there is great assurance here. It also shows the deeper rest, by comparing our rest to the rest God felt. (He was satisfied.) This is important.
7. Read Hebrews 4:11-16
Rachael, on the Idol Lies video (now available on my website!) said “This is such a daily battle.” And it is. We are so prone to wander, to back away from God, and to not enter this deeper rest. There are some secrets to help us persevere in this passage.
A. How can you see it is a daily battle according to verse 11?
B. What is one tool that will help us enormously according to verse 12 — and why?
C. Hidden in verse 13 is the first part of the Gospel — expressing our great need. Find it.
D. Hidden in verse 14 is the second part of the Gospel — expressing God’s provision. Find it.
E. What other great tool is found in verse 16?
You will be so blessed by this Keller Sermon, The Rest-Giver. If you didn’t purchase the package, you can get it individually: Link
There is also a free sermon on Psalm 95, which is quoted in Hebrews 4, and Keller goes into Hebrews 4 at the end of this sermon: Link
7. Share your notes here.
8. What is your take-a-way and why?
*Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11