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Twenty Questions about God’s “Rest” in Hebrews 4

1. What is that “rest”?
2. What is the “promise” of entering that rest?
3. How does one fall short of that rest?
4. How does obedience fit into this issue of God’s rest?
5. We who have believed enter that rest! (v. 3)
6. How does God’s resting on the 7th day relate to this topic?
7. There remains for some to enter that rest. (v. 6)
8. Some did not go in because of their disobedience.
9. How does “today” relate to this rest? (v. 7)
10. What is the rest that Joshua could have given them? (v. 8)
11. What is this Sabbath-rest for the people of God? (v. 9).
12. How does one “enter” God’s rest? (v. 10)
13. Does verse 10 show that this rest is salvation (= resting from one’s works)? (v. 10)
14. How is God’s creation rest a good metaphor for this salvation-rest? (v. 10)
15. What is the alternative to not making the effort to enter that rest? (v. 11)
16. What is meant by perishing in verse 11?
17. How are unbelief and disobedience related to one another? (v. 11)
18. What is the connection of this discussion of rest with the next few verses about the Word of God? (v. 12)
19. How does all this relate to Jesus as our great high priest? (vv. 14-16)
20. Is approaching God’s throne of grace with confidence another way of describing salvation — or the Christian life? (v. 16)

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2021 in Hebrews 4

 

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The Great Invitation (A Study of Matthew 11:28-30) Part 10b (Conclusion)

Friends: I consider it a great privilege to work on my blog every day. And for the next few posts I’ll be examining one of my favorite passages, Matthew 11:28-30. This is a text worthy of memorization (which I’m very bad at). I want to slowly go through these verses with you and see as much as we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help. Let’s look at that famous text once again:

We’ve seen the context of this incredible invitation, noticing some of the Koiné Greek and its implications. We began to outline the passage, observing that Jesus’ invitation is a qualified one, inviting not all, but all who are weary and burdened. We’ve also seen two great promises and two challenges to work and to learn of Him. In our last post we looked at His promise of SOUL-REST.

I. The Great Invitation (v. 28): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened . . .”

II. The Great Promise (v. 28): “and I will give you rest.”

III. The Great Command (v. 29): “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”

     A. We are to WORK!

         and —

     B. We are to LEARN!

IV. A Second Great Promise — of Soul-Rest (v. 29)

As we conclude our study, let’s notice —V. A Great Explanation (v. 30)

Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This seems to be Jesus’ explanation as to why we should come to Him to work and to learn. Or  is it the reason why we should come to Him at all? Some might look at these two seemingly oxymoronic expressions (an “easy yoke” and a “light” burden) and respond, “An easy yoke? A light burden? Yes, that’s what I want!” But let’s examine the text carefully.

A. His Yoke Is Easy

Let’s not miss the fact that there is, indeed, a YOKE for the follower of Jesus! But it is of Jesus‘ construction (some commentators suggest that “easy” here means “non-chafing”) and fits us precisely. Notice that He describes it as “easy,” a term (χρηστός)  which is used 7 times in the New Testament and has the meaning of “fit for use,” “useful,” “mild,” “pleasant.” It is opposed to harsh or hard or bitter. It is the opposite of burdensome here in Matthew 11:30. We read of the kindness of God in Luke 6:35 and Romans 2:4 and I Peter 2:3 (“you have tasted the kindness of the Lord”). We are told in Ephesians 4:32 to “be kind” to one another. “Kind” or “non-chafing” seem better translations than “easy.”

B. His Burden Is Light

The term φορτίον (“burden”) is close to the word “burdened” in verse 28 (πεφορτισμένοι). The prefix περι can mean “about, concerning, around.” One is only concerned with one’s concerns, surrounded by worries! Those who “are burdened” in verse 28 are, in a sense, over-burdened. When one comes to Christ, he or she does not begin to live a burden-free life, but the burdens are given by Christ Himself. Someone has said that a burdened heart is a healthy heart!

What are we to understand by the term “light” (ἐλαφρόν)? This term “light” is an adjective meaning “light, not burdensome, not heavy.” It is only used 2 X in the New Testament: In our passage here in Matthew 11 and also in 2 Corinthians 4:17 where we read, “For our momentary lightness of affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison . . .”

What is meant by Christ’s burden being “light”? Well, we are yoked together with Him, so whatever burden we carry, HE is also carrying! We get in trouble when we think we are the only one under the yoke!

Jesus’ explanation of His yoke and His burden is counter-intuitive. This yoke, properly constructed to fit His servant, and this burden, designed not to crush His child, both raise many questions. But His invitation and His promises must draw the child of God to Him.

Conclusion: There is so much here in Matthew 11. You may have heard the following story: John Stott discusses how an invitation often has the cryptic letters “RSVP” at the bottom of the invitation.   This is a French request to “please reply to the invitation.” Stott says, “There was a couple who found political asylum in this country during the Second World War. They came from East or Central Europe. And they were not really well-versed in Western culture. One day they received an invitation to a wedding. And there, at the bottom of the invitation, were those cryptic letters: RSVP. And in his thick European accent, the husband said, “VIF, VAT does it mean?   ‘RSVP’? I don’t know VAT it means!” So they thought for a while and then suddenly inspiration dawned on him. And the husband said, “VIF. I know VAT it means! It means ‘REMEMBER SEND VEDDING PRESENTS!”

The only gift we give the Lord is . . . ourselves! And then He chooses to use us and give us His rest. Thank God for Matthew 11:28-30 today!

 

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2020 in Matthew 11

 

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The Great Invitation (A Study of Matthew 11:28-30) Part 9

Friends: I consider it a great privilege to work on my blog every day. And for the next few posts I’ll be examining one of my favorite passages, Matthew 11:28-30. This is a text worthy of memorization (which I’m very bad at). I want to slowly go through these verses with you and see as much as we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help. Let’s look at that famous text once again:

We’ve seen the context of this incredible invitation, noticing some of the Koiné Greek and its implications. We began to outline the passage, observing that Jesus’ invitation is a qualified one, inviting not all, but all who are weary and burdened.

I. The Great Invitation (v. 28): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened . . .”

We then saw the second major truth in this text: Jesus’ promise!

II. The Great Promise (v. 28): “and I will give you rest.”

Christ’s great command is here in verse 29.

III. The Great Command (v. 29): “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”

     A. We are to WORK!

          and —

     B. We are to LEARN!

We are to study as believers — and our curriculum is CHRIST! He is gentle and humble.  And such study produces a much sought-after result —

IV. A Second Great Promise — of Soul-Rest (v. 29)

Jesus promises to those who work with Him and learn from Him a commodity most pursued by human beings — soul-rest! What is meant by “soul-rest”? It is certainly deeper than mere physical rest. This is a spiritual benefit of being right with God — and being active in working and learning. We are not inanimate objects who simply allow God’s truths to passively wash over us. We pursue. We study. And we will be rewarded.

Today’s Challenge: What does someone who has Christ’s soul-rest look like? I’d very much like your reflection on this question! Please feel free to describe yourself or someone else you believe has (even momentary) soul-rest!

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2020 in Matthew 11

 

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The Great Invitation (A Study of Matthew 11:28-30) Part 6

Friends: I consider it a great privilege to work on my blog every day. And for the next few posts I’ll be examining one of my favorite passages, Matthew 11:28-30. This is a text worthy of memorization (which I’m very bad at). I want to slowly go through these verses with you and see as much as we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help. Here’s that famous text for us to examine once again:

We’ve looked at the context of this incredible invitation and a bit at the Koiné Greek, seeing certain terms repeated with a variety of important implications. We began outlining the passage and noticed that Jesus’ invitation is a qualified one: He invites not all, but all who are weary and burdened.

I. The Great Invitation (v. 28): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened . . .”

Let’s continue our study and notice the second major truth in this text: Jesus’ promise!

II. The Great Promise (v. 28): “and I will give you rest.”

The term “rest” here is ἀναπαύσω, the Future Active Indicative of ἀναπαύω. Used 12 times in the New Testament, this verb means “to rest, be refreshed; (act.) to give rest.” The term can mean “to soothe, refresh.” The verb is used in Matthew 26:45 about the disciples in the garden “taking their rest.” In Mark 6:31 Jesus invites His disciples to “come away by yourselves to some deserted place and rest a while.” The indolent farmer, who gave no real thought to his soul, says to himself in Luke 12, “Soul, you have many good things laid up for many years; take your rest, eat, drink, be merry.” (v. 19).

The Apostle Paul speaks of believers who “refresh” each other (I Cor. 16:18; Philemon 7) or have been refreshed by others (2 Cor. 7:13). Paul even asks Philemon to “refresh my heart in Christ” (Philemon 20). Those who “die in the Lord” are told to “rest from their labors, because their deeds follow them!” (Rev. 14:13).

Soft drinks claim to bring real refreshment! But true soothing or rest comes from the Lord — as a gift to those who come to Him! If our passage is a gospel passage, then this idea of “rest” may well refer to the concept of ceasing from one’s exhausting labors to get oneself right with God. As a loyal Coke drinker, I do find it “delicious and refreshing.” But when it comes to spiritual matters, we can’t “refresh ourselves”! We need to come to the One who offers that rest and refreshment!

Today’s Challenge: Take a hard look at your life this morning. Would you say you have found REST in the Lord? Is your walking with Him refreshing, soothing? If not, why not?

 

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #9- SOLITUDE) (con’t)

In this ninth area of STUCKNESS, we are thinking about our need for the spiritual disciplines which will help us grow.  For some of us, we give precious little time to the area of SOLITUDE.  Alone time with the Lord is really important.  He can speak to us when we are quiet and just with Him.

I’ll admit — as an introvert I really like the idea of SOLITUDE.  Just give me my dog, my laptop, and a good cup of Starbucks (and occasional visits from my wife Linda), and I’m pretty happy.

But SOLITUDE is only one of the dozen spiritual disciplines that I need in my life.  We mentioned the others in our last post (the inward disciplines are: meditation, prayer, fasting, and study. The outward disciplines are: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. The corporate disciplines are: confession, worship, guidance, and celebration). Which of those practices do you find easier to incorporate into your busy life?  Which seem impossible?

Our text for this area of STUCKNESS is Mark 6:30-34 where we read,

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Doing and saying are important in the Christian life, but so are resting and eating!  Jesus invited His disciples to “come with me.”  They didn’t need to escape Him, but the crowds.  “Come with me by yourselves” — This was not an evangelistic invitation to bring others along. This invitation was strictly for Jesus’ disciples.  “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place.”  We underestimate how much our souls need quiet, don’t we?  “… and get some rest.”  Soul-rest is hard to see but spiritually lethal when it is missing.  This reminds me of Jesus’ promise in Matthew 11:  28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  How’s your rest going?

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2017 in christian growth

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #9- SOLITUDE)

My daughter Amy and I are introverts.  We don’t care for crowds; we like our SOLITUDE.  In fact, she says she going to get me a t-shirt that says, “Introverts Unite!  By yourselves!  Alone!  At home!”  (I’d wear that t-shirt!).

In an extroverted world, we introverts are often thought anti-social (and we pretty much are).  How do Christians get STUCK in SOLITUDE?

What we are thinking of are the Christian disciplines that ought to mark healthy, Jesus-following lives.  SOLITUDE is one of those practices that can draw us closer to Jesus.

The classic treatment of the spiritual disciplines is the work done by Richard Foster in his Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (Harper, 1998).  He divides the disciplines into three categories.  The inward disciplines are:  meditation, prayer, fasting, and study.  The outward disciplines are: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service.  The corporate disciplines are:  confession, worship, guidance, and celebration.  You won’t agree with all that Foster says about these practices, but each has biblical support and is valuable for the believer who doesn’t want to get STUCK!

Our text for this area of STUCKNESS is Mark 6:30-34 where we read,

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Let’s think about this passage for a moment.  Note that the apostles had been quite busy doing what Jesus had commanded and teaching others. They were so busy in fact that they did not have time to eat.  Jesus invites His disciples to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (v. 31).  They needed SOLITUDE.  They needed rest.  They needed to be away from the crowds.  Jesus’ invitation to His followers is refreshing.  He knows our frame, our weaknesses, our need for quiet and rest.  Just being alone — with Him.  Have you tried that lately?  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2017 in christian growth

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord: Psalm 132

Psalm 132

A song of ascents.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-5-50-43-am

Lord, remember David
    and all his self-denial.

He swore an oath to the Lord,
    he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not enter my house
    or go to my bed,
I will allow no sleep to my eyes
    or slumber to my eyelids,
till I find a place for the Lord,
    a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

We heard it in Ephrathah,
    we came upon it in the fields of Jaar:
“Let us go to his dwelling place,
    let us worship at his footstool, saying,
‘Arise, Lord, and come to your resting place,
    you and the ark of your might.
May your priests be clothed with your righteousness;
    may your faithful people sing for joy.’”

10 For the sake of your servant David,
    do not reject your anointed one.

11 The Lord swore an oath to David,
    a sure oath he will not revoke:
“One of your own descendants
    I will place on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
    and the statutes I teach them,
then their sons will sit
    on your throne for ever and ever.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion,
    he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
    here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
    her poor I will satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
    and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.

17 “Here I will make a horn grow for David
    and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
    but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2017 in rest

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 95)

Psalm 95

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 7.07.14 AM
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,[a]
as you did that day at Massah[b] in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”
Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 7.09.12 AM

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 62)

Psalm 62

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 6.03.32 AMA psalm of David.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
    Would all of you throw me down—
    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
    from my lofty place;
    they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
    but in their hearts they curse.[b]

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 6.08.13 AM

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
    the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
    together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
    or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
    do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
    two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12     and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
    according to what they have done.”

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 23)

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 12.28.12 PM

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 12.31.09 PM

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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