Please turn to Hebrews 4:1-13. The author of Hebrews is preaching a one-point message which is to enter the rest only given to us by God. But we have to understand several things in order to pay heed to that message. First, we have to understand what the author means when he encourages us to enter the rest that only God provides. Secondly, he also wants to make sure that we understand why we need to enter the rest. Specifically, we need to understand our own hearts, our own needs, and whether we are, in fact, desiring or hoping for this rest. Thirdly, he wants us to understand how we enter the rest. As you read through this passage, you will see that there are six parts of his argument even though he is preaching a one-point sermon to enter the rest that remains.

I. Don’t Fail to Reach the Rest that Remains. 

In Hebrews 4:1, the author of Hebrews is warning us not to fail to reach the rest that remains. Now why is that on his mind? Well if you look at the very last words of Hebrews chapter 3, he has quoted Psalm 95 verse 11 in verse 11 of Hebrews chapter 3, “I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” and then he has said in verse 19, “They were unable to enter because of unbelief.” He has a picture of the children of Israel in the wilderness, redeemed by God through mighty acts out of Egypt, brought across the Red Sea on dry ground, brought through the wilderness through mighty miracles, poised to enter the Promised Land, but hundreds of thousands of them end up dying in the wilderness because of unbelief. The author of Hebrews is saying to us, “I don't want you to fail to enter the rest of God the way that they failed to enter the rest of God.”

II. The Gospel Must Be Believed by Faith. 

In Hebrews 4:2, the author tells us that the Gospel did not benefit those in the wilderness who did not believe. In the first words of verse 2, he says, “For good news came to us just as to them...” In other words, the Gospel was preached to them just like it has been preached to us. In fact, the Gospel has been proclaimed since Genesis 3:15. That is the point of Hebrews 4 verse 2, and yet listen to these chilling words, “but the message they heard did not benefit them.” The good news came to them, God has redeemed them out of Egypt, He made promises to them, He promised His providence over them, and yet His promises, His good news, His redemption did not benefit them. They did not benefit from the good news which was proclaimed to them by God Himself and by Moses and Aaron because they did not believe.

III. Choose Whether You Will Enter the Rest. 

In Hebrews 4:6, the author says, “Therefore it remains for some to enter it and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, so again he appoints a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David, so long afterward in the words already quoted, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’” Now he is applying Psalm 95 verse 11 to you and me. He is saying, “I am not just giving you a Bible lesson about the children of Israel in the wilderness, I am giving you a message, a call, a charge, an exhortation for today. Don’t disobey in the wilderness of life like they did. Do not fail to believe because today there is an issue before you — choose you this day whom you will serve and whether you will enter into the rest only given by God. 

IV. Heavenly Rest is Given by God to Those Who Trust Him.

In Hebrews 4:8-10, he is saying there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. In other words, the rest that God wants us to enter is not a rest from three and a half thousand years ago in the land of Canaan. It is a rest that remains. It is a rest that is yet to come. It is a heavenly rest that is given by God to those who trust in Him. He is asking us not to put all our hope in this life or in this world. He is asking us to put our faith in God and put our hope on something more than this world, not because He does not want us to care about this world or appreciate the millions of blessings God pours out on us. Instead, he wants us to understand that, in this life, we only have a little foretaste of the ultimate rest and blessing to come. 

V. Set Your Heart on Entering the Rest. 

In Hebrews 4:11, he is saying, “Christian, set your heart on entering that rest. Seek your ultimate peace and joy and favor and satisfaction and fulfillment not here, but in God and in the rest that only He can give in eternity. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says the Christian faith is not worth it unless there is a resurrection that awaits us and a rest that we will enter. It is because of the resurrection, it is because of the rest to come, that we are enabled to live this life as believers. And so the author of Hebrews says to us, “Set your hearts on the rest to come.”

VI. Ask God’s Word to Test Your Heart.

In Hebrews 4:12-13, the author says we need to set our hearts on entering the rest in light of what God Himself says to our hearts in His Word and in light of what God sees in our hearts. He is saying, “It is entirely possible for a person to be a part of a Christian congregation and along with everybody else, hear the good news every week and not believe it.” And, of course, his case and point are the children of Israel in the wilderness. They heard the Gospel, they heard the promises of God, and they did not believe. So this is a matter of the heart. Do you believe or not? And what helps discern your heart? The Word of God. It can divide things that are indivisible and it can pierce down to the depths of your soul. So here is the one-point sermon — “enter the rest that remains.” How? By faith. The whole Christian life is lived by faith. Believe God's Word, embrace Christ as He is offered in the Gospel, trust Christ as your Savior and Lord, and enter into the rest by faith. May we praise God for His Word and pray that He would make it effectual in our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit.