I remember when care centers or nursing homes were sometimes called “Rest Homes”.  After a long life, a person can be tired and in need of a peaceful place to live. Yet, we all need rest from the elderly to the little baby.  God created us to work and to have rest. God created this world in 6 days—then we read: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”  We often take a day to rest from our regular routine. Most of us use Sunday, along with most NT Christians, to rest in God’s Word together.  Today we learn that Jesus is our “Sabbath” or rest. Jesus gives us rest now in his Word and in especially perfect peace and rest in heaven. For we who have believed do enter that rest,… 9So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

Our God-given rest is often refused when we do not believe God’s Word and we remain in distress and weariness and become spiritually sick and die.  In the wilderness for those 40 years of wandering, God threatened the Israelites that if they did not repent for their sins they would not enter God’s rest.  This rest he refers to is not the promised land.  The writer of Hebrews explains: For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. God’s word did not benefit them. Why? It did not benefit them nor will God’s Word benefit us when it is not “mix it with faith—when we do not believe in it—do not abide in his Word and promises. How often we too have ears but do not really hear—do not mix the Word with faith?  

We also often exchange God’s rest in his Word for a lie. A temptation to sin is always the lie that claims to offer you better rest than God’s word…but that is a lie! We never find true rest in our sins. We are tempted by the devil, the world and our flesh to find contentment and peace and joy and real meaning in things, pleasures, money and other people. A pure lie from the father of lies!These created things can become our gods, our idols. Of idolatry God says in Jeremiah: Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. There are many lies that promise us rest, and we often fall to those lies.

God sees your sins and he knows it. God’s Word is like a double edged sword that cuts so finely that it reveals our deeds and lays before the very eyes of God our hearts and thus our inner thoughts and motives. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to the point of dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, even being able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. How can we ever find rest when we know God sees our ever sin! 

On the day of judgement God will call us to account for our sins. All of our sins will be uncovered. 13And there is no creature hidden from him, but everything is uncovered and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we will give an account. This thought is terrifying. Scripture says, “There is no rest for the wicked.” God will not let the one who abides and rests in sin enter the rest of heaven: He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’

The 7th day of the week was the day God rested on this first Sabbath Day.  God holds the promise of true Sabbath rest out for you: For we who have believed do enter that rest,… 9So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.   

To gain for you the victory of perfect rest for you, Jesus first came to us on earth to live a life that took its peace and rest in his Father’s love. He did not sin. He had weaknesses (to be sure for he was just like you), but (is the one) who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. His holy life is a holy life that becomes yours as he baptized you into him. You can rest assured his holiness is now yours before the eyes of God! For we who have believed do enter that rest,…

Jesus then shed his blood by being the lamb slain for our atonement, so we are right with God. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him. and allow him to suffer….he poured out his life to death, and he let himself be counted with rebellious sinners. He himself carried the sin of many, and he intercedes for the rebels. Jesus died on the cross for you. He did not rest until he won your peace that covers your sins. You now find perfect rest in knowing from God’s mighty sharp sword-like Word that your sins are perfectly sliced off of your back and placed on the back of the Savior who suffered and died on the bloody cross for you!  Jesus also rose from the dead!  …he will see the light of life. He will provide satisfaction. Through their knowledge of him, my just servant will justify the many, for he himself carried their guilt.You have rest in Christ!

40 days after Easter Jesus ascended. He entered heaven in glory and victory over all of our enemies of sin death and the devil so we are now forgiven, have life and heaven. Therefore, since we have a great high priest, who has gone through the heavens, namely, Jesus the Son of God, let us continue to hold on to our confession. Christ’s ascension has completed all things for you  He ascends to rule all things for you until you enter the Sabbath rest of heaven!

In Christ, your future is bright. As bright as our holy heavenly home of peace. There will be no more crying or pain, but joy in the presence of God and the saints and the angels. For we who have believed do enter that rest,… 9So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.  This rest is not that we have nothing to do. It will be labors or joy and love in God’s glory. But it will be perfect Peace and rest in the King of Kings who is our rest. Just as God rested on the 7th day he promises we will also rest with him forever.

We may seem to have no rest as we have our day to day struggles. How can we have any peace or rest before we go to heaven? We read: 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. 16So let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Jesus is with you always to hear your cries and prayers and songs of joy and sorrow and he gives you peace. There is no need for you to ever despair, but every reason to trust and pray for Jesus keeps his eye on you, and his eyes see into the future. He is almighty—and all loving. His angels too, are at his service to serve you. 

Now that your future rest is secure and bright you have rest now as you live. You have work. But the promise of rest is our daily strength. That Word is like a sword that equips you to live in Christ.  You may remember when your mom or dad gave you a job to do, a chore, but they did not leave your side, but encouraged you, helped you, gave you what you needed to complete the task. So Jesus is with you always as your rest and peace as you serve him in your daily service to others—encouraging you, helping you, giving you what you need. (You) receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

A day off during the week is needed rest. A retirement from a job is needed after a life of work. A peaceful rest home may be needed in old age. But only Jesus brings you perfect rest of soul and body.  Jesus bring’s to you in the peace and rest in his Word of your salvation and especially the rest that awaits you in heaven.  For we who have believed do enter that rest,… 9So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. Amen.