April 21, 2024

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CROSSING OVER INTO GOD’S REST TODAY

IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.

TOPIC: CROSSING OVER INTO GOD’S REST TODAY

COMPILED/EDITED BY:-
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.” Hebrews 3:11&19

True rest only comes through Jesus.

As the other year draws to a close up want you to know that It is not an accident that God rested on the seventh day. He created rest, and He created His image-bearers to desire times of rest and enjoyment. Our sin has interrupted this. We either pursue rest to the point of laziness or we refuse rest to the point of exhaustion or illness. Either way, true rest eludes us. Jesus has purchased our rest from spiritual striving, and He calls us to find lasting rest and satisfaction in Him.

Finding true rest in Jesus frees us to enjoy things in the here and now. Some need to respond by pursuing delight in God and the things that He has created. Others need to repent of trying to find rest and satisfaction in possessions and run to Jesus for ultimate satisfaction.

The Israelites who escaped slavery in Egypt did not enter God’s rest because they failed to trust in the Lord. Their disobedience kept them from the Sabbath envisioned in Genesis 2. It is only by faith in God’s work that we can truly find rest. It is in His work and not ours.

Our sin and unbelief has caused us to distort rest. We either live restless lives fueled by sinful ambition and constant work, or we withdraw into laziness. Neither provides the joy-fueled rest that God intended for us. We end up as the one described by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 6:1-7. We have the stuff we desire but we’re unable to find satisfaction in it. We cannot enjoy what we have because we haven’t discovered lasting joy in God.

“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.”

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

The Israelites who escaped slavery in Egypt did not enter God’s rest because they failed to trust in the Lord. Their disobedience kept them from the Sabbath envisioned in Genesis 2. It is only by faith in God’s work that we can truly find rest. It is in His work and not ours (whether through activity or inactivity) that we find our activity. It is as Alan Falding has said: “We err when we try to establish our identity through our work rather than realizing that our identity is shaped and strengthened in the place of Sabbath rest and then expressed in our work.

“Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.” — Psalm 116: 7.

You, who have not believed in our Lord Jesus Christ, have no rest to which you can return, for you have never found any. May God grant to you the grace to come unto Christ, that you may find rest unto your souls! But we, who believe in him, do enter into rest. We are sometimes described as journeying through the wilderness towards Canaan, and the type is quite allowable; but, still, it must not be pressed too far; for, in another sense, we have already entered into our rest. We have entered the Canaan which our Joshua has given unto us; Moses, by the law, could not lead us into this promised land; but Jesus has brought us into it, and we now have our portion and our inheritance in the covenant blessings which God has provided for his people in Christ Jesus his Son. God’s people, when they are as they ought to be, are in a state of rest even now, I do not mean that they will have rest so far as this world is concerned, for this earth is not our rest, it is polluted; but I do mean that, as the apostle Paul writes to the Romans, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” I do mean that, as he also says, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;” and that peace includes “rest, sweet rest,” — especially that “peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” which, the apostle declares, “shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

If I am, at this time, addressing any who have, for a while, lost the enjoyment of this blessed rest, my message to them is, “Return unto thy rest.” I hope that they will be able to take the psalmist’s words to themselves, and to say with him, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.”

The psalmist says, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul.”

He has true rest of heart who abides in the spirit of these words: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

The first rest of the heart comes to us through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We generally speak of him as the second Person of the blessed Trinity; but, in the benediction, he is put first, because, to our experience, he is first. No man comes unto God the Father except by God the Son; so, to us, Christ is first, because that is the way his grace works in us. And, beloved, when you know how to come to Christ for grace; — nay, when you have come to him, and have received from him the grace to cover all your sin; — the grace to justify you in the sight of God; — the grace of adoption, by which you become a son of God in him who is the Father’s only-begotten and well-beloved Son; — when you have received the grace of union with Christ, so that you know yourselves to be members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones;— when you know that all his grace is yours, and that he himself is yours, then it is that you get rest unto your souls. Sin cannot any longer disturb you, for it is drowned in the Red Sea of his atoning sacrifice. Your necessities cannot distress you, for they are all supplied by God “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Nothing need perplex, or afflict, or worry you any more. All the troubles of thought are ended as you believe what your Lord tells you. All the cravings of your heart are satisfied as you take him to be the Beloved of your soul. All the struggles of your conscience are ended as Christ brings to you peace and rest for ever concerning all your sin. In fact, as soon as you come to him, he gives you, through his abundant grace, rest about everything. This, then, is the first rest of the believer, which comes to him through the grace of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

There is a further rest for us who believe, and a very sweet one; it is, in the love of God. It comes to us when we hear such a gentle whisper as this, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee;” or this, “Since thou wash precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life;” or this, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” Oh, what blessed rest springs out of electing love, and adopting love! What sweet rest we obtain from the assurance that God the Father and God the Son both love us, even as our Lord Jesus said to his disciples, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Thus is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

This glorious fact gives us rest with regard to our position here. We cannot be troubled by affliction, because it is sent to us in love. We cannot be worried about the future, for all its concerns are in the hands of the God of love. We no longer harbour doubt and mistrust, for we know that “God is love.” O dear friends, when you once come really to know the love of God, it will give you wondrous rest! You will feel that he never smote a child of his except in love, that he never even frowned at one of his children except in love, and that he never was angry with one of his children except in love; and love, perhaps, never rises to a greater climax of affection than when it is forced to show its anger, and so uses the rod more to its own pain than to the suffering of those who feel it. Beloved, I trust that each one of you, who believes in Jesus, knows what that rest of heart is which enables you to say, “My God, my Father, thou canst do nought to me but what infinite love dictates, for I know that thou lovest me even as thou lovest thy firstborn and only-begotten Son.”

The third rest of the believer is in the communion of the Holy Ghost. O beloved, this is the truest rest of the soul, — so far as your actual experience is concerned, — when the Holy Spirit comes, and takes complete possession of you, so that your will does not any longer struggle against the will of God, but sweetly yields to its control; your desires do not wander, but stay at home in full content; and you give yourself up entirely to the divine indwelling, so that Christ dwelleth in you, and you abide in him, by the power of his gracious Spirit. Then that same blessed Spirit brings to your mind the deep things of God, which are full of rich comfort for the soul, and the precious things of the everlasting hills of the covenant of grace, which abound in all the blessings that you can possibly want between here and heaven; for it is the Holy Spirit’s special office to be the Comforter of Christ’s people, and he makes the soul either to sit still at the feet of Jesus, to hearken to his gracious words, or else to run with cheerful yet restful alacrity on his errands, for there is such a thing as rest in running in his holy service.

Now, lastly, God has also delivered our feet from falling, as he did in the case of the psalmist. I know that one reason why many do not fully rest is because they are afraid that they shall fall from grace, — afraid that they shall dishonour their profession, and so on. Now, dear friends, I hope that you will never get rid of the godly fear of falling into sin, and never lose that holy insecurity with regard to yourself; but do not let that feeling extend to your God. You know that our Lord Jesus Christ said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” He has delivered your feet from falling, so he will keep you. Therefore, begin to praise him and bless him this very moment. Cast away that fear of being cast away, and sing Jude’s doxology, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

No, you have nothing at all to fret about; your soul is delivered from death, your eyes from tears, your feet from falling; so rest, rest, rest, rest! You will glorify God by resting. One of the highest acts of devotion is to rest in the Lord. God grant it to you now, at his table especially, for his name’s sake! Amen.

SHALOM!

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