THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 1-17-10
LESSON TITLE: “EXCEEDINGLY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES: I WILL GIVE YOU REST”
We are truly excited to have you with us today as we together break the Living Word of God. We are certainly glad that you have chosen this day, to give this time to our Creator - so that together we may Worship and Praise His Holy name!
As we come together this day, it is my hope and prayer that we will each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before God; As a collective offering of those who love God, and who are willing to submit their own sacrifices before His throne.
So, at this time, as we turn our full attention to the reason we have come together, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer:
Just what are you willing to give up for Jesus? Wow, that’s a tough one isn’t it? We all know that we are to sacrifice for God and give Him the best of what we have to offer. But sometimes that is easier said than done. Our first song of the morning, helps us to focus on why we must give God our best. So, won’t you join in and participate with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Amazing Grace!”
(SONG # 1)
Do you ever get tired of being lied to or mislead in this life? It seems like that more and more in our day that people tend to exaggerate and bend the truth, rather than just telling things like they are. So what does God think about all of this?
Well, go with me to the words of Jesus found in Matthew 5:37. There we read, “But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Jesus said we should be able to be taken at our word and if we can not be, then we are really not of Him! No doubt James had the same teaching in mind when he said, “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your ‘Yes,’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’ lest you fall into judgment,” chapter 5, verse 12. Here the same idea is confirmed, as those who follow God we should be considered as completely trustworthy, and if we are not this verse says we will be judged accordingly.
Now think for a moment as to why we should be trustworthy? Aren’t we suppose to strive in this life to be like God? Is God trustworthy, can His words be counted on? Certainly they can! Notice what Paul said to Titus in Titus 1:2, there Paul speaks of his, “hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,” Did you catch that, God who does not lie! This is not something new in the scriptures, even as far back as the Pentateuch, Moses penned some similar words. In Numbers 23:19, we read, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
Thanks be to God that He is trustworthy and dependable. Even though the world seems to present just the opposite. May each of us as those who love God, show ourselves to be of the King, by being able to be counted on and trusted in all that we do and say. Can you be depended on by God?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. Our topic of study will again focus on our, “Exceedingly Great And Precious Promises.” Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, “I Will Give You Rest.” So please stay with us for this study from God’s Word, and I will be leading our thoughts at the appropriate time. Now let’s join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Be With Me Lord.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for staying with us today as we go to God’s Word as we continue our new series together that is taken from 2 Peter and chapter 1. You might recall that last week we began looking together at this beautiful idea of what God has promised us. In fact there in that text, verse 4 says, “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises.” In fact, it actually goes on to talk about the reality that we have, the Divine Nature of God given to us, the ability to be like God and to have the knowledge that He requires for us to have unto obedience so that we might receive these great promises, rewards and blessings.
Well today, we want to continue with our thoughts concerning the exceedingly great promises, blessings, rewards, those wonderful things that God has given us as we begin together in the book of Matthew. There in the words of Jesus in chapter 11 we find a great promise, a great really comforting thought that should help all of us to want to serve God more which also should help us to be those who are willing to do whatever it takes again to obey His Will.
You might notice with me beginning there in verse 28 that Jesus said, “Come to Me all you who labor and who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” You see God here again through the Son Jesus who is God in the flesh clarifies for us that He offers something. He offers an opportunity for those that come to Him, those who are willing to bear the burden that is essential to bear in His name, that there will be rest given to them and that they will have that peace and that comfort and solace that certainly is promised throughout His Word.
It goes on to talk about the fact here for instance of taking up our yoke. There in fact in verse 30 He says, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
You see the reality is that when we love God and we do His Will that we are willing to accept the things He has commanded. We are willing to do them and when we do that, certainly God is praised and He is pleased with what we do. Therefore, what does He offer us? A rest. And so when we think about this rest, we want to develop that just a little bit better this morning in understanding that God has always offered rest to His children.
We can back up really to the very beginning of scripture and we find even within the creation the concept of rest of God and also the rest for man. We find there even in Genesis chapter 2 that the seventh day of creation is mentioned. But I want you to notice with me what took place on the seventh day. In verse 1 beginning the Bible says, “Thus the heavens and the earth and all the host of them were finished and on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done and He rested on the seventh day from all of His work which He had done.”
You know when you think about God being all powerful and you realize the reality as we learn throughout scripture including 1 Corinthians 15 that God is not flesh. John 4:24 tells us that, “God is spirit.” So when we think about that obviously it wasn’t that He needed rest or that God was worn out from making creation, but what He did here was He rested from what He was accomplishing in creation and He rested probably I believe more for our part than for His because the very next verse goes on to say, “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all of His work which God had created and made.” He did what? He sanctified that day. Why? Well God was already in existence. He created all things. He had made man. So what would be in it for Him? Well you see it was really for man.
We see that further evidenced and confirmed throughout the covenant that was given to Moses and by Moses to Israel. For instance you can look in Exodus chapter 16 and we find there in verse 23 the same idea of a Sabbath, but I want you to notice the wording that is used here in verse 23. It says, “And he said to them, ‘This is what the Lord has said. Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest.’” If you’ll notice that he goes on to talk about a Holy Sabbath, something for God, committed to Him, to worship and give of ourselves spiritually as we praise and uplift His name. Well that’s what Israel was to do and therefore God had set aside a what? A Sabbath rest. From what? The daily labors, the physical labors, those things necessary that a man might do to bring forth an increase by the blessings God has given him.
We see this throughout the Old Testament. We see it throughout the time when God blessed them with manna from above and with also the quail to eat. Even Israel had to collect a certain portion on Fridays that would cover them throughout the Sabbath rest, a time set aside for rest from physical to give self fully unto spiritual things. Now certainly that sounds good because there is not a one of us in life that doesn’t get worn out or tired. There might be a day or a week or a month that we just get so worn out that it seems like we just can’t get caught up. What about the holidays that we have just gone through? How many of us were just worn out from all the fun? Well you see sometimes fun can wear us out. How many of us go on vacation to get a rest and we get back and it takes a week or two or a month to get over vacation? Well you see again, rest. Think about that rest that God has offered and has always offered (Deuteronomy 3:18-20), that He has always given, it says here, to the brethren, that “I will give you rest.”
In fact, isn’t that what the land of Canaan is referred to? Isn’t that what this land was to the people of Israel there in Deuteronomy chapter 3? This is where Moses and also now Joshua deal with Israel, specifically the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh. They were going to receive their inheritance on the eastern side of the Jordan River. And so before entering into the land, they asked for that opportunity and they were granted it but they were told that “before you can have your rest on the eastern side of the Jordan, you must first go over your soldiers with us and take the heart of Canaan and then you can come back for your promised rest.” And so what was Canaan? A rest. A time to have your own place, to have your own ability to call this home, to call this your land and to enjoy what God had given. And within even the rest of Canaan still continue the Sabbath rest and then what was referred to as a Sabbatical Rest every seventh year where they were still supposed to allow certain things to rest.
You see God has always wanted a time for rejuvenation, a time for spiritual things, a time for rest. Isn’t that what we often think? I know many times when we are at services one of the things that we say is that, “We are glad you are here on a Wednesday night or a Sunday night or a Sunday morning,” and why? “Because we have come and it is time to energize our batteries. It is time to again get recharged for God.” Well how important that we take those times away from physical tiring and draining things to build ourselves up spiritually in a wondrous rest for and from our God.
It was this same rest that was still being observed even when Jesus lived. Jesus observed the Sabbath Rest. Even after His death, before He had returned there and before He had accomplished many things, when they were bringing there the oils and fragrances to the grave of Jesus in Luke 23 and verse 51 we find that they were still observing that day the rest, the Sabbath Rest that had been offered by God from the very beginning of time that man might give a day to His Creator.
Now as we continue with that thought and when we continue with what Jesus said, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you what? Rest. What an incentive that Jesus said, “Look, in life today, in this Roman world sometimes you are worn out. Sometimes you wonder if you are ever going to have time to rest for yourself or to give to God or if you will ever have anything like heaven, an eternal rest.” And Jesus says, “Yes you will. If you come to Me, I will give you that rest. I will give you that opportunity to enjoy an eternal rest.”
There are several New Testament passages that help us with this same idea and so we want to turn to the book of Thessalonians where Paul is challenging the church at Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians and chapter 1 to understand again the significance of the rest which was going to come from God and the rest that was going to be offered by God Himself. Read with me if you will beginning in chapter 1 and verse 6. “Since it is a righteous thing for God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.” He goes on to talk about the judgment. But what is the purpose of the judgment? Well to give the rewards, the deserved reward for what we have done in the body whether good or bad, what our works and deeds have done, either to justify or condemn us. Here he says, “What though is that which we receive?” A rest! He says that you and us we will receive the rest as those who have endured this life and the tribulations and the trials, we will receive the promised rest, the promised rest that certainly indicates then the peace that God offers.
Philippians 4 and verse 7 beginning tells us about a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that can only be found with God and certainly a peace that is ours as children of God.
The Bible talks about a comfort that is ours (2 Corinthians 13 verse 11) and that we will be comforted. Time and time again, the Bible says that when we turn to God, the peace, the solace, the comfort and also the rest that God promises is ours as those who come to Him and realize that we can find that place of help.
Do we turn to God for that? Do we understand that that rest is available for us?
Well I want to take just a moment and consider the alternative. When we think about the alternative, it is rather scary in many ways. The Hebrew writer deals with it because there in chapter 3 verse 11 you might notice it says that there according to the Israelites that he had told them that because of their wickedness they would not enter His rest. But then in verse 18 he goes on to say, “And to whom did he swear that they would not enter His rest, but those who did not obey.” Because Israel disobeyed God, He said they will not enter His rest.
Now I want you to notice what he says in the next chapter to the faithful. In chapter 4 and verse 11, it says, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” What has been offered to us? A chance to have that rest. Don’t fall prey to the trials and problems of Israel, but by being obedient and being faithful we have that promised rest as those who have come to the Lord and shown ourselves faithful.
John in his Revelation helps us as he records the things of Christ through the Holy Spirit there in chapter 14 again indicating that there is again no rest for those who are not of God or who are unrighteous. For instance verse 11, it says, “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever and they have no rest night or day.” It says, because they have done what? “Served the beast, and they receive the mark. They have chosen the world and the things of it rather than God and therefore they shall have no rest now or even eternally.” But then do you know what it states in the same passage? Only two verses later it says this. “And then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on, yes as the Spirit that they may rest from their labors and their works follow them.’”
What happens to those who die in the Lord, who die faithful, who die obedient to God? They shall have rest. I don’t know about you but I don’t know of a greater promise that we can think of, a greater covenant that could be given with God between He and us. I don’t know of a more exceeding promise or greater reward that God could offer me than knowing that if I will come to Him as one who labors and even labors in heavy things that He will give me rest. Are you willing to turn to that God today? Are you willing to receive that rest? Because in order to do so you have to be committed to doing His Will. Do you remember what we read in Hebrews? It was because of Israel’s lack of obedience. So what does that tell us? By our obedience we will be justified or condemned. If you are obedient today, praise God and you will have that rest. But if you have not submitted to God to become a Christian, do so today. Confess His name. Repent and turn from sin. Be buried with your Lord and Savior in baptism and then live faithfully to receive that rest. Faithfulness is what it is all about. So if we want to someday have the rest God has promised, let’s do it His way and give ourselves fully to Him.
(SONG # 3 - “Anywhere Is Home!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Doesn’t the rest of God sound great? Where else can we go for such a blessing or promise? Why not serve God today so that you will have His promised rest?