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Sermon #2097[i] Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: The Sabbath that Remains
Text: Hebrews 4:9-11
Subject: The Sabbath of Faith
The title of my message is — The Sabbath that Remains. Nothing revealed in the Word of God is more important than sabbath keeping. Do you keep the sabbath? Sabbath keeping is not a matter of indifference. It is not one of those areas about which the Scriptures give no specific instructions. In fact, the instructions given in the Word of God about sabbath keeping are very specific and clear.
Like circumcision, the passover, and all other aspects of legal, ceremonial worship during the Old Testament, the legal sabbath day was established by our God to be a sign, picture and type of grace and salvation in Christ. This is not a matter of speculation and guesswork. This is exactly what God says about the matter in Exodus 31:13.
Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
Because sabbath keeping was a legal type of our salvation in Christ during the age of carnal ordinances, like the passover and circumcision, once Christ came and fulfilled the type, the carnal ordinance ceased.
In the New Testament, we are strictly and directly forbidden to keep any of those carnal ordinances. In fact, we are plainly told that those who attempt to worship God on the grounds of legal ordinances are yet under the curse of the law. They have not yet learned the Gospel.
1. Circumcision is forbidden as an ordinance of Divine worship (Galatians 5:2,4).
Note: Those who have their babies sprinkled to bring them into the church and kingdom of God, to seal them into the covenant of grace, attempting to retain the carnal ordinance of circumcision, by their act of sprinkling that child, deny the Gospel of salvation by grace alone. They deny the necessity of heart circumcision by the Spirit of God.
2. Passover observance is forbidden since Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Those who continue to offer up sacrifices to God, either for atonement or penance, to gain a higher degree of Divine favor or to prevent his anger, by their sacrifices, deny that Christ’s death at Calvary was an effectual satisfaction for the sins of his people. If something must be added to his blood and his righteousness by us, then his blood and his righteousness are totally useless.
3. In exactly the same way, those who attempt to sanctify themselves by keeping a carnal sabbath day, deny that Christ is enough to give us perfect acceptance with the thrice holy God.
As Paul puts it in Colossians 2:23, they make an outward show of spirituality and wisdom; but it is all will-worship. Such pretenses of humility are nothing but the satisfying of the flesh. Not only that, the whole matter of sabbath keeping is strictly forbidden by the Holy Spirit in Colossians 2:16-17. Since the Lord Jesus Christ has, by his death at Calvary, blotted out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us, since he nailed God’s broken law to the cross and put away our sins, he alone is our Sabbath. We rest in him.
Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
We do not keep a legal, ceremonial sabbath of any kind, because it is here specifically forbidden. All carnal sabbath keeping, any form of it, is strictly forbidden on the basis of the fact that in Christ all true believers are totally free from the law (Romans 7:4; 10:4).
Proposition: Yet, the New Testament does speak of a sabbath keeping that remains for the people of God.
I want to talk to you now about that sabbath, The Sabbath That Remains. My text is Hebrews 4:9-11.
The children of Israel perished in the wilderness because of unbelief. They could not enter into God’s rest in the land of Canaan, they could not enter into that typical picture of God’s salvation, because of unbelief (Hebrews 4:1-6).
Hebrews 4:1-5 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (2) For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (4) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. (5) And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
Though that unbelieving generation perished in unbelief, the purpose of God was not and could not be hindered. There is an elect multitude who must and shall enter into his rest. Look at Hebrews 4:6.
Hebrews 4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief.
But, that typical rest given by Joshua in the land of Canaan was not the rest purposed and purchased for God’s elect. It was only typical of that blessed rest of faith which is ours in Christ (Hebrews 4:7-8).
Hebrews 4:7-8 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (8) For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
Now, look at verses 9-11.
Hebrews 4:9-11 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (11) Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Note: The word rest, which is used over and over and over in Hebrews 3 and 4, means to repose back, to lay down, to be at peace, to cease from work, to be at home. But, if you have a marginal reference in your Bible, you will notice that the word rest used in verse nine is an entirely different word. The word here translated rest means sabbatism, or a keeping of a sabbath.
It is this remaining sabbath rest that I want to talk to you about in the time that remains.
Divisions: I want to show you from the Scriptures how that the Old Testament sabbath day finds its fulfilment and complete accomplishment in Christ; and I want you to see how we who believe keep the sabbath by faith in him.
1. The Lord Jesus Christ has entered into his rest because he has finished all his work (Isaiah 11:10).
2. Every sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ keeps the sabbath by faith, by entering into his rest (Hebrews 4:3).
3. We must labor to enter into that great, eternal rest of heavenly glory (v. 11).
First, I want you to see that — The Lord Jesus Christ has entered into his rest, and that his rest is glorious, because he has finished his work (Isaiah 11:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 10:11-14).
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Our Savior’s rest in heaven is his glory. I call your attention to the marginal translation of the last sentence of Isaiah 11:10. It reads, “His rest shall be glory!”
As God the Father rested on the seventh day because his work of creation was finished, so God the Son rested in the seventh day of time and entered into his rest forever because he has finished his work of making all things new for his people.
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Hebrews 10:11-14 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Look at Matthew 28:1. This is a very remarkable verse of Scripture. I wish you could all read this text in its original language.
Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
The verse quite literally reads, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the sabbath.” This is what that means — When the Lord Jesus Christ died at Calvary and rose again, the old sabbath of the law ended and the new sabbath of grace began!
Behold our exalted Savior! Do you see him seated yonder upon his throne in heaven? There he sits in the undisturbed, undisturbable serenity of his absolute sovereignty! His rest is his glory (John 17:2; Philippians 2:9-11; Isaiah 45:20-25).
He has finished his work (John 17:4; 19:30).
· His Work of Righteousness
· His Work of Redemption
Because Christ has finished his work, the salvation of his people is certain (Hebrews 9:12).
· The works were finished before the foundation of the world in God’s purpose (Hebrews 4:3; Revelation 13:8; Romans 8:29-30).
· The works were finished in time when the God-man took his seat in heaven as our Forerunner (Hebrews 6:20).
There is no more work to be done. Christ did it all. Since he has finished his work, he sat down in his glory. There he is resting!
This is what the sabbath days in the Mosaic economy pictured. All those legal, ceremonial sabbaths of the Old Testament, all those sabbaths required by the law of God in the days of carnal, ceremonial worship, were designed to portray this glorious Gospel rest and the rest of heaven that shall follow, the sabbath into which Christ has entered and that into which all believers enter when we trust him. Ours is a sabbath without end.
Revelation 21:3-5 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Revelation 22:3-6 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
This year of Jubilee is called “the year of liberty” (Ezekiel 46:17). This Jubilee is that which Christ has both finished and entered into as our Savior, and that which is proclaimed in the Gospel (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:16-21).
Isaiah 61:1-3 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (3) To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Luke 4:16-21 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. (17) And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, (18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (20) And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. (21) And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
That’s the first thing. Our Lord Jesus Christ, having finished his work as our Surety and Substitute, has entered into his rest, his everlasting Sabbath, which is his glory.
Sabbath of Faith
Second, I want you to see from the Scriptures that every sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ keeps the sabbath by faith, by entering into his rest (Hebrews 4:3, 9-10).
Hebrews 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 4:9-10 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
We keep the sabbath of faith, a spiritual sabbath, not a carnal one. We rest in Christ, trusting his finished work, by faith entering into his rest. The believer’s life is a perpetual keeping of the sabbath.
None of us keeps it perfectly. Our best faith in this world is still unbelief. But we do keep this blessed sabbath rest sincerely, ever looking to Christ, ever coming to Christ, ever resting in Christ.
Let’s look at Matthew 11:28-30.
Our all glorious Christ gives rest to every sinner who comes to him in faith.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest,
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was —
Weary, and worn, and sad:
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad!”
The Lord Jesus Christ has given and continually gives us rest. The rest of…
1. Complete Pardon (Isaiah 45:22; Ephesians 1:6).
2. Perfect Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 1:20-21).
3. Absolute Security (John 10:27-30; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:24).
4. Special Providence (Romans 8:28).
As the ceremonial sabbath portrayed a strict, universal consecration to God, so this blessed sabbath of faith involves the perpetual consecration of ourselves to our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:29-30).
Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
We keep the sabbath of faith when we wilfully, deliberately take the yoke of Christ. If you would keep the sabbath, it involves much, much more than living in religious austerity one day a week.
How can a troubled, weary, heavy laden, tempest tossed sinner obtain this blessed sabbath rest? I can tell you, both from experience and from the Word of God, there is only one way you can enter into his rest. You’ve got to quit working! You have to trust Christ alone for everything!
Third, let’s look at Hebrews 4:11. I want you to see that we must labor to enter into that great, eternal rest of glory with Christ in heaven.
Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
There is a great, eternal sabbath to be obtained.
Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Some have already entered into that rest.
Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
I have already shown you how this applies to Christ. But the text applies to Christ’s people, too. It speaks of the rest into which God’s elect enter by faith here, and in heavenly glory hereafter.
“Let us therefore labor (strive) to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief!”
Philippians 3:1-14 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
The penalty for not keeping the sabbath is still death.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
If you would be saved you must keep and satisfy the whole of God’s law. And there is only one way you can keep God’s holy law — by faith in Christ!
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Come to Christ and rest forever! May God the Holy Spirit graciously compel you to come to Christ and find rest for your soul in him.
[i] Danville — Sunday Evening — August 11, 2013
Sovereign Grace Fellowship — Boonville, NC — August 7, 2013
Readings: Bobbie Estes and Frank Hall