Summary Hebrews 4:1-13:
God promises we will enter His rest if we have faith. God rested from all His work on the seventh day so there remains a Sabbath-rest for God’s people. Just as God rested from His work so can we. Let everyone make every effort to enter this rest.
God’s word is living and active; it penetrates us to our soul; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight, and we must give account to Him for everything.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 5: Hebrews 4:1-13
12a) The promise God gives us of rest through faith (a spiritual rest) and the Sabbath-rest is rest from works as a basis for righteousness. Jesus’ death made us righteous with God. We no longer need to work to achieve it.
b) Part personal question. My answer: By faith in God repeatedly. We must continually rely on God and trust in Him in order to continue to have rest in Him. Otherwise we may fall just as the Israelites did. I would like to think so. As I get older, I get more and more grounded in my faith. I know in my heart I have faith in God and completely trust in Him; yet, at times I do get overwhelmed by circumstances and outwardly it can appear not so. But inwardly in my times of prayer, God knows even if I don’t. And that’s all that matters.
13) Personal Question. My answer: God’s word can give me rest. I should turn to it more when my mind is a tumultuous mess.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 5: Hebrews 4:1-13
I like the faith aspect of the last two days. Yesterday pointed out how unbelief yields to punishment. Today pointed out how continual faith results in God’s gift of rest to us–the rewards of belief if you will. Great juxtaposition of consequences versus rewards.
Again, a reminder of what Jesus’ death did for us: made us righteous with God so we could rest without having to work for it.
Another great part of this lesson was verses 12 and 13 that BSF did not touch on, which emphasized the power of God’s word and His omniscience. Even when we are so low we can’t hear anything, God’s word is always with us to remind us of His greatness until we are ready again to hear Him. For God knows our hearts and what we are going through and is there even when we don’t see.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 5: Hebrews 4:1-13
It all comes down to belief. When you believe, you have rest; when you don’t believe, you don’t rest.
What is Rest?
The old Puritan commentator John Owen described five features of this rest for the believer:
- Rest is peace with God.
- Rest is freedom from sin.
- Rest is God’s rest.
- Rest is freedom from Mosaic law.
- Rest is freedom of worship.
The mention of Joshua reminds us that the name “Jesus” is the same as “Joshua.” The second Joshua will finish what the first Joshua left unfinished.
The idea is that there is no longer any place for works as a basis for our own righteousness.
God’s original Sabbath of Genesis 2:2 signified the work was finished. We cease from self-justifying works because Jesus finished the work on the cross.
Let us therefore: This phrase, or this idea, appears repeatedly in the Book of Hebrews. A doctrinal truth is presented – in this case, the truth of a remaining rest available by faith – then the truth is applied.
The rest is there, but God does not force it upon us. We must enter that rest. Clearly, the rest is entered by faith; but it takes diligent faith.
God’s Word Is:
- God’s word brings true health, fruitfulness, prosperity and success to what we do. (Psalm 1:3)
- The word of God has healing power and the power to deliver from oppression. (Psalm 107:20, Matthew 8:8, Matthew 8:16)
- God’s word cleans us. If we take heed according to God’s word, our way will be cleansed. (Psalm 119:9, John 15:3, Ephesians 5:26)
- The word of God, hidden in our hearts, keeps us from sin. (Psalm 119:11)
- God’s word is a counselor. When we delight in God’s word, it becomes a rich source of guidance for us. (Psalm 119:24)
- God’s word is a source of strength. (Psalm 119:28)
- God’s word imparts life. It is a continual source of life. (Psalm 119:93, Matthew 4:4)
- God’s word is a source of illumination and guidance. When God’s word comes in, light comes in. It makes the simple wise and understanding. (Psalm 119:105, Psalm 119:130)
- God’s word gives peace to those who love it. They are secure, standing in a safe place. (Psalm 119:165)
- When the word of God is heard and understood, it bears fruit. (Matthew 13:23)
- The word of God has inherent power and authority against demonic powers. (Luke 4:36)
- Jesus Himself – His eternal person – is described as the Word. When we are into the word of God, we are into Jesus. (John 1:1)
- Hearing God’s Word is essential to eternal life. One cannot pass from death into life unless they hear the word of God. (John 5:24, James 1:21, 1 Peter 1:23)
- Abiding – living in – God’s word is evidence of true discipleship. (John 8:31)
- God’s word is the means to sanctification. (John 17:17)
- The Holy Spirit can work with great power as the word of God is preached. (Acts 10:44)
- Hearing God’s word builds faith. (Romans 10:17)
- Holding fast to the word of God gives assurance of salvation. (1 Corinthians 15:2)
- The faithful handling of the word of God gives the ministers of the word a clear conscience. They know that they did all they could before God. (2 Corinthians 4:2, Philippians 2:16)
- The word of God is the sword of the Spirit. It is equipment for spiritual battle, especially in the idea of an offensive weapon. (Ephesians 6:17)
- The word of God comes with the power of the Holy Spirit, with “much assurance.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
- The word of God works effectively in those who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
- The word of God sanctifies the very food we eat! (1 Timothy 4:5)
- The word of God is not dead; it is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword. The word of God can probe us like a surgeon’s expert scalpel, cutting away what needs to be cut and keeping what needs to be kept. (Hebrews 4:12)
- The word of God is the Christian’s source of spiritual growth. (1 Peter 2:2, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
The Bible is alive, and God’s word reaches us with surprising precision, and the Holy Spirit empowers the ministry of the word to work deeply in our hearts.
“There is not a superfluous verse in the Bible, nor a chapter which is useless.” (Spurgeon)
Soul Versus Spirit
The Bible means different things with the terms soul and spirit. The Bible tells us that people have an “inner” and an “outer” nature (Genesis 2:7, 2 Corinthians 4:16). The inner man is described by both the terms spirit (Acts 7:59, Matthew 26:41, John 4:23-24) and soul (1 Peter 2:11, Hebrews 6:19, Hebrews 10:39). These two terms are often used the same way, as a general reference to the inner man. But this is not always the case. Sometimes a distinction is made between soul and spirit. We can say that soul seems to focus more on individuality regarding the inner life (often defined as the mind, the will, and the emotions). The spirit seems to focus more on supernatural contact and power in the inner life.
There is some distinction between soul and spirit is obvious in passages like this (Hebrews 4:12) and 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Passages like Job 7:11 and Isaiah 26:9 show that the terms are sometimes both used to generally refer to the inner man.
Naked reminds us of the way God saw through Adam’s feeble hiding. God sees through our hiding the same way.
Open translates the ancient Greek word trachelizo, used only here in the New Testament. It was used of wrestlers who had a hold that involved gripping the neck and was so powerful that it brought victory. So the word can mean “to prostrate” or “to overthrow;” but many scholars do adopt the simply meaning of “open” – in the sense of laying an opponent open and overcome.
The word of God discovers and exposes our condition.
No other High Priest was called great.