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Finding Inner Rest

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
July 7, 2022 9:00 am

Finding Inner Rest

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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July 7, 2022 9:00 am

Everyone feels the pressure to work harder and longer so they can get the next raise and be successful. But all that busyness takes a toll on our spiritual lives.

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Alistair Begg
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Summit Life
J.D. Greear

Today on Summit Life, slowing down a bit with Pastor J.D. Greer. The amount of your strength is equal to the quality of your rest in Christ. Those who are most mature in their faith are not necessarily those who work the hardest for Jesus, but those who rest the best in Jesus. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor, Author, and Theologian J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You know, if there's one thing Americans are proud of, it's busyness. Everyone feels the pressure to work harder and longer, to take on more jobs, get the next raise, to be successful, respected, and popular. But today, Pastor J.D. challenges us to be obedient to God, to slow down and enjoy the blessing of rest. In fact, Pastor J.D. reveals that your ability to rest in God will direct the course of your entire Christian walk.

So let's get started. Pastor J.D. Greer titled today's message, Finding Inner Rest. We are on our third week of our study through the book of Hebrews, and this weekend we are in Hebrews chapter 4. He introduces a very important concept that is absolutely crucial if you are going to make it spiritually. Let me say that last part again. He introduces a concept in chapter 4 that is absolutely crucial if you are going to make it spiritually, and that is learning to rest in Jesus.

Now, there's a great deal of irony in that. You would think that he would tell those who are struggling in their faith that they need to work harder, but that's the irony of the gospel, that our strength comes not from how hard we work, our strength comes from how well we rest. It goes all the way back to Isaiah 30, 15, where the prophet Isaiah said, it is in quietness and confidence that our strength will be found.

So here is the lesson for the day in one sentence, if you want to write it down. The amount of your strength is equal to your rest in Christ. The amount of your strength is equal to the quality of your rest in Christ. Those who are most mature in their faith are not necessarily those who work the hardest for Jesus, but those who rest the best in Jesus. That is completely counterintuitive for many of you because all your life you have measured those disciples of Jesus and evaluated them based on how busy they are for God.

If they went to a lot of meetings, if they read their Bible a lot, if they did a lot of stuff, if they were always bringing people to Christ, well, clearly that is somebody who is on fire for God. I am not trying to tell you, I'm not going to imply at all that Christians are not the kind of people who work fervently for Jesus, but I will tell you this for sure, based on Hebrews chapter four, our maturity is demonstrated not in how hard we work for Jesus, but in how well we rest in Jesus. Now, I will tell you, I think it's hard for me to think of a more relevant concept for our culture. Many of you are genuinely tired people, and we have a culture that chronically overworks. Healthcare professionals have traced billions of dollars of medical conditions to overwork, including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidental injury, cirrhosis of the liver, just to name a few. CNN study released earlier this year showed that those who work 11-hour days are, get this, 250% more likely to become depressed than those who only work eight-hour days. Overwork destroys a lot of families.

I talked to some at the Saturday service who came up afterwards and told me that very thing. It destroys a lot of families. Many of you men end up being bad fathers, not because you're bad people. They're not because you don't care about your children.

You do. It's just that you don't have the energy for them. Even when you get home before they go to bed, you've used up every ounce of energy at work, and all they know about their dad is a stressed-out zombie because you gave your best to your job, and there was just nothing left for them.

There's a reason. There are several reasons, actually, why we are so pressed and so driven in our work. The first one, obviously, is that work is how we provide for ourselves. If you don't work, you don't work hard, you don't work well, then you do without. You put in long hours to make the extra sale, to get the promotion, or make the grade.

You take on a second or a third job to give you that little cash bump, which is going to grease the wheels and make life just a little bit easier. That's one of the reasons we're so pressed to overwork, but there's more to our overwork than that. Work, for most of us, is a source of identity. We determine our worth, our personal worth, by our work. I'm not talking here about finances.

I'm just talking about your self-image. Your self-worth is determined by your work. That's the second question we ask people, isn't it? Your first question is always, what is your name?

Second question is, what do you do? Because we know that people sometimes judge us based on what we do, we're always trying to beef up how important we are. You ever hear these people that come up with these ridiculously long job titles? After they get done with it, you're like, what does that mean?

How many vice presidents can a company of 15 people actually have? You don't get it. I was going over this message with Veronica, my wife, and she said, she goes, yeah, yeah, yeah. She says, I've struggled with that for, she said, for a long time. She said, you know, I mean, she's a stay-at-home mom with four children, and she will run into one of her old UVA friends, University of Virginia friends, and they'll ask her, you know, so what do you do now? And she knows that they don't want to hear stay-at-home mom. So for a while, she said, I was looking for an alternative way of saying it. Here's what she came up with.

I am socializing four homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the kind of transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation. What do you do? Right? Now, yeah, you appreciate that? Yeah, that actually is not original with her, but, you know, that is the reason that we feel like that is because we know that people evaluate us.

It's our self-image, our personal worth. You can see this as early as college, right? You ask any freshman coming into UNC Chapel Hill what their major is, and you will get one of two answers.

Isn't it right? Pre-med, pre-law. Everybody comes in, one of those majors, because that just sounds important, right? We can make fun of them now that they're not here.

They all left last weekend. Well, see, that mentality produces constant striving because we're always trying to prove ourselves. I saw a Wall Street Journal article this week that said most of us even intend to inflate the number of hours that we work because saying that we work a lot makes us feel important. Yeah, the world just can't get by with 40 hours. For me, it needs 70 hours. That's how important I am.

I have to work 70 hours a week at my job. And so we inflate how much we work because it just makes us feel like we're more important. Sometimes we overwork because we're trying to please other people.

For those of you fellow type A-ers in here, all right, if you're firstborns, you don't want to let people down, so you've got to answer the email. You've got to return the phone call. You've got to get the job done.

So you're attached to your phone like it's an IV in your arm. You've checked it six times, some of you men, since the time I started this message this morning. You know who you are. I know who you are.

I can tell when you look down you're not looking at your Bible. You're seeing if there's anything that's later to come out that you've got to deal with, right? There's this pressure that causes us to overwork for all those reasons, right? We depend on the opinions of people. We're trying to establish our identity.

We're trying to provide. The Gospel offers us a rest from all of those things. According to this chapter, listen to this, the proof that we have found the Gospel is that our lives are characterized by a profound rest.

Verse three, look at it. For we who have believed have entered that rest. The proof that you found the Gospel is that your life is characterized by rest. On the flip side, an inability, an inability to find rest is proof that we haven't experienced the Gospel and that we are still under the wrath of God. Again, look, verse three, as I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest.

So I got two things that I want to try to do with this message this morning. First, I want to explain to you what this concept of Sabbath is that appears so frequently in Hebrews 4. I want to show you what it's all about, why it's the source of rest, and why it is so important. Second, I want to explain to you how it is that you can enter that Sabbath rest.

Now, real quick before we get started, don't get confused. When I say the word Sabbath, most Christians understand that, recognize that, as to be a command in the big 10s, one of the big 10, about a specific day of the week that you were supposed to take off, right? And that it is. But what the writer of Hebrews is saying is that the law itself, the fourth commandment, was a shadow that would ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus. So by all means, you need to honor the law. You need to honor the fourth commandment. For some reason, Christians feel like this is the one that's just optional. All the others you better keep, but that one, I'll prove it to you.

In your small group, this conversation would never take place in your small group. So how you doing spiritually? I'm doing pretty good.

I just keep sleeping with my neighbor's wife. Other than that, things are going fine. I'm doing pretty good. I just murdered a guy last week, and I got another one I'm probably going to murder next week, but beyond that, things are going fine. That would never take place.

Yet, this conversation takes place all the time. How you doing? How you doing, man? I'm doing pretty good. I'm just really tired.

I haven't had a day off in like four weeks. So for whatever reason, we feel like this is the command that gets to be optional and that we can just break it whenever it's not really that convenient for us. Listen, by all means, honor the law, but don't miss the bigger point of how all this is going to be fulfilled in Jesus and how ultimately we would find rest in Him. Okay? So I hope that clears that up.

We'll come back to that. So first, here we go. Let's look at the development of the Sabbath law in Scripture. The development of the Sabbath law in Scripture. The first time that we see the Sabbath instituted is at creation. God created the world in six days, and He rested on the seventh day. Through Moses, God commanded that we do the same. So the command, the fourth command is found in Exodus 20, verse 9.

Here it is. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. One day a week, they were to cease all their labors, and they were to rest because God had made the day holy.

Now, why? Why did God tell them to stop on that day? Well, there were a couple of things that they were supposed to remember on that day.

Here was the first one. One, the Sabbath reminded them that God was the point of everything. We were created for God, and everything that we do is for Him. And sometimes because of how much we work and all the things we're doing, we tend to forget that.

We get ahead of ourselves. We get consumed and paying bills and raising children and getting ahead. So one day a week, God commands us to cease from our labor and think about why we're here in the first place. Sabbath is not a rest from our primary pursuits. Sabbath is itself our primary pursuit.

We weren't created for a job, we were created for God. And we get so caught up in everything that we're doing and all the pressures and all the bills and all the things that we forget that. And God said, one day a week, stop everything and remember why you're here. Because if you forget that, then everything else in your life is going to go off.

So how good are you at resting? Sounds pretty important, doesn't it? You're listening to a message in our teaching series called Christ is Better here on Summit Life. You know, we are prone to drift spiritually. And when that happens, we lose sight of God's greater plan and purpose for our lives. The writer of Hebrews can't promise us that everything is always going to go right. But what he can tell us is that Christ is better than anything else you can obtain on earth. All 10 parts of this Bible study include interactive questions and examination of scripture, which then helps us examine our own hearts.

We'd like to encourage you to reserve your copy today by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at Thanks for being with us today. Now let's return for the second thing about rest that we can learn from this passage.

Here's Pastor JD. The second thing we were supposed to remember, letter B here, Sabbath also reminded them that God was their provider. When God commanded that they take one day off, I am sure, aren't you, I'm sure people objected.

They're like, what, are you kidding? I mean, these crops don't harvest themselves. Water has to be obtained daily, times are tight, providing for ourselves and our families is hard enough to cut your productivity in an agrarian culture, right?

By one seventh was not prudent. But God commanded them to do it because he wanted them, listen, he wanted them to leave space for him to provide for them. He promised them that if they would work six days and take off the seventh, he would multiply their effectiveness on the other six days to make up for what they missed on the seventh. You see, God never wants us to forget that ultimately we depend on him, not ourselves, for provision. You see, God normally provides for us through natural means, right? We work, we earn money, we place it in our account. Money typically doesn't just magically appear in your account. If it does, that's called a bank error and you should probably report it, right? You don't look at your bank account like, oh, why is my bank account so high this month? Oh, I see, direct deposit from God.

That would be awesome. And if that happens, by all means, receive it. But it's just not, it's not God's normal, it's not his normal MO. The way he typically provides for us is through natural means. Well, because of that though, very easily we begin to assume that we are the ones, listen, who bear the responsibility of taking care of ourselves, as in the weight of, you know, raising our children and meeting all of our needs, providing for our future, that ultimately that rests upon us.

And God does not want us ever thinking that. He wants us to be faithful, yes, to use the opportunities and the talents and the strengths that he's given us, but he never wants us to bear the weight of responsibility. So he commands us to work six days to provide for ourselves by natural means, but then to take one day off and let him work. To take one day off and do nothing, nothing when we could be doing something and sometimes feel like we ought to be doing something. And on that day, we're saying to God, God, I am doing less than I'm able to do because you commanded me to.

And ultimately providing for me is your responsibility, and so I'm depending on you to make up what I'm missing here by not working. That was Sabbath. That was the created Sabbath that God gave.

One day to stop and remember that God was the point and God was the provider. But in the book of Deuteronomy, God gives a second purpose for the Sabbath. Deuteronomy, you know what that word means, Deuteronomy? Deutero, second, nomi, law, the second giving of the law. It's like the director's cut of the law that Moses is going to give.

He's going to give you a little behind the scenes stuff. And so when he repeats the commandments, he explains them. And when he comes to the fourth commandment on the second giving of it, this is what he explains. Deuteronomy five, verse 12. Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Now watch this, verse 15. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you up out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. Now here what you see is that the Sabbath was given to them to give them space to reflect on their salvation, namely that God had accomplished it all by himself. The Lord brought you out by a mighty hand. How much did Israel contribute to their deliverance from Egypt?

How much? The answer is zero, right? I mean, did they help stimulate the plagues? Was God like, I got a great idea. Why don't you go turn the Nile into blood? Why don't you go knock off all the cows?

Everybody go out cow tipping tonight. That'll be the third plague. Go collect all the frogs and release them on Pharaoh's porch. Is that what he did?

That would have been more like the 10 practical jokes and would have just annoyed Pharaoh. No, he did those all by himself at the Red Sea, the great act of deliverance where God separated them from the armies of Egypt. Did they help out with that deliverance? Was Moses like, hey, okay, this group of people stand on this side and you blow this way and this group of people stand here and you blow that way and let's see if we can make a little trench in the water and we'll walk across it. Is that how that went down?

No. God did it all by himself and they were to stop for a day and reflect on that that God had accomplished. Listen, their greatest need they ever faced, God did it all by himself. And what he shows them is if God did that for you in your moment of greatest need when you were a slave, don't you think that God will provide for you now that you are his sons and daughters?

You see on that verse 15, he talks about their new identity. You were a slave, now you are a son. You were under the cruel reign of Pharaoh, now you're under the tender care of a father. Of course you can trust me to provide for you. I accomplished your salvation all by myself.

Now that I'm your father, don't you think I'm gonna take care of you? So on that day, they were supposed to stop and think about how good God was and what God had done for them, that he had saved them for himself and they could trust him because he was not a cruel Pharaoh, he was a tender father. Does that make sense? That was your second development of the Sabbath, but there was a third purpose for the Sabbath and that's what our writer here in Hebrews refers to. So look back at your text there, Hebrews 4. Verse 8, for if Joshua had given them rest, Joshua was Moses' successor.

He was the one that finished conquering the promised land. And he says, if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. The rest that he is talking about here, the rest, the final rest, the rest that all these other things pointed to was Jesus. The Sabbath command and all the Sabbath teaching ultimately pointed forward to Christ. Jesus is the ultimate rest.

So what I want to do is I'm going to give you four statements about Christ that show you how he is the ultimate Sabbath, to show you how it is that you rest in him. And I want to show you that this is inner rest. It's not laziness, it's inner rest. And what I will say to you, especially to you men, and this applies to everybody, especially you men, until you get this concept, no amount of vacations, no amount of distraction or hobbies are ever going to give you that rest that you were looking for. This is a rest that is an inner rest that provides you with something in your soul that gives you the ability to actually rest when you do take a vacation. For some of you, your vacations are not relaxing at all because your soul has never found rest. This is what it means to find inner rest.

You have got to get this concept that I am about to explain to you. Four things about Christ that make him the ultimate Sabbath and the ultimate rest. Number one, Christ is my righteousness. Christ is my righteousness. You see, all of our lives, listen, are spent in self-justification.

And we've been over this a lot, but let me make sure this is clear. You see, all of our lives, we are trying to show that we're good enough, that we have value, that we have worth, and it all goes back to the Garden of Eden. You see Hebrews 4 verse 13 there? And no creature is hidden from his sight, but we are all, what's that next word? Naked, that's right.

If you're from North Carolina, naked. We're all naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. That's a reference back to the Garden of Eden. We're all naked before God. I've told you this before, again, but it's just so foundational in understanding your life and understanding salvation.

Let me hit this for you again. What was the first effect of your sin, your and my sin back in the Garden of Eden? What was the first effect? We felt naked, right?

Now, trick question. Were we naked before we sinned? Yes, we were. But our nakedness did not bother us. Why didn't our nakedness bother us before we sinned? Because we were clothed in the love and the acceptance of God. And because we were clothed in the love and acceptance of God, our nakedness did not bother us. But when we sinned and we separated ourselves from the love and the acceptance of God, that's when our nakedness suddenly became a problem. And so what did Adam and Eve do when they noticed they were naked? Well, what do normal people do when they notice they're naked now? Right? I mean, you try to cover yourself.

I'll explain it like this. If you got a problem sleepwalking and you show up, you know, all of a sudden 3.30 at night in the morning and you're in Walmart, you're butt naked, right? I mean, at that point, you know, what do you do? You're like, hey, you know what? While I'm here, I might pick up some stuff we need for the house.

I'll get some groceries and I'll just make this, you know, a profitable trip. Is that what you do? Of course not. You cover yourself if you're a normal person. Now, depending on some of the Walmarts I've been to, that may not be that normal there to be there naked.

I don't know. But, you know, point is you, if you're normal, you cover yourself. And I've tried to get you to see this. Listen, listen. That that is a metaphor for your entire life. Because all your life, you have this sense of not being good enough, a sense that you are guilty, a sense that you have very little value, a sense that you are ashamed. And all of life becomes this quest to clothe ourselves, to justify ourselves, to show why we are important, to show why we are better than the average person, to restore the clothing that ultimately we lost in the Garden of Eden. The Gospel gives you rest from that because the Gospel is Christ clothing you with His righteousness. You see, Christ restores to you the love and the acceptance by God that you've craved since creation.

Christ gave it to you as a gift. He gave you righteousness. Christ gave us His own righteousness. A beautiful truth from our study in Hebrews here on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. The mission of Summit Life is to help you dive deeper into the Gospel. So, J.D., can you tell us how this study, Christ is Better, will help us grow in our faith? What you'll find is that these heroes of the Hebrew Bible were not so much examples that we're supposed to emulate as much as they were in the Bible. They were the ones that pointed us to a Savior that we were to hope in and adore. I think what you'll find is that Hebrews can inspire you if you learn to read it correctly.

If you read it as a bunch of examples to emulate, those examples will crush you because you'll think, like, I could never be an Esther and I could never be a David. But when you see that they were just broken people like you who trusted in Christ, you'll learn that the same Savior that empowered them can empower you. I think this Bible study that we're offering alongside of our teaching here on Summit Life, I think it'll take you deep into these examples, take you back into the stories of some of these people that the writer of Hebrews references, and show you how not only you can learn from their examples, but you can learn to receive the same power of the Savior that they received. When you give to support this ministry today, we'll send you this brand new Bible study that follows right along with our current teaching series here on the program. It comes with our thanks when you join our mission to spread the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth. The suggested giving level is $35 or more. And remember, every penny you donate is used to advance the gospel message through this ministry. Give today and ask for your copy of Christ is Better when you call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

It's even easier to give on our website. Go to Friday, Pastor JD continues his message on the danger of busyness and the rest that God wants us to enjoy in Him. I'm Molly Vitevich, reminding you to tune in again tomorrow for Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-27 01:35:14 / 2023-03-27 01:46:09 / 11

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