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Christ’s Rest is Salvation (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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January 21, 2022 6:00 am

Christ’s Rest is Salvation (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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January 21, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews

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Those in the wilderness who perished, they heard God's Word. They saw God's signs.

They perished in unbelief nonetheless, just like some children are raised in a Christian family. They come to church, they hear, or they come to this church to hear the wonderful preaching. They hear the Word of God preached. They're exposed to God's Word. If they don't get it, if they don't believe it, if they reject it, what's going to happen to them? Satan's going to get hold of them.

That's what's going to happen. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher, Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Hebrews.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Hebrews chapter 4 as he begins a new message called, Christ's Rest is Salvation. If you have your Bibles, let's open to Hebrews chapter 4, Hebrews chapter 4, verses 1 through 10. Therefore, since a promise remains of entering his rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the Gospel was preached to us as well as to them, but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest as he said. So I swore in my wrath they shall not enter my rest, although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way, and God rested on the seventh day from all his works. And again, in this place they shall not enter my rest, since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience. Again, he designates a certain day, saying in David, today, after such a long time as it has been said, today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, for if Joshua had given them rest, then he would not afterward have spoken of another day. It remains therefore a rest for the people of God, for he who has entered his rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from his. Christ rest, it is salvation.

Now there are degrees of this rest and we'll talk about it some. And just reading it cold, and when I say cold as we just read it, detached from the preceding chapters, it can be a little difficult to follow. But if you are reading it through and you're following it from chapter 1, 3, right into 4, then you stay with the speaker, the scribe of Hebrews. And that's what all the writers of the Bible are, really. They are scribes. They simply write down what they are commanded to write down, what has been put before them by God. And we have been reminding ourselves of this every session in Hebrews and we will continue. Because if you lose sight of this fact, then the Hebrews document slash letter can become very confusing. He is writing to the Hebrews who are looking to go back to Judaism out from Christianity, some of them for persecution, some of them because the grass is greener on the other side, for whatever reasons there may be. And so the writer is really taking them to task and he is not pulling any punches. He mentioned in the earlier verses, or the latter verses of the previous chapter, that a generation, an entire generation, the exception of two, their corpses littered the wilderness.

That's how serious this is. So he's not talking about let's just have Christian joy, there's a place for that, there's a place for that in Scripture, there are many places for that. And whatever joy you get in Christ, you're going to have to fight to keep, by the way. But he's going much deeper than just a Christian life, Christian behavior.

He's talking about adhering to the faith, remaining close with Christ. And a lot of Christians, great Bible teachers, do not like to approach it that way. The reason is, is because it upsets the creeds. It goes against seminary doctrine, or two, or three, or four thousand.

And very few are willing to go against that. We have this in the science world. If you don't believe in evolution, you're black-balled amongst the scientists. Well, in Christianity we have the same things. If you do not lockstep with certain established perspectives of Scripture, you're black-balled. Christian pastors and Christian people must never believe something they read in the Scripture simply because someone they respect told them to believe it that way. You've got to see it yourself. And if it doesn't register, if it doesn't make sense, doesn't matter if the other person wrote books on it, or has PhDs, or was a pastor of a church, or whatever, if it doesn't line up, then you cannot drink the Kool-Aid. You cannot join them. And this issue before us this morning is a passionately argued one.

You know, many Christians, they believe in, once saved, always saved, because they've been told that. And if you do not agree with that, oh brother, you're going to have to deal with their emotional-ism and that's not right. That is not right. If you don't agree, that's fine. But there's no need to act as though the ground ought to swallow you up for disagreeing with them. Well, anyway, some of you are following me on this. Others are just saying, well, I got the part about I'm supposed to understand what I read and believe it before the Lord. This is why we are supposed to mimic the Bereans who search the scriptures daily to see if these things were so. When the great apostle Paul came to Berea and he preached that Christ is Messiah, the Jewish believers and listeners, they went to their scripture and they said, let's see, turn to where he said that he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our sins and they would turn to Isaiah or whatever book it was that Paul made his points from and they would say, there it is.

He's right. And the other ones, the other Jews, they said, we're not turning. We don't believe that. We've never accepted that. We're not going to start now.

Well, that's something we don't want to be guilty of. So, with that brief warning and introduction, we look at the first verse, therefore, since the promise remains of entering his rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to come short of it. Well, he's continuing what started really in verse seven of the previous chapter and will follow through right to the end. That is why he starts off this what we call chapter four with that word therefore.

He is continuing and he is joining the thought. Look with me at chapter three of Hebrews verse twelve. He said, beware brethren. These are Christians. You wouldn't say that to non-Christians in this context. Lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. You see, that says just what it says and no one can take that away no matter how much they insist.

Okay, so what does that have to do with me? Well, my Bible is saying you better treat your salvation very seriously. What is the most important thing about you? What you think about God?

That's the most important thing about you. And he wants to see to it as a good shepherd is to do, not the good shepherd, that would be Christ, but there are good shepherds nonetheless under Christ and he's doing his work. He's saying, listen, you need to be afraid of these thoughts that are entering into your head about departing from Christianity to go back to Judaism. And so we look at verse seventeen of chapter three. Now with whom was he angry?

Forty years. Was it not with those who sinned? Whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, since a promise remains, verse one of chapter four, I'm in Hebrews now, of entering his rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. So he pictures this entire generation who perished in the wilderness and he brings it to their minds.

He's going to use them as a parallel to mark out for them the wrong course versus the correct course. For those in the wilderness, it was the promised land. But for these believers, it's heaven.

Ultimately, it's getting to heaven. And our thoughts about who God is has everything to do with that. And so those in the wilderness who perished, they heard God's word, they saw God's signs, and they perished in unbelief nonetheless. Just like some children are raised in a Christian family, they come to church, they hear, or they come to this church to hear the wonderful preaching, but they hear the word of God preached. They're exposed to God's word. If they don't get it, if they don't believe it, if they reject it, what's going to happen to them? Satan's going to get hold of them.

That's what's going to happen. And so we try to preach and behave in such a way that they have no bum excuse for not believing. And this is a reminder that you can hear the word of God, you can see wonderful things God does, but you still have got to believe it.

It has got to go beyond intellectual comprehension. I understand that. Well, that's not enough. Do you believe it? Do you accept it? Do you embrace it?

Or do you reject it? The question is what did they lack? Why did they perish? Faith is what they lacked. Unbelief is why they perished in the wilderness. The message was there. It was a good message. It was preached. They had no excuse. God's word and his promises will not benefit you if you reject them.

They will turn against you as a matter of fact. And no one can say in an audience of a Bible preaching family, a Bible preaching church, no one can claim ignorance. I did not know.

How could you not? So God has rejected his promises, are forfeited. He says here in verse 1, since a promise remains of entering his rest. So he's saying the destination for them was Canaan.

They blew it, the majority of them, the great majority. But the destination for us is heaven. Don't mess it up. You go back to offering sheep at the temple, you're going to fall short. You're going to miss it. I fear that if the Jews were to rebuild their temple, and I believe they will, and the church is still here, the church will not be here, but if it were, I fear that many weak Christians would want to tour Jerusalem and go and offer something at the temple.

You would be sinning if you did. The apostate church will be here. The fake church, the false church, it will survive or it will not be raptured.

It would continue to do business and be judged in the midst of it. But back to what we're considering here, since a promise remains of entering his rest. Now here in this life, through the Spirit, there is rest to be had for Christians, but it's temporary. It's a take five kind of rest. Anyone who serves in ministry in any capacity who genuinely serves knows that there are times of rest and there are times of no rest.

So it is not fulfilled in its entirety. But heaven, when we get there, there will be total rest. Now here's what the Jews out of Egypt, how they grieved Moses so often, every chance they got numbers. And if you are one of those self-appointed critic of everyone else, if your standard of perfection is high and everyone needs to meet your standard, and therefore you're always complaining about everybody else, you might want to read the book of Numbers and see how God deals with complainers. Because as irritating as they can be to us, they are pretty irritating to God too.

Well here's just one, listening from the voice of yesterday there in the wilderness. This is their complaint towards Moses. They were slaves in Egypt.

The young boys were being told to kill the young newborn boys that came from the women. God delivered them through Moses and they didn't like how things turned out after that. And so they said, we remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, Numbers 11 verses 5 and 6, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic, making you hungry some of you. But now our whole being is dried up.

There is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes. That was their complaint against God. They didn't like how God did business.

They remembered the good things about Egypt, but how convenient to not remember the evil things, the loss of their, again, newborn baby boys. And so he takes his audience, the writer of Hebrews does, back to that moment and says, don't be like this. Don't start hurling complaints at Christ because you're getting persecuted for Christ. Expect to be persecuted. It proves your faith that it is genuine. People are persecuted for a lot of things.

You happen to be being persecuted for the truth. Stand fast in it. He says, let us fear lest any of you seem to come short of it. This is frustrating to see how many want to say, oh, it doesn't mean come short. It means something else. It means just what he is saying.

The prophet with this let us, 13 of these let us appears in this Hebrew writing. And the reason why is the writer is not putting himself above the people. He's including himself with the people.

I'm one of you. Whatever warnings come from heaven that apply to you, they apply to me too. All the prophets included themselves because they're not above the message. We'll get to this next session in Hebrews in the 12th verse of this chapter that the word of God is a two edged sword.

It cuts both ways and whoever is in the way gets cut. Prophet and people alike. Peter, when he wrote to the persecuted Christians in the fifth chapter of his letter, he said to the elders, to the shepherds, to the pastors of the flock, he said, shepherd the flock of God, which is among you, not shepherd the flock of God that you're above. Shepherd the flock of God because you're one of the sheep too. You've just been given teeth a little bit sharper and you've been given assignment and a little bit different, but that's the flock that that belongs to the Lord. And he says, serving as overseers, not by compulsion, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly. He says here now again in verse one, come lest you fall short of it. Hebrews three again.

Now with whom was he angry? Verse 17, 40 years. Was it not those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness that they came short? What difference does it make if you swim almost to safety? It's about the finish line. It's about getting all the way there. That's why Paul with the with the word of relief, I have finished the race.

I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge will give to me on that day and not to me only to all those who have loved his appearing. When Paul makes as you say, this is the great apostle Paul expressing that finally he's reaching the finish line. He knows they're going to chop his head off. He's only hoping that the henchman makes a clean cut so he can get out of here.

It is something wonderful. No Christian need to be paranoid about these things. We have an advocate with the father. One reason why so many Christians get so emotional about this, I don't believe that.

I believe once I'm saved, I'm always saved because they think if you sin as a Christian, then now you're lost. We have an advocate with the father. We have someone who speaks on our behalf. He stands and intercedes. It is Jesus Christ. He died for us. He didn't die for you so that if you get angry at your neighbor, you now go to hell. He didn't die for you so if you commit some great sin, look at the sins of those in the Old Testament.

David, King David, what he did. Yet, even David has an advocate with the father or had because David is now in glory but until the resurrection, he had an advocate with the father and that's how he makes it in. So no Christian need to be paranoid. I believe in the blessed assurance of the saved, of those who loved Christ. I believe there is no blessed assurance for those who reject him.

This is plain and simple. There is now therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. What does that mean? You adhere to the Lord. You walk with him. You stay with him. How wonderful is that?

Why would I want to walk that back? At Jude 24, he is able to present you faultless for the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, in spite of yourself, with exceeding joy and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Surely, goodness, I mean these are verses but here's what Job said.

He captures what the Christian spirit on salvation should be. All those who love the Lord can say this, I know that my redeemer lives and he shall stand at last on the earth and after my skin is destroyed, this I know that in my flesh I shall see God whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall be whole and not another, how my heart yearns within me. That is the voice of the righteous, not bickering about am I safe? Am I safe? Yes, you are safe if you love the Lord. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. That was for the Philippian jailer and it is for everyone else too. What warnings abound in our scripture? They abound nonetheless.

Just take two of them. 2 Corinthians 5-11, Paul says, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men. He says we know that people who reject Christ are going to go to hell so we persuade them with truth. Hebrews 10-31, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God and judging hands.

That is that two-edged sword is it not? If you want to be sped, fed, if you want to be spoon-fed, that's the word I was looking for, words that are lies but they make you feel good, there are plenty of those places outside these walls, crouched outside these walls like a roaring lion. If you want to be fed lies, what are you doing in the house of God? Who would dare come into God's house expecting to be told lies? Who would dare come into God's house with a script in their hand?

This is what I want to hear from you and if you don't tell me what I want to hear from you, I'm out. Or the pastor should be out. Or that church is this, I'm going through some serious problems in my life, I want to know about how God's going to fix those problems. That's blasphemy to dictate to God. So many have gone before you with the same and worse problems coming into the house of the Lord just simply wanting his presence, wanting him to just minister to them as only he can and he does do that.

He doesn't have to do it in his house but he does do it in his house. In verse 2, for indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Now you see the writers who wrote the scriptures presupposed that their audience were not fools.

They knew their audience were going to keep up with them and what they spoke and if they did not, they would take the time and explain it as best they could. The gospel that they heard is good news but not the good news of the New Testament developed gospel as we have it. That's not possible. Jesus himself said that, Luke's gospel chapter 10 verse 24 and I have to put this here because someone will certainly come up, well I'm a literalist.

No you're not. No one can be. Not and still make sense out of things but anyway I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see and have not seen it and to hear what you hear and have not heard it. Peter talks about it too and other places it's mentioned but the point is they had the good news of God. We belong to that unbroken witness. The same God that spoke to them in the wilderness is the same God that speaks to us and his will was expressed to them. His care was made available to them. That is the good news for them. He'll make that distinction a little further down and I'll say, I'll use that word, the secret word today is distinction or distinct.

He'll come and make that again but we'll get scrambled if I jump to it too early. Therefore to them the good news of their deliverer of Yahweh and all that he revealed himself to be was given to them. What they did with it is not believe. They simply said yeah we know you're speaking to us but we don't think you can do what you said you can do because they're giants in the land and we can't get past these giants so we don't believe it. Now I'm simplifying it but that's what they did and that is what brought the ire of God upon them. They had the promise of entering the promised land and they said the promise is no good and so God was angry, was infuriated with them and it's just been expressed in chapter 3 and some of the verses we've taken from chapter 3 and so now he tells his audience don't you think you with a better gospel message or a more developed message I should say, you with a more developed message don't you think for one moment that if you reject that message you're going to be spared. They weren't spared and they did not have the light that you have and if you mess up here you deserve what you get.

There's no reason to mess up here. He says but the word which they heard did not profit them. The word which they heard, that is the distinction, is that word, that's the point, that distinguishes the New Testament gospel that we have from the good news that they had. They did not know Jesus by name. They go to the cross and die for their sins.

They had symbols, they had types and emblems, they had shadows but the substance did not come until the New Testament and he'll talk about that later on in chapter 10. He'll really hammer that point again and again. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply log on to That's We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Hebrews right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-20 01:59:44 / 2023-06-20 02:09:21 / 10

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