THE REST OF FAITH
A. Introduction: We have been talking about how God works (demonstrates His power) in people's lives.
1. God works sovereignly and through our faith.
a. When we say God works sovereignly, we mean He blesses people “out of the blue” apart from anything they have done because He is good.
b. When we say God works through our faith, we mean He blesses people because they believe His word, His promise to them.
c. No one has a promise from God that He will sovereignly intervene on your behalf. All have a promise that God will use His power on your behalf through faith — if you will believe His promise. I Cor 12:7-11;29,30; James 5:14,15; Mark 9:23
d. God has moved sovereignly for you by sending Jesus to die for your sins, and now, all the provisions of God are available to you through faith.
2. The events recorded in the Bible about Israel tell us much about how God works sovereignly and how He works through faith.
a. God sovereignly picked Israel and delivered them from Egypt, but they had to enter the promised land through faith. Deut 7:6-8; Heb 3:19
b. God has sovereignly delivered us from sin, death, destruction, through what Jesus did for us, just as He delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt.
c. But, we have to enter into the provisions by faith just as Israel had to enter the promised land by faith — by believing God’s promise.
3. Faith is believing what God says. Faith puts God’s word above every other source of information. Faith expects God to do what He promised.
a. Faith boils down to this: Do you believe God will keep His word? Do you believe He will do what He said He’d do?
b. Faith is being fully convinced of what you do not see because God has told you about it.
4. Of the entire generation sovereignly brought out of Egypt, only two entered the promised land, and they did it by faith — Joshua and Caleb. Num 14:30
a. Of the 12 spies who checked out the land, only Joshua and Caleb gave a good report. They reported what they saw, but they brought God’s word into the report. Num 13:30; 14:6-9
b. Caleb and Joshua wholly followed the Lord. Deut 1:36; Num 14:24
c. They corroborated God. Faith corroborates God. To corroborate = to support with evidence or authority.
d. They were convinced of what they could not see (God’s help) because they had the authority and evidence of God — His word.
5. When Israel chose to believe God and enter the land:
a. Preincarnate Jesus was waiting for them with a plan and the power to take Jericho. Josh 5:13-15; 6:1-5
b. They had to believe the plan and do it. Heb 11:30; 10:23
c. The Book of Joshua ends with the statement that God did all for Israel that He had promised. Josh 21:44,45; 23:14
d. The people God sovereignly delivered finally entered the land by faith.
6. Josh 21:44–The Lord gave them rest when they entered the land by faith.
a. The NT draws a comparison between the rest that God, through Joshua’s leadership, brought to Israel and the rest that Jesus provides us.
b. In this lesson we want to look at the rest of faith.
1. One of the points the writer is making is that Jesus is greater than Joshua.
a. Jesus provides a rest that is greater than when God, under Joshua’s leadership, brought Israel into the promised land.
b. We can learn much about the rest Christ offers us from this passage.
2. Let’s look first at the rest provided under Joshua. It will give us insight into the rest we have in Christ. Rest in the land under Joshua meant: Josh 21:43-45
a. They fully entered into the land, defeated their enemies, and settled it (took possession of God’s promise).
b. They were now living in the land flowing with milk and honey.
c. God did for them everything He promised — they saw with their eyes what He had been telling them for years.
3. In Joshua 24:2-13 God recounts for Israel what He has done to bring them to this point. Look at the fulfillment of just a few promises. v11-13
a. God promised He’d drive the tribes out, and He did. Ex 23:23; 33:2; 34:11 b. God promised to send His fears before Israel to frighten the people of the land, and He did. Ex 23:27-30; Deut 7:20; Deut 2:25; Josh 2:8-11 (the hornet = collective as a species or kind; is understood to be the terrors of God which went before Israel)
c. God promised to bring them to a land of full provision, and He did. It was ready and waiting for them. Ex 3:8; Josh 24:13
4. What God says is just as true before you see it as it is when you see it — and you can rest in that.
a. Num 13:30; 14:8,9–The land was as much theirs, God was as prepared to fight, the people of Jericho were just as scared at this point as when Israel actually saw it with their eyes.
b. They could have rested in, relied on, God’s word before they could see it. c. From the beginning, God told Israel what they would face (good and bad) when they got to the land. Ex 3:8;17; 13:5; Lev 20:24
d. When they reached the edge of the land they could have said: It’s just like God told us — tribes and milk and honey. What else did He tell us? That must be so, too!!
5. The rest under Joshua is another example to us of God’s faithfulness. God fulfilled His word to Israel. We can rest in the fact that He will do what He said for us as well.
6. Rest for Israel under Joshua also meant full provision.
a. There were homes and pastures waiting for them. Josh 24:13
b. A land of milk and honey = fertile land which supplied rich pasture for cattle which would give such abundant milk the land “would flow with it”, and producing many kinds of flowers for food for honey producing bees.
c. Deut 8:7-10–It was a land of water, and crops (already planted), and minerals.
d. God promised them not just initial provision in the land, but continual provision. Lev 26:4-13; Deut 11:14; 28:11,12
7. Rest in the Hebrew means: to desist = you give up (stop) your own efforts; you rely on God; rest = a life lived trusting (believing) God!
a. When Israel entered the land under Joshua they entered from a position of rest (giving up relying on their own efforts and believing God).
b. Everything they did (from crossing the Jordan to taking Jericho) was because they believed God.
c. We know they were doing it because they believed God because they actually entered the land — 40 years earlier they didn’t go in because they did not believe God.
8. Lev 26:9–God said He was establishing and ratifying His covenant with them.
a. One of the most tremendous testaments to the faithfulness of God is the existence of the Jews as a people today.
1. Over a period of 25 hundred years they have been twice scattered from their land. Tremendous efforts have been made to wipe them out.
2. Yet, despite their sins against Him, God has refused to break His covenant with their forefathers and them. Lev 26:44,45
b. The presence of the Jews in the earth today ought to inflame our hearts as to the faithfulness of God.
C. Heb 8:6 tells us, Christians, we have a better covenant established on better promises. Better means everything in the Old Covenant plus more.
1. Rest for the Christian includes: everything it meant for Israel plus more.
a. The Lord has defeated all of our enemies for us.
b. We can live in the full provision God has provided for us through Christ — for this life and the next–spirit, soul, and body. II Pet 1:3; Rom 8:32
c. God fulfills all His word to us.
2. Israel entered in by actually going into the land. How do we enter into the rest, provision, of God?
a. There are two characteristics of the one (the Christian) who enters God’s rest, God’s provision in Christ.
b. The one who believes enters into rest. The one who has ceased from his own works enters into rest. Heb 4:3;10
3. Remember how God works in our lives through faith.
a. He gives His word, His promise, and where He gets the desired response, He brings it to pass, makes it happen.
1. The response God is looking for is faith = people to believe His word. 2. When a person believes God’s promise, God’s word, God brings it to pass = makes it happen.
b. When you believe God’s word, God’s promise, you understand the His promise and the power of that promise, will bring it to pass.
c. Therefore, you stop your own efforts to bring it to pass.
1. You quit trying to earn or deserve God’s help.
2. You quit trying to make it happen by your own efforts.
3. You simply believe His promises, and the result is full provision in Christ.
4. There are two key facts you must know to enter God’s rest.
a. God deals with us on the basis of His grace both before and after we are saved. Eph 2:8,9; Rom 5:1,2
1. Christians often fall into a trap — they know they are saved by grace, but now that they are saved, they think God’s help comes to them in direct proportion to what they do or don’t do. They have to earn or deserve it by prayer, church attendance, Bible reading, witnessing, etc.
2. God fulfills His word to us, not because we deserve it, but because we believe it.
3. You might say — then I earn it by believing it? No, faith is your duty, and the faith comes from His word. Eph 2:8,9; Rom 10:17
4. You enter into rest when you realize you can’t earn God’s help, and you quit trying to make it happen = cease from your own works.
b. You must know that God is faithful — He will do what He promises.The Bible is filled with numerous examples of God’s faithfulness.
5. We have to labor to enter into the rest Jesus provides. Heb 4:11
a. Strong faith is faith that is fully persuaded, completely convinced of what it cannot see, convinced that God will do what He promised.
1. To be convinced means to bring by argument or evidence to belief. To be convinced means to overcome the disbelief and objections of.
2. All the arguments of our physical senses, our logic, our experience, our religious traditions which say what God says is not so must be overcome by knowledge from God’s word — if we are to be fully persuaded. That takes time, effort, and study.
b. I can rest in my bed because I know it will hold me up. You can only rest in God when you really know what He is like and how He works. Ps 9:10
6. Rest doesn’t mean inactivity.
a. Rest in the Greek means to settle down; to colonize. You settle down into a life of trust in God.
b. Rest means you are relying on, depending on God to fulfill His promise to you — not because you do or don’t deserve it, but because God is merciful and faithful.
c. Rest means the actions you’re taking aren’t attempts to make God act, but rather expression of your agreement with God’s promise to you — expressions of your confidence that He will fulfill His word to you.
D. Conclusion: God has provided us with the rest of faith -- the rest that comes from believing God, believing His word.
1. I can rest in the fact that I don’t have to earn salvation or help after I am saved.
2. I can rest in the fact that God has provided all I need in and through Christ.
3. I can rest in the fact that even though I can’t yet see it, God’s word is just as sure, just as true as when I do see it.
4. I can rest in that fact that God is faithful and will fulfill His promise if I will believe it.