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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20170903: FINDING GOD'S REST

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Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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Pastor Ray Scott

 

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FINDING GOD'S REST
SERMON STARTER
          I learned my work ethic from my father who taught me in both word and deed how to work. The worst word he could say to you was that you were "Lazy."  If I was to work alongside him at his workplace I was to keep busy at all times. There were times when my brother and I learned how to be self-employed even as elementary age children.
          Don and I sold newspapers (Grit) door to door. We sold Cloverine salve, seeds, greeting cards just about anything we could find to raise a few coins. Back then we went door-to-door collecting used soda bottles that were recycled. We sold them for 2 cents each at the local store.
          When I graduated from high school, I already knew how to labor. All I needed was opportunity. I began my fulltime work career at Roberts and Son Engraving Company in Culver City, California. As I was being interviewed I told elder Roberts' son I would be willing to work for a week and if he didn't like my work, he didn't have to pay me. Richard was astounded. No one ever said such a thing to him before. He hired me on the spot. I worked for him four years and mastered all his engraving and printing presses.
          I know what it's like to work long hours with back cramps from the repetitive hours running a monotonous machine. I know what it's like to fall into bed exhausted and rise at 5:45 each day to do it again. The people who labor are the ones i can relate to when it comes to Labor Day.
          Interestingly, the current call country-wide is for less College Grads and more  young people to enter the trades. Trade Unions are offering high starting wages to those who are willing to work with their hands and labor.
          God has a place of rest for we who labor and know the demands of hourly wage employment. My sermon is a reminder of the true place of rest for our souls.

 

Pastor Phil  <><<
September 3, 2017 - Sheepfold Ministries
Pastor Phil Roland   <><<

FINDING GOD'S REST
HEBREWS 4:1-9
"True rest from life's labor isn't discovered in what you do, where you go or how much money you have accumulated. God's rest is found in a person. Only Jesus is the one who said 'Come to Me, and you'll find rest.' Finding the person of Jesus for yourself is true rest from labor."     Pastor Phil <><< 

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."      Matthew 25:28

HEBREW: SHABBAT - SHAVAT - A cessation from work

I. WE FIND GOD'S REST THROUGH OBEDIENCE - v.6
6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,

          A. We are given the CHOICE of entering His Rest - v.3
             "Now we who have believed do (may) enter that rest. . ."
          B. We may choose NOT to enter His Rest: "A Rest FROM God"
                    1. Not a Number "7," Seventh or first day is NOT the issue
                    2. Not a ritualized “Day”
                              a. Jewish Talmud employs more than 4 Million words
                              b. Much worse than today's Sabbath “Blue Laws”
                              c. Not a Legalistic Restriction of Activities - Ex. 31:14
                                                            14 You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you.
                                      everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for
                                      whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off
                                      from among his people.
C. God's Rest is a 24/7 Spiritual State where the True Sabbath is of                        the Heart
                    1. We find God's real Sabbath Rest is not superficial rules
                    2. Finding God's Rest is finding a Rest WITH God

II. WE FIND GOD'S REST THROUGH UNDERSTANDING - v.9
  9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

          A. Adam lost God's Rest through Disobedience - Gen. 3:17-19
17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife,
               and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You
               shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall
               eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring
               forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
               19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the
               ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you
               shall return."
FINDING GOD'S REST, cont., p.2

          B. Israel lost God's Rest through Unbelief - V. 2
                    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.
                       
1. Cloud by Day and Fire by Night
                    2. They could rest knowing visually God was with them
                    3. Still Israel believed the unfavorable report
                    4. They died without God's Rest in their hearts

III. WE FIND GOD'S REST THROUGH SUBMISSION  - Heb. 3:15
15 while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."
 
          A. Hear and Obey  - James 4:7
         
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
1. We hear God through His Word
                    2. We hear God through Rest and Prayer
          B. Submit to God by Doing what He told us - John 15:14
14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
1. Gospel Song - "Trust and Obey"
2. Lyrics
                        Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
                        Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
                        What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
                        Never fear, only trust and obey.

                        Refrain:
                        Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
                        To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

          C. Our Labor in God's Kingdom is for Him - Col. 3:23-24
                    23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
            24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the
              inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
1. Dirtiest Job can be the one in God's Rest
                    2. 17th Century Carmelite Monk, Brother Lawrence
                    3. Lawrence urges a keen sensitivity to God's Presence in                                 everyday life

IV. FINDING THE TRUE PLACE OF GOD'S REST - Exodus 33:14
14 And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

          A. What is God's Rest?
                    1. Is it a Day? A Time?
                    2. Is it a place on the calendar?
          B. God's Rest is Where He is - Anointing
          C. God's Rest is Being Available at His Command
          D. God's Rest is being in His Will and Purpose
               1. Live each day in the Presence of God
                    2. Take time for daily prayer
FINDING GOD'S REST, cont., p.3

                    3. Spend time with Jesus - Matthew 6:33
                                        33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all
                           these things shall be added to you.
                    4. Include Him in your life’s work and activities
                    5. Attend regular worship of God with His People

 

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F I N D I N G   G O D ' S   R E S T

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINDING GOD'S REST
Hebrews 4:1-9
1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
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.
3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 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";
5 and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest."
6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,
7 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."
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

 

 

 

 

FINDING GOD'S REST, Conclusion
In the early development of the American West a wagon train was making the journey to the West Coast.  The wagon train travelers split over a Sabbath-rest controversy. One group stopped and rested every seventh day of travel.  The other group pressed on.  The Sabbath group reached the West Coast first. 
God has placed into all of His Creation the need for Sabbath and the positive response from Sabbath observance.
All of creation has been designed by the Creator with a need for regular rest.  In my area which is honeycombed with ancient, non-functioning coal mines, this need for rest is historically apparent.  In the 1800’s coal was brought out of the mines by rail cars pulled by mules.  It was painfully discovered that the mules would go blind after a few months of constant underground toil.  Only when the mules were brought out of the mines and into fresh air and sunlight was their sight restored. 
Every living thing benefits from Sabbath observance.
Eg.
          Jack Hayford was my professor of Evangelism in Bible College.  After graduating I went back in 1981 to my old alma mater to visit some friends.  Pastor Jack was speaking at a minister’s luncheon there and I was invited.  He told this incredible story.
“Last Fall, I put my key in the door of the church office and had this distinct impression that Father God was unhappy with me.  It was disturbing to say the least to feel that in spite of all my labor for Him, He was unhappy with me.  He didn’t reveal Himself to me immediately or the reason for His displeasure.  My response was to seek Him with my whole heart.  I took a few days off from office work and assigned ministry chores to associate pastors, and I went to a motel room with my Bible, a spiral notebook and several cans of fruit juice.
          My motel room had no cable TV or other distractions.  My assignment was to seek God and pray until He revealed the source of His displeasure with me.  Three and a half days later,

FINDING GOD'S REST, conclusion, p.2

I heard a clear Word from God.  He told me He was displeased with me because I had become a Sabbath breaker.  We just
finished a building program.  I placed 200% of myself into the project.  My marriage and family life were suffering as a result of my constant church busy-ness.  I had lost touch with my own feelings. Most importantly, I had lost touch with the God I was attempting to serve.
          Here is what God revealed for me to do.  I called my church boards together and delegated ministry tasks to both ministerial staff and congregational leaders.  I temporarily turned in my church keys to my staff.  I told them I would be unavailable to them throughout the entire four months of my sabbatical.  The next four months were some of the most important in my adult life.  I became a companion again to my wife.  I became an effective and relational dad to my kids again.  I began to value my family life again and see the importance of my family re-established as a priority in my life.
          When I went back to church after my sabbatical, I was refreshed and renewed.  I could hear the ‘still, small voice of the Lord’ again.  I could hear the even more subtle sound of my own inner soul.  I could see something different in the admiring eyes of my wife and family once more.  My church was still intact.  My pastoral ministry was still waiting there for me.  I learned that my primary ministry was to the Lord, my own soul and to my wife and kids, then, I was able to do the work of the church.  There is a huge difference between doing what you think is the work of the Kingdom and how God looks at it.  He said, ‘Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.’”
Pastor Jack found the place of God's Rest. . .

Pastor Phil  <><<

 

 

 

Matthew 11:25-30 (NKJV)
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.
27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Exodus 20:8-11 (NKJV)
8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

 

1 Samuel 15:23 (NKJV)
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."

 

RELUCTANT WORKERS
          When it comes to the church and its work often there is reluctance. I remember when a young man volunteered to help us paint our old church building. He had three weeks off, so the first Monday of his vacation he showed up to help paint the old structure. He and I and one other retired trustee showed up for the project. We painted together for three days in the hot sun. On the fourth day, my new helper looked around and said, “Where are the other volunteers? Is it just going to be us?” I explained to him that most of the congregation was over 60 and unable to climb a ladder and wield a brush. He then replied, “If no one else but us is going to do this job, then I’m leaving.” And he did. I never saw him volunteer or attend church again. He was taken out by the ones who didn’t come.
After contemplation I drew up and sign and it stayed on my office desk for years to come.
“No one will serve Christ for long whose service in God's Kingdom is dependent upon what others do or do not do. Keep your eyes on Jesus and not on others. Work in Christ’s Kingdom as though it was just up to Him and you.”
 

 

 

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