Text: Hebrews 4:1-13
[These are the notes of a short sermon prepared for an all-age service]
God’s people are on a journey. We have a goal, a destination, in view. But we need to make sure we don’t miss out. How can we do that?
1. Get started
When you travel by plane, you start with take-off. But I wonder if you have ever thought, as you boarded a plane, ‘This will never get off the ground’. But of course science, and the experience of millions of people say, ‘Yes it will’.
Long ago, God promised a wonderful future for his people. We might wonder if will really happen. But God’s word, and the faith of millions of people, says, ‘Yes, it will.’ And it’s not enough just to hear God’s promise; we need to trust it. We need to take that first step of faith. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the very first step. Have you made that first step yet? Let’s get started on this journey – the adventure of a life-time. Don’t miss out. Let’s make sure we get started.
2. Keep going
It’s one thing to start a journey. It’s another to continue it. Of course, on any journey there can be difficulties, distractions and discouragements. Supposing you were planning to drive up to the mountains in Scotland. You might say, ‘It’ll take all day to get there; why can’t we climb a mountain here in Norfolk instead?’ [Answer: because there aren’t any!] But no: you pile into the car. After a few minutes, you get as far as Costessey, and a little voice in the back says, ‘Are we nearly there?’ After about 4 hours, you stop for a comfort break at Scotch Corner. ‘Let’s we stay here – it sounds Scottish?’ But you need to keep going.
God says to us, ‘Be careful you don’t fall short.’ So let’s help one other to keep going. The Bible calls us to encourage one another, and all the more as we see the Day approaching (Heb 10:25). And let’s fix our eyes upon Jesus, who journeyed to the cross, knowing that beyond that cruel death lay joy (Heb 12:2). Every day, every hour, every moment, were’re getting closer. Rom 13:11 ‘Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.’ Don’t miss out. Let’s make sure we keep going.
Someone once said, ‘It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.’ But no: ‘It is best to travel hopefully and to arrive.’
But where are we heading? What is our destination? One word that the Bible uses is ‘rest’. But this is not like the rather miserable rest of having to be off school because you’ve got swine flue. Nor is it like the enforced rest of being made redundant from work. No: this is the same kind of rest that God entered into when he finished making the universe. God did not rest because he was tired, but because his work of creation was complete. It is the rest of enjoyment and fulfilment. This ‘rest’ is the final destination of our journey, but it begins right now. It’s like we’re listening to he first few notes of a beautiful song; or picking the first redcurrants to ripen on the bush; or receiving an engagement ring; – we have much already, and more, much more, to come. Don’t miss out. Let’s make sure we arrive.
Scripture says, in Hebrews 4:-
‘Since the promise of entering God’s rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Now we who have believed enter that rest. God’s work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.’
In other words: Don’t miss out.