Sermons

Today Will Not Last Forever (Psalm 95:1-11, Hebrews 3:7-4:13)

Rev. William L. BarronRev. William L. Barron, November 25, 2018
Preached at a Sunday Morning service

As an assembly of believers we are called by God into His presence. As created beings, we owe our maker worship. In fact, Psalm 19 tells us that all of creation worships our creator God. He is the life-giver. He breathed spirit into our first parents, Adam and Eve and brought life into lifeless bodies. Yet they rebelled and fell out of fellowship with their creator. This fellowship is restored in Christ. Nothing on earth or in heaven can overcome God. When we try, the result is judgment. But the Lord Jesus Christ is our shepherd and the rock of our salvation. The reference to the king in vs. 3 is messianic. We are to worship our shepherd/king with excitement and joy, but there is a warning. We are to worship with reverence. We are not to harden our hearts to His commands or neglect to thank Him for His blessings. At Meribah or Massah, the exiles forgot their king who released them from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. God provided water to slake their thirst, but they lost trust in His providence that was leading them to the promised land. We can encounter the same result if we are not trusting in Him and adoring Him in worship. We must avoid formalism, where our hearts are not sincere in our praise. We also can die in the wilderness because of lack of faith. God set the pattern of life for us at creation. We have six days to work and one day to rest, building our relationship with God. One day of the week is to build our trust in Him, to our immense benefit. It is right that we place ourselves in the presence of God by the worship of Him, by which our faith is strengthened. Otherwise, as untrusting Israel later found, they (and we) would find ourselves back in exile. True, sincere worship tries us to see if we have a rebellious heart within us. In Hebrews, we learn that there is another rest (Sabbath/Shabat): eternity in Heaven. We are exhorted to enter that rest today. If we are worshiping but not truly trusting--today is the day of salvation. In our Hebrews text, the word today appears five times. We must not be like the untrusting people of Moses--benefiting from God's blessings, but not trusting Him to see us all the way into the promised rest. The day of judgment is close, but today is the day of salvation for those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tags: Gospel, Judgment, Providence, Rest, Trust, Worship

About Rev. William L. Barron: Billy Barron is the pastor of North Greenville Church. He has pastored ARPC congregations in North and South Carolina and Florida. He has also been pastor to World Witness missionaries around the world. He was Mission Developer of Travelers ARP Church in Travelers Rest, SC.
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Psalm 95 (Listen)

95:1   Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
  For the LORD is a great God,
    and a great King above all gods.
  In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also.
  The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.
  Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
  For he is our God,
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
  Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
    as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
  when your fathers put me to the test
    and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10   For forty years I loathed that generation
    and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
    and they have not known my ways.”
11   Therefore I swore in my wrath,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

(ESV)

Hebrews 3:7–4:13 (Listen)

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
  where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
10   Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
  and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
11   As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

  “As I swore in my wrath,
  ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,

  “They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts.”

For 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, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

(ESV)

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