Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 04/27/08
The Doctrine of Rest.
We are noting the Doctrine of Rest.
Point 7 in our study: The Opposition to Rest.
In Deu 25, the opposition to God’s rest is the believers flesh. You have an enemy that goes with you wherever you go, and it is trying make sure that you are not at rest; that enemy is your flesh. In DEU 25:17-19, the Lord told Moses to teach the children of Israel, “Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, [Amalek is a type of the flesh]how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear [the ones not moving forward at the proper speed] when you were faint and weary; and he did not respect God. Therefore it shall come about when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.”
Amalek is a type of the flesh that tries to make you weary. You are most vulnerable at times when you have just had a victory, that’s when your rest is in danger of being taken away. In verse 19 the word for rest is nuach which is the rest that gives us comfort and freedom from worrying, so it is a refreshing rest. There’s another principle to note concerning opposition to rest, and that is sin, David said in PSA 38:3 that he had no rest because of his sin. Sin takes away your rest, your pleasure and deprives you of rest. Sin condemns us, accuses, and destroys us. That’s why the believer must come to a place to learn how to receive the rest of God. LAM 1:3 teaches that the believer can find no rest among the heathen or those who live in the cosmic system. They couldn’t find a resting place in the world, because only God can provide that. They couldn’t find a marriage with rest because they had entered into spiritual adultery. JAM 4:4 says, You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Unrest is also described as the inevitable result of the unbeliever, REV 14:11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Pretty serious words from a God who has fulfilled over 300 prophecies perfectly and completely and has proven over and over again that what He says will happen, happens. Although this verse speaks of the eternal lake of fire, it also speaks temporarily of those that are involved with the cosmic system. Your greatest enemy taking away your rest is your very own flesh.
Rest is also related to the home. In Ruth 1:9, Naomi had told her two daughters-in-law to go and find rest in the house of their own husbands, Ruth 1:9“>RUT 1:9 “May the Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” Again we have the Hebrew word for a marriage with rest. Many women find no rest in life because they are not at rest at home with their husbands, this is because of the principle of 1PE 3:1-7, and of course vice-versa is true as well. They are in constant struggle with each other, and so they never have any rest. 1PE 3:7 tells us that this is why prayers are not answered in many marriages. Certain prayers are not answered because they are hindered on account of domestic problems. So rest has a tremendous relationship to the home. Rest at home is where rest really begins. For example, PRO 29:17 tells us that if we correct our children, they will give us rest, a household that has discipline, has rest. This is why God’s love and God’s word will solve any domestic problem that you will ever have. It may not work out as some people want it to, but it will work out for those who operate in God’s word with Divine viewpoint.
ISA 11:10 tells us that His rest is said to be glorious, Then it will come about in that day That the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. God’s word is glorious and will give you rest. God will give you the rest that you need to handle the situations in life. If you let God give you rest, no matter how difficult thisgs at home may be, His rest is so glorious that He will come through for you.
Now, all of this truly begins, and becomes easier to attain, when you understand that the power on the inside of the believer is greater than any attacks from the cosmic system. The Power that you possess is greater then worries, anxieties, fears, distress, troubles, phobias, panic, shock, tensions, etc. 1JO 4:4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome all the things of this world them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. The Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world. The power of the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and Bible doctrine is a greater power than anything in the world. Whatever comes against you from the outside can’t stand up to what is on the inside of you, because the Greater One lives inside of you. You have already won the victory! Satan’s strategy is to try and deflate you; to stop you from reaching your goal. However, God has the final say, and He has already spoken. We fall down, we get up, over and over again. Remember that the saints are just the sinners, who fall down, and get up. The Lord Jesus Christ defeated Satan and the kingdom of darkness at the Cross once and for all, that means for all time. COL 2:14-15, having cancelled out the certificate of debt which was against us by means of the decrees, and which [certificate of debt] was hostile to us and He [by means of the decrees] has taken it out of the way having nailed it to the Cross]. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Point 8. Rest Is Also the Result of Submitting to a Local Assembly.
This means we are to truly submit to a local assembly, and the authority of the pastor-teacher. Whenever we mention authority we must back it up scripturally, because of all the attacks made against the pastor’s authority. Satan knows the value of authority, so he attacks it especially in the spiritual realm. No believer can attain spiritual maturity, and become an invisible hero or glorify God, apart from perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine. This means that no believer can simply read the Bible and attain spiritual maturity. The Bible is our textbook, but the gift of pastor-teacher is designed to communicate the specifics of the mystery doctrine that cause spiritual growth (EPH 4:11-13). Doctrine must be learned under authority, and that authority is vested in the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher. Pastors don’t rule over you in the sense of telling you what to do, but in the sense of teaching you what God expects from you and how to execute His plan. You submit to the pastors’ authority in listening to their communication of doctrine.
There is a tremendous form of Divine protection given the pastor because of his office. The pastor’s authority is established on the basis of the teaching of Bible doctrine. Hence, the issue is not the man, but always the message (1PE 5:2; 2TI 4:2). The man who is willing to accept all the pressure that comes from his calling, such as double discipline and undeserved suffering, better be prepared for the calling. 1TI 4:10 For because of this [communication of Bible doctrine], we work hard to the point of exhaustion, and we hang in there tough because we have confidence in the living God who is the Savior of all men. The pastor’s authority is documented many places throughout the scripture (ACT 20:28; 1PE 5:2). So without a local assembly the believer is without rest. Of course there are some exceptions to this rule, but this is the basic principle. David gave us a spiritual principle concerning this in 1CH 23:25 For David said, “The Lord God of Israel has given rest to His people, and He dwells in Jerusalem forever.”
Jerusalem is said to be the mother of us all. Jerusalem is the type of Church in GAL 4:25, and a church can certainly become your resting place. Things can be bad in the home, or on the job, but when you come to the local assembly you should receive edification (EPH 1:22-23). Therefore, when you are a part of a local assembly where people love and serve God; a place where the word of God is being spoken accurately, you will end up being benefited by it and you’ll receive all the rest that you need. When you walk out of the doors of the local assembly you are free to have the rest and peace needed in confronting the situations that life brings.
ACT 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the respect for the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. The Greek word oikodomeo means to build a house, here it refers to building a soul structure. So notice a church with rest is edified (that’s the soul structure), because of this they walked in reverent respect or occupation with the Lord. They enjoyed and experienced the comforting ministry of God the Holy Spirit (GAL 5:22), who manifests His fruit in us, and they are increased or multiplied. The rest in a local assembly causes the believers to be a soul winners, they want loved ones to have the same thing that they do. The rest comes from the wisdom that is to rest in the believers soul. PRO 14:33 Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding, but in the bosom of fools it is made known. Whatever rests in the heart of the believer will determine the mental attitude and your overt behavior. Is it guilt, fear, condemnation, or is it the word of God dwelling richly within? It either going to be stress or rest. Each of us has within ourselves the power to decide how to interpret stressful events. We can do it with humor; we can do it with wisdom. Sometimes we can use compassion, sometimes we can use patience and sometimes we can just accept the situation for what it is. But, you always remain humble and at rest.
When you have a servant’s heart, you’re humble and at rest within yourself. You respect those in charge, you serve faithfully and quietly without concern over who gets the credit. That was just how King David was, and God looked at David, out in the fields in the foothills surrounding Bethlehem, keeping his father’s sheep, faithfully doing his father’s bidding, and God put His approval on him. A true servant doesn’t care who gets the glory. A servant has one great goal, and that is to make the person he serves look better, to make that person even more successful. A servant does not want the person he serves to fail. A servant doesn’t care who thinks what, just as long as the job gets done. So while David’s brothers were off in the army making rank and fighting big, impressive battles, David was all alone keeping the sheep. God loved His servant’s heart.
Point 9. God’s Attitude of Rest Toward the Believer.
God’s attitude toward the believer is a vital principle for you to understand concerning the doctrine of rest. One of the problems most believers face is talking too much and listening too little. This is why the Bible says that when you come into the house of the Lord your God be not rash with your mouth to utter anything before God (ECC 5:1-2). There are going to be some difficulties you will have to face when you go to the house of God. Everything is not going to be perfect. You can very easily get your eyes stuck on people. In fact, many people withdraw from a local assembly because of personality conflicts with others. But, if you’re on the way to the house of God, the place where doctrine is being taught, and the word of God can do all things, then you can bet that the kingdom of darkness has designed a plan to try and distract you from hearing the word of God. If the kingdom of darkness is not successful in hindering you from coming to Bible class, then it will try to hinder you from receiving the word of God once you are in Bible class. That results in cramming your mind with your problems instead of the Divine mental attitude of rest. Remember the kingdom of darkness can hinder you from being at the place you ought to be, 1TH 2:18 “For we wanted to come to you I, Paul, more than once, and yet Satan hindered us. Not only can you be hindered from coming to the house of God, you can also be distracted while you’re on your way! It may be the children acting up and fighting in the back seat making you miserable. It might be an argument between the passengers, a disagreement between husband and wife, or amongst friends. The point is that you need to be careful of anything that can distract you and get you involved with the mental attitude sins which will disturb your concentration on the word of God. You may even be all alone, and suddenly these terrible thoughts begin to come to your mind. You don’t know where they’re coming from, but they are designed to take your mind off the real purpose from coming, which is concentration on the word of God. Remember that the word of God is alive and powerful.
So, Solomon puts it this way in ECC 5:1 “Guard your steps as you go to the house of God, and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools;
This means that when people go to the house of God, they are to be involved in true worship which is listening. Listening to the communication of the word of God, hearing what God’s word has to say. Worship is a very interesting word and many people do not know what it really means. The ultimate form of worship is the communication of Bible doctrine. That’s why our Lord said inMAT 15:9 “But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” Note that our Lord equated teaching with worship. In JOH 4:23-24 He said “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Truth is needed in true worship, and it is truth that must be taught! In ACT 18:13 Paul was accused of “persuading men to worship God contrary to the law,” meaning that worship in the Old Testament had to do with the doctrine found in the Law, but now the New Testament form of worship is found in learning the mystery doctrine of the Church-age.
The highest form of worship is either teaching Bible doctrine or receiving Bible doctrine. All of the nonsense that you see today with excessive singing and raising hands, and clapping and yelling out pious “amens” is not worship. True worship is either teaching or listening to Bible Doctrine. You do more worshipping by sitting and listening and concentrating under the filling of the Spirit then you could ever do while doing anything else. PSA 138:2 says “I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your name for Your love and Your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.”In fact, we should never forget that all of us will be judged and evaluated based upon our love and desire for God’s word. InJOH 12:48, the Lord said “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My doctrines, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”
So in ECC 5:1 “Guard your steps as you go to the house of God, and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of foolsfor they do not know they are doing evil.”Solomon is saying that true worship is listening to the word of God or your perception of Bible doctrine! The sacrifice of fools is referring to meaningless rituals! The sacrifice of fools is religion! God is not interested in any of these things, He is interested in His word, which is active and living, alive and powerfulalwayschanging your life for the better, and giving you the information you need to be at rest in your souls. Knowledge learned and then applied is what gives you rest.
Sadly today, worldly problems and human plans are brought not only to the very door, but even into the house of God itself. That’s why the house of the Lord is not to sell things. No restaurant or a book store or the selling of tickets etc. And if you say, it’s alright if it’s for the Lord, JOH 2:16 says “And to those who were selling the doves [the doves were for the sacrifice to the Lord]away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.”
Just think of all the people going through various types of ritual and tradition and the Bible says they do not know they are doing evil! HEB 3:10-11; They always go astray in their heart; And they did not know My ways, therefore, as I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’
Point 10. The Believers Responsibility and The Means to Rest.
The Lord said through the prophet Ezekiel that He was going to feed the flock and cause them to lie down. EZE 34:15 “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God.
Again it is spiritual food which causes us to rest. Now when the Lord gives you rest it’s for a specific purpose. What is one of the reasons?
2Ch14:6-7, And he built fortified cities in Judah, since the land was undisturbed, and there was no one at war with him during those years, because the Lord had given him rest, because we have sought the Lord our God; He has given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered. So because the Lord gave them rest on every side, they took that opportunity to build and prosper. When the Lord gives you rest it’s for you to build. No matter what kind of enemy you’re faced with, He is our peace and rest. When He gives you rest, it’s not a time for you to get lazy and slothful, impassive doctrinally. It’s a time to build up your soul with more doctrine! You are the beneficiary of many wonderful blessings from God. Yet like many people if you do not know these things you will lose out. Many people live as paupers on earth when they are related to a God who controls the entire universe. The modern tendency today of apostasy stresses the works of the believer and the production of the believer rather than the rest of God, which is why many people have been denied these blessings. The problem today is the believers ignorance of Bible doctrine. Your biggest enemy is your own ignorance. People constantly live in their relationship to God rather than God’s relationship to them. This is why they make so many mistakes. The tendency today in these times of apostasy, is to put all the pressure on you as a believer to get you to work and to get you to perform. HEB 3:7-10, Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. “Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; And they did not know My ways;” When God gets down to indicting you He doesn’t mention your failures to do this or that, He mentions that you have erred in your heart and you have not known His ways. When God gets down to indicting you, He does so for your stupidity and your ignorance. This is because you are living on earth as a loser when He has given you the equipment and artillery to make you an overcomer and a winner. Serving, giving, loving, and praying all happens after learning Bible doctrine. So, the main problem in the life of most believers is no doctrine. The reason why most believers cannot be distinguished from unbelievers: No doctrine. Ignorance of Bible doctrine means a breakdown with the faith-rest life.