REST – GOD’S METHOD OF WORK
BY: KENNETH GREATOREX
“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:9-10, “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” Hebrews 4:1 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak – are spirit, and – are life.” John 6:63
As a child I grew up in the legalism of Pentecost, which was a descendant of the Holiness movement. Life was a long list of “don’ts.” We had some legalistic “do’s” as well. Pray, fast, win souls, read and memorize the Bible, give to missions, etc. Stop! you say, “What is wrong with these?” Scripturally nothing. The motivation behind it was the problem. It was a fleshly desire to please God, or somehow, by means of doing these things to receive more power. We believed that, unlike the Catholics, we were saved by grace – not works.
The problem was we did all of these right kind of works to incur the favor of God. Yes, a Christian is called to do works, but as a manifestation of the grace of God, NOT because we see some need. The Pattern Son, Jesus, would do nothing FOR, or OF, or WITH Himself (Matthew 4:1-11). He did ONLY what He HEARD His Father speak, or SAW The Father do. (See: John 5:19,30; 6:38; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10) This is a far cry from some believers, or ministers, today who often tend to be disdainful of those who do not follow their prescribed list of works as they would have them done.
The Body of Christ is composed of many members. Just as the Ministry Gifts of Christ illustrate various facets of Christ’s ministry as our Leader, this principle holds true with His many membered Body. The evangelist’ burden to win souls varies from that of the teacher. A friend of mine got into bondage because he felt he should study and speak similar to the way his father or I did. So, I ministered “deliverance,” saying something like this, “D – this is not for you, It is NOT your ministry. God has called you to function in as a prophet. Yes, study and prepare to speak, but within your calling.” I didn’t condemn him because he couldn’t do as I did, nor should an evangelist rebuke a prophet because their burden for souls is less intense. At times we may do what others do, but we must never let others put us into their mould. Many need to come to a place of rest and acceptance within their calling.
The seventh day of creation God rested. This was mans first day and he also RESTED. There is much hustle and bustle in the world of religion. The reality is, we are SEATED in the HEAVENLY REALM – a place of REST. Because there is much need in the world, we assume that since we profess the empowering of the Holy Spirit, that we can do what we will. Interestingly the empowering of the Spirit Jesus spoke of in Acts 1:8 was to make WITNESSES of us. What is a witness? This word comes from the Greek “martus” #3144, meaning; one who bears witness by his death. This is not just a little chat about what Jesus has done for you. The empowering is to die. While physical death may not be required of us there is the aspect of, “they did not love their lives to the death.” Lives is “psuche” #5590 meaning “souls.” The overcomers of Revelation 12:11 overcame by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony AND by the laying down of their souls. This is something Jesus advocated. The word “soul” has been hidden from us by the translators use of the word “life” in some cases. See: Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33; John 12:25 etc.
Genesis tells us that when “God breathed into man the breath of life (lives)” (Genesis 2:7) into the already created man, he became a “living soul.” Man was to have been a spirit being in a body giving expression by the soul. After man sinned he became recognized as “flesh.” (Genesis 6:3) Fallen [out of relationship] man has been controlled by the desires of the flesh giving expression by the soul. Man died spiritually first and lastly physically. In Christ we have come alive spiritually first, we are being saved in our souls (Hebrews 10:39), and anticipate our ultimate physical salvation. Because “the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (Galatians 5:17), we are in a state of war. It is therefore necessary that there be the “piercing even to the division of soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12) by the word (logos) of God.
Many preach that Jesus is coming soon, sinners are going to hell, and if you miss the rapture, the antichrist will get you. Or, work hard to build the kingdom of God so that Jesus can return. Learn more of the Word so you can confess it and get results. You must spend hours in prayer if you expect God to send revival, answer prayers, etc. My how people have been put into a system of works/bondage! Guess what, God is on the throne and He isn’t about to get off. There are many Scriptures proving this. However, like the Israelites of old, we have often failed to enter into the REST OF GOD because our doctrines have been centered other than in Christ who is now ruling. Fear and works have been the method of the day rather than faith flowing from our relationship with Christ.
Jesus Said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) This verse is always given to the sin weary in need of Christ. The word “rest” from the Greek verb – “anapauo” #373, means; intermission from labor, to give rest, to refresh. The next verse (29) reads, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, – and you will find rest for your souls.” “Rest” here is the noun anapausis #372, meaning; cessation, or rest. As we come to the end of our soul inspired, emotions, thinking, and exertion let us take His yoke. Then we can enter into HIS REST.
Hebrews Three gives insight to the unbelief, disobedience and rebellion of the Israelites who refused to, “hear His voice” in the sense of responding by obedience to it. They continued as a nation like this hating even the earthly voice of Jesus, terminating with their ultimate destruction in 70 A.D. That which they did hear; “did NOT PROFIT them not being MIXED with FAITH.“ (4:2) Their lesson in failure should cause the Church of the Living God to accept that we of our selves can do nothing (NO THING), for it is HIS CHURCH AND HE IS THE MASTER BUILDER. We are simply “God’s fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9) or, laborers together WITH HIM. It is by HIS SPIRIT – not our wisdom, His strength – not our energy that it is being built. When we finally let GOD BE GOD, we will have come to the place where we are no longer a hindrance to His purposes. We will have come into His rest.
When Jesus was asked, “What shall we do, that we may do the works of God?” one would have expected a list of “do’s.” His response was: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He sent.” (John 6:28-29)
When we really believe God, then we cease fleshly activities (not go to sleep) and take on the yoke/harness of the Lord where He is the lead and directing One. Today we have so many “How to seminars” seemingly filling a need. The need is not more information! IT IS MORE OF CHRIST AND HIS GLORIOUS ANOINTING!! “TAKE MY YOKE AND LEARN FROM ME, – and you will find REST for your souls.” This means the end of soul activity. Lord, hasten the day!
REST – GOD’S METHOD OF WORK [Kenneth Greatorex] 1