Hebrews 4 begins with the word “therefore”. Any time a verse begins with that word, it seems logical that we should know what was previously said. If we don't, we miss the entire point of the “therefore”. As soon as we see that word, the question should be, “'therefore' what?
In this case, the previous points (at the end of chapter 3) are as follows:
-The parallel has been made between those brought out of Egypt, and those hearing the Gospel then and now
-Much like the Jews who were brought out of Egypt rebelled; so do many that hear the Gospel
-God was angry with those who sinned then, and He is angry with those that sin today
-God makes it clear that the disobedient did not enter His rest then, and the disobedient will not enter His rest today
-Unbelief was the reason they did not enter His rest then, and unbelief will keep us from entering His rest today
I have witnessed a couple slow deaths in my life. The contrast between the two was as stark as night and day. One died with peace and no confusion; ready to go. The other was filled with anxiety, worry, confusion, fear, and anger. I have a pretty good idea of where each were at in their faith, but only God knows. However, the Word says perfect love casts out all fear. When we put our faith in Jesus the fear of death is removed. As the Word says, “death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is gone when Jesus is first in your life. This is part of the "rest" the Word talks about, peace that surpasses all understanding.
“THEREFORE” the promise of His rest remains:
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
Those that have not been born-again should fear; that fear should motivate them to get right with God. Fear of death is a good thing for the non-believer, it should be a catalyst for them to seek the Truth.
Verse 2 talks about the Gospel not profiting certain people, take a look at why that is:
Hebrews 4:2 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.
Did you catch that? The Gospel did not profit them because it was not accompanied by faith. Someone can here the Gospel, they can even “reason” it to be true; but until you put your complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ, it is only an intellectual exercise that amounts to nothing. When I used to preach in the prison, the prisoners used to call this “12 inches from being saved”. You would be stunned at how brutally honest prisoners are. Although they were in a 18 month Christian program, many had no problem saying, “I get it here (pointing to their head); but I don't have it here (pointing to their heart).” We should have that kind of honesty in all our churches and Bible studies; people being honest about their faith or lack thereof. The only one that loses when you practice a fake Christianity is you. There is no shame in saying, “I grew up saying I believe this, and I want to believe this, but I just don't”. If this describes you, and you lift that prayer up to God, “Lord please help me in my unbelief”; He will honor that prayer.
Hebrews 4:3 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.
Hebrews 4:5-6 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,
Mar 9:23-24 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
Mark 16:14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
Romans 11:23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
1Timothy 1:13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
Hebrews 4:7 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."
Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
When we enter God's rest, fixing our hearts and thoughts on Him is of no effort, it flows as effortless as breathing. If you truly desire to enter God's rest, you need to read, study, memorize and meditate on God's Word:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
False religion, false teaching, false profession, false converts, fake Christianity.....IT IS ALL BARE BEFORE GOD:
Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Do not harden your heart today, boldly approach the throne of Grace:
Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.