2.3  The Easy Yoke of Christ

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Jesus said, 

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me... and you will find rest for your souls" 

Matthew 11:29

His Yoke is Easy

Jesus said,

  • "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). 

Jesus made an offer. His offer was made to all... to all who labor and are heavily burdened. He offered rest.  


I will repeat the passage: 

  • "28 Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). 

Prayerful Observations: 

I see two rests in this promise. The first is experienced when we come to Him (verse 28). The second rest is received as we bear the yoke of Christ with Christ (verses 29-30). His yoke is easy (verse 30).

Rest as we come to Him

In verse 28 we receive rest upon coming to Him. I experienced this rest when I came to Him the first time at my conversion. There was a euphoric filling by His Holy Spirit, transferring me from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of the Son (Colossians 1:13). In a moment, He moved me from the despair of tragedy and self-faith, into the joy and power of His presence (Psalm 16:11, Acts 1:8). I was in the Spirit for three days. My unusual conversion is explained in greater detail in the chapter before the introduction to this book.

I believe that the "rest" of verse 28 is received at our initial conversion. But few converts experience the intense euphoria that I received. God determines the depth of this first "rest" according to the purposes of His will. While I experienced this rest at my conversion, I also experience the "rest" of verse 28 in each moment as I turn to Him in my spirit. Continually turning to Him is described in subchapter 1.3. The rest of verse 28 is received when we come to Him.

Receive Rest as we bear Christ's yoke

As a young Christian after my conversion, many of my days and moments were not restful. But I observed by experience that I felt rest when I served Him... when I pointed to Him. Although I did not understand verses 29-30 at that time, I was receiving the "rest" of verses 29-30 as I bore the yoke of Christ.

I will repeat the passage again:

  • "28 Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). 

Making Disciples is the Yoke of Christ

What is His yoke? A yoke is an implement of work. It is used to harness two animals together to pull a burden. It is His yoke that we take. So, what work of Christ do we take? His yoke is to make disciples. It is written: "the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Jesus also said, "I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly" (John 10:10).  

The broad context of Matthew 11:28-30 shows that His yoke is to make disciples. The chapters leading up to Matthew 11:29-30 make this very clear. 

In the last verse of Matthew in chapter 9 Jesus told the disciples to ask God to send workers into the harvest of souls. Then through all of chapter 10 He gave them instructions on how to do that. In Matthew 10:18-20 Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit would give them the words for their testimony. His instructions were completed in Matthew 11:1. See below:

  • "When Jesus had finished directing his twelve disciples, he departed from there to teach and preach in their cities" (Matthew 11:1). 

Then, also in Matthew 11:1, Jesus began to demonstrate how to preach the gospel. It said "he departed from there to teach and preach in their cities." 

Next, in Matthew 11:20-26 he reproached the cities that did not repent after hearing the gospel. 

Then in Matthew 11:27 he spoke of knowing the Father and the Son. Well, knowing the Father and the Son is the definition of having eternal life (John 17:3). Then in Matthew 11:28-30 he tells them to take up His yoke. He tells them to do His work. What else could He be talking about besides saving souls?" 

I will summarize Matthew 9:38 - 11:30. 


  • Instructed the disciples to ask God to "Send out laborers into his harvest"
  • Instructed them about making disciples
  • Showed them how to make disciples
  • Spoke about repentance and eternal life (knowing the Father and the Son)
  • Sent them to take up His yoke (work) and receive rest

So, the yoke of Christ is to make disciples.

Jesus did not come to remove the suffering of this world. Later subchapters of this book will show that suffering is a device used by God to draw men into life. Christ came to give life to the dead, in a world full of trouble (John 16:33), until He someday returns to take God's children to Paradise. 

Taking the yoke of Christ is speaking words of life and grace, to make disciples, drawing others into life... drawing others into fellowship with God. Regarding those who have already been converted to Christ, the  yoke of Christ is to draw them deeper into life... deeper into fellowship with God... deeper into His rest.

We don't know exactly what Jesus said to each disciple when He called them. But when He called Peter and Andrew He said  "Come after me, and I will make you fishers for men" (Matthew 4:19). Then in verses 20-21 it appears that He said the same thing to James and John shortly thereafter. In Luke 9:59-60 it is apparent that making disciples is part of following Jesus, since Jesus said in that verse to "announce God's Kingdom". After calling all of the disciples, Jesus then spent three years training the disciples in the supernatural activity of making disciples. When He left this world He told them to "make disciples". Many other scriptures indicate that following Him includes making disciples (John 21:17-19, Matthew 28:19)

So, yes... 

  • The yoke of Christ is making disciples. 

Another passage that makes this abundantly clear is John 4:31-38. In the twenty-six verses before this passage, John 4:5-30, Jesus shared the gospel with a Samaritan woman. This resulted in salvation for many Samaritans (John 4:39-42). John 4:31-38 is sandwiched in between those two texts about the conversion of the Samaritans. In verses 31-38 Jesus tells the disciples that His work is to harvest souls... that His work is His food... that the disciples are to eat this same food... to harvest souls... that the disciples food is to harvest souls. So the message of John 4:5-29 is very similar to the message of Jesus about His yoke and rest in Matthew 11:29. 

In Matthew 11:29 we receive rest by taking His yoke, and His yoke is taking His work of making disciples. In Matthew 11:29 we receive rest by making disciples. In John 4:39-42 harvesting souls is our food... our work... and our wages. Rest and food have certain things in common. Both are invigorating, rejuvenating, peaceful, enjoyable, satisfying and delightful.  Both are also a reward for our work. So, Matthew 11:29 and John 4:39-42 teach the same truth. If you have any doubt that making disciples is our food and rest, I suggest that you prayerfully read John 4:1-42, with special focus on 31-38. For your convenience, I have placed the entire text of John 4:31-38 below, with relevant words in bold print. If the Holy Spirit leads you to read it, then do. If not, then I prayerfully suggest that you skip down the page to the next section in bold, gold text titled, "How can His yoke be easy?" Words within parenthesis, (), are mine.

  • "31 In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." 32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you don't know about." 33 The disciples therefore said to one another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?" 34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Don't you say, 'There are yet four months until the harvest?' Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already (Harvest of souls). 36 He who reaps receives wages (food) and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true, 'One sows, and another reaps.' 38 I sent you to reap that for which you haven't labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor" (John 4:31-38).

How can His yoke be easy?

Jesus said, "come to me... take my yoke... you will find rest... my yoke is easy." 

How can it be easy?  It is easy because we come to Him and bear His yoke in His powerful, intimate presence. It is easy because we receive supernatural "rest" when we take up His work. It's easy because scripture reveals the simple method of making disciples that Jesus and the apostles used.

By looking at what Jesus and the disciples did, we can understand how to make disciples. We should imitate them. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul wrote, "Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ". If we should imitate them, we should do what they did. What they did was actually easy. They repeated the words of the Father and prayed the Endorsed Prayers. 

Repeat the words of the Father and pray: It's easy

The prayers presented in scripture for bearing the yoke of Christ are revealed in the first four subchapters of chapter 4. These prayers are called the Endorsed Prayers. They are prayers for spiritual communication, making disciples, spiritual issues and praise. If you aren't praying these prayers, you are not following the example of Christ and the apostles. If you aren't praying them, you are not following God's agenda or bearing Christ's yoke. If you aren't praying them, you are not receiving the rest He promised for bearing His yoke. If making disciples is hard, try the easy way... repeat the words of the Father and pray the Endorsed Prayers. The Holy Spirit does the rest. Tools to help you use these prayers are provided in subchapters 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.11.

Rest and Suffering

While Jesus said that His yoke is easy, He didn't say that it would be painless. "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up His cross, and follow me" (Mark 8:34). So making disciples is easy to do, results in rest for the soul and results in suffering.

What is this rest? 

When we follow Him by making disciples, we have fellowship with God. It is something that we do together. I believe that the rest is the joy of intimate fellowship with God as we follow Him, obeying His Spirit. 

I will repeat the passage again:

  • "28 Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). 

Rest is promised when we come to Him (verse 28) and when we take up His yoke (verse 29). So we have rest when we participate in His agenda, in His presence. A large amount of two way conversation takes place as we bear His yoke. 

Intricate detail of our conversations with God is provided in the Endorsed Prayers (chapter 4). His communications to us come through scripture (chapter 1) and the Holy Spirit (chapter 3).  The book of Hebrews tells us to make disciples (confess Christ). It also tells us trust and obey when we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. And like Matthew 11:29, Hebrews says that we receive rest when we do these things. Please continue prayerfully with me a little longer.

If you will hear His voice today... 

  • "as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your hearts" (Hebrews 3:7-8).

I explained above that when Jesus taught the disciples how to make disciples in chapter 10 of Matthew, he told them that the Holy Spirit would give them the words to use in their testimony. 

  • " you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations. But when they deliver you up, don't be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you" (Matthew 10:18-20).

The book of Hebrews was written to Hebrews who:

  • confessed Christ (Hebrews 4:14), 
  • were dull of hearing (Hebrews 5:11) 
  • were immature babies in Christ (Hebrews 5:12-13). 

By the time of the writing of the book of Hebrews, they should have matured to the point of being teachers: 

  • "For although by this time you should be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you" (Hebrews 5:12). 

In other words, they should have become disciple makers by that time.

Please read chapters 3-5 of Hebrews. All three chapters are reproduced at the end of this chapter for your convenience. In these chapters the Hebrew Christians were offered rest. If you will read them prayerfully with Matthew 11:28-29 in mind, you will see how both passages offer rest. You will see that both passages explain how to receive that rest... by making disciples.

Matthew 11:28-29 speaks of receiving rest by coming to Jesus, taking His yoke of disciple making and learning from Him. But, the intimate spiritual interaction of learning from Christ in Matthew 11:29 is presented with additional spiritual detail in Hebrews. It is presented three times as obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 3:7-8, 15, 4:7). 

Chapters 3-5 of Hebrews speaks to believers who should be involved in disciple making ministry but weren't. They were told that they should obey the Holy Spirit by faith when the Holy Spirit speaks to them, holding fast their confidence and the glorifying of their hope in Christ (Hebrews 3:6), holding fast their confidence in Christ (Hebrews 3:14) and holding tightly their confession of Jesus (Hebrews 4:14).  

Please prayerfully consider what I am about to say. The word "confession" above clearly means to bear witness to Christ (disciple making). But what is unclear in most English translations is that the Greek word underlying "confidence" also means to bear witness. The Greek word underlying the English word confidence in verses 6 and 14 is parresia.  This is listed in Strong's concordance, 3954, as meaning "freedom of speech, confidence". It comes from the Greek words pas (all) and rhesis (speech). Rotherham translates parresia as "freedom of speech." The ASV and literal translations by Young and Green translate parresia as "boldness". 

Here is the point: To hold fast our confidence in Hebrews 3:6 and 14 relates to our speech. They are not indicating a silent faith but a bold and vocal one. To hold fast our confidence means to hold fast our witness (making disciples).

Please let me review briefly:  

Chapters 3-5 of Hebrews speaks to believers who should be involved in disciple making ministry but weren't. They were told that they should obey the Holy Spirit by faith when the Holy Spirit speaks to them, holding fast their confidence (bold witness) and the glorifying of their hope in Christ (Hebrews 3:6), holding fast their confidence (bold witness) in Christ (Hebrews 3:14) and holding tightly their confession of Jesus (Hebrews 4:14).  

As they hold fast 

  • the glorifying in their hope in Christ, 
  • their confidence (witness) in Him, and 
  • their confession of Him...
  • all in intimate interaction with the Holy Spirit

the Hebrew Christians are His household (Hebrews 3:6), partaking of Him (Hebrews 3:14). If we do not obey the voice of the Holy Spirit to do these things, we will not enter into God's rest (Hebrews 3:11,18: 4:1, 3, 4 ). On the other hand, if we obey the voice of the Holy Spirit to do these things, we enter His rest (Hebrews 4:3, 9-11).

Hebrews chapter 10 continues the same theme of boldly confessing Christ. Hebrews 10 presents this witness as being initiated by coming into God's intimate presence... by entering into the Holy Place: Parenthesis () are mine.

  • "19 Having therefore, brothers, boldness (parresia, vocal boldness) to enter into the holy place (intimacy and rest in His presence) by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, 21 and having a great priest over God's house, 22 let's draw near (intimacy and rest) with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and having our body washed with pure water, 23 let's hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering... 35 Therefore don't throw away your boldness (parresia, vocal boldness) , which has a great reward" (Hebrews 10:19-35).

So you see that bearing witness to Christ is connected with rest... it is connected with intimacy with Him and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Then Hebrews 11 presents the Hall of Faith, accounts of fifty-four heroes of faith who bore witness. For example, Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel, even though "being dead, still speaks"... bearing witness that atonement is necessary to receive the righteousness of God, and that it comes by faith:

  • "By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice (symbol of Christ's atonement) than Cain, through which he (God) had testimony given to him that he (Able) was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it (faith) he, being dead, still speaks" (Hebrews 11:4).

Parenthesis () are mine. Then verses 13-16, speaking of the heroes of faith, says, "all these" confessed that they were "strangers and exiles on the earth" (v 13), "looking for a country of their own" (v 14), "a heavenly one" (v 16). So, bearing witness is present in chapter 11 of Hebrews as well. 

Then chapter 12 of Hebrews begins in this way:

"1 Therefore let's also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let's run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith..." (Hebrews 12:1-2).

So, verse 1 refers to the fifty-four heroes of the faith in the previous chapter as witnesses! By their example we are to "run with perseverance". Are we to run without bearing witness? Absolutely not! Receiving rest through vocal confession of Christ is admonished in Hebrews 3-5. Then the theme of bearing witness is continued through the book.

Now I will repeat again the passage from Matthew: 

  • "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29). 

There is rest, in taking the yoke of Christ (His work) and learning from Him.  We learn from Him through scripture and the words of the Holy Spirit.

This passage from Matthew should be kept in mind as one prays through the book of Hebrews. At the bottom of this page, I have provided chapters 3-5 from Hebrews for your convenience. I have also shown pertinent words in bold text to help you see the correlation of Hebrews with Matthew 11:28-29. If our Lord so leads you, please prayerfully read through those three chapters below. As you prayerfully read these words, you will see how rest is connected with obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit to confess Jesus. You will also see that you must believe His voice. As you obey His voice, you will become teachers who are not dull of hearing.  But before you enter into that long passage, chapters 3-5, let me show you how to put on the yoke of Christ. 

The Endorsed Prayer of Harvest

In my experience as a layman, bearing the yoke of Christ is the key to rest. But when I wasn't bearing the Yoke, I couldn't choose on my own to put it on. The Endorsed Prayer of Harvest is how we put on the yoke of Christ.

  • "Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:38).

Prayerful Observations: 
We ask Him to send and then He sends us. We don't choose ourselves and send ourselves. We don't take up the yoke by obeying a rule. We take it up by obeying a call of the Spirit. That is why Jesus instructed the disciples to pray the Endorsed Prayer of Harvest before He sent them. We ask the Lord of the harvest to send. He chooses who and when to send. This is discussed extensively in the Endorsed Prayer of Harvest in micro-subchapter 4.4a. The Endorsed Prayer of the Harvest reveals the spiritual authority of God in the spiritual realm. He chooses who to send and when to send them. 

But, how do we know when He is sending us? 
  • "as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your hearts, as in the rebellion" (Hebrews 3:7-8).

If you have prayed the Endorsed Prayer of the Harvest, believing without doubt that He will send... then you will know when He sends you. The necessity of asking without doubt is proved from the scriptures in micro-subchapter 4.2a. Micro-subchapter 4.2a shows that spiritual communication from God is received by those who ask without doubt. One who asks with doubt "shouldn't think that he will receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:5-7). 

Roughly ten years after I finished college several people told me that I had led them to Christ during college. Until they told me, I was unaware of this. I had shared with them, what God had done for me. I had repeated words of scripture and prayed for them. Their lives were changed forever.

The words of the Father are what saved them. I was only the message bearer. I was bearing the yoke of Christ when I repeated scripture and prayed.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and are wondering if the call to make disciples applies to you, please read "Is Every Christian Supposed to Make Disciples?" in the appendix (A5). The answer from scripture is yes!

Fellowship with God is a two way conversation in the spiritual realm, as we follow Christ, bearing His yoke in the world. Taking the yoke of Christ involves praying the scriptures in the Fifth Path, asking God to give us words (Ephesians 6:18, 19), watching in prayer (Colossians 4:2 and subchapter 2.4) and praying the Endorsed Prayers (1Corinthians 11:1). We "Turn, Turn, Turn and Behold the Lord"... we walk in the Sixth Path (2 Corinthians 3:18). 

Chapters 3-5 from Hebrews:

As you read chapters 3-5 from the book of Hebrews, you may wonder what is meant by the word "rest". You may wonder if the readers are being admonished to enter God's rest by converting to Christianity. This is not the case. 

The writer is not admonishing them to convert. He is admonishing them to hold onto their confidence (bold witness, Hebrews 3:6,14) and hold onto their confession of Christ (Hebrews 4:14). While they already have a confession of Christ, they are told to enter into the rest:  "Let's therefore give diligence to enter into that rest" (Hebrews 4:11).  So, the "rest" they are admonished to enter is not the rest which comes from conversion to Christ because they already confess Christ. 

Consider this as well: They are referred to as babies and admonished to grow up (Hebrews 5:12-14). They would not have been called "babies" in Christ if they had not been converted. They are admonished to mature in Christ and be involved in disciple making ("exhort one another" in Hebrews 3:13). So, it is clear that the rest of Hebrews is not the rest which comes from conversion as in Matthew 11:28. It instead refers to the rest that comes from taking up the yoke of Christ (making disciples) from Matthew 11:29. Rest comes as we engage in disciple making. 

The long section on rest begins with confessing Christ (Hebrews 3:1) and ends with confessing Christ (Hebrews 4:14). In between, in Hebrews 3:6 and 3:14, holding fast the confidence (witness) is admonished. So, the disciple making activity of confessing Christ is central to receiving the rest offered by chapters 3 and 4 of Hebrews. 

In Hebrews 3:7-8 it is written "as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your hearts, as in the rebellion." This rebellion is mentioned in Psalm 95:7-11 and Exodus 17:1-7. Those who God delivered from Egypt drank from Christ, just like we do (1 Corinthians 10:4). But these passages from Psalms and Exodus don't say that they confessed Him. Instead they rebelled in times of adversity.  "They tested Yahweh, saying, "Is Yahweh among us, or not?" (Exodus 17:7). They doubted God's presence, faithfulness and leadership.

The phrase  "Today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your hearts"  is mentioned three times in Hebrews, chapters 3-4. Israel is used as an example of what not to do. When the Holy Spirit leads us, we are to: 

  • trust, 
  • obey, 
  • confess Christ and 
  • receive rest. 

Instead, Israel: 

  • doubted, 
  • disobeyed
  • expressed doubt regarding God's presence, faithfulness and leadership 
  • failed to enter God's rest.

This background is necessary for you to understand Hebrews 3 and 4.

I'd like to mention one more thing before you read the passage from Hebrews. It has to do with "good news." Good news is the same thing as the Gospel. Some translations use "Good news". Others translate as Gospel. The phrase "good news" in Hebrews 4:2 will cause confusion for some. Some didn't enter rest because they didn't believe the "good news" that was preached to them. If you restrict the phrase "good news" to only apply to conversion, the whole of chapters 3-5 will not make sense. The term "good news" may mean news with respect to conversion. But it may also present "good news" about our life with God after conversion. That second sense is consistent with the flow of thought in chapters 3-5. Proof that the "good news" can apply to our post conversion experience is in Romans 1:8 and 1:15. In those verses we see that the Roman church had faith (v8) and that Paul wanted to preach the Gospel to them (v 15). He wanted to preach the Gospel to those who had already converted because the Gospel pertains to both conversion and post conversion experience. 

Here is another truth to bear in mind as you read Hebrews 3-5. After conversion, we can encounter circumstances in which we don't have faith. More on this is revealed from the scriptures in subchapter 2.6, titled "What Variety of Faith do You have?" . 

With these thoughts in mind, please read the following scriptures, chapters 3 - 5 of Hebrews. Please read prayerfully. You may need to prayerfully meditate on these chapters for several months before the message becomes clear. Or it may only take you fifteen minutes. You may need to meditate on the entire book of Hebrews. May God bless you as you prayerfully consider His words. Words within parenthesis are mine.

"Chapter 3

Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession: Jesus, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also Moses was in all his house. 3 For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, because he who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God. 5 Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken, 6 but Christ is faithful as a Son over his house. We are his house, if we hold fast our confidence (witness) and the glorying of our hope firm to the end. 

7 Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says, 

"Today if you will hear his voice, 8 don't harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, in the day of the trial in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers tested me and tried me, and saw my deeds for forty years. 10 Therefore I was displeased with that generation, and said, 'They always err in their heart, but they didn't know my ways.' 11 As I swore in my wrath, 'They will not enter into my rest.' 

12 Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there might be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; 13 but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called "today", lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence (witness) firm to the end, 15 while it is said, 

"Today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your hearts, as in the rebellion." 

16 For who, when they heard, rebelled? Wasn't it all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 With whom was he displeased forty years? Wasn't it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 To whom did he swear that they wouldn't enter into his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 We see that they weren't able to enter in because of unbelief

Chapter 4

Let's fear therefore, lest perhaps anyone of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn't profit them, because it wasn't mixed with faith by those who heard. 3 For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as he has said, 

"As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest;" 

although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has said this somewhere about the seventh day, "God rested on the seventh day from all his works;" 5and in this place again, "They will not enter into my rest." 6 Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter into it, and they to whom the good news was preached before failed to enter in because of disobedience, 7 he again defines a certain day, today, saying through David so long a time afterward (just as has been said), 

"Today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your hearts." 

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. 9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. 

11 Let's therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. 14 Having then a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let's hold tightly to our confession. 15 For we don't have a high priest who can't be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. 16 Let's therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace for help in time of need. 

Chapter 5

For every high priest, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 The high priest can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray, because he himself is also surrounded with weakness. 3 Because of this, he must offer sacrifices for sins for the people, as well as for himself. 4 Nobody takes this honor on himself, but he is called by God, just like Aaron was. 5 So also Christ didn't glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him, 

"You are my Son. Today I have become your father." 

6As he says also in another place, 

"You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek." 

7 He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, 8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. 9 Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation, 10 named by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. 

11 About him we have many words to say, and hard to interpret, seeing you have become dull of hearing. 12 For although by this time you should be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the revelations of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food. 13 For everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. 14 But solid food is for those who are full grown, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil."

Relevant Points from Hebrews 3-5

Readers are being admonished to hold onto their confidence (witness, Hebrews 3:6) and hold onto their confession of Christ (Hebrews 4:14). They are referred to as babies and admonished to become teachers (Hebrews 5:12-14). They are admonished to  be involved in disciple making ("exhort one another" in Hebrews 3:13). The long section on rest begins with confessing Christ (Hebrews 3:1) and ends with confessing Christ (Hebrews 4:14). So, the disciple making activity of confessing Christ is central to receiving the rest offered by chapters 3 and 4 of Hebrews. 

One last observation about rest...

Hebrews 4:9,10 stated:

  •  "There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God10 For he who has entered into his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.

God rested on the seventh day. What did God do in that day instead of work? Do you think that God had intimate fellowship with with Adam and Eve during that day? Wouldn't they have been admiring all that God had done, enjoying the beauty of it all and marveling at its magnificence? The entire day could have been filled with joyful conversation. This is what we do when we make disciples. We repeat the words of the Father and pray. Making disciples is a very intimate fellowship. This intimate fellowship is "rest".

1979: The Street Preacher, Paul and the Mob... 

I was a student at the University of Texas in Austin Texas. For several days a street preacher had been preaching on the main university sidewalk, just west of the tower where the sniper had killed so many in 1966. Street preaching was not unusual in those days. But on this particular day a woman was preaching as the preacher man stood nearby. He was dressed in all black. She wore nothing but white. I had never seen a woman street preacher before. So I drew near to observe. In a short time she was encircled by a small crowd of men. If there were women in the crowd, I don't remember them. 

It was a strange situation... a single, lone, young woman preaching, totally encircled by twenty or thirty young men... she being in the center of the circle...

The preacher man in black stood outside the circle about twenty feet away. The north side of the circle of men which encircled her was composed of hecklers... rough, homeless and unemployed men. The south side of the circle was full of students. In spite of the heckling, she continued to preach salvation by faith, the cross and the judgement to come. A fellow student who taught the youth group at my church stood next to me. His name was Paul Holloway. The hecklers began to get aggressive, making comments about her appearance and sexual features. She continued to testify about how God had changed her life. One of the hecklers stepped into the circle and began to yell obscenities in her face... talking to her about having sex with her and giving her his sexual diseases. She just continued preaching. Her face showed no concern. She wasn't even distracted. Then the main heckler stepped deeply into the circle, screamed sexual insults in her face, reached out and touched her upper body with his hand. 

I had experienced more than one riot before this day. But, even so, I didn't immediately recognize the significance of what the heckler had done, when he made physical contact with her, while making sexual insults, in a mob setting. But Paul recognized the danger. Behind the heckler were ten angry men. The leader of the hecklers was stirring the little mob into a frenzy. 

Paul turned to me and said. "We have to do something before this gets out of hand." 

Paul said "when I step forward into the circle, you step forward with me, right beside me, shoulder to shoulder. Back me up!" He didn't wait for my answer.

Immediately, he stepped forward into the center of the circle... and I stepped forward, right beside him. Paul looked the main heckler directly in the eyes, gently raised his hand and pointed his finger at the man's face. Paul said "You can say anything you want, but don't touch her..." Paul again gently raised his finger towards the man's eyes and said firmly "You can say anything you want, but don't touch her." Then he stood square and starred at the man for a moment. I did the same. 

In the meantime, the preacher lady, dressed all in white, continued to preach. She never stopped. I knew that there were ten of them and only two of us. I also knew that they didn't know if the men behind us were with us or not. I knew that I needed to bluff... so I glared steadily into the main heckler's eyes to let him know that I was ready to fight. Paul did the same. The leader looked from Paul's eyes to mine, back to Paul's and then he looked at the men standing behind us. Then Paul stepped backwards into the crowd and out of the circle. I followed his lead. As the heckler continued to cast insults he stepped backwards, out of the circle. He melted back into the crowd behind him. The preacher lady just kept on preaching.

The man in black was still off at a distance... maybe he was praying. 

I was no hero in that day. If I had known what Paul was going to do, I may have chickened out. But once I was in the middle of that circle, I knew that the young woman, Paul and I were in a dangerous situation. I don't know why I stepped forward. I don't know if my instincts took over at that moment or if it was the Holy Spirit. But I wasn't afraid. I knew that I couldn't afford to be afraid. On the other hand, Paul received insight and courage. Then he acted. In his eyes he looked as if he was ready and willing to fight the whole mob. He was not a large man. 

Paul would eventually became a seminary professor. 

And the preacher lady... She was a slender, feminine, young woman... Physically powerless. She didn't know Paul. She didn't know me. I don't believe that she knew anyone in that crowd that day except the man in black. And he was too far away to see what was happening, too far away to protect her, perhaps too far away to even hear what was going on. 

But she had faith. She had rest. Yes, she had rest! 

When totally surrounded by men... all strangers... many hostile, abusive, insulting and threatening... she held a Bible in her hand, praised God, offered salvation and warned of the judgement to come. She did not respond to insults with insults. She appeared to be totally unaware of what was happening, without concern or fear. She seemed totally focused on God and His message. And God's message was heard through her in that day. 

God may not call you to be a street preacher. Your disciple making may be in small groups or one on one. You may make disciples by your pen as I do with this book. But some things are common to all who find rest in following Christ in His disciple making ministry. There will be opposition, from inside and outside the church.

If you make disciples, you will need to have fellowship with Him in His word (chapter 1). You will need to understand the activities and authorities in the invisible spiritual realm (chapter 3). You will need to make disciples as Christ and the apostles did by praying the Endorsed Prayers (chapter 4). 

And I am praying for you, that God will lead you at this very moment. I am praying that you will stop right now and ask God what your next step should be. 

Please pray now...

(pause for prayer)

(pause for prayer)

I am praying that you will open subchapter 2.4 by clicking the arrow at the top right of your screen. In that short subchapter, you will learn to watch in prayer... you will learn to listen and speak into the invisible spiritual realm as directed by the Holy Spirit. 

God Bless!

Jim Phillips

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light"
Matthew 11:30

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