Questions for Littles: What should we be diligent (or strive) to do, according to the first part of v11? What would keep us from doing so, according to the second part of v11? What is living and powerful, according to the first part of v12? How sharp is it, according to the second part of v12? To what divisions does the Word of God pierce? What does it discern about our hearts? What creatures are hidden from God’s sight, according to v13? What things are naked and exposed to God’s eyes? What will we have to give to God?In the Scripture text for the sermon this week, we heard a strange combination of words, “Let us be diligent to enter that rest.” Diligent… rest. Those words are almost opposites, aren’t they? There is a rest that only believers will enter at the end of this life, but until then, every Lord’s Day, while we are resting from our worldly work and recreation, we are to be diligent.
Now that’s a word we don’t often think of in connection with the Sabbath, but part of the reason for that is that, like the Pharisees, we get caught up in what we must not do on the Sabbath. But Sabbath isn’t so much about all of the lesser things that we may not do on the day, as it is about a day of fellowship that was better than six, perfect days a week in Eden, with perfect earthly work and perfect earthly pleasures. On those Sabbath days, Adam and Eve were to look forward to “entering the rest of God”—a rest that would be an eternally superior paradise by comparison even to the garden of Eden.
The day is for fellowship with the Lord. The day is for delighting in the Lord. This doesn’t end when Christ finally comes. In fact, in contradiction to those who saw Sabbath as the day of “don’t,” Jesus sharpens its focus as a day of delight, when He declares Himself “The Lord of the Sabbath.” On the Lord’s Day, we are to be diligent to delight in Christ. On the Lord’s Day, we are to be diligent to gather to worship in Christ.
On the Lord’s Day, we are to be diligent to listen to preaching. On the Lord’s Day, we are to be diligent to offer our hearts to the preaching. Tender. Teachable. Directable. But the fourth commandment’s fulfillment in Christ isn’t the only reason for us to listen to the preaching that way.
Verse 12 begins, “For.” It’s giving us another reason to keep the Lord’s Day this way, and another reason to listen to preaching this way: on these Lord’s Days, the Lord isn’t just pointing us to our Eternal Blessedness in Him; on these Lord’s Days, the Lord is also preparing us for our Eternal Blessedness in Him.
One day, we will stand before Christ and give an account for who we are and what we have done. By then, He will have used His Word, Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day, to perfectly shape us into His image. By then, there will be a lifetime of good deeds that weren’t perfect, but were truly good and received in Christ. Those deeds will have been brought out of the mess of our sin by the razor-sharp, sometimes painful but always loving, heart surgery that Christ performs on us. One Lord’s Day at a time.
So, on these Lord’s Days and in these sermons… Let’s be diligent to give Him our hearts!
What does giving your heart to responding to Jesus in the preaching look like? What are some things that you can be doing to prepare you better to keep the Lord’s Day well? To listen to sermons well?