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The Rest of Faith (1 of 4)

Mike Connell

Hebrews 4:10 – “He who has entered His rest, has himself also ceased from his works, as God did from His.”

To ‘enter’ rest means: to cease struggling and striving. It's to cease your own works, to try to accomplish something before God.

Unfortunately, it's very easy to go down that route. The Old Testament law seems to come like this: if you do this, you'll be blessed; if you do that, you'll be cursed. Tithe and you'll be blessed, don't tithe and you'll be cursed; and so on and so forth.

You have all of these laws: and so we get to have a mentality of the law: that if I just do enough, I'll get what I need.

If I just do enough, my parents will be pleased, and dad will smile and say: well done. If I just do enough, I'll succeed; if I just do enough I'll get a promotion. If I just do enough… and so we become wired: if I just do enough, I'll somehow get what I need.

The trouble is, what we do is never quite enough to get what we really think we want; and so we're left striving and struggling and wrestling. This is true of people everywhere.

Then we come to the church; and so the first thing you hear is: you hear the gospel - and the gospel's very clear:

We are saved by? Grace!

Grace through? Faith!

How do you get saved? Grace through faith, grace through faith. How is the rest of all your Christian life supposed to work? Grace through faith, grace! God's empowerment through believing, not striving.

Yet striving is where people end up, and I find so many people striving and struggling. The striving and struggling is very subtle, and it comes up in books and resources.

How many have read a book: four keys to this? What's implicit in that is: if I just do the four things - I'll get what they say.

10 keys to a great marriage; five keys to breakthrough - then we do them, we don't get the breakthrough, and we can't work out why. So we go for another book, and so on and so forth.

The shops are full of them. The Christian shops abound in books with keys; and yes, there are things we can do - but what you've got to realise is:

The core of the work of God is: believing.

The core of it is: believing what God is like; and what God has said He's done, and will do on our behalf - not trying to make it happen.

For example, a lot of Christians (sensitive area here), they hear this scripture; and I've heard it a number of times - it's always worried me a bit really.

Malachi 4 – “Prove me…” Now I believe you can prove God, and this is a great - and I believe in the whole area of tithing, and beyond tithing and giving; but people get into this thing that: “If I do it I'll be blessed; if I don't then I'll be cursed”.

Now that is the law; but I am blessed. In fact I'm blessed all the time. I'm blessed in Christ. He made me blessed. He positioned me for blessing, when I believed.

I don't work to get blessed. I don't have to work to get to blessing. What I need to do is: believe I'm blessed; and align myself with what a believer should do.

If I believe that God is my source, then I'm free to give to Him - and give well beyond the tithe.

Many Christians are locked in on this tithe thing, and they're locked in on the law.

Fear is what drives the law; rather than realizing: if I'm a man of faith, and believe that God is my source and supply, then I can give, and I can give well beyond that.

I can be a generous person. In fact, actually that's what God wants me to be; not just a tither, legalistically tithing, and wondering why I'm limited. He wants to make me a generous giver. A generous giver!

I counseled one guy, a former pastor. He was sitting in a group (a group of Cook Islanders), and we were talking to them. The guy was very grumpy, and he started off by announcing: “I've just stopped tithing. I've gone to the bank, and I've cancelled my tithe”!

There was a deathly silence in the meeting, and all the religious people... they all kind of went back, because the fire of God is about fall! [Laughter] Pastor's about to give him a hammering, you know? Ooh! Stand back, watch this! He's going to be charred!