#1 (THE "INVITATION FROM GOD" SERIES)
"COME AND REST!"
TEXT: Matt. 11:28-30
INTRO: How many of you are tired today? This could perhaps be called the “TIRED generation!” We are running to and fro from early morning to late night, there are so many things to do and yet not enough time to do them all! Mankind used to go to bed when the sun set, now with electricity we stay up late at night, we even have TV shows called “Late Night” and “Late Late Night” for those who really like to stay up late! Yet, we still have to get up early for work, no wonder we are all tired!
In many surveys people say that they wish they had more free time or more time off, they wish they could just sit around and do nothing for a while and sleep in.
Yet, even when we get time off we fill it with so many things to do that often when we come back from vacations we are just as tired, if not more so, than when we left!
PERHAPS the greatest problem however is not the tiredness of body but our tired souls; we have grown tired as a nation over evil in our land, over corruption and terrorism left unchecked, over the constant themes of poverty and disease and brutality. We have grown weary of the unchanging face of sin, of evildoers getting away with their deeds; we have become cynics about nearly everything from politics, to jobs; and even religion!
Our families suffer from a tiredness of soul, children grow up neglected or hurt from broken homes, parents try to fill their lives with business and extended work hours to make themselves believe they have something important to live for or to make more money ... teens don't have direction in their lives as they don't see anything to live for except materialism.
We are a tired nation, living in both physical and soulish exhaustion, but the good news is that God has an invitation: "COME AND REST!" This is first message in a new series entitled: "The Invitation from God" series. Such messages as "Come and see," "Come and Follow Me," "Come and Drink," "Come and Dine," and "Come and Inherit" coming up! God is quick to come an invite us to come to Him, He is the answer to our tiredness of soul!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that there is a rest for the soul even when life gets hectic, this rest is deep and refreshing and satisfies!
I. REST FOR THE WEARY! 11:28
A. Source 11:28a
1. The great secret to finding the rest that every human soul longs for is found in these first three words of Jesus’ invitation: "Come to ME!" (NIV)
a. Jesus doesn't mess around with truth and what each soul needs, He simply declares that if you are to find "rest" for your soul there is only one place to get it ... not just from Him but in HIM!
b. Jesus identifies no other source for rest other than "IN Him."
2. The world tries to find this rest in so many other places:
a. They build big resort areas.
b. They use sports events.
c. They go on vacations.
d. They seek out philosophies.
e. They seek out strange and wild religions and meditation.
f. They seek out the occult.
g. They seek out pleasure from a variety of sins and immorality.
h. Yet nothing in this world has provided the rest for the soul except Jesus!
ILLUS: ONE OF THE FRENCH KINGS BUILT HIMSELF A PALACE THAT HE CALLED “SANS SOUCI” WHICH MEANS: “WITHOUT CARE, WITHOUT WORRY.” BUT THE KING SOON DISCOVERED THAT HE COULD NOT CLOSE OUT THE CARES AND WORRIES OF THE STATE WHEN HE ARRIVED IN HIS ENCLOSED ENCLAVE BECAUSE HE CARRIED THEM IN HIS HEART AND MIND! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. The soul can find no rest in the things of this world, it can only be found in Christ! An eternal soul needs something eternal to rest in.
a. If you are running around looking for relief from this world's burdens and trials you won't find it in this world.
b. If you are truly tired of running around trying to find rest for your heart and mind look no further, Jesus is here for you now and is making an invitation for you to come NOW to Him for real rest!
B. Security! 11:28b
1. "All you who are weary and burdened ..." Well, that about covers everyone!!!
2. "... and I will give you rest!"
a. There is no question about what you receive when you come to Christ, it is rest!
b. Just so you don't get the wrong idea however, Christ is not offering a life without trials and difficulties, but he does offer security of the soul no matter how bad things get or how difficult things get!
c. This word translated "REST" in Greek is "anapausis" not “katapausis,” thus it is better translated "RELIEF"... it is not therefore a life free from pain or struggle or sorrow, it is a security from being overwhelmed by life's struggles, and in this sense it is a rest from heaviness!
3. In Christ there is a security that cannot be found in this world.
a. As Christians we are not crippled or crushed by events that come and go in our life, even the most tragic of events cannot break our spirit when we abide in Christ.
b. This is the security of Christ's offer of rest ... in Him we have purpose and in Him “we know that all things work for our good!”
c. Even the most perplexing events in life that can never be explained or understood cannot rob us of the rest we find in Christ!
4. In this world there is no rest like this!!!!
5. Just going to church and learning to recite the right prayers won't bring it either, you must set your soul on Christ!
ILLUS: IN THE PHILIPPINES A LOCAL PASTOR SHARED THIS STORY: THE DRIVER OF A CARABAO WAGON WAS ON HIS WAY TO MARKET WHEN HE OVERTOOK AN OLD MAN CARRYING A HEAVY LOAD. TAKING COMPASSION ON HIM, THE DRIVER INVITED THE OLD MAN TO RIDE IN THE WAGON. GRATEFULLY THE OLD MAN ACCEPTED! AFTER A FEW MINUTES THE DRIVER TURNED TO SEE HOW THE OLD MAN WAS DOING. TO HIS SURPRISE, HE FOUND THE OLD MAN STILL STRAINING UNDER THE HEAVY LOAD, FOR HE HAD NOT PUT IT DOWN FROM HIS SHOULDERS! WHILE HE WAS ON BOARD, HE STILL CARRIED THE WEIGHT ON HIS OWN SHOULDERS! HOW MANY PEOPLE JUMP ON BOARD A CHURCH AND BECOME A PART OF IT AND YET NEVER REALLY REST IN CHRIST AND LAY THEIR BURDENS DOWN? – SOURCE UNKNOWN
6. Christ's offer here has no “maybe” in it, it is certain that if we trust in Christ our soul finds rest!
a. You do not have to go through life worn down in your heart; you can find a "relief" and peace in Christ.
b. While things in this world offer a temporary peace or some physical rest, nothing will satisfy your soul except God!
II. REST FOR THE WORKER! 11:29-30
A. Secret! 11:29a
1. Jesus now explains the secret to finding real rest in Him, it is to exchange the yoke the world puts on us and instead put on Christ's yoke!
a. The secret to rest is not inactivity ... it is right activities!
b. Jesus didn't say "quit working" ... He said to put “His yoke” on, so we will head in the right direction and when it gets tough He can do the heavy work and pulling!
ILLUS: THE CONCEPT HERE WAS FAMILIAR TO 1ST CENTURY PEOPLE -- A YOUNG BULL WAS ALWAYS YOKED TO AN OLDER STRONGER BULL. THE STRONGER BULL WOULD KEEP THE YOUNGER ONE FROM STRAYING, AND HE WOULD ALSO BEAR MOST OF THE BURDEN WHILE THE YOUNG ONE LEARNED TO PULL THE PLOW. IF THE YOUNGER ONE GOT TIRED, THE OLDER ONE DID MOST OF THE WORK, AND BEING YOKED TOGETHER THE YOUNGER ONE COULD NOT STRAY! IT WAS IN THIS WAY THAT “THE YOKE WAS EASY AND THE BURDEN LIGHT!” IF WE ARE YOKED WITH CHRIST IT IS THE SAME WITH US! AND SINCE CHRIST IS WORKING WE SHOULD BE TOO, BUT WE CAN BE SURE THAT HIS YOKE IS EASIER THAN THIS WORLD'S! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
2. Jesus invites us to learn from Him. He was not inactive, but He sure wasn't overwhelmed either! He drew His strength and peace from His father and we are to draw ours from Him!
3. Jesus did not worry ... not once do we read that He was worried or anxious about anything!
a. In fact, worry only makes matters worse; it is not good for us!
b. This is why Jesus also said, “Be anxious for nothing!”
ILLUS: THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ISSUED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT SOME TIME AGO ABOUT THE TENDENCY OF WORRY TO SHORTEN LIFE ... IT READS IN PART: "SO FAR AS IS KNOWN, NO BIRD EVER TRIED TO BUILD MORE NESTS THAN ITS NEIGHBOR. NO FOX EVER FRETTED BECAUSE IT HAD ONLY ONE HOLE IN WHICH TO HIDE. NO SQUIRREL EVER DIED OF ANXIETY, LEST IT SHOULD NOT LAY ASIDE ENOUGH FOR TWO WINTERS INSTEAD OF ONE, AND NO DOG EVER LOST ANY SLEEP OVER THE FACT THAT IT HAD NOT ENOUGH BONES LAID ASIDE FOR THE DECLINING YEARS." – SOURCE UNKNOWN
c. Birds don't get up in the morning and worry about whether there will be enough worms that day!
d. How many dogs do you know that have had nervous breakdowns?!!! My dog Domino watched the news every night with me and she never once fretted over life!
e. Ever seen the animals in the forest call a meeting to see how they are all going to make it the next week?
4. We are called upon by Christ to “learn from me.”
a. How did He handle everyday life?
(1. He prayed and trusted His father for everything!
(2. He did whatever He could each day and did not fret over tomorrow.
(3. He focused His energy on relationships, not things.
(4. He looked each day for what He might give, not what he got!
(5. He valued spiritual realities far above the things of this world.
(6. He sought to forgive, to love, to be patient, to heal.
b. If we lived and patterned ourselves after Christ our life would be very restful!
B. Spiritual! 11:29b-30
1. Jesus clearly identifies the kind of rest He is speaking about: "for you will find rest for your souls."
a. It is not a rest from activity or planning, or hard work!
b. It is a rest for the soul amidst all the good and bad of life, all the activity and trials, the joy and the pain.
2. Jesus explains what He is like: "I am gentle and humble in heart" … this is how we are to pattern ourselves.
a. He is gentle in that He seeks to harm no one, He is not one to hurt or to condemn, His gentleness is demonstrated in how patient He is with sinners and saints who don't obey Him, and His patience is marvelous!
b. His humility puts others ahead of self ... He did not come to be served, but to serve others, this is hardly the mentality of the world because it is spiritual in essence and thus the world does not grasp it!
c. Rest cannot come if we don't pattern ourselves after Christ in these two ways!
d. People who are demanding and angry or who act superior to others and so have a demanding spirit are some of the most frustrated and tired people on earth!
3. We cannot escape a YOKE -- we WILL and must choose one!
a. What are you yoked to -- a career, a lifestyle, an organization – or Christ???
b. The only yoke that is not too heavy to bear is the one that is connected to Christ!
c. If you want to find relief it is spelled C – H – R – I – S - T! That’s how you spell relief! (Remember the meaning of the Greek word for “rest” is “relief.”)
d. Those that walk with God never lose their way; they can't when they are yoked to Him!
4. In these last days the Bible says in Heb 12:26b-28a "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things -- so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful,” do you know what is unshakeable to yoke yourself to? “His yoke is easy, his burden is light!” He is unshakable and His kingdom!
ILLUS: YEARS AGO THE GERMAN NATURALIST EXPERIENCED HIS FIRST EARTHQUAKE. THE HOUSE HE WAS IN BEGAN TO CRACK AND FALL APART AROUND HIM, SO HE FLED OUTSIDE TO ANOTHER HOUSE ONLY TO HAVE IT START FALLING APART AROUND HIM ALSO. LIFTING HIS EYES TO THE HILLS HE SAW THAT THEY WERE ALSO REELING AND STAGGERING LIKE DRUNKEN MEN, IT WAS USELESS TO RUN TO THE HILLS. HE THEN LOOKED TOWARD THE SEA BUT THERE HE SAW A SHIP IN THE MUD, ITS BARE KEEL SHOWING CLEARLY FOR THE WATER HAD FLED. THE GROUND UNDER HIS FEET TOO WAS NO PLACE OF SAFETY ... NO MATTER WHERE HE LOOKED THERE WAS NO SAFETY. JUST THEN HE HAPPENED TO LOOK UP TOWARD HEAVEN AND HE NOTICED THAT IT WAS UNMOVED ... ONLY THE HEAVENS WERE STABLE. HOW TRUE THIS IS TODAY, THERE IS NOTHING ON EARTH THAT IS TRULY STABLE, NOTHING ON EARTH THAT WE CAN YOKE OURSELVES TO THAT OFFERS STABILITY AND RELIEF ... ONLY IF WE LOOK HEAVENWARD DO WE SEE AN UNSHAKABLE CHRIST! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
5. We do have a choice, a light burden or a heavy one! Only the fool chooses the heavy one -- so choose Christ, He invites you to "COME AND REST!" Do you want real rest, it is available, why not accept Christ’s invitation?
CONCLUSION: There is a deeper rest than physical rest! You can be quite active and still find rest in Christ! People today are tired! There is an exhaustion of the soul that can only be refreshed IN Christ. Jesus' invitation is very clear, "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest!" How tired are you, and have you discovered God’s invitation to come and find real rest? The invitation is a good one!