Sermon: The Rest of Jesus - Matthew 11

You need soul rest far more than you need physical rest. You need release from worry. You need release from tension. You need release from stress, from guilt, from fear, from bitterness, from anxiety. This is soul rest.

Scriptures: Matthew 11

Introduction

Do you ever get weary or burdened?

  • kids
  • friends
  • husband/wife
  • church
  • finances / debt
  • relationship with God
  • aging parents
  • future
  • house maintenance
  • health
  • job
  • education
  • relationship with co-workers
  • in-laws
  • performance at work
  • step-children,
  • ex-spouse
How many of you in here have done something stupid when you were weary, or stressed, or burdened?

My migraine headache

I had something very strange happen to me 2 months ago. On Sunday morning, April 21, I had just finished teaching a class and came to check on Barbara (she was teaching a new Christian's class). I sat down and they were doing a matching game to learn some of the basic teachings of the Bible about salvation, and baptism, and the Lord's supper, and that type of thing.

I noticed that my eyes were bothering me and I was having a hard time focusing. I left the room and came down to my office to do some study. My eyes were bothering me and I couldn't focus on the words. I had a headache and felt junky. I went home and took out my contacts and figured it had something to them.

So Monday morning I called my optometrist, Dr. Gillespe, there in Hermitage and spoke with his assistant and found out that I would have to get a referral from my Primary Care Physician before the insurance would cover it. So I called Dr. Beckam's office and they said come on in - saw Kristen.

So I'm sitting there with my legs dangling off the exam table and describing . She said, "You were having a migraine, and it's caused by stress." I couldn't believe it, because I'm known for how well I handle stress. I'm a happy, go lucky guy. I'm not worried about anything.

It was hard to tell you the story about my migraine - it was very embarrassing - because it let me know that I didn't have it all together. I couldn't handle all these pressures on my own.

How does your body react when you get stressed? Shoulders get tight, chest hurts, headaches, can't focus, some of you get sick. Others just get grouchy and sometimes do stupid things to hurt others

Do you know what I realized? I was carrying the weight of the world.

I believe that God brought me to this passage to minister to me and to give me perspective and direction

I want us to look at this passage in the light of what we have been discussing as we've looked at the virtues, values, characteristics, and attitudes of Jesus.

"Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (HCSB)

Are any of you weary or burdened?

You're overloaded in your mind.You're overloaded in your spirit.You're overloaded in your emotions.What are the usual responses when we get weary, tired, burdened?

Good responses like getting more sleep, regular exercise, take time off, go fishing, hobby, music

Negative

Watch TV, eating too much, take pills to jack you up or settle you down. Some of you may drink alcohol or take an illegal drug.

But none of these things can give you soul rest. Only God can give you that.

You need soul rest far more than you need physical rest. You need release from worry. You need release from tension. You need release from stress, from guilt, from fear, from bitterness, from anxiety. This is soul rest.

Vs. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.

Why of all the things that Jesus can teach me when it comes to needing soul rest do I need gentleness and humility? Because the two greatest causes of overload in your life are aggression and arrogance. That's what causes you to get overloaded.

Aggression – we get in a hurry. Opposite of Gentle

I've got to have it now, even if I can't afford it. So we overextend. We buy things we can't afford so we have to hustle to pay for them.

  • We don't want to wait.
  • We don't want to pause,
  • we don't want to delay,
  • we don't want to consider.
  • We want it now.
  • We want to be assertive. We want to be aggressive. We jump into things and we get way over committed before we could possibly fulfill all those commitments.

You're also overloaded because of arrogance.

Ego is responsible for a lot more stress in your life than you want to give it credit for.

We go out and think, "I can handle this!" and we take on another responsibility. Ego and arrogance is why you try to control everything because you think you know better than everybody else. You think you know better than God.

  • You try to do it all.
  • You try to have it all and
  • you try to be it all and you try to please everybody.
  • This is the opposite of what Jesus wants to teach us.

Vs. 29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.

"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

A bow yoke is a shaped wooden crosspiece bound to the necks of a pair of oxen, or occasionally horses. It is held on the animals' necks by an oxbow, from which it gets its name. The oxbow is usually U-shaped and also transmits force from the animals' shoulders. A swivel beneath the centre of the yoke, between the animals, attaches the pole of the vehicle (when the animals steer the vehicle) or chains that are used to drag the load. (wikipedia)

Jesus says, "I want you to take My yoke upon you." Why does He use that symbol?

1. A yoke is a symbol of partnership

There are two of you working on it and not just one. Jesus says, "I will help you out with your problems. I will help carry your load." He doesn't add to your load. He says, "I'll share your load." He doesn't have a load. He's God!

He says, "I will share your load. Stick with Me. Go shoulder to shoulder with Me. Work with Me and I will be your partner and I will carry a part of your load." He says, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Why? Because we're sharing it.

Psalm 55:22 "Pile your troubles on God's shoulders. He'll carry your load and He'll help you out."

God has a stronger back than you do.

If you are overloaded, overstressed, burdened down this morning it's because you're not yoked to Christ this very moment.

If you are this morning is because you are not yoked to Jesus Christ this very moment.

Every time I get detached from Jesus Christ my stress level goes up. Every time I get reattached to Jesus Christ my stress level goes down.

2. The yoke is a symbol of control

Where oxen are yoked together they are controlled by the master. When you are under the yoke of Christ you are controlled by God. You have given up control. The load is lighter but you have given up control.

When I'm yoked with Christ we move together in the same direction and at the same pace. When you are yoked to Jesus Christ you can't go in a different direction than Jesus. And when you are yoked with Jesus Christ you can't go any faster than Jesus goes. He sets the direction and He sets the pace.

"Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (HCSB)

Matthew 16:24, the Message paraphrase, Jesus says, "Anyone that intends to come to Me has to let Me lead. You're not in the driver's seat. I am."

Who's setting the pace in your life right now? Your agenda or God's agenda. If you're setting the pace it's no wonder you're stressed out because you're looking around at everybody else, seeing they're going fast and you think you've got to catch up. They're burning out too. Why do you want to let other people set the pace in your life?

Who sets your pace/direction in the following areas? Phone, email, texting, social networking, sports & recreation, work schedule, fashion/hairstyle music, TV, movies, house, car / truck / bike family time, money, church

Michael Zigarelli says, "Learn to say no." (Michael Zigarelli, Freedom from Busyness)

Give yourself permission to say no

"Would you help me to know which of these I should wait on while I'm making that a priority?"

Say no to perfectionism (Galatians 1:10)

House perfectly clean or lawn perfectly manicured (80 % rule)

Learn to say no to your kids

Learn to say no to constant entertainment

Jesus, how do you want me to spend my time? Jesus, how do you want me to spend my money?

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

If you are burdened, I want to encourage you to pray with the person next to you

"I need to partner with Jesus in my burden for _______________"

"He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak . . . those who wait on the Lord will find new strength." Isaiah 40:29+31(NLT)

Craig Webb is assistant executive director at Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention and a contract content editor for LifeWay's Deacon magazine.