During Week 11 of "The Home Builders: Embracing the Art of Home," Jean Stockdale teaches on the need for rest.
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The Home Builders
Week 11 - Rest
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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).
“God Almighty. The All Powerful God. The Creator of the Universe. The Rescuer and Redeemer for all mankind. He rested. God had the Sabbath in mind from the very beginning. May God Himself be our example for building rest and margin into our lives and into the lives of our homes” (Home Builders, pg. 31).
We are living at a maddening pace pressed on all sides by things like family responsibilities, raising children (and in some cases grandchildren), caregiving for aging parents, the never-ending challenges of running a household, job pressures (of both full and part- time), and (I dare say) ministry responsibilities. (In case you are wondering if this kind of fast and furious living is just a 21st century phenomenon, read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 for Paul’s list of the demands on his life). Obviously, the Lord would have us build margins in our frantic day to spend time with Him and to be able to accomplish those things He has called us to do in the strength of His power as well as physical rest to avoid burnout. For our study on the topic of “rest” we will be looking at Matthew 11:28-30.
I. Christ’s Invitation for Salvation - Matthew 11:28
Jesus says, “Come to Me.” Jesus extends an invitation to trust Jesus personally, not merely believe historical facts about Him. (Beloved, beware of “easy believism” which is little more than an intellectual acknowledgment or nod of the head to the facts of Jesus, but not a total surrender to Him. James 2:19 says, “The demons also believe, and shudder.” An acknowledgement of the facts of Jesus stops short of repentance and faith in Jesus, which leads to genuine conversion).
Come to Jesus to receive salvation, which results in the immediate gift and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sin, and heaven when you die. And these are just a few of the extraordinary benefits of His amazing grace! Come to Jesus! He offers the free gift of salvation to all who will come to Him on His terms of repentance and faith. Come to Jesus. He will save you! “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Come to Jesus. He alone can satisfy your soul. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35). Come to Jesus. Repent. Believe. Receive.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give your rest.” In context, this refers to those oppressed by the burden of religious ritual and legalism imposed on people by the Jewish scribes and Pharisees. The word “weary” means to feel fatigued, tired, or exhausted. The weary soul is struggling to find favor with God by his own resources through good works or religious activity. Jesus invites the person who is weary from trying to earn salvation through a form of works-righteousness. The one who attempts to find favor with God through good works does not understand the holiness of God or the wickedness of the human heart and its propensity towards evil! To be “heavy- ladened” is to be loaded down. Figuratively, it means to overburden with ceremony, rituals or unwarranted precepts.
John MacArthur notes:
In Jesus’ day, the rabbinical teachings had become so massive, demanding, and all- encompassing that they prescribed standards and formulas for virtually every human activity. It was all but impossible even to learn all the traditions, and was completely impossible to keep them all. Jesus spoke of the heavy loads of religious tradition that the scribes and Pharisees laid on the people’s shoulders.
(Matthew, pg. 275).
Come to Jesus and He will give you rest. Rest from the crushing legalistic burden of trying to earn salvation. Rest from the mind-numbing weight generated from carrying the shame and guilt of sin. Rest from legalism and man-made religious rituals. Jesus promises rest to all who come to Him in repentance and faith.
II. Christ’s Provision for Sanctification - Matthew 11:29-30
Jesus promises “rest” through salvation (11:28). Jesus promises “rest for [our] souls” in sanctification. The process of sanctification begins immediately after our conversion, whereby we are progressively changed into His image. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me . . . and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus promises spiritual rest, not physical rest as there is much to do for the Kingdom! Jesus said, “We must do the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Thankfully, we have the indwelling Spirit of God as our internal guide and the Word of God as our external guide.
Jesus invites us to willingly submit to His yoke. A yoke is a wooden frame used to join two animals (usually oxen) for the purpose of pulling heavy loads. The Lord’s reference to a yoke in the lives of believers implies heavy lifting is required to join Him in Kingdom work! Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Indeed God provides spiritual rest for believers, but that does not grant us a pass on working for Him. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Beloved, being a part of the family of God involves hard work. Certainly our service is to be done under His direction and by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, but hard work will be involved. We are not called to a life of ease. Seeing the multitudes outside a personal relationship with Christ, He said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). God has called us to lives of service empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will rind rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Beloved Home Builder, take up the yoke of Jesus Christ and engage in Kingdom work for His honor and His glory!