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Lesson 25: And You Will Find Rest For Your Souls (Matthew 11:20-30)

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I. Intro and Recap:

a.       Up to this point in Matthew’s gospel the hostility towards Jesus has steadily increased.  Jesus has gone around Israel proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, displaying with healings and resurrections and miracles.  Like John the Baptist He is calling people to turn from sin and turn to God and escape judgment.

i.  John the Baptist is now in prison and beginning to wonder if in fact Jesus was the Messiah…

ii.                        Mat. 11:4-6, “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

b.      People were increasingly irresponsive to Jesus.

i.  You’d think it would have been the opposite.

ii.                        You would think that people would be excited and happy about these signs and miracles.  But that’s not the case.  There was an increasing hostility toward Jesus.

iii.                      Even though the masses followed Jesus, the masses did not understand that Jesus was the King and the Kingdom had arrived because the King had arrived.

iv.                      So they never repented.  They felt no need to repent.

c.       In this first section Jesus begins to denounce the cities He had travelled through and displayed the power of the kingdom, because very few repented and followed Him.

i.  It’s as if Jesus is surprised.  He’s almost seems shocked that the people were so stubborn and hard-hearted.

d.      In this passage, Jesus confronted Israel’s disbelief more openly than ever.

i.  He had done all kinds of open, public ministry, displaying the kingdom, but they overwhelmingly rejected it.

ii.  They were terrible at discerning reality.

II.                      A Warning of Judgment (11:20-24).

a.       #1- Jesus is Judge (11:20-21), “Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

i.  “He began to denounce…”

1.      What does denounce mean?

2.      Part of Jesus ministry was denunciation.

3.      “woe to you”  “woe to you”

ii.                        Why did He denounce?

1.      They were given so much revelation, but they hardened their hearts.

2.      They did not repent.

3.      They did not repent in light of the revelation given to them.   The “mighty works.”

4.      Both these Galilean villages would have witnessed Jesus’ ministry firsthand.

5.      They have seen the miracles of Jesus; they have heard the teachings of Jesus.

6.      They have been first-row spectators to His words and deeds.  They have marveled at His authority.

iii.                      Jesus is a Judge:

1.      Jesus is a Teacher, Jesus is a Savior, Jesus is a Healer, Jesus is a Miracle-worker.  Yes.  All of that is perfectly true.

2.      But Jesus is also a Righteous Judge.

3.      The Israelites, like us, were terrible at discerning reality.

b.      We are terrible at judging ourselves:

i.  There is a fairly recent DOVE soap commercial where a women walks into a warehouse and there is a artist sketcher behind a sheet and he asks her to describe her face. 

1.      He can’t see her so she describes her nose and describes her chin and describes her lips and her forehead and her freckles and he does his best to draw it.

2.      Then he brings in another lady who only recently met this lady who was sketched by the artist and she does the same thing.  The artist asks this stranger to describe the lady she only recently met.  So she describes her features.  She describes the ladies nose and chin and hair and ears and forehead.

3.      The big moment is when the lady, who has now been drawn two times see both sketches side by side.

4.      The sketch that she describes of herself of somewhat distorted and pronounced and exaggerated.  It’s doesn’t look that nice.  But the portrait that was described by the stranger is much better looking.

5.      The point Dove is trying to make is that women tend to be too hard on themselves.  They are out of touch with how beautiful they really are.

ii.                        There was a parody on this heartwarming commercial where they did the same thing with guys.

1.      A guy walks into a warehouse and describes himself to an artist behind the veil and the men describes themselves in glowing terms.

2.      “People have said I have incredible hair.”  “My jaw is pretty square.”  “I have bold, dark eyes, sort of like a milk chocolate color.”

3.      And the sketches all come out looking like George Clooney.  Brad Pitt.  Movie stars.

4.      Then they have women describe the men and it’s the complete opposite/

5.      “His eyes sort of protrude like a grape, if that makes sense.”

6.      “His chin is sort of…well…not there….”

iii.                      It’s all sort of a hilarious parody on how women tend to be too hard on themselves and men tend to be too easy on themselves.

iv.                      Both sexes are out of touch with reality.

c.       The following statement of Jesus is not en vogue:  “Repent, or you will likewise perish.”

i.  Jesus as Judge rubs against our cultural sensibilities.

ii.                        This is offensive.  And It was offensive to them as well.

iii.                      Jesus says, in this text, “Blessed are you if you do not take offense to me.”

iv.                      Many people will hear the words of Jesus and walk away.

v.                         The reason they will walk away is because of unbelief.

d.      #2- The sin of Unbelief (11:20b).

i.  “because they did not repent…”

1.      They heard the good news of the Kingdom.  They even SAW the good news of the kingdom.  But they did not feel the need to turn from their sin.

2.      Jesus had done all kinds of miracles and He expected people to acknowledge that these were Messianic miracles.

3.      They should have recognized that God had arrived.

4.      But they refused to believe it.  They even said that Jesus was of the Devil.  They didn’t deny the power, but they refused repent.

5.      The kind of repentance Jesus was looking for was a complete change of life.  A change of thinking and a change of behavior.

6.      They should have responded to Jesus as the Lord and King and followed Him and renounced their lives.

7.      They should have bent the knee to Christ as Lord and King.  They should have bowed down.

8.      But they didn’t.

9.      They refused to repent.

ii.                        Story of not repenting:

1.      “Some years ago a murderer was sentenced to death. The murderer’s brother, to whom the State was deeply indebted for former services, besought the governor of the State for his brother’s pardon. The pardon was granted, and the man visited his brother with the pardon in his pocket. “What would you do,” he said to him, “if you received a pardon?”

2.      “The first thing I would do,” he answered, “is to track down the judge who sentenced me, and murder him; and the next thing I would do is to track down the chief witness, and murder him.”

3.      The brother rose, and left the prison with the pardon in his pocket…

4.      If there is no repentance there is no pardon.

5.      Woe to you Chorazin!  Woe to you Bethsaida!

iii.                      What is unbelief?

1.      Unbelief is not intellectual, it’s moral.  It’s closely connected to disobedience.  If someone does not believe the gospel it is usually not for intellectual reasons.  It is for moral reasons.

2.      Unbelief is a moral disobedience, not a intellectual skepticism.

3.      “Disobedience is the root of unbelief. Unbelief is the mother of further disobedience…It lies in the moral aversion of human will and in the pride of independence, which says, "who is Lord over us? Why should we have to depend on Jesus Christ?...the less one trusts, the more he disobeys; the more he disobeys, the less he trusts.”  Alexander Maclaren.

iv.                      Unbelief is different than doubt.

1.      Doubt can actually be a good thing.

2.      Skepticism is actually a good thing in many ways.

3.      It’s not a virtue to be gullible.

4.      We should have a filter.

5.      Jesus tells us to be wise as serpents.

6.      One of the marks of Evangelicals in the last 100 years has been an almost comical gullibility and lack of thinking and discernment.

7.      There is a difference between blind faith and reasonable faith. 

a.       We certainly have to display faith.  There are things that we cannot see.  But we are always believing and trusting based on historical facts.

8.      Anthony Flew:

a.       The equivalent of Richard Dawkins today.  Renowned atheist in Great Britain.

b.      After years of being an atheist, late in life he finally acknowledged that there must some Intelligent Designer of this world.

c.       “An honest man will follow the evidence….I have found the case for the empty tomb to be very convincing.”

9.      Christianity isn’t just “BELIEVE, BELIEVE, BELIEVE!”  Don’t ask questions, just believe!

10.  No, this is historical, and true, or it isn’t, and if it isn’t historically true, and you still believe it, there is nothing virtuous about that.  In fact, it’s foolish.

v.                         These town should have repented, but they sinned the sin of unbelief.

1.      Jesus says that they should have responded with sackcloth and ashes, but they actually responded with hostility and accusations, saying Jesus is empowered by Satan.

2.      Jesus is judging and rebuking them for their unbelief.  But it might help to articulate more about what this unbelief looked like.

3.      Jesus rebukes unbelief.  He has a particular disdain for the sin of unbelief. Why?

4.      Eternity is contingent on our response to Jesus.

5.      What is repentance?

a.       “Sackcloth and ashes” were common public tokens of repentance in antiquity. One who wore sackcloth donned a coarse undergarment, often made of camels’ hair. Ashes were sprinkled on one’s head

6.      What does it look like?

7.      The sin of unbelief:

a.       This is the worst sin.

b.      This is the unpardonable sin.

8.      Os Guiness gives a very helpful definition of doubt in his book “In Two Minds.” He says, "When you believe, you are in one mind and accept something as true. Unbelief is to be of one mind and reject that something is true. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at the same time, and so to be in ’two minds.’" That is what James calls, in Chapter 1, a "double minded man," or as the Chinese say, "Doubt is standing in two boats, with one foot in each."

9.      So unbelief essentially says that God cannot be trusted!

10.  Unbelief is a refusal to submit to the truth.  It’s a suppression of the truth.

11.  The truth is like a giant spring and unbelief tries to hold that spring down.  Unbelief tries to suppress the truth (Rom. 1).

vi.                      John MacArthur tells this story “In 1984 a Boeing jet crashed in Spain.  Straight into a mountain.  Investigators studied the sight and recovered the little black box.  They made an eerie discovery.  The black box had in it a voice recorder which recorded the final minutes before the fatal impact.  What they heard was an automated recording of the planes automatic warning system saying, “Pull up! Pull up! Pull up! Pull up!  Then, astoundingly, the voice of the pilot was heard snapping back, ‘Shut up Gringo!’ and he switched the system off.  In a matter of minutes the plane crashed into the side of the mountain and everyone was killed.  This is a parable of an unbelieving heart.

vii.                    “Sin blinds people from properly perceiving what is significant.” Darrell Bock

e.       #3- There will be a final day of judgment (11:22-24). “But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”

i.  The day of judgment is inevitable.

1.      That day will come.

2.      Jesus is saying here that there is a heaven and there is a hell and all of us go to one of two places.

3.      You will either spend eternity in heaven or hell.

4.      We will all stand before the judgment seat.

5.      The judgment is coming.

6.      The Day of the Lord is coming.

7.      Pages and pages of scripture warn about this day!

8.      Almost every author in the Bible, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, warns of a the coming day of judgment.

9.      1992 referring to an event in 1985.  Early 20’s.  “1985 I wonder whether you remember me sitting in your office wondering if God would have to use a car accident or some other awful event to get my attention.  And you pointed out that the consequences of my deliberate choice to continue sinning would be nothing short of hell itself.  No one had ever told me that I was headed for hell.  Missionary kid that I was.  Saved at the age of six.  It was a turning point in my life, and I have wanted to thank you and tell you that ever since.  Every single year since 1992 I have received a Christmas card from this young lady thanking me for warning her of hell if she did not get out of this relationship.’”

10.  Are you ready to meet the Lord?

a.       Are you willing to risk your eternity on a hunch?

b.      Many people would never risk swimming with sharks, or risk their finances on gambling, or risk walking on a tightrope, or risk running a red light, but how many billions of people risk their eternal destiny on a hunch, or on your own good life?

ii.                        The day of judgment will result in degrees of punishment.

1.      “more tolerable.”

2.      “But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.”

3.      Jesus is saying that there are degrees of punishment in hell.

4.      It is also true that there will be degrees of reward in heaven.

5.      The Lord is just and He will discern the degrees of punishment or reward on that day.

6.      Colin Smith talks about the day of judgment, and says…

a.       “You may say, "Wait a minute. How can any sin deserve everlasting destruction? If God is just, how can he punish like this?"

b.      The best answer I ever heard to that question was given by a friend of mine who is a middle school pastor. He outlined the stages of the following scenario:

i.  Suppose a middle school student punches another student in class. What happens? The student is given a detention.

ii.                        Suppose during the detention, this boy punches the teacher. What happens? The student gets suspended from school.

iii.                      Suppose on the way home, the same boy punches a policeman on the nose. What happens? He finds himself in jail.

iv.                      Suppose some years later, the very same boy is in a crowd waiting to see the President of the United States. As the President passes by, the boy lunges forward to punch the President. What happens? He is shot dead by the secret service.

c.       In every case the crime is precisely the same, but the severity of the crime is measured by the one against whom it is committed. What comes from sinning against God? Answer: Everlasting destruction.

III.                   An Invitation to Rest (11:25-30).

a.       Starting in v. 25, we see Jesus now respond to the growing hostility.

i.  He responds with prayer and with an invitation.

ii.                        He finds comfort in the sovereignty of God.  He trusts His Father.

1.      “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.”

iii.                      Then He continues to invite people to come to Him and be a part of the Kingdom.

iv.                      This is obviously connected to the previous section where He denounced entire villages for NOT coming to Him in faith and repentance.

v.                         These five verses are an invitation to come and find rest in Jesus.

b.      #1- The invitation is for all people (11:25-26, 28).

i.  “you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding”

1.      These people are the achievers.  The PhD’s.  The intellectual elite.

2.      They have wisdom and learning, but their self-sufficiency has made it more difficult for them to rely on God’s wisdom, and not their own.

3.      Obviously many wise and learned people do know the truth of the Kingdom, but the point Jesus is making is that if anyone comes to the saving knowledge of the truth, it’s not by their own intellect and brain prowess.

ii.                        “and revealed them to little children”

1.      “Little children” refers to the most simple.  The humble.

2.      The Lord never intended for the gospel to only be understood by the smart folks.

3.      Jesus is deliberately making the point that the gospel is for all people.

4.      So the contrast is not literally between smart folks and children, but between proud people who have no need of Jesus, and humble people who do have need of Jesus.

5.      If you are proud, then Jesus won’t mean much to you.  You see yourself as spiritually rich.  You have no need.

6.      But if you are poor in spirit.  If you are like a child, who has needs, then Jesus will be precious to you.

iii.                      “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden.”

1.      This is a universal call.

2.      This is a call to whosoever wants it.

3.      Jesus invites all people to come to Him.

4.      Jesus just gets done rebuking people for not repenting, then he reiterates the fact that all people are welcome.  All people are invited.

5.      “no one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

6.      The whole purpose of salvation is to know the Father and the Son.

7.      The invitation to salvation is an invitation to Christ.

8.      The invitation to rest is an invitation to Christ.

9.      The invitation to the Kingdom is an invitation to Christ.

10.  The invitation to Eternal Life is an invitation to Christ.

11.  Jesus is inviting all people to Himself.  To God.

iv.                      There is a universal element of Jesus’ invitation.

1.      John 1:11-12, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…”

a.       That is exactly what we see happening in this section.

b.      He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.

c.       He came to the cities of Bethsaida and Capernaum, but they rejected Him

d.      But to all who labor and are heavy laden, to all who are poor in spirit, to the little children, He gave them the right to rest in Him.

v.                         The heresy of hyper-Calvinism was that we didn’t know who the elect are, so we need not offer the gospel to all.

1.      That’s nonsense!

2.      The gospel is for all!

3.      Jesus tells the disciples at the end of Matthew’s gospel to go to all nations and proclaim the gospel to everyone!

4.      The invitation from Jesus here could not be more clear… “All!” “All!”

c.       #2- The invitation to know God is revealed by Jesus (11:25-27).

i.  Twice Jesus says that knowledge of the gospel is revealed to some people.

ii.                        “whoever the Son chooses to reveal him” (11:25, 27)

iii.                      We have here a theological tension here.

1.      In one sense, God clearly calls all people.

2.      In another sense, God is only revealed to some by the Son, whoever He chooses to reveal the Father to.

iv.                      The tension of Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility:

1.      The tendency is to emphasize one or the other.

2.      But Biblical Christianity needs to hold both in tension.

3.      Scripture regularly and without any sense of contradiction juxtaposes the themes of divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

a.       Phil 2:12–13, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”  {Gen 50:19–20; Lev 20:7–8; Jer 29:10–14; Joel 2:32}

4.      D.A. Carson:

a.       “God is absolutely sovereign, but his sovereignty never functions in Scripture to reduce human responsibility.

b.      Human beings are responsible creatures—that is, they choose, they believe, they disobey, they respond, and there is moral significance in their choices; but human responsibility never functions in Scripture to diminish God’s sovereignty or to make God absolutely contingent.”

v.                         The general invitation is to all people.  And if they ignore the call, they onus is always on them.  God is never responsible for someone’s unbelief.

vi.                      The effectual call is only to those who respond to the gospel.  And the reason they responded to the gospel, is because the Son chose to reveal it.  V. 27 is a crystal clear statement of God’s election unto salvation.

vii.                    Don’t ask me how this works because I don’t know.

viii.                  But Scripture says it’s compatible.  Divine sovereignty and human responsibility are compatible.

1.      And we always get weird when we emphasize one and not the other.

2.      Scripture emphasizes both and so should we.

ix.                      Why don’t some people believe the gospel?

1.      Answer #1-  They are blinded by Satan.

a.       (2 Cor. 4:3–4).

2.      Answer #2- The refuse to believe.  Unbelief.

3.      Answer #3- The Son has not been revealed to them.

d.      #3- The invitation is to rest in Jesus. (11:28)

i.  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

1.      These are some of the most precious words in the Bible.

2.      These words sounds like an invitation to a spiritual Spa.

3.      Jesus equates the Christian life with spiritual rest.

ii.                        “labor and heavy laden”

1.      had the idea of someone carrying a pack all day, and they are tired.

2.      In this case Jesus is directly confronting the Pharisaism with all it’s extra rules and oddities.

3.      These extra rules were not part of the Law.  They were not Torah.

4.      Jesus is attacking the Pharisees here.

a.       The Pharisees were strict keepers of the Law.  But the actually developed a Law around the Law called the Talmud.

b.      It was a hedge.

c.       The OT had a total of 613 commandments, but the Talmud went above and beyond.

d.      For instance, the Torah says, “Don’t muzzle the ox.”  The Talmud had all kinds of rules and regulations to help you avoid breaking the Law.

i.  “don’t feed you Ox past 8pm.”

ii.                        How to wear your hat.  When to cut your fingernails.

iii.                      This was a highly traditional environment filled with external religion.

iv.                      This is a heavy load.  It’s a heavy yoke.

iii.                      So Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you…”

1.      The Pharisees yoke was heavy and burdensome.

a.       This is what Israel had become.  A heavy yoke of rules and regulations that created utter hypocrisy and emptiness.

b.      No one could do it!

c.       The absurdity of the Pharisees is seen in no better story than when they rebuke Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.

d.      They don’t deny the healing, but they dispute when He did it.

e.       Jesus basically says, “are kidding me?”

f.        You have totally neglected the weightier parts of the Law and you have missed it.

g.      Mat. 23:4, “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” (Acts 15:10)

iv.                      Jesus’ yoke is different.  An easy yoke and a light yoke. (v. 30)

1.      It’s still work, but it’s not a burden.

2.      It’s still work.  But it’s not an exhausting drudgery of existence.

3.      1 John 5:2-3, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

4.      In other words, it’s delightful.  It’s pleasant.

5.      The Pharisees would do and then rest.  We rest and then do.

6.      We work hard not to get salvation, we work hard because we have salvation.

7.      We are people of the Spirit.

8.      John Bunyan said it well, “Run, John, run, the law commands.  But gives us neither feet nor hands,  Far better news the gospel brings: It bids us fly and gives us wings”  John Bunyan

9.      Jesus doesn’t take the yoke off.  He doesn’t say come and rest and do no work.  If anything, the one who rests in Christ does more work!  But the motivation is different.  It’s a work that is not only enabled by the Spirit, but it’s a work of gratitude not merit.  It isn’t “work hard to get salvation, but rather, work hard because you have salvation.

10.  Nonetheless, it’s so easy to put the heavy yoke of works-based righteousness back on!

e.       Story of Toronto’s Jewish community:

i.  As is the case in many large cities, Toronto's Jews have access to Hatzoloh, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to respond rapidly to emergency medical situations in Toronto's Jewish community. Though they cannot transport patients to hospital, they are able to respond to calls and to assist paramedics in providing emergency services and language translation. Though they are on-call and available 24 hours a day, there is one small change in their operations on the Sabbath when driving a vehicle is forbidden. Their job is to extend mercy and prolong life and, according to Talmudic interpretation, responding to calls does not violate the Sabbath. However, once a call is complete, they are no longer on a mission of mercy and would be in violation of the Sabbath if they were to drive. What they do instead is employ a service run by non-Jews who will drive both their vehicles and the emergency personnel back to their homes.

ii.                        The glimpse of the community that fascinates me most is the one which begins with Murray responding to a call on a hot, summer Saturday afternoon. After he completed the call and was walking back to his ambulance, he saw a man outside a neighboring home waving him over. This man led Murray into a very hot home and explained that his mentally disabled son had inadvertently turned off the air conditioning and they could not turn it back on without violating the Sabbath laws. He pointed to the thermostat and asked Murray, "Could you please turn it back on?" Murray flipped the little plastic switch and the air conditioner immediately came back to life. The man and his family were exuberant in their gratitude.

iii.                      As Murray spoke to this man, and as he speaks to other members of the community, he sometimes asks whether he should become Jewish. Wouldn't this be the path for him to live in obedience to God and to experience divine blessing? The answer is, "No! Don't become Jewish! If you become Jewish you will have to obey the law--the whole law." And the law is a heavy burden.

f.        There are other examples of this too.  Of heavy yokes and external religiosity.

i.  Roman Catholicism.

1.      Rules and regulations.

2.      It’s a works-based system.

3.      Have I done enough?  Have I done enough?  Have I done enough?

4.      “Will the scales tip in my favor?”

5.      Candles and beads really only gets you less time in purgatory.

ii.                        The same with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

1.      There are only 140,000 and they are all trying to be part of that.

2.      Good luck with that.

3.      The same could be said about Mormons.

4.      Heavy guilt.  Huge burdens of works based righteousness.

iii.                      Islam is probably the best example of modern day Phariseeism. 

1.      It’s a religion of deeds and works.

2.      It’s all based on a scale.  Weigh the balance.  Do the 5 pillars.

3.      It’s works based religion pure and simple.

4.      Sharia Law—is all about rules and regulations.

g.      What about us? Biblical Christians.  Do we do the same?

i.  We have the same tendencies!

ii.                        We can create a law around a law.

iii.                      These become “Sacred cows.”

1.      Debates over musical instruments.

2.      How we do the Lord’s Supper.

3.      Some churches even insist you need a seminary degree to preach.

4.      And what happens is that many times the sacred cows become more important than the Bible. 

5.      People are willing to let the whole church die than break with traditions. 

6.      The tradition becomes their religion.

h.      Let me give you another example:

i.  Greg Johnson of St. Louis Center for Christian Study wrote an interesting article entitled “Freedom from Quiet Time Guilt” (link).

1.      “That half hour every morning of Scriptural study and prayer is not actually commanded in the Bible.”

2.      He goes on to say, “As a theologian, I can remind us that to bind the conscience where Scripture leaves freedom is a very, very serious crime. It’s legalism rearing its ugly little head again. We’ve become legalistic about a legalistic command. This is serious.”

3.      We have somehow allowed our quiet time, in its length, depth or consistency, to become the measure of our relationship with God. But “your relationship with God—or, as I prefer to say, God’s relationship with you—is your whole life: your job, your family, your sleep, your play, your relationships, your driving, your everything. The real irony here is that we’ve become accustomed to pigeonholing our entire relationship with God into a brief devotional exercise that is not even commanded in the Bible.”

4.      We are so naturally bent towards this.

ii.                        Jerry Bridges called this the Performance Treadmill.

1.      “My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our personal relationship with God on our performance instead of on His grace. If we’ve performed well—whatever “well” is in our opinion—then we expect God to bless us. If we haven’t done so well, our expectations are reduced accordingly. In this sense, we live by works rather than grace. We are saved by grace, but we are living by the “sweat” of our own performance….

2.      Living by grace instead of by works means you are free from the performance treadmill. It means God has already given you an “A” when you deserved an “F.” He has already given you a full day’s pay even though you may have worked for only one hour. It means you don’t have to perform certain spiritual disciplines to earn God’s approval. Jesus Christ has already done that for you. You are loved and accepted by God through the merit of Jesus, and you are blessed by God through the merit of Jesus. Nothing you ever do will cause Him to love you any more or any less. He loves you strictly by His grace given to you through Jesus.

3.      To live by grace is to live solely by the merit of Jesus Christ. To live by grace is to base my entire relationship with God, including my acceptance and standing with Him, on my union with Christ. It is to recognize that in myself I bring nothing of worth to my relationship with God, because even my righteous acts are like filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). Even my best works are stained with motives and imperfect performance. I never truly love God with all my heart, and I never truly love my neighbor with the degree or consistency with which I love myself.”  Jerry Bridges

i.        Jesus says, “enough of that…come to Me all who are burden and find rest!”

i.  “rest for your souls”

1.      Those who take on the yoke of Christ.  Those who are come into a partnership with Christ, and satisfied in their souls.

2.      They find rest and relief.

a.       It’s a future rest in heaven.

b.      It’s a present rest on earth.

c.       And it’s a rest from works-based salvation.

d.      Rest from the burden of sin and guilt.

e.       A rest in the satisfaction of the finished work of Christ.

ii.                        He doesn’t tell them to come to His teaching.  Or come to His come to His doctrinal statement.  Or come to His house.

iii.                      The invitation is to come to Him.  Learn from Him.

1.      Examine His gentleness and humility.

IV.                    The Gospel OF GRACE

Related Topics: Faith, Law, Soteriology (Salvation)