Friday 27 January 2012

Matthew 11

I wonder if there is anyone reading this who can say, ‘I have no worries in my life?’  If there is, we would like to admire you?   There must be very few Christians, or non- Christians, who have not experienced some worry, some anxiety.
     We need hardly ask whether worry harms, it causes us to lose sleep,  takes the joy out of living, causes our hair to fall out or turn grey, even leads to an early grave.
     There are so many fears in modern life. Young people facing life away from home for the first time, people fearing redundancy, young managers worried at having to achieve ever ridiculously higher targets, the business man working such hours he hardly has little time to see his family; the fear of marriage, of serious illness; fear of losing someone dear. These are all perils faced by people every single day.
     As Christians we need to ask, ‘what is life all about’?  So many people, especially the young, have no meaningful purpose.  They have a hard outlook of, ‘live life to excess, get what you can out of it by any means whatever’.
     What is the answer for the growing number of older people frightened to venture out of their homes?  The one parent abandoned by their husband /wife.  Wherever you look you find sadness, heartache, and despair.
     The Bible says the answer is that life has no meaning apart from God, but for many God is unreal.  You can’t however come to God except through Jesus Christ.  Not by Mohammed, Buddha, or anyone else. 
     Christ came to seek and to save the lost, the fearful and the lonely, the worried and the broken hearted.  God lays down no conditions other than you trust in Him and in Jesus. You no longer need to have fear and worry if you turn to Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
     The Bible says that God is separated from us by sin.  Sin is not just immorality, it is turning against God and saying, ‘I will do my own thing and go my own way’.  Jesus came, sent from God with the sole purpose of bringing us into a living relationship with Himself.
     To all who are worried, afraid or anxious, Jesus says, ‘Come to me and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, 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’
      Who can come?   All you who are weary and heavy laden with care. All who are weighed down by sin or guilt. To all Jesus speaks. This however is a conditional offer.  You have to recognise you need help and are prepared to admit it. 
     The Bible says, ‘no one in all the world is innocent, we have all fallen short of the glory of God’.  It doesn’t matter what the past has been, if you repent and turn to Christ, God is ready to forgive all what has been.  We have all broken God’s laws and done what is wrong, but if we are prepared to admit this, then Christ’s invitation is for us.
     What happens if you come?  Jesus said, ‘I will give you rest’.  These are words spoken by someone who fulfils His promises.  So many people make promises they either cannot, or have no intention, of fulfilling.  Jesus is ready to be faithful to His Word. He says, ‘I am here waiting for you.  I’ve got help if you will only come’.   
     You can change your whole way of life and possessions, but if there is no inner peace, all the changes in the world will make no difference.  Jesus once said ‘do not let your hearts be troubled’, for if heart and mind are at rest that is peace.  It is constant peace that Jesus is offering.  He says, ‘I can set you free for I am the Way, the truth, and the life.
     How do I come?  Just as you are.  There is a beautiful hymn which is titled, ‘Just as I am’ written by a lady named Charlotte Elliot. One night she was kept awake with disturbing thoughts which caused her to question the reality of her whole spiritual life. The next day, she was so troubled by her thoughts that she felt they must be met and conquered in the grace of God. So taking pen and paper from the table she deliberately set in verse the Gospel of pardon, peace, and heaven, which we have in that treasured hymn which brings a quiet simple message of sin, forgiveness, and salvation to all that turn from sin and trust in Jesus. This has been sung at every one of Billy Graham’s Crusades when at the end of his meetings he asks people to make a commitment to Christ, saying come just as you are.You just rely on what He has done for us, and at His invitation in a spirit of simple trust. 
     The Bible tells of men who went to Him with all manner of illness.  Jesus gave them riches beyond measure, releasing them from restlessness enabling them to face the future.
      Jesus said, ‘take my yoke upon you and learn from me’.  A yoke was a wooden frame placed on a persons shoulder in order to make a load easier to carry.  So Jesus is saying ‘let me help you carry your burden. Instead of going your own way turn around and come with me’.
     The moment you come to Him is the time you begin to live in a new way with a lasting and new relationship.  Jesus died on that Cross for your personal sins, and because of that alone, you can be forgiven totally by God and earn your place in heaven.
     It means putting Him as a priority.  If we give preference to some other activity we are putting God in second place, and in the Commandments He tells us He is a jealous God and will not be relegated.
     Jesus will welcome you because of the promise He made in John’s gospel, that whoever comes to Him will never be turned away. 
     The Bible tells us that the love of Christ goes far beyond human understanding, to break every barrier down.  Only pride, fear or doubt can hold us back
     You see it is not just being religious or even coming to Church that makes you a full Christian.  A person can be baptised, confirmed and be regular at Church and not be a true Christian.  Many Church people are really unpleasant, arrogant and very un-Christian.  Coming to Church should be a delight like sons and daughters coming to meet their (heavenly) Father in complete harmony, as children go their earthly parents home 
     In far too many Churches there are dominant personalities who, instead of looking for the good, want to put their own interpretation on matters, such interpretation not always being favourable.  In such cases it is because their own personal life is unhappy, disturbed or there is something lacking.
     If your life is troubled and God seems far away, if you are humble enough to admit your need, then listen to the words of Jesus when He said, ‘behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with Him’.  As He stands outside the door of your life, He longs to come in to make His presence and friendship real.  But the door handle is on the inside.  All you need do is turn it in faith. 
     Believe His promise, take Jesus at His word, ‘come, just as you are’.

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