Friday 15 January 2021

 MATTHEW 11 V.28/30

I wonder if there is anyone in this congregation can stand up and say, ‘I have no worries in my life?’ If there is, would you like to stand up so we can all 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. The man in his 40s fearing redundancy. Young managers worried at having to achieve ridiculously high targets. The business man working such hours he hardly has little time to see his family. The fear of marriage breakdown, 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 and heartache and despair. Now at this present time, will I get the virus if I go out?

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 is willing to pour His grace upon you.

The Bible says that God is separated from us by sin. Sin is not just immorality, it is an attitude of rebellion and independence, saying ‘I go my own way’. The Prodigal Son went his own way to be free and independent, but failed to find any true purpose in life, and found he was cut off from the only person who really loved him. 

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’

It is said that these are the most wonderful words spoken by our Lord, the very heart of Christianity. They speak of the failure of men and women to solve the problems of the world.

So who can come? All those who are weary and heavy laden with care. This is a selective invitation. You have to recognise a need and be prepared to admit it. Your problem may not be despair, it may be something quite different. All who are weighed down by sin or guilt. To all Jesus speaks.

The Bible says, ‘there is no distinction since all have 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 blot out your sins and give you a clean sheet. 

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 job or house, find new friends, but if there is no inner peace, all the changes in the world will make no difference. On the other hand, if heart and mind are at rest, that is a priceless feeling.  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. We 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. Jesus released 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’.

But it is not just mouthing words. It is truly believing 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, pardon any failures, cleanse your heart and relieve your anxieties and cares, because of the promise He made in John’s gospel, that whoever comes to Him will never be turned away. 

You see, whilst necessary for a Christian, it is not just being religious or even coming to Church that brings peace and rest, or indeed 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.

It may be someone’s life is in a 'me' .So many people these days have the main concern on asking what can 'me' get from lifeto make me happy, I don't want to do things any way but my own.  Such may enable Frank Sinatra to sing and make a lot of money and fame, but it doesn't fit in the ordinary person's life.  It may be God seems far away. It may be after long time searching you are still reluctant to commit.It makes no difference,, if we are humble enough to admit our need

In one famous promise Jesus 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. Jesus will not force his way in, he wants you to give him an invitation.

Jesus was brought up in the East, and there the greatest act of friendship is to dine with someone. Jesus is offering to dine with anyone who invites Him.

At the end of every one of his Crusades, Billy Graham asks people to make a commitment to Christ and to demonstrate that commitment to go forward to the front of the stadium. At the same time, the choirs sing the hymn, ‘Just as I am…I come to Thee’ 

Believe His promise, take Jesus at His word, come just as you are.

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