Friday 28 July 2023

M A T T H E W  11 V28/20

 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.

     The Bible says the answer is that life has no meaning apart from God, but for many God is unreal. 

     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.  Yet this is a common situation.

     God is willing to pour His grace upon you so that you no longer need to fear if you repent of any sin and turn to Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

     You can’t however come to God except through Jesus Christ.  Not by Mohammed, Buddha, or anyone else. Jesus came, sent from God with the sole purpose of bringing us into a living relationship with Himself.

     Christ came to seek and to save the lost, the fearful and the lonely, the worried and the broken hearted.   

     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.

     Come, just as you are; He is waiting. Jesus has said, ‘Here I am. I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me’. But the door handle is only on the inside, and it has to be opened from within, you are the one who can turn it, in faith. 

     In the East to receive an invitation to eat with someone was considered to be a most generous, honoured and favoured act.   Jesus is ready to be faithful to His Word; we come at His invitation in a spirit of simple trust.  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.

     So who can come?   All those who are weary and heavy laden with care.  This is a selective invitation.  There has to be recognised a need and be prepared to admit it.  The problem may not be despair, it may be something quite different.  All who are weighed down, to all these 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. 

     We have all broken God’s laws 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.     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. He is able to do all He promises, and is faithful and willing to do what He promises

     The Bible tells of men who went to Him blind, sick and poor.  Jesus gave them sight and 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 used to put over a pair of animals to enable a load to be shared.  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 a lasting and new relationship begins.  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 all, 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. 

     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 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 of our 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 mess, it may be God seems far away, it may be after long time searching there is still a reluctance to commit.

There are lessons for us to learn from these verses We should be careful not to be proud in any form; pride of intellect, wealth or goodness. Nothing is more likely to keep a person from heaven, and stop them of seeing Christ, Try to seek humility, One of the requests we can make is, Lord what would you have me do?

Secondly we see all power is bestowed on Christ by His Father, and we see a perfect union. From these words we find that everything in our soul’s interests. is placed in Jesus’ hands.

Thirdly,  we see the breadth and fulness of the invitations of Christ’s gospel. For two thousand years they have been a blessing to the world There is a refuge for the weary, a rest of conscience and heart, a rest flowing from peace with God. Jesus makes a simple statement, Come unto me. We see how lowly He rates Himself as being meek and lowly of heart.

This invitation is for our acceptance. If there sins to be forgiven, griefs to be removed, consciences to be healed, here is this offer from Christ.

In the words of that great hymn sung at every Billy Graham Crusade, come just as you are

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