Sunday, September 25, 2016

No Rest Know Rest

No Rest Know Rest
September 26, 2016
Matthew 11:28  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

A guilty conscience is a terrible thing; it will keep you from any rest.  It won't just keep you up at night, it will emotionally drain you, destroying you from the inside out like a cancer.  Trying to rid yourself of guilt can be tricky, causing you to run your life in such a way to make up for your sins.  The problem is, they will never go away, that guilt will never be lifted.  It will make you feel like you are trying to keep your head above deep water yet with cement tied to your waist, a futile endeavor just leaving you exhausted and ultimately drowned by the thing you were trying to escape.  The Lord says we should come to Him, those who are tired and heavy laden, and He will give us rest.  This rest, though, it is specific to guilt, forgiveness, a sense of righteousness, and freedom from past discipline.  It has nothing to do with the physical relief of your daily tasks.  Examine this with me.

People like to quote Scripture and say the Lord desires to give us rest from our burdens.  It says so in clear to understand words, "Come to be all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  True, it does say so, but it is specific to burdens of guilt without forgiveness, and the freedom from discipline if you've repented and turned to righteousness.  Re-read the entire chapter of Matthew 11, where this verse is tucked.  It starts out talking about John the Baptist foretelling of Jesus as the Messiah.  A Messiah is someone who delivers His people from something.  That something that Jesus came to deliver us from was our sins.  The book of Matthew was written to Jews who were familiar with the daily rituals of the Old Testament, rituals and sacrifices that were burdensome for removing your sins.  You couldn't just ask and receive forgiveness.  Jesus was declared to be that Messiah in Matthew chapter 11, right before He promised rest.  He was promising rest from guilt, rest from the burdens of daily sacrifices, rest from trying to make amends for your sin.

Further this study on Matthew chapter 11 and you'll find that it contains fulfillment of prophecy.  Some believe it references words spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, who talked about a deliverer (a Messiah) in a dream he had.  Read chapter 31 of Jeremiah and it will show imagery of people who are physically ready for a break.  At first glance this looks like the words of Jesus are to truly give us a break from our busy, over-worked lives.  However, if you look closely at all of Jeremiah 31, you'll find that the Israelites did in fact need physical rest from their busy lives, but for reason.  The Israelites that needed rest were physically exhausted from living in the discipline of the Lord's wrath for their behavior.  They had been unrepentant and the Lord scattered them and made their lives hard.  Their lives weren't over-stressed because they were trying to build a bigger house or make more money, they were actually being punished for their sins.  Their sins resulted in a difficult life, a physical situation the Lord allowed to get their attention.  The Messiah was there to deliver them and give them rest from that discipline.

The Jews in the Old and New Testament needed rest from the daily burden of making sacrifices for their sins.  The unrepentant needed rest from the physical discipline their life choices warranted.  Both scenarios put a burden on the shoulders of man that will make him weary.  You are weary, too, I know.  This gives you an option to evaluate your weariness and what it is making you tired.  Are you pursuing a life of living for yourself, striving after whatever you want?  This is actually a sin and will make you weary.  Are you unrepentant in life and does your life seem extra hard, harder than most other people's lives?  Maybe the Lord is trying to get your attention to repent of your sin.  Are you trying to rid yourself of quilt, running yourself to the bone to make amends for sins through sacrifices or good works?  The Lord desires to give you forgiveness so you might find rest.  In fact, read the last words of Matthew 11:29 where Jesus says, "learn from me."  He actually wants to teach you how to avoid being weary in the first place.  He wants to lift that burned on your life, the correct burden of what your sins do to you, which will ultimately free you.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Jeremiah 31, Matthew 11

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