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139. Rest for the Restless
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. Matthew 11:28-30
JESUS had first taught the solemn truth of human responsibility (verses 20-24), and afterwards he had joyfully proclaimed in prayer the doctrine of election: now he turns to give a free and full invitation to those who are needing rest. These three things are quite consistent and should be found in all Christian preaching.
Remember who he is who thus invites men to come to him.
The Son of the Highest, the revealer of God then and now; he bids men draw near to himself without fear, and rest in such nearness.
The Savior ever living, having once died, is waiting to receive and save all who will come to him; and such he will bless with rest.
In our Lord's gracious invitation you note
I. A CHARACTER WHICH DESCRIBES YOU.
1. Laboring, "all ye that labor," in whatever form.
2. Laden. All who are "heavy laden" are called.
- In the service of formal religion, in the attempt to keep the law, or in any other way of self-justification.
- In the service of self to get gain, honor, ease, etc.
- In the service of the world to discover, invent, legislate, etc.
- In the service of Satan, lust, drink, infidelity, etc.
II. A BLESSING WHICH INVITES YOU.
1. Rest to be given. "I will give you rest."
- Laden heavily because weary, vexed, disappointed; despairing.
- Laden with sin, guilt, dread, remorse, fear of death.
- Laden with care, anxiety, greed, ambition, etc.
- Laden with sorrow, poverty, oppression, slander, etc.
- Laden with doubt, temptation, conflict, inner faintness, etc.
2. Rest to be found. "Ye shall find rest unto your souls."
- To the conscience, by atonement and pardon.
- To the mind, by infallible instruction and establishment.
- To the heart a rest for love. Jesus fills and contents the heart.
- To the energies, by giving an object worth attaining.
- To the apprehensions, assuring that all things work for good.
How such rest would cheer you, strengthen you, save you!
How it would counteract the labors and the loads!
III. A DIRECTION TO GUIDE YOU.
l. "Come unto me."
- This is rest upon rest, deepening, settling.
- This is rest which comes of conquered passion, desire, etc.
- This is rest which comes of being fully consecrated to the Lord.
2. "Take my yoke upon you."
- Come to a person, to Jesus, the living Savior and Example.
- Come at once, Jesus is ready now. Are you?
- Come all who labor and are loaded. None will be refused.
- Come laden, with your burdens on your hearts, and "I will give you rest." Come as you are. Come by faith.
3. "Learn of me."
- Be obedient to my command.
- Be willing to be conformed to me in service and burden-bearing.
- Be submissive to the afflictions which I may lay upon you.
IV. AN ARGUMENT TO PERSUADE YOU.
You wish to be like your Lord in restfulness and service; then come end learn of him, and remember that he is
1. A lowly Teacher: bearing with failure, repeating his lessons, assisting the disciple, restoring the fallen.
- You do not know; but must be content to learn.
- You must not cavil; but have a mind to learn.
- You must learn by heart, and copy my meekness and lowliness.
2. Laying no heavy burden. "My yoke is easy," etc.
3. Giving rest by the burden which he causes you to bear: "Take my yoke. . . and ye shall find rest."
The immediate occasion of the invitation, with its deep earnestness of pity and sympathy, was found, I doubt not, in the outward appearance of the crowd actually surrounding Jesus. Probably by this time it was about sunset. After a day of exhausting toil for our Savior himself; the workman from the field, the busy trader, the fisher with his nets, the slave with his burden, the rich man with his heavier burden of care, the gray-haired sinner stooping under the weight of years, and only burdened with remorse and fear these, and such as these, met the Savior's eye, which read their hearts; but in them he saw represented our toiling, suffering world, and uttered a voice of invitation meant to reach, and destined yet to reach, all mankind. "I will give you rest." Rest for the burdened conscience, in pardon; for the unquiet intellect, in truth; for the aching thirsty heart, in divine love; for the care-fretted spirit, in God's providence and promises; for the weary with sorrow and suffering, in the present foretaste, and shortly in the actual enjoyment of "his rest." E. R. Conder
"Come," saith Christ, "and I will give you rest." I will not show you rest, nor barely tell you of rest, but I will give you rest. I am faithfulness itself, and cannot lie, I will give you rest. I that have the greatest power to give it, the greatest will to give it, the greatest right to give it, come, laden sinners, and I will give you rest. Rest is the most desirable good, the most suitable good, and to you the greatest good. Come, saith Christ, that is, believe in me, and I will give you rest; I will give you peace with God, and peace with conscience: I will turn your storm into an everlasting calm; I will give you such rest, that the world can neither give to you nor take from you. Thomas Brooks
Lord, thou madest us for thyself, and we can find no rest till we find rest in thee! Augustine
A poor English girl, in Miss Leigh's home in Paris, ill in body and hopeless in spirit, was greatly affected by hearing some children singing "I heard the voice of Jesus say." When they came to the words, "weary, and worn, and sad." she moaned, "That's me! That's me! What did he do? Fill it up, fill it up!" She never rested until she had heard the whole of the hymn which tells how Jesus gives rest to such. By-and-by she asked, "Is that true?" On being answered, "Yes," she asked, "Have you come to Jesus? Has he given you rest?" "He has." Raising herself, she asked, "Do you mind my coming very close to you? May be it would be easier to go to Jesus with one who has been before than to go to him alone." So saying, she nestled her head on the shoulder of her who watched, and clutching her as one in the agony of death, she murmured, "Now, try and take me with you to Jesus." The Sunday at Home
There are many heads resting on Christ's bosom, but there's room for yours there. Samuel Rutherford
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
140. Jesus Calling
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
For variety, we have added another outline on a portion of the same text.
This text is often preached from, but never too often, since the sorrows with which it deals always abound, and the remedy is always effective.
This time we purpose to view it from our Lord's side.
He entreats the weary to come to him. He beseeches them to learn of him. He not only receives those who come, but begs them to come. What is this desire which burns in his bosom? And whence comes it?
Let us carefully consider
I. WHO IS HE?
l. One who has been rejected, yet he cries "Come unto me."
II. WHOM DOES HE CALL AND WHY?
1. Laborers, with more than they can do: disquieted, unhappy.
2. One whose rejection involves us in fearful guilt, yet he is ready to forgive, and to bestow rest upon us if we come.
3. One who knows his Father's purpose, but fears not to give a pressing invitation to all who labor and are heavy laden.
4. One who has all power to receive such as come, and to give rest to them all. This is no vain invitation saying more than it means.
5. One who as the Son of God is infinitely blessed, and yet finds new joy in giving rest to poor restless men.
2. Heavy laden ones, with more than they can bear: oppressed, sorrowful, ready to die.
- These he calls to himself that he may give them rest, and cause them to find rest.
3. The poor and illiterate who need to be taught.
4. The spiritually burdened, who much need a helping hand, and can only find it in him.
III. WHAT CAUSES HIS DESIRE FOR THEM?
Not his own need of them.
Not their personal worthiness.
Nor aught that they are or can ever be. But
1. He has a love to our race. "My delights were with the sons of men" (Prov. 8:31 ). He would have these resting with himself.
2. He is himself a man, and knows the needs of men.
3. He has done so much to buy us rest that he would fain give it to us.
4. He delights to do more and more for us: it is his joy to give good things to men.
5. He knows what our ruin will be unless we find rest in him.
6. He knows what our bliss will be if we come unto him.
IV. HOW THEN SHALL WE TREAT THIS CALL?
1. It is very earnest, let us heed it.
2. It is very simple, let the poorest seize upon it.
3. It exactly suits us. Does it not suit you?
4. It is very gracious, let us accept it.
The most condescending affections that ever he discovered, the most gracious invitations that ever he made, were at those times when he had a sense of his glory in a particular manner, to show his intention in his possessing it.
When he spake of all things delivered to him by his Father, an invitation to men to come unto him is the use he makes of it (Matt. 11:27-28). If this be the use he makes of his glory, to invite us, it should be the use we should make of the thoughts of it, to accept his proffer. A nation should run to him because he is glorified. Stephen Charnock
"Come unto me" is the invitation of this Blessed One, so intensely human, though so gloriously divine, "Unto me," in whose arms little children were embraced, on whose bosom a frail mortal lay: "unto me," who hungered, thirsted, fainted, sorrowed, wept, and yet whose love, and grief, and pains, and tears, wore the expression of emotions felt in the mighty heart of God. Caird
Lord, I have invited all,
And I shall
Still invite, still call to thee:
For it seems but just and right
In my sight,
Where is all, there all should be.
It runs thusyou to me, and I to you. Here is a double communion set up. This is all to our advantage, and to the display of our Lord's great graciousness. We come, and therein he obtains the company of a beggar, a leper, a patient, a repulsive rebel: this is no gain to anything in him except his pity. But surely he expects something of us to reward him for receiving us? By no means. We are to come to him, not that we may give him something, but that he may give everything to as. What a Lord is this!
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
141. The Why and the Wherefore of Doubt
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thought doubt? Matthew 14:31
Our Lord did not question the doubter till he had saved the sinker. His rebukes are always timely.
The question was not only well deserved as a rebuke, but it was specially instructive, and no doubt it proved useful in after years.
When the grace of faith is really present, doubt has to answer for itself, and to die if it cannot defend itself.
Oh, that it may die in us at once!
We will put the question of our text to the two great classes of men.
I. WHEREFORE DOST THOU DOUBT, O CHRISTIAN?
1. Let us mention some supposedly valid reasons.
2. Let us hear your actual reasons; if you dare state them.
- Can you quote past experience of broken promises?
- Is the present evil beyond the power of Omnipotence?
- Are the promises abolished? Are the purposes of grace annulled?
- Has God himself changed? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? None of these supposable reasons have any existence.
Many such insufficient reasonings becloud the mind; and it may be wisdom to look them in the face, and so dissipate them.
3. Let us view these reasonings from other standpoints.
- My sense of guilt is peculiarly deep and clear.
- My inbred sin has risen upon me with terrible fury.
- My failures justify despair when viewed by the side of other men's attainments, and my own obligations.
- My trials are so peculiar, so fierce, so long, so varied.
- My heart tails me. I can bear up no longer.
- My fears predict greater evils still, and threaten ultimate ruin.
Jesus is now near you. How can you take such gloomy views of things in his presence?
4. Shall we hint at the true reasons of your doubting?
- How would you have viewed them when first you believed?
- How did you view former trials when they came in your way; and how do you view them now that you have overcome them?
- What do you think of your trials when you are lying in Jesus' bosom--assured of his love?
- How do you speak of them when you are instructing others?
- How will they appear to you when you get to heaven?
When you find out the real reason of your doubt, cry for pardon, and seek to the Holy Spirit to restore faith, and set you right.
II. WHEREFORE DOST THOU DOUBT, O SINNER?
The Lord's hand is stretched out to save sinking sinners.
Do not distrust the power of Jesus to save you from sinking.
1. Let us suppose good reasons for our doubting.
- You were self-confident, and that confidence has failed you.
- You looked too much to things seen by the light of sense; and now that it is dark, you are in consequence troubled.
- You took your eye off from your Lord.
- Perhaps you neglected prayer, watching, repentance, etc.
None of these can be answered in the affirmative.
2. Let us hear? our apparent reasons.
- Have others believed and perished?
- Have you yourself tried faith in Jesus, and found it vain?
- Has the blood of Jesus lost its power?
- Has the Holy Spirit ceased to comfort, enlighten, renew?
- Is the gospel abrogated? Is God's mercy dean gone for ever?
None of these are sufficient reasons for doubting Almighty love.
3. Let us learn the way to deal with such unreasonable doubting.
- Your sins are great, numerous, aggravated, and singular.
- You cannot think that salvation is for you.
- You have refused the gospel call so long.
- Your heart is so dreadfully hard and unfeeling.
In every case, let us be sure that to believe God is sanctified common-sense and to doubt him is an extravagance of folly.
- Repent of it, for it dishonors the power and promise of the Father, the blood of Jesus, and the grace of the Holy Spirit.
- End it, by simply believing what is so surely true.
- Run as far as possible the other way. Believe up to the hilt.
Mr. Haslam has reported a conversation between two poor aged Christians to the following effect: "Oh!" said the husband, who was evidently the weaker vessel, "I've got so little faith, I do get these 'ere doubts so much." "Yes," added the wife, "and ye keeps them, Peter, and brings them to me."
Though the providence of God may be exceedingly dark, the language of faith is, "The Lord is ready to save." If you look into your past experience, you will find that God has done great things for you. Is it not true that nine-tenths of all the difficulty you have anticipated have never come to pass at all? I have great sympathy with Billy Bray, whose wife said to him, when he came home, having given all his money away, "I never saw such a man in my life. Thee'lt go and look after other people's wives and children, and help them, and thee own wife and children may starve. " Billy, with great force, said, "Well, woman, thee'st never starved yet;" and that was the fact, for there she stood, a living witness to his word. Henry Varley
Good old Mr. Crisp, :who had been President of the Baptist College at Bristol for fifty years, was towards the end of his life fearful that his faith would fail. Being reminded of the passage, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" He said, after repeating and dwelling on the last words, "No, it would be wrong to doubt; I cannot, I dare not, I will not doubt? S. A. Swaine, in "Faithful Men"
When darkness long has veiled my mind,
And smiling day once more appears,
Then, my Redeemer! then I find
The folly of my doubts and fears.
I chide my unbelieving heart;
And blush that I should ever be
Thus prone to act so base a part,
Or harbor one hard thought of thee.
Certain persons think that doubting is a needful part of Christian experience, but it is by no means the case. A child may have a deep experience of its father's love, and yet it may never have known a doubt of him. All the experience of a Christian is not Christian experience. If many Christians are despondent, it is no reason why I must be: it is rather a reason why I should watch against it. What if many sheep suffer from the fly; am I to be anxious to have my fleece fly-blown in order to be like them? Never doubt the Lord till you have cause for it; and then you will never doubt him as long as you live.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon