Summary: 2 Sermon series on the need to be a better "taker". Take the Yoke of Christ, Take Up Your Cross Daily, Take the Whole Armor of God, Take Courage, Take Heed To the Condition of Your Heart, Take and Eat.
As we have just come through the season in which we are constantly sharing with our children, as well as reminding ourselves about the fact it is better to give than receive, I want to share a couple messages with you today and next Sunday on the importance of being a “better taker”.
Seems a bit odd you might think, and comparable to a certain degree of hearing all your life that Chocolate is bad for you, and finding out all of a sudden that it’s actually good for you! Or, hearing all your life that coffee is bad for you, and then finding out if you have a certain kind, and in a certain way, it’s actually good for you!
We hear about things like that seemingly on a weekly basis, and get to the point we say ok, if it’s food I’m eating it because if I wait long enough, surely it’s going to be good for me eventually.
So, in this season of giving, I’m sharing with you a couple messages on TAKING!
When you and I hear the word “take”, it seems to have somewhat of a negative connotation and in fact seems far more aggressive than the word “receive”.
“Receive” gives us the idea that someone is giving us a gift, and we humbly and rightly extend our hands to receive that gift.
Receiving seems to sound much more passive, and taking, much more aggressive. There are numerous uses and meanings to the word, depending on how it’s used, but this word is found in the Word of God in a positive way, and not one that you and I need to back away from, and in fact we should be ready and willing to learn to be “better takers”!
So, Lord willing we are going to look at 7 areas of “taking” over these 2 messages in which we should be inspired as we look ahead to all God has for us in 2013 and beyond.
The first one today is:
I. TAKE THE YOKE OF CHRIST AND LEARN OF HIM
Matthew 11:29 (KJV) 29 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.
This is an interesting thing that Jesus tells us to “take” because when we think of a Yoke, it is equated to difficult labor, hard work, and of course performing a task while strapped in.
Jewish people spoke of carrying God’s law and the yoke of His Kingdom, which one accepted by acknowledging that God was one and by keeping His commandments.
The words spoken here by the Lord were meant to be a contrast between not only the law the people were trying to keep as best they could, but also the myriad amounts of rules and additional laws that were laid upon them as a Yoke of terrible burden by the religious leaders of the day, as well as the political hardships of being under the bondage of Roman rule.
Jesus knew even then as He knows now that the taking up of His Yoke is not something we tend to do on our own because for some reason the enemy has convinced people that the Lord’s yoke is difficult to bear!
Listen to this scripture from Jeremiah the prophet talking about the natural tendency of man to avoid the ways of the Lord:
Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Well, here we are at the end of one year, and looking out over the horizon of a brand new year called 2013. There is only One who has been to 2013 and back, and it’s Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Bottom line is that you and I are going to take a path through 2013, and it’s up to us whether or not we are going to bear our own burdens by taking our own path, or cry out to the Lord for His will, His plan, and His purpose in our lives and follow His path.
There is no path so lonely as the one without the Lord. There is no path so full of labor as the one where God is relegated to follow us as we barrel ahead towards heartache after heartache, then wonder where God was when things get all messed up.
Will you take up the Lord’s yoke today, and bind yourself to His will?
According to the scripture, when we do this, and we actually take the time to “learn of Him”, we will find rest for our souls.