Summary: Part 3 in series The Company We Keep, this message looks at what it is that really “saves” human beings.
How Christianity Would Never Be Missed
The Company We Keep, prt. 3
Wildwind Community Church
May 16, 2009
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
This is our text for tonight and it’s clear to whom Jesus is speaking. He’s speaking to all who are weary, all who carry heavy burdens. I think that probably includes just about everybody. And it doesn’t matter whether you are carrying heavy burdens right at this moment – if you suspect that you might be carrying one in the future – near or distant – this is for you. If you are tired, burned out, or worn out, this is for you. And that includes those of you who feel like you’re getting tired and worn out and burned out on religion. Indeed that same passage translated in a more modern Bible says,
Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
28 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
29 Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly."
I think if I had to go back through the roughly 350 sermons I’ve preached since we started Wildwind to see which Biblical passage I’ve used the most frequently, this might well be it. I keep coming back to it again and again because that call from Jesus is clear and compelling. In both translations Jesus is recorded as saying the words, “Come to me.” In the New Living Translation Jesus says, “Let me teach you.” In The Message translation “Let me teach you” is translated as, “Watch how I do it.” So we have this call from Jesus to come to him – to learn from him how to live life, and to learn that by observing how he lived and then imitating his way of life. Verse 30 in the New Living reads, “My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” In The Message verse 30 reads, “Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” That’s why this series is entitled The Company We Keep. We are called to be with Jesus, keep company with him and learn from him how to live freely and lightly. You’d think people would just read that and go, “Yeah, I’m all about that! Sounds like a great deal.” But that’s not usually what happens is it?
Probably most of us are here tonight because we believe deeply in two things:
1. Our own insufficiency. “I cannot lead my best life on my own.”
2. The complete sufficiency of God. “God is sufficient, and he will be enough for me.”
If you do not believe (deeply) in both of those things, then you simply have not yet come a) to the end of yourself; and b) to the knowledge of the complete sufficiency of God. That’s part of the journey.
Certainly many of us tonight say we believe in those two things. But we often do not live as if we believe in those two things. Why do we rush around trying to control outcomes and force things to happen (in relationships, at work, etc.) if we really believe we’re insufficient anyway, and that God is fully sufficient for us? Why do we get all upset when things don’t go our way? Why are we so easily irritated and discouraged and angered and hurt? Why do we struggle to forgive? Why do we so easily stand in judgment over others? Because we spend most of our lives trying to control outcomes, trying to make sure this world offers us what we believe we deserve. And when it doesn’t, we’re angry or irritated. We feel robbed and ripped off. Church, I know as I stand here right now that if as preachers, Patrick and Jason and I could simply get our congregations to the point where we actually believe what we say we believe – well then – we could move on to other things, couldn’t we? There are probably not many tonight who would deny that Jesus is Lord. There are probably not many who would deny that God’s grace is enough, that it is sufficient, that it is all we need to have the happiest and most joyful lives possible on this fallen planet. There are probably not many who would deny that faith in God is essential – that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.