Summary: This is a single verse sermon with three points and proposition. It isn’t a manuscript but is more than a simple outline. The sermon is about leaving the weariness of dead religion to enter into a living relationship with God.
Text - Matt 11:28
A strong young athlete was wadding waist deep in the shallow part of a recreational lake. Unknowingly he stepped off an underwater ledge and plunged fifteen feet beneath the surface of the water. After several seconds he bobbed to the top of the water flailing his arms and gasping for breath. The lifeguard attentively watched the situation from a nearby bank. A friend of the struggling young athlete grabbed the lifeguard by the arm and cried out, "Bob can’t swim, you’ve got to help him." The lifeguard remained unmoved as Bob continued kicking and splashing wildly. The young man’s friend furiously yelled at the lifeguard, "If you won’t go after him, I will." Calmly but firmly the lifeguard said, "No one can help him yet. I’ll help him when he’s ready for my help." After a couple more minutes the young athlete stopped his struggles, as his body became limp. The patient lifeguard suddenly dove into the water, swam out to the young man and brought him to shore for a successful rescue. Later the friend asked the lifeguard, "Why did you wait so long to help my friend." The lifeguard responded, "As long as Bob was trying to save himself there was nothing I could have done for him. If I had swam out to him he would have grabbed me and pulled me under with him. Only when he was weak, exhausted and had given up was I able to save him."
This story of struggle and exhaustion before deliverance is not only a lesson for lifeguards but it is a powerful revelation of what often occurs in our spiritual journey. Some of you may feel spiritually exhausted, worn out, weary of trying to please God by your own efforts. If that’s you Jesus has great news for you. In Matthew 11:28 he declares, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Proposition: In this powerful verse Jesus gives us three keys to finding spiritual rest.
I. Come to Jesus
“Come to Me…”
A. To really hear what he is saying you need to hear what he is not saying.
1. Didn’t say “Come to Buddha, Mohammad, or Hira Krishna, it really doesn’t matter who you come to, all roads lead to rest.”
a) No, Jesus is not a pluralist, he is very exclusive.
b) Is Jesus narrow-minded? Yes, in some areas and so are you. When you find the one thing that works, you eliminate all others that don’t work. Example – gasoline in our car
c) It’s amazing that we will be so precise when it comes to making decisions about our car, but so haphazard when comes to make decisions about our eternal destiny.
2. Didn’t say, “Come unto the temple, synagogue, church, the Bible, or prayer. He said, “Come unto me.”
a) Pharisees vs. Jesus – Bread of life, Shepherd, Door, Way, Truth, Life.
b) Jesus was saying, “I’m not leading you to the answer, I am the answer.”
B. When you come to Jesus who do you come to?
1. You come to God.
2. You come to the one who created you.
3. You come to the one who went to a cross and died under the penalty of the sin you committed against Him
4. You come to the one who knows the worst about you, but loves you anyway.
5. You come to the one who loves you, accepts you, sees you as infinitely valuable and precious, and who is always ready to forgive you.
Transition: Jesus said, “Come to me.” But if you come to Him, you have leave something else. What you leave is man made religion.
II. Give up on works righteousness
“all you who labor and are heavy laden”
A. Talking to very religious Jewish people. People who were laboring and were heavy laden under the weight of religious rule and regulations.
1. 10 Commandments – Added 10,000 addition rules to make sure you kept the 10.
C. The problem with rules.
1. You never know if you’ve done enough.
2. I can’t love people, I can only use people.
Transition: It is very tiring and wearisome to labor and be heavy laden in your efforts to please God. Jesus has said to those kind of people, come unto Me, and when they come unto Him, He has promised to give them rest.
III. Receive the rest of faith.
“and I will give you rest.”
A. The word Jesus uses for rest is a fascinating word.***
1. Means to refresh or revive, as from labor or from a long journey.
a) Maybe you have been working very hard to please God but you feel like you can never do enough.