Summary: This is the second of a three sermon series on the scripture, Matthew 11: 25-30..."Come Unto Me"..."Laboring for Christ"..."And I Will Give You Rest"
Scripture: Matthew 11 Vs 28
1 Corinthians 15 Vs 58
Sermon: Laboring for Christ…
Today, I am still unpacking this verse in Matthew…trying to understand all that it holds in the way of truth…all that it holds for us to learn.
We have already looked at the first part of this verse, “Come unto Me” and found that we are offered an invitation of a lifetime…an invitation from our Creator God to take our souls and make them Eternal with Him. We realized that accepting the Truth was essential and the very first step to gaining our Sanctification and then our Glorification.
Now, let’s look at the second part of this verse…”all those who labor”.
“Labor”. What does Christ mean when He looks at those who labor? What does He consider labor to be?
This little phrase exudes the image of hard work, sweat soaked clothes, the smell of body odor, dirty hands and mud-smeared faces. It gives the impression of toil and hardship…work and exertion.
There’s a little joke…”I love work…I can sit and watch it for hours.”
If you think about it, this little joke has some very deep insights into the nature of man. There are those that just sit and then there are those that do! Scripture says:
“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find…doing”
There was a man I read about, Mr. Weber. He did odd jobs for people…fixing screens and mowing lawns. And when you would ask him when he would be coming around again, he would say, “If Jesus tarries, I’ll be back next week.” You see, for Mr. Weber, the imminent coming of Jesus was a daily fact. His whole attitude was like that of the Bibles…that of awaiting the return of Jesus.
The New Testament has little to say about the birth of Jesus...only in Gospel of Luke is there any space given over to the very birth of Christ, but it has a great deal to say about the Second Coming. For two thousand years the church has maintained the same emphasis, urging believers to watch with “feet shod and lamps lit”. When Jesus comes, he has said that He wants to find us doing the work He has given us to do…errands of love and caring…being Standing examples of His Way.
Charlotte Elliott, who wrote the words to the hymn “Just As I Am”. Charlotte was born in Clapham, England in 1789. She led a pretty normal life until the age of about 30, when her health began to fail and she became bedridden and sickly. With her failing health she became despondent, aching to die.
In 1822, a popular evangelist, Dr. Ceasar Malan, came to visit Charlotte. During that visit, he told her that even though she was sickly and bedridden, the Lord would take her “Just As She Was”.
This made a very great impression on Charlotte and she considered Dr. Malan’s visit as her spiritual birthday…her conversion. For many years she contemplated that God and Jesus would accept her “Just As She Was”. In fact she contemplated it for fourteen years before she wrote down the words, in 1836, to the hymn, “Just As I Am”.
Though Charlotte lived to be 82 years old, she never regained her health. She once wrote of her afflictions, “He knows and He alone, what it is to fight overpowering weakness and exhaustion…to not give in to slothfulness, depression and instability.”
The text of the hymn, “Just As I Am” was published in a book of other hymns that she wrote, in the hopes of garnering enough money to help her pastor-brother build a school for the children of poor ministers in England. Charlotte had always felt so helpless in her life. This was the one effort that she could contribute…words and music from her own life and relationship with God and Jesus.
Interestingly enough, this one hymn…one of 115 that were published, brought in more funds than any of her brother’s bazaars and projects combined. Her brother praised his sister highly and was amazed at her labor and fruitfulness.
After Charlotte Elliott died, among her effects was found thousands of letters from individual from all over the world expressing testimonials about what this one hymn had meant in their lives.
“Just as I am, Tho tossed about
With many a conflict and many a doubt,
Fighting and fears, within and without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
Charlotte was a “Standing” example for Christ. Charlotte’s story is only one of thousands, though…stories of laboring to become fruitful…to become the fruit on Christ’s vine. You see, that’s what our Sanctification is all about…it‘s about our own efforts to become separated out for use by God…being the wheat, not the chaff. Once we have placed all our bets on God and His Son, Jesus and we truly believe that they are…we must labor to do His work for Him. We are the “Body of Christ” incarnate…His light must shine through us!