Sermons

Summary: Jesus set the example of our need for spiritual and physical rest and renewal.

WHEN IT COMES TO THE HEALTH OF OUR SOULS, I BELIEVE WE ALL NEED A QUIET PLACE WHERE WE CAN GO TO FIND REST AND LASTING REFRESHMENT. IT SHOULD BE A SECLUDED PLACE AND A PRIVATE PLACE. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IN ORDER TO REACH SUCH A PLACE, WE DON’T HAVE TO TRAVEL VERY FAR. UNDERSTANDING THE NEED FOR SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL REST IS EXACTLY WHAT JESUS WANTED HIS DISCIPLES TO LEARN AND EXPERIENCE ON A REGULAR BASIS.

IT HAD BEEN SUCH A PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT MISSION IN CAPERNAUM THAT THEY DIDN’T EVEN GET A CHANCE TO EAT. SO, JESUS INSTRUCTS HIS DISCIPLES TO; “COME AWAY BY YOURSELVES TO A SECLUDED PLACE AND REST A WHILE” (MARK 6:31).

THIS WAS HIS INVITATION FOR THEM TO TAKE A BREAK. THEY NEEDED TO STEP AWAY FROM A FRANTIC PACE TO FIND STRENGTH AND REFRESHMENT FOR THEIR SOULS. IT ALSO IS HIS PERSONAL INVITATION TO US IN OUR HECTIC WORLD TODAY.

GOD KNOWS THE DEMANDS PLACED ON OUR LIVES AND IS FULLY AWARE THAT THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH A PERSON CAN DO PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY. THE BODY NEEDS REST AND OUR SOUL NEEDS REFRESHMENT.

JESUS WAS NO DIFFERENT AS IN HIS TIMES OF EXHAUSTION, HE LONGED FOR A TIME ALONE WITH THE FATHER. IN GOD’S PRESENCE, HE FOUND FRESH HOPE, ENCOURAGEMENT, INSTRUCTION, AND PEACE. THIS IS WHY HE ADMONISHES US IN JOHN 15:4 TO “ABIDE” AND “REMAIN” IN HIM.

WHEN WE ENTER INTO HIS REST, WE DISCOVER A COMPLETELY NEW WAY OF LIVING LIFE. IN RESTING, WE LAY ASIDE OUR DESIRE TO BE IN FULL CONTROL TO ALLOW GOD TO “TAKE US TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SEA.” WHEN WE DO, PEACE WILL FLOOD OUR SOULS AND WILL ASSURE US OF GOD’S HOLY LOVE AND PROTECTION.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT REST COMES ONLY IN JESUS CHRIST. TRUE REST IS NOT SOMETHING HE GIVES APART FROM HIMSELF. THAT MEANS, HAVING JESUS IN YOUR LIFE IS THE ONLY WAY THAT REST CAN REALLY BE KEPT AND ENJOYED.

THE IDEA OF RESTING IN CHRIST IS NOT A COMPLICATED ONE AND IT’S NOTHING NEW. EVEN GOD RESTED FROM HIS WORK OF CREATION IN GENESIS 2:2. WE FIND MANY ACCOUNTS WHERE JESUS DISCIPLINED HIMSELF TO REST WHENEVER THE DEMANDS OF LIFE, TEACHING, AND MINISTRY BECAME TOO GREAT.

BY EXAMPLE, HE DEMONSTRATED HOW TO EXPERIENCE PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SPIRITUAL REST WITHOUT SPENDING A LARGE AMOUNT OF EFFORT. WE CAN LEARN TO REST IN CHRIST ANY PLACE AND AT ANY TIME.

THE AUTHOR OF HEBREWS TELLS US THERE “REMAINS A SABBATH REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD. FOR THE ONE WHO HAS ENTERED HIS REST HAS HIMSELF ALSO RESTED FROM HIS WORKS, AS GOD DID FROM HIS” (HEBREWS 4:9-10). WHEN JESUS WENT AWAY TO PRAY, ONE OF HIS MAIN MOTIVATIONS WAS TO BE RENEWED BY THE TIME HE SPENT IN HIS FATHER’S PRESENCE.

HIS PHYSICAL BODY BECAME TIRED JUST LIKE OURS DOES. WHEN THIS HAPPENED, HE DID NOT TRY TO BE A “JOHN WAYNE” BY PUSHING HIMSELF BEYOND HIS PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES. INSTEAD OF HURRYING THROUGH LIFE, HE STOPPED FOR A MOMENT IN ORDER TO WITHDRAW TO A QUIET PLACE TO PRAY AND MEDITATE ON GOD’S PROMISES AND FAITHFULNESS.

JESUS INSTRUCTED THE DISCIPLES TO CROSS THE SEA OF GALILEE SO THEY COULD BE ALONE WITH HIM. HOWEVER, THE PEOPLE FOLLOWED HIM THERE. ALTHOUGH THE CROWD CAUGHT UP WITH THEM THE LESSON OF REST AND FELLOWSHIP WAS NOT LOST! BEING ALONE WITH JESUS, EVEN FOR THAT SHORT TIME IN THE BOAT AS THEY SAILED TO THE OPPOSITE SHORE, IT WAS ALL THE REFRESHMENT THESE WEARY DISCIPLES NEEDED.

REST IS AN INWARD SPIRITUAL STATE THAT WE EXPERIENCE NATURALLY AS A RESULT OF OUR PERSONAL, LOVING, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

SOMETIMES THE REST WE EXPERIENCE MAY COME OVER AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. OTHER TIMES IT MAY COME TO US FOR ONLY A FEW BRIEF MOMENTS. REGARDLESS OF THE LENGTH OF REST, IT IS ONLY AFTER BEING ALONE WITH GOD THAT WE WILL SEE THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY WE TACKLE THE PROBLEMS AND ISSUES WE FACE. WE WILL BE REFRESHED, MORE ALERT, AND ATTENTIVE.

THE BENEFITS OF RESTING IN CHRIST ARE MANY, YET THERE ARE TWO BENEFITS THAT HAVE TREMENDOUS POTENTIAL WHEN IT COMES TO DEVELOPING YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

FIRST, RESTING IN CHRIST TEACHES US TO FOCUS ON HIM AND NOT OURSELVES. RESTING REQUIRES MENTALLY STEPPING AWAY FROM THE HIGH DEMANDS OF LIFE. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU BYPASS RESPONSIBILITY. INSTEAD, A PERSON WITH A RESTFUL SPIRIT WILL GO TO GOD SEEKING A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THE ISSUES BEING FACED. A WEARY SOUL HAS GREAT DIFFICULTY IN DISCERNING THE WILL OF GOD. A WEART SOUL CAN BECOME EASILY DISTRACTED, CONFUSED, AND TRICKED INTO BEING LED ASTRAY.

THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO FIND REST IN GOD. WHEN WE REST IN GOD WE GIVE OUR CARES TO HIM BECAUSE WE KNOW THERE IS NOTHING TOO GREAT OR TOO SMALL FOR HIM TO HANDLE.IN DOING SO, WE WON’T SUCCUMB TO “SELF-ABSORPTION” BY HAVING PITTY-PARTIES OR DEVULGING IN BOUTS OF BITTERNESS OR SELFISHNESS. THE FIRST BENEFIT OF RESTING IN CHRIST IS THAT IT TEACHES US TO FOCUS ON GOD AND NOT OURSELVES.

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