Many of us, at some point, in the course of this life, have experienced physical labor…hard work that took energy, time, strength and strenuous exertion to complete. My most recent experience of physical labor came from trimming the trees on our property, hauling the limbs to the back of our property, stacking them in a pile, then raking the leaves which covered 80% of the back yard filling large trash cans with the leaves and hauling those back to the brush pile and dumping them. I worked at that for a good 8 hours straight…stopping only to eat lunch. By the end of that day, I was physically exhausted. That night, after a good meal and a hot shower, it felt incredible to lay down on my bed and rest.
We all know the feeling of our bodies getting rest after having been physically active. It’s one of the greatest feelings imaginable. At the end of most days, I look forward to physical rest.
We know how good physical rest feels, but what about the soul? Does the soul of a person get weary and tired? It can, and it often does.
Is your soul distressed? Is it laboring under a heavy load?
Matthew 11:28-3028 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
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.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Consider Jesus Christ as the Giver of true rest.
Based on the context of the verses preceding our text, Jesus is not referring to physical labor…He is referring to the spiritual strain you feel as a result of the weight of your sin. He had been preaching in many of the towns throughout Judea as well as performing many mighty works in them, yet the people of those towns did not repent of their sin and turn to Christ in faith. They were still under the heavy weight of their sin…and Jesus said, “Come” “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.”
Are you laboring under the heavy burden of your sin? Go to Jesus Christ…He said in John 6:37, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Not only will He not cast you out if you go to Him, but He will give you rest. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
He will give your soul rest…rest from carrying the burden of your sin. Repent of your sin...turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus Christ. Seek His forgiveness…
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
Place your trust in Him and only in His ability to satisfy the justice of God, which He did on Calvary. You will be saved…and the heavy burden of your sin will be lifted and you will find rest for your soul. The weight of sin is a heavy load on the soul. The person carrying that weight will be exhausted in many ways, but especially exhausted spiritually. When a person goes to Christ in repentance and faith, that heavy load is removed and the person is given rest…
Rest in this sense means to cause a person to cease from any strain or labour causing him to grow weary, tired, or exhausted so he may recover and collect his strength.
In Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, the author (who many believe to be the Apostle Paul) is writing to Jews, encouraging them to come to Christ in faith to find rest for their soul.
Hebrews 3:12-1912 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Hebrews 4:1-111 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Strive hard so that you may enter into that rest. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts…turn to the Lord. He will have mercy and will abundantly pardon. For He shed His blood for your soul. Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners.
The case has been laid out for the lost sinner to come to Jesus to find rest for his soul. But what about the one who has already been saved by the grace of God?
Dear Christian, are you laboring under the strain of some trial? Has the sin which doth so easily beset you, gotten you down in spirit? Go to Jesus Christ…learn of Him and you will find rest to your soul. Cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).
I know some of you have been through some extremely difficult trials, and some of you right now are like the three Hebrew lads walking through the fiery furnace of a trial…Look around you and see the Lord Jesus Christ is with you.
Daniel 3:24-2524 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Dear Believer, Jesus Christ is with you; the Spirit of the Living God is in you.
Sometimes, as we struggle through some trial or persecution, we may look around at others who live ungodly lives, who deceive, lie and manipulate people and they seem to prosper. It appears as though nothing hard, bad ever happens to them. Don’t be angry because they seem to prosper…rather than focus your attention on them, rest in the Lord.
Psalm 37:7-107 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
Do not become angry when people who bring evil plans to pass seem to prosper. Cease from anger and forsake wrath. Wait patiently on the Lord, you will inherit the earth.
Psalm 73:1-28Vs. 3 I was envious of the lost when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…
Vs. 4-12 They are prideful and violent. They have more than their hearts could wish for. They are corrupt, oppressive and speak with arrogance. The words of their mouths are against God. They mock God and believers wondering if there is any value in knowing God. They prosper in this world and increase in riches.
Vs. 13-14 I confess my sins and live a pure life before God and feel that it is in vain because all day long I suffer under the weight of trials and I am chastened every morning.
Vs. 15-16 If I speak like the wicked do, I would offend this generation of believers. When I tried to understand all this, it was too painful for me.
Vs. 17 When I went into the sanctuary of God…the quiet time of meditation on the Lord, He gave me understanding concerning the wicked…I understood their end.
Vs. 18-20 Their end…total destruction!
Vs. 21-22 I was grieved because I was so foolish in my thinking.
Vs. 23-24 I am continually with Thee. You uphold me. You guide me with your counsel and at some point, you will receive me to glory…the only place of true rest!
Vs. 25 “Whom have I in heaven but you?” “There is none on earth that I desire beside you.”
Vs. 26 My sinful flesh fails, but You are my strength and my portion (inheritance) forever.
Vs. 27 Those who are far from you will perish…
Vs. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God. I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.
It is good for you to draw near to God (James 4:8) He will draw near to you…take His yoke upon you, learn of Him… you will find rest to your soul.
His yoke refers to His commands…they are pleasant, light and easy compared to the yoke of the commands of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. Even though light, they must be submitted to.
Learn of Jesus Christ… That word “Learn” means to learn by use and practice…that is why we have been studying about Jesus Christ for the last 3 months. We need to learn of Him things we didn’t know and remind ourselves of things we learned about him in times past. We should put into practice in our daily lives the things we learn about Christ. If He is the Wonderful Counsellor as Isaiah tells us, then we should go to Him for our counsel. If He is only way to God, then we should go on that way. If He really is the truth, then we should seek the truth in no other. If He is the Life, we should live in Him. If He is our Deliverer, then we should look to no one else to get us through our trials and tribulations.
Jesus Christ is “meek and lowly in heart” in His own words. He is gentle and mild. He is also humble in soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of His thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavours.
Take the time to learn of Him. We spend so much time learning of so many things…things that are of little or no eternal value. Learn of Jesus Christ…If you do, you will find rest to your soul.
With your focus firmly set on Christ, you will cease from those things that are causing you to grow weary and exhausted spiritually and you will recover and recollect your strength.
You will begin to see that, though your trial is painful and difficult, it is actually light when compared with the glory you will receive in heaven. You will realize that your trial, though seemingly endless, is but for a moment when compared to eternity. This trial you are going through is ordained by God for the purpose of working in your life, making you more like Christ…when you reach your real rest… heaven in the presence of Christ, the glory you receive will far exceed and outshine the pain you went through on this earth.
Do not look on the things which you can see…the pain, the suffering, the hardship of your trial. Look at the things which are not seen…the glory you will receive as you stand before Christ in His image, sinless. The things you see are temporary, but the things you cannot see on this side of heaven are eternal…they will last forever.
How do I know? 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 tells me so.
Learn of Jesus Christ and rest in Him…wait patiently for Him. He is coming! Even if not in your lifetime, and you are received unto Him in glory through death’s door… your first minute in heaven, looking upon the face of Jesus Christ will far outshine a lifetime of pain and tribulation on this earth.