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I Will Give You Rest – Matthew 11:28-30

Audio Sermon

I Will Give You Rest

Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

All too many have thought of “rest” as something like being sprawled on a recliner in front of a TV set.  Or we might see ourselves in a mountain cabin next to a beautiful lake.  Perhaps “rest” is defined as being in the arms of your beloved.  You might think of it as a return to a "normal" life after years in a hospital bed, a wheelchair, or a prison cell.  Retirement from work is seen as “rest” for many people.

Our English dictionaries are consistent with that idea. The “Webster’s Collegiate describes “rest” as “sleepminimal functional and metabolic activitiesfreedom from activity or labora state of motionlessnessthe repose of death”, and so on.

The New Testament Greek definition for “rest” is not at all the same as the English.  W. E. Vine in the excellent “Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” includes the meanings: “cessation” and “refreshment” and he discusses the English definition of “rest,” but he also includes a quote from J. Patrick: “Here (in Matthew 11:29), the contrast seems to be to the burden imposed by the Pharisees.  Christ’s rest is not a rest from work, but IN work.  NOT THE REST OF INACTIVITY but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections of will, heart, imagination, and conscience, because (he) has found in God the ideal sphere for satisfaction and development.”  Our need to rest is different than we thought.  Our need is to be in Him who gives us rest inside our soul.

All too often our dreams about “rest” are just a flight of fantasy.  When you think about it, TV all too often leaves you with a drained and unfulfilled feeling.  The “rest” in the mountain cabin or in that person’s arms, does not last.  To become “free” from something like our job, often doesn’t work out so well.  “Retirement” has been grim for many.  This is a restless world, and we finally conclude there is no true rest in this place at all.  These words are important: You will only find true REST in the Lord!

Indeed we talk about “rest” a lot, and consider it valuable.  But since lasting rest is so rare, perhaps (in relation to the definitions mentioned earlier) the world just isn’t able to understand what it’s all about.  The answer is right here in our verses for today, where Jesus encourages us: “Come unto ME … and I will give you rest".  And it is true – He who is OUTSIDE of our world and its woes, offers the REST you have always needed.  I can tell you personally, REST is found in Christ.  It is in no other person, place or thing.  “Come unto” Him, for He IS the only way.

In the Book of Hebrews, Chapters 3 and 4, there is an interesting discussion of “rest” in relation to the people Israel.  Chapter 3 concludes (verse 19), “they were not able to enter (His rest, verse 18) because of unbelief.” When we finally and utterly believe Him, we can at last find His rest, which is what we have always needed.

Unbelief causes us to remain – Rest-LESS!  There must be that time when our faith in Him is no longer merely based in our EFFORTS to believe.  It is at that point when we at last TRUST Him for all of our needs that we find the REST offered in Christ.  We won’t strive anymore, because we’re already in Him, in His rest.  Rest, faith, belief – all this is based in our TRUST of Him.  Do you really TRUST the Lord today; that He loves you and He will bring you through?

In the Garden of Eden (a literal place – Genesis 2:8), “rest” simply meant that God had COMPLETED His work of creation (Genesis 2:2).  There was nothing more to be added – it was all done.  There was no more need. There was a FULFILLMENT placed within creation that, for now, no longer exists in this material universe.  This REST that is gone from life is once more offered to us in Christ.

We, as people, are always building, changing things, working for something or aiming toward a goal.  There is a restlessness about us which is so profound that the word “restlessness” actually DEFINES our humanity. When Paul taught us, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation” (“creature” – 2 Corinthians 5:17), he was presenting the truth that we can once again enter a state of COMPLETENESS, of fulfillment, where we need nothing more.  We are finally at rest – in Jesus Christ.

When you finally KNOW you are in Christ, you become SATISFIED.  Oh, yes, the troubles of life will go on. The divorce still might occur, your job might not last, your health can go and your car may not start – But you have HIM!  Things come and go in life (and so do people), but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  He who loves you is WITH you – forever!

He saved us for eternity by His death for our sins and authenticated what was done by His resurrection, which He showed when “He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time” (1 Corinthians 15:6).  I have personally learned this and have seen it in others: He is “able to save to the uttermost, those who come to God through Him” and “He ever lives to make intercession for them" (a truth found in Hebrews 7:25.”  Jesus Christ is praying for you right now, and HIS prayers are ALWAYS answered.

When you enter the REST of God in Christ, there is work involved, but the work is HIS, not yours, and that is why our Scripture for today continues: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Jesus’ rest is sometimes like the peace found within the eye of a hurricane.  The storms of life may rage all around you here on earth, but you are given peace and can even rejoice, because you are with Him and in Him.  “Come unto Me" He shouts to your heart – and my brother, my sister, come to Him now.  In Him, you WILL indeed find REST for your soul.

Father, I receive Your Son, Jesus Christ.  In ways I never expected, I trust in You now.  Forgive my sins, my unbelief, and set me free, Lord.  I need You, I want You.  Please give me Your rest.  Lord Jesus, I am Yours forever!  Thank You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham
Friday Study Ministries