I badly needed Pastor Mark Auffarth’s message at Eastside Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina on Sunday, January 5, 2020. If you would like to read my highlights of that sermon, “Come and Take!” read on. . . .
“Come and Take!”
By Dr. Mark Auffarth, Lead Pastor
Eastside Presbyterian Church
Greenville, South Carolina
Sunday, January 5, 2020
Summary by Bob Stouffer (All mistakes are mine alone.)
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (English Standard Version)
We need rest and sleep.
We need vacation from work.
We need rest for our bodies AND SOULS.
We are too often restless people.
I love an African proverb: “Lord Jesus, make my heart sit down.”
What will it take for our hearts to “sit down”?
Let’s do the right thing. It’s about doing the right thing. It’s not about stopping what you do.
What do I mean by that?
Consider two commands from this passage from Matthew 11:28-30 — Come and Take!
Come TO JESUS when you are burdened!
Don’t come to “yourself.” Don’t turn inward. Resist narcissism. We can look good on the outside and be very sick inwardly.
Quit comparing yourself to others. Resist envy.
We have never had it so good, yet we have never been so weary.
Our focus on ourselves is “killing” us. Come to Jesus! He will give you rest.
Do not come to Jesus narcissistically. Come ON HIS TERMS! Don’t come on your terms.
Jesus did not live-up to John the Baptist’s expectations of Him when John was imprisoned. Initially, John declared Jesus to be “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” When in prison, he had doubts about Jesus. He asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah?”
Jesus’ agenda is PERFECT. Our narcissistic agendas are imperfect. “Come to me,” Jesus said [and still says]. “It’s not “I will come to you.”
Come to Him! Come to Him OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN! HIS agenda!
Take Jesus’ yoke. Not the Pharisees’ yoke of God’s law.
Adherence to God’s law does not give rest. Jesus gives rest.
We could not possibly follow ALL of the MANY lawes of the Pharisees.
The culture also places burdens on us — for instance, what others think of us, work requirements, school requirements of students. Adhering to the law is exhausting.
What’s so great about Jesus’ yoke? It’s full of grace!
God does not need us. He is absolutely self-sufficient. But He created us for the sake of joy in relationship.
Adam sinned. Evin abounded in Noah’s time. God relented from destroying ALL of mankind. He rescued Noah and his family.
Jesus obeyed perfectly in our place. He did not sin. Jesus knew our only path to heaven was THROUGH HIM.
His yoke? Perfect humility.
He walked perfectly with the rigid law of the Pharisees. He put on His yoke of perfection. He atoned for OUR SIN. “It is finished,” He said from the cross. He paid the cost FOR US. He absorbed God’s wrath FOR US. He reconciled us to the Father.
His yoke is easy FOR US (yet it wasn’t so for Him). CRUCIFIXION!
His burden is light for us (yet it hadn’t been light for Him). DEATH!
HE took care of OUR problem.
The law does not understand our weakness.
Consider the profound words of Ray Ortlund:
“We were married to Mr. Law. He was a good man, in his way, but he did not understand our weakness. He came home every evening and asked, ‘So, how was your day? Did you do what I told you to? Did you make the kids behave? Did you waste any time? Did you complete everything I put on your To Do list?’ So many demands and expectations. And hard as we tried, we couldn’t be perfect. We could never satisfy him. We forgot things that were important to him. We let the children misbehave. We failed in other ways. It was a miserable marriage, because Mr. Law always pointed out our failings. And the worst of it was, he was always right! But his remedy was always the same: Do better tomorrow. We didn’t, because we couldn’t.
“Then Mr. Law died. And we remarried, this time to Mr. Grace. Our new husband, Jesus, comes home every evening and the house is a mess, the children are being naughty, dinner is burning on the stove, and we have even had other men in the house during the day. Still, he sweeps us into his arms and says, ‘I love you, I chose you, I died for you, I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ And our hearts melt. We don’t understand such love. We expect him to despise us and reject us and humiliate us, but he treats us so well. We are so glad to belong to him now and forever, and we long to be ‘fully pleasing to him’!
“Being married to Mr. Law never changed us. But being married to Mr. Grace is changing us deep within, and it shows.”
Do you want to rest? Only Jesus. Come to Him!
That’s the Gospel!
And the Gospel changes everything!