I would like us this morning to consider this short topic. And I pray that the Lord will bless us as we look at this together.
The words of Christ from Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.”
As we move on, I’d like to share a statement here from Sons and Daughters of God page 76, which reads, “As the life of the vine circulates through stem and cluster…” We see here, very important, we see here the principle of branches being grafted into the vine. “As the life of the vine circulates through stem and cluster, descends into the lower fibers, and reaches to the topmost leaf, so will the grace and love of Christ burn and abound in…” where? In, “…the soul, sending its virtues to every part of the being, and pervading every exercise of body and mind.” Not just some or part, but every exercise of body and mind. In being coworkers. See there shouldn’t be any lazy Christians, should there. A lazy Christian is one that’s not been converted, I’m sorry.
“In being co-workers with Christ in the great work for which He gave His life…” what are we going to find? It says there, “…we shall find true rest.” True rest. Let us observe, brothers and sisters, young people. The Lord has yoke and a burden for His followers. A yoke and a burden, not as we know it. He has a yoke and a burden for His followers. We think of a yoke, we think oh man, burden, or dear me. Who likes to be burdened here? Who loves to be burdened with things, with the cares of life? Not very pleasant is it? But God, Christ has a yoke for you, for me, for each one of us. A yoke and a burden to bear.
You know He uses those words that none may presume to enter His service without seriously considering that religion, that religion is not a matter of little importance. The service of the meek and lowly Jesus is not a game. It is something very serious, there is a yoke that has to be borne. Not just by some of His children but all those that have been touched by redeeming grace. There is a yoke for them to bear. By all His disciples. The question is though, are you and I willing to take up the yoke? To take up, not just any yoke but His yoke? Are we willing to do this?
You know a yoke is an instrument to go where? On holiday? Is that right? We were in Thailand not long ago and the first thing that went into my suitcase was a yoke. Because that is what you use on a holiday, is that right? It is a device for what? For working. And most importantly it is a device for paring together. Is that right? We pair together. A young inexperienced cow with an older who’s had, who’s really tough, who knows what to do, where to go, how to do it. Its a device for work. An instrument for working. A Christian was meant to be actively involved in soul saving.
We find in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 18 tells us, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the…” what? “…ministry of…” what? “…reconciliation.” What does that mean? I’m reconciled to God through Christ now I can sit down, put my feet up, my sins are forgiven, Christ is my righteousness – I can sit down, put my feet up. Is that right? No, now I have a responsibility. If truly I have been touched with the grace of God. I have a responsibility; I have a duty. I will do nothing, can do nothing else, but get out there and reconcile man to get to God. This should be our work. If really, we have been touched by redeeming grace. We will do nothing else but get out there and reconciling man and women to our Father in heaven. Allow to be used for service. You and I have been saved to serve brothers and sisters.
There is a burden to be carried for Christ. And all the strength that God has given us must be used to His honour and His glory. Must be used to His honour and His glory. And this burden is more of, its a sense of duty. That’s what it is. It is a sense of responsibility. A sense of duty that we have. You know just in case those words, “yoke” and “burden” sound a bit harsh to our ears. I’d like us all to remember that we have our shoulders already, you and I, we have our shoulders already, humanity at large, Christians, we have our shoulders already sore by another yoke, already. Sore by another yoke and our backs bend under some other burdens. A different king of burden to what Christ speaks of here.
Tell you why. Romans 6:16 tells us here, “know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?” We are all under a master, ether one or the other. We are either under the Master of light or the master of darkness. Do we realize that? So already, even if we are stagnant Christians, there’s some other power that’s employing us. And that is a fact. So we are already, you know under some other burden. We already have some other yoke around our necks. Through all this experience Jesus tells us, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I don’t want the yoke of the world. Its too hard. Its tough. Christ’s yoke is easier; His burden is better. Its full of reward. Besides, He says, He will give us rest. We shall find rest to our souls. Christ has a yoke for you to bear. Will you bear it? Will you take it on? He has a burden for you to carry. Will you bear it? will you bear these things?
Do we believe the words of Jesus brothers and sisters? When Christ says that His yoke is easy, His burden light, do you believe His word? Do you really believe that? You know, in Christ’s word there is never less than it seems to say. If it says, that’s what it is. That’s what it is. So why then do we find then His sayings, why then do we find His commands difficult sometimes to follow? Why is that? Why then do we struggle? So much in our Christian experiences? There must be a reason why. Why then do we think it hard or such a burden to go out and share the love of Jesus? We find it sometimes intimidating. Difficult. I know personality has a lot to do with it. But still, some people that are so outgoing they find it sometimes so difficult to speak the word. Why is that? Did Christ speak of something that was not quite true then? Is that right? When He said, “my yoke is easy, my burden light”.
You know keeping this truth in view, many, many Christians or so-called Christians I would say. They do not find Christ’s yoke easy and His burden light. Many so-called Christians. You know, in one’s present condition, in our present condition, in our unconverted condition, we will find His yoke to be not so easy. We’ll find His burden to be very heavy. In an unconverted condition. That’s what we’re going to find. So if you find that, we find His words to be not quite true than we need to look at ourselves and see where the problem lies. Not with His word. The issue is with us.
In the book, let’s turn to second Timothy chapter 3, let’s ready from verse 2, verse 3, verse 4. We read there “for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Let’s stop here. Are these good attributes to have? Are these things good for us to have? No! Here the Apostle says, in this day we live, this is what’s going to happen. Who are these people? For men shall be lovers of their own selves, their covetous, their boasters, their proud, they blaspheme, they’re disobedient they’re unthankful, they’re unholy, they don’t have the natural affection towards mankind and towards God, they’re high minded, they’re truce breakers, they accuse, they love what’s bad. Who are these people? Are these the world? Or is this God’s people? Terrible isn’t it? Verse 5 tells us, they have what? A “form of godliness”. :So these are people who have known the truth. These are people who have made a profession. They have a form of godliness, they deny the power of God to work in their hearts to change them. These people here will find, will not find the yoke of Christ easy and His burden light.
I’d like to share another from the same book page 76, Sons and Daughters of God page 76, “A form of godliness without the power is a weariness and burden.” That’s what it is. “But when the whole heart is enlisted in the service of Christ, there is rest to the soul, for God causeth such to triumph daily over the powers of darkness. God helps him who commits his soul unto the Lord as to a faithful Creator.”
So what does a form of godliness do to us without the power to transform us? Does it bring rest to our souls? Does it bring rest to our soul? No it doesn’t. It brings what? Weariness. And its a burden. Christ is a burden. Religion is a burden. Because the heart has not been touched by the power of God to change it. Suddenly we have a purpose. When heaven touches us, when the Spirit of God touches us. When we become affected by redemption. We are touched by redeeming grace. Not only will we…we love God, we love Christ for what He’s done for us. We want to tell others about it, about the good news, about the new way, about the new life, about the hope that we have in Christ. We now become active Christians, desiring to share the message and the gospel to others. Because we love them and want them saved as well.
Maybe brothers and sisters that some of us are self-righteous, or even proud of that we should be ashamed. We’re human. What did Jesus call the scribes and Pharisees of His time? What did He call them? Because they had a form of godliness. They were teachers of the law. They taught the people. They ministered in the temple service every day. To every eye, they appeared to be doing every thing right. Matthew, lets turn to Matthew 23, and may this not be our experience today or ever. Matthew 23 verse 27 and 28, Christ said to them “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites…” He called them. Why? Because they had a form of godliness. A form of godliness they had. “For ye are like unto white sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward but are within full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness, even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” See what happens? When we are not allowed to be touched by the power of God. We cannot just take up a name. No its more than just that. Christ is Christianity. Is that right? Christ is Christianity.
You know if we find today that we have no pleasure, we have no pleasure in pairing up with Christ, it is because we have not been regenerated. It is because we have not ben converted. Then the words of Christ will not be true to us, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” will not be true to us. It will be the opposite. Is that right?
There is something that must take place before we can pair ourselves with Christ. What’s that? Let’s turn to John chapter 3. You know we were reading this morning for worship the experience of Nicodemus. He was a, what was his job. We talked about it a little in the lesson this morning. What was his responsibility. He was a teacher. What did he teach? Astronomy? Science? Religion. For many years, he was favoured among the people. But still did he have peace? Did he have rest for his soul? I don’t believe so, because he was a bit troubled. He felt, not I have to talk to Him. I have to talk to Christ. I think I’m not quiet. Something was not quite right with his life, in his experience. And he went to Christ by night. Why? That was the first problem. It shows what his thoughts were. He went by night so he wouldn’t be looked upon as someone who’s following Christ. Being looked down on. He had a few questions for Christ as you go through the Scripture. What did he want to know? What did Nicodemus want to know, to find out, what? What was his question to Christ? He had a few questions, and Christ saw through him. Christ says, unless you are born again. How do I do that? A teacher of the law asking Christ, a teacher of the gospel asking Christ how to be born again? But here we see Jesus said to him, “marvel not”. Marvel not Nicodemus. He said to Nicodemus, don’t be surprised that I say these things to you. You must be born again. Why? Why should Nicodemus be born again?
Well let’s turn to Romans chapter 8 and verse 7 and 8 we read there, “because the carnal mind is enmity against God.” And that is why you and I must be born again. Before the words of Christ can be true to us. When Christ says, my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Put that on. Before we can even do that and have that experience of rest to our souls. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can it be. “So then they that are in the flesh…” What does it say there? “They that are in the flesh…” Can they please God? No! Cannot please God. Cannot please God. In that case we will find not pleasure in pairing up with Christ. And this is serious. We find no pleasure in confessing Christ, no joy. We’ll find no pleasure in carrying out Christian, christlike duties. No pleasure. It will be hard. It will be a burden. No pleasure in assisting missionary department in their work. No pleasure. All these things will be nothing but a terrible burden. If this is our experience, then we have not been born again. We have not yet surrendered all to Jesus. If this is our experience, if we find no pleasure assisting the mission department. If we find no pleasure in confessing Christ to others. If we find no pleasure in fulfilling, carrying out christlike, Christian duties. If we find no pleasure in leading men and women to Christ to be reconciled. It means we have not been born again. Simple.
If this is our experience, then I pray to God he may help us. That we may stop resisting His calling. That we may cooperate with Him. You know, Jesus will have none to bear His burdens but those who have first of all received His grace through faith in the great mediator between God and man – the man Christ Jesus. So if this has been our experience, no pleasure in confessing Him, no pleasure in assisting missionary department with work and assignments, projects. No pleasure in carrying out christlike duties or leading men and women to Christ Jesus, then we have not been born again. And Christ will not have us.
I’ll ask the question, Are you tired, weary and had it working and serving under the master of lies? Are you tired working under the master of, you know what Christ called the Pharisees, you whited tombs? On the outside they look alright, they look pretty good. But Christ saw their hearts. Are we tired of putting up appearances? Are we? Then this call is for us.
In Mathew 11: 28-30, which is our key text. This call is for us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Take Jesus says. That is a personal call. He won’t put it on us. This is the master of darkness that does that Christ works differently. He says take it. Willingly take. Take my yoke upon you. A personal appeal to us.
What does He mean by this? When we look at it? As it is saying there? Well you know, He’s saying just, just…He says do not suppose that just because you are already laboring, or laborers in another master’s service. Remember in Romans? the one we obey is the one that rules. That is our master. And He says just because you are a labourer in another service, just because you are already labouring there, it doesn’t mean, it doesn’t mean that you can wear my yoke. No. It says, do not imagine or even think that just because you are already heavily laden you can bear my burden. No. You and I must first get rid of what? of our first master. We must first of all get rid of that which is a burden. Is a killer to us all. Why? Why is it important to do that? Why is important to take that step of making that decision to walk away from that terrible master? Why? In Matthew chapter 6 tells us why.
Matthew chapter 6 and verse 24. You know why because we are told that no man can serve two masters. We cannot faithfully serve to masters borthers and sisters young people. We cannot. For we will love the one and hate the other or vice-versa. We cannot serve, the BIble tells us, serve God and mammon. We cannot. Its either one or the other.
If we wish to be servants of God, if in your heart burns a desire to serve Jesus then let us begin at the highest place that you and I can attain to. And where’s that? At our Saviour’s feet. That’s where we should begin. Every day of our lives. This is where we should begin the day. Its found in the Faith I Live By, page 103, “When at the foot of the cross, the sinner looks up to the One who died to save him, he may rejoice with fullness of joy, for his sins are pardoned. Kneeling in faith at the cross, he has reached the highest place to which men can attain.” You know we think, we think we can go to university and get a degree, get a PHD all these are very good, but that is not the highest place we can attain. Thank God, we read there for the “gift of His dear Son, and pray that He may not have died for you in vain. The Spirit invites you today, come with your whole heart to Jesus and you may claim His blessing.” With your whole heart. Not half-hearted.
I pray that God may help us to realize our own condition, unless we realize who we really are then we will not appreciate our need of a Saviour. And this here, the blessing is what? That is rest for our souls. That is the blessing. Rest for our souls. You know, some people have said in the past, I don’t find the yoke of life easy. Or the burden of life light. I don’t find that. And I can appreciate that. I believe that as well, but is that what Christ referring to when He said that? When He said those words? The yoke of life easy? Christ never said that they were going to be easy, the yoke of life. What does He say that “His yoke is easy.” He says “my yoke is easy”, “my burden is light”. Interesting isn’t it?
What made Christ’s burden light? Question I ask. And what made His yoke easy? Consider the hardship that Christ went through? Look at His life? Look at His life and what He went through. Is that what He meant? To all eyes it appears that He had the toughest experience. The roughest life. He didn’t even have a home. Others were, the enemy was always behind him to try and discredit Him, things He would say. Satan was always on His case. Is that what Christ meant by that? Is that what He meant? You know, love for you and me, love for humanity. He so delighted in what he would accomplish. He so delighted in that, His yoke to Him was easy. His burden was light. Because He delighted in what redemption would accomplish to humanity.
This is what you and I need. That love that actuated Him to, the love of Christ, He would come to die for humanity, knowing full well what was ahead – He still came. Because He loved you deeply and wanted you to be with Him in heaven in sharing the glories of eternity with Him.
You and I need this. Hebrews chapter 12. Let’s turn to Hebrews chapter 12 verse 2, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was kept before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” That’s what you and I need. Looking to Jesus. What does that mean look to Jesus? What does that mean? Well in a few short words it means, it means to look away from all that would distract us of Christ. The reason why we find no pleasure is because we don’t look to Him. We have been distracted by other things. Distracted by self, distracted by whatever.
The author, He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is our leader. He is the source of our faith. And the finisher of it. He is the one who will bring our faith to maturity. He is the one. Perfection. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. For the joy of obtaining the price that was set before Him, He endured the cross, ignoring all shame.
He saw, Christ saw. He believed that many would be saved through His sacrifice. Through His work. That’s the joy that He had and that kept Him going each day. And brothers and sisters whenever we must labour in Christ, in Christian duty, let us count it easy or the same reason Christ did. Love for Jesus and for the souls Jesus endured the cross for. But you and I must first be touched by redeeming grace before we can have that experience.
You know Paul had an experience, I’d like to share one, maybe two verses. Paul had an experience of this love in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 14. He writes there, he says there according to his experience, “For the love of Christ constraineth us…” The love of Christ urges, urges us, he says. “Because we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead and he died that they which live, should henceforth…” I love this verse. Every time I read this verse, it puts me to shame. Every time. “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him that died for them and rose again.” This is the experience of those who have taken the yoke of Christ and put it on them. Not henceforth living to themselves but unto Him who died for them and rose again. Is this our experience? We’re all here, we’re each here because of Christ. Is this our experience? Are we living for Him? Have we taken up the yoke gladly? Have we paired with Christ? In the work of soul-saving? If we are truly converted. If we have been truly born again then yes, we will take up His yoke. We will be so engaged in christlike duties absolutely. And you know what? These things will be the joy, the delight of our lives.
I’d like to leave us with the last part, the last part of this verse. 2 Corinthians 5 verse 15, “they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him which died for them and rose again.” May the lord help us to prioritize and take our place at the foot of the cross brothers and sisters. To choose one master. Choose one master. Choose Christ as our Master and respond to His calling each day as we live in this life, is my prayer in Jesus name – Amen.