"REST FOR THE TROUBLED SOUL "
"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"-Matthew 11:28,29
Before us we have a glorious invitation, not for a physical rest, but more importantly, a spiritual rest. To find rest, we must have peace and here we find great consolation, our invitation is from the Prince of Peace. Let us begin by noticing those to whom the invitation is given and conclude by observing the place that rest may be found for the troubled soul.
The glorious doctrine of election is beautifully displayed in our text. It is for God's people, His chosen, that this rest is designed. As the writer of Hebrews so faithfully describes, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God"-Hebrews 4:9. Election takes the portals of heaven out of the hands of men and denominations and gives it to the Holy Spirit who alone can quicken the heart. Money can not buy it. It will embrace a people who may never have the religious opportunities that we enjoy in our country today. Our Lord's words were not designed as a condition to get people in Christ, but rather as an evidence of our calling and election. These are words of comfort. Thus, the invitation is to a special people: those who labor and are heavy laden.
All That Labour and Are Heavy Laden
The labour that Jesus speaks of is not of a physical nature, it is spiritual. It is the labor that the soul enters into when the Holy Ghost convinces us of our sin. There is first the feeling of guilt, condemnation and fear of eternal damnation. The soul becomes heavy laden from the weight of sin. It is more than we can bear. More than we can carry. As one preacher said, "Atlas with the world on his back had a light load compared with a sinner upon whom mountains of sin and wrath are piled." Christian, of Pilgrims Progress, was found with a great load on his back that he could hardly carry. His response so vividly depicts the typical response of man trying to justify himself. He went to the house of Mr. Legalist. Mr. Legalist will give us ceremonies and religious rites to perform that we may get the load off of our backs. But if we are honest, we find that man has not invented enough religious rites and ceremonies to cleans our conscience from the foul mark that sin has made. And when we perform these, he will tell us that there is yet more to do.
We do not have to be old in years to find ourselves in such a condition. Age has nothing to do with it. The Lord quickens young and old alike and reveals the corruption of our hearts. I well remember an occasion when I was about 10 years old. I had been told that I must perform certain religious rites to procure my eternal destiny and that if I did not I might fall asleep and wake up in hell. I remember lying on my bed that night, heavy laden with my sin. Even at that young age God had taught me that I was a sinner. I remembered chasing my brother around the house with a spider and other, not so kind things that I had done in my youth. I knew that I deserved hell. I began to cry and went into my mother's bedroom. She saw my tears and quickly sat up in bed asking what was the matter. I told her my fears and I saw tears come into her eyes as well. My first thought was, "She knows it only too well. There is no hope for me, I am a sinner doomed for hell." But I had to ask, "Mother, what is wrong". To my astonishment, her tears were not tears of sorrow, but rather, tears of joy. She knew the doctrines of grace and election and she replied, "If you were not a child of God already, you would not be worried about it." My evidence was thus: I was guilty-true. I was unable to pay-true. My debt exceeded my assets-true. Jesus had paid it all! Friends, I found rest that night, precious rest to my soul, not for what I had done, but rather in what Christ had done for me. Yes, I have failed many times since that day. We will never live up to the law. Yet, every day, I still enjoy the invitation to come to the source of my first comfort: Christ.
COME UNTO ME
Christian, are you labouring, trying to live up to the demands of the law; of your teachers; of those who say and do not? Are you heavy laden with sin? The invitation is to "all"! No matter how great your sin the promise is to you if you labour and are heavy laden. I have seen people go to doctors and take great doses of medication to get the weight off. I have observed teenagers and adults alike turn to drugs and alcohol to kill the pain of their mistakes and sin. All to no avail. For this malady, the Master Physician must be sought out: "COME UNTO ME".
Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00.
By His mercy and grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor