Never Resting Always at Rest

 

 Scripture: (Mat 11:28-30 KJV)  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.

 Did you hear about the man who was traveling across country by train? He had everything he owned in a suitcase that he put above his seat. Worried that something would happen to it he kept his eye upon it throughout the day. He did not take his eyes off of that suitcase. Come around two or three oíclock in the morning his eyes became real heavy and he just closed them for a second. He quickly opened his eyes back up and looked for the suitcase, which was gone. The man sighed and said to himself. ďThank goodness, now I can get some sleep.Ē

 I want to talk today about something that God has been teaching me over the past week. I have been a licensed minister now for about five years and in that time I have served in many different capacities. I remember my pastor comparing me to the firehouse horse flaring at the nostrils waiting to burst out of the station to fight the fires of hell. Now after just a few years of many wet blankets of doubt and tradition being tossed on me my enthusiasm and zeal has left me standing in the firehouse watching the world burn down around me. Frustration and the feeling of failure have been coming upon me as I listen to the evening news and read the daily newspapers. Knowing that the fires of revival that burned so brightly within my bones are still sending sparks that warm my hopes of future victorious endeavors. The difference that I am learning to experience today is to rest in the Lord while continuing to go forward. 

 The first area of study that I want to look at is the fallacy of religion practices bringing spiritual peace. In doing a word study on peace I was directed to the book of Acts. In the 9th chapter we are given the account of the conversion of Paul.  Now read with me the 31st verse in this ninth chapter of Acts.

 (Acts 9:31 KJV)  Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

If we are to take a closer look at our scripture above we will discover that there must not have been peace in the church. The problem was of course the conversion of Paul. There was great fear in the church as to the genuineness of Paulís conversion. This fear and doubt not only brought about unrest within the body of Christ but it slowed the growth of the Church. Fear and doubt bring about unrest and restricts growth. If left to its own, it will ultimately bring about its final goal, which is death. It is hypocrisy to think because one does a certain thing one way or another that God will smile upon him more then another. Paul was the perfect example of a religious leader who followed the law to the letter only to discover that when the truth be revealed even the smallest infraction of the law puts us all in the same lot with the most horrific offender. It is not by following the traditions of men or the practices of religious observations that burdens are lifted. It is not by the taking of communion or the singing of praise and worship. It is not by the raising of our hands or even our prophesying or speaking in tongues. It is not even by our calling out to the Lord but rather it is the Lord Himself and Him alone that we can trust to give us peace and bring us into His rest. In any religious practice in order for the participant to reach the height of spiritual enlightenment or what have you, everything that the person does must be just right. His breathing must be just so, his clothing must be proper, his diet must be closely watched, his environment must be set up just right with the appropriate lighting and incense and sounds. All of this is manís vain attempt to make himself worthy to enter into the presence of a holy God. The truth is and we all know it, is that man at his best is vain. A manís heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. Lets stop trying to fool ourselves, the closest thing that we could, of our own, be worthy of spiritually attaining is a cheap imitation of God, and that is exactly what satan is. Satan has tried to keep the people of God in fear and unrest so that his influence could grow while the Churchís influence diminishes. It is time that we set aside all the plastic idols and the paper images of our own vain attempts to please God and let Jesus work within and through us to bring His truth to a sick and dieing world.

 The second area of truth that I want us to examine is the fact that we at times are our own worse enemy when it comes to finding inner peace. Our lives are like a river that flows into the ocean. Uninterrupted, things flow smoothly, but when things start getting piled up and in our way we can spill over our banks and cause some major damage before we find our way back down stream.   We have discovered that Jesus can set us free from the bonds of sin. We have discovered that God loves us and desires a prosperous and healthy life for us. We have found the well of living water in the presence of Jesus Christ. Yet we continually choose to follow the old path that led us to destruction. Imagine if you will a country stream that has been flowing down a mountainside. As it begins to grow it comes into a small town and someone in the town sets up a water wheel and slows the stream down by making it turn this big dirty wooden wheel. Then someone else diverts it into its factory to cool the hot metal that spills its toxins into the stream. Another person dumps its garbage into the stream and before you know it this once pure mountain stream is polluted, ugly and dangerous. That is what sin has done to our lives. Even before we were given a chance, our ancestors starting with Adam and Eve polluted our stream of life and left us flowing into a river of death. Now imagine someone coming along and deciding to save that little stream. He diverts it away from the factories and away from the spinning wheels. He builds a huge damn to hold and protect the precious life of the stream. What do you think will soon start to take place behind the wall of that damn? Those peaceful waters of that stream will soon be building up and spreading out looking for fulfillment of its quest. So that which saved it from the filth of the city is now keeping it from its ultimate purpose. So the wise savior of the stream opens a channel and the pure clean waters of the stream begin to flow down through the flowers and the fields bringing more life as it flows onto the sea.

 My point is we do not want to just set back and rest. Oh yes we need that comfort of being able to find our rest in Christ and know that He is always right there with us. But that does not mean that we are to no longer fulfill our quest or calling. In fact now it means not only will we be better able to live a full life but we will be able to make a much larger positive impact on the rest of the world because we have found our rest in Christ Jesus the Lord. But there is no rest in being a sluggard. A true Christian will never find rest in being idle. True rest is rest in service. Active rest. Look at the angels in heaven they worship the Lord night and day and do get weary. They cry Holy Holy Holy, as the glory of God is revealed to them. Never resting always at rest. I am not talking a bout a mandatory religious service. I am not talking about a guilt- reddened obligation to come to the church and do some work on a workday. I am talking a bout a giving of your time and service for the increase of the kingdom of the one who gave you true rest for your soul. We who have come to the knowledge of Godís love for us in Christ Jesus have been given the greatest rest possible. Now He tells us to learn more of him and discover the depths and height and width and length and breath and power of that peace. Search Him out and discover the secret riches of this gift of rest. Learn of him and the mysteries of the ages will be opened to you as His wisdom begins to freely flow through you. Do not turn Again to the muddy waters of past failures but let us continue to follow Jesus trusting in Him and as put upon us His yoke our peace shall remain.

            Do you have peace today? Is there an area of you life that you have been trying to take care of yourself but you know that you just canít continue to fight it? Are you looking for real lasting rest? Then I invite you to really accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and Lord. All your past failures to be forgiven and every single thing in your life be made new. How about you Christian? There is a deeper rest, a richer peace still available for you. God has it waiting for you. Go after the real thing. Get excited about the truth. Let the Holy Spirit fill you to the over flowing with the presence of the one true living God who loves you so much that He himself has paid the price of your salvation. He Himself has already set you free to enter into His rest and fulfill your destiny to the glory of God for all time, world without end Amen. Ask Jesus into your heart today. Seek His peace in every area of you life and find rest in motion. God bless you Amen.