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The Great Call of Christ

July 10, 2016 Pastor: Don Green Series: Matthew

Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: Matthew 11:25-30

40T-006

I'm delighted to have all of you with us here this morning. We're so glad you're with us today. We're in a series of kind of standalone messages for the summer. Next week I'm looking to begin a series of messages on the book of Philemon. I get a lot of questions, "What are you going to be preaching on next?" I'm going to be preaching next Sunday on the book of Philemon and we'll just spend a few messages there on a book about reconciliation and forgiveness, and I'm looking forward to getting into that, but today I needed to just do one more standalone message and it kind of is a bookend to the message that I preached last week, although it's on an entirely different subject.

Last week I went out of my way, just kind of fill those of you in that were not with us, of course, last time. Last time I went out of my way to give a message particularly directed to the young people in our church and it was a message out of Proverbs 6 on overcoming the sin of laziness and that was something that I felt was very important for the nature of life looking forward, and I have a slightly different message on a different topic that I want to again address to the young people of our church, although it's not the time for those of you adults to turn off your earpieces because it's actually a message that would apply to each one of us with equal force and with equal vigor, but I'm going to frame it and speak a little bit more directly to our young people today, those that are maybe just on the verge of entering into life as young marrieds or perhaps entering into college or you're in high school and a little bit younger than that; you know, you're just kind of entering into life and there is a really particular pastoral reason that I want to frame it this way and to speak to you in particular here this morning. I want you to know that as the pastor of this church, I think of you as well as your parents when I'm in this pulpit, that I want you to have the sense that this church belongs to you as well as to your parents; that you feel like you belong and that your concerns and your needs and your spiritual well-being are at the heart and the center of everything that we do and that it's not simply directed to the adults that happen to be in the room on any given Sunday. You're important to me and I have things from Scripture that I would want to embed in your heart going forward, and as a young person, you need to know these things. And it's important to me, it's important to our elders, this is one of the distinctives that our church stands for, that we treat our young people earnestly, not as childish people who need to be entertained in order to keep their attention, we don't think about you that way at all. We realize and understand that some of you have been born again and you have sincere desires for the Lord in your heart and you want to follow after Christ. We want to honor that with the way that we teach you and the way that we instruct you, and the way that we interact with you. We realize that some of you have been born into Christian homes but you have not come to a saving knowledge of Christ yet for whatever reason and it shows in the way that you respond to your parents or different ways that it's obvious that sin and darkness dominate your heart rather than the light and the holiness and the godliness of our Lord Jesus Christ. We realize that. We just want to deal with you earnestly as people knowing that you're moving into life and here's the thing, that you have things on your heart that matter to you; that the things of life that are age appropriate to you are serious to you and therefore they are serious to us too. We care about those things and we want to bring God's word to bear on your life in a way that helps you, that awakens you perhaps to your need for salvation, and that which would give you strength even in the midst of your own discouragements that you go through. Whether it's physical or spiritual issues, relational issues, we get all of that. And the joy of being a preacher of God's word is to know that when we open up God's word, it supplies and it meets the need of every heart. I don't have to tailor it to a specific earthly circumstance. I can open up God's word and it will be a blessing to you. So this is particularly for you young people to listen in and hear but it's also that which you as adults will equally profit from. I'm just speaking, you're kind of listening in as I have a pastoral discussion with the young people in our church and so I invite you to do that.

We're going to turn to a text that I have not preached at Truth Community Church. I have preached it in the past but I have preached it not here at Truth Community Church in Matthew 11, beginning in verse 25. Matthew 11:25 through verse 30 is our text for this morning and I couldn't be more delighted to be able to share it with you here today. This is our Lord Jesus speaking, speaking about himself to people with heavy hearts and he says in verse 25 as he turns his attention and praise to his Father at the beginning and says that,

25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Young people, as you stand on the brink of entering into your life, you stand on the brink of moving into life and your future is ahead of you and all of the decisions that you would make about schooling, about marriage, about what you're going to do, what you love, what you're going to pursue and all of that is in front of you as you stand on the brink of life, I want you to come to this text and find the call of the Lord Jesus Christ on your life as you consider those things. Not to think about life apart from Christ and not to think about life apart from the great call that he makes on every man, woman and child, but today particularly focusing on how it would apply to you. As you're on the beginning, as you're at the early stages of life, as you are just beginning to establish the patterns and the habits and the thought train that will shape your life, understand that right at that juncture in life that you find yourself at right now, the Lord Jesus Christ is making a call on your life and is calling you to recognize who you are and who he is and what you are to do in response to that. Nothing else really matters in comparison to the way that you respond to Christ and how you understand him. What we're going to do from this text is that we are going to see four key themes about life, four key aspects of your existence that lead you directly to the Lord Jesus Christ; that you would think about him centrally; that he would be the focus of the entire way that you approach your life.

I realize that for many of you, you have grown up in a Christian environment and you just kind of assume it. It has just been a natural part of life. That's not true of all of you but I know that it's true of many of you and there's a risk to that. I mean, there's a lot of blessing in that, to have godly parents and Christian parents that are trying to point you to the Lord. You'll understand later in life what a great blessing God gave by depositing you into a family like that. The time will come where you will see that more clearly, for now, you just kind of assume it. But here's the thing that I want you to see, I want you to see that even in that Christian environment in which many of you have been raised, Christ comes and calls you out in one sense even out of that, to call you out of just a cultural approach to Christianity; just because your family was this way, Christ calls you out of that and says, "Give your supreme allegiance to Me." You must understand that Christ is making a call on your life personally and individually that it's not enough for you to have simply been born into a Christian home. Scripture says that the kingdom of God is not for those who are simply born of flesh in John 1, or born of the will of man. The fact that you were born into a Christian home does nothing to position you to be reconciled to God and to grant you the forgiveness of your sins.

So you need to come and you need to hear Christ calling you personally here this morning; that's what I want to address with you and as we come to this text, the first thing that I would have you see here, this is the first point for the message: your need is great. Your need is great. The lack that you have in your spiritual life is significant and must be the primary concern that you would motivate yourself to address. Your need is great and we're going to see that from this passage here. The context of this passage that I read earlier is Jesus' judgment on the cities of his day and his call that they might repent. Jesus had condemned the cities of his day for refusing to listen to his message.

Look at verse 20 of Matthew 11. Scripture says that Jesus "began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent." Verse 21, "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you." Now, how is that possibly relevant to a young person in the 21st century? I get the question. Let's just put it this way: what Jesus is saying is that the people who heard him in his day and age, heard his teaching, saw his miracles and they refused to repent. They continued to reject him. They refused to bow the knee to him and Jesus said, "Look, you guys are in a position of great spiritual danger." He says, for example, "Do you remember the city of Sodom back in Genesis 19? And that God rained down fire and brimstone upon them in judgment because they were wicked people and God brought judgment upon them?" Jesus says, "If those people had known what you know, if those inhabitants had seen my miracles, if they had heard my teaching, things would have been different for them. That city would still be existing today because they would have repented. They weren't granted that privilege, God judged them," Jesus says now speaking to the cities, he says, "You have seen things that no one else has seen before and you refuse to repent. God's judgment is going to be more severe on you than it was on those Old Testament cities." Wow.

Scripture tells us elsewhere that those who hear the Gospel over and over again are more accountable and have a greater accountability before the judgment of God than those who haven't heard the Gospel. Do you know what that means for you young people, those that, you know, where your parents faithfully bring you into this church and you hear the word of God again and again and again and they teach you in your home again and again and again? There is an elevated level of accountability for you and this is not about your parents, this is not about your pastor, I am talking about you alone in the presence of a holy God. God has given to you a great blessing where the word of God has been opened to you and what you do with that is going to either determine your blessing or it is going to bring great judgment upon you. For you to harden your heart and to turn away from the loving gracious instruction that has been given to you day after day, month after month, year after year, puts you at a place of great vulnerability before God. It's not when you harden your heart against that and plug your ears against what your parents or what your pastor says to you, it's not that that is a human offense, God looks at that and says, "Why are you rejecting my word? Why do you harden your heart against me that way?" So understand that there is a sense in which the parallels that Jesus is talking about, opportunity given to people to respond to Christ and opportunity rejected, brings great accountability before God and you're in a similar position like that. Your need is great to give heed to the word of God that is given to you.

Well, as you move on in the passage in verse 25, Jesus begins to turn away from the concept of judgment and calling people to repentance to statements about salvation, and if you look at verse 25 with me, we can continue on. We're still dealing with the issue of the fact that your need is great and how you would respond to that. Verse 25, "At that time Jesus said, 'I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.'" Now, think with me a little bit. Jesus says, "God, you have hidden these things from wise and intelligent people and you've given them to infants." What's he saying there? Well, what he's doing is he's addressing the fact that God hides the Gospel, as it were, from people who are proud and view themselves as intelligent and not in need of his grace. Those kinds of people, God is opposed to the proud, Scripture says, but he gives grace to the humble. So you have to decide, young people, you have to decide what kind of attitude, what kind of posture you are going to adapt toward the word of God and toward the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus says that God is pleased to show these things to infants, to babies. Those are the kinds of people that God makes himself known to, that God gives his salvation to.

Doesn't that sound kind of a little odd? What is Jesus saying here? Well, he's making a statement about, not so much about newborn infants literally, but rather people that view themselves in the context of what infants are like. What can we say about infants? What do you know about babies from growing up in your family? Babies are helpless. Babies cannot provide for themselves. Babies need outside help if they are going to survive. And what Jesus is saying is that God is pleased to give his salvation to people who view themselves as helpless and unable to save themselves. Just like a baby cannot care for itself physically, God is pleased to give his salvation to those who say, "I cannot save myself spiritually." And that's a humbling posture to take.

How great is your need? Well, the only way you can really understand that is to look at what God's word says and what does God's word say about you, young person? What does it say about every man, woman and child? It says that there is no one good. There is no one righteous, not even one. It warns against hypocrisy. It warns against manipulation. It warns against sin. You see, young person, here's the thing for you: you have broken God's law in your heart with things that you've said and things that you've done, and I would not be a faithful pastor to you if I didn't lay this out to you in the plainest language whatsoever; right now, I'm trying to please God and not you with what I'm about to say. Your entire nature is twisted and broken before God. You were born into this world as a sinful being and that's why as you started to grow up, no one had to teach you how to be naughty. No one taught you to lie. Your parents didn't sit you down and say, "Here, let me tell you how to avoid the truth when you're in trouble. Let me show you how to say things that are false so that it can serve your own ends." Your parents did not do that for you. Do you know what taught you to lie? Do you know what taught you to be naughty? Do you know what taught you to be rebellious and angry against your parents? Do you know what taught you that? It was your own sinful heart. Your heart taught you all of those things without being prompted by somebody else. The Bible says about your heart and about the heart of every man, that the heart of man is desperately sick. The Bible says about your heart this from Ecclesiastes 9, 'The hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives." Now, young people, we say this to you and you must understand that we say these things to you because we love you, we care about you, we want what's best for you. This is the one place in the world where you can come and have the truth about your heart spoken to you rather than going out into the world and everybody telling you how great and full of potential you are. Scripture says that your heart needs to be changed; that you must be born again if you are going to receive God's salvation.

Let's step back for a moment. That's true of all you adults as well, right? You all get that, right? That this isn't something for you to be nodding saying, "Yes, you preach to the children because the children need to hear this." We all need to hear this. If you are not saved, you really need to hear this as an adult. If you are saved, then you need to say, "Yeah, that's what I was saved from. That's what I was like. It was my heart that was evil. It was my heart that was full of insanity. It was my heart that conditioned me to be the kind of person that couldn't be trusted." Yeah, see, young people, your need is great and let me just make this as simple and plain as I possibly can: you have a sin problem. Your need is great and you need just like a baby needs someone outside of himself to care for him or he will die, you need spiritual help from outside yourself or you will face God's eternal judgment. There is no other way. You are helpless. You are in great need. You cannot save yourself and that's the first point of coming to grips with what Jesus says. So the question is, the question that you have to ask yourself in the presence of a holy God is: do I accept, do I receive the Bible's verdict against the condition of my soul? Scripture indicts you. Scripture convicts you of being a sinner who is separated from God, the question is do you say, "Yes, Lord, I agree with your word," or do you stiffen your neck and harden your heart and say, "That's not true of me"? You have to make a choice about the fundamental way that you're going to look at yourself in life.

But we move on as we consider this, it's not just the you have great need which you do, but secondly as Jesus goes on, Jesus pivots away from the sinfulness of man and calls attention to himself, and with our second point this morning, we say that Jesus is a great Savior. Jesus is a great Savior. What am I doing, young people? I'm preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to you is what I'm doing. We're not going to have you ever to be in a position of saying, "I was in a church and I never heard the Gospel preached." That's not true. You're never going to have that excuse before the throne of God. You're hearing it today. You've heard it from your parents. You hear it from a lot of different places. You hear it in other times from this pulpit and the question is what are you going to do with the Gospel? Well, here's what you are to do: you are to look at yourself and say, "I am a sinner. I am lost and I need help." Then your eyes are lifted up by God's word and says, "Oh, my eyes are drawn to Christ. My eyes are drawn to the Lord Jesus and that Jesus is a great Savior." And you begin to forget yourself. You begin to deny yourself and your heart becomes consumed with great thoughts about Jesus Christ.

Now, we have 66 books of the Bible that directly or indirectly all point to the greatness of Christ. There have been countless books written about the greatness of Jesus Christ and I can't begin to scratch the surface of unfolding to you the greatness of Jesus Christ in a message like this. I can't do it. There isn't enough time, but I can point out a couple of things that we see in this text that would draw your eyes to Christ and lift your heart up to him. What can we say about the greatness of Jesus Christ? Well, first of all, he has great authority. Jesus Christ has great authority. In the text that you're about to see, young people, you're about to see that Jesus is making an exclusive truth claim. Jesus is standing against everything that the world would ever teach you and say, "I am superior to anyone and anything else that you will ever see in your life." That's who Jesus is. He's superior to all of that.

Look at what he says here in verse 27. Remember, he's making an exclusive truth claim. He says in verse 27, "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." That's a mouthful. There is a lot of theology packed into that verse there. Let me see if I can just kind of simplify it here. Jesus is saying that when you think about who God is and the greatness and the surpassing power and existence and being of God and all of the perfection of his attributes, understand this, Jesus says, "You need to understand that I am the only person anywhere in the universe that knows God fully." Conversely he says, "Only God the Father knows me fully. Everyone else's knowledge is partial at best." You see, only God can fully know God. In the infinitude of God, only Jesus Christ can know him. In the infinitude of Jesus Christ, only God the Father knows him fully is what Jesus is saying here in this passage. It's a statement of deity. Young people, you have to understand that when we preach Christ to you, we are not preaching a good moral teacher, although he is that, he's so much more, we're not simply preaching to you someone who is a human example to you and you need to work to be like Christ, oh he's a good example but he's so much more than that, Jesus Christ is God himself in human flesh. He has great authority. Look at what he says and remember this, in light of what we were saying about your sin problem, separated from God, facing the judgment of God, under the wrath of God, unable to save yourself, understand this, young person, that in that desperate condition where you cannot save yourself and where you need outside help, Jesus Christ speaks into your life and says, "I am the only one who can save you. You can find salvation nowhere else but in me."

That's what he says there at the end of verse 27. Look at it with me. Jesus says, "No one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." How great is Jesus Christ? How great is his authority? How dependent are we on him? Oh, young person, get it straight on this point here: no one has their sins forgiven, no one comes to a holy God and is reconciled to him unless Jesus Christ grants it to them. Jesus Christ is your only hope. He is the only way that you can find salvation from your sin. Only Jesus Christ has the authority to grant eternal life and forgiveness of sin to you. That means for you adults, just thinking about other things that might come to your mind, that every other religion except biblical Christianity is absolutely false; that when people invite someone to go to Mary for forgiveness or to go to Eastern religions or to look inside for their reconciliation with God, it's all a lie. It's all false. It is directly opposed to what Jesus Christ says here. Jesus says, "Only the Son can make the Father known to anyone."

So we abandon, young people, all hope in ourselves, all hoping our own righteousness. You step out of that and you reject all of that and you realize the supremacy and the exclusivity of Christ as the only way that you can be saved. In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." That's as plain and direct as he could possibly make it. In the book of Acts it says that, "there is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." Young people, do you see what that means to you as you're on the brink of life and moving into life? You have to look beyond this physical life, you have to look beyond what you're going to be doing today and think about eternal issues and say, "What about my sin problem? What about the judgment of God? What about the justice of God against me? How do I ever get out from under the burden of God's judgment on my sinful soul?" And to realize that you can't help yourself, you are like an infant before God, and to realize and to develop in your mind a view of Christ that says, "Only Jesus is capable of delivering me from my sin and bringing me to God. If I don't come through Christ, I will be eternally and miserably lost."

That's what Jesus says here. That gives you a view of the power and the authority that he has. Do you know what that should teach you to do, every one of you in the room, do you know what that should teach you to do? Do you know how that should condition and soften your heart? It should cause you to fear Christ. To fear him. To realize that in Christ is the authority over eternity. To realize that in Christ that if Christ would turn you away, there would be no hope for you whatsoever, and only that kind of absolute understanding of the authority of Christ can condition out of you and purge out of you your pride, your self-righteousness, your selfishness, your indifference to the Gospel, and humble you to a point where you come to him with empty hands and say, "O Jesus, save me. O Jesus, make the Father known to me like what you have said here." Because until you respect Christ preeminently and over everything else, unto you value Christ over everything else, every other human relationship, every other human activity, everything about your life until Christ is supremely precious to you, you cannot be saved, and part of the way that he becomes supremely precious is by recognizing his great authority, that he is a great Savior.

Now, let me take it another step here as we're thinking through this text together. If the only thing that we knew about the Lord Jesus Christ was his great authority, it might cause us to shrink away from him in fear and to say, "How could I ever approach him being sinful as I am? He having the great authority and the impeccable holiness that is his, how could I ever approach him? How do I bridge the gap? On what grounds do I approach him if I don't deserve to do that? And he is exalted and high over heaven and the only one who knows God and the only one who can reveal God, on what grounds then would I approach him?" Well, you see, there is another whole dimension to the greatness of Christ and the greatness of who he is as Savior and Jesus points to it side-by-side here in this passage as we move along. It's not just that Jesus has great authority, Jesus also has great compassion. Great love. A great tenderness about him toward sinners that you need to see.

Jesus here in this passage invites – young people, pay attention to me, especially if you've felt convicted and the weight of your sin and, "Oh, I am naughty. I have been wicked. I am an untrustworthy angry person. I am like that. What am I to do?" Well, Jesus speaks to you in that sense of guilt and conviction and speaks these wonderful words that we find in verse 28 when he says, "Come to 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 will find rest for your souls." There is a simple illustration that I'm going to use in just a moment to help you understand this, young people, if you're feeling the weight of your sin, you old men and old women here, maybe you're feeling the weight of your sin too, there is something that you need to see that's really crucial here. Jesus invites sinners to come to him. We come to him not saying, "Jesus, aren't you so lucky that I come to you? Jesus, I choose you." No, that's not really it. That's a complete perversion of the process and of the standing of the parties here. No, we're sinful. We're broken and at the core of understanding the scriptural indictment against the condition of man is a recognition that says, "I have no grounds in myself in order to approach God. There is nothing good about me to commend myself to God. If I were to stand before God and he said, 'What is it about you that should cause me to let you into heaven?'" there is only one thing for you to say, "God, there is nothing good about me to commend me to heaven. "There's nothing about me, God. I am a spiritual beggar. I am bankrupt. I'm like a baby. I can't even feed myself, O God." And in that condition, with that self-assessment in your mind, now the words of Jesus come and says, "Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." How is it that you can come to God? How is it that you can come to Christ? It's on one ground: Jesus says, "I invite you to come."

Can you believe that? It's incredible that for a sinner just like you, Jesus says, "Come to Me and I will give you rest." For a guilty rebel against God like you who feels the weight of that and knows that there is nothing you can do to undo the sins of your present and your past, Jesus says, "You know, I have compassion on sinners like you. I'll receive you. Come to Me. I'm gentle and I'm humble in heart." You say, "Wow, why would he do that? What would a holy one like Jesus want with a sinful one like me?" Well, here's the thing, beloved, remember the big point here is that Jesus is a great Savior. Jesus came into this world from heaven in order to be a Savior for sinners just like you. It's amazing. It's remarkable.

And you say, "But oh, I'm so sinful and I can't undo it and I've been so bad and I've been so mean and I've been so naughty, what am I to do?" Well, remember something about Jesus. Turn over in the Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of Luke, the 42nd of the 66 books of the Bible, in Luke 5. I want to help you see something about the nature of Jesus from his own words, Luke 5. This is one of my favorite self-statements by Jesus about himself because it is the open door of hope; it is the one open door of hope to sinners just like you, young people. Jesus said in Luke 5:31, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Let me deal with a little quick thing here. Jesus says, "If you think that you're self-righteous, if you think that you're good enough for God, I don't have anything to say to you. I'm not calling you." And so your own self-assessment, "Hey, I'm a good person," that separates you and cuts you off from Jesus' invitation. Jesus says, "I didn't come to call people like you, people that are self-satisfied and self-righteous. Nah." What he did was, look at verse 32 again, he said, "I came to call sinners." He had given an illustration saying, "It's not those who are well that need a physician but those who are sick."

Let's think about a doctor for a moment. Just for a moment. This is so simple and sometimes you just have to kind of clear out all of the clutter and just think in the simplest of terms. Jesus helps us to do that. When you're really, really sick you say, "I need to go to a doctor," or your parent tells you, "I need to go to a doctor," because why do you go to a doctor? Because a doctor can make you better. He's got the training and the equipment and the medicines and all of that that's necessary to help you get better. Now, imagine, you adults, you young people, imagine that we adopted this posture toward doctors that said, "Well, you know, doctors are reputable members of the community, they are intelligent, they are smart, they have gone through a lot of training and I just cannot contemplate the thought of going to a doctor when I feel like this, when I'm all feverish and chilled. You know, I'm just going to wait until I get better and then I'll go to the doctor because I don't want the doctor to see me like this, not in my weakness, not in my illness and all of that." Wouldn't that be the silliest thing in the world? What's the point of a doctor? The point of a doctor is that he makes sick people better and so you go to the doctor when you're sick rather than waiting until you get better. What Jesus is saying here is, "I'm a great Savior and I'm like a doctor, sinner. Sinner," Jesus says, "come to me in your sin when you feel the weight of conviction that you are sinful and not righteous and not fit for the presence of a holy God." When you are conscious of that, come to me because unlike a doctor who receives sick patients and makes them well, Jesus is a Savior who receives sinners and forgives them and washes them and cleanses them and changes them. You cannot approach Christ and say, "I've made myself better. Now I'm behaving better, I'm thinking differently. Now I can come to you." It doesn't work that way. No, you go to Christ in your sin, in your conviction, knowing that you can't do anything to save yourself and you cry out to him just like that.

I don't mind telling you that's exactly what I did when I came to Christ. I knew that I had sinned away any hope. I knew that I had broken God's law. I felt the utter terror of being under the judgment of God and knowing that if I fell into hell at that moment, it would be the most righteous thing that God had ever done to condemn me to hell for my sin. And man, I don't mind telling you, I was frightened to realize the truth about myself, and like that, in that condition, I came to Christ and I said, "O Christ, you've got to save me," in essence. "I'm a sinner who has rebelled against you. I need your salvation. I believe that you suffered and died and rose again in order to save sinners like me. Save me because I have no other hope." Do you know what Christ did when I approached him like that? He received me. He forgave me. He changed me. Not because I deserved to be changed, no, I deserved to be judged, the whole point was the grace and compassion of Christ on a sinful soul on that time some years ago.

That's how it works. That's how salvation is. You come to Christ as a sinner to find salvation in him and, young people, this is what you really need to understand and I get the fact, having been a Christian parent for a number of years now, that your parents have to train you a lot in what right and moral behavior is. They have to discipline you when you're naughty so that you would learn to do what is good. But as you're going through that time of discipline, understand that what God requires from you is not an improved righteousness, but for you to repent and put your faith in Christ in order for you to be saved; that Christ welcomes you when you come to him as a sinner. Jesus has the authority to forgive you. Jesus has the compassion to forgive you. He feels pity on sinners who come to him and 2,000 years ago Jesus did the work on the cross, bearing sin in his body and receiving the punishment of God as a substitute for sinners just like you in order that you might be saved; that the punishment that Jesus received for sin would be the payment for your sin; that his righteous life would be counted as though you had lived it yourself so that you could be perfectly fit to be in the presence of a holy God. He's a great Savior and he delights in sharing his salvation with those who come to him.

Now, your need is great, Jesus is a great Savior, go back to Matthew 11 here. Oh, this is so important. This is absolutely vital. This is more important than anything that has happened in the news over the past week. Point 3: Jesus makes a great call. Jesus makes a great call. Notice what he says there in verse 28. I'll come back to it again in a moment also. Jesus says, "Come to Me, and I will give you rest. Come to Me." Young people, I've said it once today, I'm going to say it again: you cannot be saved because your parents are Christians. That doesn't save you. You're not saved by being born into a Christian family any more than being put into a garage makes you a Maserati. You, young person, you must come to Christ for salvation. You must repent and believe. Your parents cannot do it for you. Your pastor cannot do it for you. No one but you can repent and believe in Christ in order to receive salvation and the wonderful part of it is is that Jesus invites you to do just that. Jesus calls you right now and says, "Come to me to be saved. Come out of your sin. Come out of this world. Come out of your rebellion. Come out of your guilt and come to me alone to be saved." That's what Jesus is saying when he says, "Come to me."

You see, young person, you have a responsibility if you would be saved and look at it there in verses 28 and 29 with me again. We'll look at it in a little closer detail now, Jesus says, "Come to 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 will find rest for your souls." Young person, look at the commands of Christ that he makes to you as you sit here today. He says, "Come to Me. Take My yoke upon you. Learn from Me." And he makes a promise alongside that, he says in verse 28, "I will give you rest." He promises you, "I'm gentle and humble in heart." He promises you again, "You will find rest for your soul." Do you know what a yoke was? A yoke was a farming implement that they would put on the necks of cattle that were going to plow fields, and the yoke was a bar that fit over the necks of the cattle and the owners used that yoke kind of like a primitive steering wheel to direct them and to show them which direction they were to go. That yoke, Jesus uses that as a symbol of authority. He says, "Submit to my authority. Submit to my control. Submit to my ownership." In other words, young person, put your faith in Christ and submit to him as the supreme authority in your life if you would be saved.

Young person, you must put your own trust in Christ to be saved from your sins. What does that look like? Well, the spirit of it, you use your own words but the spirit of it is like this, saying, "Jesus, I know I'm a sinner who needs to be saved. Jesus, I believe that you are the only Savior and that you died for me, that you rose from the grave, that you're alive. Jesus, I turn from my sins. Jesus, I put myself entirely in your hands and ask you to save me and to keep me, to deliver me from judgment, and to make me yours forevermore." That's the spirit of the response of coming to Christ. Young person, have you responded to Christ like that? Have you come to Christ and surrendered your life, your will to him in recognition of his great authority and the fact that he is the only Savior? Have you come to Christ like that? Nothing else matters by comparison.

Young person, I can tell you for certain that there are multiple people in your family and in this church that have prayed for God to open your heart. There is an entire spiritual force at work begging for your soul before the throne of God even at this moment. There is the authority of Jesus Christ brought to bear upon your heart, Lord over your soul saying, "You come to me now." There is the promise of Jesus Christ saying, "I promise you that I'll receive you." Jesus says, "I promise you that I will give you rest. I promise you that I'll never turn you away." There is every reason and there is every force in the universe from the holiness of God at work pulling your heart to Christ right now saying, "Come to Christ and be saved," and it's your responsibility to say, "Yes, Lord, I come."

What happens to the person that responds to Christ like that? The fourth and final point for this morning: Jesus gives great rest. He gives great rest. He promises salvation to you. He promises to forgive you of all of your sins, to reconcile you to God, and to give you blessing in this life and even greater blessing in the life to come. Look at what he says here in verse 29. No one could demand this from Jesus from a human perspective. This is all because he wants to. He says there in verse 28, what's his promise? "I'll give you rest." Verse 29, "You'll find rest for your souls." He's saying, "I will forgive your sins. I will give you a clear conscience. I will change you and make you into someone new so that you delight from your heart to follow God." He says there in verse 30, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light." He says, "It's a blessing to be under my authority. I'm no harsh taskmaster. I am kind. I am gentle. I deal graciously with my people." Young person, don't you want to belong to someone like that? Wouldn't that be the greatest treasure of all of life to belong to someone who owns you and deals with you in a manner like that? Wouldn't that be the greatest thing ever to belong to Christ? Jesus says, "I promise you if you come, that will belong to you." He holds nothing back. He'll give you the same perfect position, the same perfect indwelling Holy Spirit, he'll give you the same perfect salvation that he gives to any other Christian. I won't have any blessing that won't already be yours when you come to Christ. That's how gracious he is.

You know, young people, let me say one other thing to you about it: perhaps times past, someone not thinking too well, someone dealing with you sharply kind of diminished you and said you're not old enough, you don't understand, come back later, young person, do you know what? Jesus isn't like that. Jesus when the disciples tried to keep the little children away from Jesus, Jesus said, "Stop it. I want the children to come." The youngest ones he bid to come. Young person, Christ bids you to come. Why? Because he invites you. Because he's loving. Because he's compassionate. Because he's gracious. Because he would bestow incalculable blessing upon you if you would come. He will give you rest and as you follow Christ, as you go through life, he helps you, he refreshes your heart, he encourages you through his word, through his people. All of this blessing, all of this rest, Jesus lays it out and offers it to you and says, "Come to Me and it can be yours." Can you imagine anyone turning away from that? Why would you do that? Why would you turn away from Christ when that kind of offer is put in front of you? There is only one reason, it's because you're saying that you don't want it. Don't be like that. Come to Christ and be saved. Jesus is a great Savior who gives a great salvation to those who are in great need and promises a great rest.

Young person, old person, someone in between, do you know this Christ? Have you come to Christ like this and given yourself over to this great Savior who alone can save you from your sin?

Let's bow together in prayer. I'll give you just a moment to sort these things out in your own heart. If you're visiting, we don't ask for any shows of hands, we don't make any public displays of these things, but Christ speaks to the recesses of your heart and says, "Come to Me and I will give you rest." How will you respond?

Father, may you take these weak and feeble words that have been spoken here today and apply them by the power of your Holy Spirit to the need of each one here. For those of us that know you, that you have saved, O God, we thank you for the rest. We are living witnesses to the fact that you keep your promises. When you came to us through the Gospel and you saved us, you gave us a great rest. You forgave all of our sins. You secured us for heaven forever. Lord, we have walked and seen your blessing time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time again. We thank you for that and, Father, we would want that same blessing, that same salvation, that same forgiveness of sin, that same earthly blessing until the eternal blessings burst upon the scene; we would want that same blessing for every unsaved person in the room today, for that young person who has resisted his parents' call, has resisted his parents' pleas for salvation, convict them and bring them now and show them grace and mercy, Father, burst upon their lives with the saving power of your Spirit. Perhaps for that older person whose eyes have been opened, whose heart has been hard for decades, now somehow the sweetness of God's Gospel, the Gospel of Christ has penetrated and their heart is broken before you, O Christ, be swift to bring that promised rest to their heart. May they turn to you and be saved. Father, only this Gospel is the answer to the things that we've seen in this past week. Hearts are evil and wicked and death is a reality. Make your Gospel known through your people to many many more in the days to come. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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