10 COMMANDMENTS SUMMER SERIES #3
June 25-27, 2016
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Matthew 11:28-30
ANOTHER REASON I NEED JESUS:
TOO OFTEN I THINK (AND ACT) LIKE A TWO YEAR OLD!
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV 1984) “Come to Me, all you who are weary and Burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
OK, so how many of you here like to take a nap if you get the chance? I thought so. Naps can be very good and refreshing. Now if I asked that question only to the two or three year olds what answer do you think I would get? They don’t really like to take naps, do they? Because sin messed up God’s perfect world one of the ironies we experience is that at the time in our life when we can nap the most we don’t want to and at the time in our life when we’d like to take a nap and know how good it would be you don’t have the time to. A similar thing has happened with the spiritual rest God wants for His people. We need it. But often times we want to do something else, anything but get it. And that’s another reason I need Jesus and so do you. Too often we think and act like two-year olds when it comes to God’s Word.
I’ll explain why in a bit but first let’s make sure we are clear on what the Third Commandment is all about. It really has nothing to do with any particular day of the week and never was about a day even though it sounds like it. The Sabbath Day was Saturday, the seventh day of the week. God established time for people at creation. He used six days to create all things even though He could have done in less time than it takes to blink your eyes. He did nothing on the seventh day even though He needed no rest. This was about people who need calendars and time and rest. Jesus reminded the Pharisees of that truth when He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” In other words God did not say, “I have created a day of rest now I need to create someone to serve it.” No it’s the other way around. God created people and knew they needed rest so He established a pattern at creation where there were six days for being busy each week and one day for getting rest, physical and spiritual. When Israel became a nation God made it a law. No regular work on Saturday. Get rest for your bodies. Do get together to hear God’s word, pray and praise. Get rest for your souls.
Now why did God make that law for His Old Testament people? Well, He knew that even though they would look grown up, often times because they were sinful, they would think and act like two year olds. Greed would fill the hearts of workers and employers alike who would want to work themselves or their workers 24/7 in order to squeeze out another buck leaving no time for the body to rest or the soul to hear God’s words. The 3rd Commandment was put in place. Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. God wanted His people blessed with rest. That was the purpose and meaning of the law. Get your rest. By Jesus’ time the loving purpose of the law was missed by many who counted steps and relabeled types of work so they could do what they want and still think they were keeping the commandment. Two year olds.
We live at a different time. Once Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament ceremonial laws perfectly they are no longer in effect for God’s people. As far as the Third Commandment goes we don’t have rest and worship on Saturday. But God still wants us blessed with rest. So for us the 3rd Commandment is first and foremost a gut check on our attitudes towards God’s word. Luther made that abundantly clear in his explanation. “We should fear and love God that we do not despise preaching and God’s word but regard it as holy and gladly hear and learn it.” Did you notice how he got to the heart of the matter? Despise, that’s an attitude word. In context it means to devalue or think other things are more important. Gladly hear and learn. That’s different from just hearing and learning. “Time to go to church.” “Do I have to?” And God’s ears and face burn with righteous indignation that a child He created values Him and His blessing so little.
God wants His people, God wants you, blessed with rest. This includes physical rest. American society might make you feel like you are nobody if you take time off each week to do nothing but rest. But you are a nobody in God’s eyes if you don’t. You are rejecting His will for you to rest the body He gave you as you care for it. God wants you blessed with spiritual rest. That’s the type of rest Jesus was talking about when He said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” A yoke is a device for carrying burdens. It can connect two or more animals together so they can share the burden they bear or pull. “Come to me!” Jesus says. It is a command that includes the power to obey with His promise. “I will give you rest. Yoke up with me. Watch me carry your burden.” What burden? He carries the burden of sin. That’s why being yoked to Jesus is easy and light. He does all the work. Do you want to know that God is pleased with you? Stop looking at yourself. You are yoked to Jesus. Because you and I don’t always gladly hear and learn God’s word, Jesus did for you. Remember the 12 year old eagerly staying behind in the Temple to discuss God’s Word? Because sometimes we despise God’s word by putting sleep or hobby ahead of God’s word Jesus went to the synagogue weekly as was His habit. Because we run our bodies ragged Jesus went off by Himself to get some rest. He perfectly obeyed in our place. That’s why God is pleased with you. Still feel guilty about some past sins? Not sure God will come through for you? You can try harder if you want, try to make it up to God. It won’t work. Or come to Jesus who on the cross thought of you and said, “Father forgive them even though they know exactly what they are doing and how wrong it is. I will be punished for their sin.” His yoke is easy. The burden part we have to carry is light because He has already done the work.
“Come to me,” Jesus says. “I will give you rest.” But I don’t want to take a nap! I’m not tired! I want to go outside and play. I want to get this fixed first. I want this house project done. I want to make more money. I want to check my e mail. I want to read the paper.” I want. I want. I want. Now who does that sound like? A two year old. We call it the terrible twos because for the first time since we’ve been caring for the child he or she becomes adamant about having their own way. But mom and dad know best. The two year old needs a nap. Otherwise they will get more tired and more crabby and into more trouble. If only the child would realize how good and important getting rest is! “Come to me,” says Jesus. “I will give you rest.” Now some of you might be thinking, “Pastor, you are preaching to the choir.” In this context that would mean talking about the importance of going to church to those who are already going to church. But there’s more to it than that. How many two year olds only need to take a nap once a week? It’s a daily thing. God’s word is that way too. We need it daily. Without raising your hands how many of you have a daily devotional habit? It’s so important. We live in a world that sin has destroyed. We face problems sometimes of our own making sometimes because other people in our lives sin. When we are not rested in God’s word handling those problems and trials feels so much harder. It is much more difficult to trust God. It’s hard to live happy as one of the people God has chosen.
That’s why I need Jesus and so do you. Our gracious God has placed us a time and in a place where we have His rest giving word available to us in more ways than ever before and we have despised that gift at times. We have looked at getting rest as something we have to do. We have read our devotion without thinking about and not remembering what it says. We have tuned out God’s voice as we heard the readings. Do you remember what they were? And Jesus forgives us. Again and again. Thank you Jesus.
It’s thankfulness to Jesus that moves our hearts to respond. See we don’t always act like two year olds when it comes to taking naps. Eventually you grow up and see how good they are. Young people today I wish you would ask the older members why they limp and cane and walker in. They know the value of rest. They know where to find it. In Jesus. God wants you blessed with rest. Amen.