Finding Real Rest

When You Face Burdens In Life, Remember That You Can Find Rest In Jesus

Hunter Gray
Aug 20, 2023    45m
When we face the burdens in our lives, it is important to remember that we can find our rest in Jesus. The Book of Matthew teaches us practical ways that we can cast our struggles on Jesus, and he will give us refuge. Video recorded at Upland, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Rich Shores: [00:00:19] As Pastor Dan mentioned, my name is Rich Shores and I have the privilege of being part of the Scripture reading team, and it's because I love Scripture so much, I love reading the Word. And with that said, I'm sure there are many of you here today that have a favorite verse that you hold on to on a daily basis. And for me, that's Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." And I hold on to that every day knowing that God is working for my good.

Rich Shores: [00:00:53] But when today I found out what the Scripture text was going to be for Pastor Hunter's sermon, I was very excited because it is what I believe to be one of Jesus's most important and best promises and invitations to us. And so I'll ask you to stand, and I'm going to be reading today from Matthew chapter 11 verses 25 through 30, "At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. 27“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28“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.” This is God's Word.

Hunter Gray: [00:02:15] All right. Good morning, beloved church. So thankful to be with you this morning. Now, as we begin, I've got a question for you. Who's tired this morning? Does anybody wish they had slept in? Right. Right. Did you have a challenging week? Maybe even a challenging month? For some of us, it might have been a challenging year, you might not even see an end to the site of the challenges that you face. You see, life has a way of exhausting us, doesn't it? Maybe we wake up, we spend time with our kids, we go into traffic, we go to work, we go back into traffic, we spend time with our kids, and we sleep, rinse and repeat, right? The next morning, wake up, our kids, traffic, work, traffic, kids, sleep, right? Rinse and repeat. See weariness, it often has a way to set in, doesn't it? In our normal ebbs and flows of life, there's so much to do, but so little time. And so how many of us today wouldn't mind a vacation? Are we there, are we due for a vacation? Let's dream about that a little bit this morning.

Hunter Gray: [00:03:25] See, if I were going to ask you, what is your little slice of paradise? How would you describe that? So maybe you would see Paradise as a tropical island all to yourself. It's a place where you could walk along a picturesque beach with no distractions, the only sound you're going to hear are the waves gently crashing on the shore. That sounds pretty nice. Maybe paradise for you is a beautiful countryside, a place where you can gaze across the rolling hills. You start to see wild horses frolicking without a care in the world. Maybe a calm breeze blows across your face, and you take a gentle stroll down to a river or a stream, it sounds very peaceful. Or what about the mountaintop? For some of you, maybe paradise is being in the high places overlooking all that would lay before you, watching the reds, the pinks, and purples stretch across the sky as the sun would rise over the valley below. Does everyone have something in mind? It's nice, isn't it? What if we were just to stay here for a little while?

Hunter Gray: [00:04:38] You see, when we think about our little slice of paradise, what are we really thinking about? It's not really about the place, is it? In reality, we're thinking about what that place would provide for us. See, for many of us, the word paradise, it's actually code for another word, it's code for rest. We long for a place that would provide for us with what most often eludes us, a place that would provide genuine rest for our weary souls. We long for a place where the cares and worries of this life wouldn't be so burdensome, that we could just stop for a moment and just live, breathe, and think about what gives us true life.

Hunter Gray: [00:05:25] And so why does this little slice of paradise, why does it elude us? So. Why are our experiences in this world, why are they so difficult? We often work 50 weeks out of the year, for the hope of having two weeks of rest. And I've often asked myself this question, why have we set this world up in such a way that it drains us rather than fills us? Does the Bible ever speak to this?

Hunter Gray: [00:05:51] Well, in fact, it actually does, right? Right in the beginning, it will actually speak to this very question in the opening chapters of Genesis. We're going to learn that Adam and Eve, that they were privileged to live in a paradise that God had designed for us. In this garden in which they lived, it was beautiful, purposeful, and safe, but most importantly, in the garden, Adam and Eve, they were free. They were free in this garden, free from the toils that weigh us down. Right? They were free from sin. They were free to live in harmony with their creator. See, in the beginning, we are told that God had designed us and made us good. We were designed for a joyful existence, one of purposeful work and rest within this paradise that he created.

Hunter Gray: [00:06:40] And guess what? We totally messed that up, didn't we? Right? Adam and Eve, they messed it up, they had one rule. All you had to do was stay away from that one tree, and then all of us, we could be living it up in paradise, right? Well, before we become too hard on our original ancestors, I think we know this truth, that whether it was Adam and Eve or Hunter and Kelsey, we all choose to intentionally sin. Right? It's made by us all that the choice that Adam and Eve made is representative of all the choices that we make. See Adam and Eve, they're no more guilty than you and I. See, we all look at the forbidden fruit in our lives and what do we say? We say, yeah, I'll take some of that. And because of this fact, life is not going to be the way we wish it would be from humanity's first act of disobedience onward, paradise was lost. And with this sin brought the curse, and with the curse in a world fallen, it's marred, it's a shadow of what it should be. As Genesis 3:17-19 tells us, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground." You see humanity, we chose selfishness, and as a result, we all suffer for it.

Hunter Gray: [00:08:11] But this curse of sin that we all experience, is not the only burden that we bear, is it? See, we may also find that the weight of God's expectations upon us to be quite burdensome as well. So it can be costly to follow the Lord, as we learned last week. If you remember that Pastor Dan shared with us in Matthew 10, that when we obey Jesus' commands, we may fall out of favor with the people who don't share the same values. Right? See, when we stand for truth, don't be surprised when those who are living a lie don't like being exposed. Right? We may find it that more conflict will come in our lives when we choose to live counter-culturally. We've even learned that we may be required to lose our very lives for the sake of following Jesus. So maybe as we've pondered the cost of following Jesus this week and last week, it's begun to weary our souls a bit. See, Jesus, what you're asking from me, it just seems like too much to bear. See, I'm exhausted by this world already. I'm exhausted by my sin, by the shame and the guilt that I feel, even by your expectations on me, they are quite burdensome. So where can the weary go to find the rest we so desperately need?

Hunter Gray: [00:09:31] So if you are feeling this way this morning, I want you to take heart. Because Jesus is going to provide for us the answer. See, what we're going to discover this morning is that Jesus is going to invite us into a new rest, a true rest. He's going to teach us where rest is found. He's going to ask us to come and lay down the yokes of sin and the yokes of the law. He's going to ask us to take up a different yoke, a yoke that paradoxically requires more from us, but it's actually much easier to bear.

Hunter Gray: [00:10:04] And so with that in mind, let us read again our passage this morning. Matthew 11:25-30 as we find where the weary go to find rest. So starting in verse 25, it says, "At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. 27“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28“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.”

Hunter Gray: [00:11:00] I want us to remember the context this morning surrounding our passage. See if we remember that in Jesus's power, his disciples are sent out, they're commissioned, they're going to go out among the people of Israel and they're going to do many signs and wonders in the name of Christ, they're going to do this in order to display the glory of God and to give trustworthiness to the claims of Christ. But this is not going to be an easy task, the message that they will proclaim, it will divide, and conflict will occur. Jesus says to them, he says, repent and believe. And some will take up that charge, some will say, yes, I will do that. But others, and Jesus warns his disciples, others will reject, others will even persecute you because of your association with me. And so as they are sent out, Jesus is going to follow a similar path, he's going to preach a similar message to those in the surrounding cities. He's going to warn those who have heard his words and seen his miracles and yet still reject his call for repentance, that they are going to face a harsher judgment than those of the most evil cities that we hear about in Old Testament history.

Hunter Gray: [00:12:13] See, it's here in this context that Jesus is going to begin our text this morning with a surprising prayer of thanksgiving. So here in verse 25, Jesus praises the Father's wisdom for showing the richer glories of God's kingdom to the humble and to the childlike. So if we want to find rest this morning for our ultimate sources of weariness, we need to pay close attention to Jesus's prayer to the Father. See, Jesus will often speak of the faith of a child, or the faith of the humble, as the prescriptive model for us to follow. And Jesus, after all, he's displayed the greatest act of humility that this world will ever know. Because. He, Jesus, who knew no sin becoming sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God." Second Corinthians 5:21.

Hunter Gray: [00:13:03] See, we should strive to imitate the faith of the humble or the faith of the child for one simple reason. Because it's the proud heart that's going to say, Jesus, I have no need of you. But it's the humble heart, it's that disposition that will say, yes, I need you, please help. Right? It's going to be the child who's going to run up to Jesus and jump into his arms and say, please carry me. So it's this childlike faith that Jesus seeks from us, and our answer in how to find rest, well it starts here.

Hunter Gray: [00:13:36] See, I'm actually learning a lot at this stage of my life about childlike faith because we have a newborn son, right? His name is Nehemiah, and he's currently ten months old. And right now he's in that period of time where he's learning how to walk. And so my ten-month-old old in this stage, he has no stress, no worry, no fear, he is living the dream. Right? There's no shame, there's nothing, he is walking, he is laughing, he is giggling, and he's having a good life. Right? So as he's learning to walk, he will hold my hands, you know, and I'll walk him around like this, and there is no stopping him. There's no fear in his heart. There's no trepidation. He's just going right. If there's a ball in his way, he doesn't mind, he'll just start kicking and giggling because he knows Dad is not going to let him fall. Right? We have a corgi, and our corgi often likes to just sit like a bread loaf in the hallways, and so we'll be walking around with Nehemiah like this and he'll inevitably come up to our Corgi and I'll say, what is he going to do? Right? Nehemiah just steps on him, right? And he knows that Dad is just going to lift him up and let him go over. Right? No fear, nothing's getting in his way. Well, what about stairs? Right? A baby's most dangerous element, right? So we come up the stairs, we come up to a ledge, it doesn't give Nehemiah any pause whatsoever, he just walks. He walks right off the ledge because he knows Dad is going to lead him right down to the bottom safely. I don't even think he notices that the ledge is there, honestly, but he is in complete trust of his father, right? We play this game, I call it hot potato where I just kind of toss him in the air and catch him, right, he has zero fear, he laughs, he giggles, and he loves it. I don't think he even understands there's even the slightest bit of danger in that game we play. Now, my wife, she understands the danger, so she's not always, like, laughing and giggling along with us. But Nehemiah, he loves hot potato, and he sees no fear because he trusts his father. And that's the point, he trusts his father, and because of that, he doesn't understand worry, he doesn't understand fear, he doesn't get weary. His yoke gets incredibly easy to bear because his father provides for him his every need.

Hunter Gray: [00:15:49] And see, I think in some ways that's what Christ is getting at here when he says, Come to me as little children. See Jesus says, believe in me and I will forgive you of your sins. And what does a child say in response? He says, yeah, sure, I need that, I want that, great, I believe. But what does an adult often say? They often say, no, I'm good, thank you, but I don't need your help, right? This is what we're getting at. Now, I don't want to take this analogy too far because the faith we have in Christ, is not a blind faith, and that's not what I'm suggesting here. I'm not saying just jump in the arms of Jesus and hope for the best, right? Because our faith, our faith is measured by the quality of the character and abilities of the one in which we place our trust, right, that's important. See, my son, he trusts me implicitly because I have not yet given him any reason not to, I have not yet failed him. Now, the emphasis is on the not yet.

Hunter Gray: [00:16:43] And so the question that we need to answer this morning is whether Jesus is worthy of that level of trust. And that's exactly the question that the Gospel of Matthew answers for us because Jesus, he will display a character that's beyond reproach. Unfortunately, one day I will not live up to Nehemiah's expectations, and that's where this analogy breaks down. But however, when we look in Scripture, what we're going to find is Jesus, he will never fail us. He is most qualified to give us what we most need.

Hunter Gray: [00:17:17] And so let's remind ourselves a little bit of what we've learned in the book of Matthew as we learn about, is Jesus trustworthy. Because what we learn about him is this in Matthew 1, we learn that Jesus is uniquely qualified to help us as our Immanuel, so he is the God who would come and dwell among his people.

Hunter Gray: [00:17:36] In Matthew 3, we learn from John the Baptist, the greatest of all men, that he says that even I am not worthy to carry the sandal of Christ. Because Jesus will do something that none of us can do, he will bring us the Holy Spirit, he will give us life.

Hunter Gray: [00:17:52] In Matthew 4, we learn that Jesus is able to conquer temptation, he will not sin. Not only that, he heals diseases, he causes the lame to work, and he frees those who are tormented by demons.

Hunter Gray: [00:18:05] In Matthew 5 through 7, we learn Jesus will teach us a series of moral lessons, right, moral teachings. And those teachings have the authority of God himself, do they not?

Hunter Gray: [00:18:16] And in Matthew 8, Jesus will display the power to calm a storm, heal disease, and exorcize demons, simply by speaking the word to make it so.

Hunter Gray: [00:18:28] And it's this Jesus who is saying, here, my hand is out. Are you tired? Are you burdened? Do you need some help? It's this Jesus that says, take my hand and I will bear your burdens. And so do you think he's able? Do you think he's trustworthy? Well, I hope so, because we're really barely scratching the surface of what the Book of Matthew will reveal about who Jesus is for us. Now, you may be thinking about how does he practically bear our burdens? What does he do?

Hunter Gray: [00:19:00] Well, if we look in verses 29 through 30, Jesus is going to speak in agricultural terms here. He's telling us that he has a yoke that is easier to bear than the ones that we currently carry. Now, a yoke, it's a device that helps us carry heavy loads. And so whether we like it or not, we are actually yoked to two eternally significant loads, and these are loads we cannot carry in our own strength, they will break us. And so speaking in broad categories, there are two yokes, two weights of weariness, if you will, that Christ will set us free from. The first is the yoke of sin and the second is the yoke of the law.

Hunter Gray: [00:19:41] So let's talk about the yoke of sin for a moment. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." It is the central problem common to all humanity, right? And so sin, by its very nature, it steals from us, right, it steals our joy, it steals our very life. And the pleasures that sin offers, they're fleeting, right? There is always more harm that comes than what we think we might gain when we partake in it. In fact, Romans 6 will remind us where does sin lead, right? "The wages of sin is death." And so no matter how attractive a sin may look to you, at first glance, the only trajectory you're headed down when you partake in those sins is to your death.

Hunter Gray: [00:20:25] And now we understand this, too, with sin comes what? The burden of shame and guilt. Right? When we experience shame and guilt, it's because we fail to live up to the standards set before us. And they act as shackles on our ankles, do they not? They make every step harder to bear. We make it more exhausting to walk forward or to move forward, right? Our sin has consequences, every single time we partake in it. Our sin has costs. See you and I, I don't think we need to be convinced of that, do we? We see the damage that sin causes all around us. And so if you are feeling weighed down by your sin this morning, I want to encourage you, the Gospel is your remedy. And let us remind ourselves of those glorious words in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Romans 10:9 tells us that "If we confess with our mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved.". First John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." And finally, First Peter 3:18, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." Amen. Right? This is the Gospel. Do you want to unshackle yourself from the yoke of sin? Well, Jesus is your answer.

Hunter Gray: [00:21:56] Now the heart of our message this morning, and I think it's what Jesus is really indicating in our passage is how he sets us free from the yoke of the law. And so this is our second yoke that Jesus will set us free from. Now, most of us are probably familiar with the Ten Commandments, are we not? These are probably the most well-known of the mosaic laws, they were designed to set Israel apart from the other nations and for others to see the character of God and also to show what does God expect from humanity. Now, how many of you feel confident you could list the Ten Commandments from memory? Anybody? I'm not going to ask you to, it's okay, I just want to see if you know them all, right? We should know them, right? But let me ask you another question. How many of you could look at the Ten Commandments and say, yes, I can keep those perfectly, I'm good? I don't think anybody's hands should be raised at this time. Right, no one should be raising their hands, because if we're being honest, if we start going down this list, we're going to see very quickly that we cannot measure up to God's standard.

Hunter Gray: [00:23:13] Now, what we may not know this morning is the Ten Commandments are not the only commands that are given to God's people in the Old Testament. You see, in the Torah alone, these are the first five books of our Bible, we're going to see that there are 613 commands asked of God's people. Now, I'm not a mathematician, but I do know that 613 is way more than 10. And if I can't even measure up to the first ten, what hope do I have, right? Well, it gets even worse than that, because if you remember in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 through 7, when Jesus here spends the time to teach about the heart behind the law? You're going to see that as he talks about the heart, that all of a sudden, all the commandments I think I'm doing okay in, I'm still failing at, and that hurts, right?

Hunter Gray: [00:23:59] But think about it this way, the Ten Commandments would say, do not murder. But Jesus would say in the Sermon on the Mount that if you have hate towards your neighbor, it says it is as if you've murdered them in your heart. The Ten Commandments would say, do not commit adultery, but Jesus says the heart behind adultery is improper lust toward someone that's not your spouse, and that makes you just as guilty as the adulterer. And so, according to Jesus, the law is about the heart; and what it reveals to you, and I is that we need a heart transplant.

Hunter Gray: [00:24:32] Now, the Pharisees, on top of all of this, mind you, they recognize the holiness of God, and they recognize how susceptible to sin we are. And so they set upon themselves to create more rules, more traditions, more laws so that it could act like a hedge of protection around us so that no one could ever get too close to the sin that so easily entangles us. And over time, these extra laws, this hedge of protection, it became this burdensome, this oppressive, this weary producing, joy, stealing, slog of an existence; it actually became the opposite of what it was intended to be. See, this was the birth of legalism, and it can be just as dangerous to our faith as engaging in rampant sin because their religious rules, their expectations, they were not only incredibly burdensome to bear, but they were also oftentimes conflicting with the very heart of God's own commands.

Hunter Gray: [00:25:29] Now, a great example of this was actually in regard to the Sabbath, and Jesus is going to challenge the Pharisees on this idea in the next passage. See, God commanded Israel to keep the Sabbath and make it holy, it's a day of rest. It's meant to be a day where we can reflect and worship and rest, not a day of work, right? It's a day that you intentionally draw close to the Lord, and the Pharisees in order to ensure that no work was done on the Sabbath, they created an additional series of burdensome rules so that no one could ever come close to anything that would be considered work on that day. And so, for example, you could not walk more than 3000ft during the day. You could not carry a weight that was heavier than a fig. You couldn't even light a candle so that you could see by it. So it was actually a lot of work to get prepared to not work. And perhaps they had good motives, right, initially, perhaps they had a good heart. But in practice, these rules, they became a barrier to those who were seeking to imitate the character of God.

Hunter Gray: [00:26:34] See, following this passage this morning, we're going to see that Jesus goes and heals a man with a withered hand, and he does so on the Sabbath. He sees a man who is in need, and he shows compassion, but incredibly, the Pharisees had a rule against this. They said, you cannot heal someone on the Sabbath, that's work, you're breaking God's commands, and so they challenged Jesus in this. So this man is desperate, and Jesus is able to help., but the legalism of the Pharisees would rather see Jesus deny caring for this man for the sake of appearances rather than obeying the heart behind God's law. See, God's law would even carve out a provision in which you could help farm animals in need on the Sabbath. And so Jesus is going to rebuke the Pharisees, he's going to say, are you suggesting to God that human beings, his image bearers, are less important to him than an ox or a donkey?

Hunter Gray: [00:27:34] See, we cannot lose the heart of God when we interpret his laws. Hosea 6:6 is a good example of this, where it says God desires mercy over sacrifice. Now, legalism is not just a first-century issue, right? It's alive and well today, and so we must be on guard. Let us think carefully about the expectations that we place upon ourselves, and we place upon others. Did the Word of God ask this of me, or am I just doing this because it makes me feel a little more comfortable, a little more holy, or perhaps even more superior than my neighbor?

Hunter Gray: [00:28:09] Let me give you a sentence to think through. If you were to finish this sentence, I am concerned about this person's faith because dot, dot, dot, because they don't vote the way I do, because they dance down the halls during worship, because they don't dress like the rest of us, because he held hands with the girl he likes, because she reads Harry Potter novels, because he had a glass of wine at dinner, or they shop at Target. Right? See if we can finish that sentence with anything other than what God's Word has given us, we need to be careful because we're in danger of the very same issues these wise and learned of Jesus day faced.

Hunter Gray: [00:28:52] And as a church, we need to be careful as well, we need to be on guard corporately to see what legalistic tendencies we are projecting to the world when they come to visit us. Do non-believing visitors when they come, do they leave feeling rejected and embarrassed? Right. Do we communicate with our actions and expectations that you have to get it all together to be welcomed here? If someone who is living off the streets walked in the door, would they feel welcome? So hear me, I want to be clear, I'm not accusing anyone of anything, these are not based on observations, but this is simply thoughts for us to ponder. Because we should always be on guard to protect the integrity of the Gospel in both our individual lives, but also corporately as a body of believers. The dangers of legalism are many. See, our legalism has a danger of teaching others that God is trying to keep us from good things, which can't be further from the truth, right? God's laws are designed to actually lead us to good things, not keep us from them.

Hunter Gray: [00:29:58] And the greatest danger of legalism is it really typically only shifts us from engaging in one type of sin to engaging in another far more dangerous type, we start engaging in the sin of pride and self-righteousness. See the pious, the wise, and learned men that Jesus speaks of here, in their legalism they're not characterized as joy-filled, forgiven, and set free, are they? Well, they're actually characterized as what? As arrogant, as self-righteous, and as full of pride. This is exactly why Jesus challenged the Pharisees of his day because that pride was keeping them from what they needed most. And our pride, well, it can have the same effect.

Hunter Gray: [00:30:37] So make no mistake, the burden of the law is real. In case we're not clear on that, Jesus will ultimately be crystal clear in Matthew 5:48, and we'll see this, that God's standard for us is this, "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." It's no wonder we're tired, right? It's no wonder we're tired, these are expectations we can't possibly fulfill, they're beyond our abilities. How can I ever measure up to that standard? See, when we get there in our hearts, we're actually getting very close to the point of the law.

Hunter Gray: [00:31:13] See, in Romans, Paul is going to make this very clear in chapters 7 through 8, I encourage you to read that today. But the purpose of the law was this, it was not to save us, it was actually to condemn us. The law was meant to be a knife into the heart of self-righteousness because self-righteousness, it must die if we're going to see Jesus as our savior. If we don't know we need saving, we're not going to seek a savior, right? And Jesus knows this, this is why he's here, he is going to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law on our behalf. And I want us to take a quick look at this because it's oh so good for us, look in Romans 8, verse one. Starting in verse 1 it says this, this is good news, "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit." There is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus. And so when he asks us, when Jesus says, take my yoke upon you, this is at the heart of why we can truly find rest in his care. Christ's yoke, it sets us free from the law of sin and death. Amen? See the arrival of Jesus, he ushers this new paradigm for us in which we now live by the Spirit, not by the flesh. In our motive for obedience, it begins to change in the yoke of Christ, right? Because I'm not seeking to obey out of the fear of being left out, I am now seeking to obey because I have gratitude for being left in, it makes all the difference. Those that take the yoke of Christ, they are forgiven, set free, they join a work that's not burdensome because it's a work that's upheld by grace.

Hunter Gray: [00:33:30] See one of our early church fathers, he says this, and I think it's very beautiful. He says, "We do not bear grace; grace bears us." That feels good. First John 5:3, "For this is the love of God that we would keep His commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." Why are they not burdensome? It's because Jesus gives us the strength and the power to carry out those commands. I want you to see that his burden is light because he is in the yoke with you. See, the truth is that all that Jesus asks of us is possible in his strength. Every command, no matter how daunting or frightening it may be, it's achievable in the power of Christ. And not only that, not only is it achievable, it's also for our highest good.

Hunter Gray: [00:34:15] Maybe we need to be reminded of that this morning because perhaps you've decided in your heart that what Jesus is asking me right here, is just too difficult, the cost is too high, I can't do it. But Jesus is going to speak differently to you, he says, no, where you're weak, I am strong, come to me. Stop thinking you know better than me, lay down the idea that you can do it all in your own strength, and then I'm going to give you rest. You see, we can refuse temptation, we can love our enemy, we can forgive those that persecute us, and we can share the Gospel with our neighbor because the power of God works in us and through us. The yoke of Christ is easy, his burden is light because he is in the yoke with you. He says, I will carry this weight with you and for you, that's what Jesus is offering. And so do you feel defeated by your sin this morning? Well, Jesus would say, put down that yoke and take up mine, you are forgiven. Has legalism stolen your joy? Jesus would say, cast that yoke off and put on mine, you are free. Has shame and guilt crushed your spirit? Jesus would say, Ttrow these off and take up mine, you're adopted as my son or my daughter, you are God's child. And Jesus says I will carry your burdens with you, and he is more than able to.

Hunter Gray: [00:35:43] Now the theology we're speaking about this morning is important, right doctrine equals right living. I don't want you to miss the main premise of this message this morning is how Jesus lifts us up from the burdens brought on by our sin and the burdens brought on by the righteous requirements of the law. See, in your strength, you are condemned in your sin, in your strength it's not possible to perfectly uphold God's law. But the good news this morning is it's not about your strength, it's about Jesus's. And he says I am strong enough, I am able. Do you trust him? So let us see the value in understanding and believing that Jesus is the only one strong enough to take these yokes from us, to carry the burdens that we have that have eternal impact on our lives.

Hunter Gray: [00:35:48] But we also need help, don't we, in the day-to-day. There are wearisome burdens that we face every day, and just because I enjoy the idea that Jesus is my savior, I understand that, and I believe that. Just because I say he's my refuge, he's my rock, he's my strength, it does not mean my burdens every day in and out, every day, don't go away, right? They're still there, right? So what do we do? Some of you today are looking for some practical guidance, and I want to give you just two brief ways to incorporate some spiritual disciplines into your life that will help you cast your burdens on the Lord in a very practical way.

Hunter Gray: [00:37:09] Here's the first one, it's called every day a prayer, right? It is so simple, read with me Martin Luther, this is what he says. He says, If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets victory through the day. I have so much busyness I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer." Isn't that incredible? The more busyness and stress our great reformer Martin Luther faced, the more he saw the solution being running to his Father for help rather than racing to fix those problems himself. I think we can all be challenged by that, can't we? See, most of us, when we get busy, we start neglecting our relationship with God, not running closer to him. That's to our detriment. See, it might feel contradictory to us, but let me challenge you with this idea that our burdens are easier to bear with the more time and energy we pour into seeking the Lord for help. See, the world's path to stress relief is to hang on, dig deep, keep going, and eventually, it'll work out or you'll burn out. So we have watched this time and time again play out, right? But the Lord's path, the Lord's path involves intentionally seeking the Spirit's empowered help.

Hunter Gray: [00:38:27] Now, my wife and I, we have a habit of praying together every evening, and we have watched the Lord answer those prayers in so many profound ways. And as a result, our faith is bolstered, right? Our burdens are lifted because as we go before the Lord, with our burdens, with our cares, with our concerns, what we see is that through that consistent prayer, the Lord is at work helping us through the things that are troubling us. I'll give you a really good example. My wife, she prayed for years that we would have a child. And not only that, we would have a child, but also that my fears of fatherhood would be overcome so that I could fully embrace this idea. Right? See, I was fearful of the time commitment, I was fearful of our inadequate finances as missionaries, I was fearful for the sheer responsibility of it all, right? This person is completely in my care. Am I ready for that? Will I be a good dad? How can I provide for him? Well, the Lord did answer that prayer. Unfortunately, we lost our first child to a miscarriage, but now the Lord has given us Nehemiah and he is the greatest of blessings, right? And not only that, he has worked in my heart to the point where now I see being a father as one of the most joy-producing roles I could ever have. See, the Lord said to me, he said Hunter, this is good for you, and you know it. I'm like, yes, Lord, it is, it is a joy, it is not a burden.

Hunter Gray: [00:39:54] So two weeks after Nehemiah was born, I found out that I would need to start looking for another job, striking right there at the heart of one of my fears, can I even provide for this child? So what did we do? We prayed. My wife and I would just fervently lift this up to the Lord to provide for us a future path, and that's exactly what He did. See, now we've gotten to find this wonderful new home with you because the Lord answers our prayers. See, Nehemiah, he's a blessing from the Lord. My role as a pastor here at LBF, it's a blessing from the Lord. So when we are burdened, the first place we ought to go is to the Lord in prayer. I really believe this, that if you will make a habit of bringing your burdens and bringing your cares before the Lord each and every time, you're going to find that He is going to bear those with you and for you.

Hunter Gray: [00:40:51] So first and foremost, go to the Lord in prayer. And secondly, go to each other when you have times of need. Christian Fellowship, I want to talk about this just for a moment. Christian fellowship can lift us out of our burdens as we are more likely to encounter a positive new perspective that honors the Lord when we say can you help me, brother, or sister? Sometimes our greatest burdens can be lifted simply by seeing our struggles from a new light, a new perspective, right? What is God doing in this? I may not be able to see it, but you could. Our fellow believers are an excellent source of counsel when we feel overwhelmed. See, what the Lord is doing is he's creating a family of these brothers and sisters who are meant to lift each other up. We find encouragement and help as the family of God acts as Jesus's hands and feet. And so let us lean on one another, because you are not alone in your struggles, you are part of God's family.

Hunter Gray: [00:41:55] Part of the practical ways in which Christ bears our burdens is through fellow believers seeking each other's good. Seek out the encouragement of others when you are in need. And not only that, be an encourager to others as well. You see, in this world, we will have trouble. The question isn't will we get weary, it's where are we going to go to heal us from that weariness. Where are we going to go to find rest? And so to the weary, Jesus offers us eternal rest where we need it most. The toils we face in this world that were brought on by the very first sin in the garden, well, they can only forever and completely be resolved in Christ. See, Jesus is the only one that offers us freedom from the yoke of sin and the yoke of the law. As verse 27 in our passage this morning says, "No one knows the Father except those whom the Son reveals him to." It echoes that same sentiment of John 14:6, where we see Jesus say “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." So, Jesus, he stretches out his hand and he says, are you weary? Are you broken? Come to me, I will lift you out of the yokes that you carry, right? Come to me, I will give you a yoke that's much easier to bear because I will bear it with you. Learn from me, and I will give you rest.

Hunter Gray: [00:43:23] This morning, that's the call for response. I want to encourage the weary in this room to cast your cares to the Lord. For some of you this morning, you may need to take the very first step of faith and say, Jesus, I need you, I cannot do this on my own any longer. And for others of you, it may be that you need to acknowledge to Jesus that you've walked away from his yoke, you've stopped listening, you've started to do it all on your own and you've just realized that you're tired and you can't do that anymore. Say, I'm sorry, Lord, I need to return. See in both scenarios, Jesus is like the father in the prodigal son story, and he's got his arms open wide and he says, come to me, come to me and I will walk you to true paradise, that's where he's taking us.

Hunter Gray: [00:44:08] And so at this time, we're going to prepare to take communion together. But I want you to respond. So if you are helping us with communion this morning, you can head to the back and get ready. But I want you to have a moment to respond in childlike faith, because communion is a time of remembrance for what Christ has done for us, it's through his blood, his sacrifice that we are forgiven and set free. And so take a moment this morning to lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus, and just as a child would run to his father, reach out and say, Jesus, I need you, will you carry me?

Hunter Gray: [00:44:45] Can we pray together? Heavenly Father, thank you for your son. Thank you for Jesus, Lord, that He would come and carry our burdens for us, especially the burdens that we have no possible hope of caring for our own. Thank you, Jesus, for setting us free from our sin, and for fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law on our behalf. Thank you, Jesus, for saying to us, are you tired? Come to me and I'll give you rest. Jesus, I trust you, I need you, I need your rest. I pray all of us here this morning can say the same. Lord, give us your rest where we need it most. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848