Rest

Posted on 02/22/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

Please pray for Connie. The doctors are running some tests for eye problems she's been having, and they think it might be a certain disease. Jesus' name is the name above every disease, and he's the one who can heal every infirmity!

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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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KING OF KINGS

King of Kings and Lord of Lords
    Glory, Hallelujah!
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
    Glory, Hallelujah!

Jesus, Prince of Peace
    Glory, Hallelujah!
Jesus, Prince of Peace
    Glory, Hallelujah!


I SURRENDER ALL

All to Jesus I surrender
All to him I freely give
I will ever love and trust him
In his presence daily live

All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at his feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me, Jesus, take me now

All to Jesus I surrender
Lord, I give my self to thee
Fill me with thy love and power
Let thy blessing fall on me

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to thee, my blessed Savior
I surrender all


INTO MY HEART

Come Into my heart, come into my heart
Come into my heart Lord Jesus
Come in today, come in to stay
Come into my heart Lord Jesus


HE IS LORD

For he is Lord, he is Lord
He has risen from the dead
and he is Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord

For you're my Lord, you're my Lord
You have risen from the dead
and you're my Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


It's really a blessing to have our stream back online this week. But last week was a true blessing as well, and I believe it was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.

I've seen it time and time again. When the Holy Spirit moves, two things happen: first, some people get offended and leave; and second, and most importantly, lives are impacted and changed.

Let us always be sensitive and listening for the voice of God, tuning our ears by spending time with him daily, and removing anything in our lives that would come in between us and him.

Today's message isn't about this subject, but I'd like to just briefly touch on an issue that was brought up last week. There was some offense because during our time of sharing, women were allowed to share.

I believe the offense came in connection with the following two passages, which I'd like to address just briefly.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 says,

34 The women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.
35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

And in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 we read,

11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness.
12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.

First, let's consider the first passage, verse 34, which says "(The women) are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says."

According to the Jewish law, the men and the women were separated, either by a curtain between the two sides, or by placing the women on a different level, such as a balcony.

Paul goes on to say, "If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home." Now, I don't know about you, but I sometimes find myself a bit annoyed at church by women who are talking during service. Sometimes it's men, but generally it's women.

And I can just imagine Paul addressing this issue. After all, to ask questions about something during a service, the woman would have to either break the law concerning separation of the men and women, or would have to speak loudly enough for their husbands to hear.

The only time the Bible encourages us to break the law is when it is in direct opposition to the Word of God. If the law tells us to not pray, or to worship a false god, or to do something else that is against Scripture, we should obey God rather than man.

But separating the men and women in a service isn't against Scripture, and it was the law at that time. Paul said, "They should be subordinate, as even the law says."

We read this about the Jewish law from jewfaq.org:

"Because women are not obligated to perform certain commandments, their observance of those commandments does not 'count' for group purposes. Thus, a woman's voluntary attendance at daily worship services does not count toward a minyan (the 10 people necessary to recite certain prayers), a woman's voluntary recitation of certain prayers does not count on behalf of the group (thus women cannot lead services), and a woman's voluntary reading from the Torah does not count towards the community's obligation to read from the Torah."

Paul, being educated very thoroughly in the Jewish law, was acting as he should have, keeping the men and women separate during the services, and observing the spiritual traditions of the time.

It's important to realize these things so we can fully understand where Paul was coming from when he wrote these passages.

At no time did he speak against women prophecying, speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, or in some other way contributing to the service. He DID speak against women not being subject to authority, as we all should be subject to the authority God has placed over us just as we are subject to God himself.

Then in our passage in Timothy, Paul says, "I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent." So first he says the law does not permit, then he says that he does not permit.

I apologize for the brevity in addressing this issue, perhaps we can go more into depth in the near future, but I want to move on to the message I believe the Lord has for us today.

If you are in a position of authority and it goes against your conscience and your understanding of Scripture to allow a woman to share something, even under your authority and covering, then by all means you should not allow it.

And I hope that everyone here understands that we will never knowingly violate any Scripture either in conduct or doctrine as we seek to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

But just as the men and women are not asked to be separated during the services, so we do allow, prayerfully and under the proper authority, anyone to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit and share what the Lord has given them to share, as it says in 1 Corinthians 14:26,

26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

I had already read what Mariposa shared with us last week, and she did so under my authority. If at any time someone, whether male or female, shares something that the leadership believes is in opposition to the Word of God, we will make the correction. I do hope that we can let the leadership lead, talking to any of us in private whenever we believe we're out of line.

I believe God is getting ready to do some things through his body. Let's not stumble over these issues so as to limit how God wishes to move, and I believe we'll do well.


Today's message is titled, "Rest." I don't know about you, but I've felt a lot of the turmoil that has surrounded us lately. I've been concerned about the extreme Marxist, Socialist, direction in which we're being hurled head-long by our new administration, for whom we need to respectfully and fervently pray. I've been tempted to worry about our own financial situation and about the future in that area.

But I believe God is calling us to a place of rest. Not a place of complacency, not a place of laziness, not a place of inaction; but a place of true rest.

In Matthew chapter 11, verses 28 and 29, Jesus says this:

Matthew 11:28-29

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

He does say we are to take his yoke, to work together with him; a yoke is something that is meant to keep oxen together so they can work to perform a certain task. But this yoke Jesus tells us to take is a yoke of rest.

Now, a yoke will keep you from going off and doing your own thing. A yoke will keep you from slowing down or speeding up and going your own pace. A yoke will require that you actually do something instead of laying down to die.

And we take up a lot of different yokes.

We take up the yoke of the world, of striving for things which perish, of seeking the favor of men, and of walking together in the world as part of the world, instead of as pilgrims simply passing through.

But the yoke of the world is not a yoke of peace. Even the so-called peace of the world is turmoil and leads to slavery under the rule of wicked men.

Or perhaps we take up the yoke of false religion, which often even in the Church disquises itself as truth. It sounds good. It strikes a chord in us. It sounds like peace, like enlightenment, like liberation.

But the yoke of false religion and the doctrines of men is not a yoke of peace. Even the so-called peace of false truth is turmoil and leads to spiritual blindness, deception, and separation from the truth God.

But the yoke of Jesus is a yoke of peace and of rest. In fact, he calls those to his yoke who labor and are heavy laden. You know an amazing thing about his yoke? Not only do we share in his work, but he shares in ours.

Your responsibilities do not end when you take up the yoke of Jesus. But something amazing does happen: he carries your burdens as he walks right there beside you.

You see, his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. Our own yoke, or the yoke of the world, will weigh us down until we don't know how we're going to make it through another day.

But when we take Jesus' yoke upon us, we find that it is light, it does not weigh us down. We find that we look forward to another day, because we know that Jesus will be right there with us, carrying our burden beside us, leading us where we should go.


In verse 29 he says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

When you're yoked together with someone, you learn a lot about them -- how they move, what they like and dislike, and what pleases and displeases them. And he promises here that when we take his yoke upon us and learn from him, we will find rest for our souls, for he is gentle, and lowly in heart.

False religion and the mind of the world will tell you that you need to think more highly of yourself, you need to believe in yourself, you need to have greater self-esteem.

But Jesus tells us that we should learn from him -- he, who has the right to pomp and circumstance, is gentle, and is lowly in heart. And we are only right in exalting ourselves if we are greater than he.

The more our eyes are on ourselves and the people and things around us, the more we need to boost our self-image. But the more our eyes are on Jesus and his gentleness and humility, the more we realize that it's not about us at all; rather, it's about him, his love, his mercy, his undeserved forgiveness.

You see, his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. And you will find rest for your souls.


Do you lack rest? Do you lack peace? Then I invite you today to take Jesus' yoke upon you and to learn from him.

I think too many times we are led to say a sinner's prayer and write our name on a decision card, and then to go our way living life as usual. But there's no peace in that. There's no rest in that.

The only peace and rest come when we take Jesus' yoke upon us, intimate partners in the work of the Kingdom, walking together on the paths of righteousness, sharing one another's burdens as he takes care of what we cannot handle, and carries the rest right along side of us, and as we take on his burdens for the lost, the hurting, the needy, and for those who think they can see but are really naked and blind and poor.

And this yoke isn't a temporary arrangement. It is a life-long commitment. Yes, Jesus is asking us to give him all of us; but he is also promising to give us all of him.

What has he held back from you and from me? He did not spare even his own life, but was humiliated, beaten, bruised, taking public punishment for sins he had never committed. And he poured out every drop of blood for you and for me.

Just so we could have our stain of sin washed away, and could walk together with him, yoked together as servants, equal in righteousness in the eyes of God.

The yoke of rest and peace. That's the yoke Jesus is asking us to take upon us. And he promises that in doing so, we will find rest for our souls.


I'd like for us to close today by reading the 23rd Psalm together. Psalm chapter 23, beginning with verse 1:

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd;
         I shall not want.
 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
         He leads me beside the still waters.
 3 He restores my soul;
         He leads me in the paths of righteousness
         For His name’s sake.
        
 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I will fear no evil;
         For You are with me;
         Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
        
 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
         You anoint my head with oil;
         My cup runs over.
 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
         All the days of my life;
         And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
         Forever.


I'd like for the ministry team to come stand at the front now.

You see, when the Lord is your shepherd, he takes care of your every need. And as we read this, I can see within it the shadow of this yoke of rest -- he leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul; he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Being yoked together with Jesus doesn't leave room for walking down the path of the flesh, the path of some pet sin; but those things aren't on the path of life and peace anyway. Those who choose a lifestyle of sin often blame others for their lack of rest, claiming that if we would simply stop condeming their actions, they would have rest. But true rest and peace are found only on the path of righteousness, for that is where Jesus walks, and he is calling us to walk with him, yoked together with Christ.

Then we read, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me."

Do you see this constant reminder of togetherness? If we walk with Jesus, he will walk with us. Unless we stray from him, he will never leave us behind. And when we do stray from the path, he leaves the 99 and goes searching for us, and carries us back home.

"Your rod and your staff, they comfort me." If you have had a lack of rest because of sin, the answer is not for Christians to stop calling your sin wrong; rather, the answer is to respond to the Great Shepherd's rod and staff. The rod might deal a blow of discipline, and the staff might wrap about our neck to pull us back on the path, but they are a comfort, if we only trust that God's Word is true and his ways are right, and that he is able and ready to deliver us and transform us from those things which are not pleasing in his sight.

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over." As we walk with the Lord, yoked to Jesus, learning of him and his gentle humility, he will continue to pour out his Spirit upon us.

When everything around us or even circumstances in our life should make us downcast and trodden, our enemies will see that God prepares a table before us, a table that is not barren or lacking, but one that is full of peace, joy, and true rest, things which they are unable to find.

And he anoints our head with oil, the oil of his Holy Spirit, the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness; and our cup runs over. What does Jesus say in John 4:14? "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

These are evidences that one is yoked together with Christ. They have peace. They have rest. They have a spiritual table of righteousness, peace, and joy that is set before them. And life flows out of them to the dry and barren world around, offering life to whoever will come and drink.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

If you need some rest in your life, then I invite you to get out of your seat and come gather at the altar. You're also invited if you simply want to spend some time seeking after God together with us.

If you need to go, you may do so, and if you can stay for a few minutes until after this time at the altar, you're all invited to meet us in the room to your left for a time of fellowship.

Lord, I ask that you would teach us how to take your yoke upon us, so that we can learn from you, and so we may find rest for our souls.

Come.