“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
One of the biggest difficulties in leading unsaved people to Christ is to get them to understand THAT TO BE SAVED IS TO BECOME ACQUAINTED, TO KNOW, TO RECEIVE AS A SAVIOR – A PERSON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
The Devil has so blinded the eyes of men that the first thought of the unsaved is – “I MUST DO SOMETHING.” Others believe it is accepting a certain creed, joining a certain church, doing certain rites and going through certain ceremonies. To all these the Lord Jesus will say in the last great day, “DEPART FROM ME, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY.” These same persons had said to the Lord, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (preached) in thy name? And in thy name have cast out Devils” And in thy name done many wonderful works?” “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
It is plain that these folks the Lord sends to Hell did good works. The labored hard to obtain salvation – but failed because they had missed the all-important thing, they did not know the Lord Jesus Christ personally.
“Labored – Trying to Get Saved”
In the days when Jesus lived most of the people were of this kind – they worked hard at “keeping the law.” One of them in his prayers expressed it this way, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week and give tithes of all I possess.’ (Luke 18:10-13)
These people worked hard, labored earnestly to obtain salvation, but the Lord Jesus said, the publican who saw and came know the Lord Jesus in the sacrifice, “Went down to his house justified (saved) rather than the other.”
God, nowhere in the Scriptures, invites men to be saved by joining any church, being good or going through any rites such as baptism or ceremonies, but His invitation is to come to HIM.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. Come. . . . and whosoever will, let him take the water of life (Christ) freely.” (Revelation 22:17).
Perhaps the most striking of all these invitations is our text: “Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
ALL YE THAT LABOR (THIS EXPRESSION SIGNIFIES THE ACT OF EXERTING STRONG EFFORT). As I stated above many in the days of our Lord labored hard to recommend themselves to god by observing various rites and ceremonies (Romans 10:3). They failed to see the spiritual in the offerings and ceremonies. They had taken that which was figurative and made it literal. Just as the folks who in our days take the figurative language in reference to baptism and make it literal. It is only, in this way, that any man can say that “Baptism is a condition for the remission of sin.” Baptism is only a picture of the real. It is the blood of Christ which atones and washes away our sins. There are those who make “Holding out faithful” as a condition for salvation. These all need to see that they are under a yoke – “A yoke which neither our fathers or we are able to bear. (Acts 15:10.) In stating this Peter was declaring that there is no salvation in these things.
The Jews are not the only persons who have labored to merit Heaven, by the performance of what are called religious duties. Many who have named the name of Christ and profess to believe in the Christian faith believe that they are going to be saved by their own endeavors; they toil and labor to cancel the debt of sin to atone for their iniquities, and thus obtain heaven. These really believe in salvation as a mixture – a mixture of Christ and works. Paul tells us that if it is of works it is not of grace and if it be by grace it cannot be by works. (Romans 11:6)
”To Him That Worketh Not”
All of these folks who are laboring to obtain salvation are told, “To him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifies (saves) the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” In other words, instead of working to save yourself – QUIT IT – AND COME TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
To come to the Lord is first to realize your great need of salvation and having seen your lost and ruined condition, understand your own helplessness and that nothing you can do can save you. Therefore, you look to Him “Who justifieth the ungodly.” HOW DOES GOD JUSTIFY THE UNGODLY?
To do this – GOD HIMSELF, became a man. This God-man was the Lord Jesus Christ. He lived under the law perfectly. The Law demanded of every one of us a pure and sinless life. When we violate His law divine justice demands that the penalty be paid. Peter tells us, “In His own body on the tree of the cross He bore our sins” (I Peter 2:24). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sin, THE JUST FOR THE UNJUST THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD.” (I Peter 3:18). Only in this way could God justify or save the sinner. The penalty must be paid. Christ has paid it in full. Tell Him you receive it as it truly is – A Gift.
Yet the Law demands a perfect and sin sinless life. When we receive the Lord Jesus as our Sin-bearer – the one who bears our penalty as our Substitute. He imputes or credits to us with living the life the Lord Jesus lived here on this earth. This is what Paul meant when he said, “For He, hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness (imputed) of God in Him.” (I Corinthians 5:21).
Thus, when you come to the Lord Jesus you receive Him, personally as your Sin-bearer, and he credits you with living the life He lived on this earth – YOU ARE JUSTIFIED (SAVED) – MADE AS IF YOU HAD NEVER SINNED. God no longer sees you as the guilty sinner but He sees you in Christ.
It is because the Lord has been satisfied by what the Savior has done for you and His good life credited to you that you have “Rest.”
”Get You To See.”
A dear friend was talking to one who was visiting in her home. The visitor was unsaved. She was a highly educated woman and in every respect one that was well thought of and loved by her neighbors and friends. As my friend talked with her about the Savior and how she could only be saved from her sins through Christ she exclaimed, “Why you talk as if it were for me, personally, my personal sins, that Christ died” My friend said, “THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET YOU TO SEE, THAT IT WAS FOR ALL YOUR SINS, PERSONALLY, THAT CHRIST DIED ON THE CROSS.”
How true this is – salvation is a personal matter between each one of us and God. To settle it is not to believe a creed, or do good works, but to come to Him, whose blood cleanses from all sins. You will not come until you are led to see and understand that because of your sins you are “heavy laden” with sinand on your way to Hell. When you see this truth and you turn to Him in person. “HE WILL IN NO WISE CAST YOU OUT.”
TELL HIM NOW – YOU DO RECEIVE HIM – THAT YOU TAKE HIM AS YOUR SIN-BEARER – SAVIOR!
[From Ashland Avenue Baptist paper, various issues. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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