(Article for publication week of 6-19- AD 2014)
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11: 28).
Here is a sweet invitation from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He invites all that are labouring and burdened down to come to Him and rest. I will first of all remind you that coming to Christ is a principle act of faith, if not exactly synonymous with faith (John 6:35). Coming to Christ in the sense of my text is to come to Him by faith. It is a spiritual act, not a physical act. I remind you that coming to Christ is exactly that- coming to Christ. It is not coming to a preacher, or to a church, or to a denomination. It is not coming to a doctrinal system. We have known some who came to the doctrines of grace who gave no evidence of coming to Christ. So I emphasize that coming to Christ is the same as believing in Christ, and it is believing in Him and His Person and Work.
Secondly, I emphasize that coming to Christ is coming to the Christ of the Bible, not a Christ of your imagination. There are multitudes who "believe" in a "christ" of their own imagination. They "believe" in a "christ" who is just a good example, or a good teacher. To be sure, the Lord Jesus Christ was the Greatest Teacher, and He set the example for His people in every command that He gave us. To be sure, if you are really saved, you will be following Christ as your teacher and as your Great Example. But the Lord Jesus Christ is more than all this; He is God Incarnate who lived and died and was buried and rose from the dead and is presently seated at the right hand of God interceding for all who come to Him by faith. This is the Christ to Whom labouring and burdened souls are invited to come.
Thirdly, note well the extent of the invitation. The invitation is extended to all who are labouring in distress of soul and burdened down with a sense of their sin. There are but a few who are interested in this invitation. It is only those who are made sensible of their sins by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit who are interested in the Saviour's sweet invitation. John Bunyan gave us a wonderful description of the work of grace in an elect sinner's soul in his wonderful allegory, "Pilgrim's Progress." If you have never read it I urge you to do so. In the allegory, Christian begins to read the scriptures and sees he is a guilty sinner and so he has a burden on his back. He begins to seek relief and the only man who could help him was Evangelist, who represents a faithful preacher. Following Evangelist's directions, Christian enters the narrow way by the wicket gate and at the cross his burden fell off. Dear reader, do you know anything of Holy Ghost conviction? Do you know anything of being burdened down with guilt? Do you know of labouring under the demands of God's strict law? Well, the Dear Saviour invites you to come to Him and rest.
This my dear friends is salvation-to come to Christ and rest your case in Him. You will never find rest for your poor soul anywhere except in Christ. Christ promises He will give rest to burdened souls, and He is as good as His word. Come to Him just as you are- a poor lost, bankrupt sinner. You will find a resting place there.