THE MASTER'S GREAT INVITATION
The Missouri Baptist Convention's Evangelism Conference held in St. Louis, March 9-11, was a very good conference. Ronnie Dunn (one of my favorite preachers) was one of the keynote speakers for the week. On Monday night he brought into his message as a supportive scripture, the passage which says, ". . .take my yoke upon you." He then said whenever he is under undue pressure or feels tense about his work load, he knows he has somebody's yoke on him other than the Lord's yoke.
I don't know if that thought spoke to anyone else, but it certainly spoke to me. Since that time I have made a detailed study of the text which we have already read, and I plan to preach from it the next two Sundays. This morning I will preach on "The Master's Great Invitation" and next Sunday on "The Master's Rest."
Today I want you to note that the Master's Invitation is an invitation
to come unto Him, take His yoke and learn of Him.
I. An Invitation to Come Unto Him v.28
Did you ever strop to think that the words 'come here, come to me,' of 'come to Daddy or Mommy' were among the first words you ever heard? As a little child is learning to walk, a parent will dangle a shiny object and say, "Come to me." In our text the Lord allows the truth of the Gospel to shine from His being and says, ":Come unto me."
These words of Jesus are much different than the words of religion. Religion says abstain, do, try, hope, work, but Jesus says, "Come unto me and I'll give you rest." Only Jesus makes this statement for He alone can make it. Verse 27 tells us of His authority and of His power.
I like the way one poet was led to express this truth:
"I've tried in vain a thousand ways
My fears to quell, my hopes to raise;
But all I need, the Bible says, is Jesus.
My soul is night, my heart is steel,
I cannot see, I cannot feel,
For life, for light, I must appeal to Jesus.
He died, He lives, He reigns, He pleads,
There's love in all His words and deeds,
All-All the guilty sinner needs is Jesus.
Though some will mock, though some will blame
In spite of fear, in spite of shame,
I'll go to Him, because His name is Jesus."
If you have come to Jesus, you know He has power to take away strife and struggle for salvation and to give rest. Since you know this, it is your privilege to share the phrase, "Come unto me." In fact, the last command in the Bible is in Rev. 22:17, and it says, "And the spirit and the Bride say, come. And let Him that heareth say, come."
Some years ago a severe hurricane hit the coast of Massachusetts. Radio reports were ominous--their little town lay right in its path. The sky grew dark. Blair, their young son, was restless. Suddenly the lights went out and in the darkness, his mother heard his muffled sobs. Trying to calm his fears, she pled, "You might just as well calm down, there's nothing we can do about it."
"Mother," he responded between sobs, "I know there's nothing we can do about it--but isn't there something we can do about us?"
There is something we can do about us. We can come to Jesus and when
we have received His rest, we can tell others about Him.
II. An Invitation to Take His Yoke v. 29 a
In New Testament times a pupil who submitted himself to the guidance of a teacher was described as taking on the yoke of that teacher. Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you."
The yoke was made for two. No doubt Jesus, as a carpenter, had made yokes as smooth and easy to bear as possible. He invites us to take His yoke.
This yoke represents service to and for Christ. Every Christian is given a yoke of service and he or she enters this yoke with Christ. What a privilege to serve with Christ and to serve Christ. What is your yoke of service? Do you know there is no yoke for just sitting? All yokes have service to them.
When I was about 11 or 12 years of age, my Dad told me he had put my name in as a possible bat boy for the St. Louis Cardinals. As I remember, he had met a man who was supposed to have an inside track to get the boys to serve for 1 day as a bat boy. This was some exciting news, and let me tell you, I was bragging all over our neighborhood that I might get to be bat boy for a day. Just think of it, I might get to hand a Bat to Stan Musial or Enos Slaughter. I might get to serve the St. Louis Cardinals.
Friend, let me tell you of an offer much better than that, Jesus said, "take my yoke upon you." We get to serve Jesus! You who know Him as Lord have the privilege of walking in a yoke of service with Him.
Those who this morning do not know Jesus as Lord, that is, you have
not as yet acknowledged His Lordship in your life, we invite you to come
unto Him and take His yoke of service.
III. An Invitation to Learn of Him v. 29 b
It is interesting to note that Jesus is teacher and lesson. We are to learn from Jesus, but we are also to learn Him. When you enroll in the Jesus school, He is the curriculum and the instructor.
How do we learn of Jesus? We learn by walking with Him day by day. Begin each day with a prayer and a sense of meditation on Him and His Word. We learn of Him by having a hunger for His Word; a strong desire to live what His Word says.
This term translated 'learn' is the Greek word for disciple. A disciple is one who learns about Jesus. In recent years there has been an increase in the use of the word disciple and the idea of discipleship. Mike Cobb, who will carpet our new building, told me that his pastor had discipled him. They had studied a book on theology and many passages of scripture in the course of discipleship.
We are to learn of and from Jesus. We are to learn Jesus.
While in college, I pastored the Charity Baptist Church in Carlinville, Ill. Carlinville is the county seat of MaCoupin County and each summer they hosted the county fair. At this fair an artist had a booth, and he would paint anything you brought to him and he also had paintings for sale. My neighbor asked me if I had seen this painter, and I replied, "Yes." He then asked if I thought there was anything he couldn't paint, and I immediately replied, "No!" My neighbor then told me that he had heard this painter give his salvation testimony. In his testimony, he related that he had just acknowledged Jesus as Lord, and had only recently painted a picture of Jesus that gave him some satisfaction. You see, before he was saved, he couldn't paint Jesus. He tried, but always became frustrated because he knew, to truly paint anything of a supposed likeness of Christ would have to come from within, and since Christ was not in his heart, he couldn't paint him.
We must learn Christ before we can really show Him to a lost world. When we come to Him and take His yoke, we are in the first stages of learning Him. You will never paint a picture of Christ for the world to see if you don't have Him in your heart and life.
In a moment we will stand and sing a hymn of invitation. During this
hymn we invite you to come forward and express to me the decision you are
making. We invite you to come unto Him, take His yoke and learn of Him.
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And Beyond. Amen? Amen!