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The I Wills of Christ
By Brian Pepper
One of the greatest desires of man is to have rest; that is, rest from a troubled mind and conscience. The novelist has written about his idea of utopia, his Shangri La. The psychiatrist has an ever widening circle of clients seeking relief from their anxieties and problems. However in the Scripture we have the promise of Jesus that He will take away the load.
Matthew 11:28 says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus says, I will give you rest.
People are Worried
Only Jesus will give you Rest
There is no Rest in Sin
People are WorriedHave you ever stood a while on the footpath in a large city and watched the faces of the people as they passed you by. There is one thing that I have noticed, that is the worried expressions, the anxious look, the troubled countenance. You walk inside the shops and you cannot help noticing that the attendants are solemn faced. People are worried. The newspapers worry them; the radio news makes them anxious. The TV makes it seem as if there is trouble everywhere.
Only Jesus will give you RestDid you know that Jesus said that it would be that way in the Last Days? Luke 21:26 says, "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." Things would be bad, they would be grim, but Jesus said, "I will give you rest.” That is a wonderful promise. No matter what you may do you cannot get rest by any effort of your own. Men have tried to find rest in pleasure but it cannot be found in pleasure. There is only one place where rest can be found in this world and that is at the foot of the Cross.
There is no Rest in SinThere is one thing that is very certain; there is no rest in sin. The wicked know nothing about rest. Isaiah 57:20, 21 says, "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt."
Have you ever travelled on the sea when the water is just like a pond; as smooth as glass? I can remember such an experience. The Tasman Ocean has the reputation of being a very rough and storm tossed sea. When we sailed from Freemantle and around the Great Australian Bight and it was quite smooth sailing. Then the ship called in at Melbourne. Every person on board was troubled about the next stage of the journey. Soon we were in the Tasman and to our amazement the sea was just like glass, it was unbelievable. It was too good to be true. But the Tasman could not stay that way for in a matter of days it would be as turbulent as ever. Just like the wicked. They find little rest in pleasure but soon the anxieties crowd in and the troubles distress. Man, like the sea has no rest. He has had no rest since Adam fell and there is no rest for him until he returns to God again and the light of Christ shines into his heart.
Let the Wicked forsake his WayRemember, the promise is to each one of us, if we will come to Him, He will give us rest. Isaiah 55:7 says, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Some people say, "If I was what I ought to be, I would come and get rest but when I think of my past and all the bad things I have done I am not fit to come." There is one thing that we must keep in mind and that is Jesus Christ came to this world not to save the upright and the just but sinners just like you and me and those who have gone astray.
Christ came to Save the LostNotice what it says in John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Men may cast us out and sadly enough that is true, but one thing we can be assured of, that is Christ will not cast us out. Christ did not come to condemn but through Him we might be saved.
There is one thing that I have noticed in my lifetime; that is, how ready men are to condemn one another. Some are not satisfied until they have done their best to grind the other man into the mud. But Christ is not like a man. He says, "No matter how deeply sunk in sin you may have been, I will save you." Christ will never close His ear to a sinner. He is ever read it to hear and to save.
Luke 19:10 says, "For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Isn’t that wonderful? Yes the promise is there. That is why Jesus says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. If you accept the invitation Christ will not only blot out your sins but He will give you joy and rest. This is a very important step in the right direction.
2nd Step: Confess ChristHowever Christ wants us to go a little further. When we reach out and accept the promise of Christ there is another step He wants us to take. Turn to Romans 10:10. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Unfortunately there are a great many who do not take this second step.
You see the Scripture says believing is not enough. There are a lot of folk who emphasize believing, “only believe and you shall be saved.” But it says we have to do more than believe. We have to confess Christ. This is one of the evidences that we have a genuine faith in Christ. If a man is ashamed to take up his Cross and to follow Jesus Christ then he is not fit to be a disciple.
Luke 12:8 says, "Also I say unto you, whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:” If a man confesses Christ then the light of heaven flows round his path and the Peace of God reigns in his heart.
Ashamed to Confess ChristI believe that many men are kept out of the Kingdom of God because they are ashamed to confess Christ. We are living in a day when men want a religion without a Cross. They want the Crown but they do not want the Cross. If we are to be disciples of Christ then we are to take up our crosses daily, not once a year, or on Sabbath but daily. No man can be a disciple of Jesus Christ without bearing His Cross. That is why the Scripture says in Romans 10:10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Men are quite ready to face instant and certain death on the battle field, but the same men who are able to face destruction without a moment’s hesitation would not have the courage to take up their Bibles to read before others. When I was in the military forces, those who had the courage to read their Bibles openly had boots thrown at them; were subjected to insulting remarks or were abused.
3rd Step: Becoming Fishers of MenJesus says if you come to Him for rest and then confess to the world that we have taken up His Cross He will take us a step further. Matthew 4:19 says, “And he saith unto them, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Jesus tells us that if any man follow Him he will become a fisher for souls.
Let you Light ShineWe need to add another statement of Christ’s which is found in John 15:8. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be my disciples." D.L. Moody the great evangelist of yesteryear made this challenging statement, "I believe it is impossible for any man to follow Jesus Christ without his being a fisher of men. That is why the LORD says, “Let your light shine." And if we follow Jesus his light will lead us on and we will reflect that light. When the moon rises the light from the sun strikes it and is reflected by it. And if we are followers of Christ we reflect Christ’s light and men see it and glorify God.
Daniel 12:3 says, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” What a blessed thing it is to be the instrument in God’s hand of turning a soul to Jesus Christ.
Leaving behind a MonumentWe have men here in Australia who are trying to leave a name or record behind them. Some try to get towns named after them. They even offer large amounts of money to get the names of the towns changed and called after them. But what good will it do them? Fifty or a hundred years in the future people will not know who the man was. They will not know if the city was called after a man or a mountain.
A Lasting MonumentIf you want to leave behind you a monument that will last, forget about yourselves and go after Jesus Christ and you will leave behind you something that will be a blessing. This is the kind of monument we want to leave, something that will bless others; such as the alabaster box of ointment.
There was that woman pouring the precious perfume upon the Saviour’s head. She was making a record for herself that will endure as long as the church is upon the earth. As a matter of fact the church is still feeling the fragrance of that ointment even yet centuries have passed away. And yet the story of that woman is told wherever the gospel is preached.
Whatever we do for Christ is going to be eternal; it is going to be everlasting. That is why it says in the Scripture “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
Go Work in My VineyardYes God calls you and He calls me and says, "Go work in My vineyard." But a great many are folding their arms and saying, “Lord send someone else, do not send me.” There are very few Who say, “Here LORD, send me; I want to have a hand in that work." Men mostly seek for honour or glory. Many are after degrees. They want to have titles to their names as Christians. We want "W.D.” to our names. That is God’s title, "Well done.” "Well done thou good and faithful servant.” And if we are fishers of men He will say that to us at the end of the journey.
They shall Live AgainHowever there is another promise. John 6:40 says, "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
When I was in Bathurst N.S.W. the news came of a fellow minister's death. He was only a young man, a consecrated worker in the LORD’s vineyard. The funeral was held in Lithgow. It was a very sad occasion. He was a man in the prime of life. He had a fine Christian wife and companion with young children. It was recalled at the funeral that regardless of the weather and the weather can be very bad in that part of N.S.W.; or the conditions of the roads and they can be very slippery; this young man would set out on his motor bike and faithful to his calling do his work like a faithful soldier of Christ. Of such Christ says, I will raise him up at the last day."
There are some here today whose loved ones have died in Christ. Jesus assures them that the time is coming when they shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And those who (are called) shall live again. These are very precious promises. They are something to lay hold of.
I will not leave you ComfortlessHowever there is another promise that I am glad that Jesus has left. John 14:18 says, "I will not heave you comfortless (orphan). I will come to you." The way may seem dark and cold at times But Jesus has assured us that He will "not leave us comfortless or as the margin says "orphans ". Isn’t it wonderful we have such a Saviour. He knew that the going was to be difficult so He promised to send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to guide us through those difficult times, to stand by us when the way seemed too hard to bear. This old world has many things to make the heart sad but through it all we can have the assurance of the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Will of ChristNow there is one more promise of Christ this is found in John 17:24. “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." There it is, Jesus promises to take us to His heavenly Home, to His Father’s house when He “…raises us up at the last day.” That is the Will of Christ. That is what He desires. And that is what you and I are coming to in the days that lie ahead. That is if we accept His promises and (lay hold) of them. It would be foolish to do otherwise.