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Monday, July 09, 2007

Thinking about: Matthew 11:28

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

There is no question here as, “do you want to come?” or “will you come?” or “would you like to.” He gives an imperative, “Come,” communicating the necessity for movement from one point to another. There is no vagueness when He commands, as if we would hear a distant sound and in some adventurous meander attempt to discover from whence it came. He is very specific, so let there be no mistake when He is understood to say, “Come unto Me.” What Jesus says is, “Come here, to this place. Leave where you are and come to where I am.” The Lord Jesus Christ does no begging, He chases after no one. God almighty has already emptied Himself into the form of this bondservant in order to become obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. He will not move from His place to go chasing after those who need to move.

That we may move, we must be broken away from that to which we cling. We must leave our place of comfort and those things which receive the love of our heart—our idols and adulteries. “Think of the things we will not come to Jesus Christ about. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words – ‘Come unto Me.’ In every degree in which you are not real, you will dispute rather than come, you will quibble rather than come, you will go through sorrow rather than come, you will do anything rather than come the last lap of unutterable foolishness – ‘Just as I am.’ As long as you have the tiniest bit of spiritual impertinence, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do a big thing, and all He is telling you to do is to ‘come.’” (Chambers, Oct 8)

Herman Melville’s Father Mapple preached to us from that 9th chapter of Moby Dick, wherein he exclaimed, “if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.”

Jesus calls men to Himself. And where is He? He is ahead, in front. “He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow Him as the soldier follows his captain. He will always go before you to pave your way, and clear your path, and you shall hear His animating voice calling you after Him all through life; while in the solemn hour of death, His sweet words with which He shall usher you into the heavenly world shall be ’Come, ye blessed of my Father.’” (Spurgeon, Day by Day.)

Think of it. “How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away with the feeling, ‘Oh, well, I have done it this time!’ And yet you go away with nothing, whilst all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearying patience of Jesus – ‘Come unto Me.’” (Chambers, Oct 8)

Who is it that needs to come to Him? Who does Jesus call? “All who are weary (labor) and heavy-laden.” Jesus has been pronouncing woes against cities very near to his ministry centre who will not repent. In those woes He has declared the ends of Tyre and Sidon, even Sodom in the Day of Judgment to be better than those in Capernaum who hear His words and see His works and will not turn from their sin. Jesus’ call, “To Me! To Me!” is not separated from His call to repent. He calls those who are worked to spiritual exhaustion. He calls those who have wasted their lives in pursuit of nothing eternal. He calls to those who with each step are bent a little further down as the weight they should roll over onto Him grows heavier.

And why should anyone come? For rest.

“’. . . and I will give you rest,’ i.e., I will stay you. Not, ‘I will put you to bed and hold your hand and sing you to sleep’; but, ‘I will get you out of bed, out of the languor and exhaustion, out of the state of being half dead while you are alive; I will imbue you with the spirit of life, and you will be stayed by the perfection of vital activity.’” (Chambers, June 11)

“It is never God's will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs rest in Him must be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming to Jesus Christ.” (Chambers, Aug 11)

Will God say of you, “I called and you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear and did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I did not delight.” (Isaiah 65:12)

Sam Storms is quoted from his book, “Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards's "Religious Affections”, explains how we must “Come” from our various places in life:

“Come, confessing your utter inability to do or offer anything that will empower God or enrich, enhance, or expand God.

Come, with heartfelt gratitude to God for the fact that whatever you own, whatever you are, whatever you have accomplished or hope to accomplish, is all from him, a gift of grace.Come, declaring in your heart and aloud that if you serve, it is in the strength that God supplies (1 Pet. 4:10); if you give money, it is from the wealth that God has enabled you to earn; if it is praise of who he is, it is from the salvation and knowledge of God that he himself has provided for you in Christ Jesus.

Come, declaring the all-sufficiency of God in meeting your every need. Praise his love, because if here were not loving, you would be justly and eternally condemned. Praise his power, because if he were weak, you would have no hope that what he has promised he will fulfill. Praise his forgiving mercy, because apart from his gracious determination to wash you clean in the blood of Christ, you would still be in your sin and hopelessly lost. So, too, with every attribute, praise him!

Come, with an empty cup, happily pleading: ‘God, glorify yourself by filling it to overflowing!’

Come, with a weak and wandering heart, joyfully beseeching: ‘God, glorify yourself by strengthening me to do your will and remain faithful to your ways!’

Come, helpless, expectantly praying: ‘God, glorify yourself by delivering me from my enemies and my troubles!’Come, with your sin, gratefully asking: ‘God, glorify yourself by setting me free from bondage to my flesh and breaking the grip of lust and envy and greed in my life!’

Come, with your hunger for pleasure and joy, desperately crying: ‘God, glorify yourself by filling me with the fullness of joy! God, glorify yourself by granting me pleasures that never end! God, glorify yourself by satisfying my heart with yourself! God, glorify yourself by enthralling me with your beauty . . . by overwhelming me with your majesty . . . by taking my breath away with fresh insights into your incomparable and infinite grandeur! God, glorify yourself by shining into my mind the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ!”

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