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Sunday, November 04, 2018

[Matt's Messages] "Come To Me"

“Come To Me”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
November 4, 2018 :: Matthew 11:25-30 

Last week, we studied the first part of chapter 11 where the John Baptist sends Jesus the question, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

How did Jesus answer?

He basically said, “Yes, I am the one.” but He did it by pointing to the deeds of the Messiah, how He Himself was fulfilling the job description, the Messianic profile, provided by the Old Testament.

“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”

And then He spent most of the rest of the chapter explaining how important it was to answer that question correctly.

Is Jesus the one who was to come?

If you answer yes, you will be blessed. He said, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” On account of Jesus doing things differently than you might have expected.

But if you ultimately answer no, you will experience woe.

Not blessing but cursing.
Not delight but danger.
Not joy but sorrow, judgment, and woe.

Jesus denounced those who had rejected Him and predicted their judgment.

And it’s right after that that Jesus says what He says in today’s passage.

This flows right out of that.

We may study it on its own, but it doesn’t stand alone.

In today’s passage, Jesus basically stops to pray, but prays out-loud for all to hear.

And it’s definitely worth overhearing!

And then, Jesus makes an amazing assertion about His relationship with God.

And then He offers a glorious and wonderful invitation.

“Come to Me.”

That’s our Hide the Word verse that we’ve been committing to memory for the last couple of months:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

That’s the invitation.

But first we need to eavesdrop on Jesus’ prayer.

Matthew has so helpfully recorded it for us so that we can listen in ourselves and hear what Jesus said to His Father. Verse 25.

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”

Jesus starts by praising God the Father, and he calls Him “Lord of heaven and earth.”

That’s Lord of absolutely everything, isn’t it?

And that God, that Lord of absolutely everything is someone Jesus calls, “Father.”

That’s amazing.

I mean you and I have learned to call Him “Father, too,” but we get that from Jesus.

We’re going to see that in verse 27.

He would not be our Father if it were not for Jesus.

But He has always been Jesus’ Father and always will be.

And Jesus’ praises Him.

Jesus lifts up His voice to praise God, the Lord of heaven and earth. What for?

It might surprise you at first.

Jesus praises God for hiding things. Did you catch that? Look at verse 25.

“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”

What are the "these things?"

It doesn’t say directly, so you have to look at the context to determine it.

I think it’s simply the mysteries of the kingdom.

The blessings of belonging to the Messiah.

The judgments of rejecting Him.

All of the inside scoop of being a follower of the Messiah.

That’s hidden from some and revealed to others.

Whom?

Our Lord says in His prayer that it is hidden from the “wise and learned.”

I think that means the so called wise and learned.

The people who think they are wise and learned and sophisticated and smart.

Who’s that in the context of Matthew gospel?

Well, the scribes and the Pharisees for one.

They thought they were too smart to submit to Jesus, didn’t they?

And these cities that Jesus was just pronouncing judgment upon. Korazin. Bethsaida. Capernaum.

They thought they were too wise and learned to be taken in by claims of Jesus of Nazareth!

They were too proud! They were too arrogant. They thought too highly of themselves.

So they were left out in the cold.

And Jesus praises God for that.

Can you praise God for that?

Let’s not be more spiritual than Jesus.

Jesus saw this “hiddenness” as God’s wisdom at work.

But wasn’t just hidden, was it? It was also revealed. To whom?

“To little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”

To reveal these things to little children.

I don’t think that means just literal little children.

I think that means the humble. Those who are like little children.

Trusting. Humble. Modest. Those who did not think of themselves as the “wise and learned” of the world. Those who didn’t think too highly of themselves, but thought rightly of themselves.

Those who are like little children.

I’ve only got two main points of application this morning, and I want make this one the first:

#1. BECOME CHILDLIKE.

Humble yourself.

Because that’s the kind of person to whom the Father reveals the secrets of the kingdom.

God the Father delights, takes great pleasure, in revealing the secrets of the kingdom to those who receive them like infants.

That’s who becomes disciples.

Those who humble themselves and are trusting. They have faith.

Remember when Jesus pulled a little guy, a little child, into the middle of the circle and said, “Unless you become like this little guy, you won’t see the kingdom.”?

That’s how it works.

The proud and sophisticated and “wise and learned” of this world do not get it.

They just don’t.

And that’s a judgment on them. The Father is withholding it from them.

So to get the kingdom, you have to become like a child.

Have you done that?

Are you doing that?

If you have, don’t just want to join Jesus in praising God?

A little child says, “Thank you for including me!”

“I’m so glad to be here!”

“I need this and can’t earn this, and I’m trusting in you to give it to me.”

“Thank you for including me!”

Do you remember the first beatitude?

The first statement of blessing and flourishing? The gateway to the others?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

That’s what Jesus is thanking the Father here for.

“Thank you that the poor in spirit (who would have thought it!) get the kingdom of heaven!”

If you don’t, you won’t.

“God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be opposed by God.

I don’t want God as my opponent.

See how Jesus thanks the Father for being the opponent of the proud?

It’s right for Him to do that. It’s good.

But I don’t want that to be me.

And I don’t want it to be you, either.

Become childlike.

And praise Him and thank Him for being included.

In verse 27, Jesus apparently stops praying and briefly teaches some amazing stuff  about His relationship with the Father. V.27

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Now to me, that sounds like it almost belongs in the Gospel of John, not the Gospel of Matthew!

That’s the kind of teaching that John picked up so much of and Matthew tends more hint at. But here it is in Matthew in all of its glory.

Let’s walk through it slowly.

“All things have been committed to me by my Father.”

Not OUR Father.

Jesus says, “My Father.” He has a special relationship with God.

Remember what happened at His baptism?

Remember the voice from heaven? “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Mt. 3:17).

Jesus knows it.

And Jesus knows that the Father has handed over to Him all things.

All things?

All things!

Sounds like Matthew 28, right? “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.”

What is the Father the Lord of? Verse 25? “Lord of heaven and earth.”

“All things have been committed to me by my Father.”

This verse is supposed to blow your mind. We aren’t supposed to be able to wrap our minds around this. But as we try, our minds expand and grow!

Listen to what Jesus says about His relationship with God.

“No one know the Son except the Father.”

So there is a special relationship between those two. (I think it’s through the Spirit. He isn’t mentioned, but I’m sure He’s excluded either).

There is a special relationship between the Son and Father. Nobody knows Jesus inside and out like the Father does. Unparalleled intimacy. Exclusivity. Direct and immediate knowledge.

No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son.

But catch this!

...AND “those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

You want to know God the Father?

You have to go through God the Son.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

No one has ever seen God the Father, “But God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.” That’s in John.

Matthew tells us (V.27) “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Do you know the Father?

So many of you in this room do.

Praise God that the Son has chosen to reveal the Father to you!

Now, this is only one side of the coin of choice in our salvation.

Some people like to emphasize one side of the coin and forget about the other.

Some people like to emphasize God’s sovereignty like verse 27 does.

Who chooses whether or not we are saved?

Well, God does.

But other people like to emphasize the other side of the coin.

Human responsibility.

Is that in this passage, too?

Of course it is. The pride of the “wise and learned” in verse 25, the responsibility of  Korazin, Bethsaid, and Capernaum for what they freely chose when they rejected Jesus. They made unforced choices, too.

Human responsibility.

Some people like to emphasize that and miss God’s sovereignty.

“No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

That’s in there, too.

Both are true. Both are important. It may seem like a paradox, but it’s a paradox the Bible doesn’t have any trouble with holding both sides of.

God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

Because the very next thing that Jesus does after saying that He has been given all things and choose to whom He will reveal the Father is to issue an invitation. V.28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

#2. COME TO JESUS.

In pop culture, they use the phrase, “Come to Jesus” to describe a hard conversation where someone is being forced to make a decision.

That’s not what’s going on here.

Yes, there is an all important decision that must be made, but this is all invitation and not intimidation.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Have you been thinking about this invitation as you have worked on your memorization?

“Come to me,” Jesus says.

Jesus doesn’t say, “Come to Christianity.”
He doesn’t say, “Come to evangelicalism.”
He doesn’t say, “Come to Christendom.”
He doesn’t say, “Come to the church.”

Jesus says, “Come to me.”

This is all about Him. Listen to all of the personal pronouns.

We keep saying, “Who does He think He is?”

He thinks He’s the Son of God and God the Son!

That’s Who He thinks He is!

And He’s holding out His hand for us to come to Him personally.

He knows what we are like. “Weary and burdened.”

Why?

Well, I think they were weary and burdened by the scribes and the Pharisees.

They were worn out trying to please other people and follow the Law in such a way as to earn their salvation.

That will wear you out!

You trying to do that?

Laboring under the Law and weighted down by law-keeping?

But they were also weary and burdened by the Romans, weren’t they?

They were oppressed. They were pushed down.

They had the crushing weight of the world on them.

Life is hard just as it is.

Are you weary and burdened?

Jesus invites you to come to Him.

Not to some idea, but to Jesus Himself.

And He will give you rest.

That’s a glorious word.

It’s word of blessing. A word of peace.

Where the striving ceases. Where you don’t have to impress anybody.

Where you get a taste of what the kingdom will be like.

It will be the rest that was promised in the Old Testament and is promised again in the New Testament. Hebrews chapter 4, “There still exists a rest for the people of God.”

Rest from your enemies.

I think we get a taste of that rest now and we will get the rest of the rest in full when we get the rest of the kingdom.

And we will get it all from Jesus.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Look in verse 29 to see what it means to come to Jesus.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

So there is a yoke.

But it’s not the like yoke of the Law.

The rabbis used to tell people to “submit to the yoke of the Law.”

“Submit to the yoke of the Law.”

You know what a yoke is, right?

It’s that big wooden thing that ties a couple of oxen together to pull the plow or whatever.

A yoke a subjection. It does provide limitations.

It does put you in harness.

But look whose yoke it is!

“Take MY yoke upon you.”

I think that means that Jesus is the guy in the other side of the yoke!

See He says, “and learn from me.”

That word learn is the same word from which we get the word “disciple.”

He’s inviting these people and us to be His disciples.

That’s what it means to get yoked up with Jesus.

To walk with Him.

To learn how to walk this field with Him.

He’s right there. You are in tandem with Him.

Does that sound scary?

It’s not supposed to. Amazing, yes, but scary, no. v.29

“For I am gentle and humble in heart.”

“You can trust me.”

You can trust Him.

I think it’s amazing that Jesus says that He is humble when He just said that God the Father has entrusted everything to Him!

But He is, right?

Look what He’s doing with all of that power!

Look what He did in coming here.

Look what He did on the Cross!

That’s humble in heart.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Why? V.30.

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

It’s like He’s saying, “Come here, try it on.”

He’s not saying that there is no yoke or that there is no burden.

He’s not throwing out the Sermon on the Mount or the Great Commission.

There is a yoke, but it’s easy.

There is a burden in following Jesus. Take up your cross and follow Him!

But you’ll find that that burden oh so light.

I think the picture is that if you are yoked to Jesus, then Who do you think does all of the heavy lifting?

Do you hear the invitation?

Are you considering it?

He’s inviting you to come to Him.


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