Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Children shouldn’t
have been throwing the ball in the church’s fellowship hall downstairs, but
they were . . . and the inevitable happened: striking the wall by accident, the boys
left a small, indented “crater.” One of the older men came in the next morning
with his tools, calling out to me as he went downstairs “I’ll have it fixed
in no time.” Several hours later he emerged covered in white dust. “You’ll have
to call a professional,” he said as he exited the building, “I’ve done all I
can do.”

I went downstairs
to survey the repair attempt, only to find a hole that was four feet across!
Rather than admit he was powerless to remedy the situation, my brother’s best
efforts only made the hole larger and harder to repair.

Many people are
searching for answers to their deepest questions and heartfelt longings. In
this passage, Jesus gives instruction on how to find just such a spiritual “home.”

Jesus begins by
exposing five attitudes that will keep you from finding your spiritual home.
Like my well-intentioned church member, you might discover that your very best
efforts to get answers about God have only served to carry you further away
from Him.

“It’s all about me.” (vv. 16-17) Jesus compares some of the people
in His day to children playing in a large open marketplace. One group of children
chides another for not playing the game they want, the way they want it played,
at the time they want it played. This attitude may be cute in children, but
it is spiritual suicide to a real seeker of God.

“I know what an authentic religion should look like.” (vv. 18-19)
The generation rejecting Jesus also rejected John the Baptist. Preaching a message
of repentance, John was rejected for being too austere. Preaching the good news
of redemption and forgiveness, Jesus was rejected as having too much fun, eating
and drinking with sinners. Jesus wasn’t religious enough!

“I know what I am talking about.” (vv. 25a-26) Later Jesus praises
God for revealing truth, not to the ones who thought themselves to be wise and
learned, but to the “infants” in the crowd. People who think they already have
the answers have stopped asking questions. This is deadly to a genuine pursuit
of God.

“I do not need anything from you.” (vv. 25b) God chooses to reveal
Himself to the “infants”-the ones who are most dependent on another for life
and survival. The difference lies not in the intellect, but in the consciousness
of need. The more conscious you are that you need a Savior, the more ready you
are to recognize Him when He comes.

“I already know what God must be like.” (vv. 27) Jesus states
in the clearest terms that He alone knows what God is really like. You must
be willing to lay down your assumptions about God in order to learn the real
truth from Jesus.

The call to your
spiritual home is an invitation to:

Enter into an
Intimate Encounter with Jesus Christ.
(vv. 28)

Jesus says, “Come
to Me.” He does not call us to a religious tradition or set of man-made practices,
but to Himself. The qualified respondents will be those who are tired of keeping
rules without a real relationship with a living God. Jesus also issues His invitation
to those who have been loaded down by the religion-mongers of the world. His
promise is real and simple. Literally, He says: I will rest you.

Embrace the
Mission of Jesus Christ and Your Personal Assignment.
(vv. 29-30)

Jesus says, “Take
up My Yoke.” Like two oxen teamed together to plow a field, Jesus invites you
into His work. For the seeking ones, He gives direction to God. For the hurting
ones, He offers relief from God. His mission worked out through your life will
be a unique one. In verse 30 He explains that His yoke is “easy” and the burden
is “light”: literally, He means that it is “form-fitted” for you alone.

Experience His
Guidance Through Every Step of the Journey.
(vv. 29)

Jesus says, “Learn
from Me.” The mission of Jesus and the person of Jesus are inseparable. You
cannot serve Him without His help and power. He will guide us to not only do
His will, but to become like Him in every area of our lives: self-controlled
in action and humble in attitude.

If you will respond
to this very personal invitation from Jesus, He promises you will find rest
for your soul (vs.29): a true spiritual home.


Sermon brief provided by: Don Pucik, associate executive director of the
Arkansas Baptist State Convention, Little Rock, AR; Jimmy Gentry, Pastor of
Tabernacle Baptist Church in Carrollton, GA; and John Burke, Senior Consultant
for Church Fund Raising Services with LifeWay Church Resources, Nashville, TN.

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