Living Under the Tensions of the Plague, Pain, and Politics Part 4
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Warren Wiersbe said, “Jesus spoke those words in the crowded marketplace of Capernaum nearly 20 centuries ago. But He could just as well have spoken them at Broadway and 42nd in New York, or 5th and Vine in Cincinnati, or State and Madison in Chicago. No matter what the period in history, no matter what the place on Earth, men have the same basic problem: men are restless. The trouble, of course, is on the inside. We look back at life in Jesus’ day and we say, “If only we could have lived that kind of quiet, simple life!” But the people in Jesus’ day were just as restless as we are today! In fact, they were saying, “If only we could escape this terrible daily grind!” We today have medicine, electricity, all kinds of labor-saving devices—things that people centuries ago would like to have had—and yet we are plagued with restlessness. St. Augustine was right when he said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Jesus is inviting us to rest. But please understand what this rest is that He offers. It is not rest from life—but rest in life. He is not inviting us to retire and take it easy! He is asking us to take a yoke of responsibility and face life courageously with a new peace in our hearts. He is asking us to share the rest that He enjoys. As you read the four Gospels, you never see Jesus rushing around nervously, or pushing the panic button. He always has a calmness, even in the midst of trial. His life is controlled by a wonderful peace, and it is this peace that He offers you and me. Jesus will give us the rest that we need if we will only respond to His gracious invitation.”
In our last message in this series, we saw how believing in Jesus Christ for our salvation and committing our lives to Him allows us to find peace in the midst of the tensions of life. In Jesus Christ, we are given an inner peace that is unmoved and unchanged by the tensions of life.
The psychologists tell us on every hand that a lot of people are frustrated and disillusioned today because they have inner guilt feelings, and these inner feelings of guilt begin to accumulate. You know enough about psychoanalysis, I’m sure, to understand what they’re talking about, for when they talk about this thing they’re talking about something realistic. Freud used to talk about this thing in his psychological system about man here having an impression, and if it doesn’t become an expression it becomes a repression. But all of the psychologists tell us that it’s dangerous to repress our emotions, that we must always keep them on the forefront of consciousness. And we must do something else—not repress but sublimate. That’s another big psychological word that we use in the modern world: sublimation. But trusting in Christ allows you to get art of sublimation, and so you don’t repress your emotions, you substitute the positive for the negative of repression. You sublimate instead of repressing, and that is what going unto Christ gives us. There is something saying to us at all times that you can be forgiven. If you commit a sin you don’t have to give your life in a long state of worrying about it because you’re going to make mistakes. That’s normal. It’s altogether human to sin and to make mistakes and to fall short of the mark. But what Christianity says that when you fall short of the mark, if you will humble yourself and bow before the feet of Jesus and confess your sins, then he gives you a sense of forgiveness, and you can stand up with it and keep going. And you no longer get bogged down in the past, but you move on in the future. That’s the way to live life.
I say to you today, “Bow down before the feet of Jesus, and there is your God, of Jesus, with the grace of God expressed in his being that will forgive us and say to us, ‘Rise up and go on.’” That’s what Jesus said to that woman when those men stood around her to cast their stones and they wanted to kill her. Jesus looked at them and said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” They began to drop their stones and run from that situation because they knew deep down within that they too were involved in the guilt of life. But then Jesus looked at that lady and said, “Go and sin no more,” as if to say, “Don’t get bogged down in the path of sin and worry because you’ve committed sin. Everybody has committed sin, but turn around into the future and move on out, and you will become somebody because you have accepted my grace and my forgiving power.”
There is a man lost in the foreign country of life, but then something comes to him and it says he came to himself. But he didn’t stop there, that passage says that he got up and decided to walk up the dusty road that he had once come down. And as he started up that road, there was at the end of that road a father with an outstretched arm saying, “Come home, and I will accept you.” And he reaches back and gets the fatted calf and said, “Come on into the fold, and you can be made all over again.” And that is the meaning of repentance. It means a right about-face, not only feeling sorry for your sins but turning around and deciding to move on and not do it anymore. And if you make the same mistake again, you try to turn around again and go on. And that is the joy, and that is the great example that the Christ gives to us. Christ says, “I will forgive you seventy times seven. I’ll keep on forgiving you if you will keep on repenting.” This saying gives you a balanced life. That’s just good psychology that Jesus discovered years ago. He is saying simply what psychiatrists are saying today: keep your emotions on the forefront of conscious, and don’t repress them because if you keep on doing that you will have a deep sense of guilt that will make a morbid personality and you will become a civil war fighting against yourself. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden with sin, and I will give you the rest of forgiveness.” ///////
And then finally, I must conclude now. There is something else that Jesus does. It reminds us that at the center of the universe is a God who is concerned about the welfare of his children. Religion at its best does not look upon God as a process, not as some impersonal force that is a mere moral order that guides the destiny of the universe. True religion looks upon God as a person. He’s not limited like our personalities. God is much higher than we are. But there is something in God that makes it so that we are made in his image. God can think; God is a self-determined being. God has a purpose. God can reason. God can love.
Aristotle used to talk about God as “Unmoved Mover,” but that’s not the Christian God. Aristotle’s God is merely a self-knowing God, but the Christian God is an other-loving God. He reaches out with His long arm of compassion and love and embraces all of His children. It gives life a meaning and a purpose that it could never have without Him. I say that if there is not a God, there ought to be one; and since there ought to be a God, there is a God; and if man doesn’t find the God of the universe, he’ll make him a God. He’s got to find something that he would worship and give his ultimate allegiance to. And I say this morning that the Christian religion talks about a God, a personal God, who’s concerned about us, who is our Father, who is our Redeemer. And this sense of divine companionship says to us, on the one hand, that we are not lost in a universe fighting for goodness and for justice and love all by ourselves. It says somehow that although we live amid the tensions of life, although we live amid injustice, no matter what we live amid, it’s not going to be like that always.
There’s a good dose of psychology there. And the slaves were the greatest psychologists that America’s ever known, for they learned something that we must always learn. And they said it in their broken language, ‘“I’m so glad that trouble don’t last always.” They had learned something in their lives. And that’s what real, determined faith in God gives you. Gives you the conviction that although trouble is rampant, that although you stand amid the forces of injustice, it will not last always because God controls the universe. And you can live without tension then. You can live under it.
Oh, I know all of us sometimes worry about our particular situation. We worry about the fact that we live now amid the tension of the Southland. We worry about what will happen, what’s going to happen in this whole struggle toward integration. We hear those who will come on the television and say that the brain of the Negro is less than that of white, that it is inferior. We hear those who say that they will use any means to block the Negro from his advance. They attempt to keep the Negro segregated and exploited and keep him down under the iron yoke of oppression. And we begin to wonder, and sometimes I know we ask the question: “Why is it? Why does God leave us like this? Seventeen million of his children here in America, leaving us under these conditions, why is it?” But then there is something that comes out on the other side and says to us that it ain’t gonna last always. There is that conviction that grows, “I’m so glad that segregation don’t last always.” And there is something that cries out to us and says that Kasper and Engelhardt and all of the other men that we hear talking—grim men that represent the death groans of a dying system—and all that they are saying are merely the last-minute breathing spots of a system that will inevitably die. For justice rules this world, love and goodwill, and it will triumph. They begin to wonder over the nation, how is it that we can keep walking in Montgomery? How is it that we can keep burning out our rubber? How is it that we can keep living under tension? And we can cry out to the nation, “We can do it because we know that as we walk God walks with us.”
We know that God is with us in all of the experiences of life. And we can walk and never get weary because we know that there is a great camp meeting in the promised land of freedom and justice. Then it gives us this faith in God, gives us the assurance that in nothing we confront in life do we stand alone, for there is cosmic companionship. As we face our individual troubles, as we face our individual problems, there is a God that stands with us. And isn’t that consoling that at last long we can find something permanent, for we live in life and life is so elusive. As I’ve said it is this pendulum swinging between joy and sorrow, between disappointment and fulfillment, but there is something beyond all of that which is permanent. If we put our ultimate faith in that, we don’t worry about anything. Oh, when we get our ultimate faith in God, everything in life can come to us, and yet we don’t despair because we know that there is something permanent.
And I say to you this morning I’m not going to put my ultimate faith in these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow. I’m not going to put my ultimate faith in a few dollars and cents and a few Cadillac cars and Buick convertibles. I’m going to put my ultimate faith in the God of the universe who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When all of these gods have passed away, He’s still standing. And He is the eternal companion.
And now I can understand what the old people meant. They cried out in their poetic manner, not being able to talk about God in philosophical and theological categories. They could only talk about him in terms of their particular poetic imaginations expressed in the scripture. They could cry out throughout all the ages, “He’s a rock in a weary land and a shelter in the time of storm. He is a lily of the valley and a bright and morning star.” And then when they gave out they wouldn’t stop there because they gave out a language and they just started crying out, “He’s my everything. He’s my sister and my brother; He’s my mother and my father. He’s all together lovely; He’s fairest among ten thousand. And I’m going to worship Him forever because I believe that He can guide us throughout life.” Come unto me, all ye that are laborers, beat down and burdened down because of the problems of modern life. Come unto me and I will give you the rest that will carry you through the generations. I will give you a peace that the world can never understand. My peace I leave with you, not as the world giveth, but a peace that passeth all understanding. God grant, if we will discover this, we will be able to live amid the tensions of modern life.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 18:8: “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.