Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
These are amongst the most well known words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and they also summarize a vital and practical theme in Scripture, that of coming to Christ. Today we are going to ask what the Bible means by these words, words that are terribly plain and simple. If men are weary and burdened because of their guilt then there is one essential response that God requires of them and that is that they come to his Son Jesus Christ. “Too simple,” you protest, but we are simple people. God’s word is not aimed at theologians, or intellectual high flyers, or any elite, or at religious extremists. It is for all kinds of men and women, illiterates, peasants and slaves, for every kind of person.
There is one great word that God brings to all men, “You must come to my Son and then life will begin.” Hear the promises that Jesus makes to those who obey the word and come to him; He that comes to Jesus shall never hunger . . . he that comes to him he will in no wise cast out . . . if you come to me you will have rest . . . no men can come to him except the Father that sent him draw them and he will raise them up in the last day. Those are clear promises of our Lord who said, “I am the Truth.” He said that we would not be cast out, we would never hunger, we would find rest and we would be raised up in the last day.
Conversely there are terrible warnings in the Scripture about these who fail to come to Christ. In John 5:40 these words of the Lord Jesus are recorded, “And you will not come to me that you might have life.” He addressed the folk of his generation telling them that they forfeited eternal life by their unwillingness to come to him. It’s a frightening thing but true that when the Lord Jesus promises he will not cast out those who do come he is also inferring that all who refuse to come will indeed be cast out. If he promises rest to all who come he is inferring that there will be no rest for those who defy his invitation. If those who come to Christ will never again be hungry then those who turn contemptuously away from him will never stop being famished; even after death there will be gnashing of teeth.
So you see that this subject is of tremendously important to all of you. This is not a mere theological or methodological study. This is a matter of being given the rest of Jesus or not being given that blessed rest. It is a matter of being satisfied with him or being dissatisfied. This is a matter of being received into the love of Christ or being cast away from him, being raised up at the last day justified or being raised up in that last day condemned. This is not a matter of scoring theological points, or belittling novice Christians. It is not a matter of titillating our intellects. It is a matter of life and death, of heaven or hell, of knowing Christ and being one with him for ever or being cast away from him. How crucial this matter is. What does it mean, to come to Christ? To whom am I speaking?
i] To those who live in a age where religious decisions are very common. There are rituals undergone, courses are taken, classes are taught, phrases are repeated, hands are laid on men and women and so on, decisions are made and then assurance is given that all will be well henceforth between them and God. But what if you should have been deceived in a decision as important as this? Didn’t Jesus warn us to beware of false prophets? Then you will bless me for delivering you from wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. If you’ve got the counterfeit then you’ll bless me for pointing out to you the genuine. If you’re being sold a forgery then you’ll bless God that you’ve discovered it before it’s too late.
So I want to show you my understanding of the true way to come to Christ. My fear is that you’ve not come to Christ on the terms and in the way that the Bible makes ‘coming to Christ’ a genuine and valid spiritual experience. So I am hoping that God will use his word to destroy the foundation on which some of you are building your religion if it is in fact a foundation of sand. “Isn’t that a cruel thing, to challenge and shake a religious life?” No it is not cruel, any more than it was cruel for Paul to address the new religion that members of the church at Galatia were receiving and building on. The apostle told them that if that was their foundation then Christ had died in vain. They were still in their sins. “Then let us be found in Christ,” they should have responded; “Let us build on the rock.” That will put us in good stead in the day God confronts us. The sweetest thing I can do to you is to destroy your fancies about what it means to come to Christ if they are not Biblical convictions.
You understand my concern? You hear the words, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out” and you think you’ve come, but you’ve never taken the time to discover what the Bible means by coming to Christ. You’ve been given a meaning and you’ve impressed that on a Biblical phrase. “I have come to him,” you say, but alas Christ has not received you because you’ve never come to him in the way the Lord Christ describes coming. No one has been damned for self-examination, but millions have been damned for presumption.
ii] Or again there are others of you who during the past months may have been truly awakened to a sense of your need of Christ. There had been years of your life which you spent in vanity and pride, indifferent to the Christian religion, self-centred and pleasure loving, just sleeping sinners. You are no longer like that, and I rejoice in that. You are not unconcerned about God and untroubled at the state of your never dying soul, indifferent about heaven and hell, death and judgment. A friend has talked to you; you heard a preacher; your conscience was stirred; you began to catch glimpses of the beauties of Jesus Christ. A desire to know him, a longing to have the Lord for yourself, and have peace with God – these things have become of vital importance to you. You have become awakened by the Spirit of God to the reality and importance of spiritual issues, and so you are at a crucial time in your life. Being concerned about Christianity and attending religious meetings and reading the Bible and talking to your family about your new interest in religion – this is a crucially important period for self-understanding. The world will show you good-natured tolerance. You are not the first young person to get interested in religion, and your family and friends will look at you and say kindly, “Well, the jury is still out about their religion.” You are sure to become a target for the fiery darts of the evil one. He will want to confuse you about what is happening. He will seek to drive you in the wrong direction.
iii] Again, to those of you who have truly come to Christ then understanding this truth will bring a renewed gratitude for the marvelous work that God wrought in your life when he caused you to come to Christ. I trust that before this day is out some of you will be pressed on your faces lost in wonder, love and praise for all that God has done in order to bring you to Christ in the way of saving faith. I trust that it won’t be only a word of instruction to produce new gratitude to God but I pray that it will be a word of thought and evaluation when you hear of people declaring that they have ‘joined the church’ or ‘been confirmed.’ or ‘been baptized’ or ‘become Christians,’ but also that it will become a word of instruction to help you as you teach people how they are to come to Christ.
WHAT COMING TO CHRIST DOES NOT MEAN.
i] When Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give you rest,” he was not talking about a physical act. There are multitudes of professing Christians who have equated coming to Christ with some sort of overt physical action. Let me explain what I mean; an evangelist preaches. He has opened up the Scriptures; he has shown the plight of man and the power of God. He has explained the cross on which the Prince of glory died and now he is engaging with his congregation. He turns and pleads urging them to repent and believe. “Cry mightily to God! Bow before him! Receive him into your hearts.” He doesn’t stop. He is near tears and even weeps. He pleads with them not to tarry. “If not you who? If not now when?” He is longing for a response. He is not satisfied in giving the some glorified Bible study exegeting correctly a passage of the Scriptures and then saying ‘Amen.’ He is an ambassador and herald of the King of Heaven preaching for a response. He is doing the work of an evangelist. He is like John Knox who seemed to beat the pulpit into pieces in his enthusiasm for people to turn from unbelief and trust in the Lord. The congregation is all drawn into this process. He is speaking on behalf of them all. And he cries alous to the Holy Spirit to help him, “Come now Spirit of God, come now and assist us. Come and draw sinners to Jesus!”
But wait! This preacher is not doing this. He is not showing his confidence in God. He is employing human engineering. He gets the lights turned low and gets the choir to sing softly more and more and more. He then starts to cajole the people to get up and stand up and walk to the front. He urges them to come to the pulpit, and he brings all kinds of pressure to bear upon them, charging them with cowardice, urging them not to be ashamed of ‘taking their stand’ for Christianity. “Get up and come to the front,” he exhorts them, and then the brave physical action of standing with every eye on you, and walking to the front is equated in the understanding of the preacher and increasingly in you with the spiritual act of coming to the Son of God. What ungodly confusion! The preacher announces that all who have got out of their seats and responded to his invitation have also responded to the Lord Jesus’ invitation to come to him. He keeps a book called the Lamb’s Book of Life where he records the names of people who have come to the front, but no-one in the church have ever heard of these people! This has been so worked into the thinking of certain circles that wherever there’s been an overt physical action then automatically people are convinced that there has also been the inward spiritual reality of coming to Christ.
Of course I am not denying that people are converted in meetings at which they hear the gospel of God loving the world and giving his only Son and that everyone who believes in him does not perish but has everlasting life. And then when they are also told to get out of their seats they obey the messenger and they walk to the front. My point is unquestionable, that two things are being confused. No one was ever saved by walking from point A to point B. No one has ever been saved by standing, or raising a hand, or remaining seated while everyone else stands, or any kind of overt physical act.
Hear what the Lord Jesus says in John 6 and verse 44; “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” If coming to Christ is some kind of human physical action then I don’t need a special inward operation of the Holy Spirit which Jesus defines as a ‘drawing of the Father’ to do that. All I need is a burst of courage to get up and walk to the front. I don’t need the drawing of the Father to do that. There is no need of inward, supernatural, divine operations of the Holy Spirit for that to be done. I simply need a burst of determination to take my stand, but our Lord said that more than that was needed. No man can come to Christ unless there is an inward divine operation of God, ‘the drawing of the Father.’
Should there be any reading this who are sure that they’ve come to Christ simply because they’ve passed through some outward physical action then I trust that the Spirit of God will utterly strip this false notion from you today. May God use his word as a purging influence so that you will never think, let alone speak in terms of equating a physical action with the inward reality of the act of coming to Christ.
ii] When Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give you rest,” he was not talking about a merely mental act. Again many are deceived at this point. They attend a series of classes, introducing the Christian religion. They are told that God is their Maker, and that Jesus Christ is his Son, that he lived a sinless life and died for sinners. He rose again the third day and is seated at the right hand of God. Forgiveness of sins is found in him. These propositions are taught and laid out before the class. “Now,” the class are finally asked, “do you believe these things? Do you believe that they are true?” They think for a moment and then say, “Yeah . . .” and then they are told that that means they are now Christians. You understand that two things have occurred. They have been told that the essence of coming to Christ is assenting to the facts about him, that he is the Son of God and the conqueror of death, and that by nodding their heads to a little systematic presentation of Christianity then they have actually come to Christ. Then also they are told personally and solemnly by the person leading the course that they have now become Christians. In other words another human being gives them assurance that all is well between them and God.
Again, I submit to you that if this is true then John chapter 6 and verse 44 had better be cut out of our Bibles, that “no man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Who needs the Holy Spirit to assent to historical facts about the gospel? Just as the average man will accept that in 1066 William the Conqueror defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings and became William 1 King of England without any work or operation of the Holy Spirit on his heart and mind, so too men and women can exercise some mental activity about the Jesus of history, his virgin birth, death on the cross, resurrection on the third day and believe those things are true, that is not coming to Christ. That is purely cerebral activity. That is not saving faith, that is believing the system of Christian teaching. That is purely historical faith. James tells us that the devils believe these in the facts about God that he is triune, and holy and a judge and sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. The devils believe that. They know the contents of the Bible and can quote them. John Milton in Paradise Lost describes a session of demons in the caverns of hell discussing determinism and I suppose doing so very accurately.
Even those people who set their hopes in six to ten week religious courses, following a book, having a meal together, watching videos of the religious teaching, are aware of the overwhelmingly cerebral nature of this approach to Christianity. They know something else must occur to glue it to the felt experience of these folk, and so many of them have set their faith in glossalalia. They take folk out of their safety zone for a week-end and during this time they encourage them to let their jaws go loose and make sounds and so ‘speak in tongues.’ Or they encourage them to join in a group who sing in tongues. All this is needed because of the overwhelmingly intellectual emphasis given to the presentation of the Christian message. Then these people are assured not only that they have become Christians but that they have become super-Christians, hyper-Christians, not just saved but baptized with the Holy Spirit.
We have today a situation in which churches – Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant – are all attended by people who have some contact with the Bible, have gone through inquiry classes and courses and have exercised some mental activity towards religion, but that, all alone, is a purely an intellectual movement. Then many of them have sought to compensate for the absence of the experiential by encouraging tongue-speaking. Even then the engineering of man knows no restrictions. They are taken a step further. The fact that they are now Christians is confirmed to them by a very important man, a bishop in gorgeous clothes with a mitre on his head. He puts his hands on their heads to affirm that indeed they are now Christians! All this is undertaken to compensate for the merely mental action of assenting to truth that has been their experience so far in their contact with the Christian religion. We must be careful not to wrench from God the Holy Spirit his unique sovereign work, and try to do what we cannot do, what only God is able to do, giving to men and women assurance by our vain words a promised certainty, and by placing our hands on their heads, or some other ritual, instilling in their thinking the idea that they are now Christians, telling them, “You have indeed come to Christ.” Their pilgrimage has been overtly mental and cerebral.
iii] “When Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give you rest,” he was not talking about a mystical experience ungrounded in the truth. Many church-goers have some kind of vague belief in a Christ about whom they have heard something vague and in a vague kind of way they have made a vague commitment to this vaguely known person. There are lots of people like that. That is not coming to Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ once addressed the people listening to him and told them, “You do not have God’s word abiding in you” (John 5:38). How could he make that judgment? He explained to them that the one whom God had had sent into the world (that is himself), they were rejecting. God has one only-begotten Son, and he alone is the transcript of God’s glory and the express image of God’s person. What Jesus did, and what Jesus said is the only means of being sure of who and what God is. So what are people to do? Jesus tells them, “Search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life and these are they which testify of me” (Jn. 5:39). Eternal life is achieved and defined through the Scriptures. A stranger to Scripture is a stranger to eternal life. Who is Jesus? What kind of nature does he have? What has he done? Why did he do it? What are the implications for me? What must I do to be saved? The scriptures tell me. Eternal life is all bound up in them. A man who is a stranger to the Scriptures is a stranger to eternal life because the Scriptures bear witness of Christ the Son of God. If you want to find Jesus and come to Jesus then you must know the message of the Bible. In other words, it is impossible to find him if we ignore the Scriptures. He is not a vague undefined Christ. He is not one who changes from century to century, or from one individual to another, or from one culture to another. He is the unchangeable Christ of the Bible. There is no white Christ, or black Christ, or yellow Christ. There is no feminist Christ, or socialist Christ. There is the one and only Lord Jesus Christ of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the New Testament and of its letters and none other.
You find the same principles found in Paul’s letter to Timothy. He exhorts him to preach the word. He reminds him that all Scripture is God-breathed and also that it is very profitable for teaching us what we are to believe, rebuking us when we imbibe error, correcting our prejudices and instructing us in living righteously. All the time we are to be changing our values and behaviour in the light of the Bible, sorting out our thinking by way of the Scriptures. That is the way we are taught by God. That is the way we are drawn to Jesus Christ. It is by the word. So coming to Christ involves three things, the Scriptures, their testimony concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and our understanding and believing that testimony as it is recorded in the pages of the Bible, God’s divine word. So unless I have some understanding of the Christ of the Scriptures I have little understanding of coming to the Christ of the Scriptures.
Aren’t there people today who lack a basic grasp of who Jesus is, his pre-existence, his perfection, his teaching, his atonement, his present reign and influence. They have some sort of woozy religion with a vague idea or ideal called Jesus. Have they come to the Christ of the Bible? According to Jesus coming to him is a response to learning about him from what men who wrote the Scriptures received from God himself. So coming to Christ is not a mystical, private experience unfounded in the truth. If I said to you, “I think of Jesus like this . . .” then those ideas would be worthless if I had not gained them from the Word of God.
There is a school of neo-orthodoxy, of dialectic theology, encouraged by Karl Barth and Emil Brunner which has swallowed the whole uncertainty as to the reliability and truthfulness of the entire Bible. “That is not important,” they claim, “that the Scriptures are wholly accurate. There can be errors in the Bible, but that is unimportant as long as the big, dynamic, mysterious Word itself zaps you. Questions of whether he literally walked on water, and smote a fig tree, and fed 5,000 men with five loaves and two fishes are not important. What he actually did when he hung on the cross is open to discussion and various interpretations. Who this Jesus is – as far as defining him theologically – is for students of historical theology to debate, two natures, three states, three offices – unimportant! All we need to do is find some common denominator and say to the unbelieving world that “Jesus,” whom we cannot explain with authority, “is alive today . . .” in a way no one can define lucidly.
Is that the case? Were those fishermen, and blacksmiths, and farmers’ wives, and children who walked 40 miles in their bare feet to purchase a Bible, and the young people who memorized the Shorter Catechism, all wasting their time in some scholastic debate? Was the translator of the English Bible, William Tyndale, gripped by a foolish ambition when he longed that the boy who followed the plough should read and know the Scriptures and be changed by the Jesus found there? Isn’t it the thought of Jesus, and the ideal of Jesus, and the concept of some kind of Jesus what is important? No! The thought is merely religious sentimentalism with no more power to help me than the lyrics of Bob Dylan unless it is grounded in history.
The four gospel writers tell us in exhaustive detail who is Jesus of Nazareth, what he did, when he did it, why he did it, and what he taught us to believe. He said that if we were embarrassed by his words then he would be ashamed of us in that great day. Paul says that if Jesus Christ was not actually physically raised from the dead then we are still in our sins and our faith is in vain. We insist that coming to Christ is not a purely mystical experience unrelated to what God has reveled to us of him in the Bible.
So coming to Christ is not any one of those three things. It is not a purely mental action asserting some facts about Christ. It is not a physical action like moving across a room or kneeling down, or raising a hand. It is not a mystical, private, secret action hidden away in your own soul unrelated to the truth of God in the Bible. So if it is none of those things what is it?
WHAT COMING TO CHRIST DOES MEAN.
Coming to Christ is another way of saying believing on Christ. You find in John chapter 6 that the terms are used interchangeably, that to believe in Christ is to come to Christ. You see it in verse 35, “Jesus said unto them, ‘I am the bread of life he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.’” Again he talks in verse 37 about the man who comes to him not being cast out, while he says in the 40th verse that he that believes in him will be raised up. So to come to Christ is to believe in Christ, and to believe in Christ is to come to him. So what is involved in this coming and believing?
i] The first thing that coming to Christ always involves is a recognition of a personal spiritual need that only Christ can meet. What does the Lord Jesus say? ‘Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden.’ There are those who are burdened men and women. They have a conscious, felt, spiritual need and they have attempted to shake it off. They have tried immersing themselves in the pleasures of the world, but that has merely increased the weight of the burden. It is the picture we are given by the great John Bunyan in his Pilgrim’s Progress of a man increasingly conscious that he has to bear a burden on his back. He is heavily laden and longs for the burden to be removed. The burden is the pilgrim’s own guilt. He is like the publican in the temple and can’t look up to heaven with any confidence. His eyes are fixed on the dust and he feels wretched about himself; he beats his breast and he says, “God, be merciful to me the sinner.”
God has taken his law, which is the rule of life for his creatures in his creation, the things of which he has written on a man’s consciousness and in that law he says, “You are to have no other gods but me. You are not to make an idol of anything and bow down to that thing. You are not to lace your speech with expletives and blasphemies, taking my name in vain. Keep a day a week as special unto me. Honour your parents. You must do no violence to your wife, to your children, to your animals or even to your enemies. You must avoid all kinds of sexual sin, purity before marriage and faithfulness within it. You must not steal. You must not lie. You must not covet. Ten plain, wise, good words. The Holy Spirit uses them to convict men and women that by this law they are guilty before God. He is a sin-hating God; he is a God who is justly angry with the torturer and the abuser and the thief and the drug-pusher and the killer and the rapist every single day.
Bunyan’s pilgrim, and King David, and Saul of Tarsus, and the publican in the temple all stood in a solidarity of guilt and shame. They were labouring and heavy-laden. They all knew that there was chargeable to their account a mountain of iniquity and that before them was a day when they must give account, a day of reckoning when they would face an encounter with the Judge of all the earth. How could they do anything but stand guilty before him? Their mouths were all stopped. Their only hope was Jesus Christ.
The Jews of our Lord’s day did not have that need. They would not come to him when he invited them, even though their own Scriptures testified of the virgin born, suffering Saviour whose name was Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Why did they keep him at a distance? They felt they had no need of him. They could cope without a Saviour. They weren’t labouring and heavy-laden. They weren’t burdened by the weight of their sins. They weren’t terrified by God’s holy law looking for a refuge. They weren’t conscious that they were blind to the purpose of life looking for light. They weren’t conscious of the deadness of their souls looking for life. They weren’t conscious of how much they were enslaved to their sin that told them to ignore God, and forget about the Bible, and never pray, and avoid thinking of death and what lay beyond it. They weren’t looking for freedom. When Jesus told them that, “whosoever commits sin is the slave of sin” they said, “we are the free men; we’re not slaves.” So he stood there, the only totally free man that this world has ever seen, and they walked away from him. Because they were not conscious of the bondage of their wills to sin. They had no sense of need to be delivered from its mastery over their lives, and so they felt no need to come to God’s great liberator.
I am saying to you that you have never come to Jesus Christ in the Biblical sense if you have never been made consciously aware that you’ve got to have his mercy, that you can’t survive without him, that he must take away the burden of your guilt, and break the great chain that ties you to your past. Have you felt the weight of those heavy links dragging you down, going back and back into your past? Here is the God who is light, in whom is no darkness at all, who knows everything about your entire life. All you have done and said and failed to do and say. Your file is before him with its record of your every deviation from his law. He is holding you accountable on the tremendous day that lies before us. And when that thought begins to press in upon you, touching your conscience, awakening a sense of sin in your life then you start to labour. “How can I get rid of this burden? To plead with God to end this life merely hastens the time I must stand before him. To seek to run from him I cannot. Where can I go? What bushes can hide me from the God who draws near? What fig leaves are big enough to cover my shame?” Do you know what it is to experience this? I’m not asking you if you have heard preachers talking about it, but do you know what it is to experience it?
I am pressing you to answer this question as to whether the Holy Spirit has come into your life and convicted you of your sin, and God’s righteousness, and the judgment to come, because when God draws near this is what happens in an unbeliever’s life. I am not asking you if you know that verse. I am not asking if you have heard preachers preaching about the experience but whether you know what it is to experience it. If you have never known you guilt and need of pardon, your bondage and your need of freedom, your defilement and your need of cleansing then how can you say that you have come to Christ, because you feel you are a righteous man, and Jesus did not come for righteous man, he came to call sinners to turn from their sin to him. What kind of sinners? In the same passage he tells us that they that are whole have no need of a doctor. Only the sick need to send for the doctor. You have never sent to this great Physician because you have never felt your need of him. But he is in the business of helping those who are sick through sin, and needy through sin, and labouring and heavy-laden through sin. Are you such a sinner? If you say, “Well, no,” then you have never come to Christ because the first step in coming to him is to recognize your need and only he can meet it.
ii] The second thing that coming to Christ always involves is seeing that Jesus Christ is perfectly suited to meet that need. No one comes who is unconvicted of his need, and no one comes who isn’t shown by the Holy Spirit the perfection of Christ to meet my need. How cruel of the Great Physician to diagnose the illness while refusing to provide the cure. What would you think of your doctor who explained the cause of the pain and then showed you to the door and shook hands with you; “Come back and see me next time you find a lump . . .” You wouldn’t go to that doctor again. This kind and loving Physician tells us what is wrong and assures us that we need not fear because there is a cure. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the wounded soul.
I know a place where sins are washed away.
I know a place where night is turned to day.
Burdens are lifted; blind eyes made to see;
There’s a wonder working power in the blood of Calvary.
This is where the most terrible mistakes are made. This is where the greatest religious blunders take place. This is where the devil is most active when men and women are no longer careless and indifferent about their sins but seriously searching for the truth. The devil will send them to a psychiatrist for tranquilizers. Or he will send them on a journey back to their past to their childhood so that they blame the alleged neglect of those years for the guilt known now. He will send them to the priest and many kinds of religious courses and classes in which they will be assured that all is well. He will send them to the hands of bishops laid on their heads, or to a baptistry to be baptized, or encourage them to loosen their jaws and speak in tongues. He will send them to meditation techniques or encourage them to try to contact the dead – anywhere and anything except send them to the Lord Jesus Christ, but he alone can meet their need!
Jesus Christ is the inviting Saviour who says, “No you must come to me, not to men, not to your past, not to church and the ordinances, but to me alone. You . . . come . . . to . . . me.” Here is one who knows all about you, but how he loves you and desires you to come to him. He has seen you at your worse doing the most ugly things but he tells you to come to him. Here is the incarnate God. If you get a glimpse of him you are getting a glimpse of the one and only God. If you see him then you are seeing the proper man, God’s great definition of a man, the archetypal man. If you read his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters five through seven you are not just reading the greatest sermon ever preached but you are reading a description of the life of Christ. That is how he loved, loving his neighbour as himself. Even loving his enemies for as they nailed his hands and feet to a cross he prayed for them that his heavenly Father should for give them. This is the one to whom you must come, the only who obeyed the law perfectly and so had no sins of his own to make atonement for so that he could become your substitute and lay down his life in your stead. Christ died for our sins. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Paul says, “He loved me and gave himself for me.” He is the one who can deal with all your burden of sin. He will remove it; he will pardon all your sin; all our past sins, all your present sins, and all your future sins. He is perfectly suited to meet your needs.
How do we know that such a wonder is working in Jesus’ death on Calvary? Because of Christ’s resurrection on the third day. God raised him from the dead. He lives to be our great High Priest at the right hand of God, he who once died as the Lamb of God. The resurrection took place in history, and space and time, outside a city wall. A stone was rolled away and he came out more powerful than death, announcing that the grave and the corpse rotting in it is not ultimate reality. That is Jesus. He who put to death the power of death, he who made reconciliation with God by his death, he who dealt with our guilt and blame by taking it on himself on Golgotha’s cross. We must go to him. To whom else can we go. He lives, and he invites, then why should we stay away?
I see how perfect he is to be my Teacher, to tell me where this world came from, who God is, why is our land in the state it’s in, why do men behave as foully as they do, what is man’s chief end, what must I do to be saved, how then should I live? What sort of man or woman should I be? What sort of husband and father, what sort of wife and mother? Jesus Christ will teach me in his word.
I see how perfect he is to be my great High Priest. The living God requires atonement; without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. That is how the only God there is functions. That is his nature; but he who requires sacrifice provides the sacrifice, and he becomes the sacrifice. The Lamb is found in God’s flock, in God’s bosom; he is God’s fellow. God gives his only begotten Son to make atonement for sin. He who died to forgive us our sins now is risen and lives at the right hand of God as our Mediator. He makes intercession for us and so can save us to the uttermost.
I see how perfect the Lord Jesus is to be my sovereign Protector. He is my good Shepherd. He determines that if anything affect me in any way then that must work for my good. He puts it under an unbreakable obligation to work for my good, both the best things that happen to me and the worst things. He keeps me from being overwhelmed by the temptations of the world, the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. He gives me armour that enables me to know protection from the devices and attacks of the devil. Nothing can separate me from his love. He has determined that where he is there will I also be one day. The Lord Jesus Christ is perfectly suitable to meet all my needs in this world and the next. All we need in Christ, we shall find in Christ. If we want little, we shall find little. If we want much, we shall find much. But if, in utter helplessness, we cast our all on Christ, he will be to us the whole treasury of God.
iii] The third thing that coming to Christ always involves is a resignation of myself to him. Coming to him is a movement of my heart, as the Holy Spirit uses the truths that we have spoken of and moves the centre of my being, the true me, the dispositional complex of self-consciousness and intelligence and feeling out of which all the issues of my life flow, I come to Jesus Christ. I put myself in his hands. I place myself under his tuition; henceforth he can tell me nothing wrong. I place myself under the atoning covering of his death. My one plea for God’s acceptance is that Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, has died for me. I bow before him as my Lord and my God. I commit myself to him as my prophet, priest and king in all his offices, in the glory of his person. I resign myself to him.
Take myself and I will be consecrated Lord to me. I go through every detail, take my life, my moments and my days, my hands, my feet, my voice, my lips, my silver and my gold, my intellect, my will, my heart and my love. I commit myself, just as I am without a plea, to him who invites me to come, entirely and without reservation, body and soul for time and eternity, to the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is coming to Christ.
So I plead with you today to ask yourself this question, “Have I come to Christ?” What I’m asking you is this, whether you have been made consciously aware of a need that only Christ can meet? Have the Holy Spirit shown you the suitableness of Christ to meet that need? Have you abandoned yourself to him and to him alone to meet that need. If not you have not come to Christ, and Christ says that you have abandoned the experience of his rest, and his yoke and his light burden, but if you come then he will in no wise cast you out.
Come then to Jesus Christ and welcome. He welcomes you, and he commands you, and then he promises you rest if you come. Come you needy, come you naked, come you blind, come you dead! Come! C: Come you children! O: Come you older teenagers! M: Come you middle-aged! E: Come you elderly! If you tarry till you’re better you will never come at all. Come now as the Spirit of God takes his word and moves your mind and heart and draws you to come to him. Come to Jesus alone, and welcome!