This sermon – Finding Rest for Our Souls – was originally preached 2013.02.24 by Rich Bowman.
Passages used: Mathew 11:28-30, 1 Peter 2:21-25, Acts 7:54-60, Genesis 42:19-22, Genesis 45, Luke 19:8-10, Luke 12, Luke 15, Hebrews 4:9.
How does a person go about finding rest for their soul? Is it something I do? Is it something God does? Can it really happen in this life?
Jesus is inviting us, you and I, to come to Him. Whenever there is an invitation given there is always a response, sometimes accepting and sometimes not accepting. Jesus’ invitation is no different, we all will need to respond one way or the other.
We all need rest for our souls, whether we think about it often or not.
Jesus is inviting us to be “teamed up” with him like two horses in a harness. He is inviting us to come along beside him and learn from Him.
Jesus is a pure example of meekness… Imagine He was willing to come to earth and be beaten and killed by the very people He created. He was willing to suffer and leave the judging up to God. That is where we too can find rest for our souls, when we can give it all to Him and let Him take everything.
If we would be able to respond more frequently like Jesus did to the things around Him we would find much more rest for our souls.
Forgiveness is another huge part of finding rest for our souls. If we can find forgiveness we will not be able to find true rest for our souls.
Stephen’s soul was at rest even when he was being stoned. With his final breaths he pleaded with God that the people who were stoning him would not be charged for the sin that they were committing. That was only possible because he had rest in his soul.
Joseph’s brothers are in a difficult spot in Genesis 42, the first thing that they remember when they are in a bad spot is what they did to their brother year’s earlier. That is how things work when our souls are not at rest, we immediately feel guilty for things that we have done in the past.
Joseph’s response to his brothers shows us again that his soul was at rest. He left things in God’s hands and said, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” Joseph chose to believe that God had a bigger plan all along and now they were beginning to see it. Giving all to God is the only way to have rest for our souls.
The prodigal son had a very weary soul while he was in a foreign land. It wasn’t until he repented and asked for forgiveness for his sins that he could find rest for his soul. He didn’t imagine that he would be accepted and received well when he returned to his father, but he did. God wants to do the same for us, He wants to give us rest for our souls but it will take confession and it will take repentance.
So… is rest for the soul something that we do or is it something that God does? It is a two way thing, God invites, we must accept.
Is finding rest for our soul something that happens only one time? It has to be an ongoing thing, forgiveness, confession and repentance are ongoing and they are all part of rest for our souls.
Is rest for the soul something that we will find only in heaven? No, we can have rest in our souls here, but the rest that we will have in heaven will be far more perfect and much fuller.
Mathew 11: 28-30; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
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