Thanks to Dr. Jim Berg for the main outline below.
Part One: The Way Down
Session 1—Noticing the Noise in Your Soul (Matthew 11:28–30)
Ps 131:2 “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.” A child that no longer depends directly on his mom for food can be held by her without being anxious. David learned to keep his soul like this.
Introduction: Noise is produced by creating a disturbance. Noise in the physical realm consists of waves, but noise in the soul consists of thoughts. You may ask, “What does noise in the soul sound like?” In Matthew 11:28–30, Christ describes it for us. It sounds like a soul that is “beaten down” (labor = weariness/take a beating) or burdened down (heavy laden = heavily loaded ship). Does this accurately describe your life? Listen to how David described his feelings: “For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me” (Ps. 38:4)
Here are some examples of noises that can disturb your soul, robbing it of rest/peace.
- Sounds of anxiety and fear
- Sounds of discouragement and despair
- Sounds of anger and frustration
- Sounds of bitterness and hatred
- Sounds of lust and greed
- Sounds of guilt and shame
- Sounds of possessions and positions
- Sounds of obsessions and addictions
- Sounds of entertainment and recreation
- The collective noise of all of these sounds is deafening! How different from the Master’s desire for us, His disciples. Jn 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. If He left this peace for us, where is it?
Noise in the soul is dangerous! It can cause problems in two areas:
- Physically—A noisy soul promotes the destruction of the body. (We will talk more of this in weeks to come.)
- Spiritually—A noisy soul reflects alienation from God.
The good news is that there is a cure for the noisy soul.
In Matthew 11:28–30, Christ gives us two points to hope in.
- Come to Me! (Matthew 11:28)
“You who labor and are heavy laden” describes the Jews as suffering under a load of religious responsibilities laid on them by priests, rabbis, scribes, and Pharisees (Matt. 23:4; Acts 15:10). Rest is relief from this burden.
The burdens we carry today (listed above) are just as heavy and stand in need of the same solution.
- Come and be like Me! (Matthew 11:29)
Take my yoke. A Jewish metaphor for discipline and discipleship.
A yoke was a wooden frame placed on the backs of oxen to make them pull in tandem. The simple yokes consisted of a bar with two loops either of rope or wood that went around the animals’ necks. More elaborate yokes had shafts connected to the middle with which the animals pulled plows or other implements. Often the burden the ox had to bear was so heavy that it would cause them to stumble and fall under it, but Jesus promised that the burden of His followers would never be that heavy.
- Be willing to be governed—“meek.” Christ has the answer, but we must be willing to give up our own desires to follow His instructions.
- Be willing to be humble—“lowly in heart.” To be helped means that you have the humility to realize that you need help.
If the Lord Jesus invites us, Come unto me, will we answer Him I’m just too busy? (v. 28). We pray when we are in trouble; why not when He invites us?
Conclusion: You must come to Christ and purpose to be like Him to quiet the noise in your soul.
Next week we will look at our greatest noisemaker.
Used with permission. Copyright 2006 BJU Press. All rights reserved.
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