Sermon 2020-05-03

Rest for Your Souls

Matthew 11:25-30
Rev. Tim Meendering
May 3, 2020

Order of Service

  • Welcome and Call to Worship
  • Song – How Great Thou Art (see this morning’s email for lyrics)
  • Responsive Reading (Forgive us, Father)
  • Song – In Tenderness
  • Sermon – Rest for Your Souls (scroll down for sermon notes)
  • Song – I Surrender All
  • Closing Blessing

Sermon Notes

Questions for family/small group discussions:
  • How has this Covid-19 season impacted your sense of rest? What are the factors that most contribute to your weariness, labor, or carrying a burden?
1. Why do we need rest for our soul?
  • When you read through Matthew 23:4, Acts 15:10-11, and Galatians 5:1, why do you think the religious leaders struggled to give up imposing the burden of the law on others? What makes “obeying” the law attractive to us?
  • We summarized the yoke/burden as “If you perform and do and obey all of these laws, God will love you, bless you, hear your prayers, and take you to heaven.” How do you see this yoke bearing down on you? What are some ways that you might impose this burden on family, spouse/others?—such as, “if you perform and do, I will love you”?
  • How have you most experienced the burden of trying to live up to expectations—from God or others? How have you experienced a nagging “not-good-enoughness” or “the eternal murmur of self-reproach”? How do you see our culture reinforcing these things and leading us to measure our worth by the pace and quality of our producing, working, and performing?
  • Young people and students, how do you struggle under a burden of trying to live up to standards and expectations?
  • How have your homelife, parents, west Michigan culture, or church experience contributed to your need for the deep rest that only Jesus provides?
2. What is this rest for our soul?
  • What is your first response when you understand that Jesus’ yoke involves becoming his disciple and thus surrendering your life so that he can rule and dominate your life? Since the alternative is to be yoked to whatever you live for—or whatever your life revolves around, what has been or is that yoke for you?
  • Do you see how the alternative yokes or making other things the center of your life have taken a toll on you or those you love? How has that happened and what steps can you take to make a shift away?
  • What makes Jesus’ yoke and living under his rule so easy or light? How does he respond to your failures and inability to live up to the law and expectations? What are some of the benefits of obedience through making him the center of your life?
3. How do we get Jesus’ rest for our souls?
  • When you read Matthew 11:25-27, who gets to see, understand, believe, and enjoy the benefits of the gospel message and what does that say about what should be our approach?
  • What makes it so difficult for us to “reach up with spiritual helplessness” like a child? What do we often want to do instead?
  • What has been your experience/struggle with believing and resting in Jesus’ love and forgiveness? What are some of the things/people that you have trusted and been yoked to that have let you down and perhaps even used and abused you?
  • What makes Jesus and his yoke so worthy of your trust and surrender? What do you think about when you see gentle and lowly Jesus inviting you to give up your burdens and weariness?
  • What has Jesus done so that you can have rest and why did he do it?
  • We saw that Jesus acted with tender love to suffer the punishment of immeasurable restlessness so that we who deserve infinite punishment can revel in his eternal rest. Take time to pray and admit that you are helpless and rest in his love. What would be some “deadly doing” that you could lay down at Jesus’ feet?
  • Thank God for trading yokes with you—taking your “not-good-enoughness” and giving you the righteous beauty of Jesus.
Resources for further study, application and loving Jesus: