Thursday, July 17, 2008
o u t r e a c h
by Bishop J.C. Ryle
"Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11v28.
The text which heads this paper is one which deserves to be written in letters of gold. The Speaker of the invitation before you is the greatest and best Friend that man has ever had. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God.
He is One who is almighty. He is very God of very God. He has all power in heaven and earth - He has the keys of death and hell. He is now appointed Mediator between God and man: He will one day be the Judge and king of all the earth. When such a One as this speaks, you may safely trust Him.
He is One who is most loving. He loved us so that He left heaven for our sakes, and laid aside for a season the glory that He had with the Father. He loved us so that He undertook to pay our mighty debt to God, and died upon the cross to make atonement for our sins. When such an One as this speaks, He deserves a hearing. When He promises a thing, you need not be afraid to trust Him.
I will now show you to whom the invitation before you is addressed. The Lord Jesus Christ addresses "all that labour and are heavy-laden." The expression is deeply comforting and instructive. It is wide, sweeping and comprehensive. It describes the case of millions in every part of the world. Where are the labouring and heavy-laden? They are everywhere. They are a multitude that man can scarcely number; they are to be found in every climate, and in every country under the sun.
I will show you, what the Lord Jesus Christ asks you to do. Three words make up the sum and substance of the invitation which He sends you today. If you are "labouring and heavy- laden, Jesus says, "Come unto Me."
Coming to Christ is coming to Him with the heart by simple faith. Believing on Christ is coming to Him, and coming to Christ is believing on Him. It is the act of the soul which takes place when a man, feeling his own sins, and despairing of all other hope commits himself to Christ for salvation, ventures on Him, trusts Him, and casts himself wholly on Him.
When a man turns to Christ empty that he may be filled, sick that he may be healed, hungry that he may be satisfied, thirsty that he may be refreshed, needy that he may be enriched, dying that he may have life, lost that he may be saved, guilty that he may be pardoned, sin-defiled that he may be cleansed, confessing that Christ alone can supply his need - then he comes to Christ.
It's the empty soul's venture on a full Saviour. It is the drowning man's grasp on the hand held out to help him. It's the sick' man's reception of a healing medicine. This, and nothing more than this, is coming to Christ.
Beware of mistakes as to this matter of coming to Christ. Do not stop in any half-way house. Do not allow the devil and the world to cheat you out of eternal life. Do not suppose that you will ever get any good from Christ, unless you go straight, direct, thoroughly, and entirely to Christ Himself.
I will now show you, what the Lord Jesus Christ promises to give. "Come unto Me," He says, "and I will give you rest." And rest is one of the principal offers which the Gospel makes to man. "Come unto me," says the world, "and I will give you riches and pleasure." "Come unto Me", says the Lord Jesus Christ, "and I will give you rest."
The rest that Christ gives is an inward and spiritual thing. It is rest of heart, rest of conscience, rest of mind, rest of affection, rest of will. It is rest, from a comfortable sense of sins being all forgiven and guilt all put away.
Rest such as this the Lord Jesus gives to those who come to Him, by showing them His own finished work on the cross, by clothing them in His own perfect righteousness, and washing them in His own precious blood. When a man begins to see that the Son of God actually died for his sins, his soul begins to taste something of inward quiet and peace.
There is only one royal road to rest of soul. Let that never be forgotten. There is only one way to the Father - Jesus Christ; one door into heaven - Jesus Christ; and one path to heart- peace - Jesus Christ.
Come to Him by faith, and pour out your heart before Him in prayer. Tell Him the whole story of your life, and ask Him to receive you. Cry to Him as the penitent thief did, when he saw Him on the cross. Say to Him, "Lord, save me also! Lord, remember me!" COME: COME TO CHRIST!