Preached by Dr. Gene Scott on September 12, 1976
“Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke
is easy, and my burden is light.”
“And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and
I will make You to become fishers of men. And
straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.”
PLEASE TURN IN YOUR BIBLE TO MATTHEW 11:28. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Have you ever labored or been heavy laden? If not, then this message has nothing to say to you. But if you know what it is to labor and to be heavy laden, then this message is for you.
What does the word labor conjure up in your mind? It is a strenuous effort. It is that stress and strain of activity that presses in upon you; the pressure cooker that doesn’t give you a breathing spell. “Labour and are heavy laden” means burdens are piled on top of burdens.
This message is to those who labor and are heavy laden is embraced in two words: come and take. “Come unto me,” and “Take my yoke.” “Come unto me.” Circle that word me. Jesus is speaking. Where do you go for relief from your problems? Do you go first to some individual or institution? Jesus says, “Come unto me.” You might say, “Well, I do that.” Do you really? Or, in the press of your circumstance, are you trying to figure out who you can run to for help?
Jesus says, “Come to me.” Not something plus Me, just Me. Some people, instead of seeking Him, are looking for a particular type of service where they see and feel certain things. Or they are focusing on a personality with some self-proclaimed gift.
In Jesus’ day, to come to Him you had to go where He was, and it was a deliberate act. If you were fishing, like Peter and Andrew, you left your fishnets. If you were mending nets, as John was, you stopped mending the nets. If you were at a tax table, as Matthew was when Jesus passed by and said, “Follow me,” you stopped what you were doing and went. And “straightway,” as Mark puts it, they forsook whatever they were doing and went after Him, because God had revealed Himself. He had come out of the invisible world, struck a tent and moved into human flesh, called Jesus, because He came to save His people from their sins. To find God, see God, touch God, talk to God, come to God, you had to go where Jesus was.
Jesus had gathered a band of disciples around Him. As Mark 3:14 says, He ordained them, set them apart for special use, that they might be with Him. They followed Him. Many of His disciples did not like it when the journey became rough. But those who remained suddenly were faced with the proclamation, “I am going to leave you.” Now Jesus, after being seen of men, touched and heard, anticipated a return to the invisible dimension. But He knew our problem: how would we now relate to Him? Jesus said He would not leave us alone; He will not leave us comfortless. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16)
The word Comforter translates the Greek word Paraclete, meaning “one alongside.” So instead of having to come to God in one Person, now, God in the Person of His Spirit comes to us.
How will we know when the Spirit comes? What will He look like? As the disciples began to question this happening of another Presence, Jesus divided the world into two camps, from that time onward. He said that the world will not accept this Spirit, because they cannot see it. (John 14:17) So many people are forever looking for some visible manifestation to let them know God is on the scene. Jesus let us know that the fundamental mode of relationship to God is not by sight, but by faith.
When He asked to explain the mystery further, He said, “It will be I and my Father.” As Jesus expressed the God-head in flesh, that same invisible substance of God would now come to abide with us. Then He widened the mystery by saying that you have that Spirit with you now, in Christ. That invisible Presence had come forth in a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, had grown up in that land called Israel, had been with them and called them forth to be with Him. Now, that same Spirit would somehow come, unseen and mysteriously, and take up His abode in the many of them. That is the essence of John 14.
In John 17, He keeps His promise. He is praying and He says, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” He reminds the Father that He has been faithful to the assignment that God gave Him: He came to reveal the Father, to speak forth and exhibit His Word. He said, “I have delivered the Word You gave Me to deliver and they received it.” So apparently, the Word by itself was not enough. He goes on, saying, “Father, restore unto Me the glory that I had with You.” In other words, “Put Me back up there.” This is the true “Lord’s Prayer.”
The prayer we call the “Lord’s Prayer” is really not His prayer; it is the Disciples’ Prayer. For when His disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He said, “When ye pray, say this.” Among the other things in that prayer, we are to pray, “Father, forgive us our trespasses.” You will never find Jesus praying that prayer. He told me to pray it. (Matthew 6:9-13)
Philippians 2 explains the process. He who was equal to God had become a servant, and took upon Himself the form of a man and was obedient unto death. “Wherefore,” after the fact, “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” But in between, Jesus prayed in His High Priestly prayer, “Father, restore Me to the glory.”
In that prayer, He goes on to say, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17:9) He prayed for those He called out of the world who had forsaken their nets, forsaken their tax-table or other business, forsaken family, had made Him Master, had come to Him. They didn’t have to memorize a bunch of creeds. They didn’t have to measure up to certain rules. They didn’t have to have their minds cleansed of all doubts and problems.
Jesus came on the scene, God in human form, and He passed by and said, “Follow Me,” and the disciples went, just as they were. Peter Marshall, the late chaplain of the U.S. Senate, would teach that he imagined what it would be like if we were judging the qualifications of our Lord’s disciples. They would all flunk the test: uneducated, rough-handed fishermen smelling of fish, unstable in their nature and full of doubts. Jesus didn’t say to Peter, “When you can somehow prove a greater dependability than you exhibit now, and when you prove that you will be the rock I want you to become, then, I will take you.” He didn’t say to Thomas, “Get all of your questions answered until your faith is so steel-lined and rock-ribbed that nothing can shake it and you won’t have any questions, then, I’ll take you.” He didn’t say to John and James, “When you overcome your high temper that had called thunder down from heaven on those that oppose you, and your mama’s-baby attitude that relies on her to ask your questions, then you can come on in as a candidate.” He didn’t say any of those things. He said, “Follow Me.” He said, “Come to Me.”
He said it to Peter with his problems, Thomas with his doubts, and John with his temper. And He changed them. Peter becomes the rock; Thomas could say, “My Lord and my God (John 20:28) and never doubt again; and John becomes the disciple of love. But that is not where they started. He chose them that they might be with Him, and He knew the makeup of their clay. He knew when He finished praying that shortly thereafter they would scatter in fear and doubt and would fail Him more miserably than at any time in His ministry. But He said, “Father, while I was with them, I kept them. I am not praying for the world; I am praying for them which ye have given to me out of the world.”
Further into the prayer, Jesus includes you and me. He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word,” that is, through the disciples’ word. (John 17:20) So Jesus prayed for every one of us who believe though we be miserable in our faults and our weaknesses. Thanks be to God He prayed for them before that Day of Pentecost, not after. He prayed for them while they were yet facing failure and He said, “While I was with them, I kept them.” (John 17:12)
He prayed not for their performance! The rich young ruler was a better performer than any one of them. The Pharisees were more disciplined in their religious performance beyond any of those disciples; their formalized creeds and doctrines contrasted with the lack of knowledge of those fishermen. That was not what made them different. They made Him Master and Lord, and went with Him.
At the bar of God, even before the agony of the cross, the Son of God sets the record straight. “Look, Lord! They have one credential. It is not their performance, not their ability, not their talent, and not their knowledge. One credential makes Me stand before the Father, and say I am praying for them.” The one credential: they stayed with Him. Period!
While I was with them, I kept them; but I am no longer in the world.” Then He introduced a new thing: “I am no longer with them; I come to thee.” When He is gone, what are they going to do? Their kept relationship is “with-ness” with this living Person. He says, “Now, I give My job to You. You keep them.” How? “Make them one.” By measuring their performance? No! “You keep them by making them one as You and I are one . . .” And He come to that mystery He talked about in John 14 and 17: “Make them one as you and I are one: I in them; they in me.”
Jesus adds another prayer for you and me and those disciples. He says, “I also pray, Father, that they may be with me in the place that I am.” One day He will come and take us there. But in the meantime, He had prayed that the Father would send the Spirit. That same substance of God that out-rayed itself in human flesh called Jesus of Nazareth would now come to be where we are and to make us one with the Father. Paul calls this “the earnest of our inheritance,” a part-payment of our inheritance, identical in nature to the full payment. (Ephesians 1:14) That is what keeps us in God! Not our performance, not our knowledge, not what we do for God, but God within us.
So, what happens when we come to Him? We shove all the other “stuff” aside: we are less concerned with our performance before men and the judgment of our fellows. We realize that the key to it all is an encounter with an invisible Person who is willing to come into us.
How do I come to Him? It is a labor word in the Greek: it is a sharp word. It is akin to the word we translate “repentance.” Repentance is not something super-mystical; it is not tears at an altar. It is true you can come to certain relief and release in feeling, but that is not the criterion of repentance. It isn’t something that happens because we pray a long time. In the New Testament it is a simple act of the will. It is a change of direction.
You who are laboring and you who are heavy laden, in the midst of that labor and in the midst of the burdens, change the direction of your look. If your look is on the burden and on the struggle that you are laboring with, turn around in a stroke and don’t look at anything save Jesus Himself and a simple promise that that Person, now invisible, said: “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” To repent is to, with your mind, “turn from . . . to.”
There are other words describing this relationship, such as “being born again.” Jesus was amazed that a teacher in Israel like Nicodemus would ask foolish questions about a simple statement that the youngest student in Israel in that day understood. To be “born again” was a colloquial expression of the day. When Jewish proselytizers convinced a heathen Roman to change his mind and abandon worship of heathen gods and accept the Lord God Jehovah as the one Lord of his life, he was said to be “born again.” Nicodemus, sneaking around at night, playing at being a philosopher, wanting to ask every kind of question before he came to grips with the point, asked “How can a grown man be born again?” (John 3:4) He knew better? It was a Jewish rhetorical question.
Jesus did not intend it to be complicated. He didn’t even bother to explain it. He simply said, “You ought to know. I can’t understand a teacher in Israel who doesn’t understand the phrase his own teachers were using all the time.” When you change your mind, which is the meaning of the Greek words, you are suddenly “born again.” Because the mind is the root of direction of the soul. Whatever integrates your personality and is the center of your life, that is the life-center that directs you. You recognize that the self, the center on which you hung your life, is the source of all your problems. And the moment you turn from that center and say, “Lord, I accept Your total mastery and I turn from everything else to You,” you are born again. You start a new life on a new foundation. That is all it takes.
I want to get down to starting points today. It is not more complicated now because Jesus is gone; it is made easier. If you wanted to be a Christian in His day (though the word Christian was not embraced or spoken of those followers until they were at Antioch years later), all you had to do when He passed by was to abandon every other center that claimed you and put Him center stage., If your mother’s claim or your dad’s claim or your brother’s claim or your sister’s claim or your own life’s claim interfered with His claim, you abandoned that and you went with Him.
The program hasn’t changed; the mode of relationship has changed. Instead of making a commitment to a visible person and going with Him, walking dusty streets or getting into a boat, now He comes to you where you are. But you must make that turn around, which is what the word come means, which is to literally turn from every other claim, and say “You are it, Lord.” It doesn’t have to be super-mystical, but it has to be definite. You have to turn around in your path and make Him your total Master, because it is a living Presence you come to: you come to Him.
If I could teach Christianity in a way that you could add it on to your life like a set of rules and rituals to practice, or a collection of creeds to be memorized, and you could still keep a 10 percent corner of your life to do what you want, Christianity would be more popular. But Jesus says, “I am it!” He is life: a living personal Presence, and when you open the door He will come in, which is why Paul says, “If there is no resurrection, our faith is vain.” (1st Corinthians 15:14)
For three and a half years I was an agnostic. I couldn’t believe. The reason I couldn’t believe is I couldn’t believe the Resurrection. It wasn’t enough for me to just hear it. I had to sort it out for myself. I knew what they told me in university. My professor said, “Luke is a poor historian and Mark is a poor historian.” I began to ask, “Why?” Because they report miracles. And, since miracles can’t happen, anyone who reports a miracle is therefore not a valid historian because anybody knows miracles can’t happen; and if they say miracles happened they must be poor historians. That is arguing in a circle: you state what you are going to conclude in your first words, and everything you say thereafter follows from that first conclusion. This is the general attitude I confronted.
I said to myself, “Paul is right! The Resurrection is what it is all about!” In the New Testament, he said to the Corinthians, “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; and was buried, and the third day he rose again and he was seen . . .” Then he names some of the witnesses. And he says, “If Christ be not risen from the dead, our faith is vain. Furthermore, we are found false witnesses of God; we are liars for we have testified of God that he raised up the Christ.”
Why is the Resurrection so essential? I can make good sense of Christianity if the Resurrection happened; my problem wasn’t that. If I could believe that Jesus came out of that tomb and pierced that rock…I don’t believe they rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb to let Him out. The stone was rolled away to let people go in to see He was gone. He went through the rock. If I could believe He went through that blocked door to the disciples’ surprise and sailed off into the blue, I might as well go the rest of the way. Christianity starts with a proclamation of a miracle.
Jesus is unique from all other founders of world religions: from the beginning He preached Himself. You might say, “Well, I know that!” Do you? What do you expect out of church? Do you go to church for any reason other than Him?
Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” What is rest? No conflict. What is peace? Cessation of against-ness. We know what peace is in the normal sense of the word. Peace comes when one side surrenders. Rest occurs when conflict is over. When the labor and the burdens are laid down and the stress stops and surrender occurs, there is peace. How does it come about? When you come to Him and take “My yoke upon you.” What is a yoke? A yoke is laid on an animal to tame its wildness and steer it thereafter. A yoke is recognition of mastery.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.” Jesus said in that very same prayer in John 17, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” I have preached around this world and, if one message could come through, it is: “This is life eternal.” We want to do everything we can for God, our way. Jesus simplified it. He said, “Come to Me. Take My yoke. Learn of Me.” Accept His mastery.
We have defined the church as a people that belong to the Lord. We have no rights. Our only right is the right to a cross on which we can die. He stepped in and died in my place. To carnal Corinthians who overflowed with the gifts of the Spirit but would make that Spirit a vehicle of their own edification and would make God their servant, Paul said, “You are bought with a price; be not the servants of men.” (1st Corinthians 7:23) “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2nd Corinthians 5:15)
There is nothing complicated about Christianity. It is just tough! Your rest and your peace will come when you say, “Here, Lord, I come to You. Put whatever yoke You want to put on my neck, and if I don’t know anything else when I die, the most important thing for me is learning of You.” Well, then He says, “Ye shall find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy: My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
The devil is the deceiver; he always has been. When God created man, God came down in the garden and walked with him. Everywhere there was life, eternal life, and God spoke of death. The devil wormed his way in and said, “No, it’s not true. You’d be better off to go a different way.” And he said “You won’t really die.” They listened to the devil, ate, and death followed.
Now, there is death everywhere in this world. Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) And death is laid on all of us as we struggle and strain and labor, blinded by the prince of this world, wanting our way. Young people want career, companion, plans. This is life. We want our business, our family, our home. We want the church to serve our needs, our wants, even our children’s needs. The devil doesn’t care how he does it, if he can just keep you from God’s best. God has promised eternal life, but the devil comes along and whispers a path that is different. We are forever being deceived into following some other path, changing the church into our image. Everywhere there is death, and God promises, “Here is life.” Be smarter than Adam and Eve, and believe Him instead of the devil!
Jesus said, “Come unto me!” Take Him as the Boss and let Him lay His yoke on you. God wants you, and all He wants is you. Quit bargaining. Quit arguing. Quit striking a partnership with God. Don’t even “Try God.” Try God’s way, which is to give up any claim and come to Him. Take His yoke, you who have a burden and know it. The Lord who uttered His Word and the worlds were formed says you will find that His yoke is easy and His burden is light; just make Him your Master.
This message is from DR. GENE SCOTT’S PULPIT, Volume 2. It was re-printed here with the permission of Pastor Melissa Scott.
August, 2013 Prayer Requests
For Johnny Carruthers (Florence, Arizona). He wants everyone to know that he does not have diabetes.
For William McAllister (Taylorville, IL) who just lost his Dad.
For Willie Clark (Lubbock, TX) who has been receiving chemotherapy for 8 months. He just learned that the cancer has spread to his lungs.
For Frank Williams, Jr. (Death Row, Grady, Arkansas). The judge has ordered another new trial for Frank.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas). His custody level was lowered last month and now he asks everyone to pray that it will be lowered again soon.
For Robert Russell’s (Sumner, Illinois) Mom, Billie Rose, for health.
For Michael Small’s (Illinois) step mother Suzanne. She is still being treated for vision problems.
For Dennis Martin (Lexington, Oklahoma) who is being treated for heart disease.
For Jimmy Huff (Colorado City, Texas), for health.
For William Holland (Joliet, Illinois), for health.
For John Crutcher (in Oklahoma) who needs a liver transplant.
For Anthony Grayson (Elmira, New York), that his health gets better, and that he finds legal assistance.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Sister Ann & the Carmelite nuns in Little Rock.
For Freddie Lee Lott (Robinson, Illinois), to keep his healing and stay cancer free. (His lung cancer has been in remission since 1998.)
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), that DNA evidence will prove his innocence.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread.
“Legs knocked out from under snake evolution”
From CREATIONMOMENTS.COM 6/14/13
(Excerpts): It’s rather interesting that evolutionists believe that snakes once had legs and lost them. This sounds very much like the Genesis account of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Obviously, evolutionists don’t accept the story of the first temptation. As far as they are concerned, the snake evolved from some reptile which originally had legs. But evolutionists have always tried to find some evolutionary advantage to loosing legs and, thus, justify their theory. In 1973 an unpublished study suggested that garter snakes use 30 percent less energy for locomotion than they would if they had legs. That study was preliminary and never published. But that didn’t stop the evolutionists from saying that they had found the reason that snakes don’t have legs.
Now, a much more exhaustive study done at the University of California at Irvine, has shown that this evolutionary explanation is false. Outfitting black racer snakes with oxygen masks and using modern precision equipment, including a snake-sized treadmill, researchers have shown that snakes use as much energy as a creature of the same weight to get around. The supposed evolutionary advantage to not having legs has disappeared under the bright light of scientific investigation.
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