Stuck by Discontentment (Matthew 11:28-30)

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Stuck. stuck sermon logo 2

Some of us feel trapped in a place where the ceiling is caving in and the bottom is falling out.

We live stuck. Stuck in pursuing perfection and the right image before others. Stuck filling our life with monotonous activity, material possessions, food, drink and even uncontrollable and addictive substances. We try to fix our feelings but nothing seems to help.

When we live stuck there are things in our life that happen that we would never had thought would happen. We make decisions that contradict our usual character. We speak as if we are another person. We have places inside our soul that have been left unattended for so long that we have not realized how much they have shaped our identity beyond what we could have ever imagined.

When we are stuck we feel bored, bottlenecked, or sometimes like we have the blues or are even broken by our stuck surroundings.

Being stuck sometimes means we feel numb so that we do not feel anything at all.

The entire sense of being stuck means we can’t move. We are in a rut. And the only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.

Too many of us live stuck in ruts awaiting the grave. We must learn how to grow unstuck.

 

Today we start a new message series to learn how to get unstuck by the issues of life.

Today is Mother’s Day and we are going to examine the issue of discontentment. Many people, not just mom’s, lack contentment in life. It’s the craving and search for more of something that others have and less of something that you have.

 

So what are we missing?

Mother’s / Ladies: – yearn for purpose… peace… connection/love…

 

This message will help us become unstuck from discontent.

 

EXAMINE   Stuck by Discontent                        Matthew 11:28-30

Discontentment is a life disconnected from Jesus

In this passage Jesus is speaking to crowds and groups of people who do not entirely believe Jesus’ teaching. These people wanted to fit Jesus into another religious category of advice giving. They wanted Jesus to dance to their music and perform their religious rituals (11:17). Yet, Jesus would not be boxed into their labels.

 

When Jesus came He did not come to give religious advice but to make an announcement – He came to bring good news. The difference is that advice is what other religions offer in moral instruction or guidelines for life behavior; whereas the gospel starts with making an announcement of a newsworthy event that has already occurred in history. The gospel is the good news that something has been done for you and achieved what is necessary to complete acceptance (salvation) with God.

 

Jesus makes a radical statement for those seeking religious advice and salvation – “Come to me”. In essence, Jesus was saying He is salvation. If you want to enter the kingdom of Heaven, if you want to approach God and experience soul-satisfying meaningful purpose then you must come through Jesus. Jesus offers us a personal and unique relationship.

 

 

What does all of this mean?

–          Our attempts at love, joy, contentment fail if they are disconnected from Jesus.

–          Our faith practices must go beyond the surface.

o       Knowledge without relationship is dry and devoid of life

  • Some can talk in circles either with criticism or

 

o       Relationships require time… cannot fast track or shortcut relationship with Jesus

  • slow pace of trust, walking in obedience
  • steady pace of meaningful conversation (prayer)

à        “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

o       Spiritual power comes from spiritual practice

  • “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” – G.K. Chesterton

 

Discontentment is a life disconnected from Jesus’ rest.

Jesus notes that those who attempt life apart from Him labor (κοπιάω: copious work, toil and fatigue; tense: present active action pursued) and heavy laden (φορτίζω: load up, overburden; tense: passive action applied to person) with Jesus’ rest. The tense of the first labor is an internal weariness caused by human pursuit of accomplishment and achievement, whereas the second heavy-ladenness is external weight caused by the demands and commands placed by others.

 

Jesus is contrasting His own teaching with that of His adversaries, the Pharisees. Jesus criticized the Pharisees saying they “tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finder. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.” (Matthew 23:4-7).

 

Phylacteries were tiny prayer boxes with Scripture texts wrapped around the arm and forehead.

Fringes of prayer shawls were numbered for Jews to remember set prayers and Scriptures to repeat.

 

These became showy status symbols rather than marks of sincere spirituality. The Pharisees were obedient to the Law but their obedience was ostentatious and un-nurturing for others. Instead the Pharisees increased instructions for people to obey and God’s laws became a burden rather than a blessing to their lives.

Heavy-laden & Burdened

–          picture a donkey or camel loaded down donkey

–          picture a person with frazzled hair, wrinkled face, low eyes, sad countenance, drooping posture carrying the stress and weight of the world

–          picture a mom… especially single moms!

 

Our world is exhausted by the demands of life.

–          Children, if you clean up your room and eat your broccoli you can have dessert.

–          Students, if you get good grades you will make your parents happy.

–          Senior 12th graders, if you have high enough gpa and enough extra-curricular activity of sports, band and volunteer service on your record then you will get into a good college.

–          Adults, if you have a skilled and select resume then you will obtain a quality paying job.

–          Employees & Employers, if you have a high performance based quarter then your stock will raise and no one will be fired.

–          Spouses, if you say enough kind words and serve enough tasks then you make each other feel loved.

–          Neighbors, if you keep your grass cut, landscape clean and full and your car washed then you will satisfy the HOA.

–          Friends, if you respond to every email, text, phone call, fb status, and available to meet every need then you can remain friends.

–          “For every ‘If you do,’ there’s an ‘if you don’t. For every promise of reward there is the threat of punishment.”[1]

 

We live with ever-expanding to-do lists and people to please. Every day is filled with work, weariness and weakness. We are exhausted beings in need of understanding our finiteness and necessity to rest.

 

The gospel gives us freedom in spite of our fatigue and rest for our weariness.

Our ordinariness can rest upon Jesus’ extraordinariness.

Our weakness can rest upon Jesus’ strength.

Our failures find hope in Jesus’ victory.

Our exhaustion finds inexhaustible renewal, hope, joy and love in Jesus Christ.

We rest in that God’s demands are met in God’s deliverance through Jesus Christ.

Matthew 9:36 “When Jesus saw the crowds he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Matthew 11:28 “I will give you rest…”

John 4:13-14 “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 10:10 “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

ð     Where in your life are you running the treadmill and just need to get off and rest?

o       Husbands/Children, help your wife/mother slow down, see that she is loved for who she is and to savor & rest in unconditional love of her family… and her God.

 

 

Contentment is a life connected to Jesus’ yoke.

Jesus invited His audience to replace their heavy-ladened life for His liberated life. Jesus offers rest and liberation but His path still assumes a yoke – yet His is different. Every person has a god or master. Jesus is contrasting the yoke of the Pharisees that brought burden with His yoke that brings blessing.

 

If you know what a yoke is then you understand the object itself does not represent rest but in fact work. A yoke is made for exerting effort – pulling, dragging, hauling, tugging, towing. However, yokes make the work easier and the burden lighter because it attaches you to another.

yoke

Yokes were made for training. One would already be trained but the other would be untrained. Therefore, Jesus is saying when we come to Him, He will teach us – learn from Him and we will find rest and become unburdened.

 

So, in matters of legalism – working for your salvation then your call is to rest.

–          Put away righteousness obtained by religious performance

–          Wives, put away unattainable images of airbrushed pictures and artificial body parts that the world presents for how a female should appear.

o       Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

–          Moms, put away the false standards of living like June Cleaver or the Pinterest picture-perfect family.

–          All of us, put away life that is disconnected from seeing Jesus as the center and driving purpose of relationships, school, work, activity, communication, thought life, etc.

 

But, in matters of life under grace, then your call is to run.

–          Run the race in Jesus Christ to receive the eternal prize of treasure in heaven (Matt 6:20; 1Cor 9:24-27; Heb 12:1-2)

–          Wives, run to respect and honor your husband (Eph 5:33).

o       Enjoy each other as the priority with dates, physical intimacy, service and shared experiences together.

–          Moms, run to raising children in the Lord.

o       Realize that childhood years are extremely formative and influential.

  • Instruct & Inform
  • Love, love, love
  • Lead and set free; give them roots & wings

–          All of us are to run together with the people of God (SPBC) to advance the kingdom of God in our communities (SP, AA), cities (Baltimore…) and even across other countries (SENTNica, other…).

 

 

APPLY/THINK

This message series is about getting us UNSTUCK from the issues of life.

What spiritual rut are you stuck in?

–          Stuck in sin? The only difference between a rut and grave are the dimensions.

o       Sin leads to separation from God

o       Sin requires a Savior; Jesus says “Come to ME”

 

What circumstantial rut are you having difficulty gaining traction or momentum?

–          Struggles lead us to greater spiritual growth

o       Are you praying & searching God’s will in Scripture? “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

 

Getting unstuck in life requires us to see that God cares and as the source of contentment.

“be content… that God has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not fear, what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

 

[1] Tullian Tchividjian. One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World. p.29.

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