Full text of Zac Poonen’s sermon titled “ENTER INTO GOD’S REST” — April 22, 2023
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Zac Poonen – Bible Teacher
We can think that the Christian life is one of a lot of demands and picking up the cross. The question of how we face it… I was just reading Matthew 26.
You know what Jesus did just before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, and was facing that cup He had to drink, and going to the cross to die. Just a few hours before He died, they passed the bread and the cup around.
In Matthew 26 we read, verse 26, ‘They passed the bread around saying, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
And verse 28, ‘This is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.”
So He spoke about His body going to be given on the cross, and His blood going to be poured out. A very painful thing He knew it was going to be.
And then it says, verse 30: ‘They sang a hymn.’ That was something: just before going to the cross to die, they sang a hymn.
So I learned something there: it’s one of the only places where we read that Jesus sang. I don’t see any other place where it says they sang together. And the one place they sang together was just before they went to the cross.
And then they went to the Mount of Olives and they prayed in Gethsemane and said in the same chapter, verse 39: ‘If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.’ It was a time of great agony, facing, being separated from the Father for our sin. And they sang a hymn before doing that.
It’s a wonderful thing to sing a song before we go to the cross, to take up the cross singing the song, singing a hymn. Because a lot of people think the cross is such a heavy thing and we’ve got to look miserable. Imagine singing a hymn and taking up the cross. That’s what I learned from this passage.
Because though it was painful, there was an inner rest in Jesus’ life all the time, no matter what was happening, whether people were praising Him or they were killing Him, it was all the same to Him. And I want to say to you that that is the life that Jesus offers to every one of us. We don’t have that naturally.
Man is basically a creature of unrest. Ever since sin came into the world, it’s been constantly unrest. Unrest everywhere. There’s unrest in the home, conflict, and unrest in every home in the world, including Christian homes. There’s unrest in the world, and it gets worse and worse as time goes on.
And yet Jesus says here in Matthew 11, verse 28 to 30: He’s talking about taking up the cross here in 29 and 30: ‘Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I’ll give you rest.’
Most people, almost all people in the world are weary and heavy laden, and it gets worse and worse as time goes on. Many Christians are weary and heavy laden. Many problems they don’t know whom they can share it with. And Jesus says, ‘Come to Me…. take My yoke upon you…’ that means take up the cross and follow Me… ‘and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’
From that I see one thing. If I want a life of continuous rest in my inner being, that is God’s will for us. In a world full of unrest, caused by so many things, caused by financial problems, sicknesses, conflicts, fights at home, with relatives, in many churches, in the midst of it all, we can live a life of rest in God. That’s a wonderful gospel.
And He says, ‘If you take My yoke upon you…’ Jesus is using a picture of ploughing a field with two bullocks, here’s a senior bullock who’s experienced for years and the other bullock has died so now they get a new junior bullock to learn how to plough a straight furrow, and this junior bullock has to take the yoke on his neck with the senior bullock holding the other end of the yoke and together he has to walk at the same speed, in the same direction as the older bullock. This is what Jesus is meaning: ‘Take My yoke upon you.’ He wants to walk with us, and He said, ‘I am gentle and humble in heart.’ And He will communicate that gentleness and humility to us in all our dealings. It’s a wonderful thing for Christians to learn gentleness and humility in the way they do things at home, and in the way they do things with each other, and in the way they speak to one another.
‘Learn from Me, for I’m gentle and humble in heart.’
It has to begin in the heart. It’s not something I put on, you know, where I act gentle and humble, no. And I can have it in my heart if I decide I’m going to take the yoke of Jesus upon me, I want to walk only where He wants me to walk. I’m the junior bullock and wherever He leads me, I’ll go, if He turns left, I’ll turn left, if He turns right, I’ll turn right. If He slows down or stops, I’ll slow down and stop. This is what it means to walk with Jesus. He’s always at the other end of the yoke. We’ll never be alone. Never, never, never. It’s a wonderful thing to walk on this earth never alone, like we sing that song, No, never alone. He’s promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.
Now I want to ask you, my dear brothers, do you sense the presence of Jesus with you from early morning throughout the day and especially when you’re under some pressure? That’s what I seek to do every day of my life is to begin in the morning, say, Lord, I want You to walk with me. I’m not asking for an easy life. He never had an easy life on earth. But in the midst of all the pressures of life, He had an inner rest. He was never restless. That’s why He never got upset with people, no matter what they did.