We all have busy schedules. You may wake up in the morning, exercise briefly, and eat breakfast. You may take a shower and go to work. The children may go to school. You may start a busy day at home. You may do laundry and cleaning. You also need to prepare snacks before the children come home. Sometimes you may meet a friend. Sometimes you may go shopping to buy somethings that you need. There are many things to do at home. The grass grows quickly. When the children come back from school, they may have another activity. After dinner, you may enjoy a free time. Then, it is time to sleep. This is your daily life without anything special. That is good. Oh! there are a few things to do. As a Christian, you may pray or read the Bible. By the way, the church has a lot of things to do like home. You may cut the grass, you may take care of the garden at the church. You may clean the toilet and sanctuary, and prepare meals for this week. One more, you may have also Korean classes. As a Christian, you get busier than others. It seems like you have a big letter in your face after finishing your busy schedule: "I'M TIRED!" Yes, you should feel ‘tired’ in your daily life.
So you may need rest, so you also cry out like this: 'I want to leave somewhere! I want rest! "
Today is Sunday, when you wake up again, it will be Monday. This means another busy day begins again.
Our lives repeat like this. This is our labor and our burden to bear.
The Lord said:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest! " (Matthew 11:28).
Yes. That is the reason that you may come to church. You lay down your burdens before the Lord, before the cross of the Lord, and rest. Let’s rest in the Lord.
By the way, do you still have the burdens and weary in your life?
Rest in the Lord means to experience the Lord's forgiveness. When we realize the grace of the Lord, we have a rest in our lives. Because the biggest burden in our life will be the weight of sin. Also, because of the weight of the sins that are burdened by society, we feel the weary and heaviness in the world where we live in. The Lord has asked us to come to Him because He will get rid of our sins. When we experience the grace of the Lord, we have true peace and rest in us.
However, there may a time when you feel another heaviness in the church. That is the burden of religion. There is a teaching that must be kept. Maybe it's what you should do. It may be also good for us to keep it. But it becomes a burden when you begin to condemn others. For example, we read the Bible in church. It is wonderful to read the Bible. However, if you criticize others because they may read less. Reading the Bible is not a joy anymore but a heavy burden. Though our Lord relieves our burdens, the Word of God can be a heavy and hard yoke. When you condemn others, but not yourself, by using God's Word, the burdens of religions will be heavy.
That is what is happening today in the text. The issue of salvation has been debated in the early church people. It seems that people have given various answers to this very important question of how to be saved. Among them, the Pharisee and some Jews taught that the Mosaic laws must be followed to be saved. However, then the apostles said, NO! They taught that salvation should come through the grace of the Lord. It is the grace of the Lord that we have been saved, not that we have done something special. In fact, this debate is going on until now.
Peter proclaimed, 'Do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.
Pharisees used Mosaic laws to condemn people, which was like a yoke to them. Peter also emphasized that salvation is God's gift of faith in Jesus Christ. Again, salvation is not a gift through our deed, but a gift from God through faith in Jesus Christ.
“Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Gal. 3:11)
If salvation is through our deed, how should we live? How much effort do we put to get eternal life in our busy schedule? We should do more than we have done so far. If this is the case, being a people of God is not easy.
How can we live to be God's people? You should live honestly! You should live holy!
Then, the next question will be: how good should we live? How honest are you? How do you serve your neighbor to be God's people? How many times will God be pleased? Should not we be like Jesus to be saved through our deeds?
These tell us that no one will be saved. We do not know God's standards. “A” grade means a score of 90 or higher. However, we do not know how much we should devote, how much we contribute, and how much we should pray to please God. Again, I tell you how difficult it is to be saved by our actions.
Here is the answer God has given us.
'For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph. 2: 8).
There is nothing we can do to be saved. The reason we are a people of God is not because we have lived a little better; is not because we have lived a little honestly; is not because we have kept the Ten Commandments.
Of course, we must keep the Ten Commandments, but it is not enough to be saved.
Therefore, it is only through the grace of the Lord that we are saved.
Think of a clipped person who lived in Lystra. One day he rose through Paul. Did this happen to him because he lived honestly? Or would it be because of his good living? The Bible does not tell us how he lived. It just shows his faith. He was saved by the grace of Jesus Christ and his life was changed completely.
The Israelites suffered slavery in Egypt for about 400 years. How many times did they pray? As the sufferings of life became severe, they prayed more to God, but their prayers were not answered until Moses appeared. But God was listening to them. And when it was the time of God, He saved the Israelites through Moses. It was not because of their conduct that they have been saved. By the grace of God they have been saved. Through Jesus Christ, who is greater than Moses, God has given us salvation as a gift. By faith in Jesus Christ we are saved.
There is a story that shows that faith leads to salvation.
It happened in Chile. 33 miners were trapped in a 600 meters underground tunnel. It was said that the entrance collapsed and the exit could not be found. They had to survive two days with two fingers of tuna, a sip of milk, and a piece of peach for survival. And for two months they had to pray for rescue. While they were praying, many people outside had to labor to rescue them. Then, they made a structural capsule with a height of 4 meters, they skewed the communication path and the structure tunnel. They did not know there would be a survivor, but they did work on a possibility that there might be someone alive.
Could people in the basement be saved by themselves? If the miner had nice equipment, would it have gone through the darkness without the help of others? NO! There was nothing they could do. The miners were just praying and believing that someone would come to save them. And just like their belief, in two months they were rescued.
There is nothing we, as sinner, can do for salvation. We just should wait for the Lord, who is the Savoir.
Nevertheless, many who have experienced the grace of the Lord try to do something to fulfill the salvation that the Lord may not accomplished even though He said on the cross, 'It is finished'.
The Lord has got rid of our heavy burdens, and we are constantly trying to reload those burdens. It happened in Exodus 15 and 16, and it happened in Acts 14 and 15. Though not a piece of paper, people forgot the grace of the Lord and tried to do something for salvation and bear the burden of sin and bear the weight of life.
Exodus 15 shows the Israelites praising God. You can feel the joy and excitement of the person who took off his burden of slavery. But after a month, the Israelites begin to complain. Amazingly, they also missed their slavery lives in Egypt. They missed their demanding work and heavy burdens in their lives. When they lived in Egypt, they said that it was good to eat meat.
Similar patterns appear in Acts. Acts 14 is full of stories of God's grace. But when we move to Acts 15, the people tried to reload the burden of the life. To be saved, to be a people of God, to be a people of heaven, some believe that Jesus’ cross would be not enough to be saved. Therefore, to be saved, they said that you must obey the law of Moses; they condemn those who do not. This teaching is like this: In order to be saved, we must give a lot of offerings, pray a lot, read the Bible a lot, and do many services. This teaching is false.
Salvation is not our act, but the grace of the Lord.
Donation, offering, and reading the Bible are to experience more of the grace of God, not to condemn someone and to express my righteousness.
The Lord wants us to relieve our weary and heavy burdens. Go forward to the Lord. The Lord will give us rest. Amen!