20190407 Sunday Worship Sermon
“Put it down” (Matthew 11:28)
As we live our lives, we carry our big and small burdens.
I do not know if there are any heavy burdens in your lives and in your faith lives.
But if we have, we need to lay them down.
However, there are a lot of people who cannot put down things that needs to be laid down, instead they carry heavy burdens with difficulty.
What we read today is what we know well.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
We should hear the voice of the Lord who invites us with true rest.
There is freedom to lay it down, there is joy to lay it down, and there is life to lay it down, but aren’t we just continuously holding and carrying?
Then it gets difficult.
Let’s think together what we have to put down.
What is this burden we should put down first?
First of all, we must lay down the burden of sin.
Everyone has a burden of sin.
Among all burdens, the heaviest burden is the burden of sin.
It is difficult for us to lay it down by using only our own strength.
We must first lay down this burden of sin.
How can we put this burden of sin down?
There is a simple way.
It is "repentance."
Repentance can lift the burden of heavy sin.
Brothers and Sisters, we must identify the nature of sin.
Sin has the tendency of entangling us.
What does this mean?
It means that sin has the tendency to hold on to the person.
It does not fall off easily because it hangs tightly.
If sin binds us, we cannot move.
Let’s look at King David.
David loved the woman named Bathsheba.
Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah.
But David took Bathsheba.
Then David sent her husband to the battlefield, so that he would die.
And yes, he died.
David committed this greater sin just to conceal his sin.
This is the nature of sin.
This is the entanglement.
Sin also has the tendency to flee and hide.
Let’s look at Adam.
Adam ate the fruit of the good and evil.
At this time God called Adam, “Adam, where are you?"
But when Adam heard the voice of God, he fled.
He hid from the face of God.
If we sin, we want to run away from God.
We want to go as far as we can.
If we sin, we avoid the place of worship, prayer, assembly, and grace.
This is because sin binds us and does not let us free.
So we must lay down the burden of sin.
We cannot do it with our strength.
We must repent.
We must lay down before the Lord and repent.
In 1 John 1: 9 it is said,
“If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
If we confess our sins and when we put them down, God forgives our sins and cleanses us.
We cannot do it with our own strength, but when we put down the burden of sin before God, God takes and carries the burden of our sins for us.
Therefore, we must come to the Lord and confess and repent, "Lord, forgive me my sins."
Then we can escape from the burden of sin.
By the way, it is not easy to confess sin. Why?
I think one of the reasons why we cannot confess our sins and cannot lay down the burdens of sin is because we are not being sensitive to sin.
We are not sensitive about sin.
My actions, my words, my evil minds... we do not worry much about these things, and think that they are not big problems.
There are a lot of times that we just think of sin as a small thing and we don’t take it serious.
We should always be cautious and look back at our own actions, even if it seems small, unimportant, and trivial.
Otherwise, it may be difficult for us to turn it around.
As a Christian, we may be living without making a big mistake that stands out so we might appear decent to other people.
However, we should consider whether we are making small sins that are accumulating, which may not be evident in our daily lives.
We should think about whether we are building sins that are not realized by others.
Therefore, it may be even more difficult to receive forgiveness of these sins, and very difficult to lay them down.
Even small things should not be neglected.
We must be sensitive to sin.
We know the story of "the prayer of the Pharisees and the tax collector" in the parable of Jesus.
The Pharisee and the tax collector pray in the temple.
The Pharisee was a person who was respected by many people at the time, keeping all the laws.
He is a person who thinks himself as a righteous.
So he was not sensitive to sin.
The tax collector was known as a representative of sinners at that time.
He was overlooked and ignored by people.
He thought that he was always a sinner himself.
He was sensitive to sin so he was praying for repentance.
Whose prayer does God hear?
Who is more righteous before God?
God hears the tax collector's prayer.
God is looking for someone who is sensitive to sin.
He delights in those who repent with tears.
In Psalm 34, it is said
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Brothers and Sisters, please be sensitive about our sins.
Please put down the burden of our heavy sin before God.
Please repent, confess our sins, and lay down.
But here is something to watch out for.
Many people confuse "repentance" with emotional repentance.
Repentance is not merely how sad and tearful it is, but a willing decision.
Emotional repentance will soon fail again for sin.
So true repentance must have a willing decision, a determined commitment.
A representative example of repentance that we can see in the New Testament is “Zacchaeus.”
After meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus repaid four times more of what he owned unfairly.
And he promised to give half the wealth to the poor.
Repentance must not only be emotionally regretful, but a determined decision.
Yes, repentance in the Bible is a willing decision.
Anything that is improperly obtained in an unclear way must be returned.
If we hate and made it hard for someone, we should go and seek forgiveness.
If we have someone in our heart, we have to go and reconcile.
It is not true repentance without this willing decision.
Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, who repented and decided to return to the Father’s house, God is asking of us, such a decision.
However, there are times when many people say that they have repented but still miss the old times and return to the old nature.
Brothers and Sisters, please put the heavy burden of sin before the Lord.
I hope that by repentance, we will not lay our burden of sin on our back again.
Secondly, there is another burden that we must lay down. It is the burden of our minds.
This burden of mind can be many.
It is a variety of burdens that make our mind heavy, sore, hard, and sad.
It may be different from spiritual.
There may be scars of the heart.
There may be troubles, worries and frustration in our mind that we cannot tell others.
There are bitter roots of mind that always harass us and grab our ankles.
We have to put everything down.
Even though we are Christians, anyone with faith may have such a heavy burden of mind.
We should put it down.
If we do not put it down, it will be a big problem in our life, even though it seems like it is nothing if we just leave it alone.
I hope we put down the heavy burdens of all our hearts.
Please put down our heavy burdens, our burdens of mind and our broken hearts before the Lord who lightens our burdens.
Let us put down the heavy burden of mind before the Lord and experience the grace of healing and restoration.
And I hope you will not bear it again.
Lastly, there is another burden that we must lay down.
Maybe it's a burden that is hardest to put down. It is what I love.
My most loving and important thing… we should be able to put it down.
What is important to you now?
What do you love?
If the Lord asks, can you put it down?
This is not an easy question.
Brothers and Sisters, to be honest, when we put it down, God fills it up even more.
When we put it down, God works more greatly.
That is God's way.
We cannot get what is real until we put it down.
But we always try to grab them without letting go.
If we put it down, we think it will be taken away.
So we try to grasp it even tighter, believing we can keep it without releasing it.
What do you think and care about now?
What are you holding on to thinking "I need to have this now”?
If the Lord says to lay it down, can you put it down?
When you put it down, God works more greatly.
God will fill it more when we put it down and He will utilize us when we put it down.
We cannot get what we really want until we put down what we hold on to.
If we go to the mart with little children, we have a common experience.
My children liked to go to the mart.
Let me share one experience:
When my children were very young, I took them to the mart.
They were able to buy something they liked.
They were so happy and picked what they liked and clung to it tightly.
Whether it's candy or jelly... They held it in their hands and went to the cash register.
But now the problem was, they had to put the items on the counter so the cashier could take the barcode to ring it up.
But my children did not give up the items in their hands.
They were not letting go.
I explained to them, "You have to put this down so they can calculate the items and then you can have it back."
Even after I explained, they did not let go, they just cried.
They did not want to give anything up in their hands.
If they released it, they thought it would disappear and vanish.
They thought if releasing go of these items they picked out, they would lose them.
Yes, it is the same for the gifts that God gives to us.
We cannot get anything real until we really put it down.
If we try to grab it without putting it down, it really is not ours.
On the contrary, there are times these things that we are grabbing makes us hard and difficult.
It is necessary to put this down before God.
Brothers and Sisters, many things we hold, things we care for, things we love more than the Lord, I wish we could put it down.
Whether it's material, time, talent, and relationships.
When we can lay it down, the Lord will fill us with more precious, valuable, and beautiful things.
In today’s text the Lord speaks to us,
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
I want us to listen to the voice of the Lord and come to Him and enjoy the true rest and peace that He gives us by putting all the heavy burdens, the burdens of sin and the burdens of the heart to rest.
I pray that we will lay it down even more during this season of Lent, to meet the Lord with more emptiness, and to experience the amazing grace prepared by the Lord. Amen.