Stress or Rest?
Welcome to Summer!
Ready for a refreshing vacation? We need a break from long work days, short tempers, and sweaty commutes! We need rest for our bodies! But even more, we need rest for our souls. We live in a broken world. A world full of stress, anxiety, and frustration. We ache from disappointments and try to ignore failures. We need rest for our souls.
Where do you turn for rest for your soul?
Where do you turn for rest? Where do you try to find peace? Weekend thrills? A relationship? Rosary beads? There is only one place to turn for soul rest, and there is only one person who can provide lasting peace. Consider these Scriptures:
Matthew 11:28-29 “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ ” (NLT)
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (NET)
How do you turn to Jesus?
That may seem to easy. Rest in Jesus. Well, you’re right. It is a simple concept. But it is also a foundational Bible truth. You must turn to Jesus with all your life, your heart, your soul. Trust in Him for your salvation from sin, and your entire future. This is done through trusting in Him and His message the Gospel. What is the Gospel? Continue reading, or watch a few short videos that develop this thought further. Find rest today in Jesus as your Savior!
What is the Gospel?
Your Greatest Need
Unless you know that you need something you will definitely not know how to find it. The Bible states that our greatest need is to have peace with God. Because God made the world He has the authority to set the rules for what is right and wrong. Do you obey God’s rules? Have you kept all of His 10 commandments from your youth? Let’s examine some of these commands from Exodus 20:3-18:
“Give honor to your mom and dad.” – honoring is shown in how we obey.
“Do not commit adultery.” – Jesus said lusting after someone is adultery of the heart.
“Do not steal” – includes things like stealing time from your employer.
“Do not use the name of God in an empty way” – this law is broken hundreds of times in prime time T.V. every night!
If you are like me you will be honest and admit to breaking God’s Law many, many times! The Bible says that this is the case for everyone; “All have sinned.”  Sin is breaking God’s Law. Most people agree that they have sinned against the law of God but not everyone wants to believe that this is a problem. Can God just forget about your sin?
Well, what does the Bible say is God’s attitude toward sin? The prophet Habakkuk tells us that God’s eyes are too pure to look on sin.  God must punish sin and that punishment is separation from Him. We cannot have fellowship or peace with God when we have sin. In fact, the Bible teaches that our sin separates us from God eternally, “The payment for sin is death.”  “And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.”  “Do you not know that the one who breaks God’s laws will not inherit the Kingdom of God?”  “and if anyone was not found written in the book of life he was thrown into the lake of fire”  God does not want this for you! He has provided a way of peace and that is the good news.
God’s Greatest Gift
God’s greatest gift is His Son. You see God could not just forget about the way you broke His Law. He is perfect and cannot just ‘sweep things under the rug’ someone must pay the penalty.
Jesus Lived a Perfect Life
The Bible teaches that Jesus lived a perfect life – He obeyed every law of God. He is God’s Son. This means that He is God. Just as my son or daughter is human so God’s son is God.
Jesus Died a Sacrificial Death
The Bible also teaches that Jesus died a sacrificial death. He was crucified enduring great physical pain. However, at that time the Bible teaches that our sin was placed upon God’s Son. He actually was punished by God in our place. So, when He was on the cross His greatest agony was separation from His Father. God the Father could not look on Him. “Why have you forsaken me!” He cried. God had to turn His eyes from His Son because He was bearing the sin of the world. The Bible says that “The One who did not know sin became sin on our behalf so that we would become the righteousness of God in Him.”  The Prophet John spoke of Jesus as being “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.”  Righteousness of God refers to meeting all the demands of the Law of God. We can be right in God’s sight because Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin. In the last section we quoted the verse that “the penalty of sin is death” the verse goes on to say “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Jesus was the lightning rod of God’s right anger for our sin. Because Jesus is God He can bear an eternal weight of sin. He paid for your eternal separation from God in just a moment of time.
Jesus Rose Again
The Bible also teaches that Jesus did not stay dead. No, He rose from the grave and was witnessed by hundreds. The Bible repeatedly tells their story. His resurrection shows that He has victory over sin and death and can grant the gift of eternal life to those who come to Him. So how do you receive that gift?
This is why Jesus could tell His followers that He is the only way to God. “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  So through Jesus Christ you can meet your greatest need – to have peace with God. You can have true fellowship with God through Him. “Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
Receiving His Gift
The gift is available to you today. Would you like to receive it? Well, then ask Him for it. God offers this gift to as many as receive Him as their Lord and Savior.
You must believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sin. You must ask for His forgiveness by calling out to God for forgiveness in prayer. This belief is more than just saying that you believe the facts that Jesus died on the cross two thousand years ago. The Bible says that the devils believe this. This belief goes beyond that and says that He died for you. It goes beyond just the objective facts of the Gospel to actually trusting God for eternal salvation. You must turn from trying to earn your way to God’s favor through ceremonial rites or religious service. You must realize you are guilty before God with no other solution for forgiveness but Jesus death and resurrection for you. If you believe that Jesus died for you and is able to take away the penalty of your sin call on Him today! “As many as receive Him to them He gave authority to become children of God – to the ones who believe into His name.”  If you believe in Jesus call unto Him now! “Whoever will call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved” 
It has been said that the Lord will not save a rebel. The other condition of the heart that must be present in your heart before God will save you from the penalty of your sin is repentance. Repentance is a change of mind about yourself and your sin. You must go beyond just being sorry that you have sinned to desiring to forsake that sin. You cannot choose God’s way and your own way. Today if you will receive Jesus’ gift of salvation you must be willing to go His way – you must be willing to give your life into His hand. He desires to take the steering wheel of your life and is a loving and careful Master. The Bible says that “now God commands all men everywhere to repent.”  Of course, this does not mean that you must stop sinning in order to receive God’s salvation – salvation is receiving forgiveness for that sin. However you cannot come to God with half your heart. You must be willing to present your whole self to Him. He is gracious and will save you! “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”