Pastor James J. Barker

Text: MATTHEW 11:28-30


  1. There are many wonderful invitations in Scripture.
  2. Isaiah 1:18 says, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
  3. There are many invitations in Scripture, and we see them all the way from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation.
  4. In Genesis 7:1 we read, "And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation."
  5. Then in Revelation 22:17 we see the last invitation in the Bible -- "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come..."
  6. The invitation we will consider this morning is found in Matthew 11:28-30. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...."
  7. William C. Dix was a hymnwriter from England. At the age of 29 he was struck with a near fatal illness and consequently suffered months confined to his bed. During this time he became severely depressed.
  8. Later he wrote, "I was ill and de­pressed at the time, and it was al­most to idle away the hours that I wrote the hymn, 'Come Unto Me, Ye Weary.' I had been ill for ma­ny weeks and felt weary and faint, and the hymn real­ly ex­press­es the lan­guid­ness of bo­dy from which I was suf­fer­ing at the time. Soon af­ter its com­po­si­tion I re­cov­ered, and I al­ways look back to that hymn as the turn­ing point in my ill­ness."

“Come unto Me, ye weary, and I will give you rest.”
O blessčd voice of Jesus, which comes to hearts oppressed!
It tells of benediction, of pardon, grace and peace,
Of joy that hath no ending, of love which cannot cease.


“Come unto Me, dear children, and I will give you light.”
O loving voice of Jesus, which comes to cheer the night!
Our hearts are filled with sadness, and we had lost our way;
But He hath brought us gladness and songs at break of day.


“Come unto Me, ye fainting, and I will give you life.”
O cheering voice of Jesus, which comes to aid our strife!
The foe is stern and eager, the fight is fierce and long;
But Thou hast made us mighty and stronger than the strong.


“And whosoever cometh I will not cast him out.”
O welcome voice of Jesus, which drives away our doubt,
Which calls us, very sinners, unworthy though we be
Of love so free and boundless, to come, dear Lord, to Thee.

  1. I have framed my exposition around three important words:

  1. SALVATION — "COME UNTO ME" (11:28)
  3. SERVICE — "FOR MY YOKE IS EASY..." (11:30)



  1. Our Lord says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour..." (11:28). Work is very important -- building, creating, engineering, repairing, digging, planting, harvesting, doctoring, nursing, teaching, studying, writing, researching, discovering, soldiering, accounting, legislating, etc. -- but work alone can never fully satisfy.

Two little lines I heard one day, 
Traveling along life’s busy way; 
Bringing conviction to my heart, 
And from my mind would not depart; 
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, 
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
-- C.T Studd

  1. It is good to be industrious and to work hard. But career, and family, and ambition should never come before God. Our Lord says, "Come unto me..." (11:28).
  2. Many people are working hard to build things that do not matter in light of eternity, and so our Lord says to the weary worker, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (11:28).
  3. King Solomon said, "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit" (Eccl. 1:14).
  4. W.H. Griffith Thomas said, "Use of physical energy or mental powers, or both, in unworthy causes can, of course, bring unrest of soul" (Outline Studies in Matthew).
  5. Some are weary because they have been taught they need to work their way into heaven. But the Bible does not teach that.
  6. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5).
  7. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
  8. Second Timothy 1:9 says God "hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace."
  9. People who have been taught they can get to heaven by their good works are not at rest, and they have no assurance of salvation. To them, our Lord says, Our Lord says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour..." (11:28).
  10. Some sinners are exhausted from serving Satan. Second Timothy 2:26 says they have been trapped in "the snare of the devil," and "are taken captive by him at his will."
  11. Satan is a hard task-master — but no one ever found Jesus so. He is "meek and lowly in heart" (11:29).
  12. One preacher (James Smith) put it this way:

To serve Jesus on earth is pleasant — but what will it be to serve him in Heaven?  The service of Satan is hard on earth — but what will it be in Hell?

  1. Satan wears people out -- their nerves are shot, their health is ruined, their minds are confused. To them, our Lord says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour..." (11:28).
  2. Sam Jones was born in 1847 in Alabama, and grew up in Cartersville, Georgia. He was a great evangelist, but before he got saved he was a drunken lawyer. Before Sam Jones came to Jesus, Satan had just about ruined him.
  3. This is his testimony:
    "I went to the bar and begged for a glass of liquor. I got the glass and started to drink and looked into the mirror. I saw my hair matted, the filth and vomit on my clothes, one of my eyes totally closed, and my lips swollen. And I said, 'Is that all that is left of the proud and brilliant lawyer, Sam Jones?' I smashed the glass on the floor and fell to my knees and cried, 'Oh God! Oh God, have mercy!' The bartender ran to my side and thought I was dying...and I was. I said, 'Just let me alone.' I picked myself up and staggered to my cheap rooming house and said to the ladies running it, 'Would you do me a favor?' They answered in the affirmative. I asked them to bring me a pot of black coffee. I went through three days and nights of hell, but when the morning came, something had happened to old Sam Jones. I went down to the clothing store and said, 'I want you to give me a new suit. I got saved last night. Sam Jones is coming back.' Not only did I get a suit, but shirts, ties, coat, everything I needed and as I left, the merchant stuck a $100 bill into my hand. I went to the barber for I had not had a shave in over a month. I asked for a bath, a shave, a haircut. I put on my new clothes, looking pale and weak. I left to go to my wife whom I had beaten till she was black and blue. She didn't even recognize her own husband. I said, 'Honey, God has given you a new husband and the children a new daddy, and I wonder if you will forgive me and start all over again.' She grabbed me in her arms and cried, 'Hallelujah! Hallelujah! I have been praying for this!' And I have been going round the country bragging about Jesus ever since."
  4. Sam Jones came to Jesus and he found rest!
  5. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden..." Heavy laden...
  • Weighed down in mind -- anxiety, worry, despondency, sadness, fear, despair, stress, doubts, baffling problems.
  • Weighed down in heart -- disappointments, setbacks, heartaches, defeats, failures, loneliness, bereavement.
  • Weighed down in conscience -- guilt, temptations, weaknesses, anger, conflicts, bondage of sin.
  • Weighed down in will -- discouraged from besetting sins, tired of being a lost sinner, yearning for peace and rest.
  1. Jesus says, "I will give..." It is free. Salvation is free -- "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
  2. We enter this rest by faith. Hebrews 4:3 says, "For we which have believed do enter into rest..."



  1. After true salvation comes genuine sanctification. To be sanctified means to be set apart for God.
  2. Consider a "yoke" (11:29). A yoke was a wooden frame that is attached to the heads or necks of two work animals (like oxen) so that they can pull a plow or a heavy load.
  3. A yoke is normally quite heavy, but our Lord says, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (11:30).
  4. Back in our Lord's day, when a student submitted himself to the guidance of his teacher, he was described as taking his yoke.
  5. So when our Lord says, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me" (11:29), He means we are to submit to Him; we are to be His disciples; we are to let Him guide us.
  6. This is absolutely necessary for our sanctification. Christians who struggle with sanctification are struggling because of disobedience and lack of surrender.
  7. Surrender leads to "rest" (11:28, 29). To the humble, submissive believer, our Lord promises, "Ye shall find rest unto your souls" (11:29).
  8. This world can never give this kind of rest. People smoke and drink and take drugs because they are restless. Our Lord gives true rest.
  9. We are surrounded by restless souls. We often hear of people -- rich and famous, as well as poor and obscure -- committing suicide.
  10. Here in the USA, there's a suicide every 13 minutes.
  11. Worldwide, it is one every forty seconds.
  12. When our Lord says, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me" (11:29), He means we are to submit to Him.
  13. H.A. Ironside said, "A yoke is designed to curb the will and bring one under control." Strong-willed people who have not submitted to the Lordship of Christ can be dangerous.
  14. But when we yield to the Lord, and submit our will to His control, then God can use us for His glory.



  1. Sinners mistakenly believe that it is hard to work for God, but our Lord said, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (11:30).
  2. Many sinners are working hard for the devil, but the devil never said, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
  3. First Peter 5:8 says the devil is like "a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour." That is the exact opposite of our Lord who is "meek and lowly in heart," and promises us that we "shall find rest" unto our souls.
  4. After salvation and sanctification comes service. We are saved to serve.

In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling,
To the harvest calling you
. -- Kittie L. Suffield

  1. Spurgeon said, "I must, however, just remind you that, when Jesus says, 'I will give you rest,' He does not mean that He will make you lazy. Lazy people cannot rest—they never know what rest means. There must be labor to give us rest."
  2. Yes, after salvation, and sanctification, there must be service. "Rest" (11:28, 29) does not mean idleness. It means serving God in perfect peace and rest.



Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.


Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest
. --  Frances Havergal

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