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Finding Rest

This year we have taken the theme ‘Your Kingdom Come’. 御国がきますように。This is a really exciting theme but possibly also a daunting one.

What happens when God’s Kingdom comes? 神の御国が来たらどうなるのでしょうか?
How are we changed? 私たちはどのように変えられるのでしょうか?
What demands are placed on our time, our money, our relationships, our ministries and our personalities? どのようなことが私たちの時間や、お金、人間関係、奉仕、そして、性格に関わってくるのでしょう?

One of the changes might surprise you, and it’s what we are going to look at today:
Rather than just taking on a whole new load of Kingdom activity,

We find rest. 安らぎをえる

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
イエスはこういいました。すべて重荷を負うて苦労している者は、わたしのもとにきなさい。あなたがたを休ませてあげよう。 わたしは柔和で心のへりくだった者であるから、わたしのくびきを負うて、わたしに学びなさい。そうすれば、あなたがたの魂に休みが与えられるであろう。 わたしのくびきは負いやすく、わたしの荷は軽いからである」。マタイによる福音書11:28-30

There are four actions for us to do here which lead to rest: 安らぎにいたる4つの行いとは
Come, take, learn, find.

i. Come.  一つ目は、来る 
We must respond to the personal call of Jesus. イエスの召しに応える
It’s not enough to come to church. We must come to Christ.
It’s not enough to adhere to Christian principles. We must come to Christ.
It’s not enough to minister or do charitable works (noble but not enough). Serving in your own strength – you’ll just burn out. We must come to Christ.

ii. Take. 二つ目は、負う
Take the yoke of Christ upon you. キリストのくびきを負う。
What is this? Taking on a yoke sounds like more work, not rest, doesn’t it?

But we’re not adding the yoke of Christ to our otherwise already burdened lives. We’re replacing one yoke with another.
Generally speaking, there are three non-Christ yokes that we can take on:

* the yoke of the world 世のくびき
(the yoke of others – doing things that people ask or insist that you do but is not what God wants you to do),

* the yoke of the flesh 肉欲のくびき
(the yoke of self – the fruits of temptation, pride, ambition etc, that distract you from God),

* the yoke of the devil 悪魔のくびき
(doubt, confusion, sickness, etc).
Jesus’ yoke is not any of these so don’t confuse them, don’t fuse them and don’t abuse them.

What is Jesus’ yoke? Quiz クイズです。

a. Go to Africa as a missionary 宣教師としてアフリカに行く
b. Give everything you have to the poor 持っている物すべてを貧しい人にあげる
c. Do everything the pastor says 牧師の言うことをすべて行う
d. Wear sandals サンダルを履く
e. None of the above 上記のどれでもない

Jesus’ yoke: In the spirit of preparing for today’s karaoke event, I’m going to sing Jesus’ yoke to you:) ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me’ – teach song.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Isaiah 61:1,2/Luke 4:18,19
「主の御霊がわたしに宿っている。貧しい人々に福音を宣べ伝えさせるために、わたしを聖別してくださったからである。主はわたしをつかわして、囚人が解放され、盲人の目が開かれることを告げ知らせ、打ちひしがれている者に自由を得させ、主のめぐみの年を告げ知らせるのである」。 ルカによる福音書4:18,19

The yoke of Jesus’ is to bring the good news of salvation, freedom and healing to those we meet.

iii. Learn.  三つ目は、学ぶ
You can teach someone till you’re blue in the face but you can’t make them learn.

My student – I’ve been teaching her for 20 years but she hasn’t learnt anything!

You can be taught at church, you immerse yourself in online sermons, you can listen to my magnificent messages, read lots of books, sing praise songs all you like but unless you yourself learn from Jesus, you will never find your rest.

iv. Find. 4つ目は、見つける
There are two finds. ー見つけるものは2つあります。
The first is given when we come to Christ.

But don’t stop there! There’s more for us.

The second is found when we take on the yoke of Christ and learn. 

It’s a reward. It comes from developing maturity in the faith.

 2. What does the yoke of Christ feel like? Quiz: Jesus said…
My yoke is harsh and painful. 私のくびきは厳しく、痛みを伴う
My yoke is intellectually taxing and occasionally confusing. 私のくびきは知的に難しく、時には分かりにくい
My yoke is a great mystery – good luck with it. 私のくびきは大きな謎である。がんばって解いてみてくれたまえ
My yoke is easy and my burden is light. 私のくびきは負いやすく、私の荷は軽い。

Paul shares with us how easy and light this burden is(?!):

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods,once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:23-28
彼らはキリストの僕なのか。わたしは気が狂ったようになって言う、わたしは彼ら以上にそうである。苦労したことはもっと多く、投獄されたことももっと多く、むち打たれたことは、はるかにおびただしく、死に面したこともしばしばあった。 ユダヤ人から四十に一つ足りないむちを受けたことが五度、 ローマ人にむちで打たれたことが三度、石で打たれたことが一度、難船したことが三度、そして、一昼夜、海の上を漂ったこともある。 幾たびも旅をし、川の難、盗賊の難、同国民の難、異邦人の難、都会の難、荒野の難、海上の難、にせ兄弟の難に会い、 労し苦しみ、たびたび眠られぬ夜を過ごし、飢えかわき、しばしば食物がなく、寒さに凍え、裸でいたこともあった。 なおいろいろの事があった外に、日々わたしに迫って来る諸教会の心配ごとがある。コリントの信徒への手紙二11:23-28

Is this easy and light?? Sounds like a total contradiction, doesn’t it?

Context is everything. 文脈を読み取ることが大切です。

Confession time – something not many of you know. My father was a drug dealer. He dealt in anything from soft drugs to heroin and was into drugs for most of his life. It was all he knew. And he had few scruples about it. Men, women, even children. He dealt to them all. Sometimes he got involved in shootings. The police often cornered him to ask him questions but he was never caught. He was a hard man. And he always stood his ground. And my brothers and I lived under this heavy yoke.

私の父は薬を売りさばいていました。私の父は手頃な薬から、ヘロインまで何でも扱い、父自身も生涯にわたって、薬の使用をしていました。それしか、彼は知らなかったし、出来なかったのです。父は、そのことについて良心の呵責に苛まれていたのも事実です。父は薬を、男性、女性、子ども達にまで 売っていたのです。父は時には注射を打つこともしました。警察に問いつめられたこともありましたが、決して捕まったりすることはありませんでした。父は強い人です。いつもしっかりとしていました。そして、私と私の兄達はそんな父の重いくびきのもとで暮らしていたのです。

Context is everything.

My father was the local pharmacist. He worked faithfully at his chemist shop for all of his working life, dispensing anything the doctors prescribed from cough mixtures to heroin (which used to be legal for medicinal purposes). Serving the community was everything to him. He never discriminated. He treated and cared for men, women and children of any ethnic or socio-economic background. Sometimes his shop was held up and people got shot (no-one was killed). The police would come to find out who did it and try to catch the criminals. He was a resolute man who always persevered. He always stood for what was right. And my brothers and I lived under this wonderful yoke.
違う言い方をすれば、私の父は地元で薬局を経営する薬剤師でした。父は彼の生涯を自分の薬局に費やし、誠実に働きました。医師が処方したものは何でも調剤し、咳止めの薬から、医療用のヘロインまで。地域の人々を支えるのは父の全てでした。父は、男性、女性、子ども、移民の人々、経済的に低い階層の人々など、決して分け隔てしませんでした。 時には、父の薬局が強盗に遭い、もちろん誰も亡くなったりはしませんでしたが、人が銃で撃たれても、警察が来て犯人を捕まえるために来ても、父は常に冷静で、落ち着いた人でした。父はいつも正しいことをしていました。そして、私と私の兄達はそんな素晴らしい父のくびきのもとに暮らしていました。

Context is everything.

We look at people’s lives and think how easy or hard they must have it.

Sick people must be angry, and poor people must be miserable and deserving of pity. Rich people must have it so easy. Famous people must have a ball!

But we don’t know the whole story. We rarely do.

So what about Paul?
What was his story? What was his context? Why did God allow him to suffer so much? 彼の話はどうでしょうか?どうして神はこのような苦しみをパウロに味わわせたのでしょうか?
Was it punishment? Was it to drive him to despair?

Without context you might think so. But what is his context?
You will be amazed! His trials were to keep him from conceit!

Paul’s life with Christ – the yoke of Christ – was so rich, so blessed, the revelations he received were so wonderful – he was caught up into paradise and heard such “surpassingly great revelations” [2 Corinthians 12:4,7] that he was not in any danger of despair. He was in danger of conceit!

パウロのキリストとともに歩む人生-キリストのくびきは、あまりにもすばらしかったのです。 ー パウロの神との歩んで来た人生は、とても祝福されており、彼の受け取った真実は素晴らしく、後、彼はパラダイスに連れて行かれ、このように述べています。並外れた素晴らしい啓示だったと言っています。 絶望の危機にはありませんでした。彼は高ぶりそうになったのです。

Paul tells us that he found the yoke of Christ to be nothing but pure joy.

I’m very pleased that Pastor Mike has promised to sing at karaoke today the Hollies’ song “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” because it really sums up this understanding of what it means to carry a yoke of love.

The song is about a Vietnam war soldier who carries another soldier who is wounded a long way to safety.
この歌は、ベトナム戦争の兵士が、他の傷ついた 兵士を、長い道のりを担いで助けたという歌です。

On being asked if the wounded soldier wasn’t too heavy to carry such a long way, he replied, “No, he ain’t heavy. He’s my brother”.

The story actually has a much longer history than that.

In 1884, James Wells, Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland, in his book The Parables of Jesus tells the story of a little girl carrying a big baby boy.
1884年に,ジェームス ウェルズ、スコットランド合同自由教会の議長が、彼の著書の中でこう書いています。イエスのたとえばなしの中で、こういう比喩の表現があります。小さな女の子が大きな赤ちゃんを抱いています。

Seeing her struggling, someone asked if she wasn’t tired. With surprise she replied, “No, he’s not heavy; he’s my brother.”

We can apply similar understandings of light and easy yokes to marriage, to friendship, to fellowship, to ministry and of course, to following Christ.

The yokes are not heavy when they involve people we love.

People often ask me if I get tired doing the work I do for the church.

I appreciate the concern but my honest answer is no. It’s not a weight. It’s a delight.

That doesn’t ignore the challenges and hardships that do come up.
もちろん、悩みにつきものの苦しみや、難しさは 感じますし、無視できるものではありません。でも、教会の仕事は、重苦しく感じませんし、むしろ喜びを感じます。

But in the full context serving God – taking on the yoke of Christ in the body of believers – is a joy. It’s where I actually find contentment and rest, not weariness.

Jesus said,
イエスはこういいました。 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
すべて重荷を負うて苦労している者は、わたしのもとにきなさい。あなたがたを休ませてあげよう。 わたしは柔和で心のへりくだった者であるから、わたしのくびきを負うて、わたしに学びなさい。そうすれば、あなたがたの魂に休みが与えられるであろう。 わたしのくびきは負いやすく、わたしの荷は軽いからである」。マタイによる福音書11:28-30

Pray for the weary and burdened.