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A Powerful Rest

Rest Sabbath Listening

Source: Whisper

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Rob Tucker | Date Posted: 2018-09-19

Scripture: Matthew 11:28 ; Mark 2:27

Author: Mark Batterson, Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

"One of the most universally recognized pieces of music of all times is Beethoven's 5th Symphony. You know the one: dun dun dun dunnnnn...dun dun dun dunnnnnn. You know the song, but what you may not know is that the song starts with an 8th note of rest. A song that begins with a rest! As strange as that is, it creates a uniquely powerful melody.

The strategic 8th note rest continues through the entire song."

APPLICATION

A rest is a highly unusual way to begin a piece of music.  But realize that the Christian life also begins with a rest. Before God can make a beautiful symphony of our lives, we must first find complete rest in His Son.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). 

Illustration Exchange

Looking For Loopholes

Retribution Sabbath Faith

Source: BEYOND NEWS OF THE WEIRD by Shepherd, Kohut, and Sweet, p. 166-67

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Larry Lewis | Date Posted: 2011-09-13

Scripture: Matthew 5:39

Author: Larry Lewis
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ILLUSTRATION

“Before the start of the Persian gulf war,” reports Shepherd, Kohut and Sweet, “Israel’s Chief Rabbi Mordechi Eliyahu ruled that ultra-Orthodox Jewish men could break Jewish law forbidding men from shaving in case of an Iraqi chemical attack so gas masks could fit properly over their beards.  Eliyahu urged bearded men to carry scissors in their pocket in case they needed to shave quickly.”  They continued, that “although Jewish law regarding the Sabbath forbids even simple physical activities, such as turning on the radio, the threat of Iraqi missile attacks . . . sent Israel’s chief rabbis scrambling to the Scriptures for a loophole so Orthodox Jews could listen to the news for warnings.  The rabbis ruled that leaving the radio on during the Sabbath was permissible— provided it was on low volume."

“If there is a real alarm, you can turn up the volume, explained Religious Affairs Minister Avner Shaki, “but in a nonconventional manner, with a stick or with your elbow. Controlling the volume in a different manner still marks the Sabbath as different from the rest of the week.”

APPLICATION

This story begs the question, why would God give Israel Sabbath laws that make her vulnerable to the threat of attack? The answer is that these laws were never intended to operate outside the divine protection promised in the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28-30). According to this contract, as long as Israel walked in faith and obedience, she need not fear her enemies.

How about you? How are you doing with the faith part of the journey of faith? Do you believe that God will take care of you so long as you obey and trust in HIm? Or, do you, out of fear and uncertainty, search for loopholes?

For example, when Jesus asks you to offer your enemy the "other" cheek, is that what you do? Or, do you look for a loophole that allows you to take matters into your own hands?

Rather than search for loopholes, we would all do better to search our hearts and make sure we are walking by faith. 

"But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39).

Be Perfect!

Grace Religion Works Salvation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-05-28

Scripture: Matthew 5:48

Author: Illustration Exchange
3

ILLUSTRATION

"'Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.' When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, 'Who then can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'" (Matthew 19:24). 

God issues rules and commands not because He expects that we will be able to keep them, but because it is the only way to show us how far we all fall short. When God appeals to rules and laws it is to teach us that we shouldn't rely on rules and laws. 

APPLICATION

We naturally associate faith with religion, Yet, one of the remarkable things about Jesus' ministry was that he was always at odds with those who were the most religious. That's because, more often than not, religion focuses on what we have done for God. 

Jesus, on the other hand, focused on what God has done for us. He understood that religion is really about faith in one's self.  Rather than trust in human effort, biblical faith trusts in the mercy and forgiveness offered to us in Christ. 

Sadly, too many fail to see this. Blinded by their own pride, they end up self-righteously clinging to the rules. What these people fail to see is that God uses religion as a tool to create a dilemma that no religion can solve.

But the humble will see how they fall short and will begin to search for something more. They will turn from the hypocrisy they experienced in their own failed efforts to be good enough and search for grace.

And that's when, just beyond the condemnation of the Law, they find the mercy and acceptance of the Temple. That's when, just beyond Jesus' words “be perfect ... as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” they find a perfect Savior who goes to the cross to exchange his perfection for their sins (Matthew 5:48). 

Those who go beyond religion find grace, while those who get stuck in legalistic religion remain condemned by their own failures to uphold the legalistic demands of their religion.  Instead of ever saving themselves, they become trapped in the fruitless effort of trying to save themselves.  

Jesus' Burden Is Light

Rest Relationships Love (Uncondtional)

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-02-02

Scripture: Matthew 11:29

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Simon the Leper

Forgiveness Grace Mercy

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2020-01-13

Scripture: Matthew 26:6

Author: Thomas Bevers
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The Lifetime Pass That Was Never Used

God's Promises Faith Blessings/Blessedness

Contributed By: Howard Harden | Date Posted: 2019-10-11

Scripture: Proverbs 16:20 ; Matthew 7:24

Author: Howard Harden
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Debt Canceled

Forgiveness Grace Debt

Contributed By: Charles Schuyler | Date Posted: 2019-09-15

Scripture: Romans 6:23 ; Ephesians 2:8

Author: Charles Schuyler
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If You Pay For Anything, You Pay for Everything

Grace Works Salvation Atonement

Contributed By: Allen Snapp | Date Posted: 2019-06-07

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8 ; Romans 11:6

Author: Allen Snapp
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George Wilson Must Die

Grace Condemnation Pardon

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2019-05-19

Scripture: John 3:16 ; Colossians 2:14

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Generous Thief

God's Promises Death Resurrection

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2019-05-01

Scripture: John 11:25 ; Job 1:21

Author: Stephen Kingsley
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