Monday, January 24, 2022

New In Christ 3: Living New - Luke 5:29-39

New In Christ #3: Living New - Luke 5:29-39

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Introduction:  It’s the New Year 2022, with the promise of the anything new also comes the challenge. New Years are filled with both, challenge and promise and often because we do not rise to meet the challenge we then do not find the fulfillment of the promise.

 Let me read this verse to you from Luke 5:26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Our preaching theme this month is New In Christ and we’ll complete that theme today. As I was preparing for the message today, I was struck by this verse in Luke 5:26, it’s outside of our sermon passage but it is in inside the context that sets up our text from vss. 27-39.

 This is all taking place in the first year of Jesus ministry after his first miracles but before he encounters the full opposition of the scribes and pharisees. They seem to be trying to figure Him out and even to win him to their side. But the miracle of the man let down through the roof draws a line that that Pharisees won’t cross because Jesus declares that the paralyzed man is forgiven of his sin before he is healed of his disease. This is an overt declaration of Jesus as God, which the Pharisees clearly point out, vs 21, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” When Jesus proceeds to heal the man and thus prove he has both the power to heal and to forgive, the final response of Luke summing up the feeling of the people is, “We have seen strange things today.” And that reminded me of the last few years we have been living through. “We have seen strange things.”

 In this beginning of the new year, I am examining the potential and power of our new life in Christ. This is a newness that is as fresh as my last prayer and more powerful than my worst sin and yet the power of Christian newness is easily overlooked or misunderstood.

 New life in Christ does not mean that our old life in this world is erased. Being new in Christ gives us a new birth, it gives us a new name, it gives us a new heart but it does not give us new flesh, nor does it reboot our minds so that we no longer remember our old life before Christ renewed us. This dichotomy is seen in many places in scripture such as Galatians and Ephesians, but nowhere is it dealt with in such a unique way as when Jesus dealt with it in Luke 5:27-39.

New Friendships - Luke 5:27-29

And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

Jesus Is the New Guest

Matthew was the fifth disciple called by Jesus, right after he called the fishermen brothers, He then called the lone tax-collector. Jesus called out, “Follow Me” and he left all and followed Him. Matthew would have been a well know, wealthy person in Capernaum where he collected taxes from the citizens as well as from merchants passing through town. Capernaum was a customs post on the caravan route between Damascus to the northeast and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Matthew’s position in this key city was the reason he was quite wealthy, but he left it all to follow the Messiah. But before he leaves his job and cuts all ties, he throws a feast to introduce his old friends to his new friends and Jesus, the Messiah.

As we’ve pointed out, this feast probably takes place shortly after Jesus healed the paralyzed man. In the middle of this “supper for sinners” we see Jesus the guest of honor, who just the day or so before had forgiven a man’s sins and healed him.

The Pharisees, the self-appointed moral watchdogs of Jewish society and the arbiters of who was going to be the Messiah, showed up outside the feast, since they were, of course, too righteous to enter a publican’s home. From outside they proceeded to discuss their opinion of Jesus and his relationship with sinners like Matthew.

The Bible uses the word “murmured.” This word originally meant the sound made when doves or pigeons flock together and begin to noisily coo. Perhaps their murmuring began to disturb those at the feast or the Pharisees waited until after the feast was over and then began to question the disciples as they left but ultimately it is Jesus who talks to the Pharisees, trying to reach them, just as He had the fishermen and the publicans.

Jesus is going to give four illustrations, two of which Luke calls a parable, about the new versus the old: 1st A New Physician, 2nd A New Relationship. 3rd A New Garment. 4th A New Wineskin,

So perhaps as the feast lets out, the Pharisees started asking critical questions not because they wanted an answer but because they seek influence and standing. They asked the disciples, “Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?” But it is Jesus who answer them. And his answer is in the form of an illustration, “there is a new Physician in town.”

New Physician – Luke 5:31-32

They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus is the New Physician

Jesus says, “They that are well don’t need not a physician; but they that are sick do. I come to call sinners, the spiritual sick, not the righteous to repent.” Here is the contrast between Himself with the Pharisees. The Pharisees believed that the old was paramount, even if that old was killing people spiritually. They believed that the only thing lacking in the old was that people just didn’t respect or reverence as much as they should. They believed that the law of the Old Covenant could heal their souls, not realizing that the law could only reveal that they were very, very sick. It was like trying to use an X-ray machine to heal a broken bone, when all it could do was show that it was broken.

Jesus says, “I have the cure for what is broken and it is not the old law, the old covenant or the old traditions. He is the new doctor in town and His prescription is, you need to repent.

New In Christ Means Overcoming the Old

Do you remember the saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”  Or maybe, “You can’t beat a dead horse and expect it to get up and run.” We understand the saying but like the Pharisees many times, we don’t see the connection to what we may be doing in our own life. We just keep on doing what we’ve always done and we just keep beating that dead horse. What we need to do is listen to the words of Jesus, repent of the sins of our past, the failures of our past, the habits, the ruts and the routines of the past and begin believing in the newness of Jesus, our great Physician.

There’s a new Doctor in town and we need to pay Him a visit every day, because everyday there is newness in Him.

New Fasting Luke 5:33-35

And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? And he said unto them, -- Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

Jesus is the New Bridegroom

When they don’t or won’t grasp what Jesus is saying about the need for repentance, they then throw another challenge, “Why do John’s disciples fast often, and pray, just like the disciples of the Pharisees; but yours eat and drink and don’t fast? 

Part of that old way, and that old covenant was the practice of fasting. In the Old Testament one day a year was required for fasting for all Jews, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). Other times of fasting, for dedicating oneself to seeking God and prayer, were up to the individual. The Pharisees, however, decided to improve on the Old Testament, they forced a fast on Mondays and Thursdays of every week. Instead of being a act of seeking God it literally became just an act. One of the reasons the Pharisees might have been so incensed in Luke 5, at this “sinners supper” could have been because it took place on one of those self-inflicted, self-afflicting fasting days.

We see this again in the parable of Luke 18:10-12 where once again, Jesus contrasts the pharisees and the publicans. In Luke 18:12,  Jesus said, 12 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

Here in chapter 5, Jesus answers the self-righteous, fasting Pharisees with a question. He asks them, “Can you make the guests at a wedding fast, while the bridegroom is with them? And then He adds the explanation of how fasting will a practice of the disciples, when He is gone, but not now. He says, “But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”

New In Christ Means Understanding the Old

What Jesus is trying to tell the Pharisees and what He continues to tell us today, is that they need to have the right perspective, the right understanding, the right application of the good things from the old and new.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. The Old Covenant, the Old Testament wasn’t wrong, but under the Pharisees and the Judaism they had constructed it was terribly misapplied and misunderstood. Fasting wasn’t wrong but it had a proper time, place and purpose. Jesus points this out, but to the Pharisees it was just a rule to be forced on all at all times.

They hadn’t learned the lesson of God given to the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 58:3-5 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

Once Jesus relaunches our life, once He saves our soul, once He revitalizes our vision, once He recreates us as new creations then the old things take their proper place and bring a blessing instead of a burden. We must have the right perspective the right balance of old in light of Christ’s new.

I don’t think I have to tell you that I love being a Baptist, and an independent Baptist is just the cherry on top of the church Sundae. I’m not a denominationalist, I don’t belong to a denomination, I belong to the local visible body of Jesus Christ and that is and always has been doctrinally a Baptist church. Thank the Lord for that heritage and history, but….. are you ready for this qualification? But I have sometimes lost perspective and let that history and heritage become tradition and legalism. When the traditions of the old become a burden then I will miss the blessing of the new in Christ today. That’s true of the Pharisees and its true of the Baptists. You need to have the perspective that comes with being new everyday in Christ or you will find burdens instead of blessings.

Ephesians 4:20-24 But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on (daily) the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Now back in Luke 5, Jesus explains to the Pharisees why they were having such a hard time with Him and His way of teaching and living. The parable of the new garment and new wine in verse 36 is a sharp reminder of something that was very difficult for them and is often difficult for us. We are not only new spiritually, but we must understand that this new life can’t be forced back into the old life.

New Foundation - Luke 5:36-37

And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

Jesus Gives New Garments and New Wine

Luke says that Jesus spake also a parable. Luke loves the parable of Jesus, all the Gospels highlight the parables of Jesus but Luke gathers them together into collections and emphasized them more than the other Gospel writers, perhaps because he was the only Gentile writer of the Bible. With parables Jesus uses takes an earthly story or physical objects in this case and then with them He teaches a heavenly truth. That’s the definition of a parable, an earthly story that teaches an heavenly truth. And Jesus was the master parable giver.

First, Jesus says you can’t take a piece of new cloth and sew it on an old garment because you would ruin both.

Now this takes place in the times before pre-washed jeans and synthetic cloth. In Jesus’ day when cloth was made by hand from wool or linen, if you had an old piece of clothing and it torn you wouldn’t patch it with new cloth because the new cloth would draw up and shrink when it was washed while the old would not. This could tear the cloth and make the original tear even worse.

Then Jesus goes on with the second part of the parable and says, “No man puts new wine into old bottles, because the new wine would burst the bottles and everything both wine and bottles would be lost.”

The bottles Jesus is talking about were goatskins.  The goat skin was cleaned and tanned, then the legs tied off and a spout put in the neck forming a bottle.

If you had to carry new wine, wine that was less than 40 days old, you had to use a new wine skin. New wine if put in an old goatskin would come in contact with the yeast of the old, fermented wine that was left in the goatskin and begin to ferment. The old skin would have no elasticity, no stretch left in it and as the wine fermented it would burst the skin. New wine was carried in new wineskins, new bottles so it would not burst and destroy the skin.

Jesus was trying to tell the Pharisees you can’t who I am, and what I am teaching and build it into your old ways. What Jesus was and what he taught required and complete new beginning, a completely new foundation.

New In Christ Means The Old Is Over

Jesus didn’t fit in the old perceptions and old ways of the Pharisees. 

We understand that but our problem is that we too often think he fits into ours. What Jesus truly does in us is shocking, overpowering and unbelievable it is anything and everything but understandable and simple. Yet that is what we often try to do.

We try to take who Jesus is and what Jesus does and make it fit into our old life and our old ways.  But the new life of Christ will not work with the old habits, the old understanding or the old life of our past. The power of newness in Christ is just too much for the old to be able to handle it. Just like the old garments and the old wineskins it will not contain the power of Jesus. You can’t build on the old foundation but must start completely new in Jesus.

Yet, many people try to add the new of Jesus to the old of their lives. They want the power of the newness of Christ but in the vessel of their own old life.  They want the power of Christ to patch up their old sin-stained, sin-torn garments instead of accepting the completely new robes of righteousness from Jesus Christ.

Many churches are also trying to fit new patches to old garments or new wine in old wine skins. It won’t work. Things around us are always changing, it is a always new time and always a new era and we allow Jesus to renew us and empower us to deal with it.

The Experience of Useless Garments – Oswald Chambers

The Holy Spirit does not patch up our natural virtues, for the simple reason that no natural virtue can come anywhere near Jesus Christ’s demands. God does not build up our natural virtues and transfigure them, He totally recreates us on the inside. “And every virtue we possess is His alone.” As we bring every bit of our nature into harmony with the new life which God puts in, what will be exhibited in us will be the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus, not our natural virtues. The supernatural is made natural. The life that God plants in us develops its own virtues, not the virtues of Adam but of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ can never be described in terms of the natural virtues.

Jesus ends with a challenging statement.

Conclusion: New Desire - Luke 5:39

No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

Jesus is saying that the new wine is shocking, its taste is sharp and tart, while the old is mellow and comfortable. It is pleasant, it is easy, it doesn’t challenge us. It is what we are familiar with, what we’ve come to expect.

The Pharisees didn’t want to lose what they were comfortable with.

They were used to being the leaders of religion. They didn’t have sinners at their supper tables, just pious, self-righteous saints. There were no surprises or shocks in their way of doing things.  It was what they expected and what they wanted.

None of us want to be Pharisees, the notorious villains of the New Testament. Yet in my attitudes and understanding I can act just like a Pharisees. If I hold on to my old ways, my old life, my old sin, my old understanding, my old perspectives and I don’t live in the newness of the power of Christ, everyday, then I can fall into my own kind of Phariseeism. If I refuse to let go of the old ways of legalism, of pride, of tradition and daily put on the new man of Christ, I risk being a Pharisee. But, Jesus says I must develop a new desire. A desire of Him and the newness He brings.

Jesus Christ is always new.  He is always challenging us to climb to new heights, always pushing us to new truths. That’s Jesus. He’s the new physician, the bridegroom of new relationships, and the giver of new garments. That’s who He is, and in Him, I need to live in the power of that newness, not just once at salvation but every day of my walk with Jesus Christ.

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