- Sermon Notes
He Makes all Things New
As we pick up the story of the life of Jesus, He has healed a man filled with leprosy, healed a paralytic that was lowered through the roof of the house because the crowd was so large around Him that this was the only way to get the man in front of Jesus. Jesus then amazed everyone by saying, "In order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins," – He said to the paralytic – "I say to you, rise, and take up your stretcher and go home."
The next scene was equally amazing. Here, Jesus demonstrated that He was a friend of sinners. He noticed a tax gatherer named Levi, we know him as Matthew, and He said to him, "Follow Me." Levi left everything behind and began to follow Jesus. After that, he gave a big reception for Him in his house and there was a great crowd of sinners there sitting with Jesus at the table. What a beautiful scene!
The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax gatherers and sinners?" Jesus's answer was classic, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
That brings us then to the next confrontation. The Pharisees and their scribes decided to attack Him from another angle. And they said to Him, "The disciples of John fast and offer prayers; the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink."
I picture the Pharisees and their scribes standing outside Levi's house and listening to their dinner party inside. Not only was Jesus eating and drinking with tax gatherers and sinners, He and His disciples seemed to be having a great time. Apparently, from their perspective, if you want to honor God, you have to give the appearance that you have been eating sour grapes; indeed, religion can be a very heavy burden to bear.
"Why aren't Your disciples fasting?" was their question. Jesus answers that the attendants of the bridegroom do not fast while the bridegroom is with them. In other words, this is not the time for fasting; this is the time for celebration. A Jewish wedding celebration would last for two weeks. Imagine two weeks of wedding dinners and celebrations. It was a time to be happy together and celebrate.
Since Jesus had disciples, the Pharisees expected Him to be teaching them the old ways, the ways of the sour grapes, the way of burdensome religion. But the problem was that burdensome religion was not setting people free; it was not making people new. The Pharisees and scribes had learned only to have the appearance of godly things in their lives, their hearts were not changed and so their lives were not changed.
Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote… Isaiah 29:13
The lesson learned for us is that when Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed. When He makes us new, we are new from the inside out. He is the one who gives us a new heart; that which is sincere and genuine and authentic. God gives a new heart to those who are dead. He takes away their heart of stone and gives them a heart that is alive because it is in love with the One who gave it life.
These verses we’re going to study today are all about what it means to be made new, but new from the inside out.
I. A New Heart has New Desires
- The answers that Jesus gives to their challenge are filled with insight for believers who want to have maturity in their faith; who want to know how to live out their faith.
- The discussion is about fasting, new cloth and new wine, but these are lessons about what it means to have a new life with a new heart.
A. Wash your face and comb your hair
- Now you might say, what does that have to do with anything? It has to do with the way the Pharisees and Scribes understood religion.
- To them, it was the appearance of the thing that mattered; they wore their religion on their sleeve so they would give the appearance of being holy and righteous and therefore better than others.
Illus - Apparently, there were those who would make a big scene about the fact they were fasting, they would go about disheveled and looking weak, but it had no real purpose other than making an impression on others.
- Now I look at the folks who are part of this church and I don't think we have the problem of trying to look religious.
- But we should still understand what this means. Jesus said that there would come a day when His disciples would fast, but what does this mean?
- Fasting is saying "no" to the flesh so we can say "yes" to God. It's about getting our heart’s priority and focus back on our relationship to God.
Romans 14:17, For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
- What is the purpose of fasting? It's about prayer from the heart; turning your heart toward the Lord, and steadfastly waiting in prayer.
- But this is something that is done before God and not before others. That's why Jesus told His disciples they should comb their hair when they fast.
Matthew 6:16-18 Wash your face and comb your hair
Illus - I've seen the Lord do amazing, miraculous, marvelous answers to prayer; but sometimes I've had to wait patiently for God to answer. Fasting adds intensity and focus to prayer. I remember a time I fasted for 18 months waiting for God's help and God's answer.
B. You are like new wine
- Jesus immediately follows with a parable, saying, "No one takes a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment… and no one puts new wine into old wine skins."
- The application of course is that God is doing something new in us that is not like the old that He did in Israel under the old covenant.
- Jesus used common everyday items for his parables so the common person could relate to the point of the story. Many of them would have to make their own clothes and would have understood this parable, but today, we purchase clothes that are preshrunk.
- In the same way, they would have used wineskins regularly and have understood the parable. They actually do still use wineskins today, but you can imagine what that might taste like.
- The point is that God didn't send Jesus to patch up the old, but to do something completely new and He's doing that in you and me. But what is it that's new?
Jeremiah 31:31-34 The new is not like the old
- When it says that He will write the Word on their hearts it means that even desires change.
Illus – Under religion, people do things out of obligation, but when God's Word is on your heart, you do things out of inspiration; because you want to. There is actually a law written in our country that parents must care for their children, but is that why you care for your children, because it's the law?
- God is doing something new because He gives the Holy Spirit to live within and transforms us by the igniting and inspiring of our hearts so that the fruit of the Spirit might be seen in our lives.
- That being said, we should be careful that our faith doesn't turn into old religion and that we turn into old wineskins ourselves.
Illus – There is an old song that captures this perfectly…My Eyes are Dry, by Keith Green.
My Eyes are Dry
My eyes are dry, my faith is old.
My heart is hard, my prayers are cold;
And I know how I ought to be;
Alive to You and dead to me.
But what can be done
with an old heart like mine?
Soften it up with oil and wine.
The oil is You, the Spirit of love.
Please wash me anew
In the wine of Your blood.
II. New Life is About Resting in Him
- Chapter 6 begins with an absolutely amazing statement in verse 5… And He was saying to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
- At first this might seem like a dramatic change of topic, but it isn't at all. It's about making all things new because we understand what it means to rest in Him.
A. Sabbath was made for man
- Under old religion, the Pharisees and scribes had taken the very thing that God had given to the people of Israel to bless them and give them rest and turned it into a great burden.
- What God meant for their blessing, they had turned into a burden. Faith is not supposed to be a burden, but rest for the soul.
Matthew 11:28-29, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, 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."
- To Jesus, this was an exceptionally important truth that must be understood in order to have the newness of life that God desires.
- They turned the Sabbath into a crushing burden, and then defined relationship to God according to whether people could carry this terrible burden on their shoulders.
Matthew 23:4, “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”
Mark 2:27, Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
Illus – Today in Israel there our Sabbath elevators that stop at every floor so you don't have to push a button (that’s work) on the Sabbath… You can't drive a car; that would be kindling a fire… You cannot eat eggs that were laid on the Sabbath… You cannot spit in the dirt; that would be furrowing; you can spit on a rock, however. According to the Talmud there were 39 ways to break the Sabbath and each of those 39 ways had 39 ways within them. There were 24 chapters about ways you could break the Sabbath.
- God gave the Sabbath to Israel not just as a day to rest from physical labor, it was to be a day to be restored and refreshed in relationship to God
- “Come unto Me… and you will find rest for your souls.”
- In both examples of Jesus being accused of breaking the Sabbath, life is seen as more important than the law. This might be called the principle of the highest good.
Illus – When Jordi was pregnant with our third child and about ten days early, she woke with a terrible pain that felt like her pelvic bone had broken… The doctor said to get her to the hospital, this was an emergency, but there were oh so many red lights on the way… What to do?
- Resting is the spiritual principle of finding new life in your relationship to Jesus Christ. Stop striving, stop carrying your own burdens and find the life that comes from drawing near to God through Jesus Christ.
- Some people come to church as a way to fulfill some kind of requirement they think God expects. No, we should come to receive life, to receive His Living Word and to celebrate God's presence among us.
Ephesians 5:18-20, Be filled with the Spirit… singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
Isaiah 40:29, 31, He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might he increase his power… Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
Luke 5:33-6:11 NASB
33 And they said to Him, "The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink." 34 And Jesus said to them, "You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35 But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days." 36 And He was also telling them a parable: "No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, 'The old is good enough.'"