The Old New You

(Matt. 9: 16-17)(2 Kings 2:9-11)(1 Kings 19:9-21)

This account that is recorded for us is in three of the four Gospels. Jesus is once again dealing with the religious know it all’s. He is dealing with some of those who followed John the Baptist. Then He actually lays out some hard truth.

(16)No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. (17) Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Matthew 9:16-17
  • In our scripture Jesus is actually giving a great analogy of the ever changing church. It comes in reference to the disciples of John asking why did they fast so often but Jesus and His followers didn’t fast at all?

It was a sincere question. They had a desire to know.

Jesus never minded being questioned about His ways when one was sincere in knowing.

As you think about His words, they hold a clear warning of attempting to bring the old and mixing or combining with the new. I am of the belief; at least in my own life, one of the main contributing factors that hinders me from experiencing life to its fullest, free from all the mental bondage and self-imposed fetters and chains, is simply refusing to change the skins.

In the Bible we have account after account of men and women who understood and was willing to live a life pleasing to God. Even if it wasn’t kool, culturally correct or safe. Because of their willingness God used them to alter history. Change the world. 

Today we are so tied up with this worlds delusions as we load ourselves with overwhelming burdens. It appears we have lost our vision, our dreams and are no longer interested in impacting the world for Jesus. 

Ever notice folks; though rare, that really seem to have it together? They are focused on serving God. Not detoured because of circumstances. Not wavering because of uncertainties?

There looks to be a common thread running through the lives of those born again bold believers in Christ. I want to share with you a couple of thoughts today that if you really want them to, could strengthen your life in Jesus. 

We have an Old Testament prophet who can help us get a grasp on this simple truth.

  • Elisha’s request.
    • A double portion of God’s Spirit.
      • Understand, Elisha just didn’t happen to be in the right place at the right time.
      • There had been some preparation in his life.
    • Look back with me at (1 Kings 19:19-21)

(19)So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. (20)And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? (21)And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.

1 kings 19:19-21
  • We find a very wealthy man settled in his life and occupation.
    • He was not only a leader but a servant leader.
    • He had twelve set of oxen. Eleven was being used by servants or family. He was plowing with the twelfth. 
      • (Side note: Don’t ask others to do what you won’t do.)
    • While out doing his normal duties God came to him by way of His servant Elijah.
  • Elijah.
    • Here was a man of God. One who had stood toe to toe with the enemies of God. 
      • He had seen the mighty works of God. The latest, the show down with Baal prophets.
      •  Fire fell down from heaven burning up the drenched sacrifice.
    • The day he and Elisha meet though this strong man of God had been hiding and on the run.
      • What could cause a seasoned prophet of The one True God like this to fear and run? A horde of demons? The devil himself?
      • A woman. Jezebel to be exact. Now there is a life group lesson for us…
  • The Encounter.
    • The day these two met something very interesting happened.
      • Elijah called Elisha to service by casting his mantel (robe) on him.
      • Elisha asked to go home to tell his people by.
    • In the gospels, Matt and Luke; we find where Jesus told a man who asked to go bury his father, “let the dead bury the dead.”
      • This man was looking at staying till his father passed then go and follow Jesus.
    • Look at Elisha.
      • (1Ki 19:21) And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.
      • Elisha wasn’t waiting to bury his dad. He was burying himself!
    • He didn’t go back to talk of his plans and reminisce. 
      • He went back to cut himself off from his old life.
      • Most farmers have their hoe, their tractor, and their implements they like to use. The other ones aren’t as special and the farmhands use them.
      • I take this as these are Elishas favorite. He took his special plow and yoke and all that went with it and set it ablaze. He took Brutus and Bubba and turned them into bar-b-q. Fed his farmhands friends and folks.
    • Why didn’t he just sell them or lease them, pass them down?
      • Because Elisha was serious about serving God and left nothing to pick back up later or fall back on.
  • The reason many never go the distance 
    • We continue to pour new wine( our new life in Christ) into old wine skins.(our old life, ways, habits…
      • It actually works for a while, but then they begin to crack, swell and finally burst. 
    • Church becomes a got to again instead of a get to.
      • Preaching becomes stale and meaningless. People become bothersome and draining.
    • Yet we continue to tell ourselves its not us…
  • We need to recognize there are some bridges we are holding on to.
    • Those that we are not willing to burn that tie us, connect us to our old life without Jesus.
    • Some out of pride. Feeling this is what distinguishes us. Defines us.
    • Some out of guilt. Feel like you have to continue the legacy, carry the torch, 
    • Some even out of fear. Letting go means not being in control.
  • Heres the whole in a nut shell. 
    • For us to be who God intends for us to be it takes yielding back to God everything He has given to me.
      • If we hold on to these things you never own them but they own you!

The Trip

Wednesday 4/15/2020                                                                      

(Matt.7:7-11)

Are we there yet? That whiny, whimpering question.

How much farther? The last nerve fixing to stop the car question.

Most of us have dealt with these questions as we take our children on trips more than a city block.

We tend to look at these questions as childish, immature, and impatient, coming from a childlike mental capacity.

Truth bomb! Many of us are asking these questions today.

How much longer? Can I go places yet? What’s going to happen next?

In what we refer to as “The Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus is laying out some Godly principles that rocked the then known world. Like many today, they had a Wizard of Oz mentality of God.

Here Jesus is opening their eyes to the fact that God really loves His creation and desires the best for it. Because He is Holy and Just, He will not lower the standard to appease a wicked hearted people, but instead empowers them to live righteous.

  • Ask!
    •  In the original language, according to scholars, Jesus is talking about persistent asking. Continuous seeking. Relentless knocking.
      • Jesus is telling us to be a heavenly pest. Like a child on a trip.
    • The reason behind such action is that it reveals a real desire to contact, know, understand what God is about and doing.
      • This is not a doubting, pessimistic, “why me Lord”, attitude. On the contrary.
      • Jesus is referring to the Proverbs 2 attitude.( Pr 2:1-5) My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; (2 )So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; (3 )Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; (4) If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; (5) Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
    • You must do everything in your power to know and understand God’s will.
      • He wants you to persevere, to finish what you begun.
      • Remember what Paul told the Christians in Philippi? (Php 2:12) Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
    • This is a major deficiency in the modern church that Satan uses very well.
      • Few willing to incline their ear to Godly wisdom. To apply their heart to understanding. To cry after knowledge and lift up their voice for understanding.
      • The reason many inside the church don’t know the fear of the Lord, continue to fall short of God’s will, is until God means as much to them as lining their pockets, cleaning their house, entertaining friends, investing in their hobbies, fulfilling their fleeting pleasures; they will always find themselves fighting against His truth.
      • Would to God that those who claim allegiance to Him, was as excited about His coming back as they are about seeing the stimulus checks. (btw that few will tithe on.)
    • To ask, seek, knock, is imperative in searching for clarity of call and direction of the Lord.
      • Here in lies the reason why all too often there is division in the body.
      • Well meaning, sold out, but impatient believers catching wind instead of wisdom.
  • In Jerimiah. God gives the prophet a promise.
    • (Jer 33:3) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
      • This is what Jesus is telling us here in the Gospel of Matthew. That His Father is wanting us to call out to Him. He is waiting to pour out great and mighty things.
      • Note this. It is not that God will give you every detail, but will give you enough to know it is Him and you can trust Him.
  • Now in unprecedented times for us.
    • God is not asking us to be mindless zombies like followers. He is not looking for unintelligent morons.
      • In the context of those who seek to defame you. To ridicule you. Peter says: (1Pe 3:15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
    • This is not the time to get religious, to get churchy. It is the time to shed ourselves of religious pride. Of shameless self-serving superiorities.
      •  We need to be persistent asking. Continuous seeking, and relentless knocking.
      • This is not a time of plague for us, as much as it is a time for parley.
    • This is an awakening, a revival, for many the light has been turned on. Sadly still for others, when this subsides it will business as usual.

Which one are you?

Are you FAT?

Wednesday Evening 4/8/2020

Luke 18:8

We have to understand that what we are facing today is a serious matter. At the same time we face serious matters everyday of our life. There are those who feel we should not make light of serious situations but in truth, it is most difficult for me not to see humor in almost everything.

One of my favorite things to do in hospital visitation is express to the nurse how much the patient is desiring an enema. Or for the male patient as they are waking up, tell them the tubal tying was a success. Except for with Judyann’s brother-n-law that was true.(Just kidding!)

With this quarantine (hopefully before it is over I will learn how to spell it) I seen this little picture. It was of a gal who was in good athletic shape, looking in the fridge on day 1. Well the next pic was later, say day 30 or 40 and she had, lets say enlarged her boundaries per say.

That is what I want to talk to you about today. Are you FAT!

 Not speaking about your physic but, rather your relationship with the Almighty God!

Are you Faithful? Are you Available? Are you Teachable?

  • Faithful
    • When you’re faithful, you are on time for work, you meet your deadlines or goals, and you give more than expected.
      • What does that look like in our relationship with God?
      • Well, you are on time for work, you meet your deadlines or goals and you give more than expected.
    • What we expect in the world from good character is for the most part what God expects out of us.
      •  Isn’t He worth that much?
    • In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus shared a principle through a parable about a persistent widow and a hard judge. He brings it to this conclusion.
      • (Lu 18:7-8) And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? (8) I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth.
  • Available.
    • Meaning being open to new opportunities. Willing to get out of your comfort zone.
      • You become available right where you are, understanding nobody’s job is done until everybody’s job is done.
    • When you look in scripture you most find God calling those who are available.
      •  They are not always the most talented, wise, or charismatic. Moses stuttered and got tired of dealing with people.
      •  David, well David had a lot of issues but yet really wanted to please the Lord.
      • Look at the disciples. Luke I reckon was the most educated but none was what you would look for to operate a world changing business.
      • But they all made themselves available!
    • Today, I believe that is one of our major hindrances. Finding folks who are available, or willing to be available. They have too many other more important interest.
      • Time and time again I hear, well God hasn’t called me to….
      •  My thought is when do you have time to hear?
  • Teachable.
    • (Proverbs 1:5) A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
      • Can we be honest? Remember humility is taking an honest estimation of ourselves.
    • We all want to feel like we are teachable. I bet the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought the same.
      • But when they had the light before them they chose to remain in darkness, because what Jesus was teaching was foreign, though ought not to have been, but was foreign to their ears.
      • They stuck to what they believed in. Themselves.
    • Being teachable in no wise means that you fall for everything that sounds good or new.
      • It simply means you are willing to examine what you hear to see what truth there is, if any, in it.
    • Sadly for many of us, when God brings to light through someone or something an area where we have difficulty, we fall to our old nature.
      • We either defend our stance or argue our point but never really allow ourselves a look inside to see if there is something to it.
      • Don’t know how many times I have heard, “You just want to change me.” NO!  God is.
  • So, are you FAT?
    • Too often when it comes to being faithful, available, teachable we hang on to the,
      • You don’t know who I live with, what I go through. You don’t understand my work place, my upbringing.
      • If I had different circumstances or new opportunities.
    • You want some heavy truth!
      • I have realized if you are married, you have issues. If you have been through hard times, easy times any times, you have issues.
      • If you go to work, stay at home you have issues. If you have been raise by parents, cousins, kin or a pack of wolves, you have issues.
      • I suppose what I am saying is WE ALL HAVE ISSUES!
    • God can use the circumstances you find yourself in right now. The question is do you really want Him to?
      • We tend to look for new or different opportunities to open up.
      • What about the opportunity you are not faithfully fulfilling now?
    • In the parable of the talents, (things we have been given to use) Jesus told those who used them:
      • (Mt 25:23) His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Luke 18:8)

Sunday School 4/5/2020

April 5, 2020

As we are still “social distancing”….Good Morning (or whenever you are reading this).  Sure hope this stuff ends soon.  I would much rather be in our classroom with all of you. I feel we are doing the right thing by not meeting, but I do miss the interaction, discussion, and laughter with you.  I really appreciate your input so much more now!  As I was telling Bro. Charlie, I have a NEW appreciation for him putting his notes on line for us each week!  Thank you Bro. Charlie and those who help him with this! 

On with the lesson…

So, Jesus leaves the Pharisee’s house and continues on his way to Jerusalem.  Scripture says great multitudes were with him. 

Luke 14: 25-35

  • And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
  • If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
  • And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
  • For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  • Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it all that behold it begin to mock him,
  • Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
  • Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
  • Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
  • So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
  • Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
  • It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

There is more to following Jesus than just accepting an invitation.  Discipleship costs.  It is not for “sissies” as we have heard many times.

Verse 25-26 says as he was walking along with the multitudes following him, all of a sudden he stops, and turns to them and says:  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Wow, that would be enough right there to make you say, no thanks Jesus, I love you but…..

If you have been involved with the “Not A Fan” lifegroup that Robert has been teaching on Sunday nights, you already know quite a bit about what it takes to truly be a follower and not a fan.  Really enjoying this class, hope we can get back to it soon even though it has been an “ouch” book. 

Hate is a pretty strong word.  Dictionary says:  feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone).  Hard to imagine that Jesus wants us to dislike our family.  Scripture says we are to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), husbands are to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25), wives are to love their husbands (Titus 2:4) and parents love their children (Titus 2:4). John 13:34-35 says:  A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (vs 35 is one of Mrs. Judy Ann’s favorite verses). 

So, how do you hate your family and love them at the same time? 

John MacArthur’s commentary gives this explanation…Anyone who comes to Jesus for salvation must prefer God over his family…To hate one’s family is to prefer God over them by disregarding what they desire if that conflicts with what God requires; it is to love God more and them less. 

David Guzik says:  Jesus used the word hate to show how great the difference must be between our allegiance to Jesus and our allegiance to everyone and everything else. 

The greatest danger of idolatry comes not from what is bad, but from what is good – such as love in family relationships. The greatest threat to the best often comes from second best.

Wow, did you read that last line from David Guzik…The greatest threat to the best often comes from the second best. 

We have to also take into consideration what it meant to the crowds that Jesus was literally talking to.  Following Jesus (being his disciple) would more than likely mean that their family would disown them!  So, Jesus was trying to tell them, hey, this is not an easy road that you will be taking.  Consider the cost.  (more on this later).

And then, Jesus says…and his own life also.   What does he mean, hate your own life also?   Die, flesh, Die (to quote Lynette).  We have to daily die to our flesh and allow Jesus to have full control.  I don’t think we do a very good job of this (or is it just me?)  We must allow Christ to be first in our life, not the top priority on our list of top 10 priorities, He should be the only priority.  Once again, Jesus is making sure that the people know that this is not going to be a bed of roses, no peaches and cream, no cherry on top, no cream in their twinkie (Bro. Charlie), not an easy road.  Remember a few weeks ago we talked about the narrow road.  Unfortunately, at this point, a lot of the multitude probably said, hey, this is not what we signed up for, see ya.

MacArthur says…The call to salvation is a call to self-denial; it marks the end of sinners being the reigning authorities in their lives and calls for them instead to submit as slaves to Jesus’ authority as Lord, King, and Master.  That selflessness extends to the point of death, as Jesus’ next statement, Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple, makes clear.  The heavenly treasure is so valuable (Matt 13:44) the pearl of salvation so precious (vs 46), that true disciples are willing to give up their lives, if God so wills, to gain eternal life.  Jesus calls for complete self-abandonment.

David Guzik says…. Bear his cross and come after Me: Here Jesus said to the great multitudes something very similar to what He said privately to all His disciples in Luke 9:23 – that being a follower of Jesus is something like bearing a cross.

This probably horrified His listeners.  As Jesus spoke these words, everybody knew what He meant. In the Roman world, before a man died on a cross, he had to carry his cross (or at least the horizontal beam of the cross) to the place of execution. When the Romans crucified a criminal, they didn’t just hang them on a cross. They first hung a cross on him.  Carrying a cross always led to death on a cross. No one carried a cross for fun. The first hearers of Jesus didn’t need an explanation of the cross; they knew it was an unrelenting instrument of torture, death, and humiliation. If someone took up his cross, he never came back. It was a one-way journey.

Sure hope you were able to watch/listen to Bro. Charlie’s message this past Sunday morning.  His visual of carrying a cross (during the invitation) really brought it home.  I would encourage you to go back and watch (or rewatch) at least that portion of the sermon.  “In order to live, we must die” – daily.

Jesus goes on to give a couple of examples of counting the cost – Building and Battles. They both cost more than you ever imagined.   Ever start a building project and your cost exceeds much more than you had originally planned (usually the case!!).  Battles always costs more than planned (lives included).

Jesus was making sure the disciples and multitude of people with him, knew what they were getting into and were prepared to go all the way.  No going half-way and then quitting.  No saying….I didn’t know it involved this!  I’ll have to rethink this.   We must carefully consider the commitment level that it takes to follow Jesus.  Too many people don’t mind signing their name to a commitment card as long as they don’t really have to be committed!  We are so good at starting something and not finishing it… we are like those represented by the rocky and thorny soils in the parable of the sower (Matt 13:20-22). 

Chuck Smith says…Now, you count the cost. Unless you are willing to forsake everything you can’t be My disciple. Unless you are willing to take up your cross, you can’t be My disciple. Unless you love Me supremely, you cannot be My disciple. The terms of discipleship are harsh. They are severe. And it is wrong when people tell you just accept Jesus and you are not going to have any more problems. Listen, many times when you accept Jesus your problems are just beginning. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy. The Lord doesn’t say it is going to be easy. He said it is going to be tough and you better sit down first and count the cost. You better not get started in it if you can’t finish it, or are not willing to finish it. You need to make an accounting here and determine whether or not you are really willing to pay the price to go all the way through, because unless you are willing to forsake everything, really, you can’t be My disciple. These are heavy, hard words.

John Stott writes……The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers – the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish.  For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so.  The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called ‘nominal Christianity’.  In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity.  They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable.  Their religion is a great, soft cushion.  It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience.  No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.

Verse 33 says, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 

Forsake all that he has – Greek phrase had the idea “to say goodbye to”.

So, does this mean I have to sell everything I have and live in poverty if I am to be a disciple of Jesus.  Probably not, but who knows.  Your willingness to do so says it all.  It says who your priority is.  As Bro. Charlie has said many times, your checking account says a lot about you.  Now, don’t go saying that I said you have to sell everything in order to be a disciple.  That is certainly not the case, but you better be willing to if Jesus were to ask you to.  You can’t take it with you.  All that we have is His anyway. We are stewards of everything and owners of nothing (MacArthur).  If your money, or “things” are more important to you than being a follower of Jesus, then, Houston, we have a problem.  You may be a fan instead of a follower.

The lesson is plain.  Jesus does not want followers who rush into discipleship without thinking of what is involved.  And He is clear about the price.  The man who comes to Him must renounce all that he has…These words condemn all half-heartedness.  Jesus is not of course, discouraging discipleship.  He is warning against an ill-considered, faint-hearted attachment in order that men may know the real thing.  He wants men to count the cost and reckon all lost for His sake so that they can enter the exhilaration of full-blooded discipleship. (The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries).

I think that when we are witnessing to people, so many times we make the mistake of not warning them of the costs of discipleship. Salvation is free. But it costs to be a follower.  We are so anxious to get them to commit that we mistakenly mislead them into thinking that their life would be so much easier with Jesus in it. (it actually is easier with Jesus, just not the way they thought it would be).  And then when they do accept Him, immediately they begin to be tested and so many times, they say, no one told me this would happen.  And off they go – off into the wild blue yonder or wherever it is that people disappear to when things get a little rough.   Commitment, it hurts to see such a lack of this vital component of Discipleship.  I can’t imagine how it feels to the LORD.

Verse 34-35

Salt is only useful when it has the nature of salt.  A Christian is only useful when he or she has the nature of Christ. (David Guzik). 

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…

  • Listen up
  • Pay attention
  • Embrace the message
  • Listen to me
  • This is important