A Wonderful Gift for the Church
Before anything else, I would just like to add something about the Toolshed. When I was a growing Christian, I was leading a group for the first time I wondered what I could use to help or to teach the ones that I was leading to Christ and so what I found was that was tremendously helpful for my life were these materials or tools. I believe God has given the church [spiritual] gifts and one of the gift God has given the church is the gift of teaching. The gift of teaching aims to equip the saints for the ministry and to establish Him towards maturity so that the saint will now know what to do, right? We believe books are wonderful teachers. So, if you’ve been wondering what I could teach my WIDER Group you could just go to the Toolshed and check out what you could use. [In the future, Lord willing], we will make more available resources there in the Cebuano Version and the English Version, we would be printing our own materials as well we would be accumulating local books, booklets as well right now we have in stock are books that we ordered two months ago in Amazon, in the U.S, so we ordered it by book and it arrived after two months, later on we will be open to pre-orders or order where we will help you if you need some books that are so hard to find here in the Philippines or here in Cagayan De Oro. We will open an ordering system where you can order books here and then all you have to do is just sign up, pre order, pay for it and wait for two months, it will be here. We want to make it accessible for everybody if you need Bibles or whatever it is. We will soon stock those up as well in the toolshed.
Now, for the past three months GCAF has been the book of Matthew, and Lord willing, we will be going through the whole book for a long time, right? If the Lord permits us. And what we hope is that we’re going through the book of Matthew right now, verse by verse we started at chapter five, we are now at chapter nine. I’ll read the verse for us and ask the Lord for help for everyone here afterwards. So, Matthew 9:14-17, verse 14 opens with this: “Then, John’s disciples came and asked Him, how is it that we and the Pharisees fast but Your disciples don not fast. Jesus answered, “How can the guest of the bride groom mourn while He is with them? The time will come when the bride groom will be taken from them, then they will fast”. No one saw a patch of unstrung cloth on an old garment for the patch will pull away from the garment making the tear worst. Neither thou man pour new win into old wines into old wine’s skins, if they do the skins will burst the wine will run out and the wine’s skins will be ruined. No, the pour new wine into new wineskins and both are preserved.”
Let’s take this time to pray:
Lord, we just sang a wonderful song, I was really amazed by how the song writer wrote that Holy, Holy are You oh Lord God Almighty, worthy is Your name. And even heaven, all of heaven joins the universe and crying how worthy You are. That even the brightest minds of men cannot begin to comprehend Your Glory, how amazing You are, how gracious You are. All Your attributes, even Your name is so wonderful and so though we barely comprehend, the song writes. That even a glimpse Moses discovered even a glimpse of Your back seeing the Glory compels us to sing out, compels us to praise Your name for how Glorious you are. Be with us this evening oh Lord as we listen now to Your Glorious word. How wonderful it is oh Lord that even in this it is precious to our lives. Speak to each one of us here in this room, whatever we are facing in our lives may Your word minister to each one. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
John the Baptist and His Disciples
Okay, what’s going on here. I’d like to call this, first and foremost I’d like to title this message A New Kind of Relationship. And what’s going on in Matthew 9:14-17 is that there is another group that’s approaching, that approach Jesus. This is the third group if you’ve been with us since chapter 5. This is the third group that has been offended because of Jesus. The first group, if you remember, were the Pharisees, right? The Pharisees were the first group; the second group were the scribes. These people now are the third group, the disciples of John. Which John is this? This is not the same John that wrote the gospel of John, this is John the Baptist. And he has disciples. So, before we go on, I’d like to explain a little bit. Who is this John the Baptist? That he has disciples and that they are approaching Jesus and they have taken offense with something about Jesus, they are offended with what they’ve seen with Jesus’ disciples. Well, first and foremost, John the Baptist as Mark 1:2-4 records said this, John the Baptist is a messenger. His whole life has been called by God even before he was born, he had a special calling. John the Baptist was going to be the messenger of the Messiah that was his calling for life, that was his whole mission. His whole mission is to prepare the way for the Lord. And [as part of his calling], his lifestyle was not going to the same as an ordinary person’s lifestyle. His lifestyle was going to be something that would show the world that his life was different because he was going to say and proclaim a message that was different. His duty was this, to prepare the way of the One that that would be much greater than him and his ministry was going to be a call for people to repent from whatever they were trusting in, to repent from their sins and so they would turn back to the Lord and be baptized. That’s why he was called John the Baptist because he was baptizing a lot of people in the Jordan river. And so, we see that even in his clothes. What he would wear was something different all he would ever wear would be made from coarse camel hair and let me tell you that’s not comfortable at all, that’s rough! That tickles the skin and maybe a lot of rashes are there. And his lifestyle is so simple, he eats only locust and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). So, even if you invited him to the best restaurant, you treat him out for whatever, he would have to say no because his lifestyle has been set for him that his role, his mission that he’s one and only desire and mission in this world is going to be preparing the way for Jesus Christ, the Messiah that would come. This is John the Baptist and because his ministry is so effective, what happens here in Matthew 3:5, we see people from everywhere, people from Jerusalem, from Judea, all over from Jordan valley even, they are coming near and far just to see and listen to this wonderful man, this messenger. Because he is preaching something so powerful, his life is an example that is so powerful he’s got a certain degree of authority in him that is very hard to find and his message is convicting and that’s why in verse six, when people come to hear his message, they confess their sins, they realized they have been sinning, they have error in the eyes of the Lord. And they repent and turn to the Lord and John the Baptist then baptizes them in the Jordan river and by this ministry, certain men and woman comes now to him and asked, can we follow you john the Baptist? Can we learn from you? And so, this is how John the Baptist, himself gets disciples, followers, learners. That is the meaning of the word disciples. And so, the story of Matthew 9:14-17 happens after John the Baptist has been arrested. He got arrested by the king because John the Baptist is so bold in his ministry, he even confronts the king with his sin and the king gets so mad that he throws John the Baptist in jail. This is now the situation. The whole ministry and aim of John the Baptist were to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. He recognizes that Jesus is the Messiah. And yet we now come to the story that not everybody that followed John, not everybody that listened to John were following the One. They [were disciples of the] messenger that was going to prepare the way for the Lord and yet they did not even recognize Jesus when He came. And what’s worse is that they even got offended at Jesus Christ over something. What was this “something” that they had a problem with Jesus Christ?
What Gets in the Way of a Person Believing in Jesus?
But before I answer that question, I have to ask you a question. What would get in the way of you believing in Jesus Christ. What would get in the way of your heart, in the way of your mind that you have a hard time to believe in the words of Jesus, to believe in the authority of Jesus, to believe in the power of Jesus Christ. And I tell you, everybody in this room we have certain areas in our lives that even till today we find extremely hard to trust in Jesus everybody here has one, at least one or many areas in our lives that situation comes that we then have a hard time trusting in Jesus. So, I’m asking you this question. What makes it hard for you to believe in Jesus, what would make it difficult that you have a hard time trusting in Jesus even though in many areas you have already seen His power, even though in many ways you have seen how good He is, how trust-worthy he is, how He can keep His promises. And still struggle in certain areas in our lives to trust in Jesus in this story there is at least 2 reasons. 2 reasons why these groups of people found it hard to believe in Jesus Christ and they even got so mad about it.
1. A Misplaced Loyalty
First reason is this, when you have misplaced loyalty. When your loyalty is placed on a person, in a certain family clan, in a certain idea or notion, what we call today as a world view, when it comes to now having to choose; should I trust in what I’ve known, should I trust in my experience or in the Word of Jesus Christ or the Bible? Many find it hard to believe in Jesus. Why? Because their loyalty has been misplaced. I’ve found this to be true even with people who are in the church ministry. Many people misplace their loyalty towards a certain ministry organization; to a certain way of doing things; a certain way of understanding things to an extent that when they’re now challenged “That’s not how Jesus said we should do or that’s not what Jesus taught, so why are you teaching it?” They would have a hard time believing in God’s Word. Why? Because they’ve held on for so long with this type of thinking. They’ve formed a bond that says, “I have to be loyal to this first before anything else.” and so it becomes a conflict of interest. And this is what happened with this group, these disciples of John the Baptist.
You see, there’s another story here in John 3:26, John’s disciples again are here. And what’s going on in this certain part of scripture is this; John 3:26 records, this is the time after John the Baptist has baptized Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came to John and said, ‘John, baptize me in order to fulfill all righteousness.’ And John the Baptist saying, ‘No, You’re the one who is supposed to baptize me! I am not even worthy to tie up Your sandals’. But Jesus insists because it is the right thing to do, to fulfill all righteousness. And so, John the Baptist says, ‘Okay, I’ll baptize You, but You are the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. You are the one that is greater, and I must grow lesser’. Now notice the disciples of John, after this incident between the two has happened, they see Jesus going across the river. So, Jesus is still pretty near where John is doing his ministry. And John’s disciples see Jesus starting His own ministry. He’s now teaching. He’s now calling people to repentance. And guess what? When this group, John the Baptist’s disciples, see Jesus as having a “competing ministry” against their master they cry out, ‘John!’ They are so mad, they see what Jesus is doing and they report to John the Baptist saying, ‘You know what, John? That guy that you just baptized, the one that you’ve recognized as the Messiah. He’s starting a ministry like yours! He’s competing against you! You know what’s going to happen? More people are going to go to Him, our ministry is going to get affected we’re going to dwindle down! Stop Him!’ What’s going on here? Have they been listening to John? John has been preaching, “the Messiah is coming He’s greater than me, my ministry is not going to be here forever. My single role in life is to announce that someone greater than me is coming!” That’s the message of John and yet, you know what? The loyalty of John’s disciples is on John. They’ve put in on John. And so, when they see this, they don’t even recognize Jesus and they get mad at Him for starting His own ministry wherein they should have been rejoicing.
This is true for misplaced loyalty towards a worldview as well. Someone will say, “Well that’s true for you but not for me. Let’s just agree to disagree.” That’s a worldview and if your loyalty is in that worldview, you would have a hard time recognizing Jesus when He says, “There is only one way to God, to the Father, there is only one gate to enter in.” And if you put your loyalty on a notion that all religion will just reach God saying, ‘Just pick whatever you want to believe in, whatever it is, we’ll reach heaven anyways.’ You would have a hard time believing in Jesus Christ the Lord who says that there is only one way, only one way. Why? Because you have put your loyalty on something over Jesus Christ.
2. A Misplaced Trust
Second reason that would make it hard for you to believe; this is also present in the story, when you not only misplaced your loyalty, but you also misplaced your trust. And where has your trust gone? The tendency for many people, we’re living in a Christian nation is this, your trust will go to a religious tradition or a ritual.
Trusting on Things That Don’t Work
I have a story, my childhood was in the 80s, I was born in 1979 so basically my childhood was in the 80s. During the 80s. I discovered that I had oily skin. While I was growing up, I had no idea, nor did I care about it. Until all of a sudden, when you are grade 5, and you have the first crush of your life and you look in the mirror and to your horror you see red dots on your face that makes you look ugly! I had these red pimples all over my face and all I got so conscious about it. And because growing up in the 80s you don’t have the internet. You have no easily accessible resources that tells you how to take care of your skin, how to do all that, I had to rely on my dear teachers of life who are my uncles, my aunties, my friends. They were the ones that were teaching me how to remove pimples. So, here’s one example of the advice I received from one uncle, this is one special moment in life that I would never forget. He gave me a wonderful advice. You want your pimples removed? Use Perla! And if you’re growing up in the 80s or even in 90s, you probably have seen the television advertisement where the lady, by the way, Perla is a laundry soap and my uncle says, “use laundry soap to get rid of all your pimples.” You know there’s this TV advertisement that the lady is washing, even her hands are glowing so soft daw, right? So, there I am, I’m grade five and I buy into that, okay? Every day, I washed my face with Perla! Why? Because I want to, you know, remove these pimples so that my crush will get impressed with me. And you know what? It didn’t work! So, the next advice that comes to me is this, “You know what Perla doesn’t work! Use Lactacyd instead.” And again, I actually believed in that, but here’s a thing he said, “Don’t use the red one or the pink one, use the blue one, alright?” So, back then I didn’t even know what Lactacyd was for, but I was desperate. I said, okay give me that I’ll use that every day! I’m washing my face with the blue labelled Lactacyd. And you know I remembered this; I remember thinking it smells kind nice. Later on, somehow as I tried to, you know, clean up my face from pimples I developed a daily ritual using Eskinol Master, you know ang ‘sekreto ng mga gwapo’. I do all that and I’ve been using all of it and for after a decade so by the time I think I reached college, my skin, my face oily skin, was now partly dry. I realized that there were now parts of my face that would scale, you know, peel off. It was now dry so I had to add to my ritual, my traditional morning routine a facial moisturizer and I discovered not long after that na dili lang basta-basta lang na moisturizer would work for me. I tried Cetaphil. I tried the cheaper ones. It all didn’t work. I discovered the only moisturizer that would work for me was Olay. So, nothing touches my face now except Olay. Otherwise, my face will start to peel again.
A Repeating Cycle of Sin
What did I discover with all of that? I said all of that to make this point that there is a repeating cycle that we do in life. We all have a tendency to do somethings repeatedly. I mean there would be something we do once or something we do again once in a while. But there are things we do repeatedly. Even when we maybe have said, “I don’t need to do this anymore” or “You know I realized I don’t need to do this anymore and so I will stop.” And after a few days, just as I found out with my problematic skin, it would again start to dry up, and it would again start to peel off and I have end up going back to my old ritual again.
Trusting in Religious Rituals with No Idea Why
There was also another thing that I discovered when I’ve been trying to do my rituals is this there is a tendency that it becomes automatic is something that I’m even I don’t even feel like doing it but you know because it’s something that had grown used to I do it anyway there’s like I just do whatever it is haphazardly, rashly or even sometimes I’m forced to do it irritated to do it but I do it anyways it’s so there’s no that’s what I discovered when I’m doing rituals and you know what that’s not limited only to beauty regimen rituals it is also the same when it comes to religious traditions or rituals.
The tendency for somebody that has grown up in a religious tradition doing a ritual is this they will somehow think or forget why I have been doing this ritual and it will lose its meaning they would they would think well this is what I was thought so I would they would do it but they don’t understand what they’re doing anymore.
Trusting in Religious Rituals to Win God’s Approval
The other tradition the other tendency for religious rituals would be is this that they would be doing it and then it would then make them think that it is the reason why they are right with the Lord.
It would be like me with my morning traditions and ritual putting on my Eskinol putting on my moisturizer and then saying to myself it’s because of Eskinol and it is because of Olay that I’m so gwapo! You, see? I’m now giving credit to my rituals that doing all these things has made my face so handsome, right? And I forget to credit God! By the way, my wife is the only one that is so in love with me, so forgive me for that. Anyway, when you put your trust on religious traditions and rituals over that of trusting in God alone, you would have a hard time believing in Jesus.
The Wonderful Purpose of Religious Rituals and Traditions
In Matthew 9:14, these disciples of John the Baptist, they come to Jesus and they’re mad about something, what are they mad about? They’re saying how come Jesus that your disciples are not fasting while we, and even the Pharisees were seeing eye to eye on this? We are fasting and you guys are not! And they’re offended that Jesus and His disciples are not following their religious rituals. You know, this is a common tendency for religious people to do? That they would look down on others who are not doing what they are doing. That they would think they are holier or better than others because they do these rituals and religious actions while others don’t.
What is a religious ritual or a religious tradition? Here in GCAF, during every Wednesday night, we have this. We call this religious tradition, a prayer meeting. Sometimes we even have prayer and fasting. By the way, traditions and rituals are supposed to be a good thing. They have a wonderful purpose, if it is in accordance with what if it is meant to be.
God has ordained many rituals and traditions in the Old Testament. What is the purpose for our rituals and tradition? God meant it to be used to teach His people who He is supposed to be for them. God ordered for rituals and traditions to be done by His people so that they will serve as reminders for Israel. God would tell them to do this, celebrate this, like celebrate the passover ritual, make this as a tradition, be sure to teach it to your children. Why? To remember how the Lord’s faithfulness took them out of Egypt. So, every time the Lord teaches His people to do a tradition or to have a religious ceremony, or a religious ritual, it was always so that the people will be taught how amazing God is, how wonderful God is.
A Danger for Merely Keeping Rituals and Traditions
But see, there is a danger to rituals to religious traditions and what is that? One of that is this; here in GCAF every Wednesday night we have a tradition we call it prayer meeting and we’ve inviting people and by all means come and pray corporately. It is what we desperately need in this world, to pray as a family, right?
Now, here is the danger. People come here and observe the religious ritual of coming together to pray and then there is a tendency to look up and turn around to look around in the room, and then say to our heart and in our minds, “You know what? I am here every Wednesday! I must be a prayerful person. And I looked around the room and I see some empty seats. Oh, that person is not here, so-and-so is not a prayerful person.” Or maybe we say, “Oh, that person is lazy.” Why? Where has the trust been placed? The trust is now going to the religious ritual. You have now got an off-track. You’ve now somehow missed the point of the religious ritual that it is never meant to look and gaze at others by what we do so here. And you’re offended because they aren’t observing the religious ritual like you do.
They’re offended with Jesus. Why are the disciples of John the Baptist offended? Because John’s disciples are fasting and they look at the disciples of Jesus and they’re eating, they are not observing the religious ritual of fasting, and they are so mad! They are judging Jesus and His disciples wrongly.
Now, let me say, what is fasting by the way? So, a quick 101 on fasting, every time the Bible mentions fasting it means going without food, for a period of time and it’s not just merely refraining from certain foods because people do that even in the hospitals, right? The world recognizes fasting as a good discipline. So, when the Bible says about people fasting, when the Bible ask or mentions about fasting it is always, always associated with prayer and the fasting is happens in always in response to an occasion. There’s always a reason, in other words. There is always a reason for the tradition for the ritual of fasting, and it’s always in with an attitude of grief. Grief over a certain degree of sin, or sinfulness or sorrow for having lost a loved one. Humility, humbling the people humbling before themselves before the Lord, and recognizing we’re going to forgo eating, we’re going to forgo drinking. We just want to go to the Lord and ask. And in all humility is always in attitude either. Also, with repentance or desperation. That is what the Bible always connects with.
Biblical fasting is not just merely stopping eating. Stop, stop drinking for a day is always with prayer and a certain right attitude that comes with it in response to an occasion. Examples where that would be in 1 Samuel 31:13 where there is grief here. Great grief, they have lost a loved one and they as a result of this occasion they fast. For seven days in Daniel 9:3, Daniel himself goes to fasting because he’s pleading with God, he’s going to God and asking, Lord, can you have many petitions help me or I’m fasting and he’s even, you know. Putting on sackcloth and Ashes, which was symbol of symbols of repentance, of sorrow, grief, and humility.
So, we’ve seen that in the Bible there’re individuals who fast personal fasting. It’s also in the Bible that this is done as a group, as a nation as a family, as a Kingdom. Doing it as a group, today we call it corporate fasting. And this is present as well in the Bible. So, here in GCAF we encourage corporate fasting every quarter so that we could come together and pray as a spiritual family together. And that’s good.
Now going back to our story in Matthew 9, when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, and they see Jesus and his disciples and their eating their feasting. They’re mad. They’re saying Jesus, you’re not a holy man, your disciples, you’re not holy, you guys, you guys are sinful! Their accusation against Jesus was that they don’t see Him fast like they do. But you know what was amazing about this? It is the fact that Jesus did fast.
In Matthew 4:2, remember Matthew 4:2? This is the day when Jesus fasted for 40 days straight and He goes by himself. Jesus, when he fasted, He didn’t tell anybody. He never told anybody, “I’m going to fast for 40 days.”
You know what? It was the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist that were very obvious when they were fasting. When the religious Pharisees fasted, they had to wear special clothing so that people would not notice that they were fasting. And not only would they wear something special, so that people would recognize their fasting, they would also make their face look sad and serious, you know, like this! And then many people would ask what’s wrong? And they would say, “I’m fasting.” They’re walking in a solemn manner and they’re like, “Oh life is so hard! I must go on!” And many people ask what’s going on? Are you Okay, bro? And they would say. “I’m fasting.” Why? Their intent here was to show people that they’re holy and righteous. When they’re fasting, they want to announce that to as much people as they can? Why? Because during their days this is a barometer of how holy and righteous you are.
So, if you announce that this is your third day of fasting the people will say, “Oh well done, amazing!” Many people just only fast two times a week. You fasted for three days.”
And you say, “Uh-huh. Yeah, right. I’ve got so many things to pray for.” These ‘holy’ men won’t pray just anywhere. They would pray intentionally in a corner of a street. Imagine that as they are standing there, they would pray aloud. Why? So that people would say, wow, this is a holy man! You know he’s praying aloud so bold, wow!
This was going on and Jesus is turning it upside down. He goes fasting for 40 days and He doesn’t tell anybody. So, nobody knew because nobody saw Him do it. And now Jesus is being accused of not fasting nor teaching His disciples to fast.
They say, “We see you just keep eating and eating. You must not be fasting. You don’t fast! You are not a holy man.” This was their accusation. But not only did Jesus fast and pray, but He also taught His disciples to fast. Remember in the sermon on the Mount, Jesus also taught His disciples the same thing he’s saying in Matthew 6 whenever you fast. Take note, “Whenever” you fast and not “if.”
Jesus Came to Fulfill the Law
So, don’t believe in some pastor or preacher that tells you that Jesus abolished the Law and said fasting is just Old Testament stuff and that it is no longer relevant. That it is time to unhitch the Old Testament. Jesus is teaching whenever you would fast do not put on a gloomy face.
You remember Matthew? Matthew makes it a point that Jesus has come not to abolish the law but to fulfill the law. The prophets meaning the Old Testament is Jesus has not abolished it, his fulfilled everything written in the Old Testament. And fasting.
Be Careful Not to Become a Hypocrite
Now, he’s saying to his disciples whenever you fast don’t do it like the hypocrites do. Who are the hypocrites? During His time, the Pharisees and yes, even that of the disciples of John. And how they did it? See when they would fast, they would neglect their appearance. Make it so that they would be noticed by men and they would be praised by men. But here’s what Jesus teaches them. But here’s what Jesus teaches them. Don’t fast like that, fast in secret so that your fasting won’t be seen by men but by your Father who sees what you’re doing in secret will be the One to reward you.
Watch out. Watch out for showy forms of religiosity of religious people that likes to display what they’re doing. Because there might be underneath that visible, loud, and flashy acts of righteous deeds, a heart like the hearts of the Pharisees.
What Followers of Jesus Should Expect?
So, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, what can you expect from this today? What can you expect? I tell you; you can expect three things because Jesus said if this happens to me, the master everybody that would follow after me.
a. Expect to be Misunderstood
Every disciple I have will experience the same thing number one. Expect to be misunderstood. When you follow Jesus when you obey Jesus in all things you expect. That people will misunderstand you. I’ve heard many stories, you know when, this guy was before he was a Christian. He would have this all his friends. They would party a lot. They would drink a lot when he became a Christian. He said I no longer want to drink. I no longer want to do those things. I realized now I just want to follow Jesus. So, he says I don’t want to drink anymore. You know what? His friends, his barkada, his childhood friends told him they said so many hurtful things about him. “Hindi kana nakikisama, iba ka na, di kana ma reach” and they said that he was betraying them, you know? What was he doing? What are we doing? He was just saying I’m not gonna drink anymore guys. And he was misunderstood. And so, if your loyalty, if your trust has been placed in something else, when you are misunderstood in this world when you are misunderstood by friends, when you are misunderstood by family, you will be shaken. You will say, oh, this isn’t worth it, and you will cry out and you will do something. Why? Because you realize you have to realize. If you put your trust, if you put your loyalty in something else you always get shaken in life.
b. Expect to Be Unappreciated
Second thing that you must expect for you to have with that that would happen to you is this. Expect that people will not appreciate what you’re doing. No matter how much good you’ve done Jesus, he’s been healing many people. Everybody in this story, right? Remember Matthew 8 and even in Chapter 9 he’s been doing ministry. He’s been teaching left and right. He’s been accepting people who are sick, lame, crippled, blind, demon-possessed, and he’s been helping so many. And yet these people come to Jesus sees him not matching their religious standards and there saying. Balewala tanan gyud. We don’t appreciate you. All we see is this that we’re so mad at you for not doing this. You’re gonna be appreciated in life, my dear friends, even when you’re doing the right things, even when you’ve done everything to help a person and you expect thanks. If you expect appreciation. If you’ve put your trust that in that. Type of response. You will get hurt. You will get, you know, shaken when you don’t get this. Thank you or the favor of men.
c. Expect to be Falsely Accused
Third thing you have to expect is that you will have to expect to be falsely accused. What did they accuse Jesus of? They accused Jesus as a glutton. Sigi’g koan, grabe bola-og. That’s what they accused Jesus of, amazing isn’t it? And Jesus even says you know what? John the Baptist, his fasting all the time. What did you accuse John the Baptist? This people they accused John the Baptist as that of the devil, as that of a crazy man. You know what? Now I’ve come and I’m eating you didn’t even know that he was fasting. You tell me I’m not a glutton. I’m a drunkard because I eat and drink wine.
And one more thing these are coming from religious people. The misunderstandings, the unappreciation’s, the false accusations they’re coming from within the family. They’re coming from within the tribe. From the religious leaders, even. Expect, that this will happen to you. Don’t put your trust in them.
Don’t put your trust in circumstances. Put it in the Lord. What is the most amazing thing in this story? This is so important for us tonight.
How Jesus Replied to Their Accusation
How did Jesus reply to this? Because, you know, if you think about it, all he needed to say was this you know what I actually fast. I actually teach my disciples how to fast and that would have been done right. Because they have come to Jesus, say, Lord, we’re fasting and you’re not. If Jesus only had to say was this, “I actually fast man And I teach my disciples to fast.” Then a possible reaction by the disciples of John might be, “Ah okay sige”, right? But Jesus didn’t reply like that. So how did Jesus reply? He gives two illustrations in his reply.
a. Worship is a response to a living relationship with Jesus
First is test this verse 15, Jesus answered, how can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he’s with them? Think about it. Underlined the bridegroom or lighted up whatever You know how amazing this statement is? The bridegroom. Why would Jesus use this term? In the Old Testament in Isaiah, Isaiah 62:5. The word God here is Elohim. Elohim, God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom, here’s the word. The bridegroom rejoices over his bride. So, God is saying, I’m the bridegroom. My people chosen people will be my bride. In Hosea, this is now Yahweh. Another name of the Lord, and he is saying, I, Yahweh, will make you my wife. So, He God is the groom. And his chosen people are the bride And John the Baptist recognizes that he saying, you know what? Remember the story his disciples come to him and say, you know what Jesus the Messiah? He’s starting a competing ministry were being affected, were doing, doing down and Jesus and John the Baptist is saying this amazing truth is saying. That’s what I want. It is Jesus is the bridegroom. He has come.
You know how amazing that is? That blows your mind. If the disciples of John listen to it and connected it with Elohim with Yahweh. And Jesus now says, and John there mastered their disciples and even says that’s the bridegroom. Now Jesus himself confirms it. I am the bridegroom. Why would they? Fast? What I’m here? God, Emanuel is here with the disciples. And yet amazing how blind we could be to our religious rituals, how they didn’t even see that they were just offended that Jesus wasn’t doing according to how they saw religion should be lived out. That’s why Jesus has been teaching in this day. In Matthew there is only one true religion. And everything is false. Jesus answers this. How can the guests of the bridegroom? The God, Morn well he is with them. Who are the guest disciples? How could the guests? Because what’s going on here? Jesus is saying the time will come there will come a time when, the bridegroom will be taken away, then they will fast. So what Jesus is saying, there is a certain degree. While I am here on Earth with them, they won’t fast. They won’t need to. The bridegroom is here. There was an occasion. You know what that means? It’s this that even fasting and every religious ritual that we do or worship that we do for the Lord.
Every act that we do, it is a response, based on a living relationship with Jesus Christ. You cannot box it in in simply doing a ritual or a, a form of tradition. It would be like imagine would be this. There is a husband and wife. They’ve been married for a long time. Let’s say 50 years and every morning the wife without fail would wake up early in the morning, would go to the kitchen. Would boil some hot water. Would mix some coffee right and serve it to her husband every day, every morning without fail. Amazing, right? So, you could say wow, what a wonderful love story. But one day the husband asks his wife of 50 years, “Darling, why do you always prepare coffee for me in the morning?” And imagine, what would you feel if the reply of the wife was this? “aw mao man akong na andan, mao man ang gi todlo sa akong lola, akong lolo. Mao raman gyud ni, og di nako ni buhaton mag wild man ka, mao man gud ni akong duty, no? as a asawa, ingon ani man gyud so” What’s going on? For 50 years of selfless sacrifice of a ritual, hasn’t it just lost all its flavor? Because the wife hasn’t been doing. This act of service in response to a loving, living relationship. The wife has just simply done it out of a duty, just simply a ritual. Why? Because that’s what he she was thought that’s what a wife in her mind and imagination. That’s what a wife should be doing. Isn’t it the same with the Lord? Then when you now put your trust and faith in a ritual, or just do it automatically, you don’t even know why do you get baptized?
Why would you dedicate your baby? You know, even ceremonies like baby dedication. They’ve become a ritual. And that was dangerous. Is that many parents go to pastors and priests and say, can you dedicate my baby meaning if you dedicate my baby with this religious tradition, the baby will be saved, will go to heaven. Tradition will not save us. That’s what Jesus is saying. You say he’s saying to the disciples of John, why would we fast? This is a living relationship. There is an occasion here. It would be like me inviting you to my birthday, right? My 100th day or year birthday. Everybody should be festive, right? It’s a great celebration. And then you would come to my party and you would be crying. You would be you would be wearing all sorts of pang balay. I write and you would be saying. This is the saddest day of my life and you will be called crying and you would be telling people don’t eat why it is so sad right? So sad what’s going on? You would be thrown out of my party, right? Why? We’re celebrating here. That’s not a right. This is not an occasion to cry and be sad. You do that in a funeral. And that’s what Jesus is saying. This is a relationship. What we have now is a relationship were not based on religion or religion is not based on traditions or rituals where there’s no even no reason. You just do it because that’s what you have to do. I’m here, there’s no reason to fast, but they will when I go away when I’m taken away, they will. So, it is a response. Worship is a response to a living relationship with Jesus.
b. The Old Way of Relating to God was Going to Be Replaced with a New Way Through Faith in Christ Jesus
No second illustration he gives is this. No one shows a patch of unshrunk cloth to an old garment for the patch will pull away from garment making that error worse meaning. The cloth, the old garment and the new is not compatible is the same point is saying here. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst. The wine will run out, and the wineskins will be ruined. Is the same thing. The old wineskin cannot contain the new wine. It needs a new wineskin, meaning. The old way of relating to Jesus relating to God is not compatible with the new way Jesus is saying. That’s going to be. The way from now on that he would now not be a religion of works wherein you work to win the favor of God. You work, you do something in order to be cleansed forgiven Jesus is saying it is now going to be based on a relationship simply by faith alone you enter into this relationship. And there is no way the two way the two forms of religion were compatible.
Even the religion of John’s disciples was not compatible with what Jesus is saying to be the new one to be the true and only religion. You see, verse 16 the old garment, let me point you back to Matthew 5:20, and Jesus, in the Sermon of the Mount, if you remember with me, this is Jesus preaching and saying, unless your righteousness extends or is greater than the teachers of religious law, or that even the Pharisees. You won’t go to heaven, and you could include the disciples of John here, unless your righteousness exceeds.
So why am I saying that the old garment is a form of righteousness? The righteousness of the Pharisees because in Matthew 22:11, 22 Jesus gives a parable a story. And here he says. That there is a garment saying here when the King came in to meet with the guests, and we can know that it is the God, and the guests are the ones that is inviting to the party. The banquet he notices a man who wasn’t wearing proper clothes for a wedding. You know what? During this time, the king was handing out garments. For the guests to wear and somehow this person goes to the party wearing his old garment wearing his own clothes and the old garment we know is a form now of righteousness, meaning the man had come with his own way of righteousness, his own religion, his own way of trying to go to the party to attend to the party.
You know what God said, we know what the king said, I don’t. Why? Why are you not dressed? In the robes of righteousness, I have given. And he throws this man out to a dark place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and that is hell, my dear friends. The old way the old garment was in no way going to be acceptable to God. The old government of trying to achieve righteousness on your own works through a form of religious rituals and traditions, identifying to a nation or a family, it wasn’t going to work, it wasn’t going to please God. Meaning, the new relationship with Jesus is this that your righteousness will now come from believing in Him alone. It will no longer be based on works, but on faith alone.
The second illustration is the new wine, right? And we know in Matthew 26 that Jesus is saying, the wine is His blood. That would pay for the Covenant, so Him dying on the cross would pay for the new covenant that would be set between God and His people and who would be His people everybody. Now that would believe in Jesus Christ and what He has done on the cross that He died. And on the third day He rose again and triumphant over sin and death and now sits at the right hand of God and everybody that would call upon the name of Jesus believes in Jesus. Will be saved and the new wine and the new Covenant would not be compatible with the way the old way the pharisees-like way, the way the disciples of John the Baptist did it, and in the context of this passage that we have the context of fasting, that means my dear friends, that the new wine includes a new way of fasting. That this would no longer be a fasting based on uncertain future fasting based on trying to win the approval of God. This would be a fasting based on the reality that Jesus has come. The bridegroom has come and paid for all our sins and has promised to return triumphant and all of us would be taken down to Him and so this is now a fasting wherein there is hope, hope of an established truth that Jesus Christ our Savior has already finished everything for us and everything that we face now in desperation we come to the Lord in fasting. Yes, there is also a saying, Lord, come, come quickly, Lord, we know You can keep all promise because You have already done all these things for us that is a difference of the new wine and a new kind of fasting. That these Pharisees, scribes or even the disciples of John did not understand in their way in their old way of fasting.
A New Relationship for Those Who Believe in Jesus
So, I’ll close with this, the new covenant changes everything the way we relate to God and the way God relates to us. Even in the act of fasting that these Pharisees, these sons are the scribes or even the disciples of John did not understand in their way in their old way of fasting. So, I’ll close with this, the new covenant changes everything, the way we relate to God and the way God relates to us. Even, In the act of fasting. Two months ago, my son drew this with his crayons. And for you maybe It would be just a bunch of mumble jumble. You don’t understand what it is all about. Some of you might not even appreciate the picture, but for me you know what? That is a work of art. I’m not saying that it is a work of art, because the lines are perfect, or the spellings are even right. You know, love-love, time, that’s what he calls our spending time together just before bedtime. Every 9:00 o’clock on the evening or just 30 minutes before he has to go to sleep, we spend time as a family doing what my dad used to do for us when we were kids. We would wrestle with him; we would play with him. Now, we have Shobe. And we would play, just the four of us. We’d read Bible stories to him, which share the Gospel to him. We tell him about Jesus. We tell him how to pray and to teach him all the things he should know about life. This is a precious time for him, and so he draws this picture. He drew this for us and he’s saying these things to me when he made this. It’s not even perfect, right? All these wrong spellings but, for me, this is so wonderful! This made me so happy not because the drawing is perfect but because he’s, my son. Because of our relationship. And everything he does, I’m happy. I’m proud of him. He pleases me, why? Because of our relationship.
It is the same with a new, real, and vibrant living relationship with God. It’s the same that it is now long no longer just us doing things for God. Trying to win His approval by doing things for Him. He already has given His approval of us. He’s already given us His approval, why? Because all those who will believe in Jesus will now have a real living relationship with the Father. And you are now acceptable and pleasing before Him wonderful, wonderful God.
Let’s pray. Oh Lord God. Thank you so much, but even in this we get encouragement, even in the analogy of you being a bridegroom that blows and takes our breath away blows our mind. That it is, God himself would take us. And we’re not even that beautiful in the first place, but because of Your grace and love. You, who made us your family? You gave us your only son Jesus, to die in our place. May You be glorified, magnified Lord, in everything in every moment of our lives. Teach us to love you, and not just base our idea of religion of trying to get to win You in a form of traditions or misplaced loyalties or not. If there’s anybody here tonight that needs to repent from those, I pray that you would grant them repentance. Thank You so much, Lord, that You are bridegroom. Our Father, our God Jesus name. Amen!