Friday, April 20, 2018

The Old and The New

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. John 2:9-10 KJV

In my last entry I was writing about the difference between living by religious rules and regulations and true relationship with Christ. I thought it was interesting in John 2:9 when Jesus turned the water into wine and the wine was taken to the governor of the feast. When the governor tasted the new wine he said, “This is the good stuff!”The Pharisees and the religious leaders were a picture of those who, “tasted the old.” They had chosen to live by rules and regulations. Remember, they were the ones who were always giving Jesus trouble. In Matthew chapter twelve they told Jesus that His disciples were picking the corn in the field on the Sabbath and that was not acceptable. They considered the disciples actions to be work which was not allowed on the Sabbath. Jesus reminded them of what David and his men did when he was hungry. They went into the Holy place and ate the consecrated bread that they were not supposed to eat. 

 One of the things I like about the scriptures is that there is enough there to shake things up to where you can’t put God in a box. Basically what Jesus was saying is that the bread David ate was not allotted for him to eat. It was wrong for him to do that. Then Jesus told them that He was Lord of the Sabbath and He can do whatever He wants to. Jesus shook up the box on them! 

  There’s all kind of issues where people put God in a box. For example, the subject of women Bible teachers is one where people try to put God in a box. They take a couple of scriptures and say this and that, but God will put His anointing on who ever He pleases.
God leaves enough throughout the scriptures that shows He is going to accomplish His purpose in whatever way He chooses. If you want to be confined to the old, you can have things however you think they ought to be. You’ll just be doing whatever it is without God’s anointing on it. 

  In the sermon on the mount in Matthew Chapter 5 Jesus talked about the old and the new. He said, “The old has said, thou shalt not murder, the new has said, if you have anger in your heart you have murdered in your heart.” The old dealt with the outward appearance of unrighteousness. Jesus introduced a new thing when He talked about the motives of the heart. 

 When the lawyer came to Jesus he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus asked him, “What does the law say?” The lawyer could have said, thou shall not do this or that. He didn’t say that though, he replied, “Thou must love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. He knew that God was talking about the issues of the heart. Then the lawyer asked him, “Okay, if I’m supposed to love my neighbor, who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, how a man was robbed and beaten and left for dead. The religious leader and the priest both passed him by and did nothing. It was the Samaritan, the one who was willing to lay down his life who did the right thing and truly loved his neighbor. 

  We can use religious talk and pray and read the scriptures but the gospel is about laying down your life. It’s easy to lay down your life for those who are laying down their lives for you. It’s easy for me to lay down my life for my wife when she is baking me chocolate chip cookies. I can’t wait to do wonderful things for her then. When she’s not meeting my expectations or is an obstacle to the things I want her to do, that’s when it’s difficult to lay your life down. 
The crux of the gospel is the cross. It’s one thing to talk about it but the reality comes in our day to day life. The reality comes when we are not getting our way or when we are spending time with someone we don’t enjoy spending time with. God says, “I want to use you to display what love really is.” 

Love is the giving up of yourself and your rights. 

You and I will never do that until we first believe the love that God has for us. 
One point I always come back to is John chapter 13 when Jesus washes the disciples feet. Knowing the very reason that God the Father sent Him he laid aside His garment and washed their feet. He didn’t have to prove anything or tell them He was Lord. Because he knew God’s love for Him and knew who He was, He was able to lay down His life for them without looking for anything in return. 
In every one of our relationships if we are not not looking for the approval of others, we can genuinely lay down our lives for others. 

They’ll be no hook in it and no hidden motives, no grumbling or complaints because we are convinced of God’s love for us. We are convinced of His sovereignty and that He is not playing games with our lives. 

  God tried to convince the children of Israel of His love but their hearts were always looking back to where they came from. Wherever you’ve come from, if your heart is still bent on going back to where you came from, you’ll be given every opportunity to do so. 

  I spoke to one man in the prison recently who said he was a prayer warrior and fasted often but God had not proven Himself to him. He said he was ready to walk away from God. I think he was waiting for me to beg him not to go. I didn’t, I told him if there is still something back there that you are looking for, go ahead. Because you’re always going to be looking back. That’s living in the Valley of Decision where you haven’t come to the end of yourself yet. 

  As for my life, I’ve burned those bridges long ago. We all are going through hardships and difficulties. That’s how God’s love is tested and tried in us. Even when the circumstances of life are difficult and you’re in loneliness and despair, where are you going to go? We’ll never have peace in this world apart from the Lord. There will always be difficulties and that’s how we are going to see Jesus in our lives as we move from glory to glory. The further I go, the harder the trials are going to get but I’ll be stronger and they won’t seem like anything to me.

  I say the new is better than the old. I don’t want to live by rules and regulations, I want to live by relationship. That is eating from the tree of life at every moment of the day. It’s calling on the Lord and asking Him, “Open up yourself to me and show me how to do this.”

for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Romans 8:13-14

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