Sermon #29 Luke Sermons
Title: “THE OLD IS BETTER”
Text: Luke 5:33-39
Subject: Why Old Things Are Better
Date: Sunday Evening – May 14, 2000
Tape # V-83a
Readings: Office: Ron Wood Auditorium: Merle Hart
The Lord Jesus had just saved an elect sinner by his almighty grace, an old publican named Levi (Matthew). Having experienced the saving goodness of God’s grace, having been forgiven of all sin, having seen the glory of God in the face of Christ, this sinner gladly forsook all and followed Christ.
Not only did he follow Christ, he wanted others to know him and follow him. He wanted other sinners to know the grace he now knew. He wanted other sin-sick souls to know the healing of the Master’s hand. So he threw a lavish dinner party in honor of the Son of God. Hoards of people came. – Tax Collectors – Romans – Jewish Scribes – Pharisees – Disciples of John the Baptist – The Lord’s Disciples – The Son of God Himself – and Numerous Sinners.
When the scribes and Pharisees saw the Lord Jesus and his followers mingling with such riffraff, they raised their eyebrows and said, “Why do you eat with publicans and sinners?” The Master responded by saying, “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Being totally ignorant of what he said, knowing that they were neither sick nor sinners (at least in their own opinion), they seem to have totally ignored the Savior’s words. But they observed that John’s disciples kept the same outward religious customs and ceremonies (saying public prayers, fastings, etc.) that they kept and the Lord’s disciples did not, the scribes and Pharisees perceived an opportunity to create trouble. They thought they could divide Christ’s kingdom. They thought they could drive a wedge between John the Baptist and the Lamb of God, by pointing out these glaring differences.
Let’s pick up Luke’s narrative in Luke 5:33.
Proposition: The one thing clearly set before us in this passage of Scripture is the fact that true Christianity is not a patchwork of religion, but a new creation.
I. True believers may be weak believers; and weak believers are often easily sidetracked by the religious world (v. 33; Matt. 9:14).
Sometimes true believers become sidetracked and confused by meaningless things and fall under the influence of religious hypocrites.
I know that Christ’s sheep will not follow a stranger. I know that God’s saints have an unction from the Holy One and cannot be deceived with regard to the gospel. But I also know that God’s saints in this world are only frail, fickle, sinful men and women of flesh and blood. Sometimes they fall under the influence of wicked men, thinking that they are doing good. Sometimes, by bad influence from people they think are sincere, they get sidetracked by meaningless issues.
That is exactly what happened here with John’s disciples. They got to listening to the Pharisees, with whom they had in common the practice of religious, ceremonial fasting. Ignoring the indescribably far greater issues of redemption, grace, and forgiveness, they joined the Pharisees (Of all people!), carping and criticizing the Lord Jesus and his disciples because they did not fast.
If you will look at Matthew’s account (Matt. 9:14), you will see clearly that it was not just the Pharisees who raised this issue, but John the Baptist’s disciples with the Pharisees.
We must not allow ourselves to be moved away from the simplicity that is in Christ. We must not be side-tracked by the issues of carnal religion, from the gospel of Christ. If he can do so, Satan will use such things to divide us (Eph. 4:1-6).
II. In verses 34 and 35, our Savior teaches us a glorious fact about our relationship with him. – All true believers are the bride of christ and he is our bridegroom.
This gospel age, is the time of our marriage feast. It is a time for feasting at the banqueting table of grace, a time for celebration and joy, not a time for mourning and fasting.
Fasting, in the Old Testament, was an symbol of repentance and mourning. Certain fasts were prescribed under the law as times of personal and national, public humiliation. But the Pharisees ignored the spiritual thing symbolized and capitalized on the outward ceremony. They not only insisted on keeping the fast days prescribed by the law, they added many, many more. In conjunction with their show of humility, these proud hypocrites added specified times of prayer, public shows of devotion, by which they could prove to the world around them and to one another how very holy and humble, devoted and diligent, good and godly they were!
Our Lord and his disciples had nothing to do with such nonsense.
A. With regard to fasting, our Lord’s doctrine is clear.
His presence and grace removes all need for sorrow and mourning (that which fasting symbolized) among his people. He said, “When the Bridegroom is taken away, then the bride will be sorrowful and mourn.” And there was a time of weeping for the bride, when the Lord of Glory was crucified and buried. But with the resurrection of our Lord, his exaltation and enthronement, and the out pouring of the Spirit of grace upon us, we now rejoice with joy unmingled. The bride’s fasting days are over!
1. Our sins are gone!
2. Grace, righteousness, and eternal life are ours!
3. Christ, our faithful Savior, our divine Bridegroom, is with us. -- To Provide! – To Protect! To Comfort! -- To Rejoice our Hearts!
B. The Lord Jesus here identifies himself as our Bridegroom and all chosen, redeemed sinners as his bride (Eph. 5:25-27)
1. The Lord Jesus Christ espoused himself to us in eternity.
2. He bought us and washed us in his own blood.
3. We are wed to him by faith, wearing the wedding garments of his provision.
4. We are his bride and he is our Husband. What can that mean?
· We are the objects of his tender love.
· We are privileged to enjoy a mystical union with the Son of God.
· We are forever his. – “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder!”
· We shall forever participate in and possess all that is his.
· He who is the Bridegroom of our souls will one day present us before his Father and all the universe as his chaste virgin! -- Made Completely Blamesless!
III. In verses 36-38, the Lord Jesus tells us that in spiritual matters we must never attempt to mix things that differ.
Our Savior delivered this parable in response to the question raised by John’s disciples and the Pharisees about fasting. With the Pharisees fasting had become a common, publicly advertised ceremony. It was an outward show of holiness, piety, and devotion. John’s disciples seem to have placed great emphasis upon this religious custom as well. But our Lord always dealt with it as an insignificant thing and insisted that in fasting, in prayer, and in giving (Matt. 6:16-18). In fact in anything and everything, we must never to make a show of religion!
It may have been proper, our Lord says to John’s disciples, for the friend of the Bridegroom and his disciples to fast. But to require the Bridegroom and his disciples to fast was as ludicrous as sewing a piece of new cloth in an old garment or putting new wine into old bottles, or wineskins.
Actually the parables here given were simply proverbial sayings that may be applied to many things. But essentially their meaning is simply this - We must never try to mix things that do not mix. Many great evils that have arisen in the church could have been avoided if the lesson of these parables had simply been heeded. And many of the evils exiting in the church today could be corrected if this lesson was followed.
In spiritual matters, we must never attempt to mix things that differ. Just as under the Mosaic law the mixture of linen and wool and the plowing of an ox and an ass together were prohibited, so in this age, we cannot mix and must never try to mix law and grace, flesh and spirit, Christ and the world, or carnal ordinances with spiritual worship.
A. The problem at Galatia was that they tried to put the old wine Mosaic laws and ceremonies into the new bottle of grace.
The Judaizers at Galatia were trying to mix Judaism and Christianity. They tried to hold both to the law and the gospel. They wanted both Moses and Christ. They tied to mix physical circumcision with spiritual circumcision. Such mixture can never take place. Either we are under the law, or we are free from the law. It cannot be both!
B. In the early church many tried to mix the philosophies and religious customs of a pagan world with the gospel of Christ, just as they do today.
Nothing is new under the sun. In the earliest days after the apostles, and even while the apostles were living, there were those who attempted to make the gospel palatable to the world by mixing the religious customs, traditions, and opinions of the paganism with the gospel of Christ. The result was disastrous then and shall be now. In those days, compromise paved the road to Romanism Today, men are laying the road back to Romanism as fast as possible.
We simply cannot mix flesh and spirit or works and grace in the worship and service of our God.
· Crosses, Pictures of Christ and Angels, and Religious Symbols.
· Law, Sabbath Keeping, and Ceremonialism
· Crossings, Kneelings, and Religious Show
C. Many professing Christians today constantly attempt to stitch Christ and the world together.
How many there are who seem determined to prove our Lord wrong, who try to serve both God and mammon. They wear the name of Christ in profession, but serve the world. They want to enjoy the new wine of Christ; but they want to drink it from the old bottle of the world. They will not utterly despise the new garment of discipleship, but they want it without cost or cross. So they try to sew it to the old garments of pleasures, covetousness, and love of the world. They will find one day soon that hey have attempted that which cannot be done.
We must not do so. Don’t put new wine into old bottles. We simply cannot mix…
· Law and Grace.
· Flesh and Spirit.
· The World and Christ.
We must choose one and hate the other.
IV. Now, look at verse 39, and learn this – In the spiritual realm “the old is better”.
The gospel of Christ is often compared to wine in Scripture
· The Color – Blood Red
· The Sweetness
· The Reviving Quality.
· The Calming Effect
If ever you taste the old wine of the gospel, the old wine of free grace, you will not want the new wine of this apostate age (Jer. 6:16).
· Everlasting Love
· Eternal Election
· Effectual Redemption
· Divine Forgiveness
· Immutable Grace
Application: Come drink the old wine of free grace, and you will forever cast aside the new wine of man centered, free will works religion.