The new and old are hard to match
Matthew 9:16-17, Mark 2:21, Luke 5:36-39; 1/17/2021; BCBC/IOUC; Rev. Paul Wang
At the beginning of the new year, we have received the Word of God together about the way for people to get closer to God and imitate Him from lamp to light. Only by walking out of the darkness at the bottom of the battle and seeing the light on the city can you witness the glorious God, agree? The life in the light is the life that is built-up! Where are you going to build? On the rock? Or in the sand? Its essence is the challenge of old and new lives, and it is also the only way for each of our children of God to walk the path of heaven. Let’s take a look at the first point:
Old person with old life
We are all descendants of Adam, waiting for God’s election and receiving Christ’s redemption. Before and after being saved, we may know more about our old and familiar lives. Such as our habits, thinking patterns, tone of speech, the way of making decisions, etc. First, it’s hard to forget the old affection. People have emotions, do you agree? We will express our emotions, vent our emotions, and express our feelings with affection, will we? Yes, we are actually very smart in this regard, right? All the old love and old things that have passed will leave beautiful memories, right? First love may leave scars, and it will be unforgettable. Agree? This is why, knowing that old clothes will be destroyed, some people will put a piece of new cloth on an old garment. Why is such an unreasonable thing still happening? It’s because people have emotions and act driven by emotion so that old relationships are unforgettable. Is this you? When the new life of Christ comes, we may still have feelings for the world, which we are not willing to give up, will you?
Second, the new and old are hurting each other. We may not be ready to face the encounter between the new and the old. The new cloth sewed on the old clothes looks good. However, when we put them on, we will know that the result is mutually harmful. We have clearly believed in the Lord, but we don’t live out the Lord, it is like suffering from the old self. New life will grow, the gospel must be preached, and the mission must also be undertaken. If you still hold on to the previous frequency, you will not receive the new sound of Christ. As time passed by, we wandered on the illusory one acre of land, leaving scars. The gospel has gone for a thousand years and has already reached the end of the earth, but we may still be complacent about our self-centered “Jerusalem”. Isn’t this the state of the universal church today? Isn’t it a portrayal of our life? Do you want to continue playing “Seven Sided Strike”?
Lastly, destructive consequences are hard to bear. The Kongtong school descendants in Jin Yong’s novels may be the most foolish Martial-Arts of all. Before a fight, they hurt themselves. As Christians, we sometimes do the same. Before we go out to fight for the Lord, we hurt each other in the church. Saying malicious words to each other is far beyond our enthusiasm for evangelism, do we? If you do not vote for Trump, well, then you are my enemy! Although Trump is not president this time, I will never change my support for him! Don’t you feel so romantic? Why not dedicate this great love to the Lord Jesus who deserves this love? Maybe you don’t know, you are hurting yourself and you are even hurting the Lord who saved you and his body which is the church. How many churches are hurt and how many disputes have been caused by this election in the United States? Does the truth you believe make you interpret life in this way? Let’s take a look at the second point:
New person with new life
Since the new patch is not suitable for the old garment, where should the foundation be established? The Bible says that if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! First, let the old go. We will not forget the past, but we can let the old things go. The question is, are you willing? The shadow of our childhood may leave us an indelible impression. Even sad and unforgettable memories, will they? For example, my father beat me, my mother scolded me, etc. Or to compare life, you see, you have a brother, I don’t have one! You have an aunt, I don’t even have an aunt! When you were young, you had bountiful food like milk and eggs. I could barely feed myself! Therefore, my personality today is introverted, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and ability. I often have nightmares at night, dreaming that my uncle beat me and my cousin bullied me. In short, you don’t understand me, no one understands me! This mode of thinking that doesn’t let the old things pass by binding us in the past and is willing to fall into self-abandonment! Could it be the fact that Christ died for you has no effect on you? Is there really something great about the old self who is fighting against Christ?
Next, let the new and old be separated. When we believe in Jesus, it means we should forget what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, and press on toward the goal. In other words, we have lost interest in this world. Why? Because they are not worthy! Our lives have belonged to Christ alone, right? Neither Trump’s “Make America Great Again” or Xi Jinping’s “New China Dream” can take away our attention from Christ, do you agree? Therefore, to separate the old and the new is the glory of the children of God! It’s just that we tend to go astray and think that the kingdom of God is equivalent to the kingdom on earth. Some people tend to distort the Bible and interpret a certain leader in the world privately as the “chosen man.” It even defines the selection of a certain country in the world as a dispute between “good and evil”! Why? Who is qualified to represent justice? Besides Christ, is there anyone?
Lastly, a new person does new things. Since you have become a new person in Christ, why not do new things? This is Jesus’ solution, right? He said: “they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. (Matthew 9:17b)” Did you know that the most important thing for a person who believes in the Lord is the transformation of life? Words must be changed, and the Lord will not say a word that is not pleased! Change your behavior and do nothing that the Lord is not pleased with. What shall we do? The newlyweds wear new clothes, and the new wine is in new leather bags. It is to be new inside and out, not just to do so few new things on the outside, but to develop the habit of doing new things. You used to always sleep in, but now become an early bird. In the past, it was arranged by the church to preach the gospel. Now it becomes a component of your life to share gospel with anyone you meet. Let’s take a look at the third point:
The new and old are hard to match
The new life of Christ and the old life of Adam are difficult to match, because the direction, the essence, and the fruits are not compatible! First, the direction does not match. Christ has come to give us life and to have more abundance in lives. The old life is self-righteous, always thinking that there is a right way, but unexpectedly that is actually the way to death. If we are unwilling to be changed by the Lord, then we decided to use the old self to serve our Lord. What will happen? Jesus said: “If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. (Matthew 9:17c)” The reason is simple, because eternal life is in the opposite direction of hell. We have to abandon everything that is incompatible with the direction of eternal life. Are you willing to?
Second, the essence does not match. It seems that clothes are still clothes, and wine is still wine. But new wine is no longer old wine, and new clothes are not old clothes. Do you understand? The coronavirus and virus variation are no longer the same thing, and even the vaccine may not apply to both! What are the characteristics of the new wine? It will continue to ferment and if it is placed in the old wineskins, it cannot withstand the pressure of the new wine. As the church advances, people who belong to the Lord will walk with God, and people who belong to the world will not be able to adapt to this development. Last year God led the church to embark on online worship. This is a new thing and only new talents who belong to the Lord can receive it. People who belong to themselves and the world have no ability or vision to penetrate the wonders of God.
Finally, the fruit does not match. The fruit usually refers to the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the gospel in the Bible. Today, I will say one more fruit: the fruit of change. Why? Because we don’t want to change, right? Jesus said: “And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better. (Luke 5:39)” , We are not that used to the new wine Christ brings and often we don’t feel like drinking it. Just as the Israelites, when they left Egypt, they still miss the Egyptian food. On their road in the wilderness, they still missed the old days. Is that you?
Dear brothers and sisters, the new and old are hard to match, do you still want to force matching them? Will you continue staying in the old life, or are you willing to step out and enter into the new life from Christ? Today’s message is very simple, the new and old do not match! Are you willing to unite with God with the new life given by Christ? Let’s pray…
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.
36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”