Summary: A sermon highlighting some characteristics of Jesus’ ministry
ALL OR NOTHING
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Here we have a parable placed in with several stories that describe the ministry of Jesus.
The stories are:
• Jesus touching and healing a leper. (5:12-14)
• A paralytic is lowered through a roof and Jesus forgives his sins and heals his body. (5:17-26)
• Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) to become His disciple and socializes with sinners and the down and out. (5:27-32)
• On the day of rest and worship, Jesus healed a man with a shriveled hand after the Pharisees became upset that the disciples picked some grain on the holy day. (Luke 6:1-11)
These stories draw a sharp contrast between an old way of trying to please God and the new way Jesus wanted us to follow.
1. Jesus emphasized love over law
a. Jesus knew that law was given to be a protection and a guide to us but not an end in and of itself. Therefore he “broke” the Pharisees interpretation of the law but fulfilled what God wanted.
i. By touching a leper
ii. By forgiving sins when the friends were simply concerned about the man’s body.
iii. By associating with the dogs of society.
iv. By “working” on the Sabbath.
v. We are not going to make it to heaven by striving to live up to a list of rules or do’s and don’ts. The only way we make it to heaven is by grace through faith.
b. You know, we can sometimes get caught in a false sense of security when we think holiness is about not doing something. Being holy as God is holy has to do with a pure heart.
2. Jesus emphasized action vs. avoidance
a. Again we see this pictured here in Luke 5 with lepers and sinners.
b. It is illustrated powerfully in the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the account of Jesus with the woman at the well. (Who are we avoiding?)
c. The Pharisees were good at avoiding. They excused themselves from so many things so they wouldn’t be “corrupted”.
d. The teaching of the Pharisees was killing the spirit of the people. Jesus was bringing life to the hopeless and the religious alike.
3. Jesus called out, the Pharisees caged up
a. While Jesus reached out to the spiritual need of people around him who were receptive (I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance) the Pharisees condemned the lost and tried to exclude them. Why couldn’t they reach out?
b. Let’s not be so quick to judge the Pharisees…we write a lot of people off too.
c. Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees with a woman who had been caught in adultery. His answer pointed out the farce…he who is without sin may cast the first stone…where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you.
d. The sinless one does not condemn us. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
So we come back to the parable.
The focus of the new wineskins and the patched clothing is three-fold:
• Jesus is offering something new and radically different
• It doesn’t make sense to change only a portion of something.
o It’s like trying to quit a bad habit but spending all your time around others who indulge in it.
o We have people who bring us down yet we continue to spend too much time with them and allow them to influence us. (Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners but He was the one doing the influence).
o The bottom line is this. If you’re going to have the newness of Jesus it is all or nothing. You cannot go half-way.
o In Revelation 3 we discover from the church at Laodicea that God despises fence sitters, lukewarm living, those who try to have it both ways. You can’t do it!
• People are reluctant to embrace the new
o Religious people are notorious for making something sacred that is only a form.
o Religious people are notorious for labeling a new way as the antichrist!
o Religious people are notorious for getting comfortable.
o This is why they like the old wine better than the new.
They’ve lost their taste for freshness
They are used to the old
They’ve lost their passion
Jesus wants to pour himself into your life. But you have to take the whole thing or nothing at all.
• Your desire to be forgiven must be matched by your trust that Jesus will enable you to forsake sin.
• Your gratitude for God’s forgiveness must be matched by your extension of forgiveness to all who have wronged you.