Summary: God is in the business of saving people and taking them to heaven - He is also in the business of preserving Israel.

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New Wineskins

Matthew 9:14-17 HCSB “Then John’s disciples came up to Him saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast? Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests be sad while the groom is with them? The days will come when the groom is taken away from them and then they will fast. No one patches an old garment with unshrunk cloth, because the patch pulls away from the garment and makes the tear worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins and both are preserved.”

David Wilkerson said in this week’s newsletter that President Bush may not realize that he is being an instrument used by God in his confrontation with Iraq. We have got to know that THE NATION of Israel is loved by the Lord, where or not they are a stubborn and rebellious people who still refuse to believe in Jesus. David Wilkerson, (Times Square Church, Cross and Switchblade central character) said that Saddam Hussein wants to see himself as a hero in the Arab world. He can do this by reaping enormous havoc in Israel. If he can release his weapons of mass destruction on Israel and severely damage Israel – he will be seen as an Arab hero and the Arab world will come to him as it’s mighty deliverer. And whether Bush realizes it or not, he is an instrument used to by God to prevent the destruction of Israel by engaging Iraq in a military confrontation.

The last phrase in our scripture reading has mostly been ignored. In talking about new wine into fresh wineskins – the wine AND the skins are BOTH preserved. Now what can we see from this. We can see quite a bit – so let’s talk about it for a few minutes.

There comes a time for old things to be replaced – however good they have been. Please stay with me.

Jean and I have been driving our Mazda – 1990 for 12 years – and we have dearly loved that car. It had 15k miles on it when we bought it and it has 232k on it right now. It’s been a good car – a wonderful car, and it’s still pretty good. But, we have something even better now. The truck is 4 wheel drive – lots of room – leather seats – CD changer, everything we could want in a vehicle. I’ve been trying to drive the Mazda to keep the miles off the truck – but we have decided it’s time for the car to go.

The new year is here – the old one is gone. The new truck is here – the old car is going – and that’s the way life is – whether we like it or not – change happens and there is a codicil to the old saying, nothing is certain but death and taxes. Change is also certain – nothing on earth ever stays the same.

And the change can be for the better – or it can be for the worse. Whenever Jesus wanted to make a point with his people – instead of preaching them a sermon – he very often told them a story. The asked him about prayer and fasting and he told them about wedding guests and the bridegroom. You don’t fast during a wedding feast or a honeymoon. Jesus the bridegroom was still with them – the honeymoon was still happening. The time would come when the bridegroom would go away and there would be a time for fasting when that happened.

Then he explained about his new way of life. He was not and would not be a part of the old Jewish tradition. To make Him a part of the old tradition would be like putting a patch of new – unshrunk cloth on an old garment. When it got wet whether rained on – or washed – the patch would shrink and tear the garment – and the resulting hole would be bigger and worse than it was to begin with.

Jesus refused to be a patch on the old traditions – He would not be a band-aid – He was a whole – brand new garment – He was a new way of thinking – He was a new way of acting – He was a new way of living – He was a new way of thinking about God – God was Abba – Father – and endearing term – God is Papa – God is Daddy. God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The old tradition said that God was LAW and Jesus said that God is LOVE – The old tradition said DO THIS and Jesus said BE THIS.

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