Journeying with John, It’s a Trip (JWJ-11)
The Good Wine
This morning my heart is burdened with a rather unusual subject - and it flows directly out of a rather intriguing passage in Scripture. Our text is the account of Jesus’ first sign in Cana of Galilee - at the wedding where He turned the water into wine. While there are many different legitimate areas we can go as we look at this passage, this morning I would like to speak with you about what I believe is one of the most important concepts for the Church in our day to understand. My title is “The Good Wine.” Please open your Bible with me to the Gospel of John and the second chapter.
While you are turning there allow me, if you will, to point out an important biblical and spiritual principle that I think is worth reminding us of. It is ‘The Law of First Mention.’ When God does something in the Scriptures for the first time, or reveals something for the first time, or says something for the first time - we do well to look at it very carefully! Why? Because He is laying a foundation that the rest of that line of though or season of activity or development of an idea. It is foundational - and God is setting in place some revelation that holds a key to understanding the rest. That is what is known as ‘The Law of First Mention.”
Well our passage is one of those Scriptures - it is has some ‘first mention’ in it - and it holds some keys that if we miss we may misunderstand many other things in this flow of truth. We do well to listen carefully as we study this passage together.
John 2:1-11 - Read - Pray (I prefer to cut this passage off at verse 11 and not 12, I think it better fits the sense of the passage.
Water - The Religious Spirit - A form of religion but denying the power thereof.
Poor Wine - Saved - but Just
Good Wine - Kingdom Christianity -
1. The Religious Spirit
Intoxicated with Religion
Legalism is an over-strict adherence to the law. In theology it is salvation by works; the attempt to achieve righteousness by religious acts as opposed to salvation by grace through faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" Eph. 2:8,9
Legalism is characterized by zeal which can be mistaken for commitment, piety and true holiness. Paul was burdened for his Jewish brethren whom he said, "Have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Rom 10:2-4
Eccl. 7:16 says, "Do not be overly righteous"
A religious spirit (mindset) seeks to substitute religious activity for the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God in the believer’s life.
Performance oriented with self and others
Relies on religious activity rather than the Holy Spirit
High on truth and low on grace
Rooted in religious competition and pride
Thrives on legalism
2. Poor Wine - Saved - but Just
Intoxicated with Self
Phil. 2:12 “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.”
It has been said that the greatest obstacle to the coming of the kingdom of God is the church, preoccupied with her own existence.
The danger for all of us is unbridled self-concern. We can drown in our narcissism---our incessant need to focus on self, to turn the attention back to ME.
As somebody once said, “I’m tired of talking about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?”
The center of self centered Christianity is pride.
Isaiah 14:12-15 “For you have said in your heart: ’I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’”
Jesus came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many
Intoxicated with Pleasure
Abraham Call - 2 Parts
To bless you
That you might be a blessing
Paul warned Timothy in II Timothy 3:1-5 of the “perilous times” that would come upon the earth. In his list of some of the horrible traits that would characterize the people of these times he speaks of those who are - “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2 Tim. 3:4)
3. The Good Wine - Kingdom Christianity
The Life of Christ
The Fulness of the Spirit
The Focus of the Call
The Discipline of Growth
The Establishment of the Kingdom
The Demonstration of Integrity
The Manifestation of Love