Patchwork Religion

The message was brought by Darrel Pickle.

Matthew 9: 14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

The disciples of John came to Jesus and asked why his disciples and the Pharisees fasted when the followers of Jesus did not.  The Pharisees were all about rituals and fasting was one of theirs.  Jesus explained the old law had passed away because he came to make things new.  He told them you don’t take a new cloth to patch an old garment. He meant that we’re not saved by doing rituals.  We can’t add anything to salvation.  Things done in the past are gone because Jesus came to fulfill them.

If you go to a wedding, you do eat and have a good time.  You don’t turn away the food.  You can fast later.  Fasting is doing without food to bring the body under subjection.  It works. When God dealt with me about going full time in the ministry, I fasted to be sure of his direction.  I came first to the realization that God supplies our needs.  The lilies of the field are cared for and he cares for us more than he does them.  I knew he would take care of me if I resigned from my job and stepped out full time for him.  When you’re in a corner, it’s good to fast.  While Jesus was here there was no need to fast.  He’s gone now.  Sometimes there is a need for prayer and fasting.

Jesus said you don’t put new wine in old bottles.  Their bottles were skins.  You don’t patch them up to make them work.  He probably watched his mother patch many garments while growing up.  She took old clothes and put new pieces of cloth on them.  Jesus didn’t come to patch or reform humanity.  He came to transform.  I’ve known people who do bad things and think if they just go to church it will be all right.  That’s a patch.  I drank before I got saved.  I told myself all the time I would do better.  That was only a patch.  I couldn’t fix myself.  Jesus had to do it.  Religion will burden you down.  It requires patch after patch.  The Pharisees did things certain ways.  They knew and agreed with Jesus that something was wrong with mankind.  When we watch the news we may wonder how people can be so mean.  All of us are bad.  We had potential to do worse than we did.  We have a conscience but it can get seared.  When that happens, people just get worse and worse.  Jesus told Nicodemus ye must be born again.  He asked if he had to enter his mother’s womb a second time.  Jesus told him that flesh is flesh and spirit is spirit.  We must be born again of the Spirit.

We don’t have to teach people to do wrong.  We were conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity.  We’re faulty.  We have to teach kids to say thank you and excuse me.  It doesn’t come naturally.  Jesus didn’t come to put a patch on what’s wrong with us.  He came to make us new.

People have no remedy, no answer for how to fix what’s wrong with mankind.  They’ll send you to a psychiatrist who’ll tell you that you act like you do because someone was bad to you.  They have no remedy.  You may say you are going to do better and straighten up.  You may go to church a while and then quit.  All these are good but they are only patches.  You must be fixed.  We’re prone to be religious.  Some go to church for a while to soothe their conscience.  A man told me one time that it didn’t matter what he did during the week as long as he took communion on Sunday.  That’s just a patch.  Sad to say some churches can’t tell you how to get fixed.  We must come humbly to Jesus Christ and admit something is wrong with us and needs to be fixed.  I’ve got the same body, but I’ve got a new Darrel inside.  I long for a new body.  This one gets weaker all the time.  The inside just gets more and more excited about what is to come.  People have no remedy.  The government can’t fix us.  When we got saved we got a new nature.  God wants us to have victory over our old nature.  He wants us to walk in the Spirit.  Whichever nature we feed the most will have supremacy and be the stronger.

You can try to improve your life, but those things are patches.  Mom used to patch my old overalls.  It looked silly.  People made fun.  That’s what trying to patch your life does.  People see through it.  It doesn’t work.  The Prodigal Son was given a new robe when he returned home.  We get a new garment when Jesus fixes us.

Jesus makes us new.  Isn’t it wonderful to know Jesus is with us every day?  When money wears out what happens to it?  It’s burned and replaced with newly minted money.  Winter is here again.  We don’t need to go out and put plastic fruit in trees.  We need spring, the real thing.  Jesus said not to marvel that we must be born again.

When we’re made new we receive peace and victory.  The world can’t give this to us.  Religion can’t give it.  Only Jesus can give it.  We get peace with God and peace of God because we’re new and not patched.  We also get new motives.  What motivates you?  Without motivation we won’t do anything.  We need motivation to go to church and work for the Lord.  I get motivated to keep going on when someone gets saved.  It gives us an extra push to do what we wouldn’t ordinarily do.  It brings us a new power.  We can do all God wants us to do because he gives us what we need.  I used to be very shy.  I’d take a zero in school instead of doing an oral book report.  God gave me what I needed when he called me to preach.  This power is a gift of God.  He’ll lead and guide us and make life worth living.

We can’t be patched together.  We must trust God to fix us.

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