Have you ever been involved with a remodeling project? It can be a very messy undertaking. Because the goal of remodeling is to make something better from its worn and broken state. With multiple pandemics, we are facing a divine disruption, destruction and discipline because God is remodeling something that has become old, stale and broken up. Before Jesus returns, worldwide disruptions will take place to usher in the anti-Christ. At His return, Jesus will set up His millennial kingdom on a new earth . . . a remodeled earth. In the meantime, God does smaller remodeling projects in your life and our world because He wants to disrupt something to highlight the spiritual over the physical. He is calling your attention to a spiritual reality that has become marginalized with His principles ignored.
In Luke 5:29, Levi, the tax collector, is giving Jesus a big reception where a great crowd shows up. A group of tax collectors and sinners . . . not the ideal company for the religious elite. When the Pharisees find out about the party, they begin to complain to the disciples. They could not understand why Jesus partied with tax collectors and sinners, which was totally unacceptable to the day’s religious leaders. Jesus answered them in verses 31-32, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.” When Jesus shows up to your party, it becomes His party because He plans to make a spiritual impact on people whose hearts are spiritually sick.
But these religious leaders still had a problem with Jesus’ party. In verse 33, they said to Him, “The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink.” Although John the Baptist’s disciples are the ones who prepared the way for Jesus, the Pharisees felt their religious commitment was more significant because they did not party. For clarity, there is only one required fast in the Bible. Found in Leviticus 16: 29-31, it is known as the Day of Atonement, an annual cleansing from the guilt of sin. Every other fast in the Bible was voluntary because fasting was tied to a need or crisis where God’s intervention was necessary.
When God only required one fast, the Pharisees made fasting a requirement twice a week. In fact, in Luke 18: 10-12, the Pharisees were praying in the Temple, thanking God that they were not like other sinners since they fasted twice a week and paid their tithes. The religious leaders took a biblical principle and stacked it with human additions. False religion is when you place man-made additions to God’s requirement to make you feel more acceptable. 2 Timothy 3:5 calls it a form of godliness for which they denied its power. Like the Pharisees, we can be duped into religious rituals at the expense of a relationship. The Pharisees had made a religion out of a mountain of regulations.
How do you reset when so many Christians are acting foolishly? Studying the Bible about Jesus is not enough. You must invite Him to hang out with you. It may be your house, but it is His party because He wants to make a spiritual impact in your life. We get an amazing illustration of this in Luke 24: 25-43 when Jesus encountered two depressed disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were sad because Jesus had been crucified. Jesus appeared and walked with them. Not only had they listened to the Living Word, but they had also invited the Living Word into their house. The proximity or closeness of Jesus turned their depression into a celebration. Your intimacy with the Lord should be the driving force of your life, but you first must invite Him in.
Look at Luke 5:36-38. Notice the number of times the word ‘new’ is used. Jesus had come to do something new, not to patch up the old. He tears up the old religious order that holds people hostage. He uses the parable of the new garment and new wine to illustrate you cannot mix the new with the old. The old cloth and old wineskin represent the traditions of men that are stacked on our faith. We must remove unholy mixtures, and Jesus must become the center of all we do as Christians.
- What one point resonated with you from this week’s sermon?
- Do you think you have an intimate relationship with Jesus where He is the center of your life? Why or why not?
Let’s Get Personal
- Have you experienced a problem where you realized it was a divine disruption? What circumstances led you to believe that God was disrupting your life? Share your experience with your group.
- What was Jesus teaching the disciples with the parables of the new garment and new wine? Can you think of a time when you tried to pour new wine into an old wineskin? What happened?
- COVID-19 has changed our lives completely. In what ways, good or bad, has your life been affected by this pandemic? How has the pandemic allowed you to reset your life?
- How have you allowed God to use you to minister to others during the pandemic? Have you discovered creative ways in which you can help others and/or stay in fellowship with one another?
Take the Next Step
- It is exciting to know that when God begins a good work in us, He will complete it. And when we get sidetracked, He will allow a disruption to get us back on track. How will this affect your attitude towards God and your circumstances when problems arise in the future?
- What new thing are you expecting God to do in your life in the New Year? What steps are you taking to prepare for it?
- Want to dig deeper? Look at the following passages: Luke 5:29-38, Lev. 16: 29-31, Luke 18:10-12, 2 Tim. 3:5, Luke 5:36-38, Luke 24:25-43
Renew Your Mind
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst
the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined.
But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.