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Lesson # Matt. 9:16-17
Study Material - Matt. 9:16-17
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
16 'But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. 17 'Nor do men put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out, and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.'
To mate new cloth with old cloth results in a tear that is far worse than the original flaw in the old garment. To pour new wine into old wineskins will result in the pressure from the fermentation process of the new wine, breaking the old skins and thus the new wine is lost onto the ground. Wasted. Bummer!!
Wine skins of the day were made out of goat skins. When the goat was slaughtered the throat was cut, the head and feet cut off, the outer skin was separated from the inner fatty skin and the inner body of the goat was pealed and pulled through the neck opening thus leaving the entire body skin in tact. The feet were sewn and the skin was ready for receiving new wine. These skins would survive the fermentation pressures of the new wine and thus were excellent containers. Old skins could not stand the pressures and would break. Apparently common knowledge of the day. Today we just go down to the local market and bring home our preferred beverage in paper or plastic bags. Not that this last line has much to do with anything. I just thought I would throw it in, at no extra charge of course!!!!
Our subject is fasting. We have seen many personalities in these last few lessons in Luke, Mark and now Matthew. In those days there were many sects or groups such as the Essenes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, some, like the Nazarites, called themselves the schools of the prophets and lived in the mountains or desert. They all followed various forms of strict disciplines which regulated their daily lives and their way of thinking. There is nothing wrong per se with living some form of disciplined life, but when it becomes your avenue to God, then it becomes a false path and leads only to doom and misery.
Mans efforts are not included in Gods plan. Mans defined rituals are not a part of Gods plan. Jesus describes these false concepts with His two examples of the garments and the wine skins. The garments are the exterior or covering. That which is seen by others and that which wraps the person wearing it. The wine skins are the vessels which contain the wine, obviously. They contained a living thing once (the live goat) but that goat was merely a biological creature. Biological gets you nowhere. Then that skin becomes a container for new wine or that which becomes that refreshment for a higher creature - mankind.
All of these speak to mans divided attentions between two opinions in life - those of God, and those of the world (originally orchestrated by Satan). Man is of course capable of coming up with his own opinions, but they too are of the same pattern from which Satan's opinions came - arrogance.
The mixture of the two leads to disaster. Man cannot introduce concepts like fasting into their spiritual life, because in doing so it degrades that spiritual life. Its observation (fasting) becomes the guideline, then the rule, then it becomes the religion itself.
Jesus makes His statement 'emphatic', 'no man', that is to say, that no one may combine His teaching, 'the new garment, the new wine' into the old ways of thinking because the two are completely incompatible. They are mutually exclusive. They cannot coexist effectively in the believer. The old will always destroy or significantly diminish the new. The old will always rule and ultimately destroy everything the person has.
The Bible is the 'new. The legalistic attitudes and opinions of these liberal minded groups are the old. Old comes from the days of Adam when he rejected God initially and was evicted from the garden. That old style of thinking has served to dilute and reduce the teachings of God into the various religions that existed in those days and even in our current day. Today Islam or various cults serve as the examples of just how destructive and closed minded this type of thinking can be. Back then it was the Pharisees and the other groups which placed their pattern of life, before that which is taught by the Bible. Of course destructive results don't have to follow religious philosophies only. Many folks reject religion and they are ruled by their arrogance to their own demise.
One cannot add to the Bible either. This fasting was an addition to that which was taught by God to Moses. Man cannot enhance Gods Word or make it better. What is the Christian way of life? Better put, 'What is the spiritual life?' It is merely living inside the sphere of fellowship. That concept has been studied many times before. We will go into more detail when we go through 1 Jn.
It is that simple. The spiritual life is residence in fellowship. Who can be in fellowship? Virtually anyone (who has believed in Christ) who examines their own life and confesses (privately) their sins to God the Father (no one else). The quality of your spiritual life depends on how far along you are in your spiritual growth. That requires a daily study program of Bible doctrine, which should be obvious.
Is this a brain washing of people? No. Believers study by their own decision to study. Believers have every opportunity to question, examine, test that which the Bible teaches. Other cults or philosophies refuse this freedom of examination. Or it is refused by the person simply because they are not interested in anything else. It is easier to accept that which is placed in front of them, than to question it and thereby be exposed to peer pressure or public humiliation.
New garments require a new pattern of thinking - Bible doctrine. New wine - Bible doctrine - requires a new container -the believer in fellowship (the state of sinless perfection). The two (Gods Word and the opinions of the sin nature) cannot be mixed. They are mutually exclusive.
Open minded people will see the truth in Christ and they will shed their old pattern of thinking and begin their new life in the sphere of the new principles taught by Gods Word. 'Follow Me.' Matthew followed.
The Pharisees continued to be manipulators. They rejected the obvious truths which they saw in the miracles recently performed and in the many repetitions of those miracles performed. Jesus did not just cure one individual but everyone who came to Him. Legalistic people defiantly refuse to see their own errors, refuse to see their own flaws, but continually look and examine the errors of others and even magnify those errors in others to proportions beyond reason. Their own arrogance is so great that they would sacrifice the well being of others for their own self interests. Their wineskins (their souls) have long ago broken and they contain no truth. Their garments are so filled with holes which they never see, but are obvious to those who have even the simplest of spiritual growth under their belts. Though we do not judge others, that does not prevent us from observing for our own education.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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