Jesus Breaks the Mold
August 16th 2009
- Hi everybody.
- Do you ever find yourself doing something you wouldn’t do, if weren’t for someone else? You got talked into, encouraged by, another person, to go and do something you probably wouldn’t have done if left to yourself?
- It can be a bad thing, like “I wouldn’t be here if wasn’t for you.”
- I’ve been down that road a few times.
- But it can also be a good think, like “I never would have experienced this, if hadn’t been for you.”
- I’ve got one friend in particular who seems to provide more of those second experiences than anyone else.
- And last year, about this time, he invited me to go on a backpacking trip, to a place I’d never have gone on my own, to see things I’d have never seen on my own.
- Check out this picture from our trip.
- Sunset Picture from Wallawas
- Now that’s just one spectacular picture, from a spectacular place, that I never would have seen if weren’t for my friend leading the way.
- But here’s the other part of the deal.
- Getting there wasn’t easy. It was a long hike, with lots of work.
- But sometimes, getting to places like that means going through some rough country.
- The same could be said for following the leader, Jesus.
- There are time, and maybe we’ll experience some of that today, that following Jesus can be a little uncomfortable.
- But there’s the promise of something better at the end of the trail.
- That’s what we we’re going to see today as we continue in our series “Follow the Leader” and see how Jesus Breaks the mold.
- Before we do, let’s pray.
1. Next Sunday (back of tear-off) – Joe will talk about the trip to Kenya and how it has affected him.
2. Oasis sign-ups (#4) – it’s time! Sign up today at the Info Center; leaders will be there to answer questions.
3. Financial Peace (#3) – attend an orientation to see if you might benefit from this class.
4. Baptism Class, August 30th
- I got my first car when I was sixteen years old. It wasn’t new, but it was new to me; you know that, right? New to you is as good as new, isn’t it? I couldn’t have been any more excited.
- It was a 1977 Honda Civic, it had a fresh coat of charcoal grey paint, and it promised a whole new world; it promised a whole new life.
- This car was a savior of sorts.
- Everything was going to be different because of a car.
- Well, I’ve owned a few cars since that old Honda. I’ve changed cars a couple of times.
- And it’s never been change for change sake; it’s always been a genuine desire to improve my motor vehicular situation.
- Change for improvement’s sake, right.
- There’s the promise of something better, and so, I’ve changed a cars a few times.
- Actually, I’ve changed cars a little more than a few times.
- I thought I’d help give you a sense of how many cars I’ve owned with this slide:
- Slide with car makes/models
- Here are all the cars I’ve had. Sorry about the small print. Had to do that to get it all on one page.
- If you were to count, and I’m sure someone already is, there are 30 there, and it doesn’t include my motorcycle.
- So, I’ve owned a couple of cars, from a more than one manufacturer.
- But here’s the deal, here’s why I’m telling you this.
- When car ads come on TV, or when I hear people talking about a new car, and all that that new car offers, do you think I’m just a little skeptical?
- If someone starts talking up a car, making big promises of how great it is, about how everything will be different, do you think I’m buying it? No.
- I’m a car salesman’s worst nightmare. I’m like a walking consumer report on the automobile industry.
- I’m a little skeptical. I don’t fall in love with cars. Cars are simply oversized vacuum cleaners that suck money from your wallet.
- At sixteen, I knew my world would be different, but I thought my world would be better because I had a car.
- If I could go back and get someone to drive me around in their car, and pay for the gas, the insurance, the repairs, the way my mom and dad did, if I could do that today, I’d do it.
- See I’ve owned enough cars, had enough experience, with enough different brands, that I know cars don’t solve problems; cars create problems.
- So I don’t buy the hype.
- In fact, I don’t buy the hype with just about anything.
- Anytime anyone is trying to sell me something, I get skeptical.
- Anytime, anyone is telling me that they have something that will change my life, that make my life better, that operators are standing buy for this limited time offer – I don’t buy it, and I don’t care how great you say it is.
- You can give me all the testimonials, all the facts, you can schmooze me, and wine me and dine me, but I’m not gonna buy it because I’m a skeptic.
- Because I’ve had enough life experience, I’ve had enough bad experiences, to know that if it sounds to good too be true, it’s probably what? …too good to be true, right?
- You’re not any different that me, are you?
- We all feel that way don’t we?
- We’re all a little skeptical when someone starts making big promises about how something is going to revolutionize the way we do life.
- We’ve all tried enough new things to find out that new things turn into old things.
- That’s why we have boxes full of old cell phones, old PDA’s old MP3 players, old organizing systems. It’s why we have old couches in our basements, and revolutionary books gathering dust on our shelves.
- Because at some point, we took the bait, we bought the lie, and we found out that everything new eventually gets old, and the promise someone made us, eventually gets broken.
- And so first we get disappointed, then, we become…skeptical.
- There’s disappointment, and then skepticism.
- And along comes this whole God, Jesus, Church, thing.
- With all the promises of a brand new and improved you; a new and improved life.
- And some of us here today, You’ve heard this before and it’s going to take a lot for you to believe this, because you’re skeptical.
- Others of us, maybe we’re not skeptical, but if we’re real real honest with ourselves, we’d admit, we’re a little disappointed.
- We bought in, we took the bait, we said I’m going to do this.
- But then one or two or three years; or ten or fifteen, or twenty years, down the road, we’re looking at our life, and we’re looking at what the promise was, and they don’t match up.
- One of these kids is doing it’s own thing. You know what I mean?
- One of these is not like the other.
- There’s the promise, and then there’s my life. And they don’t look the same.
- We’ve been trying, we’ve been doing. We come to church, and we try to read our Bibles, and hey, I even raised my hands in worship. I’m trying this thing; but it’s not working the way I thought it would.
- And maybe you haven’t abandoned this faith in Jesus thing, and maybe it has a place in your life, but it’s not what you thought it was going to be.
- And so maybe you’re a little disappointed. Maybe you’re a little skeptical.
- And here’s what I wonder. Is the problem with the product; is the problem Jesus; is the problem with the promise?
- Or, is the problem with the purchaser; is the problem with the recipient; is the problem with us?
- See if you’re either skeptical, kind of wondering how Jesus could really make that much of a difference in your life; or if you’re a little disappointed, because you thought there would be more, you thought it would be more profound;
- if you’re in either one of those places, then what we’re going to look at today is going to be especially interesting to you.
- Because we’re going to see the answer to most of our questions about how the hope and the promises of this brand new life Jesus of can really be experienced.
- We’re going to see how people who have been oversold and are skeptical can actually overcome those feelings and engage a new way of life that really does change everything.
- But I also want to be honest with you, and remind you, that some of this, some of this might be a little uncomfortable, we might press on some tender spots, because following the leader sometimes means going places we wouldn’t go on our own.
- So, if you have your Bible to Mark chapter 2…
- Mark 2, starting in verse 18. There are three short stories starting in Mark 2, and one little parable that are going to change things for us. Let’s read it.
18Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
- Now let me explain a little something here.
- See, it was a regular habit of the day, for religious people, people who were seeking God, to fast. It was symbolic of their seriousness, and I won’t get into all that it meant, or represented, because they point is that people that were really serious about God fasted.
- But we’ve got Jesus, and he’s supposed to be pointing the way to God, but his disciples aren’t fasting.
- You’ve got to imagine this. All the folks, they’re walking around solemn and serious, they haven’t eaten all day, because they’re serious about their religion.
- And they wander past the food court, that ought to be pretty empty, and here’s Jesus and his disciples, and they’re diving in to a happy meal.
- Man, I’m grumpy when I’m hungry, so I can imagine how they’re feeling. Not only that, but this is pretty disconcerting.
- We fast because we’re serious about faith, and you’re supposed to be serious about faith, but you’re not fasting, your feasting Jesus. What gives?
19Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
- Jesus doesn’t say, “Oh my bad, we forgot today was fasting day.”
- No, Jesus says, “Ya, I know we’re not fasting, and we’re not fasting on purpose.”
- Do you realize how offensive this is?
- He’s telling them, straight up, that they’re missing the point.
- You’re fasting because you’re seeking answers, but the answer is right in front of you. You should be celebrating. You should be feasting.
- You’re not getting this.
- So, to help you understand, here’s a little parable.
21″No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
- Do you ever have a conversation with someone, and, like after ten minutes, you’re wondering inside, “What is this person talking about?” You ever do that?
- I think, if I were standing there, I’d be looking at Jesus like, “Ok, ok. Good point Jesus. I don’t have a clue what that means, but hey, I’m going to pretend like I do. Thanks man! See you later.”
- What is Jesus talking about?
- New Wine, New wineskins. Unshrunk cloth patching an old cloth.
- This is strange language.
- But as strange as it is, it’s the key to understanding what Jesus and his message are all about.
- And it starts to make more sense the more we read.
23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
- This looks familiar, right?
- There are rules about spirituality Jesus. There are rules about faith, and there’s a way to play the game. There’s a system Jesus, and you’re not following it. That’s the problem here.
- So Jesus apologizes, right? “Oops. Again, my fault. I didn’t realize what day it was.”
- Not at all.
25He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 27Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
- You know how there are rules, and then there are RULES?
- There are things you don’t do, then, there are things you really really really don’t do?
- Like you might have gone a little over the speed limit on the way here this morning, but you didn’t pull a handgun out of your glove box and take random shots at joggers.
- There are rules; both are wrong. But then there are RULES. And that second one is way out of bounds.
- You and I might say, “What’s the big deal?” about Jesus and the boys grabbing a roadside snack.
- But in that culture, in that time, in that system, with their rules, this was a big one. You don’t break this one.
- You keep the Sabbath Holy, and that meant you did no work of any kind, at least that’s how they interpreted it. And they had strict rules, strict guidelines about that that looked like.
- And you might cut him some slack, and say, well, it wasn’t ‘on purpose’; there’s a big difference between doing it on purpose and just ignoring it right? Just ‘forgetting’ it. Let’s cut him some slack.
- But look at the third story.
…he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
- Jesus is saying, “I know your rules, and the fact that you have a problem with me.”
- But your rules, your system is choking the life out of life. Your attempt to find life is actually taking life.
- So he throws a question out, trying to get them to see the problem with their rules; the problem with their system.
- He’s trying to wake them up, but verse four says they just stood there.
- They refused to answer.
- And then, Jesus, does something on purpose.
5He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored
- This is on purpose, in your face, blatant disobedience on the part of Jesus.
- Think about the radical symbolism involved in this.
- Fasting was no small thing, and nothing was more sacred than the Sabbath.
- By performing this miracle on the Sabbath, by gathering a road-side snack, by feasting when others are fasting, Jesus intentionally desecrates the religious practices of his day.
- The writers of the Gospels — the four biblical books that record the life of Christ — use a fascinating Greek word to describe the effect that Jesus routinely has on his religious audience.
- They describe Jesus as a Skandalon, meaning a stumbling block, an offense, a scandal.
- Why would he behave this way? Why would Jesus, this supposed peaceful and loving guy be so offensive? So confrontational?
- We have to go back to the parable.
- What did Jesus say?
22And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
- See what Jesus is saying is that his message of love — a radically accepting love — is too great to be contained by the old ways of religious tradition. His new wine demands new wineskins.
- Jesus is saying that his promise of a new life, in him – a revolutionary life – is too radical to fit into the systems of society. New wine needs new wineskins.
- Wine is frequently used as a symbol of God’s blessing and joy, and what he’s saying is that receiving that blessing, experiencing that joy, isn’t going to happen in the old or existing system.
- See, the primary mission of Jesus was to tear down religion as the foundation for people’s connection with God and replace it with himself.
- I want to boil this down to one thing. One thing that you can walk out of here with. If you don’t write anything else down today, get this one thing.
- ONE THING: Jesus offers something better, but it’s different.
- Jesus offers something B E T T E R, but it’s D I F F E R E N T.
- You couldn’t cram Jesus and his message into the systems of that day and still let Jesus be Jesus, or let his message be his message. It doesn’t fit. It blows it apart.
- The new wine needs new wineskins.
- Jesus breaks the mold. (pause)
- You know it’s so easy to give the Pharisees a bad rap.
- They get stereotyped. And I know what the feels like.
- See I do something for a living that gets me stereotyped.
- I’m a pastor.
- I’ll be talking to people, hanging out, and we’re chatting for a while, and then they ask me, “What do you do?”
- Then, as soon as I say “Pastor” you can see the shock. Eyes go big.
- The wheels start spinning, and they’re thinking. “What did I say in the last five minutes…what did I say? How many times did I swear? I didn’t tell him that joke I heard at work did I? Oh BLEEEP I did. BLEEP.
- I can see it on their faces. I’ve actually had people do the double swear shame swear thing.
- So I’m careful how I lay that out there. I’m sensitive to people.
- But this one time when I was traveling and this guy was sharing all of his perverse exploits on a recent trip to Vegas, he’s going on and on, and it’s getting worse and worse, and then finally, I haven’t said anything, finally he asks, “What do you do?”
- In that moment, delivery is everything. Funny you should ask…
- “Captain, can we get some oxygen back here?”
- But the stereotype is funny.
- The other day I went wakeboarding. And I’m not really any good at wakeboarding, but because I’m a pastor, people are shocked. “That was awesome!” Why? Because I didn’t think you were human.
- So the Pharisees, they get a bad rap.
- People are always beating up on them.
- They’ve got this stereotype of being evil, wicked, mean and nasty people.
- But you have to put yourself in their shoes. In fact, you have to put yourself in their shoes if you want to get anything out of this.
- The Pharisees were sincere. They’ve got their system,s they’ve got their rules, and the regulations, their practices and all this stuff.
- They thought they had things pretty nailed, pretty figured out.
- But we can gather from Scripture that in the early days of Jesus’ ministry, they were curious about what he could bring to the party.
- Like maybe he had something good to add.
- But when they hear this new wine, new wineskin talk, they hear change.
- When they hear, ‘brand new’ they don’t buy it.
- They’re skeptical. Because they have a system.
- Jesus says “I’ve got something better, but it’s different.”
- And they say, “We want something better, but we can’t handle different.”
- Jesus says, “I’ve got something that will revolutionize your life, but it’s different.”
- Ya, Jesus, we told you. We want better, but we also don’t want things to change too much. We like our system. We like our life. We want you to improve it, but we don’t want you to change it.
- And you know what happens after this third story in Mark; a decision gets made.
- Verse six says the old wineskin people, the Pharisees, the people who had their little world all put together; it says they decided to kill Jesus.
- But you know what else happened? If you keep reading along in chapter three, this is when the crowds start following Jesus. This is when the new wineskin people started following Jesus.
- Jesus says, “I have something better for you. I have something new. But it’s different.
- And so here’s the question.
- Are you a new wineskin kind of person? Or are you an old wineskin kind of person?
- See, new wineskin people they don’t care if Jesus turns their world upside down, but old wineskin people, say no no no no, you’re not messing with my world. Sure I want what’s better, but would you do it in a way that makes sense to me?
- We don’t see it this way, but we’re really not that different than the Pharisees.
- Our systems might be different, but the basic premise really isn’t.
- And this is where your disappointment comes from. This is where your skepticism comes from.
- See you heard about this better life, this better world, through Jesus, and you bought in, but you’ve been putting new wine in old wineskins.
- And your old wineskin, your old way of viewing the world and what provides meaning; your old way of defining what’s meaningful, what matters, your old way of determining what’s valuable and worthwhile, it can’t hold Jesus.
- It can’t hold him.
- Maybe your system is Religion, like the Pharisees. Essentially, religion says I obey-therefore I’m accepted. I obey in order to get things from God. If I obey, if I’m good enough, then God will accept me.
- It’s based on fear and insecurity.
- And you’ve inserted Jesus into that system, but your still trying to earn God’s favor; you’re still, at your core, a religious person, living by rules and regulations, rather than relationship.
- Or maybe your system is Hedonism
- The basic idea behind hedonism is that pleasure is the only thing that really matters in life.
- Basically, you evaluate your life on whether or not it’s going to ‘fun’. And if life has more pleasure than pain, then it’s all good, right?
- So you don’t mind inviting Jesus to the party cause, hey, he might bring the chips and salsa. Spice this thing up a bit.
- Or maybe it’s Materialism or Consumerism.
- The idea that your happiness is equal to how much you can either own or consume. The more you have the happier you are.
- And Jesus, he promises some pretty cool stuff, so, hey, if by following Jesus I can get more, have more, be more blessed monetarily, then, I’m in.
- Or maybe it’s Liberalism.
- What I mean by that that you consider freedom, your freedom, your rights, to be the most important thing in life.
- The more free you are the better off you are.
- And Jesus says cool things about the truth setting you free, and if the son sets you free you are free indeed, and no body telling you what to do, that sounds good to you, so you’re in.
- I like this Jesus because he fits real nicely into my old wineskin.
- Ok, ok, maybe you think I’m exaggerating. It’s really not that bad., right?
- Well, let me ask;
- What happens when you’ve been as good as you can be, you’ve been as religious as a person can be, but you don’t get the results you wanted. Are you frustrated with God?
- What happens when you experience bad things, and instead of pleasure, there’s pain? In fact, there’s more pain that pleasure. Do you start to doubt Jesus? If He’s really who he said is would he be letting this happen to me, cause this doesn’t feel good? This doesn’t fit into my old wineskin.
- Or what about when you lose your money, or your possessions? Do you start to panic?
- Or how about freedom. What do you do when you lose your rights? When someone does you wrong, and it’s not going away?
- It starts to hit close to home, doesn’t it.
- This past week I sat down for lunch with my friend Tim, who recently returned from three-month project in Africa.
- One of the most remarkable things he told me was the number of people in the country he visited that engaged in what he referred to as dark arts or black magic.
- Even more surprising was the number of Christian people, who privately, secretly, between the hours of midnight and 4 am, engage in satanic rituals, even submitting children to these things in an effort to appease evil spirits.
- One of the individuals who shared these things with him had, himself been exposed at a young age, by his father, who, unbelievably, was a Baptist Pastor.
- I’m just thinking, how is this possible? This is crazy. How could anyone in their right mind, accept the message of Jesus and not see the contradiction, not see how ridiculous…oh wait…then it hit me.
- Is it really that different?
- See, here’s what we do. (Go to the chalkboard).
- We have our life system. (Big Container)
- And we organize our life by that system. (Small circles)
- Relationships, Money, Job, School, House, Cars, Parties, whatever.
- This is our life.
- And what we have a tendency to do is add this Jesus God Church thing into our little world, and he becomes one of the circles (add as small Jesus circle.)
- It’s like you’ve accessorized your life with Jesus. Guys, that makes more sense to the ladies, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
- You accessorized with Jesus.
- He’s like Alka-Seltzer.
- So he’s in the mix, he’s a part of what’s going, but when things go wrong, according to your system, you’re disappointed.
- When your religiosity fails you, when hedonism runs it’s course, what you finally realize you can’t own enough to make you happy, when someone steals your right, you’re frustrated, maybe even mad.
- Jesus, you’re in here, right? You’re in the mix, right? I thought you being in here with all my other stuff, would make all my other stuff go the way I wanted it to go?
- But you’re trying to put Jesus in an old wineskin, and it can’t contain him. He can’t be defined by that system.
- And you’ll never know what Jesus offers, you’ll never experience real acceptance, or true pleasure, or genuine wealth, or ultimate freedom, until you embrace the new wineskin.
- That’s why Jesus was so scandalous. That’s why Jesus did these things on purpose.
- Because he cares, because he knows, you’ll never find what you’re looking for until you place your life in him.
- He’s the new wineskin. (Go to chalkboard) He’s not a part of the system, he IS the system. (erase his circle and shade the container)
- He is the container, in which everything else is now held.
- And here’s the deal when we lose our religion. When we deal with our hedonism. Admit our consumerism. When we’re liberated from our liberalism.
- We won’t be disappointed, we’ll stop being a skeptic, and we’ll experience true conversion.
- You’ll experience the ‘brand-new’ revolutionary, overwhelmingly wonderful life he promises.
- Jesus said, “I have come that they would have life, and life to the full.”
- But you’ve got to give him full control. (pause)
- Becoming a Christian, listen, listen to this because this is unique, becoming a Christ follower, is about putting all of our trust, all of our life, in him and his work on the cross.
- It’s about letting him define our lives, letting him define what matters, not the systems we used to trust, just him. (pause)
- So I’ve got a question for you.
- Are you a new wineskin person, or are you an old wineskin person?
- I think there’s a pretty high likelihood, that some of us right now are realizing that we really didn’t get Jesus, we didn’t understand Jesus until today.
- Have you ever in all of your life, made a conscious decision to quit trusting all of the systems, and say God I don’t need a system, I need a savior?
- Have you ever in your life made the decision to really become a Christ follower and let him redefine your whole life system?
- Have you ever said, Jesus, I don’t want you to be one small circle in the mix of my life, I want you to be my life? Have you done that?
- If you haven’t done that, I want to give you a chance to do that today.
- I’m going to give some of you the opportunity, for the first time to say, You know what, I’ve heard that all my life, and I’ve sort of believed in Jesus intellectually, but I want to make it personal.
- And I want to give some of you the chance to say, I’ve had Jesus in the mix, but I haven’t given him all of my life, I’m still living in my old wineskin, and I want out; I’m gonna give you the chance to do that today.
- And some of you, some of you, you’re hear, but you’ve never even considered being a Christ follower until today. I’m gonna give you a chance to become one today.
- I’m gonna pray a prayer and you can follow along after me, or you can use your own words, whatever, but listen.
- Praying a prayer what make you a new wineskin Christian; trusting in Christ will make you a new wineskin Christian.
- Would you pray with, for just a moment.
- Now if you’re in one of the three places I mentioned, here’s some words you can use, if this is where your heart is today.
- I need a savior, and I believe Jesus is the savior.
- I know I’m a broken person living by broken systems, in a broken world.
- And right now, I’m putting all of my trust, for all of my life, in the scandalous Jesus Christ.
- Thank you for showing me the way to true and genuine life.
- In Jesus name, Amen.