Lessons Of A Lifetime

MORE INCREASING OPPOSITION
OR
INCREASING CONFLICTING CUSTOMS
SUNDAY FEB. 17, 2019

Scripture To Consider:
“The disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Jesus, ‘Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?’”

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.’

“No one sows a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Mark 2.18-22

Something To Consider:
In our text today, we find another means of opposition being presented to Jesus. This time we see a combined opposition concerning the lack of fasting brought against the disciples of Jesus by some of the disciples of John the Baptist and some of the Pharisees. Jesus responded to their question of conflict concerning fasting with a question and three snap shot insightful word pictures.

His first word picture is of a wedding party, a joyous occasion of celebration, where fasting would be unheard of and quite abnormal. Jesus made mention of Himself as the bridegroom. Throughout the New Testament Jesus is spoken of as the bridegroom and the church as His bride. This remains to some a mystery and a misunderstood doctrine of the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ by many.

Jesus, later in His ministry, taught the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew chapter 25. He likened the kingdom of heaven to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom who Jesus represents. He stated that five virgins were wise, and five virgins were foolish. The foolish took no oil for their lamps, and the wise wisely took oil with them and their lamps. And then Jesus proclaimed, “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.”

The church, the bride of Christ, today in this 21st century is in that waiting and watching state of affairs. But Jesus continued in the parable by stating, “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom [Jesus] is coming; go out to meet Him!’” How close to midnight are we at this very moment? Midnight could possibly mean at a time totally unexpected or at a time of great spiritual darkness caused by a departing from the faith by some and a rejection of the faith by many.

Something Else To Consider:
Recently, I read an article in Prophecy News Watch, entitled, “Are Christians In Military Really A National Security Threat?” The picture shows a group of twelve praying in a circle, but the article declared that some are now branding them as radicals. There is much combined opposition toward the Christian community and it is increasing and according to the Word of God will ever increase as we approach the end times.

According to Jesus, Christians who are alive and those who have died in Christ will in the not so distant future, hear a cry after the tribulation of the end times, “Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet Him.” But the combined opposition and the conflicting customs as well as man-made traditions are communicating false information that is leading many into the worldly arena of deception promoted by Satan! And that is why the apostle Paul cried out to young Timothy these words, “Preach the Word! Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching…”

Something More To Consider:
In the second snap shot Jesus spoke of the wisdom of not sowing a new piece of cloth as a patch on old clothing. Once washed, the new cloth patch would shrink, making the end result worse than the original problem. This was understandable and insightful! But was it applicable to the subject at hand? When looked at from the perspective that those combined oppositions were because of conflicting customs, it makes perfect sense. The sewing of new cloth on old worn out material creates an automatic conflict. The new piece shrinks while the old does not, therefore creating oppositional conflict.

The same is true with newly fermented wine. If new wine is put into old wineskins previously used, stretched, hard, stiff, and inflexible, they are unable to accommodate the new wine. Religion today as religion then, often carries with it many conflicting customs which on occasions will create opposition to the revealed Word of God. As leaders in training we must be careful of combined opposition and conflicting customs as well as the unbiblical traditions of men, when they oppose God’s Word.

A Few Final Words:
Where are we today in the waiting and watching process as it pertains to the second coming of Jesus our bridegroom? Are we among those of combined opposition to Jesus and the truth of the Word of God because men of religion have been taught a false narrative of the Word of God and of end time events and their timing? Or are we wisely and humbly exposing those who are opposing true biblical Christianity? We must be found on one side or the other!

At the moment the lines of delineation may appear to be somewhat blurred for some because as predicted by the Holy Spirit some are departing from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.

According to Paul finishing his first letter to young Timothy he declared, “But you, O man [woman, and or young person] of God, flee these things [anything that attempts to misdirect us from the faith] and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Preachers today just do not talk like that anymore, but maybe we should! Paul continued his encouragement by commanding, “I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you [Timothy and all who read these words] keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing [second coming after the tribulation of the end times, according to Jesus].”

The underlying theme of our Scripture to consider is the second coming of Jesus Christ. The underlying theme of the New Testament is indeed the second coming of Jesus Christ and our most extreme need to ready ourselves and others for that great and glorious day. And according to Jesus, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming [second coming] of the Son of Man be.”

Notice Jesus said no one knows the day and hour. But Jesus has given us many end times second coming signs that are being revealed in our midst every day. And there are a few signs that the wise are looking for that will open the flood gates to the remaining end time events warned of in advance by Jesus, Daniel, Paul, Peter, and other Old and New Testament writers who wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Are we listening with ears to hear what the Spirit of God is speaking to this end time true church of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, keep us from creating legalistic opposition to Jesus. Free us from conflicting customs that clash with Your Word. In Him Always, Amen!

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