Things Old and New
By way of introduction we want to briefly explain this parable, as it is called in Lukeís Gospel.
The material of the old garment was well worn and torn. The new material was raw fabric that was not yet shrunk by washing. When the new patch was washed it would shrink and tear the old garment, and make it worse than it was before. (Note: Christianity is not a patch, but it is a whole new garment).
The old bottles were actually wine skins that were used to make wine. After they got old they became brittle and lost their elasticity. If new wine was put in them, the expansion caused by the fermentation process would tear the old skins and the wine would run out. (Note: If the use of wine was all bad as some teach today, the Lord would have said so, and He wouldnít have made a good application from the wine making process in this parable, which was clearly speaking of making fermented wine).
Therefore in this lesson, new wine must be put into new skins, which are pliable and elastic, and through the fermentation process both are preserved for later use.
We want to notice three points this evening, which are 1) Old and new things that are incompatible; 2) Old and new things that are compatible; and 3) New things that are compatible.
1. Old and new things that are incompatible. This answers to the new patch on the old garment, and the new wine put in old bottles.
1) The old covenant of the law and the new covenant of grace are incompatible.
The old system of worship is incompatible with the new system of worship. The Old Testament form of worship in the tabernacle and the temple, was all fulfilled by the first advent of Christ and is obsolete. Therefore all of the ceremonial law with its types and shadows, and all of its sacrifices and other practices, have been done away, and have been replaced with the New Testament Church form of worship.
The old dead letter of legalism is incompatible with the new spiritual life of faith. The false notion of do and live is incompatible with the Bible teaching of believe and live. Now please understand that the Old Testament never taught dead legalism for salvation, but it teaches that the ďjust shall live by faithĒ. Abrahamís faith was counted to him for righteousness. But that is how far that the Jews religion had degenerated by the time of Christís first advent. Likewise we have the legalists with us yet today, who teach various forms of works for salvation.
The old rights and traditions of Judaism are not compatible with the new liberty of Christianity. The stringent religious observances such as fastings, keeping holy days, circumcision, etc., are not to be imposed on Christianity, which by and large is a spiritual religion and is free from the bondage of legalistic observances. (Note: This is not to say that fasting is not a New Testament practice, but it isnít to be practiced in a legalistic manner.)
Beware of religious denominations that impose strict codes and creeds on their members. You can be sure that these also teach works for salvation. Please donít misunderstand me here. Godís people are to have standards of godliness that we should live by, as we will see this evening. But these standards are founded in the Word of God, and they are not practiced in order to obtain or keep salvation, but because of salvation by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
2) The New Testament way of worship and service, is not compatible with the new man-made ways (2 Timothy 4:1-4 READ).
The old Gospel is not compatible with the so-called new gospels of today. The one and only true Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the work of Christ on Calvary, is not compatible with the many false gospels of works for salvation. You canít mix grace with works. The result is a disgrace!!!
The old method of evangelism is not compatible with the new methods of today. The old method of preaching the Gospel to every creature is not compatible with signing a card, repeating the ďsinnerís prayerĒ, shaking the preacherís hand, praying through(?), being baptized for salvation, joining a church for salvation, etc., etc. These are all forms of works for salvation, and are not compatible with the Biblical evangelism of preaching the pure, unadulterated Gospel of Godís sovereign grace.
The old way of Biblical worship is not compatible with the new carnal worship of today. The New Testament form of worship, which consisted mostly of preaching the Word of God, is not compatible with modern services consisting of testimonials, drawn out song services with worldly so-called Christian music, childrenís church, extended invitations and ďaltar callsĒ, etc., etc.
The old preaching of Godís Word is not compatible with the new preaching of human reasoning today. The time has come when people will not endure sound doctrine. Truly today men ďheap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.Ē Truly in most pulpits ďthe truth has been turned into fables.Ē The doctrines of Godís Word have been traded in for carnal, humanistic, and Arminian reasoning. The Bible has been traded in for beggarly stories, which are designed to appeal to human emotions, and not the new spirit created in regeneration. Sin is not preached against today for fear of offending sinners. Holiness and godliness is not preached today for fear of offending worldly church members. Oh no, beloved, the old preaching is not compatible with the new preaching.
3) The old Adamic nature, and the new spiritual nature are not compatible.
The old man is not compatible with the new man (Romans 6:6). The old man of sin is a burden and a hindrance to the new man, and it needs to be crucified. The old man needs to die daily, so that we can live to the new man.
The old creation is not compatible with the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old creature needs to pass away. The new creature desires to live in the new things of the new life. The new creature is not happy living in the old things of the old creature, but it desires all the things that are become new in salvation.
The old heart of stone is not compatible with the new heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19-20). Beloved, lost sinners donít need angioplasty or bypass surgery, they need a complete heart transplant. Jesus doesnít stand and knock at the heartís door of depraved sinners, pleading to come in as Arminians would have us to believe. No, Jesus doesnít want that filthy old, desperately wicked heart, but He gives us a new heart in salvation. He takes out that old hard heart of stone, and puts within us a heart of flesh that will love Him and walk in His ways.
4) The old life and the new life are not compatible
The works of the old flesh are not compatible with the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:16-23). Believers cannot display the fruit of the Spirit and the works of the flesh at the same time. The two are incompatible! We cannot witness for Christ if we practice the works of the flesh in our lives. Like James said, the same fountain doesnít give both sweet and bitter water, and a tree doesnít bear both good and bad fruit. Let us therefore crucify the old man and his works and deeds, and bear the fruit of the spirit in our lives.
The old life of serving sin is not compatible with the new life of serving Christ (Romans 6:12-18). We canít serve sin and righteousness. We canít serve the devil and Christ. These are incompatible. In salvation we have been made the servants of righteousness, therefore let us serve righteousness with our members.
2. Secondly, we want to notice some old and new things that are compatible.
1) The Old Testament and the New Testament Scriptures are compatible.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Here is one of the several links between the Old and New Testaments, which prove that the Old Testament is still good and needful for us today.
Donít let anyone tell you that the Old Testament is obsolete and not meant for Christians today! Paul said it is good for our learning.
2) The old way of salvation and the new way are compatible because they are the same way.
Did you know that there has only ever been one way of salvation? Notice the following verses:
Galatians 1:6-8 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
In these verses, Paul clearly states that there is only one Gospel. Now notice the following verse:
Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
The one and only Gospel was preached to Abraham in the Old Testament. Of course, this verse means that all nations of the earth would be blessed through Abrahamís seed (singular), which was Christ. Abraham pictured his faith in the sacrifice of Christ, when he offered up Isaac, his only son, as a sacrifice upon Mount Moriah.
Therefore, the Old Testament Gospel is the same as the New Testament Gospel. Donít ever let anyone tell you that there was ever more than one Gospel, or more than one way of salvation.
3) The old Gospel of grace is compatible with the new nature created in regeneration.
Not only are all the new false gospels damnable heresies, but the true Gospel is compatible with the new heart that God gives in regeneration.
When Godís grace does a work in the sinner, you donít have to worry about the Gospel doing its desired work. We donít have to help the Gospel out with prompts and props. The Gospel has dynamite power of its own!
4) The old teaching of godly living is compatible with New Testament saints.
Notice what David said:
Psalm 4:3† But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
The idea of godly living had the same meaning in the Old Testament as it does in the New. The Old and New Testaments agree upon this matter of godly living.
Most believers would have to agree that godly living seems to be generally disregarded among professed Christians today. But notice the following verse:
Psalm 12:1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
David also saw a deficiency in godly character among professed children of God in his day.† Weíre not the only age that lacks in personal, practical godliness among professed believers, is was a problem in Davidís time too!
But there are promised blessings for godly living. Notice the following verse:
Psalm 32:6† For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
Just like in Davidís time, the godly will be preserved in the time of Godís overflowing judgment and wrath upon the wicked in the world. This will not be the case of the ungodly and the backslider in heart. Beloved, this is added incentive for believers to maintain holy and godly lives in this present evil world.
4) The old paths of holiness and righteousness are compatible with New Testament saints.
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
Many professed Christians today donít want the old paths, but they also say ďWe will not walk therein.Ē Instead they want new paths. They want paths of their own making, paths of ungodliness and unrighteousness, and paths of human reasoning rather than Godís reasoning.
But Iím telling you tonight that weíd all do well to return to old paths of holiness and godliness, and righteousness, and obedience to the Lord and His Holy Word.
The old paths were cleared by holy men of old as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and they were preserved for us in Godís Book. If we want to return to the old paths, weíve got to return to the old book!
The old paths are illuminated by the Word of God, so that Godís people wonít walk in darkness in this evil world, and so we wonít trip and stumble on the snares and pitfalls of sin that the wicked bury in our path.
The old paths lead to that celestial city of God that lies just beyond yon river Jordan. All other paths lead to misery, and heartaches, and to the city of destruction. May God help us tonight to seek the old paths that lead to life everlasting.
3. Thirdly and finally, we want to see some new things that are compatible, which answers to the new wine in new wine skins.
1) New converts are compatible with the New Testament Church form of worship.
We donít have to change the church in order to be suitable for new converts, but the Holy Spirit makes converts suitable for the church.
We donít have to modernize our form of worship to accommodate the changing trends of the world. ďBut preacher, we want to have testimonial services; and we want less preaching in more music; and we want interactive services so that everyone can participateĒ; and so on. If that is the case, then you are not led of the Sprit of God to unite with this church.
We donít have to modernize our music to accommodate the musical trends of the world. We donít need drum sets and electric guitars, and so-called Christian rock and Christian rap to accommodate the old carnal nature. I suggest that professed believers throw out their worldly music, and learn to love good spiritual music that is amiable to the new man, and to the new heart that we received in the new birth.
We donít have to change what we preach to accommodate our liberal sinful society. ďBut preacher, could you tone it down a little; you might offend some worldling out there?Ē No beloved, if anything, I believe that God would have us to tone it up a notch! I donít mean in volume, but preaching against sin and ungodliness; and preaching judgment to come; and preaching about faithful service; and preaching the doctrines of the word of God; and above all, preaching the only Gospel of the grace of God!
If the Holy Spirit has saved a soul, and is leading them to unite with our church, He will also make that person compatible and suitable to the church.
2) The new spiritual nature is compatible to the new life in Christ.
New born babes will desire the sincere milk of the Word. They will desire to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, and his Word, and His will for their lives.
The Holy Spirit makes believers suitable to the new spiritual life of faith, and to a life of separation from the world, and to godly living while in this present world. Yes, the new spiritual nature desires to live, and walk, and talk like children of God in this world.
Now this doesnít all happen over night, but it does and will happen in time, if one is truly a child of God.
3) Thirdly, the new nature of the saved is suitable for eternal life in Heaven.
The old sinful nature is unfit for Heaven. Heaven is a holy place, and no unholy, sinful thing shall ever enter therein. Even as believers, our old natures are not suitable for Heaven. We must shed these sinful old robes of flesh, and be clothed upon with that new and glorious body that the Lord will fashion for us.†
But the new nature imparted in salvation is suitable for Heaven. That new part of us that was created in Christ Jesus, is fit and suitable. This is that part of us that cries ďAbba, Father.Ē This is that part of the believer that longs for our Heavenly home. This is that new creature that cries ďLord, Iím ready, please take me home.Ē It is that new nature that waits and watches for the Lordís return in the air for His people. It is that new nature that prepares against the day of the Lord come!
In conclusion, we must not put a new patch on an old garment, or new wine in old bottles. We must not attempt to combine religious forms that are incompatible by their natures.
We must not force the Old Testament form of worship or the legalism of Judaism on the New Testament form of worship. These are incompatible.
Likewise, we must not permit the new humanistic religious order of our day to corrupt the old Biblical pattern given to us by Jesus and the Apostles. These also are incompatible.
But we need to recognize what things are compatible with New Testament order, and then pursue those things that we might serve the Lord acceptably and please Him in all things.
Let us also put new wine in new wine skins. Let our new heart and new man walk in the newness of life, and live holy and godly lives in this present evil world.
Let us also find our proper place as new born babes in the Lordís New Testament Church. If we are truly saved, we will find the church that Jesus built to be a commodious place, fitting and suitable to all our spiritual needs.