Matthew 9:10-17 Staying Fresh & Flexible With Jesus

by | Oct 25, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. The Concerns Of The Pharisees & John’s Disciples Verse 10

A. Pharisees

1. The Jews related to God by means of a covenant of blessings & cursings.

a. Obedience brought blessings; disobedience brought judgment
b. Deuteronomy 11:26-28
26“Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.

2. They definitely had a “performance” mindset
3. The name Pharisee means “separated”

a. They believed that holiness came by separation from sin or sinful people

i. The problem- they didn’t see themselves as sinful (Comp. Romans 3:23)
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
ii. A movement towards holiness ended as a movement of self-righteousness

4. They criticized Jesus’ involvement with “sinners”
5. Luke 18:9 “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, & despised others…”
6. They felt that they could be justified by their religious works

a. They fasted to appear “super-spiritual”. (Turn to Matthew 6:16-18)
b. They fasted 2x per week, some believe, because of superstition and tradition
c. They were legalists, thinking everyone should be like them

B. John The Baptist’s Disciples

1. John had a ministry of calling people to repentance; prepare to receive Messiah
2. To repent from religious hypocrisy, and show repentance through good works
3. Matthew 3:8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…
4. Part of that preparation was to fast, and to humble one’s soul by self denial
5. It was appropriate for people to repent from hypocrisy and half-hearted faith
6. When Jesus came on the scene, John pointed people to Jesus. (Turn to John 3:22-36)
7. John’s ministry, was only to last for a certain time & purpose, not go on indefinitely
8. Why didn’t they have the same convictions and do the same things?

II. How They Were Wrong In Their Thinking

A. Pharisees

1. They failed to realize that all men fall short of God’s standard for righteousness
2. They failed to see that they themselves were spiritually sick, & in need of forgiveness
3. Their conclusions were that they didn’t need a savior; they were “self-saviors”.

B. John’s Disciples

1. By design, it was a ministry which was not an end in itself. It pointed beyond itself.
2. John’s disciples, for whatever reasons, were not moving on to Jesus

C. How Both Groups Became Old Garments & Old Wineskins

1. The Pharisees

a. Prided themselves in “keeping” the Law externally, but ignored heart matters
b. They externally kept the commands that deal with actions: murder, adultery, etc.
c. They failed to keep the commands that deal w/attitudes: lust, covetousness, etc.
d. God’s Word no longer touched their hearts

2. John’s Disciples

a. Perhaps they were beginning to pride themselves on their “heartfelt intentions”
b. We & the Pharisees fast often. They pointed out their own “righteousness”
c. Perhaps they had become the “permanently mournful, humble, and sorrowful”
d. Good beginnings can become permanent identities instead of steps in a process

III. Jesus’ Explanations

A. The Two Parables

1. Old clothing needs to be repaired with cloth that is like it: shrunk cloth

a. If un-shrunk cloth is used to repair old cloth, it will shrink, & tear away

2. Animal skins were used as containers for fermenting wine

a. A skin would stretch as the wine fermented and expanded
b. A skin could only be used once or it would burst, & it & the wine would be lost

B. Jesus Is That “New Thing”

1. To the Pharisees- He is the fulfillment of the Law

a. He is the Savior of all who have failed to keep the Law

2. To John’s disciples– He was the Bridegroom John pointed to; the One to follow

a. Ancient weddings lasted a week.
b. “Friends of the Bridegroom”- obligated to make the event celebratory & festive

3. The Gospel could never co-exist with the Law. They are incompatible.
4. Jesus didn’t come to “patch up” the Old Covenant of the Law. (See Matthew 26:27, 28)

27Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

IV. Our Tendencies

A. We Become Self-Righteousness

1. Churches become dependent upon themselves, & not on the leading of God
2. Individuals lose their soft hearts towards God, & become mechanical with God
3. Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness…
4. We make disciples of ourselves, or our churches, instead of making disciples of Jesus

B. We Get Into Ruts

1. We are creatures of habit. Habits aren’t bad, unless they are quenching God’s Spirit
2. Many of us are unwilling to consider anything slightly beyond our comfort zone

C. We Forget The Function, & Focus On The Format

1. The function is what we are supposed to be doing as individuals and as churches
2. The format is how we do the function
3. The function of the Church is to “know God and make Him known”

a. Study God’s word, preach God’s word to the local congregation
b. Lead people in worshipping God, exalting God
c. Reaching out through personal evangelism, local outreach, missions

4. How that is accomplished needs to be led by the Holy Spirit, not by our preferences
5. Many churches forget what their function is, and focus on filling the pews
6. The goal becomes numbers of people, meeting people’s needs, not being offensive

D. History Speaks Loudly

1. The great works of God have a pattern: man…movement…machine…monument
2. May we not repeat this history among God’s people: personally or corporately
3. Some start w/freshness & flexibility, but end in the rut of format, & forget function
4. Some churches start well, but make their “holy cows”, and become a monument
5. Legalism/lack of flexibility/old wineskins/ self righteousness is like Frankenstein-

a. People or churches realize they have become “dead”
b. They try to revive themselves by changing the format, w/o changing the heart
c. They try to re-animate dead flesh. It comes out as a monster, and hurts people.

6. What is the answer for us as Christians? How do we stay fresh & flexible with Jesus?

a. Stay in the Word…remember who/what you are…who/what Jesus is & has done
b. Walk in the Spirit. (Turn to John 3:8)
H.S. will never “blow” contrary to the Word

E. How is God speaking to you this morning?

1. Do you have a tendency towards being a Pharisee?

a. Do you feel self-righteous?
b. Do you look down on others?
c. Do you think that people ought to be like you; do you try to make them like you?
d. Your mindset is that you are right about all things spiritual

2. Do you tend to be like John’s disciples?

a. Rightly mourning over sin, but not entering into the joy of the Bridegroom
b. Sorrow over sin is appropriate to a point; if you are a Christian, don’t forget that Jesus died to forgive you, cleanse you, change you.
c. Are you bothered around others who have the joy of the Lord?
d. It could indicate that you are like John’s disciples

3. Have you recognized either of these tendencies in yourself?

a. The Pharisee will make new rules for themselves; they will try harder to improve themselves that they might enter into the joy of the Bridegroom.
b. A disciple of John might find that not enjoying the presence of the Bridegroom is yet something new to mourn and fast over.

For both the Pharisee among us, and the disciple of John among us…
The answer is found in places like Psalm 51