"People of Privilege"
TEXTS: Matt. 13:17; Matt. 9
1. Biblical Christianity is not passive. Some reduce the Christian faith down to simply believing and/or attending something. As a result, this creates a life that gravitates towards doing as little as possible to grow the Kingdom of God. Biblical Christianity is not passive; it calls us to real commitment and sacrifice.
2. When surveying the NT ministry of Jesus one can observe that Jesus spent a lot of His time scolding and correcting others. When Jesus does this in the lives of His followers we must remember that Christ is always scolding for our good and benefit. It may be painful to hear and experience at times, but ultimately it is for our good when Jesus corrects.
3. The parable of the wine skins reveal that Jesus did not come to simply “patch up” the parts of our lives that are broken and torn. Jesus instead declares that He is doing something new rather than just adding to the old. The work of Jesus surely includes restoring and redeeming the messes we have made throughout our lives, but we must be cautious about viewing such a thing as the primary work of the gospel.
4. Jesus is asked why His disciples don’t fast. He responds by telling those who have asked this question that one doesn’t fast when the bridegroom is present. Meaning, Jesus is with His disciples at the time so there is no need to fast. They are already experiencing the intended effect of spiritual fasting–nearness to the presence of Jesus.
5. Fasting is a spiritual practice in which we deny the flesh so that deeper spiritual desires are awakened. Being in a weakened physical state often can increase how spiritually sensitive we are.
6. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners, He forgave sins, and He touched the unclean. These three actions would have infuriated the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. Why is it important for followers of Jesus to properly understand the sacrifice and commitment that Biblical Christianity calls us to?
2. In what ways do we see modern, American Christianity simply trying to add the new to the old? In what ways do we approach Jesus and expect Him to simply patch up old wine skins?
3. Why do you think Jesus did (3) things back to back that would have made the religious leaders so upset? What is He seemingly trying to accomplish?
4. How does Jesus scold and correct His followers now? How can one be assured that this is for their benefit?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following areas:
- That we live committed and sacrificial lives
- That we would desire the presence and work of Jesus to a greater degree