WORKING WITH THE NEW – PART 1: PASTOR (DR) MENSA OTABIL – SPECIAL SUNDAY SERVICE, 13TH AUGUST, 2023.
SPECIAL SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PASTOR (DR) MENSA OTABIL (GENERAL OVERSEER, INTERNATIONAL CENTRAL GOSPEL CHURCH (ICGC) CHRIST TEMPLE, ACCRA GHANA)
TOPIC: WORKING WITH THE NEW – PART 1
DATE: 13TH AUGUST 2023
BIBLE TEXT: LUKE 5:36
Let us rise up together as we make our “DECLARATION OF GATHERING” in this “YEAR OF GATHERING”.
Are you ready? Say with me:
I Proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. The Lord is the Shepherd of my Soul, my Shelter by Day, my Light by Night.
In His Name, we Plough our fields, by His Spirit we gather the Harvest, in His Light we seek and find.
In this Year of Gathering, the Lord of the Harvest has commanded: Launch Out into the Deep. At His Words, we cast our Nets, we gather in Souls and Substance for God’s Kingdom.
The Lord is our Reward; in this Season I received God’s Portion set aside for me: Full Measure, Pressed down, Shaking together and running over.
Nothing is Lost and Nothing is wasted in Jesus Name – Amen!
Today I am going to start a 2-Part Message – This is going to be Part 1 of the Message. And I have titled it: “WORKING WITH THE NEW”.
What do you do when God gives you something New?
When God brings a New Word your way, New Life, New Opportunity, New Knowledge, New Experience – How do you work with it in your Life?
How do you make it work in your Life?
WORKING WITH THE NEW – PART 1
And my Bible Text is going to be from Luke 5:36 – We are going to examine a Parable of Jesus; and we are going to learn some Lessons from that Parable.
… It teaches us what to do with the New Thing.
Luke 5:36 (NKJV)
Then He spoke a Parable to them: “No one puts a Piece from a New Garment on an Old one; otherwise the New makes a tear, and also the Piece that was taken out of the New does not Match the Old.”
It is a Parable of Jesus Christ that is repeated in the other Gospels. And the concept is very clear – Jesus is talking about “The Old” and “The New”.
And the background to this is that – The Pharisees came asking Jesus Questions. And they said to Jesus, “why is it that the Disciples of John Fast, likewise do the Pharisees; but Your Disciples do not Fast?” And so Jesus is responding to that.
Now remember that in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6; Jesus had talked about the Fasting of the Pharisees and He had actually said that His Disciples should not Fast like that.
Because He said when the Pharisees Fast, they march in the Market with their long faces; and everybody knows that these People are deep in the Spirit – Sanctimonious.
And they don’t clothe themselves well because they Fast to impress People.
So People saw the Pharisees as Spiritual People, but it was all a Showoff!
And Jesus said to His Disciples, “you will Fast, but you would not Fast like the Pharisees!”
When they came asking Jesus the Question, “why don’t Your Disciples Fast like the Pharisees?”
He is now going to answer why they should not do that – And the answer is this Parable. He says:
“No one puts a Piece from a New Garment on an Old one; otherwise the New makes a tear, and also the Piece that was taken out of the New does not Match the Old.”
Sometimes when you hear the answers of Jesus you wonder, “what is He saying? Did He miss the Question? Because that is not how most of us would have answered such a Question.
So Jesus is using a Parable to answer this important Question – And we are going to learn some Lessons from it.
A Parable normally, uses Natural things to teach Spiritual Things.
So He uses a Natural occurrence – Something that happened Naturally. And then it helps us to see how it applies Spiritually.
In this Parable Jesus talks about Two (2) Things:
- The first thing He talks about is: OLD GARMENT.
An Old Garment is something that is weak and that is worn-out!
You have to understand that the days of Jesus is not like our days.
Now most of you have many Clothes – Some of you wear different Clothes daily and sometimes Change into three (3) different Clothes or more before the day ends.
In the days of Jesus – Over 2,000 years ago, People didn’t Change Clothes like we do now. Mostly, you wear the same Clothes for a very long time! And so if you had Clothes you wear them until it gets worn-out.
You wear it in the Morning, Afternoon, Evening. The next day, in the Morning, Afternoon, Evening. Next Week, next Month. Most times you could wear the same Clothes for about a year; sometimes for more than a year! And then when the Clothes are worn-out, you get New ones. And you start wearing it, and wear it out!
So People didn’t have many Clothes – Having a Change of Clothes was a Luxury. Only a few People had it – The very rich. But the normal People had only one Garment.
Jesus is using that to answer the Question; and He says, no one will take a New Garment and Patch an Old with it.
So the first thing He talks about is an Old Garment.
Everybody say: Old Garment!
Now the Garment He has in Mind is an Outter Garment – Like my third Piece here.
So He says, no one is going to put an Old Garment on the New Garment. Why? Because it is worn-out!
What did Jesus mean by an Old Garment?
By an Old Garment, Jesus is talking about the Traditions of the Old Life.
The Traditions of the People, the Traditions, especially of the Old Testament that the Pharisees have mixed up.
The Pharisees have complicated the Old Testament (The Laws): and they made it into what Jesus called “The Traditions of Men”.
That is what He calls the Old Garment.
Because remember, the Question is, “why do the Pharisees Fast and your Disciples don’t Fast?”
So He says, there’s an Old Garment. And He is referring to the way of the Pharisees – It’s an Old Traditional way!
… That’s the Old Garment!
- Then the Second thing Jesus talks about is the NEW GARMENT.
… The New Garment is Fresh, Strong!
As I said, normally once a year People would get a New Garment. And they would put away the Old Garment and wear the New Garment, till it also becomes Old.
So Jesus talks about a New Garment.
What did the New Garment represent?
The New Garment represents the New Life that Jesus Christ has brought to the People – The New Christian Life; Christ’s way of Life.
Whereas the Old Garment represents the Tradition of the People; the New Garment represents the Way of Christ.
Now I want you to have this in Mind, and see how Jesus is using this Parable to teach about how to manage the New Things that we have received.
In the days of Jesus, because People wore their Clothes for a very long time; most People had what we would call today “Patched Clothes”.
Because Invariably, if you wear the same Clothes for a long time, it’s going to get torn. And when it gets torn, you would Patch it.
I don’t know whether People still do that down, but we used to Patch a lot of Clothes.
In my days, when we were young we had Clothes-Menders who would carry his sewing machine and go through the Neighbourhood and announce his Presence, and People would bring their Old Garments.
He would take a Piece and mend it here and there because we had to mend!
Now most of you don’t mend your Clothes – If it’s torn you throw it away and buy a New one because we are all rich People – Amen!
In Jesus’ days that’s not what they did! When you see People’s Clothes, it would be a Patched work. Because they’ve been wearing it for one year, it’s torn here, it’s torn there – They get a Piece of Cloth, fix it where it’s torn!
So Jesus is saying, when you have an Old Garment and it is torn and you receive a New Garment; He says you don’t take the New Garment, cut the fabric of the New Garment to go and Patch the Old.
Jesus is saying, no one does that.
Why is He saying no one does that? He says, “it doesn’t make sense!”
And the reason He says that is that, People understand – Nobody in their right Mind is going to take the New Garment they’ve just received and cut it, take a Piece from it and go and Patch the Old Garment that is worn-out.
That’s what Jesus is saying.
So basically, what Jesus is saying is: You don’t tear up the New to Patch up the Old.
… That’s a Major Lesson!
Your Garment is worn-out, the Tradition is worn-out, the Old way of Life is worn-out. It’s not beneficial, it’s not serving you any Good Purpose.
Now God blesses you with something New – New Information, New Life, New Experience.
And what you do is, you take the New experience and try to apply it to the Old discredited way! And He says, “no one does that!”
What Jesus is telling them is: You want me to take the New Life I have and use it to live your Phariseeical Life? I am not going to take the New Life I have an apply it to the Old way.
And that is the Wisdom Jesus teaches us today – You don’t take from the New to Patch up the Old!
And He says if you do that, Two 2 Things will happen:
- First, He says there will be a Big Tear.
Everything is going to be ruined! – The Old Garment would be ruined, and the New Garment would be ruined.
Why is Jesus saying that? Because if I have the New Garment, which is not torn (it’s not weak): it is Good, it is fresh. But I go and cut it and take a Piece from that New Garment – I have created a tear in the New Garment (which doesn’t need a tear). Then I go and Patch the tear in the Old Garment; He says, it’s not even going to work. Because the New Garment is made of fabric that has not shrank.
These days, you know we have more Synthetic fabric. But those days when most of us wore cotton and everything was cotton.
I remember when we were in Secondary School, we wore Khaki shorts and trousers. You know, they sew the first khaki trousers for you and the length it fine, it hits your shoes. In those days we used to wear bear bottom trousers – It actually sweeps the road.
So the first day, it looks like woooow! My trousers fits! But then, the first day you wash that trousers, it shoots up; and all of a sudden you realised, “it’s not as long as I thought it was”.
That’s what happens to the New fabric – If you Patch it to the Old, the next time you go to the river and wash, the New fabric is going to shrink. And He says when it does, the tear in the Old fabric wears off. He He says, it’s not going to help, it’s not going to build; so don’t do it.
Not only is it going to tear; He says, it doesn’t even match because one is brand New and other is very Old. So it’s not even going to match.
Now we have to get that at the back of our Mind!
… And then we can now see how this applies.
WHAT IS THE LESSON JESUS IS TEACHING US?
Let’s say a Person is a Christian, you are Born Again.
Before you were Born Again, let’s say you had a drinking habit. You go to drink, get drunk – That’s Normal Life for you.
And then you get Born Again and receive a New Life in Christ, and then you sober up! So you don’t drink again.
So now you have a New fabric, you have a New Garment, you have New Life.
Then you go to meet your Old friends, and they say “let’s go and drink” and you say, “I don’t drink any longer.” And they say like they say these days; “you are boring, your Life has no fun again”.
You say, “I can’t be Anti-Social, I have to be nice. So I am going to take Part of my New Life and I am going to try to fix it into my Old Life”.
What you are doing is – You are cutting your New fabric and you are trying to Patch the Old Life that God has delivered you out of.
When that happens, Jesus says, there’s going to be a bigger tear:
- First, you are going to lose your New Life.
- And the People you are trying to Please, they are not going to be excited about you because it won’t match.
Are you getting what Jesus is saying?
He says when I do something New for you; don’t try to Compromise it.
Don’t try to let it blend with the Old; because I took you from the Old to give you the New.
Don’t take the New I have given you back to the Old.
The Christian Life is not about taking the New Thing that God has given to us and Compromising with the Old Thing that we used to have.
- When God delivers you from something, He doesn’t want you to go back to that same Place.
- When God gives you a New Life, He wants you to use the New Life fully and to His Glory.
That’s at the Spiritual Level. But sometimes even at the Natural Level: let’s say you are married and your Marriage is having Problems. And every time you and your Spouse argue – You know that’s your Old Garment, that’s your Old way.
Then you go for a Marriage Counselling and you go and get ways of addressing Conflicts in Marriage. And you are so excited, “Oh God, now I know how to solve Marriage Problems.”
And somehow, instead of allowing the New Knowledge to guide you, you are still trying to do the Old thing with the New knowledge that you have received. And in the end every Knowledge, every Seminar – Everything you’ve learned is wasted.
Because you didn’t know that when God gives you a New Garment, you don’t use it to Patch an Old one.
And I believe one of the reasons why Development is very difficult for Africa; the answer is in this Parable – People ask, “the Leaders of African Countries, don’t they travel? Don’t they see? Don’t they go to School Outside? Don’t they read books? Of course they do! And all of us do.
But the moment we come back, everything New is Challenged by the Old.
And somehow we are trying to figure out – “Should I wear my New Garment? Or should I try to make it work somehow with the Old way?” And before we realised it, every Seminar we attended, Workshops, Degrees – Whatever we learned: is making no Difference in our lives.
Because we are doing what the Pharisees wanted the Disciples of Jesus to do – You have the New Life, but use it to live the Old Life. And Jesus says, “no one does that!”
WHAT MUST WE DO WITH THE NEW?
- We must do Something New with the New.
When God gives you a New Life, you must do New Things with it.
In the case of the Parable; if it’s a New Garment, then use it to live a New Lifestyle.
You know there are some People who can’t wear New Garments.
When I was a kid I never received New Garments anyway! Because I was the third boy. And that’s why I don’t like third boys – Everything you receive goes through three (3) Generations (Laughter)!
The Oldest brother wears it, the Second one wears it and it comes to you!
By the time it gets to me, it has gone through three (3) Generations – My shoes, my clothes, etc.
When I was going to Secondary School my trunk box – Generational; Shoes, Shirts – Generational.
Because my brothers have been ahead of me and they pass on to me what they don’t like. So I got used to using Old things.
And something about using Old things is that it makes you Old!
I remembered when I first started working and I would buy a New shirt. I remembered so well, I bought three (3) shirts, brand New: I couldn’t wear them. They were New Garments – I needed them to become Old (Laughter)!
Because my Psychology says, “if it’s a New Garment it doesn’t fit me because I am an Old Garment Person”. And that is why some of us can sit under the Greatest Knowledge and still go back and do the same thing.
Somebody can have a PhD, live outside the Country, be exposed to the Greatest Knowledge; come back to Africa, go to the Village, accept the Village Title to be a Chief and settle for the Old Life of his Ancestors.
And not be able to bring any New Knowledge to the Old because we don’t know how to use the New thing.
But you are going to take what Jesus says, then do something New with the New!
If it’s New, live a New Life with it; do something New with it.
When God gives you something New, you have to do something New with it.
… I am going to talk more about this in Part 2.
- Second thing – We must join the New with the New.
- If you are going to Patch, Patch a New Piece of Cloth on a New Garment.
- If you are going to join; join the New with the New.
- If you are going to be a New Person; Network with People who are New; not People who are Old.
When the Angel of the Lord spoke to Mary and gave her that “Momentous Message” about the child to be conceived by her. The Angel Pointed her to another woman who has received another “Momentous Message” (Elizabeth).
And the two (2) of them had to Network; because they were the only two (2) women who understood this New Thing that God was doing.
Because sometimes when God is doing a New Thing with you and you bunch up with Old People; their Old Garments will swallow up your New!
Look for People who are going where you are going, thinking as you are thinking, desiring what you are desiring, seeking what you are seeking for.
That’s why the kind of Church you attend is so Significant as you go through the journey of your Life.
If you go to a Place where somebody tells you: “there is Witch following you, there are Demons following you; you have to come for Special Prayer to cast out Demons from your Life” – Your Life is always going to be backward. Because you are always trying to correct the Problems of your Grandfather.
The Knowledge you receive must be re-enforced – The New Thing in your Life.
If you have received the New Life, but the Knowledge you’ve received is Old; then the New Life would not manifest itself. You have to join the New with the New!
- Third and final thing – We must keep the New Thing New.
If it is New, keep it New! Don’t try to take the New Thing that God has given to you and try to make it Old.
And for each one of us, there would be moments of Newness in our lives.
The reason why sometimes it doesn’t last is because we do what Jesus said we must not do – We take the New, and we want to let it live in the Old; and Nothing Good comes out of it.
Have you noticed that sometimes the People you want to Please never get Pleased?
If you are a Christian, you went to that Party – You have stopped drinking and they are Persuading you. You drink a little and you start coughing. Then you get drunk and now you are talking foolishness at the Party; they will make fun of you because your drinking doesn’t Please them, it doesn’t impress them:
It just shows them that you are fake! All that you have been talking about is fake.
… Because you couldn’t Stand when Pressure was brought to you.
- Don’t take the New Garment, cut it up and try to Patch the Old Life!
- There are some People you cannot Please; don’t try to Please them.
- There are People God has taken out of your Life, don’t try to Pacify them – They are gone and they are gone!
And God is doing a New Thing in your Life – Amen!
Don’t live Life always looking backwards – “I have to make sure that Nobody gets Upset with me.”
Somebody is going to get Upset with you!
But God has brought you into a New Life – Amen!
Somebody say: I have a New Life, and I am going to live the New Life!
… That’s what God wants us to do.
Every New Thing that you’ve received, make it work in your Life – Don’t go back to the Old Garment; don’t try to do a Patch work with the New Thing that God has given to you.
It’s a New Life, it’s an Abundant Life, and it’s a Great Life.
Before we close this Morning; if you are here inclusive those reading now on the Label of DMC, and you don’t have Jesus Christ in your Heart, you are not Born Again.
The way to have New Life in Christ is to receive Jesus Christ into your Life as your Lord and Personal Saviour.
And this Morning, I am giving you the Chance to make that very, very important Life Changing Decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your Life.
Let’s bow our heads!
And if you are here inclusive those reading now on the Label of DMC and you say Pastor; I want New Life in Christ, I want to be Born Again, I want my sins to be forgiven.
Let’s Pray this Prayer together!
Say with me: Heavenly Father, I come to You today just as I am. I am a Sinner, I cannot save myself.
I ask You Father, save me through Christ Jesus. Forgive me all my sins. Give me New Life and help me to live the New Life to Your Glory.
I Thank You Father for accepting me.
In Jesus’ Name – Amen!
God Bless You!
It’s a New Life! And we are not going to use it to Patch any Old Garment.
Thank you so much for staying all through to read.
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