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Saturday, October 12, 2019

10-12-2019         The Wedding Feast

John 2:1-10

And the third day there was a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there.
          And Jesus and His disciples were invited to the marriage.
And when the people wanted wine the mother of Jesus said to Him “They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her “Woman, what have I to do with you?  My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants “Do whatever He tells you.”

There were six nine, gallon stone water pots, similar to the ones the Jews used in purifying water.

Jesus said “Fill the pots with water.” And the servants filled them to the brim.
Then Jesus said “Draw the contents out and carry it over to the governor of the feast.”  And they did so.

When the ruler of the feast tasted the water which was made into wine, he didn’t know where it had come from, but the servants knew.  So the governor of the feast called the bridegroom over.

And said to him “At first, every man sets forth the good wine until all have drunk much, then they serve the lesser quality wine.  But you have kept the good wine to serve last.”

Consider that, for us, the wedding feast represents today’s church. 
When Jesus first preached the kingdom of God to men, His word was the good wine which is normally served first. 

After people have drunk much wine, their taste buds are dulled and they are getting a bit tipsy, no longer do people care about how the good the wine tastes just that it keeps the “buzz” on.  They just get drunker.  But, when Jesus turned the water into wine, it was better than the first wine served.  This was like comparing Thunderbird (the cheapest wine we could get when I was growing up) with Dom Perignon (one of the more expensive wines available).  For today’s church, the really good wine is yet to come.

When Jesus walked the earth, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples (Acts 2:1-16) and their carrying the Word to the people WAS the original wine.  That original wine lasted through several generations (don’t know just how many) and for a while, disciples actually lived in the love of Jesus. 

But, as time pressed on over the centuries, the Word of the Lord became watered down.  That is bits and pieces of the gospel began to fall by the wayside.  As the influence of the apostles and original disciples became a more distant memory and as the church continued to spread throughout the land, the ‘tares’ started invading the field (Matt. 13:24-30).  Things that were not of God came into the church subtly and were probably not even noticed and started growing.  Spreading throughout the congregation(s). 

In the “History of Christianity” (Zondervan 1973, 1978 & 1984), the spread of Christianity came with many variances.  Many did hear about God’s love.  Other times, Kings ‘got saved’ and, thinking Christianity was a good thing, made decrees that their people do the same.  Some of those decrees came under the penalty of death – confess Jesus or die. 

Between 325 AD and 480 AD several councils were held to determine what we should actually believe (church canon) and just exactly who was Jesus.  Was He God or was He man?  Finally, in 450 AD, they issued the Nicene Creed which is a summary of our beliefs.  Yet, another adjustment came in 480 AD.  However, since that time, the meaning of the creed has been subject to man’s interpretation and man, being man, hasn’t always done such a good job.  But, God always has His number (1 Kings 19:18), so the light, though dimmed in many places, never went out.  Unfortunately, many of those ‘dimmed light’ concepts are what have carried on through the ages watering down or confusing until what we have today. 

As more and more ‘ancient’ documents are discovered, what is referred to as the majority text has emerged.  As it turned out, majority rules.  Passages were in our ‘original’ texts, which were not mentioned in newer discoveries.  Because everybody didn’t say “it”, “it” may not be important.  King James version of the bible has italicized text.  These are words added by the translators for clarity, though not in the original text.  So, italicized or otherwise, some of these passages and those, not in the majority of documents, have been removed from more modern translations just adding to today’s confusion and arguments as to which bible to use.  However, to our advantage, the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16:13).  As an example, we can take the Living Bible (which originally was a paraphrase) and start learning the Word of God, but I have observed that more and more people are coming back to King James for deeper understanding. 

But, as I said, the light never went out and Father kept a flicker glowing.
Over the ages, the “good wine” (words of Jesus) served first has become a lesser quality wine as man has diluted it with his own ‘water’, human inspired, interpretation.  It went from Dom Perignon to Thunderbird.  Still wine, but no where near as good.

BUT, now, Father is preparing to serve the ‘latter wine’ which will be better than the first.  OK, OK, don’t get me wrong here.  Nothing we can do will ever supersede Jesus, but since the apostles were no longer around, this “new wine” will certainly be a whole lot better than the Thunderbird wine which has been served over the centuries.

Father is bringing His love back – bigtime!

In our passage, John speaks of Israel.  Yet the situation can certainly apply to today’s church.  Over the years (& centuries) look at how the power of God’s Word has been changed to suit man’s concepts.  The bible was written by man so how can we know that it is really the “Word of God”. right?  We know God spoke through the mouth of His holy prophets (Luke 1:70) and Timothy tells us that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God for doctrine, evidence, correction and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 2:16).  So we know that God (Himself) inspired the authors of the bible.  And we must consider, not just the authors but we hope the translators of the bible as well (though this may not exactly be the case) have followed the Lord’s lead.  Yet, the enemy continues to dilute the Word of God in his attempt to keep us from a full relationship with Father. 

So which bible?  Though watered down, many of today’s bibles are good for getting started.  Once in our church’s bible study, we compared New International (NIV) with King James KJV).  We discovered that portions of the passage in KJV were not in the NIV text.  However, NIV did footnote most of those missing passages (“some versions say”).  As we grow and we hunger for greater understanding, the Holy Spirit will lead us into other, more complete translations or reference books (commentaries, etc.) to increase that understanding.  Key words: Holy Spirit will lead.   Key thought: we need to listen.

Now, let’s change direction a bit. 

Look at today’s church.  How many pastors are committing adultery?  How many pastors are cheating the people so that they, themselves, may look prosperous?  After all, God prospers those who obey Him, right (Deut. 11:13-27)?  Some pastors just can’t “wait” for God’s blessings so they prosper themselves.  But consider, through lying, cheating and stealing, the world also can prosper – for a season.  Do we follow God or the world? 

Many in the church are committing fornication as well as single pastors.  Most understand adultery but just what is fornication?  Even Webster’s defines fornication as a sexual relationship between two unmarried people (and we wonder why STD is so widespread).  Surely this isn’t going on in today’s church.  But, bear in mind, the list Paul shares with us about who will not enter into the kingdom of God is longer than just adulterers and fornicators (1 Corinth. 6:9-11).  Man does not face any new challenges today (1 Corinth. 10:13).  Even in the church.

Jeremiah tells us that evil will break out upon the inhabitants of the land and God will bring judgment against the people for forsaking Him, burning their incense to other gods and worshipping the works of their own hands (Jer. 1:14-16). Of course, Jeremiah is speaking of Israel, but how different are we today?  We’ve twisted God’s word to suit our own purposes.  Isn’t it interesting, we are quick to blame God for the bad things in our lives but seldom give Him credit for the blessings that do come our way.  And in twisting the meaning of His Word, we worship the works of our own hands.  Israel did it and so do we.  We may not make a golden calf and worship it, but we do put other things ahead of God, Who created all things (???).

But, take heart.  Father has been in the business of resurrecting His church. 

For those who have been in the church for a while, we probably have heard about the ‘valley of dry bones’.  When I was younger, that was the main text for evangelists.  God put Ezekiel in a valley full of dry bone and had him speak out three commands.  The first was to command the bones to come back into proper alignment, connect with sinews, be covered with muscle and finally skin.  This is supposed to be a body, a church, to praise our Father.  BUT, there’s no life in this body.  So Ezekiel commands has breath from the four winds come into these bodies which are slain and breathe on them so they might live – and it does.  BUT those (now living) bodies complain “Our bones are dry, we are lost and we are cut off for our parts”.  THEN the final commandment Ezekiel repeats Gods words and says “I will bring you up out of your graves, fill you with My Spirit and put you in your own land and you will know I said and I did it! (Ezek. 37:7-13)”

Initially, the church had the apostles and their letters teaching them.  Then the apostles were gone and their letters started fading out.  For centuries, the people’s only exposure to the bible was ‘in the church’.  They had to go to the church to read the bible and even then, their exposure was most likely simply listening to the priest’s message.  Jerome translated Greek and Hebrew texts into Latin, which was published in 405 AD – the Latin Vulgate.  Rome was still the prominent force in the world and they spoke Latin.  Around 1400 AD, Father inspired John Wycliffe that each man should have his own bible, written in a language he could understand.  In his own language.  So Wycliffe, being a priest in England, translated the Latin Vulgate into English.  So, between Jerome and Wycliffe, the Latin Vulgate was the bible.  Mind you, Guttenberg’s moveable type printing press didn’t come along for another fifty years (1450’s), so any of John’s work was by hand.  I don’t think there were very many English bibles available for a while.  Then, in the early 1500’s, the Spirit impressed the  same idea, as well as the 95 Theses, onto Martin Luther.  And this move, of course, sparked the Protestant Reformation.

In the 1700’s, 1800’2 and 1900’2 God introduced several “awakenings’ which were intended to draw man into a closer relationship with Him.  This included the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in modern times through the Pentecostal churches.  Hmmm. I wonder if the designation “Pentecostal” came from the original outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon man on the day of Pentecost 2000 years ago? (lol)

Today, Father is preparing another major thrust into the lives of men with another, “big time” outpouring of the Holy Spirit (the latter rain).  He is preparing His army (even now) to go out and bring man into even a closer relationship with Father through His love.  Read the book of Acts and see what happened with the early church.  Jesus said that when the Holy Ghost is come upon us, we shall do greater works than He did (John 14:12-17).  Jesus healed the sick, caused the blind to see, cast out devils and raised the dead.  What things greater than these can we do?  I don’t know.  But I do know that there will be a whole lot more believers doing what Jesus and His disciples did, this time around.
This is not just a global outreach to the world, but a wake-up call to His church to get back on the right track.  Father wants the body of Christ ready for when He does return.  And the body has some “right tracking” to get back on.  God is building His love in the hearts of His children even now.  Over the next several years, it will become even more evident, more intense, as He brings us to this next outpouring of the Holy Ghost.

The early church had a taste of the new wine in the beginning with Jesus and the apostles and early disciples.  But that Dom Perignon morphed into Thunderbird as man continued to drink.  Now, the time is approaching for Super Dom Perignon to be served.

Couple the water into wine from the wedding feast, the fact a time is coming when man will do “more than Jesus” and Father will pour His Spirit out upon man so that there will be no doubt as to our relationship with God – all adds up to something pretty awesome peeking around the corner.
We will know that God is God because God is love and we will be living in the love of God.


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