BEING FILLED TO THE BRIM: THE FIRST MIRACLE OF GRACE, #13
"Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it." (JOH 2:7-8)
Last week we considered the beginning of miracles in its typical significance: that is, to signify the failure of Judaism and the ushering in of the Gospel of the kingdom of Christ.
The word gospel means "good news." The gospel of the kingdom of Christ tells us of the good news of deliverance from serving self and sin and coming back into the service of the Lord. We were created to serve the Lord. Then we may again be restored into that blessed image of Christ. We may again become reflectors of that perfect character of God. We can come back into His service and be restored to the state from which we fell. This is the good news of the gospel: that we may again enter the service of God.
The blessed effect of the new birth was not obtained by the crack of the laws whip, driving us to Christ. The new birth was not obtained by the cracking of the whip of Mt. Sinai, but by the manifestation of His glory through the authority of His Word. The blessed work of regeneration is worked in the heart by drawing us back unto the authority of the Word.
These water pots were filled with water. Water is the symbol of the written Word of God, and they were filled to the brim. When you and I are again filled with the precious Word of God, and learn to understand the authority in the Holy Word of God, that is the working of the new birth: it is brought about by ushering in the gospel of the Kingdom.
"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." (JOH 2:11) See the connecting word and. Wherein did His disciples believe on Him? They heard the crack of the whip of the law? No, He manifested His glory: when the glory of Christ was revealed in that beginning of miracles "his disciples believed on him." That is what draws sinners unto Christ: when they see the manifestation of the glory that is in His Word.
The great separation between the sheep and the goats on the Day of Judgment will consist of separating those who have believed upon Christ from those who believed not. The Lord Jesus Christ gave His disciples the gift of believing by manifesting His glory. It is those who believe that will be gathered with the sheep on the Day of Judgment and those who believe not that will be gathered together with the goats on His left hand.
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (MAR 16:16) This blessed transformation from death unto life takes place by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whereas it is such a decisive matter whether we believe or believe not, let us consider what is it to believe. It is so urgently important that we know what it means to believe because it is those who believe that will be saved and those who believe not shall be damned.
Those who saw the manifestation of His glory (His disciples) believed on Him. Wherein do we see the distinction between believer and unbeliever? Neither what I believe nor what you believe is important; the Scripture teaches us about what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the all-decisive mark of those who will be saved.
See what the Scriptures teach of how we discern what it means to believe. Turn to 1PE 2:7. "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient [Do you see where the distinction comes between those who believe and those who believe not?], the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.":
So what does that tell us about those who believe? What does it mean that when the disciples saw the manifestation of the glory of Christ in the authority of His Word, they believed? What did they do? They subjected themselves to the Word. They came into obedience to the Word and believed.
See how the distinction is so clearly drawn between the believers and the unbelievers in TIT 1:15. "Unto the pure [that is, those who believe] all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." Wheres the distinction between those who believe and those who believe not? It is between those who are pure and those who are defiled and unbelieving. What does Paul mean by purity? Hes talking about your mental disposition and your attitude. Has your rebellion been broken? Have you been brought under the authority of the Word of Christ, or do you still walk in the vain imaginations of your own heart? Thats how you decide whether or not you believe.
I want you to see what Paul is talking about: to those that "are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; even their mind and conscience are defiled. Verse 16 continues, They profess that they know God; [This is talking about professed believers: people who profess to know God. Watch what the problem is.] but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." They deny Him in their way of life, in their attitude to their brother, in forsaking the law of love, which is loving God above all and your neighbor as yourself. When you have broken the law of love by disregarding it, that is unbelieving.
What does it mean to believe? Believers are those who are pure, those whose heart has been cleansed, whose heart has been brought back in subjection to the will of God, who do not deny Him by their works.
Gods Word so clearly shows the connection between obedience, salvation, and the witness of the miracle of grace. I want you to understand where the beginning of miracles lies. Do you know what it is? When your rebellion becomes broken. Thats the beginning of miracles: when the Holy Spirit starts working in our hearts that unconditional surrender to the will of God. We are able to come in the fellowship of Christ in His suffering and say, "Father, nevertheless not my will but thine be done." Then our will becomes unconditionally dissolved in the will of God.
The witnessing of this miracle is our evidence of grace. "For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?" (HEB 2:2-4)
What is the gift of the Holy Ghost? I explained that in JOH 1. When the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. What does this teach us? This teaches us that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is visible. It was seen, literally seen, with the eye. When you and I have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, my friends, it is seen by the whole world. Do you know why? The dove is the symbol of holiness. The whole world will see the miracle of grace that was wrought in our heart by our attitude adjustment, by our way of life, by the fact that we do not deny Him, but rather confess Him by our works, by our lives, by the fact that we have been renewed by the grace of God.
Our chapter begins with Christs prophetic application of the lessons learned from this marriage at Cana of Galilee. I mentioned last week, we have two more points on verses 1-11 that we hope to touch this week: their prophetic and practical applications.
In the prophetic application look at JOH 2:1. "And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there." Hes talking about the third day after He had His interview with Nathanael. He had shown Nathanael that he would see the angels of God: "Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." (JOH 1:51) "Three days later" points to His resurrection.
In the same chapter our Saviour again makes reference to that third day in a prophetic way. In JOH 2:18-19, Jesus spoke of it as a sign to the unbelieving Jews. They asked Him for a sign. He gave them a sign, again making reference to this "third day." These unbelieving Jews were offended by His miracles. In HEB 2:4, God was "bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles." These miracles were an offense to the unbelieving Jews. Do you know why it was an offense? The Pharisees and scribes had no answer to what they saw or what He said. They became offended because it was attacking their authority as the masters of Israel.
So they asked Him for a sign. Jesus was in the temple, and He was driving them out with a whip of scourges. " and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Fathers house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?" (JOH 2:13-18) They wanted Him to show a sign. Theyd seen His miracles, but now they needed to see a sign to prove that He was the Messiah who had the authority to do this.
What sign did He give them? "Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (JOH 2:18-19) Hes speaking of His resurrection. He did not speak to them of the temple of stones. He was talking about the temple of His body, in other words, that they would crucify Him. He was speaking in a prophetic way. He said, "in three days I will raise it up."
Our Saviour graces the sacred institution of marriage with His presence. As we notice in verse 2, Jesus was invited to be there. Our marriage under the law of sin cannot be blessed, but must be annulled. It points to that marriage union of the Lord Jesus Christ in a prophetic way: the annulling of the marriage union that you and I have by nature with the law of sin. We must have our marriage union restored with our blessed Bridegroom.
This marriage union points to that resurrection in which you and I must take part (which is the first resurrection). Do you know what that is? We are raised up from the things of this life unto a newness of life, walking in Christ. "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
ROM 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
This speaks in a prophetic way. It points to how you and I must die unto sin: we must die unto the world, unto self, and be raised unto a newness of life, "that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
This is why Jesus is pointing out to these Jews these scribes and Pharisees the importance of death and resurrection, because Hes pointed out to them the fact that they must die unto sin, die unto self, and come into that marriage union, and "be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."(ROM 7:4)
In His youth, before His public ministry began, we read in LUK 2:51, "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, [with His parents, Mary and Joseph] and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." He was subject unto them. He was the Son of Man. He was raised without sin. He was subject unto His mother and her husband.
This parental authority ceased when Christ entered His public ministry. In JOH 2:4 we see, "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." When the Lord Jesus rebuked His mother, it was also in a prophetic way. He was prophesying that which would come.
By using this term "Woman," Jesus reveals His omniscience. In His divinity, in a prophetic way, Jesus foresaw the horrible idolatry that was to ascribe Divine honor unto His mother. He did not address her as "Mother." He addressed her as "Woman."
LUK 11:27 says, "And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked." See where the idolatry was already setting in, even when Christ was in this world? The idolatry of worshipping Mary had already begun. They were going to start elevating Mary as an object of worship.
What did Jesus say to them? Verse 28 continues, "But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." See how He completely disallowed the worshipping of Mary. He said no, youre not to be looking at the blessed Mary, and the womb that bore Me, and the paps which gave Me suck. No, He says, "blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."
Today, how few people there are that realize that those who hear and keep the Word of God are pronounced more blessed by our Saviour than His own mother! Thats a thought that you and I must let sink deep in our hearts. The worship of Mary is such idolatry because the Lord is pleased with those who hear His Word and keep it. The Lord Jesus addressed her as "Woman," not as "Mother Mary."
See what we read in LUK 1:28. "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." When Mary came to her cousin Elisabeth, the Holy Spirit caused the babe to leap in her womb, but here we see "the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."
Mary was highly blessed among women, but not blessed above women. She was not to be elevated and set above the women and given Divinity or honors of Divinity.
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, [He did not say, Mother Mary!] what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." (JOH 2:4)
As we turn to the practical teaching, we will see that our Saviour saw this beginning of miracles very differently than His mother did. This shows the total absence of any divine nature in Mary. She was subject to error, to sin, and to presumption, as you and I are. She was wrong in her perspective of this beginning of miracles. She thought it was the means by which He was going to be accelerated into a kingdom of this world, and she was wrong. There was no divinity in Mary. She was human.
The Lord Jesus Christ looked upon this beginning of miracles as a very important crisis in His life. By performing this miracle Jesus became the gazing stock of the world.
This beginning of miracles provoked the jealousy of the religious leaders. He would be spied upon and regarded as a threat to their society. He would be falsely accused and sentenced to be crucified. Thats what Jesus saw in this beginning of miracles. He saw that it was the beginning of His treading on the way to the cross. It was the beginning of His crucifixion.
This hour of which Jesus spoke was ever before Him as the purpose of His whole mission on earth. He said to Mary in JOH 2:4, "mine hour is not yet come." He was referring to that hour for which He came into this world. He came into this world for the hour wherein He would lay down His life and take it again. He said, "mine hour is not yet come."
Jesus said in JOH 12:27-28, when he came to that hour: "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
I want you to understand what an hour that was. The Creator of the universe, coming into an hour when He was going to be in the Garden of Gethsemane and sweating His own blood. Why? Because He saw the just wrath of His Father that comes upon your sin and my sin coming upon Him, our substitute.
As He came to that hour, His soul was troubled. "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?" Can you imagine the Creator of the universe coming to such an hour that He had to say, "What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour." Look at the paradox. Must He come before the Father and ask to be delivered from that hour? He said, "for this cause came I unto this hour."
Then He broke out in praise, proclaiming, "Father, glorify thy name." He saw and understood that He came to this hour for the glorification of His Father that His Father might be glorified by perfect obedience in human nature. He was obedient unto death, even to death on the cross.
The preciousness of the blood of Christ is centered in His obedience. If Christs blood had been shed by force against His ability to deliver Himself, His blood would have been no better than yours or mine. The thing that makes His blood so precious is that it was given as a free will offering, as an act of obedience. Now He says, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
How will He glorify it again? He " became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (PHI 2:8-11)
This is how He glorified His name again: by glorifying His Son, by giving Him all authority, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow." Why? That was His reward for such obedience. This hour is what Christ was speaking of when He said to His mother, "mine hour is not yet come." He was not yet to be glorified; He had yet to finish His ministry.
The manner in which the miracle was performed is worthy of our close attention - this miracle of changing the water into wine. Its very important we understand the practical teaching of this miracle.
"And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it." (JOH 2:6-8)
See the manner in which He performed this miracle and the significance of it. Jesus was the One who performed the miracle, yet the "servants" were the ones who seemed to do everything. Isnt that remarkable? The miracle was performed by an act of obedience by His servants! When the Lord works the miracle of new birth in your heart and in mine, He does it through the instrument of our obedience doing what He commands us to do.
There was no exhibition of Divine power. Jesus did not proscribe any magic formula. Jesus didn't even command the water to become wine! The Lord Jesus only told His servants what to do, and in the fulfilling, in the way of obedience, in their doing what they were told, the miracle was performed. Isnt that a beautiful illustration of the miracle of grace? Isnt it beautiful to see and understand how the new birth, the beginning of miracles, is brought about? It is when you and I come in subjection to the will of God, and do what He commands us to do. Thats how He brought about the miracle.
Is that teaching a doctrine of works? No. They didnt do it; Christ performed the miracle, but His means whereby He performed it was by bringing His servants into the way of obedience.
What the spectators witnessed were men at work. What is it that is seen by the world? They see His servants doing what Christ has commanded them to do. What was it that they witnessed? They witnessed the obedience of His servants. They did not witness God creating something out of nothing. It was not that Christ gave a command for the water to become wine and then some miracle happened. No, all they saw was people doing what they were told. The fruit of this obedience was that the water was made wine.
As you and I come to understand the work of regeneration (when you and I come into subjection to the will of God and do what God is telling us to do), it is this instrument whereby He performs the miracle of the new birth.
This speaks very loudly of servants acting in the way of obedience. In the performing of this miracle, the means that were used to bring the miracle to pass was human obedience, but the results seen were the Divine authority in the Word of Jesus. Thats the way the new birth is worked in your heart. When the Lord comes and tells you what to do, and in the way of submission you obey coming and entering into the kingdom, observing and doing what He tells you to do - the fruit of this is that you see the Divine authority of the Word as the evidence that a miracle has taken place.
Salvation is of the Lord, and there is no merit in anything we do, yet obedience is the instrument the Lord uses to perform the wonders of His grace and convey the joy of the bride in the Bridegroom. Christs bride receives joy in believing. Believing is to come into subjection to the will of God. We start to see this joy.
The miracle consisted in supplying wine at the marriage feast that symbolizes joy of salvation to our souls. The joy of salvation is conveyed to our souls as we find pleasure and delight in doing His will.
Jesus command was to fill the water pots with water. Water is the symbol of the written Word. Turn to EPH 5:26. It mentioned the marriage relationship between Christ and His church: "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."
These pots of stone were washing pots, and they were filled with water, only "two or three firkins apiece": just a dab of water in each one. The Jews would come and wash their hands, their pots, and their other things in all of their rituals. But when the Lord Jesus fills these water pots, He fills them to the brim. It is the washing of the water of the Word.
It is not through the Word of God that His servants bring the wine of joy unto human hearts today. When you begin to wash every thought, every action, every step of your life with the washing of the water of the Word, you start to enjoy the marriage union that is between you and Christ.
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (ROM 10:17) The Word of God, the washing of the water of the Word, is that faith, that persuasion. It is persuading you and me to turn from sin to serve the living God. Its persuasion comes by hearing. The water with which He told them to fill the pots was the Word.
Obedience to Jesus command to fill those empty water pots makes His servants instruments in the miracle of the new birth. How? When we as servants of Christ go out to proclaim the Word, by the hearing of the Word, faith is received. Thereby the servants of Christ become instruments to fill His empty water pots (the souls of those who are empty), to fill them with the miracle of the new birth, which is the authority of the Word.
"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Do you see how the Word must be the instrument whereby the miracle is performed? Those water pots had to be filled with water, but the water He filled them with was filled to the brim. That water was the symbol of the authority of His Word: " by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1CO 1:21)
This miracle teaches a striking example of the regeneration of a sinner. The empty water pots portray the condition of a natural man before he is born again. These are empty water pots, and that portrays the condition of your heart and mine, by nature, prior to the new birth.
They were cold, they were lifeless, and they teach the worthlessness of mens efforts to cleanse themselves in the sight of God. These water pots were set there for the "purifying of the Jews," for the rituals of the Jews, for the washing of the pots, and the washing of hands, but they never had a thing to with the washing of the heart. This miracle teaches us the emptiness of all man-made religion, of all those who profess godliness but deny Him by their works. How lifeless and worthless all our own efforts are in ourselves in the sight of God.
These water pots were set apart "...after the manner of the purifying of the Jews." (JOH 2:6) Their vain imagination about purification is referred to in MAR 7:3-4. "For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders." They had a very vain imagination: they realized and understood they needed purifying, but what were they purifying? They were purifying their hands, their vessels and pans, but they overlooked the need of purifying their hearts.
The servants filled those water pots to the brim, and that is the symbol of the Word of God. That means that all the tradition of men had to be floated off the top. All this filthiness in all these firkins of water had to be washed out. They filled them with water to the brim. There was no room left for the teaching of the traditions of men. The Pharisees were washing with their own tradition. The Lord Jesus Christ washes with the "water of the Word." (EPH 5:26)
Their traditions were so cold, and they were empty of substance, just as those pots of stone. Our Saviours command to fill those pots with water, which was the emblem of the Word of God, becomes the highest authority in the soul by the work of regeneration, quickening dead souls unto newness of life: a heart religion, the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. As we begin to understand those water pots were filled to the brim, the Word of God leaves no room for any traditions.
I was reading church history, and it was very interesting to see that the first three or four centuries after Christ, the church thrived and prospered under persecution. The Roman Empire was totally pagan, and anyone that came against paganism was sent to the lions alive. Under such persecution the church of Christ grew and multiplied until a man by the name of Constantine became emperor of Rome. He professed to be a Christian. He professed to have seen a vision in the sky of the cross and a voice telling him, "Under this, conquer." Do you know what he did? The history of the church is very, very important to understand. As the emperor of Rome, which was a one-world government, he commanded that all positions of judiciaries, governorships - every position of authority - be filled with bishops and pastors of the church. What a time of rejoicing for the church! And it was the beginning of all apostasy.
The historians point out that at that point, the church became the authority instead of the Word of God. The bishops were put in positions of authority; they were no longer humble servants, serving the church: now the church began serving them. That became the downfall and the beginning of all apostasy in the Christian church.
This is where the empire of the church began to rise. If you want to analyze it, in almost every Protestant denomination today, they are still looking to the church as the authority. The church I was born and raised in spoke of the "second reformation." The first reformation was a reformation of doctrine. In the second reformation, they saw that men came to the doctrines of grace and understood them, but they were still living in sin, in drunkenness, and in adultery. They were still living in sin. So the church held a second big synod meeting. At this second big synod meeting, do you know what they decided? The church decided if you do this, or you do that, you couldnt be members of the church. So now the church is still the authority.
Why didnt they start preaching the Word of God? Why didnt they start preaching that the Lord says adultery is sin and preach the authority of the Word? You watch the Protestant denominations of today, and theyll go to some theological authority: "Well, we believe and he says and so we believe." Where is the authority of the Word? Do you see how it is sunk when the persecution stops?
We may have to see more persecution to bring the church back on its knees, to bring it back to the authority of the Word of God. This is what we have to see in this miracle, how the Lord was taking Judaism and setting it at naught and bringing His church back under the authority of His Word.
Not only were the water pots filled to the brim, but with "good wine." This water, which is the symbol of the Word of God, was converted to wine.
"And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; [The governor of the feast didnt know about the miracle.] and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now." (JOH 2:10)
Satan gives the "good" first: "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine " and then at the end they give the poor. "But thou hast kept the good wine until now." Satan gives the best first and saves the worst until last. Do you know what that means? First come the pleasures of sin for a season; then he keeps the wages of sin until last. What is that? Hell.
Christs plan of salvation works just in reverse to that of Satan: first we receive the tender Fathers love in the form of chastening, then the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The loving Father, if He loves you, is going to come with His chastening hand, as a Father who loves His child. Hes going to bring you into submission, and Hes going to use His chastening hand to do it, but He saves the best until last.
I want to show you what we find in "the best" in HEB 12:11. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
That word righteousness means "conformity of life to the Divine law." After He has given us His chastening hand, we have the peaceable fruits of righteousness. If He loves you, Hes going to take you in His hand, and Hes going to chasten you. Hes going to keep the best wine til last. Hes going to impart the joy of His salvation in those peaceable fruits of righteousness that are the fruit of chastening. First comes the cross and then the crown. Believers will find that the best wine is held until the last.
PRO 4:18 says, "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." The joys of salvation continue to increase and increase.
This was the beginning of miracles, which is symbolic of the miracle of the new birth wherein Jesus Christ manifests His glory.
Water is the symbol of the Word of God. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," ROM 10:17 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, [That change of attitude. Except ye be born of the Word of God and have that change of attitude, that is of the Spirit ] he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (JOH 3:5) You cannot serve God with a stubborn, selfish attitude.
The miracle of the new birth is the beginning of miracles, which Christ performs by the "water of the Word." Then we receive the belief of the truth. As we see in 2 TH 2:13, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." God has His pattern whereby He has chosen you unto salvation.
The miracle of converting the water into wine also teaches a very important principle: the wine, which is the symbol of Christs shed blood, was the central theme of the miracle.
The foundation of every blessing that we enjoy begins with His supernatural works of mercy, producing that which speaks of His sacrificial, substitutionary death. He said, "Mine hour is not yet come." When He made the water into wine, He first told His mother, "Mine hour is not yet come." In other words, He must make that sacrifice.
What a message this beginning of miracles sends to encourage you and me to examine our hearts! Oh beloved, how empty life is for those who can find their pleasure in carnal happiness. How empty your water pot is when you enjoy only what is pleasing to the flesh and can barter the authority of the Word of God. If you can enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season, how empty your water pot is. Think of the emptiness of their joy when they find that at the end of their feast (of pleasing the flesh), the wine runs out.
In Rev 14:18-19 we read, "And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God." (REV 14:18-19)
All this joy that is only centered in the flesh will be plucked as the vine of the earth and cast "into the great winepress of the wrath of God." Its a horrible thing to be destitute of that new birth.
The poor sinners may be surrounded with many gay companions in entertaining what pleases the flesh, yet those who had their best wine at the first will find that they have no wine in the time of Gods visitation. "And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine." (JOH 2:3) Their joy had ended.
The discovery of our own wretchedness on the one hand, and the love of God revealed on the other, is the blessed Water that was made wine, and should lead us to repentance. What should lead us more surely to repentance than seeing the emptiness on the one hand, and the richness in the manifestation of the Word of God on the other.
See what a blessed proclamation there is under the trumpet of the gospel, which Isaiah prophesied in foretelling our Saviours ministry.
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." (ISA 61:1-3)
Therefore, listen to the glad tidings of the gospel of grace.
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (MAR 1:15b). Amen
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. See also, our sermon notes.
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