Identified with Christ

Pastor Anthony LoCascio and Christina Li
5/1/18

413

God’s nature never changes. When God’s nature encounters our nature, we’re changed.

 

Luke 5:36-39 “Then Jesus gave them this illustration: ‘No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.’”

 

A patch from a new garment won’t work for an old. Old garments have already shrunk. New wineskins will still stretch for new wine. An old wineskin will not expand.

 

How does the fact that Jesus never changes comfort you? How have you allowed Him to change you?

 

Jesus constantly challenged the stale religious practices at that time. He warned them what they were doing wasn’t for God but to be seen a certain way by other people.

 

Jesus took this opportunity to shift their paradigm from outward actions to a real relationship with God. He was talking about something deeper than the new covenant that was coming. It was about you and me as containers. Something has to take place in us in order to receive it.

 

You’ve got to change. You can’t put new wine into old skins. Their religious practices caused them to be stuck in a rut. They were stuck in an old philosophy. They didn’t want to let go of their traditions.

 

Wine gets better with age. The longer it sits, the better it gets. When you get used to it and it gets older, people like it. People are comfortable with the old and can’t receive something new. An old vessel will not receive new wine.

 

Jesus wanted to employ a truth, external rights and ceremonies and rituals won’t heal the broken parts of your life. You’ve got to embrace and become a new vessel.

 

New patches on old material won’t work. Paradigms must change in order for lives to be changed and fixed. Take the old garment and transform it. Renew every thread and every hole, old things passed away, all things become new.

 

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

 

Embrace change in order to receive from Jesus.

 

How have you resisted change? What happened? How have you embraced change? What happened?

 

Saul of Tarsus was a very religious man. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, concerning the law, zealous, a Pharisee of Pharisees. If you are not careful, you might end up persecuting everybody who doesn’t think the way you think or act the way you act. Paul was stuck in a rut. God had to knock him down with a bright light and a voice from heaven.

 

The voice from heaven said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. It’s hard to kick against the pricks.’ This means it is hard for you to resist Me. This phrase is taken from the beasts of burden who were poked and prodded with sharp objects if they weren’t moving fast enough. If they kicked against those sharp objects, they hurt their feet.

 

Acts 9:6 “And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

 

Saul (known as the Apostle Paul) changed in an instant. Then, God was able to make this man great. He became a new wineskin instantly. No longer opposed to the gospel and the strong evidence of truth, Saul of Tarsus changed. He stopped kicking against the pricks and changed.

 

God is using a tool poking and prodding you, but you are rebelling against the very thing that is trying to make you become something new. Old skins can’t handle the new wine.

 

There is no removing of the foundation. However, once you’ve got that firm foundation, you need to be able to receive more from God. If God is trying to speak to you, it’s not the experience of yesterday, it’s ‘he that has ears to hear, let him hear what the Lord is saying to you.’

 

Are you regularly seeking God’s opinion on issues in your life? Do you seek His will and way and obey Him? If not, why?

 

Jer 48:11 “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.”

 

This is actually talking about wine. The ‘lees’ are talking about the dregs. It’s about allowing the wine to sit for a long time. Sediment settles on the bottom. The dregs, if they sit too long start to stink and become bitter. The process was to pour the wine into a new barrel and have a strainer get rid of the dregs.

 

Jeremiah is saying that you haven’t allowed this and you stink.

 

God is changing you. He wants you to grow and change. If you don’t get dumped out, you’ll settle and stink.

 

‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’

 

The difference between a reservoir and a river is water doesn’t flow in and out of the reservoir. It’s stinky. A river has fish and water flowing in and out, moving. The banks hold up and direct the water. The reason why the Dead Sea is called dead is that nothing flows out.

 

You’ve got to stir up yourself. You’ve got to allow yourself to be poured out and grow and change.

 

2 Cor 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

 

Are you willing to stir yourself up? Are you willing to be poured out in order to grow and change? How have you resisted or embraced this process in the past? What happened as a result of your choices?

 

Moses came down from the mountain with two stone tablets. The people were okay with the tablets but got freaked out by his glowing face. They had him put a veil over his face. After a while, that glory faded.

 

There is a glory you can have that will not fade away. (2 Cor 3:18)

 

Getting into the presence of God and the Word of God help us get changed from glory to glory to glory. We need to change until we are more and more and more like Jesus.

 

We call it salvation, He calls it marriage. Spending time together enables people to know each other and become like each other. The whole purpose of Christianity is to know Jesus so well that we resemble and are identified with Jesus. You have got to change and give up who you are until you are no longer you and like Jesus.

 

If you’re a person who is bipolar or depressed or a loser or a failure, you can break free from that identity in order to become a new creature in Christ! You’re struggling with yesterday’s identity and what God’s destiny for you. You have got to hear a Word from God and let it change you!

 

1 Cor 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

You are no longer these things! ‘Such WERE some of you…’

 

1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

 

You are His child, His son, His daughter!

 

Let go of yesterday and take a hold of tomorrow! You can’t hold on to yesterday and understand what God has for you.

 

What do you believe about yourself? Do you believe more what the Bible says about you or what other people (or you) think about you? Are you willing to let go those thoughts/beliefs/attitudes that are contrary to God’s Word? How will you go about doing that?

 

1 Pet 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”

 

GOD HAS CHOSEN YOU!

 

When you’re the captain, you get to pick who you want on your team. God chose YOU!

 

Don’t keep going by what you think you see in the mirror. See what God sees. You can’t receive what God has for you with the same mentality of who you think you are. You are not who you think you are, who the devil says you are, who the world says you are. You are who God says you are!

 

You are chosen by God! Peculiar means ‘Purchased’ by God. You are purchased and no one else can have you.

 

Your issues put labels on you. Until you really change, you can’t be identified with Christ. What do you believe about yourself? You are what God says you are, but you’ve got to confront this in order to receive this truth about who and what God says you are.

 

The person who has issues tries to hide behind their pride. There is so much hurt and shame, but their patch doesn’t help. You try to pour in love. Rebellious people don’t like authority. You may have an attitude and your own wisdom and your own ways and your own agenda. It says, ‘I don’t need you.’

 

The Kingdom of God has a process, but you won’t be able to receive it until you change.

 

You’ve got to take off the mask. Be honest. Come as you are, expect to be changed. You’ve got to go home different. Always go home changed. Allow God to pour you out and become new.

 

It’s not one service that will change you. You are who God says you are, but you get poured out and stirred up and changed. That’s part of the process. Seek the change. Don’t fight the process.

 

John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

 

You are God’s child.

 

The temptation of Christ is when the Spirit led Jesus to the desert to be tempted of the devil. Just before that, He was baptized and the Spirit descended like a dove and said, ‘This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.’ Then, Jesus was tempted by the devil. Satan didn’t tempt Him with really with food, it was tempting Him by asking Him about His identity. Is He really the Son of God. Satan challenged His identity.

 

Every day you will be confronted with that test. Who are you? You’ve got to be willing to change.

 

How have you tried to hide your issues? Have you been successful in hiding them? Where do they pop out? Are you willing to be honest and allow the Lord to deliver you?

 

Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

You can’t be what God has called you to be until you get away from what God has called you out from.

 

This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio. 

 

For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.

 

If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!

www.thelifechurchofglenview.org